1. The SS Robert Lowe (1854-1892) was an 86 HP iron screw-assisted sailing ship built by Scott & Co of Cartsdyke, Greenock. Her tonnage was 1250 and her dimensions were 240.5 ft by 33.9 ft by 18.7 ft. For most of her early life she was commanded by Captain William Congalton under the flag of W S Lindsay & Co. In 1870 her engines were removed and she was renamed the Iron Cross. In 1891 she sank in the Baltic Sea near Stockholm. The SS Lord of the Isles – the ship shown in the first image – was the Robert Lowe's sister ship, built in the same yard a year earlier. The second image is a photograph of the Iron Cross.

  2. The passenger list of the Robert Lowe published in the British Colonist of 12 January, 1863, includes the Rev W S Reece (rather than Reese) as the only clergyman aboard. William Sheldon Reece served under George Hills, the first bishop of British Columbia and was involved in the acrimonious dispute between Hills and Edward Cridge, the Chaplain for the Hudson's Bay Company in Victoria. In 1868 Reece was appointed Archdeacon of Vancouver.

  3. This is the first verse of an American song. You can see the whole of it on page 4 of the Penny Work-Away Songster.
  4. Thomas Lett Wood was a barrister by profession who had remarried Fanny Leggatt, widow of George Leggatt, in October 1859. His daughter Eleanor (not Ellen as Henry states) would have been 16 or 17 when she was on board the Robert Lowe. The older daughter was in fact Eleanor's step sister, Caroline Mary Leggatt. She married Captain Henry Reynolds Luard in Victoria in October 1863. Thomas Lett Wood acted as Attorney-General of Vancouver Island, and still later as Solicitor-General. Following Confederation, he entered the colonial service and eventually became Chief Justice of Bermuda, and, still later, of Singapore.
  5. The Colonist reported on 19 March 1864 an "Inquest on body of Frederick Thompson, late a teacher, whose lifeless form was discovered suspended by a leather strap to a sleeping bunk in deceased's room Mar 18, 1864" and that "his conduct was always strange". Henry had left Victoria a year earlier so it's surprising that he was able to include Thompson's death in his journal.
  6. The Columbia Emigration Society was inaugurated at a meeting of the Columbia Mission Society in February 1862. The Mission Society had been founded in1859 year by a group of Anglicans including its main benefactor, Angela Burdett-Coutts, heir to the fortunes of the banking house of Coutts & Co, and Rev John Garrett, Vicar of St. Paul, Penzance, and Commissary to the Bishop of Columbia.  In each case Columbia referred to the colonies (Vancouver Island and the mainland) that later became the province of British Columbia.  The recent discovery of gold in the Caribou had attracted huge numbers of males to the region. At the same time there was a preponderance of females in England – particularly the north. One of the principal aims of Emigration Society was to redress this imbalance by transporting females to British Columbia. The ships that carried the young women selected for this undertaking became known as bride ships. 
  7. William Congalton was a Lieutenant in the Royal Naval Reserve probably from the early 1850s until at least 1885. In 1855 W S Lindsay chose him to be captain of the Robert Lowe in which capacity he served until at least 1864. He was born in Aberlady in East Lothian, Scotland. Peter Johnson, writing in Voyages of Hope, asserts that he was "fair minded, but firm" and was "a well-loved captain who measured out the ship's fuel as if in teaspoons". Congalton was highly commended by Henry Taylor and at least two other people who sailed with him on the SS Robert Lowe. In later life, he became an Examiner in Navigation and Seamanship in Glasgow. It's recorded in an issue of the Nautical Magazine of 1872 that he was among about ten examiners who had passed an examination in compass deviation.
  8. The Strait of Juan de Fuca is a body of water about 95 miles (153 km) long between Vancouver Island and Washington State (Washington Territory in the 1860s). It forms the principal outlet for the Georgia Strait (which runs between Vancouver Island) and Puget Sound (the estuary that runs north-south into Washington State). Juan de Fuca itself flows into the Pacific Ocean at Cape Flattery. It provides part of the international boundary between the United States and Canada and was named after the 16th-century Greek navigator Juan de Fuca.
  9. From 1842 to 1905 the harbour was the Esquimalt Royal Navy Dockyard – the main British Naval Station of the North Pacific. Subsequently it became the Canadian Forces Base Esquimalt.
  10. There’s a reference to a performance by the band on 30 December 1862 in Colonial History Vancouver Island and a reference to the arrival of the Robert Lowe in Young Immigrants to Canada.  HMS Topaze turns up later in the Journal when Henry was in Callao. 
  11. For an account of Victoria in the 1860s see My Boyhood Days In Victoria   by Edgar Fawcett. 
  12. The words Siwash and Klootchman are both Chinook Jargon. In the 1860s, they refered to male and female Indians respectively. Siwash has now become a disparaging term for any Indian. 
  13. The Adelaide Cooper was purchased by Charles Lewelyn Cooper in 1859 and was mainly used to carry lumber from Vancouver Island to San Francisco, returning with cerials, soap, tobacco and other commodities until Dingley her in about 1867. It continued in service until December 1879 when it was wrecked in Wilmington Bay, Los Angeles, during a storm.
  14. Port Ludlow, Port Townsend Port Gamble and Port Angeles are described in pages 494-502 of Exploring Washington's past: a road guide to history by Ruth Kirk, Carmela Alexander. Unfortunately page 498 is omitted in the on-line version.
  15. Henry remembered this name when, in 1876, he converted a Roman Catholic Church in Crewe into a theatre and called it the Lyceum
  16. George Edgar was also an auctioneer and City Marshall. He is mentioned as marshall in this article about Solano County. Vallejo is currently the largest city in the county, though Fairfield is its seat.
  17. In the 1860s cutters were small ships usually with one mast fore-and-aft rigged. However when used for revenue or survey purposes they may have two masts and even be powered – usually via paddles.
  18. The following reports made at the time may be found in San Francisco History 1864:
    Nov. 14. The iron-clad monitor Comanche was successfully launched to-day in presence of thousands of spectators assembled to view the novel and interesting sight. J. P. Buckley, an old and valued citizen, had his ankle caught in a coil of rope during the launch, and so badly crushed as to require amputation.
    Nov. 17. Hon. John P. Buckley died at 5, A.M. of the injuries he received at the launch of the Comanche. Deceased was one of the pioneer business men of San Francisco having come to this place in 1849. He was foremost in all public enterprises and charities, and his untimely decease was deeply deplored.
  19. The "Clipper" was probably the New York Clipper.
  20. "Our Mazeppa" was a 4-page San Francisco weekly sporting periodical launched in 1864. It ceased publication in 1869.
  21. The Talbots were a family whose members appeared in many minstrel shows. This is probably Harry Talbot. He and A J Talbot visited England in 1876.
  22. King Kamehameha V never married and who the prime minister and his wife were is uncertain. The 1864 constitution instituted by Kamehameha himself had abolished the post of kuhina nui, Hawaii's version of the Prime Minister. It's most likely that the King's escort was Bernice Pauahi, née Pākī, wife of the Foreign Minister, the Hon Charles R. Bishop. She was herself a member of the Royal House of Kamehameha
  24. For further notes on the history of Hawaii and its monarchs see Hawaii's Story by Hawaii's Queen.
  25. This story is also to be found in pp 44-45 of Under Hawaiian Skies by Albert Pierce Taylor (published 1922) and in p 103 of the Pacific Review, Volume 17 which includes this paragraph:  "But one must seek in the comparatively recent seventeenth century for the first wreck of tradition. Somewhere about 1625, according to native lore, a vessel known to the Hawaiians as Konalihoa, was lost at Kealakekua, where, 150 years later, Captain Cook was to meet his death. Probably this craft is that which appears in other dim tales as having had two survivors (presumably Spanish), a man and his sister, both of whom married natives. This wreck at best is half-legendary; and it was not until 1790 that the schooner Fair American, flying the flag of the United States, was destroyed by Hawaiians at Kawaihae, offering an indisputable, even if man-made, catastrophe".
  26. Henry gives the date of each event as 1774 but in each case he is wrong. Wikipedia reports the entry of Brown into the harbour thus: "The first European vessel to enter Honolulu Harbor was HMS Butterworth in 1794, a British ship commanded by Captain William Brown. Sailors aboard the ship dubbed the harbor Brown's Harbor to their captain's dismay. Captain Brown insisted that the harbor be called Fair Haven. Fair Haven is translated into the Hawaiian language as Honolulu".  Arthur Grove Day in Hawaii and its People states that: "He [King Kalanikupule] formed a murderous plot, and on New Year's Day, 1795, his warriors captured the Jackall and the Prince Lee Boo. Both captains, Brown and Gordon, were killed, and the members of the crew, who were ashore, were made prisoners".
  27. All of the engravings that were pasted into the pages of Henry Taylor's Journal were taken from Our Neighbours of the Sandwich Islands, an article in the November 1858 issue of Hutchings' California Magazine (a downloadable pdf). Either he took a copy with him to Hawaii or (more likely) he took rough notes while there and made a fair copy in his little book when he returned to San Francisco.   
  28. The New York Times of 6 Feb 1876 reported that the Arctic had probably been built at Rochester, Mass, in 1850. In 1861 it was purchased by Brewer & Co and was operating as a whale ship. Although flying the Hawaiian flag it was owned and commanded by American citizens.
  29. No reference to the U.S Rest can be found.
  30. Harper appears at this point as if he is already known to Henry. Although there is no previous reference to him in the Journal, there is a J Harper in the passenger list of the Robert Lowe published in the British Colonist on 12 January 1863. He could possibly be the John Harper who was at 87 Duke Street, Hulme, in the 1861 census. Duke Street was close to Moss Lane, Hulme, where Henry was born and, like Henry, John Harper is given as a commercial clerk in the 1861 census. However, John Harper was four years older than Henry.
  31. Henry was living dangerously! Within a year – on 17 August 1866 – Summer Street House collapsed crushing John Brewster and one of his lodgers. Both died. The incident was the subject of a lawsuit in the Supreme Court of the State of California.
  32. Dick Brashears has previously appeared in the Journal. Henry first met him in May 1864. 
  33. There are references to the 200 ton barque Harminia in Memoria published in 1870 by the Chilean Ministerio de Marina. The first mention of her is in 1862 and the last in 1865. Maybe she fell foul of the Spanish bombardment of Valparaiso. Also there is a note about the Harminia in the financial news of the Daily Alta California of 15 November 1865 two days after Henry recorded that the San Francisco. The entry notes the departure of "The Chilean barque Harminia for Valparaiso, had wine, lumber, hardware, etc, to the value of $8096". In the same column it is noted that "The blockade of Chile attracts attention, but will probably not attract privateering at present. The blockading force is not supposed to be sufficient to be effectual. The vessels that arrive have a right to legal time, which the Spanish Admiral opposes. and which may be enforced by the naval forces of each nation there. There were six English vessels and one steamer there; also, the French vessel Napoleon III which demanded the right to discharge. This right, it is stated by the Courrier de San Francisco was accorded to the reclamations of the French consul, backed by the commander of the French vessel the Egérie". This infers that the blockade was known about before the Harminia departed for Valparaiso.
  34. A nautical meaning of to heave is "to come into view over the horizon".
  36. Close examination of his Journal verifies that Henry had written Hotel de Commercis. But Commercis is not a Spanish word. It is much more likely to have been Comercio. On page 304 of his 1905 book Through five republics, W Heineman writes:
    Concepcion, on the other hand, is very near the sea, and on the banks of a river. If in nothing else, Concepcion is fortunate in the possession of two or three moderately good hotels, the best of which is no doubt the Hotel de Comercio, occupying on the Plaza a position almost identical with that of the Hotel de France on the Plaza de Armas at Santiago. In fact, the same architect might well have laid out both cities and their principal buildings, so closely do they resemble one another in numerous particulars.
    The building would have been unlikely to have survived the 1960 Concepción earthquake that destroyed a third of its buildings.
  37. Bodega is a tiny place about 16 miles due east (inland) of Concepcion. Coronel is about 20 miles due south of Concepcion (along the coast). It seems strange therefore to go to Coronel from Concepcion via Bodega
  38. What the señor made of what Henry said is unknown. Cinquo isn't a Spanish word. He clearly meant cinco, meaning five.  Given this, what he said translates as "Good you gave Mister, five men, many hunger, expensive bread and cheese in Thursday also".  It would have been better had he said something like "El día bueno señor, cinco hombres muy hambrientos desean pan y queso o los huevos".
  39. Romars, along with all the other places mentioned during Henry's fruitless search for gold in southern Chile, cannot be found.
  40. See above.
  41. There is a place called El Chiflón del Diablo (the Devil's Blast) but it was a coal mine rather than a gold mine and it's actually in Lota rather than 30 miles from it as Henry suggests.
  42. There is a place called Arauco south on Lota.
  43. The Big River is surely Rio Biobío.
  44. Sailing first as the Robert Lowe and then as the Iron Cross, the ship that carried Henry Taylor to Victoria had a life of 36 years. But La Duchesse d'Orleans lived longer. Quoting from Michael Costagliola writing in 1974 on page 67 of the Nautical Research Journal Vol 20, Issues 1-4:

    On August 7, 1838, William H. Webb launched the packet La Duchesse d'Orleans, the first of more than a hundred ships he designed. At the age of 21 he had completed his apprenticeship in his father's yard and formed a partnership with another apprentice named Townsend. As the partners had no yard facility, they subcontracted the hull construction to Mr. Webb's father, Isaac Webb, who had a partner named Allen. The official records, therefore, show the firm of Webb & Allen as the builders. The ship had a French name because she was built for the Union Packet Line's New York to Havre passenger trade. Mr. Webb's book of offsets contains remarks in his own hand, on all the ships he designed. For the Duchess he has the terse and modest comment: "A very handsome ship, and sails fast". For the record, her best passage was 24 days to Havre, and her average passage 38 days. After 17 years in the packet trade she was sold to the firm of Fitzgerald and Booth, of Baltimore. She was in general cargo trade (with passenger accommodation removed) for the next 15 years.

    In January, 1870 she was offered for sale in New York with no takers. She made two more voyages under the U.S. flag and then was sold at Philadelphia, in 1871, to British owners, with her name changed to Lottie Clerk. In 1873, she was sold to D. H. Watjen of Bremen, re-rigged as a bark and continued in the North Atlantic trade until 1876 under the name Dr. Falk. There is no trace of her in the registers after 1876, but in Merchant Sail, by Fairburn, it states that she lasted fifty years, or until 1888.

  45. The San Carlos was built in 1860 at Renfrew with a tonnage of 652grt, a length of 199ft 9in, a beam of 30ft 2in and a service speed of 9 knots. She was built for the Callao-Guayaquil-Panama service and sold in 1874 to unspecified buyers.

  46. Bolivia had a coast in Henry's time but, during the War of the Pacific in 1883, Chile seized the coastal territory and Bolivia became land-locked.
  47. This is almost certainly Guayacán, on the coast about a mile southwest of Coquimbo. 

  48. The expression 'yards "cockbuilt".' was quite difficult to decipher.  A square-rigged sailing ship's yard is the horizontal spar from which its square sail is suspended. That's easy enough – but I can only leave you to imagine where Googling "cockbuilt" took me! I eventually realised that Henry had mis-spelt the word.  What he meant was cockbilled.  The following paragraph from page 194 of The Autobiography of Elder Joseph Bates explains the use of the term in its context:

    The Catholics in Brazil observe their numerous feasts, and what they call 'holy days.' While lying in the harbor of St. Catherine's [Ilha de Santa Catarina, 450 km south of São Paula], at one of their annual holy days, it was our privilege to witness their indignation against their mortal enemy, Judas Iscariot, for betraying his Master. Early in the morning, the Catholic vessels 'cockbilled their yards,' pointing them end upwards to the heavens, and at a given signal at noon, their yards were all squared again, and at the outer end of the yard-arm of the commodore (for the day), Judas, the traitor, was hung in effigy. After waiting a suitable time for him to die, they let him fall from the yard-arm into the sea. Then they beat him awhile with clubs, and having swung him up to the yard-arm again by the neck, once more dropped him into the sea. Thus they continued hanging, drowning, and beating the traitor, until their indignant feelings were gratified. He was then towed on shore by the neck, not to be buried, but given into the hands of boys, who dragged him about the public square and streets, beating him with their clubs and stones until he was all used up.

    Joseph Bates was an Elder in the Seventh-Day Adventist Church who had travelled the world in the mid 1840s and wrote about his experiences in 1868.
  49. Henry stated that the hospital he stayed in was run by the Sisters of Mercy who were were French and that there were about 850 patients there at the time. On that basis it is likely that the hospital was San Andrés. As well as Santiago's blog, there's quite a lot about the history of the hospital (in English) in The Hospital of San Andrés (Lima, Peru) and the Search for the Royal Mummies of the Incas by Bauer and Rodríguez. Recent photos of what remains of the building are included.On page 111 of La Revista de Lima, Periodico Quincenal, Volume 7, published in 1863, is written:

    "El Hospital de San Andrés es el mas espacioso de todos los hospitales de Lima. Puede acomodar como seiscientos enfermos, á quienes cuidan las Hermanas de Caridad, francesas todas. La fiebre amarilla que en 1852 por primera vez se presentó en Lima, penetrando despues hasta las mas remotas partes del interior, arrebató muchas victimas en los últimos años é hizo dudosa la gran reputacion higiénica que Lima disfrutaba hasta aquel tiempo."

    which translated is:

    “The Hospital of San Andrés is the most extensive of all the hospitals of Lima. It can accommodate about six hundred patients, who are cared for by the Sisters of Charity who are all French. The yellow fever that in 1852 appeared for the first time in Lima, later spreading to all but the remote parts of the interior, took many victims in the subsequent years and cast doubt on the great hygienic reputation that Lima enjoyed until that time."

    Henry said he had typhus. Yellow fever, typhus – and typhoid fever for that matter – are distinct diseases. However, a hospital like San André that specialised in one of them would probably have expertise in the others. On that basis it would seem that San André would be an appropriate hospital for Henry to be taken to. However, San André was not the only hospital in Lima the French Sisters of Charity. They also ran San Bartomolé although, by 1866 that establishment had become a military hospital. That would make it less likely that Henry was taken there.
  50. Each year Peru celebrates victory over the Spanish on 2 May. But the Spaniards also believe that they achieved their aims. Certainly their casualities were less than the Peruvians. In pages 93-102 of Volume 7 of the Transactions of the American Philosophical Society, there's a long article about the the hostilities that took place between 1864 and 1871 between Spain on the one hand and Chile and Peru on the other. Also see Replica of Torreon de la Merced, La Punta, Callao for a similar account by the editor.
  51. The politics of Peru from 1863 to 1868 were particularly volatile. The terms of two presidents, Juan Antonio Pezet and Mariano Ignacio Prado were each broken by interregnums during which Pedro Diez Canseco served as interim president. In August 1863, after the first of Canseco's brief tenures, Pezet was elected president. In April 1865, Pezet was deposed by Prado in a coup d'état.  In June that year Prado ceded power to Canseco and rallied his forces in preparation for elections in November. His party was presumably what Henry referred to as the Revolutionists of the Fall of 1865 [ Revolutionists de la Otoño de 1865] though no reference to such a party can be found. Prado unexpectedly won and remained president until January 1868 when he again handed over to Canseco. After another five presidents (including a two-day term by Francisco Canseco Canseco (brother of Pedro), Prado returned to power in August 1876 and served for three years.
  52. Henry's got it slightly wrong again! He should have said Compañía Inglesa de Vapores which was what the Peruvians called the Pacific Steam Navigation Company (PSNC) that had been founded in London in 1838 by the American William Wheelwright.
  53. This probably refers to the Alameda de los Bobos (or Descalzos) as depicted in the photo. It had been restored in 1856. An alameda is literally a grove lined with alamos (poplars).
  54. Guano, pronounced gwano, is the English version of the Spanish/Peruvian word huano. It refers to the dried droppings of seabirds used as fertiliser.
  55. Hampton Roads is a body of water in Norfolk in southeastern Virginia. It's one of the world's biggest natural harbors and an important naval centre with many museums.
  56. This was one of a system of signals that was used by the mercantile marine of all nations. It was compiled by Frederick Marryat in 1841 as a 3-digit system but later extended to 4 digits. As Henry says, 2938 meant "What is your longitude?". See The universal Code of Signals for the Mercantile Marine of all Nations by G B Richardson, page 777 (Google reference).
  57. A seaport town on the south coast of County Cork, Ireland. It was known as Queenstown between 1849 (when Queen Victoria renamed it) and 1922 (when Eire regained independence).  It was the last port of call of the Titanic and is now known by its original name, Cobh.
  58. A reefed sail is one that has been reduced in area often by rolling it round the spar to which it's attached. A spanker is a gaff rigged fore-and-aft sail set from, and aft of, the aftmost mast.
  59. Wearing ship is when a square-rigged ship with a following wind turns its stern through the wind, so that the wind direction changes from one side of the vessel to the other.
  60. Henry was being unduly pessimistic. His castles were extant but they were in need of repair. A year after he returned from his travels the repairs were complete and he had married the lady he was referring to. She was my great grandmother, Margaret Wrigley. After their marriage, they moved to Crewe where they had a family and where Henry became Mayor in 1903. But that's another story – one that I'll be adding to this blog soon (I know soon has turned out to be a very long time but I will get round to it eventually!)

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