Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Voyage of the Baron of Renfrew; or Attempting to avoid paying taxes in 1825

Library and Archives Canada, Acc. No. R9266-3280 Peter Winkworth Collection of Canadiana
 The Baron of Renfrew was a disposable four-masted barque, 309 feet long, built of mostly square timbers designed to make a single trip transporting timber from the New World to Europe and to be disassembled after discharging the timber cargo. The wood used to build the ship was exempt from the high taxes on imported timber. The barque followed the construction of a similar disposable ship, the barque Columbus built the year before.
Following details from  http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/Arrivals/1825d.shtml
1825 June
Launched at the shipyard of Charles Wood, Anse du Fort, Isle of Orleans, Quebec, with 4000 tons of timber already onboard. A previous attempt had failed when the grease on the launching ways was consumed by fire caused by the friction.
1825 August 15
The Baron of Renfrew finished loading on Thursday last, but it is probable her departure will be delayed to complete her compliment of seamen, until about the 20th inst. The Baron is to be towed down the River by the Hercules Steam-boat as far as the Bic.
Sailing of the Great Ship
The Baron of Renfrew weighed anchor and was towed from the place which she occupied near the Falls of Montmorency, on Tuesday last at noon, by the Steam-boat Hercules. The tide was about half flood when she got under weigh, and she proceeded slowly roung the west point of the Island of Orleans, and disappeared behind Point Levi at a quarter before two o'clock. She was accompanied beyond the Point by the Malsham Steam-boat and the Lauzon Steam Ferry-boat with parties of ladies and gentlemen from Town. The Malsham had on board the Band of the 68th Regiment, which, as well as the parties on both Steam Boats went on board the Baron, the decks of which were crowded with people. The Steam Boats, having again taken their company on board, left her behind the Point proceeding in tow of the Hercules, which will only leave her at the Bic.
The wind was up the River during the whole time the Baron was in sight, from her leaving her anchorage ground. She however hoisted her sails, hauled close to the wind, and several times seemed to gain on the Hercules. The sight was grand as she came abreast of the Point of the Island ; her whole length about 309 feet being then seen from Town, and her four masts crowded with sail. The Hercules ahead, and the Malsham alongside, with the Lauzon astern, appeared little better than long-boats. Several sail boats in company were hardly discernable. When they arrived in the rear of the Rock of Point Levi, the Baron's masts and sails still towered above the rock, and were visible at each side of it. In the fore-ground there were about forty or fifty Indian Wigwams, and numerous Indian canoes, one of which, after landing three passengers, an Indian was carrying on his head up to high water mark ; thus offering in one view the largest ship in the world, the perfection of the application of steam in navigation, and the first, and certainly a most igenious effort of man in the savage state for water conveyance.
It is not probable that any other vessel of the size of the Baron of Renfrew, will be built for some time — The public interest taken in this ship has been nearly as great as in the Columbus.

 The Baron of Renfrew sailed from Quebec for London under command of Captain Matthew Walker.
The following statement of the cargo of the Baron has been handed to us by a mercantile friend :
Estimation in Tons measurement of the cargo of the ship Baron of Renfrew.

43634 Deals, average measurement 6 tons per 100 ps.2616
517 ps. of hardwood, 30 cubic feet each, and 11 knees388
3207 Logs Pine 504009
24659 Pipe Staves, 24 M. standard, 12 ton per M.288
75765 W.I. Staves, 75 M. pieces, 3 ton per M.225
84 Masts, at an average of 24 inch, each 8 ton per M.672
337 Spars, at an average of 24 inch, each 2 ton per M.674
4788 Ash Oar Rafters, 24 pieces, 1 ton per M.200
23098 ps. Lathwood, 160 p. cord, is 144 cord per M.432
34852 Treenails, 4000 of 12 inches make a load11
Amount of the Cargo in Tons9,515
Part of the Cargo, as Oars and Staves, is estimated from the stowage they require, and not from cubical contents.
If the measurement of the Baron is about 5000 tons, and taking the usual Quebec allowance of 5000 feet in the rough for every 100 tons measurement, there will be upwards of 6000 tons of timber wrought up in the construction of this floating fabric. — Old Gazette


1825 Oct 1st
Reported Loss of the Baron of Renfrew
The following is the substance of information communicated to us by a passenger in the Sir Francis Burton arrived on Tuesday from Halifax. We sincerely hope that it will prove unfounded.. The Sir F. B. had put into Gaspé:—
Gaspé, 1st October 1825
"A brig bound to Quebec put in here in distress, 25th instant [Sept], the Captain of which reports that he saw the large Timber Ship Baron of Renfrew, near the Grand Bank broken up and floating in several huge detached pieces, and part of the crew on each— would have attempted to render assistance but the danger of doing so made it impossible, owing to the violence of the weather and the immense pieces [of] wreck floating in every direction.

1825 Oct 11
The Baron of Renfrew was seen by the Jasper arrived at Boston on the 16th      September. Of the vessels arrived at this port, only two crossed the Banks after the 22nd and these report they saw "nothing of the Baron.— Old Gazette
We are very happy to find that the Baron of Renfrew has been seen by two vessels, the Nymph (at this port) on the 23rd September, and the Rapid (at Boston) on the 21st, and that the report of her loss which we lately published was unfounded.
There are no more reports on the Baron of Renfrew in theshipslist.com for Arrivals in 1825 and 1826. After ending Dec 9 1825, the reports start again in April 1826 presumably because the winter ice prevented any ship traffic. Details of the rest of the voyage come from the text on the painting above. The largest ship in the world never completed her only voyage.
1825 October 27
Inscription: Inscribed in the stone. l.c.; The largest Ship ever built, THE BARON RENFREW, Captn: Mattw: Walker. From a Drawing highly approved by the Captain, Officers & Crew as the only correct portrait! As She appeared on the 21st: Octr: 1825, at the time the Captain, Officers & remaining 22 of her crew left her, off Gravelines. - She left Quebec Augt. 23rd & filled with water 650 Miles from land, drew 33 ft. & had 31 ft. water in her Hold, was waterlogged & went ashore in 3 pieces 24th Octr: near Calais. Her 4 Anchors wd. 192 cwt. Chain 2 1/4 In. diamr: 130 fathoms long, wt. 14 Tons Hemp cable 26 In. Circume: got on the Long sands off Margate 16th & off 18th Octr: Cargo consisted of 9000 Tons of Timber.
— Printed & Pubd. 27th Octr: 1825. By S. Vowles, 3, St. Michael's Alley, Cornhill, London. l.l.; Dra[wn] [illegible word ending in "ity"] / M. Young. l.r.; S. Vowles Lith. [hardly legible]; in pen and ink, verso. u.l.; C. Richardson [sic?] / Limehouse

No comments: