ABERDEEN BUILT SHIPS


Name
MATHESIS
Construction
WOOD
Type
BARQUE
Date
1841
Description
Rig: BARQUE

Aberdeen Register of Shipping (Aberdeen City Archives):
First registered 12/04/1841; Built By John Reid & Co.; Master Alexander Gordon; One + a poop deck; 3 masts; female figurehead.
Subscribing Owners: James Gordon, Ship & Insurance Broker (30/64); Alexander Gordon, Shipmaster (4/64) - both Aberdeen.
Other Owners: Alexander Morice, Shipowner, Aberdeen (30/64).
08/01/1845: Morice 30/64 - James Gordon Jr., Shipowner, Aberdeen. Re-registered 04/09/1848 - Henry Harrison Greaves, Master.
Subscribing Owner: Jane Euphemia Granger, Spinster, Aberdeen (30/64).
Other Owners: William Wilson, Shipowner, Glasgow and William Ogston Young, Shipbroker, London (34/64 jointly).
12/12/1848: Accountant of sequestered Estate of late William Wilson 30/64 to Donald Smith, Manager of Western Bank of Scotland (previously by mortgage only).
31/01/1849: William Ogston Young 4/64 - Charles Grainger, Advocate, Aberdeen.
12/08/1851: Registry cancelled - vessel sold to foreigners at Port of Manilla.

Details from a letter written by William Anderson of Arbroath, who sailed on the maiden voyage of the ship tells that the ship was launched at Aberdeen on Wednesday 24th March 1841.
William Anderson worked as ships carpenter, for which he was paid £4/15/00 (£4.75) per month. He joined the ship a month before its launch.
The MATHESIS sailed from Aberdeen (about 3 weeks after launch) for Dundee, to "load up". The destination of the maiden voyage was to be Port Philip (Melbourne) and Sydney.
Despite a quick passage (18 days) to the Cape de Ver (Cape Verde) islands, the ship did not reach Sydney until 30th January 1842. This was because of a fire on board on 9th August 1841, which caused them to put into Rio de Janiero for repairs. The fire was caused by the third mate, "a spark from a lanthorn (lantern) falling with some straw". They arrived at Rio on August 25th. William left the ship, with four other men, on its arrival Sydney at the end of January 1842. This had not been his original intention and was apparently the result of serious discontent among the crew. (details of letter courtesy of R. Henderson).

The Maitland and Hunter River General Advertiser, Wednesday 29th April 1846:
"CRUEL PUNISHMENT AT SEA.
[From the Britannia, Nov. 29.]
Alexander Gordon, the master, and John Cummings, the chief mate, of the ship Mathesis, from Brazil, now lying in the London Dock, were charged, at the Thames Police Court, on Wednesday, with assaulting William Scott, an apprentice belonging to the same vessel, on the high seas, within the jurisdiction of the Admiralty of England.
William Scott, a youth aged sixteen years, stated that on the outward voyage, the day after crossing the line, he was rather late in turning out of his berth, and the mate came down with the end of the fore bowline (a thick rope) and flogged him with it as hard as he was able. He was then driven on deck, and sent up aloft, with nothing on but his shirt, to tar the rigging down. The mate followed him up, and while he was upon the foreyard again beat him with the rope. After he had received three or four lashes he ran further out on the yard-arm to save himself from the blows, and was followed by the mate, who continued striking at him. He then jumped off the yard-arm and made an attempt to catch the backstay, which he missed, and fell into the sea. The ship was going at the rate of seven knots an hour, but she was put about, and he was picked up in an almost in-sensible state. He had scarcely recovered his breath before the mate recommenced flogging him with the same rope. The captain then dragged him to the after part of the ship, and exhibited a heavy cat, and said that was made for him, and gave him a lash with it. The mate sent him up aloft with the tar-bucket again directly he had put on a dry shirt, and he accidentally dropped some of the tar on the top-gallant-sail in consequence of the rolling of the ship. He was asked by a boy to go to the wheel, and as he was about to do so, the mate seized him and made him fast to the mizen rigging, and after he had let down his clothes and hauled his shirt over his head, the captain gave him two dozen lashes with the cat on his bare back. After he was released, and while his back was bleeding profusely, the captain ordered him to go on his bended knees and implore his mercy. When he had done so, the mate seized him up to the mizen rigging a second time, and said he should give him another dozen. The captain, however, would not allow him to do so, but called one of the boys, who was ordered to give him a dozen lashes, and they were inflicted in the presence of the captain and mate. He was not ill-used any more that night, but on the following night the master said he intended to put some vitriol on his back, and called upon the mate to pour it over him, saying that he was afraid of burning his fingers. The mate said he was also afraid of burning his fingers, and ordered him to go down on his hands and knees. When he had done so he was stripped, and the mate poured a quantity of vitriol out of a phial over his back. The pain was excruciating, and he sang out for mercy. That night it was his watch on deck, and the mate compelled him to walk about on the poop with a handspike over each shoulder, and also made him count the number of tails of the cat, and how many knots there were. The cat had eight tails and was very heavy. His back was sore and inflamed for some time, and he could not bear anything to touch it.
The boy's evidence was corroborated by several witnesses, and the prisoners were ordered to find bail, each in their own recognizance of £200, and two good and sufficient sureties of £100 each, to appear and take their trials at the present sessions of the Central Criminal Court. The prisoners were removed in the custody of the gaoler".

Lloyd's Register of Shipping:
1843: Master A. Gordon; Destined Voyage Aberdeen - New South Wales.
1844, 1845: Destined Voyage Swansea - Cape of Good Hope.
1846: Destined Voyage London - New Zealand.
1848, 1849: Owners Munro & Co.; Port belonging to Aberdeen; Master A. Triscott; Destined Voyage London - Madras.
1850: Owners Grainger & Co.; Port belonging to Aberdeen; Master H. Greaves; Destined Voyage Swansea - Hong Kong.
1851: No reference.

The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser, Saturday 5 February 1842:
"Water Police Court.
MARINE POLICE COURT, 4th FEB. 1842.
Alexander Gordon, master of the barque Mathesis, was charged on information at this Court yesterday, before Captain Browne, with having assaulted Mr. Van Nyvel, a cabin passenger by his ship, on the 30th January last; the said ship being then on the high seas on a voyage from Rio to Sydney.
Mr. Purefoy, who appeared on behalf of Mr. Nyvel stated, that his client was a foreigner, and a stranger to him; but, from his evidence, together with that of other witnesses, he (Mr. Purefoy) would be able to show, he hoped to the satisfaction of the Bench, that Mr. Van Nyvel, his client, had been treated in a most unjustifiable and outrageous manner by Capt, Gordon, without any provocation having been given for such conduct on his part. His client had been formerly living at Rio de Janeiro, and the Mathesis, from Dundee for Sydney, having put in there for supplies he met Alexander Gordon, her captain, with whom he made an agreement to come on to Sydney as a cabin passenger, but shortly after the Mathesis left Rio some disputes took place between the Capt. and his Emigrants, which he attributed to the interference of Mr. Van Nyvel, and on the 3rd of January, the Captain turned him out of the cabin after using the most abusive language to him. Mr. Van Nyvel was then obliged to go and live among the Emigrants till the vessel arrived in Sydney. The Bench would easily perceive what a hardship' his client, who had all along been moving in respectable society, would consider his being turned from the cabin to put up with the indifferent comforts of a steerage. There were no class of persons to whom greater powers were delegated to than the masters of ships. In fact, the comforts and happiness of the emigrants during the voyage, depended in a great measure upon the character of the captain. When such power was placed in his hands, it was but right and proper that if he abused that power, he should be made accountable for it in a Court of Justice ; and he would be able to prove that his client was turned out of the cabin without having given any provocation for such conduct on the part of the captain. When he afterwards wished to walk on the poop, he was violently pushed off by the captain, without any sufficient reason being assigned. When a person abused his power in this manner it was but right that he should be made amenable to the laws of the country for such gross behaviour as had been used in the present instance.
Henry Van Nyvel, the complainant being sworn, deposed - I met the defendant, Alexander Gordon in Rio; I knew him to be the master of the Mathesis; I engaged a cabin passage from him to come on to Sydney; I paid him the passage money, which amounted to 114 milreas, or £15 sterling. I went first on board the Mathesis, as a cabin passenger on the 15th November. There was no other cabin passenger, except the doctor ; I continued in the cabin till the 5th of January, on which day the captain said to me, "I read in your eyes that you have been telling the emigrants something about a particular subject;" he then ordered me to leave the cabin, or he would have me lashed to the mast and flogged. In consequence of these expressions I left the cabin and went to live among the emigrants. On Sunday, the 30th January, about ten in the forenoon, I went on the poop, when Captain Gordon said, "off my poop." I replied I had taken a cabin passage, and would remain; the captain then ordered the first and second mates to take me off, but they refused ; he then came up himself, and seized me by the collar of my coat, and dragged me to the steps of the poop, and pushed me off; he also said he would place me in irons; I went again on the poop, and he used me in a similar manner; I then called the surgeon and mates to witness the assault; the captain replied " if that is all you want, you will soon get it", telling me I was a lunatic. After this I continued on the poop during the day ; we were then off Sydney Heads about 4 miles.
Cross-examined by Captain Gordon. - When I met Captain Gordon, at Rio, I asked him for the situation of steward; I stated I would be glad to sleep ahywhere on board, but that was previous to my uncle advancing me money to pay my passage; I remember having a conversation with Gordon, in a coffee house, in Rio, when I stated I had no more money to give him, but would give him a spy glass I had in my possession to allow me to come in the cabin ; I delivered the spy glass to the third mate ; when I came on board, the Captain being ashore at the time, I was treated as a cabin passenger till the 3rd of January; in every respect; I never made an agreement with Capt. Gordon to come as a steerage passenger.
Thomas Robertson, surgeon of the Mathesis, deposed, I know Captain Gordon, he is a native of Aberdeen, in Scotland, Mr. Van Nyvel joined the Mathesis at Rio, as a cabin passenger ; he came on board as such, and slept and dieted in the cabin the same as I did ; the captain said that he understood Mr. Van Nyvel had been carrying tales from the cabin to the emigrants, and ordered him to Ieave the cabin, which he did; I do not recollect the day on which this conversation occurred, but I have it written in my log book ; the Captain said if he did not leave the cabin he would lash him to the rigging and give him a good drubbing ; do not think the Captain had sufficient reason for turning Mr. Van Nyvel out of the cabin, if it was only for thinking he told tales to the emigrants, for I never heard he did so ; it was I that told the emigrants about the tales he referred to. The complainant conducted himself as a gentleman during the time I knew him, when he was both in the cabin and steerage; I recollect Mr. Van Nyvel coming on the poop, on the 30th of January, and being ordered off by the Captain ; the former refused to go, when the latter ordered his first mate to take him off, which he refused. The Captain then seized Mr. V. Nyvel by the throat, and pushed him off the poop. I remember when the Captain came on board in Rio; he said he had a cabin passenger coming on with him to Sydney, and ordered one of the state-rooms to be cleared for his reception ; we had no other cabin passenger; except Van Nyvel.
Mr. Robert Anderson, first officer of the Mathesis, was then called, and stated that he refused to turn Mr. Van Nyvel off the poop, although ordered by the Captain, because he did not think himself justified in interfering in the matter, unless they came to blows.
Captain Brown was of opinion that sufficient evidence had been brought forward against the defendant to justify him to send the case to a jury. Captain Gordon was then committed to take his trial, but allowed bail, himself in the sum of £50 and two sureties for £25 each".

Aberdeen Journal, 28/08/1844:
While the barque MATHESIS of Aberdeen, Gordon Master, from Ichaboe, was taking the River Tay, she went ashore on the elbow-end bank. After remaining for a number of hours in a somewhat perilous situation she was, with considerable difficulty, floated off, after throwing overboard upwards of 50 tons of guano. Vessel was afterwards towed up to Ferry-Port-on-Craig, where she is discharging her cargo. It is understood she has received considerable damage.

Freeman's Journal, 29/11/1845:
"Atrocious cruelty to a sailor boy" - at the Thames Police Office, London, Alexander Gordon, Master and John Cummins, Mate, were charged with assaulting an apprentice of the vessel, William Scott, on the high seas during her outward voyage to the Brasils. Two incidents were quoted - when Scott was late in turning out and when he dropped tar when aloft tarring the rigging. Detailed evidence of appalling floggings and of vitriol being put on back wounds. At one point Scott fell overboard from rigging when trying to escape from Mate (and was recovered). Gordon and Cummins bailed to appear in Central Crimincal Court, London, they claimed the did not strike the boy.

Aberdeen Journal, 07/04/1847:
Shares of ship for sale: There will be exposed to sale by public roup within the Lemon Tree tavern, Aberdeen... thirty 64th shares of the barque MATHESIS, registered Aberdeen, together with the like share of her masts, sails, yards, etc.

MATHESIS History (Date; Event; Location):
February 1841 Launch preparations - William Anderson joins the ship; Aberdeen
Mar 24th 1841; Mathesis launched; Aberdeen
Apr 12th 1841; Mathesis first registered
Late April 1841; Sails to Dundee
May 1841; Loading at Dundee; Dundee
Jun 2nd 1841; Departs Dundee for Port Phillip and Sydney; Dundee
June 1841; Calls at Greenock and Cork
Jun 20th 1841; Arrives Cape Verde Islands
Aug 9th 1841; Catches fire at sea - crew abandon ship, leaving captain and passengers on board; At sea
Aug 10th 1841; Fire under control - crew return to ship
Aug 25th 1841; Puts into Rio de Janeiro for repairs; Rio de Janeiro
Aug 31st 1841; "The Mathesis, Gordon, from Aberdeen to Sydney, N.S.W. put in here 25th instant to repair damage, having caught fire 9th instant in latitude 30S. longitude 21W."; Rio de Janeiro
Nov 24th 1841; Departs Rio for Port Phillip and Sydney
Jan 4th 1842; Fire news of fire reaches Sydney via the "William Mitchell"
Jan 28th 1842; Mathesis at Port Phillip
Jan 30th 1842; Arrival at Sydney; Sydney
Feb 5th 1842; Gordon charged with assault on passenger
Mar 29th 1842; Gordon discharged by Capt. Robertson
Apr 12th 1842; Gordon indicted for assault on passenger
Apr 17th 1842; Mathesis sails for Guam, with Gordon reinstated
Jul 23rd 1842; Mathesis departs St.Antonio (South America)
Oct 16th 1842; Mathesis arrives in Sydney
Oct 20th 1842; Mathesis in harbour, off Flour Company's Wharf; Sydney
Sep 9th 1843; Sighted at sea; Off Castletown
Dec 30th 1843; Departs Swansea; Mumbles
Jan 11th 1844; "...in lat 40 N., long. 15 W., the barque Mathesis, Gordon, bound to African coast for guano-all well."; 40N 15W
Jun 1st 1844; Accounts from Ichaboe mention... Mathesis had completed loading on the 1st June.; Ichaboe
Jun 12th 1844; "Mathesis, Gordon, at Ichaboe, from Swansea"; Ichaboe
Jun 14th 1844; Departures - "Mathesis, 14th, for Cork"; St Helena
Aug 8th 1844; Sighted - "Mathesis, Gordon, off Cork, 8th inst, from Africa"; Off Cork
Aug 15-18 1844; Arrived Leith - "Mathesis, Gordon, Ichaboe, Guano; Leith Roads
Aug 20th 1844; Arrived at Dundee. Gordon reports on worked-out gunao at Ichaboe.; Dundee
Aug 20th 1844; Accident - Goes aground in River Tay. 50 tons guano dumped into sea to enable refloat.; River Tay
Aug 20th 1844; Towed to Ferry-Port-On-Craig to discharge cargo. Considerable damage to ship.; River Tay
c.Sep 14th 1844; Arrives Leith; Leith Roads
Jan 8th 1845; Ownership Change
Apr 25th 1845; Re-registered at Aberdeen; Aberdeen
May 11th 1845; Sighted - "Mathesis - Shields, for Aden, 11th inst, in Lat. 49 N, Long 13 W."; At Sea ? Lat 49N. Lon 13 W.
Jun 20th 1845; Assault on William Scott
Jun 28th 1845; "Bahia - The barque Mathesis, Captain Gordon… put into port with coals heated, bound to Aden."; Bahia
Jun 28th 1845; …also landed some Dutch sailors taken off St Paul's island, Jan Hendrick (Rotterdam) wrecked.; Bahia
Jul 8th 1845; "Bahia - The Mathesis, from Newcastle for Aden put in here on 28th ult, with cargo (coals) ignited."; Bahia
Nov 20th 1845; Arrived off Deal; Deal
Nov 21st 1845; "Gravesend, Nov 21. Arrived… Mathesis from Para"; Gravesend
Nov 27th 1845; Arrested for Assault on William Scott; London
Dec 16th 1845; Gordon & Cummins Indicted; London
Dec 17th 1845; Mathesis departs for New Zealand; London
Dec 20th 1845; Gordon & Cummins Guilty of assault on William Scott; Central Criminal Court
Mar 5th 1846; Mathesis carpenter, Kennedy, charged with stealing 15lbs of tea and 40lbs tobacco from Gordon; London
Apr 2nd 1846; Notice of Departure on 6/4; London Dock
Apr 24th 1846; "Came down from the river and saled, the Mathesis, Gordon, for Batavia etc."; Deal
Apr 29th 1846; "Falmouth, April 29 - Arrived from London, the Mathesis, Gordon, for Cape of Good Hope."; Falmouth
Sep 21st 1846; "Departures from Table Bay … "Mathesis, on 21st, for Batavia"; Cape of Good Hope
Mar 7th 1847; "Arrivals in Table Bay, from Cardiff, Mathesis, [Mar] 7; Cape of Good Hope
Mar 14th 1847; "Departures - Mathesis, [Mar] 14, for London; Cape of Good Hope
Apr 22nd 1847; Shares in Mathesis offered for sale at the Lemon Tree Tavern Aberdeen at 7pm.; Aberdeen
Apr 22nd 1847; Gordon now master of the 'Queen of Aberdeen' - "off Dover, for Singapore"; off Dover
May 18th 1847; "Arrived [at Dartmouth] the Mathesis, Sutton, from Batavia etc."; Dartmouth
May 25th 1847; "Arrived [at Gravesend] the Mathesis, Sutton, from Batavia"; Gravesend
May 28th 1847; Arrival in London; Custom House, London
Jun 30th 1847; "The Mathesis arrived from Batavia, has brought, among other productions, 25,650 Malacca canes"; London
Jul 26th 1847; "Gravesend July 26th, Mathesis [for] Hartlepool"; Gravesend
Aug 2nd 1848; "Arrival of Specie"; London
Aug 9th 1847; "Mathesis, Triscott, left Hartlepool, 9th inst, for Cape of Good Hope"; Hartlepool
Aug 10th 1847; "Hartlepool, Aug 10, Wind S.W. by S., Strong. Sailed the Mathesis for the Cape of Good Hope"; Hartlepool
Dec 5th 1847; "Departures: Mathesis, 5 [Dec 5] for Madras."; Cape of Good Hope
Feb 22nd 1848; "Arrivals at Madras… 22 Mathesis, Triscott to Cape and London" [via Mauritius - see below]; Madras
Apr 30th 1848; Gordon now captain of the barque "Queen of Aberdeen" on route from China to London; 49N 10W
May 7th 1848; Departures from Table Bay - The Mathesis on the 7th for London; Cape of Good Hope
Jun 28th 1848; Lat 31. Lon 38. Mathesis rendered assistance to the Gunga (leaking).; At Sea
Jul 14th 1848; Off Plymouth - ...the Mathesis, Truscott, from Mauritius,; Mauritius
Aug 1st 1848; Sea Lioness on Mathesis - Truscott brings the first to Europe from iceberg near the Crozet Islands"; London
Sep 22nd 1848; North Shields - The Mathesis for Naples - waiting to proceed to sea"; North Shields
Oct 2nd 1848; "Sailed - The Mathesis... for naples"; North Shields
Nov 1st 1848; "Mathesis - at Napeles, 1st inst, from Newcastle"; Naples
Dec 10th 1848; "Mathesis, Greaves, left Naples, 10th ult, for Constantinople"; Naples
Dec 12th 1848; Ownership Change
Jan 19th 1849; Mathesis, Greaves, in the Dardanelles, 19th ult., from Naples" Dardanelles
Jan 31st 1849; Ownership Change
Jun 9th 1849; Court Action involving Mathesis being removed illegally while under court order; Court of Exchequer
Jun 14th 1849; Mathesis, Greaves, at Cork, 14th inst, from Ords
May 12th 1850; Mathesis reported in Manilla Harbour; Manilla
May 15th 1850; Mathesis due to sail for London - but sold. Manilla
Aug 12th 1851: Ownership Change - Registration cancelled
Shipbuilder
John Reid & Co.
Dimensions
length 106 3/6' x breadth 22 9/12' x depth 17 5/12'
Registered Tonnage: 325 ton (365 burthen)

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