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Spey, 1827
Type: Packet / Brig ; Armament 4
Launched : 1827 ;
Disposal date or year : 28 Nov 1840
Disposal Details : Wrecked on Racoon Key ; Lieut. Robt Bastard James
Tonnage BM : 231 ;

27 Feb 1830 arrived at Rio Janeiro from Falmouth.

11 Jun 1830 arrived Jamaica.

15 Jun 1830 departed Jamaica for Carthagena.

1 Aug 1830 arrived Falmouth from Jamaica (3d ult.)

8 Dec 1830 arrived Falmouth from the Leeward Islands (8th ult.)

18 Jan 1831 arrived Madeira, from Falmouth, and departed for Canaries.

30 Jul 1831 arrived Honduras from Falmouth.

24 Oct 1831 arrived Falmouth from Vera Cruz (1 Sep), Havannah (23d).

29 Apr 1832 arrived Lisbon from Falmouth.

13 May 1832 arrived Lisbon from Falmouth.

17 Jun 1832 arrived at Plymouth, from Falmouth, to be paid off.

30 Jul 1833 commissioned at Plymouth for the packet service.

5 Sep 1833 In Hamoaze.

10 Sep 1833 departed Plymouth for Falmouth.

3 Dec 1835 departed Falmouth for Halifax.

At sea 9 Dec 1835 sustained severe damage in a storm between 20-27 Nov 1835, losing all her masts, spars and rigging and much damage below decks. The commanding officer, Lieutenant I Binney, and 13 of the crew were lost or killed during this period. The master, having rigged a jury mast on the remaining stump of the fore-mast set a sail and headed for the south and hoped to make Antigua in 3 weeks.

7 Jan 1836 arrived Havannah and departed on 9th for Belize.

26 Jul 1837 The First Hurricane.

1 - 6 Aug 1837 The Second Hurricane.

11 Feb 1841 the packet Star arrived Falmouth from Tampico Havannah ( 5 Jan), with the crew of the packet Spey, recently lost on a reef whilst en route for Mexico.

16 Feb 1841 the Star arrived at Plymouth, from Falmouth, with the crew of the Spey packet.

22 Feb 1841 a court-martial took place on board the San Josef, at Plymouth, to investigate the charges laid against Lieutenant Bastard James, the officers and men over the loss of the packet-brig Spey November last. Blame was atributed to the commander and master : Lieutenant James to be severely reprimanded, and be placed at the bottom of the list of lieutenants ; and Mr. Barratt to be reprimanded, and be placed at the bottom of the list of masters. The rest of the officers and crew were acquitted. John Patterson, the gunner, and Mr. Carpenter, master's assistant were amongst those who gave evidence.

Extract from Lieut. James's Private Journal, commanding the Spey Packet:

" Barbados, July 26, A.M.- At 2 o'clock, light showers of rain, wind shifting from south to north-west, the sky dark and gloomy, with flashes of lightning in the south-east and southwest: at 4, calm, with a heavy swell rolling into the bay; lightning and thunder, sky assuming a blue-black appearance, with a red glare at the verge of the horizon; every flash of lightning was accompanied with an unusual whizzing noise, like that of a red-hot iron plunged in water: at 6 the barometer fell rapidly, the sympiesometer much agitated and unsettled, and fell at length to 28.45 inches; hoisted in the boats, sent down topgallant-masts, struck lower yards and topmasts, let go both bower anchors, veered out a long scope of cable on the moorings and both bowers: at 7.30, the hurricane burst on us in all its dreadful fury: at 8, it shifted from east-south-east to south, and blew for half an hour, so that we could scarcely stand on the deck; made preparations for battening the hatches down and cutting away the masts; the sea came rolling into the bay like heavy breakers, the ship pitching deep, bowsprit and forecastle sometimes under water: the wind shifting to the west-south-west, at 9 the barometer began to rise, and to our great joy we observed a change in the sky for the better. As the haze cleared away, we counted twenty--one sail of merchantmen driven on shore, and perfect wrecks. Her Majesty's ship Gannet drove with four anchors down, but fortunately brought up and rode out the gale. Her Majesty's steamer Alban went on shore, but in all probability will be got off. One brig foundered at her anchors, and sunk. Thank God, we rode it out so well! The Spey, the Gannet, and Fortitude merchant ship, were all that rode out the hurricane. The City of Kingston steamer put to sea, and returned next day.

30 Jul 1837 departed Barbados to run along the islands and pick up the mails for England. Found that the hurricane had scarcely been felt at St. Lucia, but at Martinique several ships were wrecked.

Antigua Hurricane of 2nd of August - The Second Storm.
The Spey packet, which had been at anchor in Carlisle Bay, Barbados, during the hurricane of the 26th July, departed from that island on the 30th for St, Thomas, delivered mails at the northern islands as she went along, and, as will be seen by her log, was very nearly sailing into the second hurricane.

Extract from the Log of H. M. Packet Spay, in Civil time, Lieut. James, Commander.

Hour. Wind. Bar. Ther. Remarks.

Tuesday, August 1, 1837.





A.M. .Moderate and cloudy, with light showers and hazy weather ; barometer falling: landed the mails at Dominica. The Jane Lockhart, of London, slipped and went to sea on the 26th, and returned to take in the rest of her cargo.




P.M. Calm and sultry, the sky overcast with dark heavy clouds, exactly the same appearance they had before the hurricane came on at Barbados ; employed in preparing for another blow; got all snug, and kept away to the SW; further off the land the better.

Wednesday, August 2, 1837.

A. M.

S E to W


A.M. Heavy squalls, with lightning and thunder; heavy sea running; wind shifted from S E to W.





P.M. Barometer rising ; made more sail, and stood in for Guadaloupe ; at 3, saw the land, ran in for Basseterre, and landed the mails in a heavy surf; at 5, bore away for Antigua.

Thursday, August 3, 1837.



At 6 A.M. close in with the land; observed the island had suffered lately, all the cocoa-nut trees, were blown to pieces. The Montrose bark, of Liverpool, totally wrecked, with 300 hhds.of sugar on board, the day before in a severe hurricane.



P.M. Made all sail for Montserrat.

Friday, August 4, 1837.

A. M.


A.M. Landed the mails and found that there had been no hurricane felt on the 26th of July or the 2nd of August.

Saturday, August 6, 1837.



A.M. Landed the mails at Nevis and St. Kitts ; here the hurricane was most severely felt. The ship Julia, of London, full cargo, was wrecked on the 2nd, and so smashed to atoms, that there is hardly a vestage of her to be seen. The ship Michael, of London, on shore; bilged, part of cargo saved, and discharging into the Robert, of London. The mail-boat Eleanor, with the Leeward mails on board, knocked to atoms; mails lost.

Sunday, August 6, 1837.



A.M. arrived at Tortola. Here the hurricane has destroyed the town and several plantations. One brig from St. John's, with a rest number of small craft, total wrecks.



P.M. 2.30. Came to an anchor in St. Thomas's harbour, and landed the mails.

Here the hurricane of the 2nd appeared to have concentrated all its power, force, and fury; for the harbour and town were a scene that baffles all description. Thirty-six ships and vessels totally wrecked all around the harbour, among which about a dozen had sunk or capsized at their anchors; some rode it out by cutting away their masts, and upwards of 100 seamen drowned; but what was very extraordinary, there was not one English vessel in the port. The harbour is so choked up with wreck and sunken vessels, that it is difficult to pick out a berth for a ship to anchor. The destructive powers of this hurricane will never be forgotten. Some houses were turned regularly bottom up.

One large well-built house was carried by the force of the wind from off its foundation, and now stands upright in the middle of the street. The fort at the entrance of the harbour is levelled with the foundation, and the 24-pounders thrown down : it looks as if it had been battered to pieces by cannon-shot.

In the midst of the hurricane shocks of earthquake were felt: and to complete this awful visitation, a fire broke out in the back stores of Messrs. Stubbs and Co. Heavy tiles were flying about from the tops of the shaking and trembling houses, killing and wounding many persons. One fine American ship, 600 tons, was driven on shore under the citadel, and in an hour nothing could be seen of her but a few timbers. Several fine merchant ships and brigs are at anchor, dismasted, with cargoes ; and not a spar or rope for standing rigging to be had in the island.

No place hitherto has suffered so much from a hurricane in all the West Indies as St. Thomas's. Thank God we escaped so well out of it !