Special Files - Bundle 17: No.7 Schooner Douro

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Special Files - Bundle 17: No.7 Schooner Douro is associated with Melbourne, Victoria located at these coordinates -37.813611, 144.963056


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Special Files - Bundle 17: No.7 Schooner Douro.
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Record Citation: PROV VPRS 1095/P0, unit 26
Record URL: http://www.access.prov.vic.gov.au/public/component/daPublicBaseContainer?component=daViewSeries&entityId=1095
Agency: VA 466 - Governor (including Lieutenant Governor 1851-1855 and Governor's Office)
Agency URL: http://www.access.prov.vic.gov.au/public/component/daPublicBaseContainer?component=daViewAgency&entityId=466
Date: 8th December 1885
Record Type: Correspondence
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Language: en
Copyright URL: http://www.prov.vic.gov.au/copyright
Related Resource URL: http://wiki.prov.vic.gov.au/index.php/Records_relating_to_Pacific_Islands_1840s_-_Current
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User Tags: schooner, douro, pirate ship, pacific islands, pacific, pirate, ship




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VPRS 1095 P0 unit 26 Douro Correspondence Front Page.jpg CORRESPONDENCE RESPECTING THE SCHOONER "DOURO",

LATE "ALBERT".

P 85/2924. T 85/45.

H.M.S. Nelson, Moreton Bay,

17th September, 1885

SIR,

I have the honour to enclose, for Your Excellency's consideration, a communication I have received from Lieutenant and Commander Ross.

It occurs to me that, if the statement therein contained is true, it would be desirable to know if the vessel referred to has a right to fly the Portuguese flag.

The owner is said to be a Mr. Leslie, of Melbourne. The captain's name does not convey the idea that he is a Portuguese, and the same remark applies to the names of the mate and crew.

I shall be glad of any information on this subject; and should it turn out that this vessel is not entitled to the Portuguese flag, I shall be glad to be acquainted by telegraph.

I have the honour to be, Sir,

Your Excellency's most obedient humble servant,

G. TRYON,

Rear-Admiral and Commander-in-Chief.

His Excellency Sir Henry B. Loch, K.C.B., &c., &c.,

Governor and Commander-in-Chief, Victoria.

[COPY]

P 85/2924.

FORWARDING STATEMENT MADE BY MATE OF SCHOONER "DOURO."

H.M.S. Raven, at Cooktown, 29th August, 1885.

SIR,

I have the honour to forward you a statement made to-day on board Her Majesty's ship under my command, by the mate and two able seamen of the schooner Douro, master Sorensen, flying Portuguese colours, in the Solomon Group.

2. They were brought to Cooktown by the s.s. Golden Gate, flying American colours, owned by Mr. Farrell, of Raluone, Duke of York Group.

I have the honour to be, Sir,

Your obedient servant,

(Signed) H.L. ROSS,

Lieut. and Commr.

Rear-Admiral George Tryon, C.B.,

Commander-in-Chief, &c., &c.

[COPY]

P. 85/2924.

Statement of Otto Ashe, Mate of the Schooner "Douro."

My name is Otto Ashe; I am mate of the schooner Douro, flying Portuguese colours, owned by Mr. Leslie, of Melbourne.

I left the Douro in her boat at the Cartwright Group on 23rd June, 1885, accompanied by Anders Nelson Apitz, Anders Peter Olson, able seamen, and seven Solomon Islanders.

A.629.-30/4/12/85,(n.a.).

VPRS 1095 P0 unit 26 Douro Correspondence - Page 01


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I went to Treasury Island to report myself to a man-of-war.

Learning outside, from the Princess Louise, that there was no man-of-war there, I went on to Mioka, in Duke of York, to lay the case before the German Commissioner.

There I delivered up the boat, and proceeded to Blanche Bay, and from thence to Cooktown.

I complain of the illegal and piratical trading carried out by Captain Forensen, of the Douro, namely:-First - That, in A Thousand Ships' Bay, Isabelle Island, Solomons, he forced the natives to supply him with seven boys, by seizing canoes, and not allowing them to remove their nets; he also fired one shot into the bush. Second - At Cape Comfort, in same Island, he induced the Chief to come on board, and had him placed in irons, and would not release him until he received from him 4,000 bêches-de-mer, 24 turtle shells, 3 boys, and a pig. This bêche-de-mer and the turtle shells belonged to Mr. Brodie, of the schooner John S. Lane, of Sydney. Third - In the Cartwright Group he used the natives' canoes without payment or permission, and confiscated their weapons. Fourth - I complain of the bad treatment to which we were subjected by Captain Sorensen.

(Signed) OTTO ASHE, Mate of schooner Douro.

Read over to us on board H.M.S. Raven. Our reasons for leaving the Douro are the same as those given by Otto Ashe; and his statements are true.

(Signed)

ANDERS APITZ, Able Seaman.

ANDERS PETER OLSON, Able Seaman.

Stated before me, on board H.M.S. Raven, on 29th August, 1885.

(Signed)

H. L. ROSS, Lieut. and Commr.

H.M.S. Raven, at Cooktown, 29th August, 1885.

No. 85/3327. P.85/54.

MEMORANDUM FOR HIS EXCELLENCY THE GOVERNOR.

Premier's Office,

Melbourne, 24th September, 1885.

Mr. Service has the honour to return herewith the despatch from His Excellency Rear-Admiral Tryon, Commander-in-Chief, relative to the schooner Douro, which was referred to this office by Your Excellency's command on the 23rd Instant, and to forward to Your Excellency a copy of a Report which he has received from his colleague the Honorable the Commissioner of Trade and Customs regarding the vessel referred to.

JAMES SERVICE,

Premier.

[COPY] P.85/2924.

This vessel was formerly named the Albert, and was registered at this port. She was owned by Thomas Godfrey Leslie, but sold to a foreigner; and struck off the register accordingly, in accordance with the Merchant Shipping Act, on 9th April, 1885.

The bill of sale was made out to Carlos Straus, said to be a Portuguese subject, and it was witnessed by the Portuguese Consul, with his seal attached.

This would go to show that the buyer was a Portuguese subject.

Returned by direction.

(Signed) A. W. MUSGROVE.

23/9/85

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TELEGRAM TO HIS EXCELLENCY ADMIRAL TRYON, R.N., C.B.

Government here informs me schooner Douro, formerly owned by Thomas Godfrey Leslie, but sold to a foreigner, Carlos Straus, said to be a Portuguese subject, and struck off from Register here accordingly. Awaiting information from Consul.

(Signed) H. B. LOCH,

24th September, 1885. Governor of Victoria.


[COPY]

2nd October, 1885.

SIR,

I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your despatch of the 24th September with enclosures. I at once communicated with the Customs authorities on the subject to which they relate, and sent you the result of their report by telegram on the 24th ultimo., a copy of which I transmit herewith.

I likewise communicated with Mr. T. C. N. Cooper, the Portuguese Consul, both by letter and verbally (the latter at his request), and I beg to forward a copy of a letter I have this day received from him, as well as a copy of a statement made by [ Margin: 30th Sept., 1885. ] J. Otte Ashe, late mate of the schooner Douro, and who is now in Melbourne, with reference to the occurrence which took place on board of the schooner while trading among the South Sea Islands, and I likewise transmit a copy of the letter which Mr. [ Margin: 30th Sept., 1885. ] Leslie, the owner of the schooner, addressed to the Portuguese Consul, referred to by him in his letter to me.

I have, &c.,

(Signed) HENRY B. LOCH.

His Excellency Rear-Admiral Tryon, R.N., C.B., &c., &c., &c.

H.M.S. Nelson.

P/85/55.

Melbourne, 30th September, 1885.

SIR,

I have the honour to inform Your Excellency that I communicated with Mr. Leslie, re the Portuguese schooner Douro, and in reply received the enclosed letter and sworn document which I forward for Your Excellency's perusal. You will perceive that Mr. Leslie repudiates the acts of the captain, and is prepared to do anything Your Excellency may advise, so as to bring the captain to justice.

I have the honour to remain, Sir,

Your Excellency's most obedient servant,

THOS. C. N. COOPER,

Consul for Portugal.

His Excellency Sir Henry B. Loch, K.C.B., &c., &c., &c.,

Melbourne.

P./85/55.

I, Otto Ashe, late mate of the schooner Douro, 44 tons register, trading among the South Sea Islands, make oath as follows:-

That Neils Peter Sorensen was and, to the best of my knowledge and belief, still is in command of the said schooner.

That I shipped on board the said schooner at Sydney, as mate, on or about the seventh day of April last, and that the vessel sailed from that port for the South Sea Islands in about three weeks afterwards. That I continued acting in the capacity of mate until the twenty-third day of June, on which date I left her in company with two others of the crew and seven natives of the Solomon Islands, in the Carteret group, for the purpose of reporting to the commander of one of Her Majesty's ships of war, or other legal authority, the piratical and illegal proceedings of the said Neils Peter Sorensen, and to claim their protection.

VPRS 1095 P0 unit 26 Douro Correspondence - Page 03


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That the piratical and illegal proceedings referred to consisted of the following acts:-

1st. That at Adda Bay and Maroo Bay, on the coast of St. Christoval, and at Merow Sound, he decoyed native boys on board as labourers, by telling them they would be away from home for only five moons, whereas he knew that he would not be returning with the vessel before twelve months.

2nd. That in Cockatoo anchorage, Island of Ysabel, he forcibly detained two of the native chiefs, whom he had taken on board the schooner by an armed crew, until they gave him seven boys, whom he took away in the vessel on the cruise; and that the said boys were subsequently landed on the Island of New Britain, about four hundred miles from their home, without any compensation and amongst unfriendly natives. That while detaining the chiefs as hostages, as already stated, he also detained five canoes belonging to the islanders and the large village fishing nets.

3rd. That in Manning Straits he invited the native chief King John, of Wagena, to have dinner on board, and then forcibly placed him in irons and detained him on deck all night shackled to the spindle of the wheel, demanding as ransom a specified quantity of beche-de-mer and other produce, which was duly paid; he then demanded the same quantity over again as a further ransom, which being also paid, he made further demands, which were also satisfied, and in addition three native boys and a pig were given to him.

4th. That in the Carteret group he demanded from one of the chiefs four native girls, which demand was at first refused, but was afterwards complied with under fear of threats made by him; and that he took the said girls on board the vessel and detained them for immoral purposes on the part of himself and his crew.

5th. That at Green Island, in the above-named group, he induced the natives to sign a transfer of their land under pretence of paying them for same, but that he never did so.

6th. That in the same group, with himself and one of the crew armed, he took forcible possession of the native canoes and used them for his own purposes in fishing for beche-de-mer.

7th. That he also went round the native huts, and seized and forcibly carried away all the property of the natives that he could lay hands on in the shape of weapons, native and otherwise.

8th. That he also pointed out to the native labourers belonging to the vessel the produce stored by the natives on the island, and told them that they must steal and bring it on board to him; but that he was prevented from carrying out this project through our leaving vessel; and this circumstance also prevented his having fruit trees belonging to the natives cut down without their permission or without compensation, and which he had given orders to do.

OTTO ASHE.

Sworn before me at Brighton, in the county of Bourke and Colony of Victoria, this 29th day of September, 1885.

ANDREW WEBSTER, J.P., Central Bailiwick.

Re Schooner "Douro."

Thos. C. N. Cooper, Esq., Portuguese Consul, Melbourne. P. 85/85.

Brighton, 30th Sept., 1885.

SIR,

Finding that Mr. Otto Ashe, formerly mate of this vessel was in Sydney, I sent for him in order that I might obtain more authoritative information as to the gross misconduct of the captain, Neils P. Sorensen, than the mere statements appearing in the daily press. And I mentioned in our interview yesterday that I would bring him before you (I had only seen him for the first time about an hour before seeing you), and would also furnish you with his sworn statement as to what had transpired on board the vessel. This statement, which I have endeavoured to take down carefully myself, that it might be the more circumstantial, and which has been duly attested before a local magistrate, I now have the honour to enclose, hoping that it may be in some measure instrumental in bringing down on Sorensen the punishment he so richly deserves.

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The facts presented show him to be a thorough scoundrel, and it is to me a source of the deepest mortification that my name, as owner of the vessel, should be in any way associated, however remotely, with such villainy; or that the faintest shadow of suspicion should rest upon me in connexion with such outrageous proceedings, which are in marked violation of all civil and moral law, and an outrage upon our common humanity. Those who know me intimately, who know my whole manner of life, know that I would be one of the last men in Victoria to lend any countenance to such scandalous proceedings; proceedings which, I may observe, are in direct opposition to my orders. Indeed, my instructions to the captain were most emphatic that he should treat the natives fairly and honourably in every respect, and that he must be sure not to permit any interference whatever with the women.

It will certainly be a source of great satisfaction to me to know that no question of international law will present any obstacle to bringing on him the severest punishment. I shall be very glad indeed to render all the assistance in my power, and I do hope that he may be very summarily dealt with.

I trust also that His Excellency the Governor and Admiral Tryon may see fit to take the necessary steps in the matter. I wish to see him removed at once from the command of the vessel, but, without the assistance of the Admiralty, I don't see how I can accomplish it, as he is so far out of my reach. I do not, however, wish the vessel to be taken away from the islands, as this would simply be ruinous to me, financially situated as I am at present; but I purpose sending another captain to take charge of her in Sorensen's stead; and, in order to facilitate his arrest, I have arranged with the late mate, Otto Ashe, to go with the man-of-war, should one be dispatched (in the event of such arrangement being satisfactory to the Admiral), as he has a general idea of Sorensen's probable whereabouts amongst the islands, and I then wish him (Ashe) to be reinstated in his former position of mate, or to place him in command as master, in case I fail to secure the services of the party I have in view for that position.

I have the honour to be, Sir,

Your obedient servant,

THOS. G. LESLIE.

85/6729.

MEMORANDUM FOR THE HONORABLE THE ATTORNEY-GENERAL.

The Governor refers to the Honorable the Attorney-General for his opinion and report a confidential despatch that His Excellency has received from Admiral Tryon, dated 30th ultimo, re the schooner Douro, late Albert, together with other correspondence and papers with respect to the registration of this vessel under the Portuguese flag, certain acts alleged to have been committed by the captain of the Douro, and set forth in the enclosed papers; should these statements prove to be correct renders it necessary that the Admiral should, as he requests, be advised as to the status of the vessel on the points named in his letter above quoted; and the Governor requests that the Honorable the Attorney-General will forward to His Excellency his opinion thereon that the Governor may transmit the same as early as possible to the Admiral.

HENRY B. LOCH.

Government House, Melbourne, 11th November, 1885.

[Confidential.]

T.85/51.

Nelson, at Sea, off Melbourne,

30th October, 1885.

SIR,

My letter addressed to your Excelleney, on the 17th ultimo, was necessarily based on the assumptions that were accepted in previous correspondence; if they prove to be correct, I shall be glad if your Excellency will refer the case to the legal advisers of your Government that I may be informed as to the status of the vessel.

1. Is the Douro liable to be seized as a prize?

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2. Is she liable to be seized wherever found; if not, what is the restriction as to locality and seas imposed, as to place of seizure, and where she would have immunity as to our jurisdiction?

3. Is it possible for her present owner, or her captain, to legally convey her or to sell her to any other owner?

4. What would be the result, if sold or conveyed to the subject of another power?

5. Whether it is desirable or necessary to acquaint His Excellency the Governor of New Caledonia and the German authorities in the Islands of the status of the vessel?

I need hardly add, if the Douro is liable to seizure, that publicity, or anything short of the most complete secrecy in this matter, will defeat the course of justice.

I have the honour to be, Sir,

Your Excellency's most obedient servant,

G. TRYON,

Rear-Admiral and Commander-in-Chief.

His Excellency Sir HENRY B. LOCH, K.C.B., &c., &c.,

Governor and Commander-in-Chief, Victoria.

85/6729. T 85/50.

Nelson, at Sea, off Melbourne,

30th October, 1885.

SIR,

With reference to Your Excellency's letter of the 2nd October, 1885, and to the enclosures therewith, and to previous communication, I beg to observe that the Portuguese Consul writes on 30th September, 1885, and encloses a letter from a Mr. Leslie of the same date, in which he says "it is a source of the deepest mortification that my name as owner of the vessel should be associated, however remotely, with such villany." He also makes it perfectly clear that, in addition to being the owner, he instructed personally the master of the Douro. He also says that "it will certainly be a source of great satisfaction to me to know that no question of international law will present any obstacle to bringing on him the severest punishment."

2. I beg to draw to Your Excellency's notice that the above statements are difficult to reconcile with the telegram of the 24th September, 1885:- "Government here informs me schooner Douro, formerly owned by Thomas Godfrey Leslie, but sold to a foreigner, Carlos Straus, said to be a Portuguese subject, and struck off from register here accordingly. Await information from Consul."

3. As the case stands, it appears that the vessel is owned by Mr. Leslie, and it appears as though he took the very precaution he, in his letter, professes to be so desirous to avoid. He makes it quite clear that he instructed the master of his ship, for which a foreign flag had been somehow, and for some reason best known to himself, rightly or wrongly procured.

4. Mr. Leslie must be aware that his proposal to send a mate, one Otto Ashe, whose statement may or may not be true, in a British man-of-water at this season some 1,700 miles north of Sydney, with the view to replace him on board a foreign vessel, whose whereabouts are, to say the least, uncertain, on board of which it is proposed he should be "reinstated in his former position of mate, or to place him in command as master in case I fail to secure the services of the party I have in view for that position" could not be seriously entertained. Mr. Leslie emphasizes the expression in his letter:- " I do not wish the vessel to be taken away from the Islands." I need hardly observe, if the statements of Otto Ashe are true, he would be the most important witness in the case, and he would, if so sent away, not be forthcoming.

5. I submit to your Excellency that Mr. Leslie cannot relieve himself of his responsibility; that the legality of the right of the vessel to hoist the Portuguese flag is a subject well worthy of close investigation; and that, on the face of the papers as they stand, there is ground for grave suspicion that it was obtained by fraudulent misrepresentation, with the view to avoid the responsibilities which would rest were the vessel to wear the national flag of the owner. (I presume, from the telegram quoted above, that Mr. Leslie is a British subject.)

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6. There is grave doubts whether this was not done with the view to escape the action of certain Acts of Parliament.

7. I cannot observe among the names of the crew of the Douro those which would indicate that they are natives of that country; and a reference to the laws of that country renders the grounds for regarding this case as one well worthy of searching inquiry, to my judgement, all the more necessary.

8. I do not question Mr. Leslie's right to accept all that Otto Ashe has stated on oath. At this moment there are several cases, in the neighbourhood of the scenes referred to in the Islands, in the course of being investigated, in which natives have taken action with a result unfavourable to Europeans. The reason for their action was not apparent. The cause for their anger is possibly here supplied, and I am confident Your Excellency and Your Government will spare no means to check illegal proceedings, that lead to such lamentable results, as are too often recorded in the station records.

I have the honour to be, Sir,

Your Excellency's most obedient servant,

G. TRYON,

Rear-Admiral and Commander-in-Chief.

His Excellency Sir Henry B. Loch, K.C.B, &c., &c.,

Governor and Commander-in-Chief, Victoria.

A. 85/20.

MEMORANDUM FOR HIS EXCELLENCY THE GOVERNOR.

With references to the confidential despatch received by His Excellency from Admiral Tryon, and the file of papers herewith, relative to the schooner Douro (late Albert), and to the request of His Excellency that I should advise the Admiral as to the status of that vessel on the points set out in the said despatch, I am of opinion that the owner of the Douro (late Albert) has done something within the meaning of section 103, sub-section 2, of The Merchant Shipping Act 1854, with intent to conceal "the British character of such ship from any person entitled by British law to inquire into the same, or to assume a foreign character," viz., he has gone through a sham form of sale of the ship to a Portuguese subject, caused the name of the ship to be removed from the register as a British ship, and put the ship under the Portuguese flag under a Portuguese name (Douro), with intent to assume a foreign character; and that the ship has thereby become forfeited to Her Majesty (see section referred to above), and liable to be seized by any commissioned officer on full pay in the military or naval service of Her Majesty, or by any British Consular officer.

2. As to the places where the ship may be seized, the Act is silent; but I am of opinion that she may be seized:- 1. In any part of the British Dominions.

2. On the High Seas.

3. Or in any foreign port by a British Consular officer, having first obtained the concurrence of the local authorities.

3 and 4. The forfeitures takes effect as from the time of the illegal act which causes the forfeiture, and no subsequent sale, either to a British subject or to a foreigner, can affect the right of Her Majesty. (See case of the Annandale, 2 P.D., pp. 179 and 218, Law Reports.)

After seizure, the ship must be brought for adjudication of forfeiture before a Court of Admiralty. (See Merchant Shipping Act, section 103.)

5. I am of opinion that it is desirable to acquaint His Excellency the Governor of New Caledonia and the German authorities in the Islands of the status of the vessel.

6. It seems to me desirable, in view of the fact that the ship is sailing under Portuguese colours, that the Admiral should have with him a copy of the statement made by Mr. Thos. C. N. Cooper, Consul for Portugal at Melbourne, herewith.

GEO. B. KERFERD.

Attorney-General.

Crown Law Offices,

Melbourne, 12th November, 1885.

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6729. P./85/56.

Police Department, C.I. Branch Office,

Melbourne, 7th November, 1885.

Inquiry re Schooner "Douro," late "Albert," vide attached File.

I beg to report that, in accordance with your instructions, I first called upon Mr. Musgrave at the Customs in reference to this mater, but though he kindly searched all the books, &c, he could give me little or no information on the subject, further than that the books showed that the schooner was struck off the books as a British vessel on the 9th of April last, "as sold to a foreign person." This was done at the request of Mr. Leslie, a copy of whose letter to the Registrar of Shipping, [ Margin: See page 12. ] Customs Department, Melbourne, dated 30th March, 1885, I forward herewith, and this is the only document they have at the Customs referring to this matter. The books were also searched to ascertain the date on which the schooner left Melbourne, but no entry appeared in them that a schooner, either under the name of the Albert or the Douro, had left Melbourne during this year. From what I could learn it appears the schooner had a permit to visit colonial ports, but that was a very old one (viz., in 1883), and she evidently left Melbourne for Sydney, where I next hear of her, without the necessary clearance at the Customs.

Having failed to obtain information at the Customs, I determined next to see Mr. Cooper, the Portuguese Consul, and having informed him of the nature of the information I required, I obtained the following statement from him:-

Thomas Charles Napier Cooper states - I am the Consul for Portugal in Victoria. About the commencement of March last Mr. Leslie, a British subject, whom I have known for some time, called on me at my office, and asked me to put a vessel, which he owned, under the Portuguese flag, as she was going to the islands pearl fishing, &c., and as there was a likelihood of war breaking out between England and Russia, he wished to put the vessel under a neutral flag. I told him it could not be done, unless the vessel was the property of a Portuguese subject. Leslie said the captain was a Dane, and I said, "Why do you not put the vessel under the Danish flag"? He said, "Must the captain be of the same nationality under which the ship sails ?" I said, "No." I do not remember what he said then, but I know he threw obstacles in the way of putting the vessel under the Danish flag. Leslie then asked me if I could put him in the way of how to get it done. I said, "You must sell the vessel to a Portuguese subject, and he must come to me with the necessary papers." I, of course, knew that it was to be a dummy sale, but the excuse about the war scare quite threw me off my guard. Leslie then asked me the names of some of the Portuguese residents in Melbourne. I gave him several; amongst them I mentioned Mr. Carlos Straus, whom I knew personally to be a Portuguese subject, and added that he or any of them would, no doubt, allow their names to be used for a transfer for a small consideration. Shortly after this Carlos Straus and Leslie came to my private house, as I was laid up, and the former told me that he had agreed to purchase the schooner Albert from Leslie, for I believe, £1,000, and wished to have the vessel put under the Portuguese flag under the name of Douro, and this I agreed to do.

On 14th March last I made the following memorandum of the transaction:- "Put under the Portuguese flag the schooner Albert, now called the Douro, owner Mr. Carlos Straus, Portuguese subject, from Lisbon, as per passport." On the same day (14th March) Straus executed a mortgage in favour of Leslie on the schooner Douro, late Albert, for £800, which I duly registered.

The schooner Douro left here on 16th March for Sydney, and on the 26th March I received a letter from the Portuguese Consul there, in which he acknowledged receiving my advices as to the schooner Douro, and stated that the master, Sorrenson, had handed to him the British register of the vessel; this I handed to Mr. Leslie, who, I presume, returned it to the Customs here.

On 8th April last I received a letter from Messrs. Holdsworth and Evans, of Sydney, sending me an assignment of the mortgage executed between Straus and Leslie, from the latter to Sorrenson, as security for the sum of £150, advanced by him to Leslie, and requesting me to register same. This I did, and returned the assignment to them.

I also received a copy of the ship's articles from the Portuguese Consul at Sydney, in which the names of the master and crew and their various nationalities appear, but none of them are Portuguese.

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About the 1st of September last, from something that I saw in the papers about the schooner Douro, I wrote to Mr. Leslie, and he forwarded me a certain sworn document, which I forwarded to the Governor here on the 30th of September last.

On the 7th October last, at the request of Mr. Leslie, I wrote to the Portuguese Consuls at Hong Kong and Singapore to detain the schooner Douro in the event of her calling at either of those places, as it was feared that the master, Sorrenson, intended to sell the cargo and vessel and clear out.

This is a correct statement of the facts of the case, as far as I can remember.

10/11/85. THOS. C. N. COOPER, Consul.

Having got this statement from Mr. Cooper, I did not deem it advisable to see Mr. Leslie, particularly as I was instructed that the inquiry was a secret one, nor, for the same reason, did I call on Mr. Straus. In fact, from what I can judge at present, neither of them could tell me much more about the affair than I know already.

It will be seen from Mr. Cooper's statement that the identity of the Albert and Douro as being one and the same schooner is clearly established, also the fact that the sale from Leslie to Straus was purely a dummy one, and that the vessel still belongs to Leslie, subject only to lien of £150 to her master, Sorrenson. In fact, Mr. Leslie in all his letters represents himself as owner of the schooner.

Should you deem it advisable, I can of course see both Mr. Leslie and Straus, and obtain full statements from them.

J. M. CONSIDINE,

Sergeant, 2415.

Inspector Kennedy,

C. I. Branch.

13th Nov., 1885.

SIR,

Upon receipt of your confidential letter of the 30th ult. with respect to the schooner Douro, late Albert, I communicated the same to Mr. Kerferd, the Attorney-General, [ Margin: 11.11.85. ] accompanied by a memorandum, a copy of which I transmit, and I now have [ Margin: 12.11.85. ] the honour to forward for your information a memorandum from the Attorney-General [ Margin: Mr. Consul Cooper's statement extract from Police report. ] upon the subject, together with an extract from a Police report, which, by the Attorney-General's direction, was obtained with respect to some of the points relating to the case.

The Attorney-General, in paragraph 5, states as his opinion that it is desirable to acquaint His Excellency the Governor of New Caledonia, and the German authorities in the Islands of the status of the vessel. I presume Your Excellency may possibly act upon this opinion, and I would suggest for consideration whether, if you do so, the High Commissioner of the Western Pacific should not likewise receive similar information.

I have,&c.,

(Signed) HENRY B. LOCH.

His Excellency Admiral Tryon, R.N., C.B.

P85/58.

Police Department, Detective Office,

Melbourne, November 13th, 1885.

INQUIRY RE THE SCHOONER "DOURO," FORMERLY THE "ALBERT."

I beg to report that I have ascertained that Carlos Straus , the reputed owner of the Portuguese schooner Douro, is a clerk in the employ of Mr. Waters, Patent Agency, Bourke-street west. He has been here for about two years, and is in poor circumstances, and has been so ever since his arrival; in fact, I know that he owes my informant £7 for board and lodging, which he (Straus) is going to pay when he receives a remittance from Portugal.

I also asked my informant if he thought that Straus would have been in such a financial position within the past six months to have negotiated a purchase amounting to £1,000, and the reply I got was- "not for a thousand pence."

J. M. CONSIDINE,

P.C. Sergeant, 2415.

Inspector Kennedy, Melbourne.

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VPRS 1095 P0 unit 26 Douro Correspondence Page 10.jpg 10

INQUIRY RE SCHOONER "DOURO," LATE "ALBERT."

Police Department, Detective Office,

Melbourne, November 16th, 1885.

I beg to report that, in accordance with instructions, I called on Mr. Carlos Straus with reference to the supposed purchase by him of the schooner Douro, late Albert, from Mr. Leslie, and obtained a statement from him of what occurred, and also got him to sign it, which statement I beg to forward herewith.

J. M. CONSIDINE,

P. C. Sergeant, 2415.

Inspector Kennedy, Melbourne.

Carlos Straus states- I am a clerk in the employ of Mr. Waters, Bourke-street west, and live at Vine House, Neptune-street, St. Kilda. I am a Portuguese subject, and my father resides in Lisbon. About the commencement of March last, I forget the exact date, Mr. Cooper, the Portuguese Consul, called on me at my office, and told me that the owner of a vessel, the schooner Albert, wished to have his vessel registered under the Portuguese flag, as there were rumours of war between Russia and England, and he feared the vessel might be made a prize of, and he (Mr. Cooper) asked me to allow my name to be used as the owner of the vessel, and said that I should be paid for so doing. I objected, as I did not consider it a fair business, but Mr. Cooper saying that such transactions were common, I at length agreed. I was told to call at Mr. Cooper's office the next day, which I did, and there met Mr. Leslie and another man whose name I don't know. Mr. Cooper introduced me to Mr. Leslie, who, he said, was the owner of the schooner which he wanted registered under the Portuguese flag.

It was there and then arranged that Mr. Leslie and I should call at a certain hour, viz., ten o'clock, at Mr. Cooper's private residence, the following day (Sunday). We met there at the appointed time, and the papers in connexion with the purchase of the schooner Albert, whose name was then changed to the Douro, were duly executed by Leslie and self, in Mr. Cooper's presence, by which I became the supposed owner of the vessel, at the same time I signed a mortgage in favour of Mr. Leslie, on the schooner Douro, formerly Albert, for £800.

The sale was purely a sham one, no money was paid by me to Leslie. After executing the deeds, I was asked to leave the room. Shortly afterwards I was called in again; and Mr. Leslie wished me good-bye, and left. Mr. Cooper then handed me the sum of £2 10s. for my assistance in the matter.

I believe Mr. Cooper got something for his trouble in the matter from Mr. Leslie, as he said to me "I wish I had asked him more."

I have never seen Mr. Leslie since.

I have no documents or papers in connexion with this transaction in my possession.

CARLOS STRAUS.

Statement of Carlos Straus, taken by me this 16th day of November, 1885.

J. M. CONSIDINE.

C. 85/1081. C. 85/14.

Department of Trade and Customs,

18h November, 1885.

SIR,

In reply to your note of yesterday's date, I have the honour to forward herewith, for the information of His Excellency, a copy of the register of the Albert, which was sold to a foreigner at this port (subsequently, I believe, named the Douro), and which vessel was consequently, in accordance with the provisions of the Merchant Shipping Act, struck off our register, and her certificate of registry cancelled and forwarded to England.

I also transmit a copy of the letter in which the owner (Mr. Leslie) informs me of the sale to Carlos Straus, a Portuguese subject, and surrenders up the certificate of registry.

I am, Sir,

Yours faithfully,

J. W. MUSGROVE.

Capt. J. W. Traill.

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VPRS 1095 P0 unit 26 Douro Correspondence Page 11.jpg 11
Form No 19.                                                                               Transcript of Register.
Signal Letters (if any)


Official Number of Ship.                        Name of Ship.                     No., Date, and Port of Registry.
      79525                                      "Albert"                               8/1881.  Melbourne.


No., Date, and Port of previous Registry (if any)- First Registry.


Whether British or    Whether a Sailing or Steam Ship;      Where built.     When built.      Name and Address of
Foreign built.       and if a Steam Ship, how propelled.                                          Builders.
   British.                      Sailing.                   Williamstown,      1862.           H.M. Government.
                                                              Victoria.
                                                                                                Feet.       Tenths.   
Number of Decks    ...     ...   One.             Length from fore part of stem, under the
Number of Masts    ...     ...   Two.             bowsprit, to the aft side of the head of        56            5
Rigged   ...  ...  ...     ...   Schooner.        the stern post.
Stern    ...  ...  ...     ...   Round.           Main breadth to outside of plank  ...           16            1
Build    ...  ...  ...     ...   Carvel.          Depth in hold from tonnage deck to               8            5
Galleries     ...  ...     ...   None.            ceiling at midships.
Head     ...  ...  ...     ...   None.            Depth in hold from upper deck to ceiling
Framework     ...  ...     ...   Wood.            at midships, in the case of three decks
                                                 and upwards.
                                                 Length of engine-room (if any)    ...


                                            PARTICULARS OF ENGINES (if any).


No. of        Description.     Whether      When       Name and      Diameter      Length        No. of Horses'
Engines.                     British or     made.       Address        of            of         power (combined).
                           Foreign made.              of Makers.     Cylinders.   Stroke.



                                            PARTICULARS OF TONNAGE.
                                               No. of Tons.                                            No. of Tons.
    GROSS TONNAGE                                                        DEDUCTIONS ALLOWED
Under Tonnage Deck, by Rule 1....   ...            43.71         On account of space required for propelling
Closed in spaces above the Tonnage Deck                          power.
 (if any)                                                       On account of spaces occupied by Seamen
Space or spaces between Decks...    ...                          or Apprentices, and appropriated to their
Poop ...     ...     ...     ...    ...                          use, and kept free from Goods or Stores
Forecastle   ...     ...     ...    ...                          of every kind, not being the personal
Round House  ...     ...     ...    ...                          property of the Crew.
Other closed in spaces (if any) as follows:                      These spaces are the following, viz.:-
        Gross tonnage       ...    ...            43.71
Deductions, as per Contra    ...    ...
        Registered tonnage  ...    ...         43.71/100                Total Deductions      ...      ...


Name of Master,                                                      ( Service,    No.
                                                                    (Competency, No.


Names, Residence and Description of the Owners, and) viz.,  (Thomas Godfrey Leslie, of Melbourne, in) Sixty-four.
Number of Sixty-fourth Shares held by each         )        (the Colony of Victoria, Gentleman      )    (64).


 (Seal.)       Vessel sold to a foreigner at this port and Register closed accordingly, the 9th April, 1885.
                               Certificate of Registry delivered up and cancelled.


Dated 18th November, 1885.                                          S. W. MUSGROVE, Registrar.


  NOTE.- If there are more Owners than one, the Registrar is requested to distinguish the Managing Owner by the
                                        letters "M.O." against his name.


            References of Transactions.                                                 Changes of Masters.
VPRS 1095 P0 unit 26 Douro Correspondence - Page 11


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Melbourne, 30th March, 1885.

The Registrar of Shipping, Customs Department, Melbourne.

SIR,

I have the honour to inform you that I have sold the schooner Albert, 43 71/100 tons register, of this port, to Carlos Strauss, a Portuguese subject, and that she has been registered by him under the Portuguese flag.

Herewith I beg to return the vessel's English register.

I am, &c.,

(Signed) THOS. G. LESLIE.

Bill of sale from T. G. Leslie to C. Strauss produced to me, duly witnessed by the Portuguese Consul under his seal.

(Signed) H. N. P. WOLLASTON,

Pro Registrar of Shipping.

Government House,

Melbourne, 18th November, 1885.

SIR,

With reference to previous correspondence respecting the schooner Douro, late [ Margin:

18th Nov. ] Albert, I have the honour to transmit a copy of a letter received from the Customs 

[ Margin: 30th March ] Department, covering a copy of the register of that vessel, and a copy of the letter in which the owner, Mr. Leslie, informed the Customs authorities here of the sale of the schooner to Carlos Straus.

I also, in accordance with Your Excellency's desire, transmit a certified copy of the Police report of the statement of Mr. Consul Cooper.

(Signed) HENRY B. LOCH.

His Excellency Admiral Tryon, R.N., C.B., &c., &c., &c.

Government House,

Melbourne, 17th November, 1885.

SIR,

In continuation of my letter of the 13th inst., relative to the schooner Douro, I have the honour to enclose to Your Excellency a copy of additional particulars, [ Margin: See page 10. ] being a further report from the Police, covering a statement made by Carlos Straus, [ Margin: See page 9. ] the reputed owner of the schooner, and an extract from a Police report with respect to the financial position of Carlos Straus.

In accordance with the opinion of the Attorney-General, I have communicated a copy of the Attorney-General's memo. of the 12th inst., which I have already forwarded to Your Excellency, and the statement of Otto Ashe, the late mate of the Douro to H.B.M.'s Consul at Noumea, and also to Sir P. Scratchley, with a request that he will be good enough to inform the German authorities in the Islands.

Until I receive further information from Your Excellency with regard to the steps which you may think it right to adopt with regard to the seizure or otherwise of the Douro, late Albert, the Attorney-General will postpone any action as against Mr. Leslie or others, which he may deem it advisable hereafter to take with respect to the alleged illegality of her being registered under the Portuguese flag.

I am, &c.,

(Signed) HENRY B. LOCH.

His Excellency Admiral Tryon, R.N., C.B., &c., &c., &c.

Government House,

Melbourne, 17th November, 1885.

SIR,

I beg to inform you that a schooner called the Douro, late Albert, registered at this port under the Portuguese flag is alleged to have been illegally registered under such flag. Certain acts are likewise alleged to have been committed by her, which, if true, are alleged to be piratical acts. Certain questions having been submitted to the Attorney-General of this colony with regard to the status of this [ Margin: See page 7. ] vessel , I beg to transmit a copy of his opinion thereon, and, in accordance with his

VPRS 1095 P0 unit 26 Douro Correspondence - Page 12


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recommendation under paragraph 5, I furnish you with the above information; and I also transmit a copy of a statement by Otto Ashe, the late mate of the schooner, together with a description of the schooner, as obtained from the Custom House [ Margin: Schooner's register. ] authorities of this port.

I have, &c.,

(Signed) HENRY B. LOCH.

His Excellency Sir Peter Scratchley, K.C.M.G., &c., &c., &c.

Same letter to E. M. Layard, Esq., C.M.G., H.B.M.'s Consul at New Caledonia.

T.85/56

Nelson, at Sydney,

18th November, 1885.

SIR,

I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of Your Excellency's letter, dated the 13th instant, on the subject of the schooner Douro, late Albert.

I presume that the necessary steps have been taken by Your Excellency to communicate with all the Governors of Colonies within these seas, so that should the Douro, late Albert, put into port she may be at once arrested.

I will at once communicate through the usual channels with the French and German authorities, and also with the High Commissioner for the Western Pacific at Fiji.

I have, &c.,

(Signed) G. TRYON,

Rear-Admiral and Commander-in-Chief.

His Excellency Sir Henry B. Loch, K.C.B., &c., &c., &c.,

Governor and Commander-in-Chief, Victoria.

T. 85/57.

Nelson, at Sydney,

20th November, 1885.

SIR,

I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of Your Excellency's letter of the 17th inst. H.M.S. Opal left port last evening with orders to seize the Douro, late Albert, should she fall in with her. She conveys the same orders to other ships of war, but it is doubtful whether they will reach before the return south.

I gather from Your Excellency's letter that you have communicated with H.M. Consul, Noumea. I presume you also will communicate with their Excellencies the Governors within the Australian waters, with the view to her seizure should she come into port. I should be glad of a description of the vessel, if it can be procured, so that she may be recognised.

I presume also Your Excellency will report the matter home, that notice may be sent to China and America, so as to prevent the sale or transfer of the vessel.

I have communicated with His Excellency the High Commissioner for the Western Pacific, and have asked him to take all possible steps in the matter.

I shall be glad to know if Your Excellency concurs in the above views.

I have, &c.,

(Signed) G. TRYON,

Rear-Admiral and Commander-in-Chief.

His Excellency Sir Henry B. Loch, K.C.B., &c., &c., &c.,

Governor and Commander-in-CHief, Victoria.


By Authority: JOHN FERRES, Government Printer, Melbourne.

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VPRS 1095 P0 unit 26 Douro Correspondence Last Page.jpg Government House,

Melbourne, 24th November, 1885.

SIR,

I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of Your Excellency's letter of the 20th instant, with reference to the Douro, late Albert, and to inform you that I have communicated with Their Excellencies the Governors within Australian waters, with the view to her seizure should she arrive in any port under their jurisdiction, and have furnished them with a copy of the correspondence which has taken place on the subject; I also enclose to Your Excellency three copies of the same.

I shall take the first opportunity of reporting the matter to the Secretary of State for the Colonies.

I have, &c.,

(Signed) HENRY B. LOCH.

His Excellency Admiral Tryon, R.N., C.B., &c., &c.,

H.M.S. Nelson.

Government House,

Melbourne, 24th November, 1885.

SIR,

I have the honour to transmit to Your Excellency copies of a correspondence relating to the schooner Douro, late Albert, alleged to be liable to seizure for alleged acts of piracy.

Your Excellency will observe that Admiral Tryon, in his letter of the 20th instant, informs me that he has issued orders for the seizure of the Douro by any ships of war that may fall in with her, and suggests that I should communicate the same to Your Excellency, with a view to her seizure should she enter any port within your jurisdiction.

I have, &c.,

(Signed) HENRY B. LOCH.

H.E. The Administrator of the Government, New South Wales.

The same letter to-

H. E. Sir A. Musgrave, K.C.M.G., Queensland.

H. E. Sir W. Robinson, K.C.M.G., South Australia.

H. E. Sir F. Napier Broome, K.C.M.G., Western Australia.

H. E. Sir G. C. Strahan, K.C.M.G., Hobart, Tasmania.

H. E. Sir W. F. D. Jervois, G.C.M.G., New Zealand.

H. E. the Administrator of the Government, Fiji.

MEMORANDUM FOR THE HONORABLE THE PREMIER OF VICTORIA.

The Governor begs to forward to the Honorable the Premier a copy of a letter which he has received from Admiral Tryon, of the 20th instant, stating that he has given orders to H.M.'s ships to seize the Douro, late Albert, should they fall in with her.

The Governor has communicated to Their Excellencies the Governors within Australasian waters, with a view to her seizure should she come into any port within their respective jurisdiction.

The Governor requests that the requisite instructions may be given for her being seized should she enter any of the ports or harbours of this colony.

The Governor transmits copies of the whole of the correspondence which has passed upon the subject.

(Signed) HENRY B. LOCH.

Government House, Melbourne,

24/11/85.

A.629*-30/4.12.85, (n.a.).

VPRS 1095 P0 unit 26 Douro Correspondence - Page 14

The consequences of this correspondence included the forfeiture of the vessel "Douro" to the Government and ten years jail for Captain Sorensen. There are plenty of articles to be found on the National Library of Australia's digital archive "Trove" - Search for "Douro" between 1884 and 1890. Quite a few significant records on Trove have been tagged "Douro 1885" - search by the tag to get a concise selection of documents up to the wreck of the "Douro" in the late 1880s.

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