A shipwreck. Some details relating to the loss of the Bark "Emperor" with all hands St. Pauls Island on 28th November 1871 on a voyage from Quebec to Bristol received by owners at Poole from Superintendent of the Island.
"The Emperor was lost on the north side of the island on the night 28th November during heavy snow storm, wind and North blowing tremendous causing a terrific sea. On the 29th sent men across the island where they observed a quantity of pine logs floating at the foot of the cliffs. They returned to report and after a short rest I sent them back to ascertain if possible if a vessel had been wrecked. They returned without being able to make any further discovery with the exception of a piece of a vessel's spar.
On the following day I went to the place were we supposed the vessel was lost and observed a quantity of broken wood had lodged in an opening in the cliff. I at great risk lowered one of the men down the cliff but the surf being high and everything being covered up with ice and snow, he could not make much of a search. It was here that we found the life bouy and the sailors vest. This I consider to have been a fortunate discovery, otherwise the fate of the vessel would never have been known.
I kept up a search for several days at and in the vicinity of the wreck, but not a trace could be found that would lead to the supposition that any of the poor fellows escaped to land. On the 3rd. January the ice moved from the cliff which enabled me to visit the place in a boat and with the help of a water glass I discovered the naked body of a man in deep water and with much trouble I managed to fish him up. The head and legs were off, and the body otherwise much mutilated. I buried him decently.
There is nothing of the ship to be seen but her chains and anchors entangled in the rock in deep water where they are likely to remain: everything else was swept away by the sea so that no salvage could be made."
Built Quebec 1847
723 tons Register
Port of Registry: Plymouth.
Master: T. Liddle
Voyage: Liverpool / Australia
(2) From "The Shipping Gazette" of 7 May, 1853:
Daily News: 31 Dec 1852 - HMS PLUMPER arrives Portsmouth from the Brazils with gold from Australia from the EMPEROR, which put into Monte Video in a leaky state on her homeward voyage from Sydney.
(3) From "Shipwrecks of Nova Scotia" By Jack Zink, Vol. 1, Lancelot press, Hantsport, NS. Published 1975, Sixth printing February 1989:
EMPEROR, a barque of 625 tons register sailed from Quebec to Bristol and was wrecked at St. Paul Island on the north side on November 27th., 1871. Her port of registry was London and the cause was due to a snow storm. (Sixteen lives were lost)."
One of the lives lost was an Englishman by the name of John Richard Mauson who drowned, he was 21 years of age.
Obviously, Restarick sold the EMPEROR to someone who re-rigged the aft. mast from a Ship rig to a Barque rig, had her re-registered in the Port of London; and, she was re-measured down from 723 to 625 tons. This means that instead of having 72,300 cubic feet of "enclosed" cargo carrying space, she had only 62,500 cubic feet when she sank. This could have happened in one of several ways (a) simply a new surveyor re-measuring and coming up with a new internal volume (b) space could have been taken from the cargo hold to build workshops, or crew accommodation, etc. (c) space could have been taken from the cargo hold to be replaced by permanent ballast (d) space could have been taken from the cargo hold for increased spar ceilings/ permanent dunnage/ water tanks/ etc.
My wife's great Grandfather, one George Barrett born 1822 South Wraxall, Wilts, England was the Master of the Emperor for a few years but he and all crew were lost that day on November 1871 when his ship sailed into the cliffs of St. Pauls Island. Some of his crew were from the same home port of Weymouth where George Barrett lived, although based and sailing from Bristol.
We have quite a lot about him including photograph of him taken in Quebec on one of his trips. Also have two of the last logs he sailed prior to that fateful last journey to Canada. they make interesting reading as in 1870 he lost two men from the riggings into the sea and also early on in this journey he had a lot of trouble from one of his crew members and he had this man taken off his ship in the Cape Verdes Islands while waiting I suppose for favourable winds to sail over the Atlantic to Savannah prior to sailing up the coast to Canada.
On this 1870 voyage he had his oldest son George Barrett (named after him) aboard as a boy/steward...... This son later became a Master in his own right sailing as Master in Passenger liners to India and Burma...........The other son, James Walter Barrett (my wife's grandfather) born in 1864 after his fathers death joined the Royal Navy and rose through the ranks to Chief Petty Officer. He retired in 1903 but remained on the Reserve List and rejoined the Royal Navy for the first world war- in 1917 he was awarded the DSM for bravery....... He must have been one of the oldest serving Petty Officers at this time I should think!
A party of men proceeded to the spot and lowered one of their number down a cliff. He stated that the violence of the surf prevented him from clearly making out surrounding objects but that he saw what he believed to be dead bodies and brought up some sailors clothing and a buoy marked Emperor of London, he also stated some timber had been driven up twenty feet by the force of the wind.
From cablegrams Emperor of London Lloyds number 48696
Emperor of London 84/86 Bristol to Quebec 6.8.71 Barrett. Lost at St Pauls Island about 29.11.71 dead bodies seen about.
Owners Boyt and Co. Poole, Dorset.
Gr. 188.8.131.52 Reply letter 98/41/72.
The Neptune Ship was compelled by heavy weather to leave St. Pauls Island without the reports of the calamity which had been prepared by 2 the Supt's. The crew were to be on board 1 August but as the shop remained at Bristol till 6th August it is probable a number did not commence work before the day of sailing. Should the captain's chest be found it might contain this and other particulars. Applications therefore for delay and for particulars to Peter Collins GR1. with letter 98 PRPD.A.HG 21 Quebec to Supt. Poole 28.1.72
List completed rec. 4.3.72
For about a fortnight since sinister rumours of the shipwreck of Captain Barrett have reached Weymouth but his family have been buoyed up by hope that the Emperor stated to have been lost in the Gulf of St Lawrence, was not the Emperor commanded by Capt. Barrett.
The latest accounts from Sydney, Cape Breton, seems, however, fully to confirm the sad suspicion that the lost vessel was the Emperor, of London, that one belonging to Mr. Boyt, baker, &c. of Poole, and having beside the captain, five Weymouth men on board.
Captain Barrett's Emperor, and we know of no other in those seas at the time, left Quebec on Nov. 19, bound from (for?) Bristol. She passed Bic (?) Island further down the Gulf of St. Lawrence on the 21st and Captain Thorburn of Bristol, reports that a few days later he encountered a terrific storm with snow, and the cold was so severe that the braces could scarcely be got to run through the blocks. In this storm it is supposed that the Emperor must have become utterly covered with ice, and probably unmanageable.
Indications of a wreck were discovered on the 29th November, on the north west side of St. Paul's Island N.E. of Cape Breton, and a party of men proceeded to the spot, and lowered one of their number down a cliff; he stated that the violence of the surf prevented him from clearly making out surrounding objects; but he saw what he believed to be dead bodies, and brought up some sailor's clothing, and a buoy marked Emperor, of London. He also stated that some timber had been driven up 20 feet by the force of the wind.
The cliffs at St. Paul's Island are steep and there was no chance for any man to have escaped to them from the ship, while the storm was so violent that it is not considered possible a boat could have lived.
Captain Barrett leaves a wife and five children, dependent on her at Chapelry, Weymouth, and besides him were also from this district - Mr. Bagwell, second mate, a wife and three children; Thomas Miller, carpenter, a wife; John Vaux, seaman, no family; Augustus Blin, who supported a sick sister, now in the Infirmary; and Mawson, of Wyke, who supported an afflicted mother, who in her turn takes care of a relative stricken with cancer, and discharged from hospital as incurable of that disease.
The mate is of Poole, and he leaves a wife and child. In order to form the nucleus of a fund to assist the bereaved relatives subscriptions will be thankfully received at the Telegram office, Middle Bond Street, and our reporter will be happy to meet with any charitably disposed persons who are willing to collect and to distribute what may be raised.
Our worthy Mayor, on being informed of the effort to be made at once cordially approved it, stating that he knew Captain Barret well for many years, as a thoroughly upright man. His Worship heartily granted his patronage to the movement and spontaneously proffered a contribution of £2.2s.
THE REPORTED LOSS OF THE EMPEROR -
On this sad event being hastily brought under the notice of H. Edwards, Esq., M.P. that gentleman imediately wrote " I am sorry indeed to hear of the loss, and shall be glad to do anything in my power to mitigate the distress of those bereaved. If you are getting up a subscription and think it desirable to add my name, you may do so, and I will subscribe Five pounds, * * * " The Mayor's subscription has been paid into Messrs. Eliot's Bank, where (and doubtless at the other banks) subscripton in aid of the bereaved relatives will be received. We may state that though one of the widows appears to have property, yet it is mortgaged to its full value.
Headed Loss of Emperor.
Southern Times Newsp[aper dated January 6th 1872, page 9
Report of the loss in bad storm.
Southern Times, February 10th 1872, page 9
Mr. C.J.T. Hambro has consented to subscribe £5 towards the fund now being raised on behalf of the widows and children of the seamen belonging to the ill fated "Emperor" A concert is announced to take place on Tuesday next at the Royal Hotel in aid of the same fund.
Southern Times February 17th 1872 page 9.
The Emperor Relief Fund, full report of concert held at Royal Hotel Assembly Rooms, Wednesday 14th February 1872.
Telegraph February 23 1872 page 6
£13. 10s. 0d Gross amount for concert. Expenses was £8.10s.0d and £5 credit to fund.
Vaux left daughter who has now been included in the fund.
Southern Times, February 24th 1872 page 9.
The Emperor Fund, Sum of £5 paid into bank.
Southern Times, Saturday March 9th 1872, page 11
Two letters and balance sheet under heading "The Emperor Fund Concert."