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HMS Contest (1846)
|► The Royal Navy||Browse mid-Victorian RN vessels: A; B; C; D; E - F; G - H; I - L; M; N - P; Q - R; S; T - U; V - Z; ??|
|Launched||11 April 1846|
|Builders measure||459 tons|
|Snippets concerning this vessels career|
|11 June 1846||Commanded by Commander Archibald McMurdo, west coast of Africa|
|4 December 1849||Commanded by Commander John Welbore Sunderland Spencer, East Indies|
|Extracts from the Times newspaper|
|We 6 December 1848|
The Coast Of AfricaThe Siren, 16, Commander Chaloner, arrived this afternoon from the above station. She left St. Paul de Loando on the 1st of October, St. Helena the 19th, Ascension the 25th, and Sierra Leone Nov. 7. The squadron was distributed thus at the latest dates:- The Penelope and Philomel at St. Paul de Loando; the Amphitrite in the Bights; the Tortoise at Ascension; the Alert left Sierra Leone on the 5th of November for the Gambia; the Bittern off Loango and Mayumba; the Bonetta in search of the Commodore; the Britomart cruising between Cape Mayumba and the river Settee; the Contest off Benguela; the Cygnet in the Bights; the Dart cruising off Ambrize; the Dolphin in the Bights; the Favourite gone to Loango with provisions for the Bittern; the Pantaloon, from England, in search of the Commodore; the Ranger, recovered, and gone under sail in search of the Commodore, to report herself all safe; the Rapid left Congo on the 16th of October, to go northward; the Star in the Bights; the Wanderer off Cape Lopez; the Blazer en route to St. Paul de Loando; the Cyclops left Sierra Leone Nov. 6 for Ascension; the Firefly in the Bights; the Grappler in Elephant bay; the Pluto up the river Congo; the Snap tender en route to Ascension; the Sealark and Adelaide sailed from Sierra Leone on the 7th of November, the latter en route to Port Adelaide; the Waterwitch cruising off the Gallinas. Commander Rutherford has invalided from the Commodore's vessel and gone to St. Helena to recruit, and First Lieutenant Charles B. Bayley was made Acting Commander of her. The slave trade was very brisk. The Siren, since she has been on the coast (for the last 12 months cruising off the river Settee), has captured four prizes herself and shares for two others. The Penelope, Siren, and Bittern were lying at anchor in Mayumba-bay on the 5th of August, when a vessel was sighted becalmed; the Penelope got up her steam, went out, and presently made capture of the celebrated slaver "Polka," a fine brigantine fitted for the traffic, and having 24 slaves on board at the time. The Britomart has taken two — one empty, and one having 425 slaves on board. The Dart has taken one empty prize since the last mail. The Philomel, which lay outside of St. Paul de Loando on the 1st of October, reported the Grappler having taken another prize a day or two before, which she had destroyed in Elephant-bay. The Kingfisher had not arrived on the coast. The Siren has latterly been very healthy. She lost a man named Richard Sapper, a supernumerary from the Philomel, yesterday, in a heavy gale; he fell overboard, and although every means which could safely be adopted for his rescue were put in practice, he was lost. Another man, a sailmaker, from the Tortoise, died on the passage. The Island of Ascension was exceedingly healthy, and it was computed that there was a three years' ample supply of good water; all the turtle ponds were full, and vegetation and food for the flocks plentiful.
|Th 25 January 1849|
THE COAST OF AFRICA.St. Paul de Loando, Nov. 15;
Since the departure of Commodore Sir Charles Hotham, this place has been the head-quarters of the senior officer, and has had occasional visits from his ship, the Favorite, 14, Commander Alexander Murray. The Philomel, 8, Commander Wood, arrived recently on this division from the North Coast, and has taken her station between this and Benguela. The other vessels on this division are the Contest, 12, Commander M'Murdo, cruising to the south of Benguela; the Blazer steamer, Lieutenant Smith, off the Congo; the Grappler steamer, Lieutenant Lysaught; and the Dart, 3, Lieutenant Glyn, off Ambrize; the Bittern, 12, Commander Hope off Kabenda; the Britomart, 8, Commander Chamberlaine, off Loango; the Waterwitch, 8, Commander Quin; and the Wanderer, 12, Commander Montresor, off Cape Lopez. The Dart has taken three, the Britomart two, and the Pluto one slaver off the Congo since the last mail. In the Bight of Benin are the Amphitrite, Captain Eden (ordered to the Pacific); the Cygnet, 8, Commander Kenyon; the Star, 8, Commander Riley; the Dolphin, 3, Lieutenant Boyle; and the Firefly steamer, Lieutenant Ponsonby (since Commander Tudor). On the Sierra Leone coast are the Alert, 6, Commander Dunlop; the Sealark, 8, Commander Monypenny; the Pantaloon, 8, Commander Prevost; and the Ranger, 8, Commander Newland. The Bonetta, 3, Lieutenant Forbes, arrived here from Sierra Leone on the 30th ult., with the mails brought out by the Pantaloon and Ranger. She reports both the Ranger and Alert as having been on shore and sustained considerable damage. The slave trade is greatly on the increase on the north coast, and the Pongas, Nunez, Gallinas, and Cape Mount rivers are swarming with slavers. The Bonetta has been exceedingly successful on that station, having taken five or six prizes. The Pluto sailed some weeks ago to reinforce that division. Lieutenant Joliffe has the command of her, and Mr. Christopher Albert, additional second master of the Penelope, has been given the command of the Adelaide prize tender, vice Joliffe. The Snap, recently a slaver steamer, but now converted into a bark, Mr. Raymond second master in charge, arrived here on the 5th inst., with a large quantity of stores and provisions from St. Helena for the use of the division of the squadron employed on this station. She sailed for Ascension on the 8th inst., all well. The Favorite, 14, Commander Murray, arrived on the 7th inst., and sailed the following evening on a cruise, all well. The Contest, 12, Commander M'Murdo, arrived on the 7th inst., and having caulked and refitted returned to her station off Benguela on the 14th, all well. The Favorite sails for England on the 1st of January. The new governor of the Portuguese possessions on the west coast has entered on his duties at this place, and the fleet of eight or ten cruisers under the orders of a new naval commander-in-chief are now actively employed in the suppression of the slave trade; their sphere of usefulness has, however, been recently crippled by a new treaty with Brazil, which limits the capture of slave vessels under that flag to within three miles of the shores of the Portuguese territories. The captain of the Mandonna brig of war has, however, been making amends for this restriction by burning to the ground all the barracoons belonging to the subjects of that empire, as well as those of his own countrymen along the coast. This and similar cases evidence a certain measure of vigilance on the part of the Portuguese officers to check the enormities of the slave trade, but, alas! they are mere isolated cases, and are, as well as the exertions of the British, next to futile in stemming the virulence of that disease which is drying up the vital energies of Africa.
|Sa 8 December 1849|
Portsmouth, Dec. 6.
In Port and FittingIn the Harbour. - The Victory and Illustrious flag-ships, the Excellent gunnery ship; the Blenheim steam-guard-ship; the Eurydice, stripping to pay off; the Contest, fitting out; the Rolla apprentices' brig, laying up for the winter; the Fairy and Elfin, and Portsmouth yachts; the Flamer packet from Holyhead, and the Echo tug.
In Dock. - The Britannia, 120; the Dauntless, 24; the Fantome, 16; the Lily, 16; the Fox, 42; the Devastation, and the Birkenhead steam frigates.
In the Basin. - The Princess Charlotte, 104; the Actaeon, 26; and the Sprightly and the Bee steam-vessels.
In the Steam Basin, - The Ajax, 60; the Penelope, 22; the Sidon, 26; the Victoria and Albert royal yacht; the Urgent , the Pike, the Asp, and the Blazer.
Building. - The Royal Frederick, 120;[subsequently cancelled later and completed as Frederick William] the Prince of Wales, 120; the Princess Royal, 90; the Argus, and the Furious steam sloops.