19 Dec 1846 A striking instance of the indisposition of officers to serve on the coast of Africa, has been manifested in the state in which the Contest, a new 12 gun brig, Commander McMurdo, has been compelled to put to sea. This vessel, when commissioned, was expected to have been destined for service on a healthy station. The applications for appointments to her were most numerous. We are told that as many as 400 lieutenants applied for appointments to her. It is well known she was manned in a few hours. Well, the usual number of officers were appointed to her : among them three lieutenants, the complement for vessels carrying commanders. All these officers left the Contest. Why ? She was ordered to the coast of Africa ; and the vessel after shipping her mails and Admiralty despatches, was detained at Spithead for more than a week, because she could get no lieutenants to join her. She has at last gone to sea with only one officer of that class, Lieutenant W. H. Hood (1846), and he has been for years past engaged in the coast guard service. The same state of things is exhibited in the Columbine, 16, Commander Booth, which arrived here on Thursday from Chatham. This vessel came round from the eastward with only one lieutenant, and he debilitated from service on the coast of Africa (Lieutenant Daniel Dawes). The ship was also without any master, mate, or midshipman, and in this disgracefully inefficient state has worked round during very severe weather. The Columbine will be ordered to sea in a few days. A Portsmouth paper.
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