1. FAMILY BACKGROUND (Pre-1800)
2. THE FORMATIVE YEARS (1800-1815)
3. THE SEA YEARS, PART ONE (1812-1829)
4. THE SEA YEARS, PART TWO (1830-1835)
5. POLITICAL RISE (1835-1846)
6. THE CAPTAIN'S DIARY (1847)
7. THE NEW HOUSE AT LISNAVAGH (1847-1852)
8. THE LATTER YEARS (1852-1866)
In the summer of 1830, the sea-
faring Duke of Clarence ascended
the throne as William IV.
Captain Bunbury was to spend most
of the monarch's seven year reign at sea.
Utterly wrecked by a lifestyle of alcohol-fuelled banquets, George IV expired at Windsor on June 16th 1830. His younger brother, "Sailor William", Duke of Clarence, succeeded as William IV. His seven-year reign was one of several reforms: the poor law updated, municipal government democratised, child labour restricted and slavery abolished throughout the British Empire. The most important reform legislation of William IV's reign was the Reform Act 1832, which refashioned the British electoral system. Churchill described William IV as eccentric and likeable, popular with the people and a bluff navy boy. He was certainly the least obnoxious of Georges brothers. His Saxon wife, Queen Adelaide, was a homely and charitable lassie, greatly beloved by the British people. In 1827, the Duke of Clarence was appointed Lord High Admiral but was obliged to resign the following year when his attempt to take independent control of naval affairs back-fired. He was nonetheless regarded as a good Lord High Admiral, abolishing the cat o' nine tails for most offences other than mutiny and requiring regular reports of the condition and preparedness of each ship. He also commissioned the first steam warship and advocated for more. As king, he would maintain his interest in the Royal Navy, in matters great and small. As a former sailor, well aware of the limited headroom on the vessels of the day, William gave the Royal Navy the privilege of drinking the sovereign's health sitting down while aboard ship. One assumes that Lieutenant William Bunbury and other officers of the Royal Navy frequently and merrily complied with this privilege for there had not been a sea-faring monarch on the throne since James II.
In the General Election, following the accession of William IV, Daniel O'Connell and 30 Repealers are returned in Ireland. Many were surprised when young Horace Rochfort (supported by John Alexander of Miltown) decided to challenge the hitherto uncontested Kavanagh - Bruen alliance on a Whig ticket. The previous General Election of 1826 had gone uncontested because nobody felt capable of knocking the Tories down. Horace's father, Colonel Rochfort, had been MP for the insignificant constituency of Fore in 1799 and an ancestor had been Speaker in the Irish House of Commons. However, Horace didn't push it but rather withdrew later in the year to concentrate on founding the Carlow Cricket Club.
On 18th July 1830, William's grandmother Patience McClintock (neé Foster) passed away aged 84, probably at Drumcar. She was buried at Dunleer in Co. Louth.
Having already spent so much of his life at sea, William cannot have seen much of his only sister, Catherine. However, with the death of their mother at such a young age, one can imagine a close bond between them. A pious and tender girl, she was married on 28th July 1830 to the Rev. Gregory George Gardiner of Bath. He was a relative of Elias Gardner, Rector of St. Leonards and was later associated with both St. Leonards and Walcot Church in Bath. George may have been a close friend and cousin to the Oxford boating legend, Bishop Dr. William Piercy Austin D.D. (1807 - 1892). If this is true, then young George was raised by his grandmother Mary Gardiner in Bath before going to school with Austin in Hyde Abbey, Winchester. The Austin connection is interesting although the spelling differs. (25) Austin might also provide a useful inspiration for the Captain's boating sons.
HMS Samarang, a water-colour by William Smyth
On 3rd June 1831, William Bunbury McClintock was once again appointed to the Samarang, under Captain Paget. He was officially appointed 'Lt Wm Bunbury McClintock ... by command of their lordships Dundas and Barrington.'
During this commission he officiated as First Lieutenant over the course of a three-year expedition to the South American station. The Captain of the ship was Charles Henry Paget. From Paget's subsequent comments [see below] to Darwin about the state of slavery in the South Seas, it would seem almost certain that the Samarang's role was to chase and, if necessary, destroy slave ships.
Also on board were the future Admiral and noted artist, William Smyth, and William's eleven year old first cousin, the future Arctic explorer (Sir Francis) Leopold McClintock. According to Sir Leopold's later memoirs, he weighted less than 'the 1st Lieutenant's Newfoundland dog'. As William was 1st Lieutenant, we may deduce that he was the owner of one of these fine fluffy labrador style dogs, also favoured by Lord Byron in those years. (Johnny Depp runs around with one in 'Finding Neverland' ). When Lord Byron's hound, Boatswain, died he had inscribed upon the dog's gravestone the following: "Beauty without vanity, strength without insolence, courage without ferocity, and all the virtues of man without his vices'.
Samarang sailed from Spithead, Great Britain, on July 26, 1831, and made its way, via St. Michael's in the Azores, to Rio de Janeiro, a journey of 6148 miles, arriving on September 22nd. Those on board would not see England again until January 1835 during which time they surveyed the east coast of South America from Pernambuco to Monte Video and rounded Cape Horn on no less than four occasions to explore as far north as Guaymas in the Gulf of California. Their journeys encompassed a staggering 56,610 miles - and that was before they set sail on the long trip home. I’m told the Cape is perfectly manageable if the weather’s okay – its just got bad PR.
Scale: 1:48. A contemporary waterline model of the 28-gun sixth-rate frigate ‘Samarang’ (1822). A highly detailed model of a wooden frigate prior to the introduction of steam. It is complete with all the fittings on deck including the guns fully rigged to their carriages, hammocks stowed in the nettings around the gunwales, spare topmasts and spars under the boats in the waist and the shot stored around the hatch combings ready for use. The rigging is equally detailed and shows the sails bent on to the yards and in harbour stow, and the addition of the trysail ‘snow’ rigged just aft on each of the lower mast. Built by Cochin in the West Indies, the ‘Samarang’ measured 133 feet along the gun deck by 31 feet in the beam and was 500 tons burthen. It was fitted with both 32- and 18-pounder carronades and carried a complement of 175 men. Its career included duty stations around the world such as the Mediterranean, South America, Cape of Good Hope and in 1840–41, it saw action in the First Opium War at the Chuenpi Forts. ‘Samarang’ also carried out survey work in the West Indies from 1843–47 during which it encountered Malay pirates at Gikolo. The final years were spent as a guard ship at Gibraltar where it was eventually sold for breaking in 1880.
National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London, Royal United Service Institution Collection. (Thanks to Derek Jago)
We have a journal which Captain Bunbury kept on the Samarang from 3 June 1831 to 22 Nov 1832. It includes all the details for fitting Jacob’s Ladder, how to rig a pair of shears to get a mast in or out, how to secure a top-sail, puddening an anchor, details of boatswain’s bins and a cross-section map of the Samarang showing twelve barrels - presumably gunpowder rather than grog?! There are all sorts of naval instruction manuals, hand-written by himself, in case he went demented and forgot. The Captain has tiny spidery writing, written with a quill by candlelight, presumably while the Samarang was rolling from side to side, which makes transcribing these journals a rather formidable task. That said, it is my great hope I will find time, or pursuade someone else, to take on this role in due course. After all, Captain Bunbury presumably met Charles Darwin during his travels so who knows what secrets of the world he may have heard?!
The commander of the South American Station at this time was Rear Admiral Sir Michael Seymour, a veteran of the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars who was born in Co. Limerick in 1768. He served in many actions in his youth, during which time he lost his arm. He became Commissioner of Portsmouth Dockyard, but after the post was abolished, was promoted to Rear-Admiral, and appointed to command the South American Station. He was in poor health when he left for England, and died of fever at Rio de Janeiro on 9 July 1834. He was buried at Gamboa on 15 July in a large funeral attended by English, French, American and Spanish officers, and other civilian officials. As a gesture of respect, the national flags on the ships in the harbour were flown at half-mast, and salutes were fired.
The first year was spent cruising the east coast between Rio, Bahia and Pernambuco, with one mission to Monte Video and 'three runs up the River Plate to collect water' in August. They first rounded the Horn in November 1832, thereby earning every man on board the right to wear a gold loop earring in the left ear and to dine with one foot on the table. (25a)
As second-in-command of the ship, William McClintock Bunbury kept detailed
journals of the ship's passage. Journal G/4/11 follows his journey
on board HMS Samarang from Monte Video around the Horn to Valparaiso,
starting on November 23rd 1832. In February and March 1833, they returned
around the Horn to Rio, via Cacimbo [sic], a voyage of 6532 miles
in itself. A curious remark on Sunday February 2nd 1833 notes how they had
'weighed out with $853,618 for England in merchants remittances' which seems a phenomenal amount of money; explanations welcome!
Between May and July1833 the Samarang cruised the east coast from Rio to Bahia and Pernambuco; William's etching of whale-fishing at Bahia in the Lisnavagh Blue Room dates to June 1833. Whaling was steadily becoming a more industrial pastime, not least since the realization that a whale’s head is full of pure oil – that’s when they started blasting whales on a major scale and so again, the oil industry betrays its wicked side.
In August 1833, the Samarang embarked on its third trip around the Horn on a mammoth, seemingly non-stop, journey of 4967 miles up the Pacific coast to Valparaiso. By October they were in Callao, the main seaport for goods from the Andes mountains, on the west coast of Peru. (25b) With temperatures falling, the Samarang continued north to Panama in November, reaching the old Spanish galleon port of Acapulco in Mexico in December. They pushed north to San Blas in the state of Nayarit. The Tepic Falls, a watercolour by William Smyth hung at Lisnavagh, are located some 40 miles east of the state capital San Blas.
In January 1834 they continued north to Mazatlan (25c) and finally dropped anchor at Guaymas in the Gulf of California in February. From there it was south again, back through Mazatlan and San Blas, on a 5,300 mile journey to Valparaiso where they landed in May. (One wonders whether the Samarang crew was aware that Bernardo O'Higgins, the former president of Chile, was the son of Ambrosio O'Higgins, a prominent figure in the Spanish Empire who had grown up on close to the Bunbury's cousins on the Rowley estate in Summerhill, Co. Meath. Bernardo was in exile in Bolivar's Venezuela at this time and died in Lima in 1842).
Samarang made a further journey north to Callao in June with several different trips to the "Island of Lorenzo" (Isla San Lorenzo) just off Callao. In September 1834 they returned to Valparaiso where they were based until October when they rounded the Horn for the fourth and last time, finishing at single anchor in Rio de Janeiro in November 1834. Two months later, they were back in England.
WHEN SAMARANG MET BEAGLE
For many long years, Bunbury family lore has told how our ancestor, William McClintock Bunbury, was a 2nd lieutenant on HMS Samarang when she encountered the Beagle with Charles Darwin on board, off the coast of South America, back in 1832. After a good deal of sleuthing through Bunbury's virtually illegible nautical diaries in October 2015, my pals Alex and Daria Blackwell helped me pinpoint two of the relevant dates on which the ships met one another.
That said,the relevant entries were something of a let down. The first time he met the Beagle (above) he says 'nothing of consequence occurred', and the second time he likewise remarks that the day was 'without any thing very fortuitous occurring'. Sadly not a whisper about Darwin!
I first stumbled upon Captain Bunbury's 'Private Journals' while probing the Lisnavagh archives in November 2007. One covers his time on board HMS Samarang from 3rd June 1831 until 22nd November 1832 and is written in the same book as an earlier journal written 'on board His Majesty's Ship Procris from the 1st November 1829 until the 16th July 1830'. The second volume - Journal G/4/11 - takes up from where that one left off. My father is assisting me in making sense of these journals. We have not yet had the chance to read the narrative properly as the ink is fading and the writing hard to read. The first paragraph break comes in after 18 pages! In December 2007, I informed the National Maritime Museum, the Darwin Correspondence Project and the Department of Manuscripts at Cambridge about the existence of these journals. The principal interest is that the Samarang met the Beagle on several occasions and that both Leopold McClintock and William Smyth were also on board. I am in pursuit of an expert to come here to Lisnavagh and transcribe their contents. Journal G/4/11 includes a detailed ship's log showing daily positions, weather and distances covered. To be honest, it all beggars belief. How did they manage it all without a helicopter? How did they know their latitudes in those days? Harrison's clockwork was surely still a novelty. And how on earth did they know how many miles they'd sailed!
The Master's teenage assistant, John Edward Davis (1816-1877), also kept a log of the Samarang's entire period of service in the South American station, which includes '26 panoramic sketches of the coast line of South America (fourteen watercolour; twelve pencil); five pen-and-ink charts of Maceio Bay, Panama, Acapulco, Mazatlan and Guaymas Harbor; pen-and-ink map of Bahia Bay, drawn from a survey by the officers of H.M.S. Samarang, April 14, 1834; plans of the tanks and the ballast of H.M.S. Samarang, July 31, 1834, and a mounted ms. title leaf containing a shield with various nautical sketches in pen-and-ink, including one of the Samarang'. The log concludes with the transfer of Davis to H.M.S. Blonde on Sept. 28, 1834. A map also shows the routes and the dates of the Samarang's cruises from July 29, 1831 until its arrival at Valparaiso, Sept. 13, 1834. I have not yet seen the original of J.E. Davis's Log of H.M.S. Samarang. It is held at *170/336 (MSS no) in the Charles E. Young Research Library at the University of California in Los Angeles. Library. In May 2007, they kindly informed me their Public Services Division were hunting for the manuscript and would let me know as soon as it turned up.
Above: During the years that
Samarang was at sea,
Captain Paget's uncle, the
1st Marquess of Anglesey
Lord Lieutenant of Ireland.
The Captain of the Samarang was Charles Henry Paget, the son of Vice-Admiral Hon. Sir Charles Paget and Elizabeth Araminta Monck.
Born on 15 July 1806, Paget was six years William's junior but his connections
were considerably better. The Pagets were a Staffordshire family knighted
by Henry VIII in 1543. In 1769, the barony of Paget devolved upon Charles's
grandfather, Henry Bayly, 9th Baron Paget (1744 - 1812), who, in
April 1784, was advanced to the Earldom of Uxbridge (in the second
creation). Charles's uncle, Henry William Paget, 1st Marquess of Anglessy,
lost a leg at Waterloo and was Lord Lieutenant of Ireland from 1828 to 1829,
and again from 1830 - 1833, during which time the Samarang was at
sea. By 1839, Charles's father had risen to become Vice-Admiral of the
White and Commander-in-Chief of the North American and West Indian station.
Charles was made Lieutetant in 1826, promoted Commander in 1828 and Captain
in 1829. In 1828, Charles took over from William Waldegrave in command
of HMS Procris, of which ship there is a painting at Lisnavagh.
(25a) The Procris patrolled the coast of Ireland with Commander Paget
in charge until 1830 when Commander Sir Thomas Pasley took the helm.
In 1828, his 15-year-old brother Midshipman Horatio Paget died at
sea on board HMS Talbot. His brother Brownlow Henry Paget died on
Champion, 18, in 1843. Paget was married twice - first, on New Years Day
1836 to Elizabeth Annals on 1 January 1836. She died just three years
later, apparently on the very same day that his father died from yellow
fever off the coast of Bermuda.
He married secondly on 24 January 1840 Emily Caroline McClintock, sister of Leopold, first cousin of William and daughter of Henry McClintock of the Drumcar line. Captain Paget died on 26 May 1845 at age 38. Paget was clearly a humorous man; Darwin certainly found him good company. He was probably - like FitzRoy, Darwin and indeed William Bunbury - a believer in the high-Tory, Christian ethic by which paternalism was the leading motive for providing direct economic and practical aid to primitive societies. His views on slavery (below) certainly compound these thoughts. Indeed, Paget and Darwin seem to have been united by a mutual respect for the aboriginal peoples they met. This was an age when the high-minded ideals and optimism of the Victorian age had not yet been annihilated by colonial glory-hunters, fanatical missionaries and commercial exploitation. Paget's humour must have been extremely important for his crew, living together in such close proximity. These men would share considerable journeys, discussions, enthusiasms and disappointments over the course of their adventure. A more thorough History of the Paget Family can be found here.
HMS Procris, commanded by Charles Paget in 1828.
When Charles Paget began commissioning the Samarang at Portsmouth in 1830, he gave his nomination of a first-class volunteer to his first lieutenant, William Bunbury McClintock. William at once offered it to his uncle Henry McClintock, then looking after the Custom House in Dundalk, for his young cousin, Francis Leopold McClintock. Born on July 8th 1819, 'Leo' McClintock was one of twelve children born to Henry McClintock, youngest brother of John McClintock of Drumcar, by his wife, Elizabeth Melesina, daughter of the Venerable George Fluery, DD, Archdeacon of Waterford. Leo was then at school in Dundalk under the Rev. John Darley, alter Bishop of Meath. His letter of commission arrived with his father on June 20th 1831 when Leo was not yet 12 years old, 4 feet six inches high and weighing 68 pounds. Leo was sent off that same evening as a cadet in charge of a tide-waiter called Mr. Perkins. From Portsmouth, young Leo wrote to his mother: 'My dear mother, I arrived here yesterday safe. I have no more to say but I am alive and kicking like a flea in a blanket, and like it very much. I remain your affectionate son, F L McClintock'. The Samarang sets sail for South America on June 3rd 1831. (26) An exhibition on Sir Leopold McClintock is running at the Dundalk County Museum until Februray 2008.
William Bunbury's first cousin, the Arctic
explorer Sir Francis Leopold McClintock
gained his first experience of life at sea
in 1831 when he sailed to South America
on board the Samarang at the age of 11.
This portrait was painted by Stephen Pearce.
In his Beagle Diary (1831-1836), Charles Darwin described how he met with Captain Paget and the crew of the Samarang while charting the coast of South America on board the Beagle. (27) Charles Darwin was only 22 when he was commissioned as naturalist and gentleman companion to the ship's captain, Robert FitzRoy, a complex but ingenious man four years his senior, on a journey to 'survey the S. extremity' of South America. Unlike the Samarang, the Beagle's primary task was to provide the Admiralty (and, by extension, the Government) with as much detail as possible about "natural products, transport routes, the possibility of new harbours, staging posts available mid-ocean and so forth". (28) This would enable the Admiralty to make "informed decisions on naval, military and commercial operations along the stretch from Bahia (now Salvador) in Brazil to Bahia Blanca in Argentina and into the unexplored coastline beyond, and to enable Britain to establish a stronger foothold in these areas, so recently released from their commitment to trade only with Spain and Portugal". (29) FitzRoy had already been Captain of the Beagle on a four-year expedition (1826 - 1830), under the command of Philip Parker King, which surveyed a substantial portion of the eastern coast of South America. These surveys had become important for Great Britain from both a naval and commercial perspective since 1825 when George Canning signed a commercial treaty with the newly independent federation of Argentinean states.
Charles Darwin as a young
man, by A. Richmond.
Darwin was one of seventy-four officers, men and passengers on board when the Beagle finally set sail from Devonport on 27th December 1831. It sailed via Tenerife, crossed the Tropic on 10th January and arrived at 'the dark rocks' of St. Jago in the Cape Verde Islands six days later. Here Darwin met the local mulatto inhabitants whose curiosity and intelligence made him roar with laughter. He studied the churches and hospital, the volcanic rocks, baobab trees, sugar cane and banana plantations, while FitzRoy kept a close eye on 'a very pretty schooner [which] came in this morning: it is strongly suspected that she is a slaver in disguise, she says she is a general trader to the coast of Africa'. They left the Cape Verde Islands on 8th February, driven by the trade winds, the heat and humidity increasingly oppressive as they headed towards the Equator. On the 16th, they reached the white dung covered rocks of St Paul's Island on the 16th where the native Booby and Noddy bird population were 'so unaccustomed to men that they would not move - we knocked down with stones & my hammer the active and swift tern. - Shooting was out of the question, so we got two of the boats crew & the work of slaughter commenced. They soon collected a pile of birds, & hats full of eggs'.
In the bathroom of the Blue Room at Lisnavagh is a sketch from June 1833 entitled "Whale fishing at Bahia with the barge of HMS Samarang" by Lt WB McClintock (aka William III who built Lisnavagh). Bahia - or Saint Salvador - is located in the north-eastern part of the Brazil on the Atlantic coast. Charles Darwin had visited Bahia the previous year and met with Captain Paget of the Samarang indicating that Bahia was one of the Samarang's main bases. The Portuguese had been expelled from the state of Bahia on July 2nd 1823 and it had since become part of Brazil. Bahia had been a major centre for sugar cultivation since the 16th century and had a vast number of African slaves; more than 37% of all slaves taken from Africa were sent to Brazil, mostly to be processed in Bahia before being sent to work in plantations elsewhere in the country. It may be assumed the Samarang was here to sniff out possible slave ships.
The town of San Salvador at Bahia where the Samarang and the
Beagle docked in 1832.
The painting is by TA Prior after A. Earle.
Above: A vista by William Smyth from Samarang voyages.
It is at this point that Darwin seems to have become acquainted with Captain
Paget of the Samarang. On March 1st 1832, in a letter to his
father, he wrote how the Beagle had now managed to 'beat all the
[other] ships in manoeuvring, so much so that the commanding officer says,
we need not follow his example; because we do everything better than his
great ship'. 'It was quite glorious to-day', he goes on to say,
'how we beat the "Samarang" in furling sails. It is quite a
new thing for a "sounding ship" to beat a regular man-of-war;
and yet the "Beagle" is not at all a particular ship'. (30)
Paget does not seem to have minded the beating and one suspects a certain
amount of joviality took place on the night of the 1st. On 3rd March, Darwin
confessed to his diary: 'I am quite ashamed at the very little I have
done during these two days; a few insects & plants make up the sum total.
My only excuse is the torrents of rain, but I am afraid idleness is the
true reason. Yesterday Cap Paget dined with us & made himself very amusing
by detailing some of the absurdities of naval etiquette'.
Meanwhile, Darwin went on an adventure into Bahia with a colleague called
Rowlett. 'In the lower part near to the wharfs, the streets are very
narrow & the houses even more lofty than in the old town of Edinburgh.
The smell is very strong & disagreeable, which is not to be wondered
at, since I observe they have the same need of crying "gardez l'eau"
as in Auld Reekie. All the labor is done by the black men, who stand collected
in great numbers round the merchants warehouses. The discussions which arise
about the amount of hire are very animated; the negroes at all times use
much gesticulation & clamor & when staggering under their heavy
burthens, beat time & cheer themselves by a rude song. I only saw one
wheel carriage; but the horses are by no means scarce; they are generally
small & well shaped & are chiefly used for the merchants to ride.
We paid a visit to one of the principal churches, we here found for a guide,
a little Irish boy about 13 years old. His father was buried there two months
ago, & was one of the unfortunate people whom Don Pedro enticed into
the country under the pretence of settling them. This little fellow contrives
to support his mother & sister by the few Vintems which in the course
of the day he earns by messages. Mr Gond, one of the principal merchants
in the place, offered to lend us horses, if we would walk to his country
house. We gladly accepted his offer & enjoyed a most delightful ride;
one beautiful view after another opening upon us in endless succession'.
Thus we get an insight into everyday life in 'the glorious City of Bahia' during a week when both Charles Darwin and William Bunbury were based in the city. The Carnival began on the 4th March 1832 with Darwin in suitably humorous form, bracing himself for 'dangers [that] consist in being unmercifully pelted by wax balls full of water & being wet through by large tin squirts. We found it very difficult to maintain our dignity whilst walking through the streets. Charles V has said that he was a brave man who could snuff a candle with his fingers without flinching; I say it is he who can walk at a steady pace, when buckets of water on each side are ready to be dashed over him. After an hours walking the gauntlet, we at length reached the country & there we were well determined to remain till it was dark. We did so, & had some difficulty in finding the road back again, as we took care to coast along the outside of the town. To complete our ludicrous miseries a heavy shower wet us to the skins, & at last gladly we reached the Beagle. It was the first time Wickham had been on shore, & he vowed if he was here for six months it should be [the] only one'.
Part of the Samarang's brief in South
America was to capture slave ships.
Darwin returned to business next day, 5th March, walking the landscape, beholding the views and collecting plants, insects and birds. A swollen knee had him out of action for a few days but by 11th March, he was back in action for some festivities on board the Beagle. 'Cap Paget has paid us numberless visits & is always very amusing: he has mentioned in the presence of those who would if they could have contradicted him, facts about slavery so revolting, that if I had read them in England, I should have placed them to the credulous zeal of well-meaning people: The extent to which the trade is carried on; the ferocity with which it is defended; the respectable (!) people who are concerned in it are far from being exaggerated at home. I have no doubt the actual state of by far the greater part of the slave population is far happier than one would be previously inclined to believe. Interest & any good feelings the proprietor may possess would tend to this. But it is utterly false (as Cap Paget satisfactorily proved) that any, even the very best treated, do not wish to return to their countries. "If I could but see my father & my two sisters once again, I should be happy. I never can forget them." Such was the expression of one of these people, who are ranked by the polished savages in England as hardly their brethren, even in Gods eyes. From instances I have seen of people so blindly & obstinately prejudiced, who in other points I would credit, on this one I shall never again scruple utterly to disbelieve: As far as my testimony goes, every individual who has the glory of having exerted himself on the subject of slavery, may rely on it his labours are exerted against miseries perhaps even greater than he imagines'.
On the 16th March, Darwin dined on the Samarang. That morning he 'took a long walk & collected a great number of plants & insects'. It was 'a fine glowing day' but the 'heat by no means incapacitates one for exercise'. 'In the middle of the day went on board the Samarang & dined there. The difference between a surveying vessel & one in real fighting order is very striking. In the Samarang at any time under five minutes they could fire an effective broadside. I spent most part of the evening with the Mids; & such a set of young unhanged rogues the young "gentlemen" are, is sufficient to astonish a shore-going fellow'. Was William McClintock Bunbury one of these young gentlemen!? 'About 9 oclock the Beagle came in & anchored & instead of sleeping on board the Samarang I went to my own hammock. It was a piece of high good luck that I remained on shore during the two days: the ship rolled & pitched so much, that the greater part of the junior officers were sick. People in general are not at all aware what a lasting misery sea-sickness is. Continually one meets men who having been at sea during their whole life yet are uncomfortable in every breeze'. Nelson, it might be mentioned here, was prone to sea-sickness. The Beagle sailed out of Bahia's All Saints Bay for the Albrolhos Islands two days later with Darwin concluding rather grimly: 'If to what Nature has granted the Brazils, man added his just & proper efforts, of what a country might the inhabitants boast. But where the greater parts are in a state of slavery, & where this system is maintained by an entire stop to education, the mainspring of human actions, what can be expected; but that the whole would be polluted by its part'.
· Sir Hugh Gough appointed Major-General.
· In England, Sir Henry Bunbury, 8th Bart, successfully contested the seat of Suffolk (11th Aug), the first such challenge in 40 years, and was sitting MP until 3rd Dec 1832.
· Sir James Richardson-Bunbury succeeds on the death of his father, Sir William Richardson on 29th October.
· Carlow's classical-style Court House was built in around 1830, and is one of the finest Court Houses in Ireland. It was designed by William Vitruvius Morrison (who also built Oak Park for the Bruens).
· Liverpool-Manchester railway opens.
. See also Parliamentary Papers for Carlow 1830
Black Joke, an ex-Baltimore clipper run by the Royal Navy became te top slaver-chaser of the period. Between November 1930 and March 1832, she and Fair Rosamond accounted for 11 out of the West Africa Squadron's take of 13 slavers. She was decommissioned in May 1832 ad because her timbers were so rotten, she was burnt on orders from London. (With thanks to Mark Martel).
· Hugh Gough is awarded a KCB.
· In the General Election, William's older brother John McClintock Junior is elected MP for Co. Louth. His sister, Catherine, marries the Rev. George Gardiner of Bath. He may have been connected to Thomas George Gardener of Doonass, Co. Clare, whose daughter Anne married Colonel Anthony-Peter Lefroy and was mother to Tom Lefroy, sometime paramour of Jane Austen. Curiously Elizabeth Bennett goes to stay with a family called Gardiner at the end of 'Pride & Prejudice'.
· 14-year-old John Lefroy, passes into Royal Military Academy at Woolwich.
· In Carlow, Walter Blackney (a Roman Catholic) and Sir John Milley Doyle (a veteran of the Egyptian and Peninsula campaigns against Napoleon) defeat Bruen and Kavanagh for Carlow in yet another debatable election.
· Carlow Cricket Club founded by Colonel Bruen and Horace Rochfort.
· Birth of Arthur "The Incredible Mister" Kavanagh.
· Whigs laying foundations for national system of Non-Denominational Education.
· The Tithe War begins as Catholics revolt against paying tithes to Protestant clergy. This culminates in the murder of twelve policemen in Kilkenny - attempts to reform collection methods doomed, as source of grievance was actually the tithes themselves.
· The Zoological Society of Ireland opens Dublin Zoo.
· Michael Faraday discovers principle of electric dynamo.
In the summer of 1831, the grim realities of the Tithe Wars came to haunt the McClintocks with the so-called Battle of the Pound in Bunclody (then Newtownbarry) in County Wexford which left at least a dozen people dead. The Rev. Alexander McClintock, William's uncle and a younger son of Bumper Jack, had been Rector of St. Mary's, Newtownbarry, since 1810. In June 1831, the Rev. McClintock seized three cattle - two belonging to Patrick Doyle of Tombrick and the third that belonged to a Mr. Nowlan. It has been suggested that Mr. McClintock was demanding tithes before they were due. The three cows were to be put up for sale at the town’s pound on 18th June. When the day came, a huge crowd gathered at the pound. However, when Mr. McClintock’s tithe agent said that the sale would now take place at the market square instead, nobody budged. According to a report in the Southern Star from 1912, ‘the people crowded into the village in thousands, and as the cattle were being driven to the place of auction they closed around them and rescued them.’ Captain Graham, commander of the later yeomanry, rode off and soon returned at the head of a force of 190 yeomanry drawn from Wexford and Carlow, and included a contingent from Myshall. ‘All the most rabid Orangemen’, remarked the Southern Star. The Yeomanry, disbanded after 1798, had been re-established in 1831 despite the advice of O'Connell, who described them as "inefficient for good, but ever strong for mischief."
Captain Graham warned the crowd that every musket his men carried was loaded; each yeoman was carrying fifty rounds of ball cartridge. He then ordered the agent to drive the cattle to town, with six policemen in front of the three cows and six more behind, with the yeomanry behind them. The subsequent report suggest that the crowd were pressing too close to the yeomen for comfort an d that some began throwing stones. At length, shades of Bachelors Walk massacre seventy years later, Captain Graham ordered his men to fire upon the unarmed crowd and a volley of shots rang out. As the crowd scrambled in panic, the yeomen reloaded three more times and fired three more volleys. Contrary to later reports, the yeomen did not charge into the crowd with bayonets fixed. However, when the smoke cleared, twelve people [other reports ay 14] lay dead on the streets, with over twenty more badly wounded, including one who was blinded in both eyes. The dead included a married woman, two boys (one the son of a yeoman) and a yeoman who was accidentally shot dead by his comrades. No sale of cattle took place that day but the cattle were later sold, meaning this was a defeat – and a tragic one – for the peasantry.
The action of the Yeomanry was so unjustifiable that the Government ordered a parliamentary inquiry which began on July 10th. Five yeomen were committed for firing ‘shots that took effect’ while warrants were issued against nearly 20 more. Captain Graham was ordered to pay his own bail at £1000, with two sureties of £500. The indictment appeared in Court at the Wexford assizes a week later but owing to the non-attendance of some key witnesses, the trial was postponed to the assizes of March 1832. According to the Freeman’s Journal: ‘Mr. Green having sent to the Grand Jury of Wexford new bills of indictment for murder against Captain Graham and his brother yeomen … the bills were ignored’. As such, ‘the prosecution was abandoned’.
In 'The Life, Times & Contemporaries of Lord Cloncurry', William John Fitzpatrick (p. 426) added the following details on the incident:
'In 1833, the Irish parsons resolved unanimously to make one great and signal effort to recover their lost position. Tithes they should and would have, no matter if a Rubicon of human blood had necessarily to be waded
through to clutch them. Accordingly sundry rounds of ball cartridge were distributed amongst the police and yeomanry preparatory to every descent on the habitations of the peasantry. Should the cattle, in the meantime, be removed, potatoes, sheeting, wearing apparel, blanketing, and whatever the house afforded was, in default of better, usually secured. The people, in some instances, stung with rage, offered a something more than mere passive resistance by flinging stones and other missiles at their military intruders. This happened at Newtownbarry, where frightful bloodshed and rapine ensued. Mr. O'Callaghan, speaking of this in his excellent " Green Book," tells us that the cattle of a farmer named Doyle was, on June 23, seized for tithe by the Rev. Mr. M'Clintock, and although the smn claimed did not exceed £2 6s. (which, moreover, was not legally due till November), the cattle were advertised to be sold by auction, in the parson's name, on Saturday 18th June. Being market day, a large crowd assembled to attend the sale. The cattle were " put up," and 190 yeomanry, provided with fifty rounds of ball cartridge each, formed into line adjacent. It has been said that no stones were thrown on this occasion by any except children, and from the credible nature of the authority, we are not disposed to disbelieve it. That stones were thrown is certain, and that the soldiery fired equally so. When the smoke of the volley had cleared away, fourteen individuals were foimd stretched lifeless on the market place, and twenty-six wounded. Perhaps the most horrible incident in the tragedy was the case of a woman named Da . Mulrooney, through whose body, including that of an unborn child, a musket ball tore its way, leaving the bleeding remains of both exposed to the public eye.'
The Tithe Wars would reach into Lisnavagh the following year with the controversial evcition of Philip Germaine.
[Southern Star, Saturday, August 3, 191, p. 6; ‘Battle of the Pound’, Seamus O’Neill, Irish Press, Friday, September 29, 1972, p. 9]
From the Bunbury Papers in the PPP.
Letter dated 31st August 1831.
Sir. I am commanded by the Lord Lieutenant to direct you to select and appoint to the Constabulary force of the County of Carlow, 30 of the Persons lately nominated by the Magistrates of the County, pursuant to His Excellency's Proclamation. The addition will Augment that force to the Complement of 16 men for each Barony :-.
Upon the expediency of any further Augmentation, His Excellency does not mean at present to form any determination, but I am instructed to apprise you that a Military force will be immediately ordered to the Town of Carlow, and until the result of these measures for preserving the Public
Tranquillity shall have been ascertained, His Excellency will Suspend any further Augmentation of the Constabulary.
His Excellency desires that you will inform the Magistrates of the import of this communication -
I have the honor to be (signed) William Gosset. Under Secretary of State for Ireland.
List of Constabulary appointed: William Thorotan, James Sunderland, William Marshall, Henry Townshend (brother in Police), Thomas Burroughs, Robert Wright, William Gilltrap, Christopher Everard, Henry Tudor, William Leabrooke, Francis Sherlock, John Langrill, Robert Meredith, James Rigly, Pierce Brereton, (?) Groves, John Lannon, William Rose, Edward Holbrook, Robert Allen, John McLean, John DeRenzy, Walter Newton, Samuel Vignoles, Colonel Rochfort, Mathew Flanagan (brother in Police), Thomas Henry (brother in Police) Thomas Bookey, Thomas Carter (father in Police), Mark Hughes (brother in Police).
In 1832, William's half--sister Harriette Elizabeth McClintock married Richard Longfield of Longueville, co. Cork (see that family).
· O'Connell makes Repeal of the Union his main policy. In
the General Election, 39 Repealers are returned including, Blakeney and Thomas Wallace (a Protestant liberal), who defeat the Kavanagh-Bruen
alliance. Sir John Doyle retires to Windsor Castle where he later
died. O'Connell supported Lord Grey's Reform Bill despite the fact
it neither restored the forty shilling freeholders' franchise, nor gave
Ireland as many new seats as O'Connell felt she was entitled to. Click here to see the Borough Electoral List of 1832 with five pages of voters including, it should be noted, not a single Bunbury.
· The Irish Church Temporalities Act results in the suppression of ten Church of Ireland bishoprics in August. The revenues due to the remaining twelve were also greatly reduced. This incensed the Protestant minority, whilst the Catholic hierarchy remained resentful.
· Death of William Woolsey, who had been installed as Rector of Kilsaran by John McClintock in 1794. He was succeeded by the Rev. Henry Fitzalan M'Clintock, A.M., a first cousin of Captain McClintock Bunbury and a son of the Rev. Alexander McClintock. The McClintocks would retain control of the Kilsaran rectory until 1886 when Francis McClintock resigned it in order to become Rector of Drumcar.
· Riots and general disorder in England preceding first Great Reform Bill.
. The Roman Catholic parish of Rathvilly, Co. Carlow, registers 232 births - such a high number of newborn babies must be taken as a classic example of the over-population crisis then hitting Ireland. Click here for details, with thanks to Cara Links.
August 25, 1832: "The Marquis of Ormonde, who left Kilkennv a few days
previous to the breaking out of the cholera, has returned, and
regularly attends the Board of Health established in that city. A troop of the 5th Dragoon Guards and a company of the 70th Foot, which have been stationed there for some weeks past, were marched for safety on Saturday for Carlow. Another company of the 70th has arrived at Castlecomer. A third destined for Tullow, where the cholera has also
broken out, has halted at Leighlinbridge.' (The Times)
· Catholic Cathedral in Carlow, the brain-child of JKL, designed
by Thomas Cobden.
. Publication of The History and Antiquities of the County of Carlow.
. East India Company loses its monopoly over trade with China, twenty years after it lost its India monopoly.
On Sunday week last, during Divine Service, some ruffians broke down a portion of the Church-yard wall, and not content with committing this outrage, they surrounded the Church, climbed up the windows, and by groaning and the most indecent gestures, gave considerable annoyance to the congregation. If any of the party could be identified, we would recommend the church-wardens of the parish to punish the impious ruffians by the laws of the country. (27 April 1833 Carlow Standard).
WILLIAM SMYTH (1800 - 1877)
The paintings below are by William Smyth and depict Rio de Janeiro in the 1830s.
The artist William Smyth was a lifelong friend to William McClintock Bunbury and painted a number of watercolours of South American ports, most of which were sold out of Lisnavagh in the 1970s. Smyth, prouncounced Smythe, ultimately fetched up an Admiral. He was, as mentioned, one of the Captain's fellow officers on the Samarang and they shared many adventures. He entered the Navy as a 12-year-old boy in April 1813, passing his lieutenant's examination in 1819.
He served as a passed midshipman and as mate on the Blossom under Frederick Beechey on a three year exploration of the Pacific from 1825 -28. Captain Beechey was a veteran of the Napoleonic Wars and the battle of New Orleans in 1812. he subsequently surveyed the coast of Libya and Tunisia. He was one of eighteen children born to another artist, Sir William Beechey (1753–1839), a court painter probably best known for his portrait of Admiral Nelson. Richard Brydges Beechey, the Captain's youngest brother, was a midshipman on the Blossom and, like Smythe, became a noted artist and an Admiral.
As Cormac Lowth shows in a fine essay which highlights the influence of the Beechey brothers called Maritime Art and Dun Laoghaire, '... the ultimate objective of the voyage of H.M.S. BLOSSOM was 'to try to link up with Franklin and Parry from westwards in their attempt to find the Northwest Passage. Having left England, they proceeded to Rio de Janeiro, thence around Cape Horn into the Pacific, calling at Valparaiso and next to the area of California, now known as San Francisco but then called Yerba Buena.' They later toured the Pacific, interviewing the last survivor of the Bounty on a visit to the Pitcairn islands.
In May 1827, during that Bloosom voyage, Smyth was commissioned lieutenant. From June 1831 to early 1835 he was lieutenant under Captain Charles Henry Paget in the Samarang, 28 guns.
From ‘Landscape of Rio De Janeiro’, George Ermakoff (p. 402)
England, 1800 – Royal Tunbridge Wells, 1877
Born in England, William Smyth joined the Royal Navy on April 9th, 1813, at age 13. In 1825, he participated in the exploration expedition for the Bering Strait, under the command of Captain Frederick Beechey, on board the vessel hms Blossom. Upon the occasion, he was in Rio de Janeiro for the first time. On its way back, the ship spent the winter of 1826/1827 in São Francisco and Monterrey. In California, Smyth made drawings and watercolors of flowers and fauna at Carmel Mission, Monterrey Presidio. Also during the trip, Smyth was promoted to the rank of lieutenant, on May 8th, 1827.
From June 1831, to the beginning of 1835, he served under the command of Captain Charles Henry Paget on the vessel hms Samarang, residing in Brazil for almost four years, with various interruptions. The ship left the port of Spithead on July 26th, 1831, and arrived in Rio de Janeiro on September 22nd. They patrolled the Brazilian coast in search of slave ships, in addition to performing other missions for the British Crown.
They did at least four crossings from Pernambuco to Montevideo, passing by Salvador and Rio de Janeiro, and then proceeding to the Pacific coast, sailing through Cape Horn and, from there, heading for Chile and Peru. In one of their trips, they went as far as Panama, Acapulco and the Gulf of California. The details of this expedition, including the liason with Charles Darwin, who was on board the Beagle, are found in the diary of Captain William McClintock Bunbury, hms Saramang’s executive officer, Smyth’s friend and mate in adventures.
Upon returning, in June 1834, they stopped in Callao, Peru: William Smyth went ashore and, together with an officer named Frederick Lowe, undertook a trip by land and boat, from Lima to Belém, described in the book Narrative of a Journey from Lima to Para, across the Andes and down the Amazon: undertaken with a view of ascertaining the practicability of a navigable communication with the Atlantic, by the rivers Pachitea,
Ucayali, and Amazon, published in London by John Murray, in 1836. From Belém, Smyth returned to England on board the ship Creole on June 14th, 1835, disembarking in Falmouth on August 5th of the same year. According to a report by Smyth himself, the
trip from Lima to Belém took eight months and ten days. William captured several species of animals but almost all of them died on the way back.
In May, 1836, already in a new mission, Lieutenant William Smyth boarded the ship hms Terror, under the command of Captain George Back, for an expedition to the north of Hudson Bay (Canada), with plans to cross Melville’s Peninsula overland and explore the other margin. The vessel remained icebound for ten months. As a pastime to compensate for the long inactivity, Smyth directed a night school for the seamen and organized the Royal Arctic Theater, an amateur theatrical activity. On its way to England, the vessel collided with an iceberg and was seriously damaged; it was barely able to reach the coast, as it was about to sink. Smyth made some lithographs, which illustrated the final report of this Arctic mission.
Smyth was promoted to Commander on November 14th, 1837. Admitted as a member of the Royal Geographic Society, he attended its Meetings until the end of his life. Smyth commanded the hms Grecian from 1838 to 1843, stationed in Latin America and later at the Cape of Good Hope, being promoted to Captain on December 25th, 1843. Smyth retired from the Navy on March 23rd, 1864, as a Rear Admiral. In the reserve, he was promoted to Vice Admiral on July 4th, 1869 and to Fleet Admiral on December 11th, 1875.
He passed away on September 25th, 1877.
The Lisnavagh archives include a bundle of letters and papers in a wrapper marked 'Apr. 1832 - Brazilian row', which culminates in a letter of apology from W.B. McClintock to the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty for an incident between the 'Samarang' and a Brazilian ship in the harbour of Rio de Janeiro.
Over a year went by before the Beagle and the Samarang ('our old Bahia friend') crossed paths again in Rio de Janeiro on 5th July 1833. The Samarang was awaiting a treasure from Peru which it was to carry home in packets. (31) Was this the same treasure she had on board the following year when she was on the coast of Peru? The Beagle was setting off for Montevideo. 'A little after 9 oclock we tripped our anchor, & with a gentle breeze stood out of the bay. Capts Talbot & Harding accompanied us beyond Santa Cruz. As we sailed past the Warspite & Samarang (our old Bahia friend) they manned the rigging & gave us a true sailor-like farewell, with three cheers. The band at the same time striking up "To glory you steer".' In July 1833, Captain Bunbury noted in his diary that they 'weighed from Bahia and sailed out with a moderate breeze.' By the time the Samarang reached Montevideo in October 1833, they had presumably received word from London that Wilbrerforce's Slavery Abolition Bill had passed through the House of Lords and received the Royal Assent on 29 August 1833.
On Friday July 26, 1833, as Wilberforce lay on his deathbed, his friend, Thomas Babington Macaulay, the famous historian - and member of the Society for the Mitigation and Gradual Abolition of Slavery throughout the British Dominions - brought him word that the Slavery Abolition Bill had been read a third time by the House of Commons, meaning that passage of the Bill through the House of Lords was assured. Wilberforce exclaimed: "Thank God that I have lived to witness the day in which England is willing to give £20 million for the abolishment of slavery." He died three days later. The Slavery Abolition Bill 1833 passed through the House of Lords, it received the Royal Assent (which means it became law) on 29 August 1833 and came into force on 1 August 1834. On that date slavery was abolished throughout the vast British Empire.
The following summer, Darwin managed to post a letter to his friend and mentor Professor John Stevens Henslow (1796 - 1861), Rector of Hincham, in which he explained how he had dispatched 'two casks and a jar by H.M.S. "Samarang" via Portsmouth. I have no doubt you have received them'. (32) On Monday 29th October, Darwin encountered Captain Paget again at a dinner thrown in Montevideo by a British merchant called Mr. Parry. 'Our old friend the Samarang came here a few weeks after we sailed to the South', noted Darwin. The Beagle sailed for Buenos Aries next morning.
The Jumatan Cascade in Peru.
In 1834, Smyth disembarked from Samarang, crossed the Andes and made a voyage down the Amazon. A painting from this trip, "drawn from Nature" in 1834 by "Lieutenant William Smyth, RN" is of a "Waterfall near Tepic". 'This Cascade has a fall of 200 feet or more below the view from whence it is taken'. (33) Tepic is in Nayarit on the west coast of Mexico, 40 miles east of San Blas where the Samarang arrived in December 1833. Smyth later published an account of this journey, in conjunction with a fellow officer, Frederick Lowe ('Narrative of Journey from Lima to Para across the Andes and down the Amazon: undertaken with a view of ascertaining the practicability of a navigable communication with the Atlantic, by the rivers Pachitea, Ucayali, and Amazon', London, J. Murray, 1836). It would be extraordinary to find this book and see just what adventures they got up to. From May 1836, Smyth was senior lieutenant of the Terror on Captain George Back's North-West Passage expedition to the Wager River. Here, he superintended the crew evening school and 'managed' the amateur 'Royal Arctic Theatre' - both classic winter-quarters activities on naval Arctic expeditions. Smyth Harbour on Southampton Island, Hudson's Bay, is named after him and, apparently, Cape Smyth near Point Barrow, Alaska. Smyth later became an Admiral and a member of the Royal Geographic Society. (34) For more, see separate file on William Smyth.
On January 27th 1834, The Times carried the following story: 'We have been favoured with an extract from a letter from an officer in the Pacific, of so late a date as November 3rd (received overland), which states that the Samarang, 28, Captain Charles Paget, was on her way to San Blas whence she was to return to Calleo with specie [or spede? Is this a treasure?], in May, calling at the intermediate ports for increased remittances for Europe. At Callao, the treasure would be transferred to the Dublin, 50, Lord James Townshend, which ship, if the Blonde had previously arrived out, would proceed with it to England; if she had not, the Samarang would. The letter states that the Governor of Peru, foolishly guided by his mistress, was pursuing measures that greatly distracted affairs in that country; in the course of which several hundred convicts had escaped from Lima and, seizing all the horses they could, had been joined by numbers of natives and commenced a warfare of robbery and pillage, stopping many sources of trade and even rendering the road between Callao and Lima unsafe for travellers'. (35)
In Mexico, the Samarang met the 50-gun razee frigate HMS Dublin, Captain Lord James Townsend, flagship on the South America station and collected one million dollars from her. The Dublin had left Rio on 25th July, having participated in the funeral of Rear Admiral Sir Michael Seymour. The Samarang later docked at Guayaquil, the Ecuadorian city on the western bank of the Guayas River. (In 1829, Guayaquil had been the scene of a bloody invasion by the Preuvian military). According to the United Service Magazine (1834), Part 3, page 252, the Samarang was under orders to sail for England on 1st October.
On July 5th 1834, the Samarang was one of fifteen ships ordered home to be paid off, their period of service having expired. The only other ships called home from South America were the Dublin (on which Charles Paget's brother Henry Brownlow would later serve) and the Satellite. (36) (36b) One presumes the Captain had by now developed the famous Sailor's squint.
· John McClintock's brother-in-law, John Lefroy, gazetted
as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Royal Artillery and stationed at Woolwich where
he immediately set up a Sunday School Society for reading the bible and
· Following the Trial of the Tolpuddle Martyrs, it seems the Peel Ministry is clearly in trouble and preparations are made for a general election.
· The first railway service in Ireland begins with the opening of the Dublin to Kingstown (Dun Laoghaire) line.
January 9, 1835 : On Wednesday evening, at a quarter past 5 o’clock, six men, armed with pistols, entered the house of Mr. Dowse, of Friaratown, within four miles of Tullow and two of Palentine [sic], county of Carlow, calling for arms. On hearing them enter the kitchen, Mr. Dowse ran to his parlour door, on opening which they presented their pistols at him and demanded his arms. One of the ruffians snapped hi pistol, which burned prime; and a second was about to fire, when Miss Dowse, a young lady of 18 years of age rushed forward and seized his arm. The fellow dashed her against the wall, and cried out "Number five." During this time a son of Mr. Dowse was struggling with a fellow on the stairs, who made for the bedroom, where the arms were, and another flew to the room and secured the arm, which seeing, the fellow jumped down stairs, roaring aloud, “They have secured the arms,” and the parties instantly retreated. One of them had seized the servant man in the kitchen, and kept him quiet by a pistol pointed at his breast. Mr. Dowse is an elderly gentleman of a benevolent disposition, holding a great quantity of land.-Dublin Post. (The Times)
Above: The portrait on the left is thought to be Andrew O'Beirne, curate of Ardquin, who drowned in Strangford Lough in the same tragedy that claimed the life of Captain McClintock Bunbury's half-brother, Frederick William Pitt McClintock, in 1833. The man on the right was his father Dr. Andrew O'Beirne LLD, who was for 15 years Principal of Portora School, Enniskillen.
Photos courtesy of Kate Barrett.
Between 1833 and the summer of 1834, William lost his grandmother, his sister Catherine, four half-brothers, one half-sister and his cousin, most of them in circusmstances of pure, unadulterated tragedy.
His half-brother, Captain Charles Alexander McClintock, 74th Regt, second son of John and Lady Elizabeth McClintock died at Drumcar on the morning of Monday 9th December 1833. The unmarried officer had been stationed in Dublin when he contracted scarlet fever.
On 19th January 1834, his first cousin Lieut. John McClintock Clive, son of Theophilus and Fanny (nee McClintock) Clive, of of HMS Challenger, went out boating in Berkeley Bay, Falkland Islands, accompanied by a gunner, steward and two young persons from the ship. The boat capsized and all were drowned. (The Annual register, or, A view of the history, politics, and literature for the year 1834, Volume 76, J. Dodsley, 1835).
His half-sister Harriette Elizabeth Longfield died in Florence on 27th April 1834.
Less than six weeks later, on Thursday 5th June 1834, William's full sister Kate Gardiner died in Bath, aged 35. According to her uncle Henry McClintock's diary, she had never recovered from a miscarriage. Her 'beloved' eldest brother John McClintock erected a tablet to her memory at the church in Dunleer. She was buried at St. Michael's Church in Bath. Her three children were subsequently buried alongside her.
Another cruel drowning put paid to his youngest half-brother, Frederick William Pitt McClintock, M.A., a young Barrister-at-Law, killed in a tragic boating accident on Strangford Lough in August 1834. Frederick's death was reported in The Northern Whig and then on page 1 of The Times on August 18th 1834.
The story ran beneath the heading: MELANCHOLY
LOSS OF LIFE, BY THE UPSETTING OF A PLEASURE YACHT:
It is our painful duty to record one of the greatest domestic calamities which has taken place in this part of the country for many years, a calamity which will being deep affliction into the bosoms of some of the most amiable and most respectable families in the north of Ireland. In the forenoon of Tuesday, some young gentlemen, with one or two sea-faring persons, (seven in all), proceeded from Portaferry, in a yacht, on a pleasure excursion, on Strangford Lough. They were accompanied by another sail boat, the property of Colonel Nugent. The day was squally, with a stiff breeze from the south. When the boats were running under a heavy press of sail, between the headland of Castleward and one of the islands below Killileigh (Killyleagh), the boat containing the seven persons was suddenly brought round by a sharp gust of wind, and, form some cause not known, was capsized before she righted herself; of course, all on board were plunged into the sea, where they endeavoured to support themselves by swimming. The second boat came to their assistance; and one of the young gentlemen, Mr John Miller, swam to an adjacent island. Those who felt themselves strong called out to the people in the boat to save their companions, and Mr Miller, seeing his young friend, Mr Turnly Barr, (son of Colonel Barr or the East India Company's service) in danger of sinking, swam off again to his relief. Young Barr was saved; but his intrepid and generous companion perished in accomplishing the humane task! The other brave fellows, who trusted too much to their own strength, and directed the attention of those on board Colonel Nugent's yacht to their shaking friends, also perished! Four out of seven were drowned. Their names are - Mr. John Miller, son of Mr Cunningham Miller of Portaferry; Mr McClintock, son of Mr McClintock of Drumcar, formerly Member of Parliament for Co. Louth; the Rev. Andrew O'Beirne, curate of Ardquin, and eldest son of the Rev. Dr O'Beirne, formerly of Belfast, and now Principal in the Portora Diocesan Seminary, Enniskillen ; and Nolan, the boatman. This calamity is fraught with more than common evil, for all the three young gentlemen were persons of unusual promise; and two of them (M'Clintock and O'Beirne) had just entered on their pursuits in life, after a preparatory course of literary study of the most laborious and honourable description. The situation of Mr McClintock is particularly depressing, the young gentleman now lost being his last child, and one of four sons and two daughters of whom he has been bereaved within the last twelve months. It was not far distant from where this melancholy catastrophe happened that Lord Castlereagh (afterwards Marquis of Londonderry) and his companion, Mr Sturrock, were so nearly drowned, by the upsetting of a sail boat, in one of those squalls so common on Strangford Lough.'
[Curiously my pal Kate Barrett (nee Evans) descends from another of those who drowned].
What relation was this mysterious woman
to Captain William McClintock Bunbury?
To cap an already foul month, William's 82-year-old grandmother, Katherine Bunbury - widow of William Bunbury of Lisnavagh and daughter of Redmond Kane - passed away at her home, 23 Circus, in Bath in early August. It seems likely that the heiress of Redmond Kane had been living in Bath ever since the death of her husband, William Bunbury, MP for Carlow, fifty six years earlier. It is tempting to concieve of Katherine as a fearsome matriarch akin to Lady Catherine de Bourgh in 'Pride & Prejudice' but maybe she was sweet and bubbly and everyone adored her. It is remarkable that she did not marry again, having been so young when her husband was killed. She was buried on the 9th August alongside her daughter, Jane Bunbury, at the Church in Bathford.
The Lisnavah Archives contain a fat volume labelled 'Rathdonnell estate: Kane Division', consisting of originally loose but now clumsily bound-together rentals of the estates of Mrs Katharine Bunbury in the counties of Meath, Kildare, Dublin, Monaghan, Tyrone and Fermanagh. By her will of 27 June 1834, these were divided between her two bachelor sons, Thomas Bunbury and Colonel Kane Bunbury.
Thomas Bunbury received Auglish, Gardrum, Mullnagoagh, Sheep Hill, Bridge Hill, Bridge Park, Maghegart and a tenement and park in Omagh, all in Co. Tyrone, at a rental of £582, Knocknastaken and Tatentagart, Co. Fermanagh, at a rental of £150, and Balcunnin, Co. Dublin, at a rental of £394.
Colonel Kane Bunbury received the Meath estate, at a rental of £584, the Co. Kildare estate, at a rental of £442, the Co. Monaghan estate, at a rental of £166, the rest of the Co. Dublin estate, at a rental of £305, and the rest of the Co. Tyrone estate, at a rental of £196. On the death of Thomas Bunbury in 1846, his share of the Kane estates passed to Colonel Kane Bunbury.
The Pat Purcell Papers also provided this detail from the Carlow Sentinel of 6th December 1834: "The late Mrs Catherine Bunbury, of Bath, bequeathed £100 to the poor of Swords, near Dublin, and £25 to the poor of Rathvilly, Carlow."
On November 17th 1834, The Times published an extract of a letter containing 'we believe, the latest information from the coast of Peru'. The letter concerned the Conway which, like the Samarang, was a 28-gun frigate. Under Captain Eden, the Conway had left Valparaiso for the coast of Peru the previous May but had encountered serious squalls. She had eventually anchored at the sea-port of Arequipa on Islay, 'for the protection of British interests, a most violent contention having taken place between the old and new governments of Peru, during which a battle was fought on the plains of Arequlpa which has put the revolution for the present at an end. Nearly 1,300 men were left dead on the field; but the troops of General Gomero, after gaining a victory, actually fled, panic struck, to the Government of Arclegoso [sic], and the Generals San Roman and Gomero were obliged to seek shelter in Bolivia. Though rival collisions are very frequent, every respect is paid to the English and their interests. The Conway expects to be at Valparaiso at the beginning of September, when the Samarang, 28, leaves for England. The Challenger, 28, Captain M. Seymour, is at Callao, collecting freight for that ship. The Conway expects to leave the Pacific for England in May or June 1835. This ship is quite healthy'.
HMS Beagle off the Galapagos.
In 1835, the Beagle landed on the Galapagos and Darwin met the Governor, Nicholas Lawson. Darwin then strolled its petrified rocks, considered the shifting plates, volcanic mists and ocean currents. He marvelled at the blue footed boobys and the frigate birds with their balloon sized throats. The islands were named after the Spanish saddles of that name, similar in shape to the shells on the back of some of the tortoises they encountered - and yet each island had a different type of tortoise. Darwin left for Tahiti in 1835, just a few weeks later, and never returned to the island. They had 45 tortoises on board the Beagle but ate them all and tossed their shells overboard. It was the beaks on the mocking birds that ultimately led him down the road of evolution. One presumes William Bunbury likewise went off collecting insects, seeds and bulbs, perhaps the occasional mocking bird, stuffing them into bottles and papers. Where, for instance, did the Butterfly collection in the Butterfly Room at Lisnavagh come from? Did he too visit the Galapagos and walk from the Enchanted Forests of Floriana to the freshwater lake of Santiago? Or was Captain Bunbury simply patrolling the coast with sails up high. How many men - or tortoises for that matter - did he have on board?
The Samarang survived nearly fifty years after Captain Bunbury's time, as a guardship from 1847, until broken up in 1883. On 25th October 1836, Captain William Broughton took her down the Spanish coast and back to South America. (37) She made another trip to South America from 31st October 1839 under Captain James Scott and Lieutenant Lewis Maitland. (37a) Maitland was brother of Commander James Maitland, R.N. In 1841, Scott brought her on to the East Indies where she took part in the first Anglo-Chinese war. (36). On 18th November 1842, the Samarang came under the command of decorated Nova Scotia born naval hero and hydrographer Captain Sir Edward Belcher (1793 - 1877). (37) He had been knighted earlier that year for completing a circumnavigation of the world on board the Sulpher and had lately returned from a secret mission to explore the Channel Islands. Captain Belcher took the ship on a five-year surveying and pirate-bashing expedition to Borneo, China, Japan, Formosa, the Philippines and Southeast Asia. In 1844, Belcher was seriously wounded in a battle with the Illanon pirates at Gilolo Island, which he won. At Labuan in Malaysia, Belcher named the harbour "Port Victoria" in honour of his Queen. He befriended a number of Malayan inhabitants on Borneo and the chief of the Sagai tribe. He also crafted a treaty of friendship between Great Britain and the Sultan of Gunung Taboor. The Samarang proceeded to explore many other regions, including the Korean Islands, Japan, and the Philippines. Captain Belcher published his adventures in the two-volume Narrative of the Voyage of H.M.S. Samarang (1848).Other officers on board included Edward Augustus Inglefield (Lieutenant, subsequently raised to Vice Admiral in December 1875), Henry William Baugh (Lieutenant), William Armytage (Mate/Sub Lieutenant), Felix John Loney (Acting Master), John Richards (Second Master, subsequently promoted Master and Navigating Lieutenant (20/12/1847) of the Geyser and, by April 1870, was a Staff Commander on board HMS Lightning, surveying the Channel Islands), Dr. Henry Walsh Mahon, MD (surgeon) and Arthur Adams (assistant surgeon and distinguished conchologist, subsequently Staff Surgeon at the Royal Adelaide from November 1867). (38) Under Belcher, the Samarang visited Sarawak, Brunei, and Labuan in August 1843; saw action in Batang Lupar 1844; moved Hassim and followers to Brunei 1844In 1845, HMS Samarang entered Nagasaki harbour in order to take on provisions and received a welcome that was not unfriendly. HMS Samarang returned to Chatham in January 1847, almost as the first stone was laid in the ground for the New House at Lisnavagh. In May 1847, the Samarang was relegated to guardship duty. On 9th October 1852, 2/Officer Dunbar of Samarang was commended for his bravery in saving a child who fell overboard. In the summer of 1855, the Samarang, under British sealer Captain William McDonald, left Southampton with emigrants for Melbourne but experienced severe weather in making her way out of the Channel. It struck a rock of Dartmouth and was repaired at Devonport. (39) She was finally sold at Gibraltar in October 1883 and broken up shortly afterwards. (40)
William Bunbury McClintock resigned his commission as 1st Lieutenant of H.M.S. Samarang and the ship was paid off at Portsmouth on Saturday January 24th 1835. They had been away for three years and seven months. William and his young cousin Leopold returned to Ireland in due course. It must have been difficult to return to such dour news with the death of his grandmother and so many siblings. By 30th January, Leopold was reunited with his father and brother Alfred who reckoned him to be 'grown tall, is very thin & in good health thank God'. The three men went shooting next day, Leopold with a rifle gifted to him by Captain Paget. (The cupboard outside the library at Lisnavagh is made from the timber and copper of that ship).
Meanwhile, the hunting mad John Watson of Ballydarton, Master of the Tullow Hunt, became High Sheriff of Carlow in 1835; forty years later, his granddaughter Myra would marry William's youngest son Jack Bunbury.
On 9th February 1835, he was promoted to the rank of Commander, on being paid off. That same day he was also was appointed Commander of the Falcon. He remained on half-pay at least until O'Byrne published his Biographical Dictionary. On 7 March, he went to Dundalk and lunched with his uncle Henry who proudly noted his promotion. In August 1835, the Samarang and Harrier (18-gun) were ordered forward at Portsmouth for commission. (42) On 26 Feb 1836, he was given word from Her Majesty on behalf of the Admiralty giving him the option to receive retired rank of Captain with pay of 10 shillings and sixpence a day – and he had to reply forthwith as to whether this was good for him, with retirement to take place from 1st April next. There was clearly too many people in the Navy and not enough wars on to kill off the excess!
With thanks to Michael Purcell, William McClintock Bunbury, Sue Clements and others.