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Type: 1st class sloop ; Armament 4 (2 x 68-pdrs, ; 2 x 34-pdrs)
Launched : 24 Dec 1840 ; Disposal date or year : Aug 1861
Disposal Details : Wrecked on Mariguana Isle ; Com. Horatio Nelson
BM: 1058 tons ; Displacement: 1379 tons
Machinery notes: 280
29 May 1840 is ordered to be laid down in HM dockyard Portsmouth 31 Oct 1840, Portsmouth, is ordered to be completed by the 1st of January. 5 Dec 1840 Portsmouth, is to be launched shortly, and a great many shipwrights, caulkers and carpenters are on board expediting her completion. 24 Dec 1840 Portsmouth was launched on Thursday ; she was then masted and taken into dock to be coppered. 15 Jan 1841, Portsmouth, left for Woolwich in tow of the Fearless steamer, but put back to Spithead in the evening. 20 Jan 1841 Portsmouth, The new steamer Driver, in charge of the master of the Victory, has departed for Woolwich, to be fitted with engines and other machinery by Messrs. Seward and Co., of Limehouse. She is to be fitted with two engines of 140 horse power each, and her tonnage is about 1,400. 1 Apr 1841, has had her engines fitted and gone down the river for trials ; she sails on Tuesday, for Plymouth and Pembroke, to be finished and commissioned for service. 7 Apr 1841, Woolwich, left for Plymouth and Pembroke, 6 May 1841, Woolwich, arrived with the Geyser, recently launched at Pembroke Dockyard, to have her engines fitted by Messrs. Seaward and Co, at Limehouse. 18 May 1841, Plymouth, arrived from Portsmouth. 26 Jun 1841, is ordered to be fitted for service. 7 Aug 1841, Portsmouth, is fitting out for commission. 13 Aug 1841, Portsmouth, was taken out of dock. 20 Aug 1841, to be armed with three hollow-shot guns, one of them amidships, which is intended to travel fore-and-aft, and to be used as a broadside gun. 3 Sep 1841, Second Master John Jarvis, of the Dasher, has been promoted to the rank of master, and appointed to the Driver steam-vessel at Portsmouth. 4 Sep 1841, Portsmouth, has been commissioned by Commander Samuel Harmer. Lieutenant T. H. Downes ; Purser R. T. Crispin ; Surgeon W. Houghton, appointed to the Driver ; 11 Sep 1841, Lieutenant Thomas Kisbee ; Mate F. B. Sleeman ; Volunteer 1st Class F. E. Boyce, appointed to the Driver 18 Sep 1841, Mate G. A. Phayre ; Clerk C. Hore ; First Engineer T. Jones, appointed to the Driver. 25 Sep 1841, Assistant Surgeon George Butler, appointed to the Driver. 17 Oct 1841, Portsmouth, will be ready for sea. 9 Oct 1841, Assistant Surgeon George Buttler, appointed to the Driver. 5 Nov 1841, Portsmouth, sailed to Yarmouth for seamen, and will then proceed to Woolwich to take in her guns. 6 Nov 1841, Woolwich, arrived at Chatham with invalids from Portsmouth. 14 Nov 1841, off Flamborough Head, experienced a heavy gale during which she suffered some damage, and was in contact with a collier, which she towed to safety. 27 Nov 1841, Masters' Assistant Jabez Loane, appointed to the Driver. 28 Nov 1841, got ashore on the rocks under Flamborough Lighthouse ; having got off she went into Shields on the following day for her hull to be inspected for damage. 14 Dec 1841, Woolwich, has arrived from Shields and is to have her defects made good. 27 Sep 1845 Leaves Hong Kong.
3 Oct do Leaves Batan Island
13 Oct, 1845 The Anita spoke H.M.S. Castor, 36 guns, in the China Seas, from Hongkong to New Zealand, for which destination H.M.S. Daedalus and H.M. steam frigate Driver were to follow.
6 Nov 1845 Leaves Singapore
16 Nov 1845 Leaves Sourabaya
23 Nov 1845 Leaves Allas Straits
14 Dec 1845 Fremantle, the following deserters are reported :
James Ball, Carpenter's Crew, age 24, born Liverpool, Lancashire; 5ft. 6in., hair, dark brown; eyes, hazel; complexion, dark.
William McDonald, A.B. ; age 25 ; born at Devonport, Devon; 5ft. 3½in.; hair, dark brown; eyes, hazel; camplexion, fresh.
A reward of three pounds will be given for the apprehension of each of the above named men. C. O. Hayes, Commander.
16 Dec 1845 called at Swan River.
2 Jan 1846 called at Hobart Town
7 Jan 1846 arrived Sydney from Hong Kong (27 Sep), having called at Battan Island (3 Oct) ; Singapore (6 Nov) ; Sourabaya (16 Nov) ; Allas Straits (23 Nov) - see RoP see below.
10 Jan 1846 it is reported that the North Star will sail direct from NZ to England on arrival of the steamer Driver at the Bay of Islands.
10 Jan 1846 Arrived Sydney on Wednesday from China, via Swan River and Hobart Town. She has called here to obtain a supply of fuel and provisions preparatory to proceeding to New Zealand.
The names of the officers are Lieutenants Kisbee, Marcuard, Connolly, Bromley, Dr. Houghton, Dr. Costello, and Mr. Crispin. The Driver is a handsome and powerful vessel of about 1058 tons, and 280 horse power, carrying four large guns - two 68-pounders, and two 34-pounders. In consequence of there being no coals for sale in Sydney, and there being some doubts as to the safety of sending a vessel the size and draught of Her Majesty's steamer Driver to Newcastle, it has been determined that vessels shall be sent to bring coals to Sydney for her; she will therefore not sail from Sydney until the end of next week. She also requires 500 tons of coals to be sent to New Zealand.
17 Jan 1846 left Monday morning, unexpectedly, at 2 A.M., having received a supply of coals from a vessel recently arrived from Newcastle. Tenders have been advertised for, to convey five hundred tons of coals to Auckland for her consumption. Several parties who had intended boarding her were disappointed at her sudden departure. She takes £5000 in gold and £5000 in silver for the colonial government of New Zealand.
20 Jan 1846 H.M. Steamer Driver, 4 guns, Commander C. O. Hayes, from Sydney 12th January. Passengers:- Mr. and Mrs. Crawford, and Mr. Busby ; Captain Henderson, Lieutenant Honorable W. Yelverton, one sergeant, one corporal, and twenty-four rank and file Royal Artillery.
Jan 1846 Kawiti fled, and ultimately surrendered himself on board the steamer Driver, Commander Courtenay Osborn Hayes - see p. 349 at at www.archive.org/details/royalnavyhistory06clow The Eagle has obtained the charter to convey coals from Newcastle to New Zealand for the consumption of HM Steamer Driver
14 Feb 1846 The Calliope, Castor, and Driver, were about to proceed to Port Nicholson, with Governor Grey and 400 of the troops, to settle the disputes concerning the land on the River Hutt.
28 Feb 1846 HMS Calliope, Castor, Driver, also the Slains Castle, and Victoria had proceeded on to Port Nicholson with a number of the military to quell the disturbances at the River Hutt. HMS Racehorse arrived at Aukland from the Bay on the 12th instant, she reported that the natives at Kororarika, were then on amicable terms.
16 May 1846 Owing to the murder of a settler named Gillespie and his son having been perpetrated within twenty miles of the River Hutt by two natives. Governor Grey had despatched H.M.S. Calliope, Castor, and Driver, with 400 troops on board to demand the murderers, who had placed themselves under the protection of Rangihaeata, a hostile chief, who had refused to deliver them up. The Kestrel passed the whole of the vessels in Cook's Straits on the 18th ultimo, which were on their return to Port Nicholson, but the success of their embassy was not ascertained.
The schooner Comet left the township of Wellington on the 17th ultimo, but was compelled to anchor inside the Heads owing to heavy gales of wind, where she remained three days. H.M.S. Calliope, the steamer Driver, and the Slains Castle, had returned to Wellington ; but as the Comet had no communication with the shore subsequently, the termination of the expedition was not known. The schooner reported by the Kestrel to have left Port Nicholson for Sydney direct was the Fanny Morris; she was to call at Port Nelson, which accounts for her non-arrival here. The Comet saw the barque Slains Castle on the 22nd ultimo, off Terawiti, and the steamer Driver on the 23rd, in Cook's Straits, apparently bound for Auckland. The schooner Star of China arrived at Wellington on the 17th ultimo from Nelson. Captain Cork reports having seen the schooner Susannah Ann, on the 22nd ultimo, off Cape Campbell, from the Chatham Islands, bound to Port Nicholson.
30 May 1846 Steamer Driver from Port Nicholson, arrived at Auckland on the 26th ultimo,
13 Jun 1846 The steamer Driver was at the Bay of Islands, having on board Governor Gray and suite.
4 Jul 1846 The New Zealander of 30 May reports that yesterday evening, HM Steamer Driver left her moorings to tow the [whaler] "Noble" into harbour in order to undergo the necessary repairs, [having recently lost her masts in a gale].
18 Oct 1846 The Australian reports that she sailed for Auckland.
21 Nov 1848 H.M. steamer Inflexible was to sail for the Cape of Good Hope and New Zealand, in August, to relieve the Driver.
19 Dec 1946 Arrived Port Nicholson from Auckland.
23 Jan 1847 The schooner John Bull reports that a vessel had arrived at Auckland from the Bay of Islands, bringing intelligence that Heki had collected followers and again commenced hostilities ; also, that the Driver had been dispatched for the Bay with troops to quell the insurrection.
27 Jan 1847 Sailed for England
13 May 1847 Arrived Portsmouth, England.
18 May 1847 Arrived Woolwich. The passage took 103 days. I would guess that this passage time excluded periods in harbour coaling etc.
20 Dec 1848 Portsmouth
Feb 1850 Deployed to Vancouver Island and San Francisco.
Apr/May 1850 Anchored off South Saucalito and expected to sail for Callao circa 1 May 1850.
25 Apr 1851 Anchored at Saucalito, having visited several ports.
30 Aug 1851 Pacific
15 Apr 1854 captured Russian brig Patrioten [Prize Money per London Gazette of 21 Jul 1857].
Early Jun 1854, Lightning and Driver survey Bomarsund, Aland Islands - see p. 418-419 at www.archive.org/details/royalnavyhistory06clow
13 Jun 1854 the French fleet joined the British in the Baltic at Baro Sound - see p. 419-> at www.archive.org/details/royalnavyhistory06clow
16 Aug 1854 bombardment and capture of Bomarsund - see p. 424-> at www.archive.org/details/royalnavyhistory06clow
Late Aug 1854 Napier sent the Odin, Alban, Gorgon, and Driver to reconnoitre Abo - see p. 425-> at www.archive.org/details/royalnavyhistory06clow
4 Jul 1855 captured the Russian schooner Pallas.
Jul - Aug 1855 the captured cargoes of Russian sloops were taken to England on board the Pallas (see above). 14 Aug 1856 the proceeds arising due for payment.
23 Apr 1856 present at Fleet Review, Spithead ; Commander B. Chambers (act.)
RoP - Typhoon in the China Seas.- Interruption of the Voyage of H.M. Steamer Driver in Progress to New Zealand.- Her Majesty's war steamer Driver, arrived at Singapore from Sea on the 22nd instant, and as some particulars of the cause of her unexpected visit cannot fail to prove interesting, we are enabled to present our readers with some account of her cruise. It appears that the Admiral received orders from the Admiralty to increase the force at present engaged in philanthropic endeavours to exterminate the aborigines of New Zealand, in consequence of their recent disastrous proceedings at the Bay of Islands, in endeavouring to recover their independence.
Her Majesty's ship Castor and the war-steamer Driver were ordered to prepare with all despatch for the service at New Zealand, notwithstanding that the boilers of the latter were represented to be (and as the result proved to be correct) in an unfit state for so distant and important a service - however as a survey was held on the boilers of both steamers, Vixen and Driver, at Hongkong, and the latter reported as the more effective vessel of the two - there was no alternative but to despatch the Driver immediately. The Driver accordingly sailed from Hongkong on the morning of the 27th September, intending to take the Eastern route to New Zealand : the Castor sailed from Hongkong, at the same time, for the route through Anjer Straits and to the southward of Australia. The Driver arrived at the Island of Batan, the largest of the Bashee Group, on the 30th September, immediately set about getting a supply of wood, to enable her to prosecute her voyage. Batan, the capital of the island of that name, is inhabited by Spaniards and Malays, in all about 5000.
The Executive at Manila sends a Military and Political Resident and soldiers every three years to relieve the garrison stationed there; the force consists of an officer and thirty men. The island produces vegetables, maize, tobacco, and bread fruit, the whole of which, with goats, bullocks, and poultry of all sorts, are remarkable cheap and abundant ; good fresh water is also to be obtained. The natives are for the most part Christians, being under the spiritual control of a Padre at each district; there is a convent situated at Batas.
The whole island contains about 11,000 inhabitants. They are happy, peaceful, indolent, but sadly addicted to liquor, which they extract from the sugar cane. The Governor, who is represented as a most energetic and kind person, bestirred himself and his people in such a manner that in three days the Driver had upwards of 180 tons of wood on board, and accordingly sailed from Batan on the 3rd instant, intending to make the island of Guam, her second " place of call." On the 6th, however, having got 250 miles from Batan, every thing indicated the approach of bad weather, and towards evening the breeze which had been fresh all day, increased in violence, and at midnight it blew a perfect hurricane. Every storm sail which was attempted to be set to steady the ship was blown to ribbon, and for twelve hours she was left to the mercy of the wind and waves ; no canvas being able to stand the violence of the wind. Towards the evening of the 7th, and on the morning of the 8th, the gale abated and settled into a moderate breeze from the S.E. The typhoon commenced from the N.E. and gradually drew round to S.E. The sea, is represented to have run terrifically high ; the ship behaving remarkably well - but several of her bulwarks and rails, hammock beltings, cook houses, &c., were washed away, also the gig and life buoy from the stern, as well nearly drowning all the live stock on board. On the afternoon of the 8th the Driver commenced steaming, when shortly after a leak was found to some extent in the midship boiler, which was accordingly shut off. At 10 p.m. however, a great rush of hot water was observed from the space between the starboard and midship boiler; at this juncture the chief engineer with great risk and difficulty happily succeeded in opening the safety valve and drawing the fires, and thereby prevented a greater injury than would otherwise have occurred.
The war steamer was now in rather an awkward condition, being without either steam or sails. Upon examining the injury the boilers had sustained, it was found that four days would be required for their temporary repair, and not having sufficient fuel to reach Guam in her then crippled circumstances, it was deemed advisable to bear up, which was done under the square sails, these being the only ones which the typhoon left unscathed.
On the 14th she again commenced steaming, but finding a leak in the bottom of the midship boiler, which working at full power greatly increased, she steamed from the north end of Luzon to Singapore with the expansive gear, which the admirable slide valves of Messrs. Seaward and Co., the makers of her engines, enabled her to do with such advantage, that she averaged upwards of seven knots an hour, consuming very little more than half the quantity of fuel which she would have done working at full power. We hear that her repairs will take five or six days, when she will proceed in prosecution of her voyage, we suppose through Torres Straits, as the most practicable passage for a steamer at this season of the year.
The barometer at the height of the typhoon fell to 29¼ in., and we hear that even working expansively as she did, so great was the leak in her midship boiler, that the temperature of the water in her bilge was 185, indeed cold water had to be let frequently into the ship to prevent the officers and crew from being parboiled.
We wonder that the Bashee Islands are not more frequented by ships, especially as stock and provisions at Hongkong are so very expensive. The Governor and inhabitants are represented to be anxious to trade, and vessels frequenting that neighbourhood maybe assured of an hospitable reception from all, not excepting the worthy friars inhabiting the convent. As a specimen of the price of provisions, on the authority of our intelligent informants, we may observe that bullocks are to be had from 7 to 10 dollars each; goats, 1 to 2 rupees, which are said to be very fine; and pigs at about a rupee each; vegetables, fruit, &c., almost for carrying away, for such is their abundance that scarcely anything is demanded for a sufficient amount for a ship's use.
The mails from Sydney by the Coringa Packet and Hydrabad had arrived in safety at Singapore.-
Straits Times, Singapore October 28th, 1845
SG 10 Jan 1846