|FRIGHTFUL SHIPWRECK OF COOLIES|
260 LIVES LOST.
(From the Friend of India, August 31.)
| If any other argument were wanted to prove the necessity of the Indian government giving earnest attention to the coolie emigration trade, it is to be found in the tale of horrors with which Calcutta has been occupied during the past week.
On Sunday, 19th August, the American built ship, Eagle Speed, Captain Brinsden, left Port Canning with 497 coolies for Demerara. Of these 300 were men, 93 women, 65 boys and girls under 10, and 39 infantsin all equal to 425 adult coolies. All the formalities attending the departure and the arrangements of an emigrant ship were duly observed. The crew was sufficiently strong as to numbers, being of the same strength as when they left England. There were twenty-six sailors and officers, exclusive of cabin boys, cooks, and assistants. Captain Hoskins, the portmaster, appointed Mr. Vardy, one of the three Mutlah pilots, to pilot the vessel, and he himself, with the port doctor and three other Europeans, went down the river in her. He was aware that some of the crew were sick, but did not know whether the number was over the average; he knew that three or four were drunk, including the second officer and the boatswain, and they continued drunk the next day. The Lady Elgin, Capt. Heath, which had been sent round from Calcutta, towed the ship down to Halliday's Island where she anchored for the night. On Monday morning she went on down the Eastern Channel. The barometer was low and the wind from the west ; and soon the sea rose so high, as the wind veered to the south that the ship feared the steamer would not be able to tow her. At 4 in the afternoon, in sight of the Mutlah reef buoy, with the water low, the tide setting in and a fresh breeze blowing, the rope connecting the steamer and the vessel parted. The sands were a mile off, and during the two hours spent in passing another rope, she drifted towards the sands, without setting sail, which was impossible ; or letting go the anchor which, Captain Brinsden confesses, it would have been better to have done. She struck at half-past 6 in 4¼ fathoms, and then the anchor was dropped, while the sea rolled in very high. After half-an-hour she went off to the southward, but with 19 inches of water in the hold. At 9 o'clock the machinery of the steamer became deranged, and the ship anchored at the western channel at 10. The coolies had been at the pumps from the first, but the water increased, and at 3 on the morning of Tuesday, the 22nd, with darkness around and a heavy sea, the Eagle Speed signalled to the steamer that she was sinking. At 4 the steamer's boat reached the ship, and the steamer herself approached. But no attempt was made to pass ropes, though this could have been done by daylight, and she might have been at Halliday's Island by ten o'clock. On this point Captain Hoskins evidence is clearUnder the circumstances, it would have taken two hours to pass hawsers, they would have readily passed by daylight. Suggesting that the wind was favourable and the sails were set, the steamer could have towed the vessel to safe anchorage in four hours. She would have been at 10 a.m. at Halliday's Island.
Now we come to the tale of mismanagement, inhumanity and horrible sacrifice of life. Three of the Eagle Speed's boats were launched, manned by the crew, and commanded by Captain Hoskins, by the pilot at Captain Brinsden's request, and by the second officer, the first being ill. Including the coolies, who threw themselves into the water on hencoops, the boats saved 169, and all the Europeans. Captain Hoskins' boat made five trips, but the others were soon smashed ; one of them had at half-past 12 brought off the captain, whom his own crew refused to help. The steamer's boat was also smashed after one trip. Her two large boats were never launched. Captain Hoskins said, Had the steamer anchored ahead, and a raft been made, many more lives might have been saved, but there was no material to make a raft of, and Captain Brinsden in vain asked the steamer to anchor on the bow or astern, and pass lines, in order to keep up a quicker and safer communication. Before the captain left, the boatswain had deserted the compounder and some topasses had broken into the brandy-closet, the interpreter was not to be found, and the pilot, who knew the language, did not return to the ship. From the first to last the crew acted badly. There was some difficulty in getting them to man the boats latterly. They were shamed into it by the passengers. The steamer left for Port Canning ; no hint was given to the three hundred miserable wretches who were sinking to launch the ship's cutter, which had not been used, though the one European left and five negroes did do so, and with thirty coolies were afterwards found by the steamer. The ship continued to float all that night, and did not sink till 7 on Wednesday morning, justifying the opinion of Captain Hoskins, Considering the rate at which the ship was sinking, I was sanguine that we would have succeeded in getting the greater portion of the coolies out. Two steamers were at once sent round from Calcutta, and the Lady Elgin returned from Port Canning. They found three Coolie lads on the mast of the wreck, and save about 60 more who had floated to Halliday's and Butcher's Island, where the tigers are said to have destroyed some. The coolies assert that the last European tried to fire the ship. Of the 497 coolies, 260 seem to have perished on that terrible Wednesday morning or afterwards in the jungle.
We have confined ourselves to facts. The Court of Enquiry held on the pilot, before a jury in whom the public have confidence, and the arrest of four of the crew with a view to trial in the Vice-Admiralty Court on a charge of setting fire to the vessel, render it necessary for us to abstain from any attempt to fix responsibility. Captain Hoskins, who seems to have done his duty better at least than any other white man, in his evidence ascribed this horrible disaster to the force of circumstances. The court and the jury will doubtless make it clear why, when in two hours the steamer might have again taken her in tow after she was reported to be sinking, and in four more might have deposited her freight in safety on shore, she steamed off with 169, and abandoned the rest to their horrible fate ; or why, before steaming off, she made no attempt to use the three boats each trip of which would have saved fifty lives. Even the tigers of Butcher's Island would have been preferable to the slow and silent approach of a fate equal to a thousand deaths, as the shrieking victims were swept of[f] the wreck till with its clinging burden it at last disappeared, leaving only the top of the mast, three boys, and lots of clothing, to tell of inhumanity and incompetence such as are fortunately rare in the annals of British seamen.
| At her residence, Woodview, Middle Glanmire-road, Mrs. Geo. Robinson, of a daughter.
At Bombay, on the 27th August, the wife of Francis Matthew, Esq., Chief Engineer, Bombay, Baroda, and Central India Railway, of a son.
On the 12th inst., at Morrison's-quay, the wife of William H. Hill, of a son.
On Saturday morning, the 7th inst., at Cloghers House, Tralee, the wife of Edward Mulchinock, Esq., of a daughter.
On the 9th inst., at St. James's Terrace, Glasgow, the wife of David Bremner, Esq., of a son.
October 7, at Leinster-street, Dublin, Lady Brooke, of a son and heir.
October 7th, at Kenilworth-square West, Rathgar, county Dublin, the wife of Frederick W. Niven, Esq., of a daughter.
October 10, at 32 Mountjoy-square, Dublin, the wife of John Russell, Esq., of a son.
Oct. 5, at Clare-street, Dublin, the wife of G. R. Wade, Esq., of a daughter.
October 4 at Ventnor Villas, the wife of Major-General Chas. Smith, of a son.
Aug. 3, at Mysore, Madras, the wife of Lieut. Charles Bowen, R.E., of a son and heir.
Sept. 1, at Bishopstown, Mauritius, the wife of Dr. Leet, Medical Staff, of a son.
Oct. 4, at Monart Glebe, the wife of the Rev. T. Pennefather, of a daughter.
| On Thursday, October 12, by the Ven. Archdeacon O'Shea, V.F., P.P., assisted by the Rev. Augustine Canon Maguire, Mark S, O'Shaughnessy, Esq., Barrister-at-law, to Anne, only daughter of the late William Curtayne, Esq., of Summerhill-terrace, Cork. [No cards].
On the 10th inst., in the Catholic Church of Bandon, by the Rev. Peter Hill, brother of the bridegroom, assisted by the Very Rev. J. O'Brien, P.P., of Bandon, John, son of Mr. Thomas Hill, of Tulligee, to Margaret, daughter of Mr. John Henley, of Mullanroe.
October 10, at St. Stephen's Church, Dublin, by the Rev. John Hamilton, B.A., and cousin to the bridegroom, Thomas Macdougall Bleckley, Esq., M.D., T.C.D., Surgeon 46th Regiment, son of the Rev. John Bleckley, M.A., Monaghan, to Lily, eldest daughter of Andrew Hamilton, Esq., 6, Somerset-place, Raglan-road, Dublin.
October 4, in Kilfane Church, county of Kilkenny, by the Venerable Ambrose Power, Archdeacon of Lismore, assisted by the Venerable Joseph Thacker, Archdeacon of Ossory, Robert O'Hara, Esq., barrister-at-law, Dublin, to Frances, only daughter of the late George Power, Lieutenant-Colonel, 10th Regiment.
July 6, at Craigend Terrace, Sydney, by the Rev. Dr. Lang, James, second son of the late Doctor Ramsay, of Dobroyde, to Emilie, fifth daughter of the late Henry Forde, Esq., of Clontarf, Dublin.
| On the 22nd of September, at Havanah, in his twenty-first year, William, third son of James Murphy, Esq., D.L., Ringmahondeeply regretted.
October 4, at Bray, Anna Sarah, third daughter of the late Major Des Voeux, of Portarlington.
At the Grove, Tuam, Charlotte Elizabeth, wife of the Rev. Stanley Treanor.
October 4, James Gray, Esq., of Ballybay, county Monaghan, aged 70 years.
On the 26th August, at Cheera Pongee, at the residence of Richard Martin, Esq., Professor of Decca College, of fever, Jane Elizabeth, wife of Thomas Martin, Esq., C.E., Executive Engineer, Gowhattee, Assam, and daughter of the late John Bredin, Esq., aged 21 years.
September 19, at Quebec, Robert Dundas, Esq., Rifle Brigade, eldest son of Sir David Dundas, Bart., of Beechwood and Dunira.
| A FAITHFUL DOG.On Saturday an inquest was held at Charlton, Kent, on the body of Elizabeth Serjeant, aged six years. She was left in a room on the ground floor at No. 10, Ashford-place, with two young children, by their mother who had gone out to market. By some means she set herself on fire, and when she screamed a little dog jumped through a pane of glass into the room ; and on the mother's return, which was in a few minutes, she saw him tearing away at the child's clothes with his mouth and paws. Upon seeing the mother he went up to her and laid hold of her gown to draw her towards the child. The child was removed to the infirmary, but died from the effects of the injuries. VerdictAccidental death.|
| Captain Wirtz, of Andersonville notoriety, has had an unflattering picture drawn of him by a paper published in his Swiss home. As the Winterthur Lanebote says, the captain is a native of Zurich, where twenty years ago [he] held a small appointment in the Merchant's Hall. In April, 1847, he was sentenced to four years in the House of Correction, having been convicted on the charge of forgery and embezzlement. He was, however, discharged when his sentence had only run a year, being a sickly person and having suffered from illness in prison. A short time previous to 1860 he emigrated to America, having been previously divorced from his wife.|