Turtle Bunbury

Writer and Historian

Random Quote
Random Date


4. THE SEA YEARS, PART TWO (1830-1835)

image title

Above: A sketch of William McClintock Bunbury as he would later become
by William Smyth, the future admiral. Beneath it is written:
‘My old messmate in Samarang. Wm Bunbury McClintock. 1834.'
Given that Smyth's sketch book is only 15cm by 9cm, the detail is excellent.

(Courtesy of John McClintock, Redhall).

image title

Above: 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.

The Sailor King

Utterly wrecked by a lifestyle of alcohol-fuelled banquets, George IV expired at Windsor on 16 June 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.

'Mr. J. C. Schetky, Drawing-master of the Royal Naval College, Portsmouth, is appointed Marine Painter to his Majesty… His Majesty’s ship Samarang, 28, Capt. W. Martin, is on her return from the Mediterranean.’ (Morning Advertiser, 6 September 1830). Sepia Jack Schetky painted the two 1824 watercolours outsdie the Housemaid's Pantry at Lisnavagh.


General Election 1830 - A Rochfort Challenge

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.

Death of Patience McClinctock

On 18 July 1830, William's grandmother Patience McClintock (neé Foster) passed away aged 84, probably at Drumcar. She was buried at Dunleer in Co. Louth.

Marriage of KATE McClintock

Having already spent so much of his life at sea, William cannot have seen much of his only sister, Catherine, known as Kate. 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 28 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.

image title

Above: Kate Gardiner, nee McClintock.

George Gardiner may have been a close friend and cousin to the Oxford boating legend, Bishop Dr. William Piercy Austin D.D. (1807-1892) who might, in turn, have provided a useful inspiration for the Captain's boating sons (and Catherine's nephews), Tom Rathdonnell and Jack Bunbury. If the connection to Dr Austin 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 also interesting, given the Jane Austen in Bath link, although the spelling differs. (25) He may also 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, alleged paramour of Jane Austen. Curiously Elizabeth Bennett goes to stay with a family called Gardiner at the end of 'Pride & Prejudice'.

(25) See the Austin Family Tree here.

To South America on the Samarang

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.

image title

Above: HMS Samarang, a water-colour by William Smyth

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. There is a notebook at Redhall entitled “Pocket Sketch Book of Wm Smyth 2nd Lieut H.M.S. Samarang 1831-34” (and underneath is " F.L. McClintock 1896”) which includes some marvellous pencil sketches and watercolours by Smyth, including the one at the top of this page of WBMcCB in 1834 and a scene from the battle of Trafalgar.

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.


Above: A contemporary waterline model of the 28-gun sixth-rate frigate ‘Samarang’ (1822), at a scale of 1:48, held at the National
Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London, Royal United Service Institution Collection. (Thanks to Derek Jago).

This is a highly detailed model of a wooden-hull 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, Samarang measured 133 feet along the gun deck by 31 feet in the beam and was 500 tons
burthen. She was fitted with both 28 nine-pounder carronades and carried a complement of 175 men. Her career included duty
stations around the world such as the Mediterranean, South America, Cape of Good Hope and in 1840–41, she saw action in the
First Opium War at the Chuenpi Forts. Samarang also carried out survey work in the West Indies from 1843–47. Her final years were
spent as a guard ship at Gibraltar where she was eventually sold for breaking in 1880.

Below: A box at Anaverna which is said to have once held the Samarang's sextant and may be linked to the future Admiral Sir
Leopold McClintock. It looks very like a box in Lisnavagh, without a brass plate, which still holds a sextant, assumed
to have belonged to Captain McClintock Bunbury, the man who built the house. (With thanks to the Lenox-Conynghams).

image title

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, even if the great man failed to make an impression on him, 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, she 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 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, Samarang embarked on her third trip around the Horn on a mammoth, seemingly non-stop, journey of 4967 miles up the Pacific coast to Valparaiso. By October she was in Callao, the main seaport for goods from the Andes mountains, on the west coast of Peru. (25b) With temperatures falling, Samarang continued north to Panama in November, reaching the old Spanish galleon port of Acapulco in Mexico in December. She 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 she 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 she docked 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 she returned to Valparaiso where she was based until October when she rounded the Horn for the fourth and last time, finishing at single anchor in Rio de Janeiro in November 1834. Two months later, Samarang and her crew were back in England.

image title


For many long years, Bunbury family lore recounted how our ancestor, William McClintock Bunbury, was a 2nd
lieutenant on HMS Samarang when the ship 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! Perhaps the great naturalist was simply
too busy catalogueing all his work to board another vessel; he was renowned for his intense focus on the trip.

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.

25a) Traditionally, a sailor who had rounded the Horn was entitled to wear a gold loop earring - in the left ear, the one which had faced the Horn in a typical eastbound passage - and to dine with one foot on the table; a sailor who had also rounded the Cape of Good Hope could place both feet on the table. A sailor who had sailed around Cape Horn was also able to brag by showing off his tattoo of a full-rigged ship.
25b) At the height of the Viceroyalty, virtually all goods produced in Peru, Bolivia, and Argentina were carried over the Andes by mule to Callao, to be shipped to Panama, carried overland, and then transported on to Spain via Cuba. On August 20, 1836, during the Peru-Bolivian Confederacy, President Andrés de Santa Cruz mandated the creation of the Callao Littoral Province (Provincia Litoral del Callao), which had political autonomy in its internal affairs.
25c) Until the early 19th century, Mazatlán was a humble collection of huts inhabited by indios whose major occupation was fishing, according to Abel Aubert du Petit-Thouars, a French explorer. In 1829 a Spanish banker named Machado arrived and established commercial relations with vessels coming to Mazatlán from far off places such as Chile, Peru, the United States, Europe, and the Asia Pacific. By 1836 the city had a population of between 4000 and 5000.

Captain Charles Paget

image title

Above: During the years that
Samarang was at sea,
Captain Paget's uncle, the
1st Marquess of Anglesey
(1768-1854) was
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.

image title

HMS Procris, commanded by Charles Paget in 1828.

25 a. William Waldegrave (1788 - 1859), a son of George, 4th Earl Waldegrave, joined the Navy in 1801 and became lieutenant on board Sirius in 1806. On 7th February 1829 he took up the post of Captain on the Seringapatam and became the most senior officer serving in the Pacific (May 1830 - April 1832). In 1840 he was awarded a CB for his services at the bombardment of St. Jean d'Acre as Captain of HMS Revenge. He retired from the Navy with the rank of Rear-Admiral in 1846, in which year he succeeded his father as 8th Earl Waldegrave. He was made Vice-Admiral in 1854.

Leo McClintock - A Flea in a Blanket

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.

(26) See: Admiral Sir Leopold McClintock, K. C. B. , by Clements R. Markham, The Geographical Journal, Vol. 31, No. 1 (Jan., 1908), pp. 1-11.

image title

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.

Charles Darwin & Robert FitzRoy

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.

image title

Charles Darwin as a young
man, by A. Richmond.

(27) Keynes, R. D. ed. 2001. Charles Darwin's Beagle Diary. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
(28) A ship called the Samarang based at Madras which served in the East Indies during the Napoleonic Wars.
(29) Charles Darwin, Voyage of the Beagle: Introduction by Janet Browne.

The Beagle Sets Sail

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'.

Whale Fishing at Bahia

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.

image title

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.

The Beagle at Bahia

The Beagle crossed the Equator on 18th January 1832, calling it at Fernando, before reaching the town of Bahia or Saint Salvador on the coast of Brazil on 28th February. The Samarang was also docked in the city at the time. "About 11 o'clock we entered the bay of All Saints, on the Northern Side of which is situated. It would be difficult [to] imagine, before seeing the view, anything so magnificent. It requires, however, the reality of nature to make it so. If faithfully represented in a picture, a feeling of distrust would be raised in the mind, as I think is the case in some of Martins views. The town is fairly embosomed in a luxuriant wood & situated on a steep bank overlooks the calm waters of the great bay of All Saints. The houses are white & lofty & from the windows being narrow & long have a very light & elegant appearance. Convents, Porticos & public buildings vary the uniformity of the houses: the bay is scattered over with large ships; in short the view is one of the finest in the Brazils". The next day Darwin went for a wander on his lonesome through the Brazilian forest. 'Amongst the multitude it is hard to say what set of objects is most striking; the general luxuriance of the vegetation bears the victory, the elegance of the grasses, the novelty of the parasitical plants, the beauty of the flowers. -the glossy green of the foliage, all tend to this end. A most paradoxical mixture of sound & silence pervades the shady parts of the wood. -the noise from the insects is so loud that in the evening it can be heard even in a vessel anchored several hundred yards from the shore. - Yet within the recesses of the forest when in the midst of it a universal stillness appears to reign. To a person fond of Natural history such a day as this brings with it pleasure more acute than he ever may again experience'. The next day, he wrote: 'Brazilian scenery is nothing more nor less than a view in the Arabian Nights, with the advantage of reality'.

image title

Above: A vista by William Smyth from Samarang voyages.

Darwin & Captain Paget

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'.

(30) The Life and Letters of Charles Darwin, Volume I, edited by his son, Francis Darwin

The Bahia Carnival

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'.


image title

Part of the Samarang's brief in South
America was to capture slave ships.

Captain Paget's View on Slavery

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'.

Darwin on board the Samarang

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'.

1830 Events


Black Joke, an ex-Baltimore clipper run by the Royal Navy became the 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).

1831 Events


See here for details of the Rev Alick McClintock's role in the Tithe Wars in Bunclody.


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).

The Longfield Marriage

In 1832, William's half--sister Harriette Elizabeth McClintock married Richard Longfield of Longueville, co. Cork (see that family).

1832 Events

· 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.

On 18 September 1832, William's cousin Louisa McClintock (1814-1900), a daughter of Henry McClintock of Dundalk, married Francis Tipping in Saint Nicholas’s Church, Dundalk. They later emigrated to New Zealand.

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)

1833 Events

· 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.

6 September: John Hargrave, architect of Kilshane House and other places, is drowned along with his wife and four children while sailing in their pleasure yacht, Phoebe, off coast of Aberystwyth.


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.

image title

image title

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)

Smyth, William
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.

Ships Passing in the Night

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.

Abolition of Slavery

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.

(31) The Times, Monday, Jan 27, 1834; pg. 3; Issue 15385; col E.
(32) LETTER 5. TO J.S. HENSLOW. Valparaiso, July 24th 1834.

image title

The Jumatan Cascade in Peru.


William Smyth's Amazonian Adventure

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.

(33) "Waterfall near Tepic" was framed by C Callaghan's Looking Glass Warehouse on Dublin's Clare Street. I imagine this waterfall is the one at Jumatan described in the guide books as: "A short drive from Tepic to see this spectacular waterfall is very worth while. The 120 m. basaltic rock face over which the water cascades, along with the lush vegetation, create an unforgettable landscape. There is a funicular that will take you to the top".
(34) Although most naval officers learnt to draw for navigational reasons, Smith had professional-level artistic talent. He did fine drawings and watercolours of his travels, including ship portraits (examples of HM ships Blossom and Sparrowhawk in the National Maritime Museum, London). His views on Back's expedition were lithographed to illustrate the official account and he became a lifelong Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society from about 1836-37. The NMM also has a striking large oil painting by him of the 'HMS Terror in the Ice'. He was promoted Commander on his return that November and from September 1838 captained the Grecian, 16 guns, in South America and at the Cape of Good Hope. This was his last service: when she paid off he was promoted Captain, 25 December 1843, and rose by seniority to Admiral on the retired list in December 1875. He died on 25 September 1877. Smyth is often confused with his contemporary, Admiral William Henry Smyth (1788-1865), who had a more extensive - and more self-promoting - career, including as a surveyor and scientific writer, and is now best known as author of 'The Sailor's Word-Book' (1867).

The Treasure of Calleo

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.

The Times, Monday, Mar 04, 1833; pg. 3; Issue 15103; col F

Orders for Home

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.

(36) The Times, Monday, Jul 07, 1834; pg. 5; Issue 15523; col C
(36b) Thus he is unlikely to have been the Lieutenant McClintock presented to the King and Queen 'on his return from Gibraltar' by Sir A Dickson, KCB. Court Circular, mentioned in The Times, Thursday, May 15, 1834; pg. 3; Issue 15478; col E

1834 Events

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)

image title image title

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.

Annus Horribilis - Death of Six Siblings

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. Her husband evidently remarried as we find an extract in London Evening Standard, 11 November 1841: 'BIRTH- Nov. 9, at No. 12, Cavendish- place, Bath, the lady of the Rev. George Gardiner, of a daughter.' Four years later the Dorset County Chronicle (11 June 1846) reported: "The Rev. George Gardiner, of Bath, delivered an admirable address to the Congregation of Trinity Church, last Sunday, on behalf of the Church Building Society. £4 15s 8d was the amount of the collection.”

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.

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].

image title

What relation was this mysterious woman
to Captain William McClintock Bunbury?

Death of KathArine Bunbury

To cap an already foul month, William's 82-year-old grandmother, Katharine 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 McClintock, beneath an urn-topped tomb in the graveyard of St Swithun's Church, Bathford, near Bath. Her son Thomas was also buried there in 1846. Her inscription, which follows below theirs, reads:

Underneath lies interred in the same grave with her daughter, Jane McCLINTOCK, the mortal remains of Katharine BUNBURY, relict of William BUNBURY B.A. of Lisnavagh, County Carlow, Ireland. She departed this life in the city of Bath August 9, 1834 in the 82nd year of her age.

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."

Samarang & Civil War in Peru

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'.

image title

HMS Beagle off the Galapagos.

Darwin & 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 Fate of the Samarang

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)

(37) William Broughton (1804 - 1849) was the eldest son of Captain William Robert Broughton C.B., who circumnavigated the world with Vancouver. He was born at Doddington Hall in Cheshire and entered the Navy in 1817 aged 13, being promoted Lieutenant in 1825. From 1827 to 1830 he was Lieutenant on HMS Briton, commanded by the Hon. William Gordon, and saw action in the North Sea, Lisbon, North American and West Indies stations. In February 1830 he was promoted Commander and took the Primrose around the coast of Africa. The following year he commanded the Pearl off the Portuguese coast. On 3rd January 1833, Captain Broughton married Elizabeth, eldest daughter of John Perfect, of Pontefract. On 25th October 1836, he took the Samarang to South America via the Spanish coast. From October 1839 to May 1842 he was Captain of the President, flagship of Rear-Admiral Charles Bayne Hodgson Ross in South America. In January 1846 he succeeded Thomas Pasley as Captain of Sir David Dunn's old ship, the Curacoa.
(37a) James Scott, R.N. (1790 - March 1872) secured his first commission as Lieutenant in 1809. By 1824 he was married to Caroline Ann (daughter if Richard Donovan of Tiberton Court, Gloucester) and commanding the Meteor in the Mediterranean. In November 1824, he took the Harlequin via Cork to Jamaica, underlying my theory that reggae music began in Cork. From 16th June 1834 to October 1839, he was Captain of the President, flagship of Vice-Admiral George Cockburn, in North America, the West Indies and the Pacific. He took charge of the Samarang on 31st October 1839. He was promoted Rear-Admiral (1854), Vice-Admiral (1861) and Admiral (10th February 1865). He was awarded the KCB in 1862, retired on 2nd April 1866, two months before Captain Bunbury's death, and died in 1872.
(36) On the morning of January 7th, 1841, 1400 Royal Marines and troops, under Major Pratt, landed two miles south of Chuenpee fort near Canton, rushed the fort and drove out the enemy. 'Simultaneously, Captain James Scott, with the Samarang, Druid, Modeste, and Columbine, proceeded a little further up the river, and hotly bombarded the fort of Tycocktow, on the right, or south bank, for an hour. He then landed Marines and small-arms men, and, with some little difficulty, cleared and occupied the works at the point of the bayonet and cutlass. In the assault, Lieutenant James Paterson Bower, of the Samarang, was among the wounded'. Scott was awarded a CB for his services while Maitland 'gained the public acknowledgments of his Captain for the gallantry and zeal he displayed, at the forcing, by the Nemesis steamer and the boats of the Samarang of the inner passage from Macao to Wampoa during their advance on which latter place the British, beteveen 3 A.M. on 13 and 4 P.M. on 15 March, 1841, destroyed five forts, one battery, two military stations and nine war-junks, its which collectively were 115 guns and 8 ginjalls'.
Extract from: O'Byrne's Naval Biography Vol II, 1849 (PRO 1996). See also: Clowes, William Laird: "The Royal Navy: a history from the earliest times to the death of Queen Victoria", Sampson Low, Marston and Company, 1903, volume 6, 279 - 304 (1903).
(37) Edward Belcher (1793 - 18 March 1877) was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where his grandfather had been first Chief Justice of the Island. He enlisted in 1812, served at the Bombardment of Algiers in 1816 and became a Lieutenant in the Navy in 1818. Promoted Commander in 1829, he married Diana Jolliffe, granddaughter of Colonel Simpson, of Plean House, Falkirk, the following year. In 1825, he sailed with Captain Frederick William Beechey in H.M.S. Blossom on a four-year historic exploration of the Pacific and Alaskan coasts, which involved attempts to coordinate with the Arctic expeditions of Sir John Franklin and Sir William E. Parry via the Bering Strait. During the second attempt to link up with Sir John Franklin's expedition, in August 1827, Lieutenant Edward Belcher commanded the Blossom's decked boat, and beginning from Kotzebue Sound, Alaska, explored 300-400 miles of Alaska's coast between Chamisso Island to beyond Icy Cape. From May 1830 to 10th September 1833, he commanded the Aetna around the coast of Africa and in the River Douro (Portugal). From November 1836 to 2nd August 1842, he was in charge of the Sulphur which, like the Samarang, made its way from South America to the East Indies and saw action in the Anglo-Chinese War before going in to circumnavigate the world. In 1843, he published "Narrative of a Voyage round the World, performed in H.M.S. Sulphur, during the years 1836-42". On 18th November 1842, Captain Edward Belcher, CB, took over as Captain of the Samarang, which ship he commanded until January 1847. In 1850, Sir Edward Belcher served as an agent for the Universal Emigration and Colonization Company of England, which planned to establish a colony of English settlers in Texas. On 10th February 1852, he embarked as Captain on the Assistance, alongside Sir Leopold McClintock (Intrepid), Henry Kellett (Resolute) and Shaerad Osborn (Pioneer) on the ill-fated expedition to find Sir John Franklin's fate in the North West Passage. The mission was abandoned at Bathurst Island. Belcher was prmoted Rear-Admiral in 1861 and made a KCB in 1867. He retired on 2nd April 1866, the same day as Captain James Scott, and died in London with the rank of Admiral in 1877. As well as being an officer in the Royal Navy, Edward Belcher was an explorer and a scientist. His surveying voyages involved the collection of geological, astronomical, meteorological, zoological, and botanical data. He was one of the first fellows of the Royal Geographical Society. He envisioned and strongly advocated the participation of surveyors in wartime strategies, publishing a classic work, A Treatise on Nautical Surveying (1835), adopted as the standard work on that nautical science. His Treatise included a description of navigational instruments and a section titled Hints to Travellers. He also edited Smyth's Naval Word Book (1867). His scientific papers, published in various journals, include: "Tide observations at Otaheite (Tahiti)," Phil. Trans. (1843); "Notice of the Discovery of Ichthyosaurus and other fossils in the late Arctic Searching Expedition, 1852-54," Brit. Assoc. Rep. (1855); and "Remarks on the Glacial Movements noticed in the vicinity of Mount St. Elias, on the north-west coast of America," Brit. Assoc. Rep. (1861). In 1856, he published a three-volume novel, Horatio Howard Brenton. Many of the printed charts produced from his 1843-1846 voyage can be found in 'Borneo, China and East Indies, British Admiralty publication, 1852 (D8482)'. Further information might be found in the two volumes of the "Narrative of the Voyage of H.M.S. Samarang" by Sir Edward Belcher (Reeve, Benham & Reeve. 9 tinted pls. ( Abbey Travel 528; Francis Edwards cat. 118.7 121 - £18,500 ). Also of note are the recollections of the ship's assistant surgeon, Adams, A. & Reeve, L.A. (1850). Mollusca. 87 pp. 24 pls in Adams, A. (ed.) The Zoology of the Voyage of H.M.S. Samarang, Under the Command of Captain Sir Edward Belcher During the Years 1843-1846. London : Reeve & Reeve (1848-50).
(38) Index to Extracts from Various Navy Lists 1844-1879.
(39) In 1854, McDonald discovered and named McDonald Island in the South Seas. Index for a sample of Items which can be found in the Shipping Gazette & Sydney General Trade List 1844-1855.
(40) JJ Colledge, Ships of the Royal Navy, Vol 1 (1969)


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.

Promotion for William McClintock 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!

One wonders when he heard of the great eartquake in Chile of 20 February 1835, which Charles Darwin witnessed.

(42) The Times, Monday, Aug 03, 1835; pg. 6; Issue 15858; col A


On 26th May 1835, the Captain's half-brother Robert Le Poer M'Clintock, MA. (1836), B.A. 1832, was installed as Rector of Kilsaran by their father John M'Clintock. He was officially inducted on May 31st and his certificate of "Went and Consent" was signed by Thomas Trouton and Wm. Branagan, jun. Robert had been ordained the previous year.


On 30 March 1835, 10,000 people gathered on the streets of Carlow to witness the last public hanging that ever took place in the town. The luckless duo to face the hangman’s noose were Lucinda Sly, a 58-year-old Protestant landowner, and her 26-year-old lover John Dempsey, a Catholic labourer who worked for her. They were condemned for the murder of Lucinda’s husband Walter Sly, a wife-beater by repute, at his home in Old Leighlin. Carlow Gaol, where they hanged, is now the Carlow Shopping Centre, while the trapdoor from the scaffold is on show at Carlow County Museum.

With thanks to Michael Purcell, William McClintock Bunbury, Sue Clements and others.