By the Portenia, from Adelaide, intelligence has been received in Sydney, of the barque Tasmania, Captain Tucker, hence for London the 24th September, having put into Rio de Janeiro, about the 20th December, in a very leaky condition, the particulars of which will be found in the following extracts from letters of the passengers, with which we have been favoured:
Rio de Janeiro, 2nd January, 1849.
My dear Campbell,
You will no doubt be surprised to receive a letter from me as above dated. A few days after leaving Sydney we had a fresh breeze, and we found the ship leaky, occasioned, as Tucker supposed, from something not tight about the hawse-holes. We steered our course for Port Nicholson, off which we lay the thirteenth night after leaving Port Jackson. In the morning from the wind increasing, we got to leeward, and made an ineffectual attempt to get in, but were obliged to up helm and run before it ; we had from thence to the Chatham Islands a head wind, cross sea, and the ship straining very much, making a long passage of seventeen days. From thence we had a fair wind round the Horn ; fine weather, seeing a great many ice bergs, whenever we were obliged to reef topsails. The ship made a great at deal of water, and this, coupled with the tanks giving way, and losing three thousand gallons of water, made us resolve to put into Rio. Very fortunate we did so, or the probabilities are that nothing more would have been heard of us. On surveying the ship we found the stem and knight heads, with a great many planks, rotten, the fastenings and chain-bolts given way, and altogether the vessel in a ricketty state. We have been ordered to discharge cargo to lighten her to the copper, and which we are transhippmg to London, per John Patchet, at 35s. per ton. When the ship is lightened more defects will, I apprehend, make their appearance, so that it will become a question whether it would not be better to condemn her, than go to the expense of repairing, which is very great here. The defects now known will take from two to three months to make good, irrespective of what may yet appear, and the copper being four years on her is doubtless worn out, and must be renewed.
I have made up my mind to sail by H.M. packet on the 15th instant. All my traps will be taken with me ; we are well, but bothered with the heat ; and to add to our trouble, Mrs. Smith has a second repacking; We put the Tasmania in the hands of Mr. Dunbars agent, Mr. Nathan (firm of Nathan Brothers), with whom we are snugly domiciled. This is the hot season, and the hottest they have had for years, so you may imagine how we are broiled. I shall defer for another opportunity any description of the place.
I remain, Yours, sincerely.
J. N. SMITH.
A. Campbell, Esq.
Extract of a letter from T. Aspinwall, Esq.
Rio de Janeiro,
December 28th to 4th January.
The Tasmania was found to be leaky two days from leaving Sydney. Captain Tucker endeavoured to put into Port Nicholson for repairs eleven or twelve days after, the ship making more water than was pleasant; however, on reaching the entrance, it came on to blow a gale from the south-east, and we were obliged to get through Cook's Straits as soon as possible. We had fine weather round Cape Horn, and nothing to complain of but a strong feeling of distrust at hearing the pumps going every two hours, and just previous to our coming in here we had them going every hour - the vessel making twenty-two inches of water per hour. We may be thankful that we had no severe weather, as there is no question but we must have gone down. The surveys here have opened our eyes to the dangerous position in which we were placed, namely, the bows rotten, bolts quite out of the timbers, knees and planks rotten, and I do not know what beside. Suffice it to say, it will take about three months to repair her. The general opinion is she will be condemned as unseaworthy.
I have now taken a passage in a vessel bound for Havre. End of quote.
The Tasmania was built at Sunderland, in the year 1841, only. Prior to her departure from this port she was placed on the Slip and repaired. A survey was subsequently held on her at the Circular Wharf, (when the lower hold was nearly stowed), and the particular attention of the Surveyors being called to the state of the treenails in the upper works (i.e., above the copper), the following report was made by them :
These are to certify, that at the request of J. C. Tucker, Esq, we, the undersigned, on the 27th and 29th days of July, 1848, held surveys on the barque Tasmania, under his command; and on a careful examination of the treenails in the wales, upper course. bows, and buttocks, we find them generally of Ilambro' oak, and very much decayed; as also a piece of plank in the starboard buttock, and an indication of the same in the wales, &c., &c., &c.
We recommend for the benefit of all parties concerned that the old treenails be bored and drifted out of the wales, &c., &c., &c., and replaced with new, as also the piece of plank in the quarter.
Given under our hands at Sydney, New South Wales.
JOHN KORFF. S.B.,
Surveyor for the Phoenix Marine Insurance Company of Calcutta, and the Sydney Marine Assurance Office.
Surveyor for the General Assurance Office, of Sydney.
VI P 94
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