Letters from Robert FitzRoy to Lord Camden - Transcribed



Some FitzRoy and Beagle dates and events etc.(much trivia)

5th July 1805 Born - the year of Battle of Trafalgar at Ampton Hall nr Euston, Suffolk
1809 Mother dies
1810 ish Moved to Wakefield lodge nr Pottersbury, Northamptonshire
1811 sent to school at Rottingdean near Brighton
1817 transferred to Harrow School for one year
February 1818 age 12 1/2 entered Royal Naval College at Portsmouth as a scholar
October 1819
? sailed as a 'College Volunteer' in Owen Glendower to South America to take up appointment on the ‘Superb’
1820 Uncle (3rd Marquis of Londonderry) cut his throat with razor
1821 promoted to midshipman on the' Hind' a corvette, for 2 years
1823? a short time on the Cambrian
July 1824 Passed in seamanship 1st of 26, gained the first COLLEGE Medaland the
Mathematics prize where he gained full marks and worked out additional series of correct solutions to the set exam problems
August/Sept 1824 promoted to Lieutenant
1825 Appointed to Thetis – sailed Channel coast, Mediterranean and South American waters – Captain Phillimore reduced rum ration from ½ pt to ¼ pt
1825 Captain Philip Parker King sent out with the Adventurer and the Beagle (Captain Pringle Stokes)to start survey of South American waters.
August 1828 appointed Flag Lieutenant to the Commander-in-Chief of the
South American Station Ganges, Rear Admiral Robert W Ottway Captain Stokes shot himself after increased depression and thought of returning to Tierra del Fuego. Captain King requested that Lieutenant Skyring was made Captain but Admiral Ottway overruled and FitzRoy was given the command.
November 1828 Became Captain of Beagle
1828 larboard became port both in speaking and writing
20th Dec 1829 Father dies aged 65
June 1830 George IV dies
1830 FitzRoy returns as Commander of the Beagle, Captain King's part of survey completed and Magellan straits area charts published by Admiralty
1831 Stood as Tory candidate for Ipswich – defeated was re-appointed to Command the Beagle
June 1831 Fitzroy starts preparing for 2nd survey used considerable amounts of his own money
Summer 1831 Summoned to visit King William and Queen Adelaide
27th December 1831 Beagle starts 2nd voyage from Plymouth
3rd December 1834 promoted to rank of Captain (previously commander)
2 October 1836 Beagle docks at Falmouth (announced in Falmouth papers)
27 Dec 1836 marries Mary Hennrietta O’Brien
1836 Consulted Colburn the publisher
1836 living at Onslow Square
1837 received Darwins Manuscript – complained about lack of thanks to officers
1837 FitzRoy received Royal Geographical Society's gold Medal for his surveying work
1837 1st child Emily born
1838 elected Elder brother of Trinity House
1839 Publishes Narrative of Voyage
1839 2nd child only Son Robert born
1841 elected MP for Durham
1842 3rd child Daughter Fanny born
August 1842 selected by Admiralty to attend the Arch Duke Fredick of Austria in his tour through Great Britain
21st September 1842 appointed acting conservator of the Mersey
1843 Beagle returned to Woolwich
March 1843 introduced bill in parliament for establishing ‘Mercantile Marine Boards’ and enforcing the examination of Masters and Mates in the Merchant Service
much of the present act 'Mercantile Marine Act’ is taken from that bill
April 1843 Appointed Governor of New Zealand recalled after 3 years
8th July 1843 sailed from Torbay onboard merchantman ‘Bangalore’
1845 4th child Daughter Katharine born in NZ
1846 publishes - Remarks on New Zealand July 1848 superintended the "Arrogant" screw fitting
1848 report to House of Commons by Sir Francis Beaufort -praising FitzRoy's work
March 1849 appointed Captain of the Arrogant
Feb 1850 had tired himself out and had to yield to effects of fatigue and anxiety about home
Affairs, soon recovered after absolute rest and change of air.
1850 sought employment and became a managing director of ‘General Screw Steam
Shipping Company’ (did not seek re-election)
January 1852 elected member of the ‘Athenaeum Club’
spring 1852 first wife Mary Henrietta dies ` b1812
April 1854 marries Maria Isabella
August? 1854 appointed head of meteorological dept of Board of Trade
1857 Visited Darwin at Down House
1857 became Rear-Admiral
1858 publishes Sailing directions for South America
1858 5th child Daughter Laura Maria born
26th October 1859 Royal Charter shipwrecked of Anglesey (the golden wreck)
February 1861 1st cautionary or storm warning signals made
August 1861 1st published forecasts were tried (lapsed for 6 months for gaining experience)
22 reports now received each morning (except Sundays) and 10 each afternoon besides 5 from the continent. Double forecasts (2 days in advance) are published sent to 8 daily papers to one weekly, to Lloyds, the Admiralty, The Horse Guards, the Board of Trade and the Humane Society.
1863 Became Vice-Admiral
1863 publishes The Weather Book
30th April 1865 Cuts his Throat in bathroom in morning with razor found before he dies by wife.
1870 Beagle sold at public auction to breakers for £525

Personal details. Robert FitzRoy

Signed Bob FitzRoy sometimes in youth. Used pseudonym SENEX when writing in the Times. Character – gifted in the art of self-expression, passionate, moody, heroic, and with noteworthy courage, sense of devotion, and thoroughness with respect to duty. Fundamentalist
Drew instant conclusions about people p21 CE
Distrusted people with course features or wide spatulate noses p21 CE Father (Papa) (my dear old man)– General Lord Charles FitzRoy (MP) by 2nd marriage to Lady Frances Anne Stuart b1777 eldest daughter of Robert 1st Marquis of Londonderry
Fitzroy was Grandson of Duke of Grafton (who's father was Charles II)
Nephew of Lord Castlereagh
From his mother he inherited a kinship with mental instability p21 CE
sister Fanny (Fan) Francis b 1803 married Lord Dynevor
friend of sister? Emily ?? Could be Georges Wife/fiancée wrote to her and Fanny when on Owen Glendower
brother George b 1800
half brother - Charles? 8 years older than FitzRoy
Aunt Pratt
Married twice
1836 to Mary Henrietta, 2nd daughter of Major-General O'Brien who died 1852
3 children by Mary –
Robert O'Brien Fitzroy b 1839 d 1896 a – 'gunnery son'
Fanny O'Brien Fitzroy b 1842 d 1922
Catherine Fitzroy b1845 d 1927
1854 marries Maria Isabella daughter of J.H.Smyth of Heath Hall York
daughter Laura Maria Elizabeth, b1858 d 1943 London home Lyndhurst House, Norwood ( may have had home in Kennsington ealier) Was taught French, dancing and fencing at college could draw well.
great believer in phrenology Also spoke Italian and Spanish and learnt Latin and Greek. Fellow of, the Royal Society, The Royal Asiatic Society, the Royal Geographical, the Astronomical, the Ethnological ,the Meteorological Societies. Also a member of the institute of Paris
wrote – Narrative of the Survey voyages of H.M.S. Adventurer and Beagle between 1824 and 1833 4 vols. Remarks on New Zealand 1846 and Sailing directions for South America 1858 Weather 1863 Friend of Sir Emerson Tennent, Lady Emmerson Tennent Father was MP for Bury St Edmunds for 25 years Never spoke in the house)


Cost £7803
235 tons
90 x 25 x 9 feet
FitzRoy had deck raised 8 inches and 12 inches forward.
Type of ship known as "coffins" or "half-tide rocks"
611 lashes were administered during the 5 year voyage
sailed with 74 persons
fitted with lighting conductors by William Snow Harris of R.S.
New rudder design by Capt Lihou R N
One of Frazers’ stoves replaced open fireplaces with oven 25 seamen deserted and 38 discharged
Rigged as a Barque with a small mizzen mast and a poop deck especially arranged for taking surveying instruments, officers very young almost all in 20's some even only 14, most crew under 32,
3rd ship of that name – built 1819 at Woolwich sailed under old London Bridge to fire salute at coronation of George IV first rigged man-o-war to go so far 5 – 6000 cans of Kilner & Moorson’s preserved meat,veg & soup Carried 22 Chronometers FitzRoy paid for 6 of them
FitzRoy paid for 2 of the 6 boats onboard
He also paid for George James Stebbing Instrument maker
And Augustus Earle - Artist
82 coastal sheets
80 plans of harbours
40 views covering southern portions of continent S America -

Some information from the Beagle Voyage from PRO London ADM 51/3055 mixed log

Daily reports include
Washed Clothes
Scoured Hammocks
Mustered by Divisions
Struck the Foreyard to overhaul it thoroughly
Sawyed up the Fore yard
Employed variously at Ships Duty
Aired Bedding
Employed mending clothes Tuesday 18th August
Rec’d 150lbs of Fresh Beef and 75lbs of vegetables
Sunday 16th August
Paid monthly money to ships Company
Rec’d 160 lbs Fresh Beef and 75 lbs Veg 20th July 1835
N.W. pt Island Lorenza N 11 E-52 miles
Trimed., made & shortened sails as requiste running for Lorenza Isle’d NEE
Trimmed as requiste standing into Callas Bay at 11.20
Shortened all sail, come to in 9 fathoms (in Callas Bay) with small Bower,veered to 36 fathoms & furled sails. Then Daily-
Remarks Etc at Single Anchor, in Callas Bay at 9.00 weighed and shifted Birth nearer the shore. Monday 10th August
Rec’d 123lbs of Fresh Beef and 67 lbs of Vegetables
Wed 12th 144lbs Fresh Beef 72 lbs Veg
Thurs 13th dressed the ship with Flags in honour of Her Majesty’s Birthday
Fri 14th 154lbs Fresh Beef 77lbs Veg
Sat 22nd 130lbs Fresh Beef and Veg
Sunday 23rd at 10.30 mustered by division & Preformed Divine Service March 24th 150lbs Fresh Beef and Vegetables Rec’d Provisions from ‘H.M.Blonde’ viz
Bread 1994 pounds in 19 bags
Rum 74 Gallons in 1 Puncheon
Flour 600 Pounds in 2 Barrels Purchased the Scooner* Constitution of 35 Tons birthen, with her masts, Rigging and Gear and one Boat Gave her in charge to Mr Alexander, Baries (Barnes?) Usborne – Masters Assistant
*(for a tender) Wed 25th 140lbs Fresh Beef 70 lbs Vegetables
Fri 28th 175lbs Fresh Beef 87lbs Vegetables
Sun 30th 145lbs Fresh Beef & Veg
Tues 1st September supplied tender with the undermentioned Provisions viz
Bread 2464 lbs
Salt Beef 660 lbs
Salt Pork 660 lbs
Flour 440 lbs
Suet 55 lbs
Raisins 110 lbs
Sugar 230 lbs
Tea 38 ½ lbs
Chocolate 154 lbs
Preserved Meat 704 lbs
Preserved Vegetables 360 lbs
Oatmeal 20 galls
Peas 54 galls
Rum 70 galls
Vinegar 20 galls
Pickles 8 galls
Fresh Beef 33 lbs
Vegetable 16 ½ lbs Thurs 3rd 198 lbs Fresh Beef 99 Veg
Sat 5th 130 lbs fresh Beef 55 lbs Veg
Sun 6th 10.30 mustered by Divisions and preformed Divine Service. P.m. at 3 Sailed HM Schooner Constitution under the command of Mr A. B. Usborne Masters Assistant – to survey Coast of Peru
Mon 7th at 5.30 Shortened Cable and in Gig. Draft of Water forward 12’3” Afterward 12’9” Rec’d 180lbs Fresh Beef 90 lbs Veg at 4 – Weighed & made all sails to Royals 51/3054 1st July – 31st December 1832
(I took picture of wind force details) Sat 5th April 1834 Rec’d on board Jose Maria Luna Arisoner
Sunday 6th April East End of Long Island Found body of Lieutenant Clive (Late of HMS Challenger) lying on beach at High Wayer mark
Monday 7th – Captain and Officers went onshore & Interred the body of L.O.
27th June 1834 2. – departed this life Mr George Rowlett Purser moored in Valparaiso Bay Rec’d Boatswains and Carpenters stores from the Shore by purchase viz
150 lbs white paint
50 Gallons oil
12lbs Copper nails
70 lbs sorted nails, iron
36 sheets tin
1 pair compasses
36 files
12 Gimlets
2 Planes
6 Whitewash Brushs
30 Sheets Copper
2 Flat Files
2 ½ round files
2 rubber files
6 pr hinges
5 double Blocks
12 lbs Brads
39 Galls Coal Tar 236 Pt 2 Sat 27th June 1835
Rum 325 galls
Suet 340 lbs
Vinegar 132 Galls
Oatmeal 15 Bush
Peas 15 Bush
Chocolate 998 lbs
Tea 252 lbs
Lemon Juice 216 lbs
Soap 239 lbs
Raisins 336 lbs
Sugar 4417 lbs
14 Tons of ?(un clear most likely Bread)
300 yds of Duck
100 pairs of Flan Deawaz
100 shirts
200 pr shoes
canvas No4 2 Batts
Rope 3” 1 coil
2 ½” 2 coils
2” 2 coils
1 ½” 2 coils
Nails assorted 20lbs
Nails Competition 12 lb

So you have managed to read thus far, you must be at least somewhat interested in FitzRoy, here are some other bits and pieces.
Tuesday 1st September saw the Stad of Amsterdam depart from Plymouth on a 12 month trip following in the wake of FitzRoy - despite the press only mentioning Darwin! FitzRoy's part in the voyage was pivital, he suggested a companion should go on the voyage, one with a leaning to Natural Philosphy, it was FitzRoy who agreed for Darwin to come on the voyage. The picture here is of young Darwin and FitzRoy aboad the Stad before it sailed.
Some of you familar with the person dressed as FitzRoy may also be aware of earlier appreances, Pictured here is Ian McCasgill on a visit to Barometer World.
When you have a 200 birthday to celebrate you need a BIG cake to fit all those candles on! If Director Philip Collins looks just a little hot - he is!