Coromandel (1793 ship)

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United Kingdom
Name: Modeste
Namesake: Coromandel Coast
  • Hogg, Davidson, and Co.,[1] or Reeve & Co.
  • 1809:W. Gordon
Acquired: 1793
Renamed: Coromandel
Fate: Foundered 1821
Notes: Teak-built
General characteristics
Tons burthen: 515,[2] or 522, or 5222294[1] (bm)
Length: 125 ft 0 12 in (38.1 m) (overall)[3]
Beam: 32 ft 0 in (9.8 m)[3]
Depth of hold: 16 ft 0 in (4.9 m)[3]
Propulsion: Sail
Complement: 47[4]
Armament: 14 × 9 and 6-pounder guns[4]

Coromandel was the French prize Modeste, captured in 1793 and refitted at Chittagong, British India (now Bangladesh). She made two voyages transporting convicts to Port Jackson, the first for the British East India Company (EIC). A French privateer captured her in 1805 but she had returned to British hands before 1809. An American privateer captured her in 1814 but this time the British Royal Navy recaptured her within days. She foundered in Indian waters on 6 February 1821.


Convict transport[edit]

On her first voyage transporting convicts, under the command of Alex Sterling (or Stirling), she sailed from Portsmouth, England on 8 February 1802, and Spithead, on 12 February, in company with Perseus, and arrived at Port Jackson on 13 June 1802.[5] Coromandel transported 138 male convicts, one of whom died on the voyage.[6]

Coromandel left Port Jackson on 22 July bound for China.[7] On the way she sighted the islands of Nama, Losap, Murilo, and Nomwin in the area of Truk.[8]

She arrived at Whampoa anchorage on 17 September. From there she sailed to "Capshee Bay", which she reached on 12 October, before she returned to Whampoa on 21 November. She left in company with Hercules, and on 5 January 1803 Coromandel was at Lintin Island. From there she sailed to St Helena, which she reached on 17 April, and then on to Long Reach, arriving back in Britain on 14 June.[9]

On her second voyage she was under the command of John Robinson. The Napoleonic Wars had commenced so Robinson applied for and received a letter of marque on 16 September 1803.[4] Coromandel sailed from England on 4 December 1803, with 200 male convicts, and 32 officers and men of the New South Wales Corps, who provided the guards. She left in company with Experiment. While sailing in the Bay of Biscay Experiment suffered damage during a gale and had to limp back to Cowes for repairs. Robinson died off St. Salvador, and George Blakely took over command. Coromandel arrived at Port Jackson on 7 May 1804.[5] No convicts died during the voyage.

Coromandel left Port Jackson on 10 July bound for China.[7]

French capture[edit]

The French privateer Henriette captured Coromandel on 15 March 1805 as she was sailing from China to London, and sent her into Mauritius.[10] The EIC put the value of the cargo lost when the French captured her at £35,768.[11]

By 1809 Coromandel was back in British hands with William Linton, master, and W. Gordon, owner.[12] The question of how she returned to British control and ownership is currently obscure.[Note 1]

For the invasions of Île Bourbon and Île de France (Mauritius) in 1810-1811 the British government hired a number of transport vessels. Coromandel was among them.


There was a Coromandel that was reported to have been totally lost in the Carimata Passage, together with Abercrombie, the first coming from Bengal bound for Batavia and the second from Bombay to China.[14][Note 2] Apparently Coromandel was badly stranded in the Karimata Passage in 1812, but salved and repaired.[1]

American capture[edit]

The next notable event occurred on 2 August 1814. The American privateer schooner York (or Yorktown), captured Coromandel, a "country ship" of 500 tons (bm), as she was sailing from Batavia to London.[16][Note 3] Lloyd's List reported that Coromandel, Cameron, master, from St Helena, was missing from "the Fleet" on 13 August.[18] HMS Eridanus recaptured Coromandel on the 12th.[Note 4]

Ongoing service[edit]

On 12 January 1816 Coromandel stopped at the Cape on her way to Madras and Bengal; she was still under Cameron's command.[20]

What connects this Coromandel with that of the voyages to Australia is that a Coromandel appears in the Lloyd's Register for 1818 and 1819. The registry described her as a teak-built vessel of 503 tons (bm), launched in 1793 in the East Indies. Her master is given as "A. Cameron", her owner as "Campbell", and her trade as London to India.[Note 5]


Coromandel foundered on 6 February 1821.[1] Coromandel, W. Butler, master, was sailing for Malacca when her crew had to abandon her off the coast of Borneo as she was in a sinking state. The crew took to three boats and all were saved. Butler and 39 officers and men arrived at "Kemanlie", the second boat with an officer and 12 men arrived at Sourabaya, and the third boat arrived at Samarang.[21]

Notes, citations, and references[edit]


  1. ^ One report states that the British recaptured her on 3 December 1810, following their invasion of Isle de France, and returned her to her owners.[1] However, not only is she not listed among the vessels the British captured there,[13] but she was already in British hands by then.
  2. ^ Abercrombie was a new ship of 1200 tons (bm), out of Bombay. The account that describes Abercrombie is a listing of vessels that were wrecked in the Carimata passage and does not include Coromandel.[15]
  3. ^ An American source gives the captor as the 14-gun and 120 ton (bm) schooner York, E. Staples, master. Apparently Coromandel was armed with only two guns and had a crew of 66 men.[17]
  4. ^ A first-class share of the prize-money was worth £788 19s 2d; a sixth-class share, that of an ordinary seaman, was worth £7 13s.[19]
  5. ^ This last means that her port of registry was now London, which may explain why she does not appear in earlier issues of Lloyd's Register.


  1. ^ a b c d e Hackman (2001), p.229.
  2. ^ Register of Shipping (1820), Seq. №C891.
  3. ^ a b c Howard, A.J. "Bert" (2006) The Coromandel Files."Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-11-29. Retrieved 2013-04-24.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link) - Accessed 24 April 2013.
  4. ^ a b c Letter of Marque, p.57 - accessed 25 July 2017.
  5. ^ a b Bateson (1974), pp.288-9.
  6. ^ Bateson (1959), p.326.
  7. ^ a b "Arrival of Vessels at Port Jackson, and their Departure". Australian Town and Country Journal, Saturday 3 January 1891, p.17. Retrieved 28 April 2012.
  8. ^ Hezel (1994), p.82.
  9. ^ British Library: Coromandel (1).
  10. ^ Lloyd's List n°4234 - accessed 9 October 2015.
  11. ^ Reports from the Select Committee of the House of Commons appointed to enquire into the present state of the affairs of the East India Company, together with the minutes of evidence, an appendix of documents, and a general index, (1830), Vol. 2, p.977.
  12. ^ Reports and Papers... (1809), p.241.
  13. ^ Lloyd's List №4537.
  14. ^ Lloyd's List, no. 4771, 18 May 1813,[1] - accessed 11 December 2014.
  15. ^ The Asiatic Journal and Monthly Miscellany. (October 1825), Vol. 20, p.420.
  16. ^ Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser 25 February 1815, p. 1, "British Extracts FROM LONDON PAPERS OF AUG. LAST."/
  17. ^ Emmons (1853), p.196.
  18. ^ Lloyd's List, 9 August 1814,[2] - accessed 11 December 2014.
  19. ^ "No. 16990". The London Gazette. 7 March 1815. p. 425.
  20. ^ Asiatic journal and monthly miscellany, Volume 1, p.40.
  21. ^ The Asiatic Journal and Monthly Register for British India and ..., (September 1821), Vol. 12, p.308.


  • Bateson, Charles (1974) The Convict Ships, 1787-1868. Sydney. ISBN 0-85174-195-9
  • Emmons, George Foster (1853) The navy of the United States, from the commencement, 1775 to 1853; with a brief history of each vessel’s service and fate ... Comp. by Lieut. George F. Emmons ... under the authority of the Navy Dept. To which is added a list of private armed vessels, fitted out under the American flag ... also a list of the revenue and coast survey vessels, and principal ocean steamers, belonging to citizens of the United States in 1850. (Washington: Gideon & Co.)
  • Hackman, Rowan (2001) Ships of the East India Company. (Gravesend, Kent: World Ship Society). ISBN 0-905617-96-7
  • Hezel, Francis X. (1994) The First Taint of Civilization: A History of the Caroline and Marshall Islands in Pre-colonial Days, 1521-1885 (University of Hawaii Press). ISBN 9780824816438
  • Reports and Papers on the Impolicy of Employing Indian Built Ships in the Trade of the East-India Company, and of Admitting Them to British Registry: With Observation on Its Injurious Consequences to the Landed and Shipping Interests, and to the Numerous Branches of Trade Dependent on the Building and Equipment of British-built Ships. (1809). (London:Blacks and Parry).