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Snake, 1832
Type: Brig-sloop ; Armament 16
Launched : 3 May 1832 ; Disposal date or year : 29 Aug 1847
Disposal Details : Wrecked in Mozambique Channel
BM: 434 tons

Designed by Sir W. Symonds, a sister ship of the Serpent.

9 Jun 1832 fitting out in the basin at Woolwich.

1832 a part of an Experimental Squadron under Vice-Admiral Sir Pulteney Malcolm, was organised to try the rates of sailing of various new types of vessels.

3 Aug 1832 arrived Deal ?

5 Aug 1832 departed Deal in company with the Vernon and Pantaloon.

7 Aug 1832 passed Spithead bound for Plymouth and Cork.

10 Aug 1832 arrived Plymouth, from sailing trials, and whilst the Vernon went into harbour for repairs, the Pantaloon proceeded through to Falmouth on the Saturday, en route for Lisbon, whilst the Snake embarked water and provisions etc.

15 Aug 1832 departed Plymouth for Cork to join V-Adm Sir P Malcolm's squadron.

18 Aug 1832 the Hampshire Telegraph notes that Mr. W. Batten's patent compressor for checking and stopping cables has been installed.

25-29 Aug 1832 V.-Adm. Sir P. Malcolm's squadron, including the Donegal(flag), Castor, Tyne, Trinculo, Nimrod, and the revenue cruiser Prince of Wales, along with the Vernon, Dryad, Snake and Dee assembled at Torbay for sailing trials, and were joined by the Stag on Thursday, just arrived from off Oporto. The Board of Admiralty arrived on the 27th from Portsmouth, in the Lightning, and observed some of the relative sailing qualities of the vessels taking part in the trials, before departing for Plymouth. Per some of the commentators details of the trials would appear to be too fragmented to make much sense, and it might be that someone was attempting to obfuscate the results as they didn't provide the results that some people wanted to see........

29 Aug 1832 the squadron, Donegal, Vernon, Stag, Castor, Snake and Nimrod arrived Plymouth Sound from Torbay briefly and then departed for Cork for further trials, before separating e.g. to be employed in the Channel squadron blockading Dutch ports with a French squadron.

20 Oct 1832 arrived Spithead, from Cork, to join V.-Adm. Sir P. Malcolm's squadron, being prepared for service during the forthcoming Dutch / Belgium question ?

End of 1832, a part of a squadron of vessels involved in the blockade of the ports of Holland, which was defying the great Powers with regard to the Belgian question. See p. 270-1 at

13 Nov 1832 departed from the Downs, for the North Sea, with the Conway and the French vessel Medéa.

17 Nov 1832 has detained and sent in the Johanna to Ramsgate.

20 Nov 1832 has detained and sent in The Johannes, from Smyrna, for Rotterdam, to Sheerness.

23 Nov 1832 at Deal.

28 Nov 1832 the Vernon with the Stag, Volage, Scout, Larne, Rover, Snake, and steamer Dee, along with 5 French vessels, are reported to be cruising off the Dutch ports, from Walcheren to the Texel.

10 Dec 1832 arrived Portsmouth from the Scheldt.

15 Dec 1832 departed the Downs for Sheerness to provision and make good defects.

27 Dec 1832 departed Sheerness to join the Squadron in the Downs, her defects, sustained in the late gales in the North Sea, having been made good.

5 Jan 1833 arrived the Downs from the river.

13 Jan 1833 departed Deal on a cruise to the eastward.

13 Jan 1833 departed the Downs on a cruise in the North Sea.

24 Jan 1833 Cruising in the North Sea.

24 Apr 1833 arrived the Downs from Sheerness.

4 Jun 1833 arrived Spithead from the Downs.

15 Sep 1833 Had departed Rio Janeiro for Maldonado, with stores for the Beagle and the Satellite.

25 Nov 1833 detained in lat. 24° 11' S. long. 42° 40' W., off the mouth of the harbour at Rio de Janeiro following a brief chase, the Portuguese slave barque Maria da Gloria, Joaquim Gerardo Cordonij, master, with 423 slaves on board, which was sent for adjudication to the British and Portuguese Court of Mixed Commission, Sierra Leone, and on 14 Mar 1834 sentenced to be Maria da Gloria liberated, having been taken south of the line.

At sea 18 Dec 1833 Captured and took into Rio Janeiro the Portuguese slave brig Maria da Gloria.

27 Feb 1834 the Admiralty (John Barrow) requests the Foreign Office (Viscount Palmerston), to order Warrants from the French, under the recent Conventions for the Slave Trade, for the Brazil Station for the commanding officers of the Snake, Satellite, and Rapid, at the same time cancelling and returning those that had previously been issued for the Rattlesnake, Samarang, and Pylades.

14 Mar 1834 British and Portuguese Mixed Commission at Sierra Leone has liberated the Portuguese slave barque Maria da Gloria, having been taken south of the line.

Jun 1835 8 prisoners who were involved in the 1833 massacre that took place in the Falkland Islands have been brought back to England in the Snake and landed here, at Portsmouth.

26 Sep 1835 has been commissioned at Chatham.

10 Oct 1835 is expected to call at Spithead en route for North America.

22 Jan 1836 arrived Bermuda from Port Royal with mail from the Star for Halifax.

mid-Feb 1836 departed Leeward Isles to Para.

Circa 2 May 1836 is reported to be at Para.

17 May 1836 has been furnished with instructions under the Treaty with Spain for the suppression of the Slave Trade by the Flag Officer, North America and West Indies Station.

1 Oct 1836 arrived Halifax being in a rotten condition and her transom defective.

11 Mar 1837 arrived Portsmouth Tuesday, from Chatham, en route for the West India station.

June, July, and August, 1837, on the N.E. coast of Cuba. Experienced a gales whilst some other islands in the West Indies were suffering a hurricane.

2-6 Aug 1837 a second hurricane.

23 Nov 1837 detained in lat. 21° 27' N. long. 84° 53' W., the Portuguese slave brigantine Arrogante, with 407 slaves on board, which was sent for adjudication to the British and Portuguese Court of Mixed Commission, Sierra Leone, and on 6 Mar 1838 sentenced to be forfeited. See p. 277 at The capture of the Arrogante brought to light an incident where it would appear that the crew killed one of the slaves and forced everyone on board to commit an act of cannibalism, which was subsequently investigated at Jamaica and the evidence referred to Parliament in England, along with other information on the Slave Trade for 1837/8. See the Hall Pringle and Alexander Campbell report.

4 Dec 1837 seized the Spanish slave schooner Matilda, 3 guns, in lat. 19° 38' N., long. 77° 12' W., with 259 slaves on board, en route from Ambris, on the coast of Africa, and Santiago de Cuba, which was taken into Havana on 11th and was condemned by the Mixed Court on the 18th, and the surviving 255 prisoners being emancipated. It may be of interest to note that this vessel was previously captured by the Vestal, but was released by the Spanish. 272 were initially embarked at Ambris, suggesting that 13 slaves died during the passage. See also p. 277 at

1838-39, part of a squadron looking after British interests on the coast of Mexico. See p. 305 at

21 May 1839 was refitting at Bermuda and when completed was to go to Jamaica.

3 Jul 1839 detained the Spanish slave schooner Caridad Cubana, with 171 slaves on board.

8 Apr 1840 is reported to have chased a Portuguese slave schooner with 300 negroes on board, which escaped in the night and landed her cargo at Canasi, near Matanzas.

3 Jun 1840 Jamaica, departed for Carthagena;

27 Jun 1840 Jamaica, arrived from Carthagena, with 300,000 dollars.

21 Jul 1840 captured the Spanish slave vessel Diana.

26 Jul 1840 Halifax, arrived from Bermuda, and departed again on the 28th for Newfoundland.

17 Aug 1840 captured the Spanish slave vessel Sirena.

3 Oct 1840 was paid off at Sheerness on Tuesday, and the ship’s company draughted on board the Howe.

13 Oct 1840 Mate George Herbert Harris Greathead, late Snake; qualified for Lieutenant at the Royal Naval College.

16 Dec 1840, is being brought forward for commission in the river.

27 Jan 1841 in Sheerness Basin, being brought forward for commission.

11 Oct 1841 has been commissioned for service in the Mediterranean.

9 Oct 1841 Surgeon T. H. Keown, appointed to the Snake.

16 Oct 1841 Commander Hon. W. B. Devereux ; Master F. Wills ; Purser Cornelius Dealy, appointed to the Snake.

30 Oct 1841 Commander Hon. W. B. Devereux appointed to the Snake.

6 Nov 1841 Master F. Wills ; Surgeon P. Keown, appointed to the Snake.

8 Dec 1841 departed Deal for Plymouth.

14 Dec 1841 is to proceed to the Mediterranean, calling Spithead and Plymouth, and expected Spithead shortly.

19 Dec 1841 arrived Spithead, from Sheerness and Chatham, and is expected to depart shortly, for the Mediterranean, calling at Plymouth en route.

25 Dec 1841 Clerk James Punchard, appointed.

28 Dec 1841 at Spithead.

29 Dec 1841 departed for the Mediterranean.

9 Jan 1842 arrived at Gibraltar, from England, and departed for Malta the next day.

20 Jan 1842 arrived Malta from Spithead.

28 Jan 1842 departed Malta for Corfu, to relieve the Wasp, supposed ordered to England.

8 Feb 1842 departed Corfu with the Wasp, with a view to testing their sailing qualities.

16 Jun 1842 departed Malta for Tripoli.

21 Jul 1842 arrived Malta from Tripoli.

C 16 Aug 1842 departed Malta for Tunis.

15 Sep 1842 at Tunis.

4 Oct 1842 arrived Malta from Tripoli.

31 Oct 1842 arrived Malta from Tunis.

28 Nov 1842 departed Malta for Corfu.

" H.M.S. Snake, under my command, was employed during the months of June, July, and August, 1837, on the N.E. coast of Cuba, in the vicinity of Point Mulas, during which time the following facts connected with the hurricanes of that year were observed.

" It was found from observation, that at 8 A.M., the mean height of the barometer on the Coast of Cuba was 30.19 at a temperature of 83°, and the diurnal fall until 4 o'clock, at which time it was lowest, was 0.45 nearly. That the barometer was invariably affected by the direction of the wind ; being highest with a N. E. wind, and lowest with a S.W.

" On the morning of the 25th July the barometer indicated 30.19, with the trade wind varying as usual from E.N.E. to E.S.E., force 3 to 4, with fine weather. On the following morning, July 26th, the barometer stood at 30.16, wind N.E. by E., the sky overcast, with thin rain.

" July 27th. Barometer dropping, now 30.10, wind very light and unusual, varying from N.N.W. to N.N.E. Dense cumuli in the N.W., streaked with strata of a dark colour; blue of the sky very light colour.

" July 28th. Barometer 30.08. Wind Northerly and E.N.E., very variable, sky overcast. Forenoon, breeze sprung up from the S.E. 9 P.M. heavy squall from N. E., with a heavy swell setting in from the same quarter.

"July 29th. Barometer 29.94. Fresh breezes and squally; wind E. N. E. to S. E. 10 A.M. a heavy long swell setting in from the N. E. increasing rapidly. Wind flying about, shifted to N. and N.W. 3.30. Barometer 29.86, and dropping. 4 p.m. heavy squall of wind and rain, in which wind shifted to W.S.W and S.W. Blew a strong gale all night; the barometer rose after the squall.

" July 30th. Barometer risen to 30.06. Sky still wild, although gale of last evening has subsided. Wind still S. to S. by E. with squalls of wind and rain.

" July 31st. Wind S. by E. Barometer 30.17 ; fine weather.

" It is a curious fact, relative to the gradual fall of the barometer from the 26th, the very day on which the hurricane was at Barbados, until the bad weather reached H.M.S. Snake on 29th, at 4 P.M. when it immediately rose. The shifting of the wind it will be observed was from S. E. to E. N. E . ; then to N., N.W., W. S.W., S. S.W., S., and S. by E., when it cleared up. Vessels boarded at the time had experienced, on the 29th, a heavy north-easterly gale outside of Crooked Island.

(Signed) A Milne, Captain H.M.S. Snake."

" H. M. S. Snake, off N.E. point of Cuba.

" August 2nd. [1837] Bar. 30.25, wind east, force 3, fine weather.

" August 3rd. Bar. 30.18, wind not as usual, being from S.E. to E., and P.M. to E.N.E., then to N.N.E., fine weather.

" August 4th. Bar. 30.04, morning dull and hazy, sky wild and unsettled, wind N. by E., a heavy swell from N.N.E., breaking heavy on the coast. Bar. 29.98, wind shifted to N.W., fresh breezes and squally; 3 P.M. wind W.; 6 P.M. sky threatening and wild, a great deal of dull blue lightning pouring down in the northern sky; 8 P.M. strong gales with heavy squalls, wind S.W. by W., with thunder, lightning, and heavy rain ; 10 P.M. wind subsided, barometer risen; midnight, light winds and cloudy, wind S.S.W.

" Following day fine weather, with wind S.W., S., and S.E.; Bar. noon, 30. 13.

" On the 6th, arrived at Fortune Island; found that Crooked Island had been visited by a hurricane. The statement given by the residents was, that on Thursday night, the 3rd August, at 11 P.M. the gale freshened up at N.E., blowing with great violence, uprooting trees, blowing down their flag-staffs, and destroying vegetation. On the 4th, about noon, the wind shifted to N.W., blowing with greater violence than before; several vessels which were there were wrecked or left dry upon the beach : total destruction to all vegetation. Torrents of rain fell during the whole time, inundating the low lands: this rain was brackish. On the afternoon of the 4th, the wind shifted from N.W. to S.W,. still blowing hard; during the night it shied to N.E., and cleared up. Another hurricane was expected next full moon, from there being little thunder and lightning during the hurricane. From the fall of the barometer, on the 15th and 16th August, a gale must have blown is the vicinity of the Bahamas.

" Having visited Crooked Island in the middle of July, I was much struck on my return after the hurricane, at the change produced on the face of the country. Where a few days previous nature presented all the brilliancy of tropical vegetation - oranges and limes hanging to their trees in graceful festoons - all now were gone; the trees lay prostrate, and the whole aspect of the island was changed from the vivid green of vegetation to the dark withered leaf, as if winter had encroached on the tropical regions. The changes of the wind were, as before, round by the north.

(Signed) A. MILNE, Capt. H.M.S. Snake.