Burning of the Cospatrick, 1874

Liverpool Mercury, Dec 29th 1874

An emigrant ship burned

Supposed loss of 450 lives

Terrible privations of the survivors

The following from St Helena, has been received at Lloyd's in a telegram, dated Madeira, Dec 25th 5.40 pm, "The COSPATRICK, from London to Auckland with passengers, took fire at sea, and was totally destroyed on the 7th Nov in lat 37 S. lon 12E. The second mate and two of the crew saved, passengers and remainder of crew supposed to be drowned. The news was brought on from St Helena by the mail steamer NYANZA, which sailed at Madeira on Christmas Day, on her way to Southampton.

The owners of the vessel, Messers Shaw, Savill, and Co, London, have received the following telegram from their agent in St Helena, :- COSPATRICK, burnt 19th Nov. 2nd officer and two seamen picked up by the BRITISH SCEPTRE, 27th Nov, and landed St Helena, 6th Dec.

The three survivors picked up by the BRITISH SCEPTRE of Liverpool, had been ten days in the boat, and subsisted on the flesh and blood of others who had died while on the boat

Further details

At the office of the owners today [Monday], telegram received this morning. The three survivors, Henry M'DONALD and two seamen, who were picked up on the 27th Nov, state that the ship was burned on the 10th, the total number of souls on board was 477, and there is little hope any others have survived, as the three saved were not picked up until the 8th day after the catastrophe. Captain ELMALIE, who commanded the ship, possessed great experience, having on the previous voyage taken the ship to New Zealand and back. The three survivors were landed at Madeira and are now on their passage home in the mail steamer NYANZA, which will probably arrive at Plymouth on Thursday next, and until that time little can be known about the cause of the disaster. The vessel carried chiefly Government emigrants, 424 in number, and every precaution had been taken to insure her safety from fire or collision. The only passengers besides the Government emigrants were Dr CADLE and four cabin passengers. Messers Shaw Saville and Co state that the COSPATRICK was a large emigrant ship of 1200 tons, registered at Lloyd's and classed A1 up to 1883. She was despatched by the firm who are principal owners, and who underwrite their own risk on the value. They have sent to the colony of New Zealand, 74 vessels this year, the COSPATRICK being one of the last, many of them conveying emigrants for the New Zealand Government.

Since the establishment of the line 17yrs ago, upwards of 1000 vessels have been despatched under their flag, and over 50,000 passengers to the colony, without any accident until this deplorable accident.

The captain leaves a wife and family to deplore his loss. He had been in command of the vessel for the last seven years, and his previous one was very successful to the colony.

The bare telegram received indicates only three survivors, but the firm hope that others may yet be heard of, as the vessel was well provided with boats, upwards of six being specially suited for a considerable number of the emigrants, who numbered with the doctor and crew 477 souls. The ship was spoken on the 28th Oct, in lat 11 S, long 34 w, making a good passage, and the news was being anticipated soon of her safe arrival at the colony.


Liverpool Mercury, Dec 30th 1874

The burning of an emigrant ship

Further particulars

The second mate's statement

Further details respecting the loss of the COSPATRICK may be expected shortly, Dr FEATHERSTONE agent-general for New Zealand, having telegraphed to Madeira for full particulars. It appears certain the COSPATRICK was lost in 12 W. lon, not east as stated in some accounts, since if she was in lat 37 it is improbable she would be in 12 east. The scene of the loss is thus very near the island of Trisan d'Acunha, the principal of a group of islands in the South Pacific, lat 37. G.S, long, 12. 2.W. H.M.S SAPPHO was under orders on the 5th December to sail from St Vincent, Cape de Verdes to that island in search of survivors.

Mrs ELMSLIE the captain's wife and one child went on board at the last moment. The 2nd officer M'DONALD, who is saved, is married, and his wife is in England. A special telegram from Madeira says that M'DONALD the 2nd mate, states that in the course of an hour or two from the first signal the ship was a mass of flames. When completely gutted the hull still floated and two boats remained alongside her till the 19th, when she sank. The captain and his wife and the doctor remained till the last moment, and then jumped overboard and was drowned. A scene of incredible horror ensued, the rush of the boats, the men, the women, and children drowning around the burning vessel, with nothing to save them. The two boats were afterwards parted by a gale, and nothing is known of the other yet.

A Daily News, telegram says that at midnight on the 17th November, when the 2nd officer left the deck, everything was apparent all right, but at 12.30, he was awoke by the alarm of fire. The Captain was on deck immediately, and all hands attempted to get the vessel before the wind, but without success. The flames came up the fore hatch within a quarter of an hour, and in less the half an hour the fire was nearly along the deck. When the boat was picked up there were five survivors in it. Two of these died on the BRITISH SCEPTRE. The men when picked up were at the bottom of the boat, listless or sleeping, and the 2nd officer was awakened by one of the men, who was mad, biting his heel. It is a matter of doubt who suffered most, those who perished by the fire, those who were alongside the burning ship, or those who died from thirst and starvation in the boats.

Elmslie family

Complete list of passengers by the ill-fated ship, as furnished by the agent general for New Zealand :-


ARCHILBALD, George, aged 24, labourer, Middlesex, Anna, aged 23

BAILEY, Reuben, aged 23, shepherd, Worcester, Emma, 23, Jane 2, Emma, 1.

BENTLEY, Thomas, 37, labourer, Lancashire, Frances, 36, John, 16, Frederick, 11, Harriet, 8, Ernest, 4.

BERREMAN, Caleb, 37, labourer, Gloucester, Mary, 23.

BEAWITHERWICK, J, 22, labourer, Cornwall, Emma, 27.

BLANCOW, John, 29, labourer, Oxton, Emma, 30, Navini, 6, Elizabeth, 1.

BLOTT, Frederick, 26, carpenter, Middlesex, Sophia, 25.

BRADLEY, Joseph, 30, labourer, Cheshire, Mary, 30, Frederick, 9, Mary, 8, Sarah, 5.

BROWN, George, 35, farm labourer, Essex, Emma, 39, Thomas 13, Alfred, 10, John, 6.

BUNT, John, 25, miner, Cornwall, Sarah, 25.

BYRON, Robert, 34, navvy, Ayrshire, Jane, 32, Mary, 12, Robert, 9, Marion, 6, John, 1.

CALDWELL, Robert, 29, ropemaker, Ayrshire, Jessie, 27, Hugh, 4, Robert, 1.

CAMPBELL, Arthur, 26, labourer, Antrim, Emma, 28, William, 1.

CARROLL, Edmond, 36, Ann, 35, Johanna, 16, Margaret, 13, Edward, 5, Mary, 3.

CHAPMAN, Joseph, 37, carpenter, Kent, Agnes, 38, J. A, 11, Margaret, 10, Maud, 2.

CHARTER, George, 31, labourer, Cambridge, Jane 33, George, 4, Mary, 1.

COLEMAN, John, 26, Mary, 26.

COUSINS, William, 20, labourer, County Down, Mary, 22.

CROSLEY, George, 30, farm labourer, Derbyshire, Amelia, 30, Amer, 2.

DALTON, Charles, 50, railway constable, Antrim, Ellen, 45, Ellen, 17.

DAVIS, John, 27, carpenter, Warwick, Ann, 25.

DOYLE, John, 24, shepherd, Kilkenny, Eliza, 23.

FARRELL, James, 35, labourer, Galway, Bridget, 36, Patrick, 6, Michael, 5, Bridget, 3, John, 1.

FITZGERALD, Robert, 33, farm labourer, Cork, Mary Ann, 34, Robert, 4, William, 8, Ann, 6, Elizabeth, 2.

FOULGHAM, Richard, 25, farm labourer, Notts, Eliza, 22, Richard, 1.

GALE, Edward, 26, tailor, Jersey, Annie, 26.

GEARY, B, 24, farm labourer, Cork, Catherine, 25.

HALL, John, 38, labourer, Herts, Elizabeth, 38.

HALL, Thomas, 28, farm labourer, Cornwall, Mary, 31.

HARVEY, William, 24, shoemaker and wife, Donegal.

HATTON, George, 28, farm labourer, Kent, Ellen, 27.

HENACOTT, Amand, 44, carpenter, Normandy, Margaret, 44, Gustave, 19, Theophile, 15, Isabella, 14.

HARRISON, William, 25, mason, Gloucester, Selina, 24, Emma, 1.

HOFFERMAN, Cornelius, 25, navvy, Gloucester, Mary, 30, Clara, 12, Jane, 6, Margaret, 5, Arthur, 3, Walter, 1.

HOLBOURN, William, 30, labourer, Herts, Mary, 31, Arthur, 1.

HOGAN, James, 28, labourer, Queen's County, Maria, 28, Denis, 3.

HEDGES, John, 55, labourer, Oxton, Sarah, 55, Thomas, 21, Charles, 15.

HEDGES, John, 24, labourer, Oxton, Sarah, 23.

HENDERSON, A, 21, constable, Donegal, Jane, 20.

HEDGES, Henry, 30, labourer, Oxton, Mary, 30, William, 3, Charles, 1, George, 1.

IVINS, James, aged 36, carpenter, Gloucester, Hannah, 38, William James, 13, Thomas, 10, Edith, 6, Ernest, 2.

JACOB, John, 47, labourer, Cornwall, Mary, 43, John, 21, Thomas, 19, Joseph, 17, Simon, 15, Emma, 11.

JONES, George, 49, labourer, Antrim, Bridget, 44.

JONES, Thomas, 30, farm labourer, Warwick, Ann, 38.

JONES, Philip, 27, navvy, Glamorgan, Sarah, 25, Sarah, 3, Mary, 1.

KING, William, 25, shoemaker, Somerset, Mary, 25.

KEY, Henry, 35, servant, Middlesex, Selina, 30, Sophia, 10.

KEATING, Charles, 43, labourer, Kerry, Mary, 35, Thomas, 14, Mary, 2.

Le GREYT, Abraham, 23, farm labourer, Jersey, Eliza, 22, Abraham, 2.

LEE, William, 32, carpenter, Warwick, Emma, 29, Emily, 7, Ann, 5, James, 2, William, 1.

LEWIS, Thomas, 40, cowman, Montgomery, Maria, 37, William, 17, Thomas, 15, Alice, 14, David, 11, James, 2.

MUTTON, Wm, 25, miner, Cornwall, Mary, 23, John, 1.

MEARNS, William, 27, mechanic, Cumberland, Annie, 26, John, 6, James, 4, William, 2.

MAHAR, John, 41, labourer Ireland, Mary, 36, James, 18, John, 17, Ellen, 15, Michael, 13, Bartholomew, 12, Margaret, 9, Mary, 7, Annie 5, M, 2.

MARSH, John, 30, farm bayliff, Warwick, Caroline, 33.

NOVELL, George, 44, farm labourer, Surrey, Sarah, 41, George, 16, Frederick, 14, Alfred, 11, Arthur, 8, Annie, 3.

ORCHARD, Edward, 38, Louisa, 23, Elizabeth, 3, James, 1.

PEARCE, James, 25, farm labourer, Cornwall, Harriet, 27, Harriet, 4, John, 3, Martha, 1.

PIERCE, John, 25, farm servant, Derry, Charlotte, 20.

REILLY, Patrick, 44, farm labourer, Derry, Margaret, 28, Mary, 6, Florence, 4, Anne, 3, Catherine, 1.

REEVES, Benjamin, 28, labourer, Somerset, Eleanor, 20.

REILLY, John, 42, gardener, Dublin, Grace, 31, Mary, 4, Margaret, 1, Grace, 1.

RIORDAN, Jeremiah, 34, farm labourer, Kerry, Elizabeth, 32, Timothy, 14, Mary, 12, Elizabeth, 10, Michael, 7, Thomas, 4, Jerry, 1.

SCOTT, Robert, 22, labourer, Ayrshire, Ellen, 19.

SHORTHORNE, Alexander, 27, miner, Lanark, Elizabeth, 23.

SCARFF, John, 39, mason, Lanark, Isabella, 38, Margaret, 19, Jane, 16, John, 10.

SHORE, Richard, 25, carpenter, Worcester, Mary, 20, Mary, 2, Richard, 1.

STALLARD, Thomas, 45, farm labourer Gloucester, Mary, 32, George, 9, Alice, 7, Elizabeth, 5, Emma, 1.

SHEWARD, Henry, aged 34, Charlotte, 39, Augusta, 9, Charlotte, 4.

TOWILLE, James, 28, labourer, Devon, Esther, 27, Esther, 2, Edwin, 1.

TURNER, George, 22, blacksmith, Notts, Maria, 23, Florence, 3.

TURNER, John, 24, labourer, Herts, Julia, 32, John, 14, James, 12, Charles, 10, Elizabeth, 8, William, 6, Alice, 1.

THOMPSON, John, 38, joiner, Argyllshire, Barbara, 35, Euphina, 7, Lochlan, 5, John, 3, Sarah, 1.

TOWNSEND, Henry, 60, Ann, 58.

TREVENA, William, says 32, [could be 52], farm labourer Cornwall, Jane, 44, Samuel, 22, Matthew, 20, Susan, 19, Charles, 17, James, 14, Joseph, 12, Eliza, 9, Francis, 7, Richard, 5.

VAICER, Edward, cook, Hants, Caroline, 26.

WRAY, William, 38, farm labourer, County Down, Mary 35, William, 18, James, 16, Mary, 14, Frank, 13, Hugh, 10, Daniel, 8, Kitty, 6, Thomas, 3, John, 1.

WILLIAMS, John, 34, farm labourer, Herts, Mary, 33, Mary, 10, Emily, 7, Charles, 6, Ellen, 1.

WHYTE, William, 27, labourer, Renfrew, Isabella, 27, William, 2, Elizabeth, 1, Mary, 58, J. 32, Robert, 25, Andrew, 19.

WALTERS, William, 31, labourer, Gloucester, Elizabeth, 29, Mary, 5, Charles, 3, Alice, 1.

WHITEHEAD, Edward, 30, butcher, Warwick, Mary, 30.

WELSH, Charlotte, 53, dressmaker, Jersey, Stephen, 18, Frederick, 21, Mary, 21.

WALLIS, Robert, 36, Sarah, 18.

WARNE, William, Thomas and Alfred

Single men

ANDERSON, John, 28, farm labourer

BIRBECK, Nicholas, 25, engineer, John, 21, farm labourer, Yorkshire

BISHOP, Henry, 19, labourer, Somerset

BRIGHT, Joseph, 18, labourer, Galway

CALVERT, John, 21, joiner, Middlesex

CLIFTON, Samuel, 36, labourer, Oxton

COLLEY, Arthur, 23, gardener, Worcester

CONNELL, Patrick, 19, farm labourer, Kerry

CONNOR, James, 20, labourer, Kerry

COOK, Harry, 20, carpenter, Surrey

DUFFIELD, William, 24, coachman, Sussex

EAGLES, William, 22, labourer, Gloucester

EASTON, John, 18, labourer, Lanark

FLOOD, Denis, 21

FOULGHAM, William, 27, John, 63, labourers, Notts.

GIBSON, Frederick, 20, coachman, Middlesex

GILMORE, George, 21

GOODERS, William, 21, carpenter, Worcester

GRAHAM, Alexander, 21, navvy, Lanark

HAMMOND, John, 29, shepherd, India

HEATH, Henry, 21, labourer, Westmeath

HEWETT, W. R. 22

HUTCHINSON, James, 22, labourer, Armagh

ISAACS, David, 25, labourer, Glamorganshire

JONES, David, 22, labourer, Glamorganshire

KERSHALL, George, 28, bricklayer, Devon

KINGUE, H, 28, labourer, Cornwall

LIVINGSTONE, Robert, 24, Duncan, 16, William, 14, labourers Lanarkshire

LEE, Thomas, 19

LENCHAN, Jeremiah, 24, Cork

M'BRIDE, John, 27, labourer, Buteshire

M'KINNON, John, 23, labourer, Buteshire

M'LURE, George, 24, labourer, Antrim

M'MEEKHAN, Robert, 26, painter, Antrim

M'QUILLIN, M, 22, labourer, Cavan

MONATT, James, 17

MUKERNST, William A, 23, gardener, Strasbourg

MURPHY, John, 29, labourer, Waterford

McBEAN, James, 21 gardener, Nairnshire

MEAK, Henry, 25, labourer, County Down

MACFARLANE, John, 24, labourer, Somerset

NIPPIN, Thomas, 25, labourer, Northampton

PREMBER, Thomas, 38, labourer, and wife, County Down

PEACOCK, Alfred, 21, labourer, Staffordshire

STAPLETON, Alexander, 22, blacksmith, Norfolk

SHAW, William, 32, labourer, County Down

SCHWARTZE, Caleb, 27, fancy worker, Prussia

SHEN, Michael, 23, labourer, Kerry

TREWBELLS, William, 19

TORRANCE, Jno, labourer, Lanarkshire

WHITE, George, 21

WURTZ, Charles 22, labourer, Strasbourg

Single women

BURRIDGE, Ann, 27, laundress, Middlesex

CAMPBELL, Eliza, 21, servant, Armagh

DOUGHTON, Emily, 17

DARVILL, Maria, 16, housemaid, Berks

EDMONDS, Charlotte, 18, Elizabeth, 21, domestics, Berks

FOULGHAM, Mary, 24, general servant, Harriet, 25, housemaid, Notts

HARGRAVE, Ellen, 22, domestic, Cornwall

HARVEY, Catherine, 18

KERBEY, Margaret, 29, cook, Waterford

M'COY, Elizabeth, 22, housemaid, India

M'QUEEN, Mary, 21, general servant, Lanarkshire

PRITCHARD, Ellen, 19

PURSEY, Elizabeth, 26, parlourmaid, Somerset

PROCTOR, Amelia, 30, domestic, Middlesex

QUINN, Elizabeth, 28, domestic, Warwick

SMITH, Isabel, 20, nurse, Kent

SHEA, Mary, 27, housemaid, Kent

TROLLOPE, Elizabeth, 18, domestic, Wilts

TAUGNEY, Honoria, 33

WEAVER, Eliza, 28

WILLIAMS, A, 24, domestic, Wilts

WOOD, Mary, 21 dressmaker, Lancashire and child, John 3.


The crew

Complete list of the crew :-

Charles ROMAINE, 1st officer, Henry M'DONALD, 2nd officer, saved, Busher JONES, 3rd officer, William SYMENS, boatswain, John FIDLER, boatswain, T. WAKEFIELD, steward, A. BENNETT, engineer, John WILKINS, cook, F. BELFORT, A.B, F. TURNEY, A.B, J. LANGTON, A.B, H. FRANK, A.B, R. HAMILTON, A.B, C. HANCOCK, C. BARON, G. MILLS, J. CUNNINGHAM, M. DONGERY, M. DEMACHE, J. M'NEIL, J. WELSH, J. ALBANI, H. RUSKIN, C. SMITH, H. CROMPTON, A. NICOLLE, T. LEWIS, A. DULLON, butcher, John SMITH, sailmaker, Peter CAPE, baker, Thomas GELLON, OS, R. CORRES, OS, C. ATTWELL, OS, W. WOOD, OS, J. LOCKETT, OS, W. KING, chief engineer, Cook Peter HOPKINS, 2nd engineer, Robert GODLINTON, engineer steward, A. F. BURROW, apprentice, Alfred LOPEZ, cuddy servant, Mr James P. CADLE, Doctor, Cozen HARRISON, apprentice, W. A. LANE, apprentice

A Dudley telegram states that the young man Alfred PEACOCK, included in the list of passengers in the COSPATRICK, is the son of John PEACOCK, builder and publican, Green Dragon Inn, Upper Gornal, near that town. The deceased was a carpenter and was on his way to seek his fortune.

Additional information of M'DONALD'S statement

When the vessel caught fire she went about with her head to the wind, the result being that the flames and smoke were driven aft, firing the boats and preventing their use. About 80 got into the starboard boat, and remained in it till the davits bent down over the side. The boat's stern slipped into the sea, then capsized and the occupants were drowned. Many were killed by the falling of masts, and the stern of the vessel blew out, completing the vessel's destruction. Of the crew of the boat picked up, one man fell overboard and drowned, about 20 died, several having gone mad previously, others supported themselves by drinking the blood and eating the livers of their dead companions.

At the last moment, one account says, the captain threw his wife overboard and leapt in after her, the doctor following with the captain's little boy in his arms. All were drowned together.

The Lord Mayor of London, with the concurrence of the owners, will take immediate steps for organising a relief fund in aid of the relatives and friends of those who have perished.


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