HL Deb 05 April 1878 vol 239 cc646-7

asked the noble Lord who represented the admiralty in that House, Whether there would be any objection to give their Lordships information as to a communication bearing on the foundering of the "Eurydice," which had been enclosed to the Foreign Office in a letter from Consul Hunt at Bordeaux?


said, that not only was there no objection to producing the document referred to by his noble Friend, but, on the contrary, it afforded him the greatest satisfaction to be able to give any information which might tend to exonerate those whose loss they all so deeply deplored, and with whose relatives their Lordships all so deeply sympathized. The letter referred to, dated March 28, was sent to the Foreign Office and enclosed a deposition made by the master of the English steamer Badger, which was off St. Catherine's Point, and must have been within six or eight miles of the Eurydice at the time she foundered. This was the enclosure in Consul Hunt's letter— London and Einburgh Shipping Company, Bordeaux, March 28, 1878. S. S. Badger, Sunday, March 24, 1878, about 3.30 P.M., St. Catherine' Point, about N.N.W. 5 miles, passed one of Her Majesty's ships on our port side. She was then under all sail, topmasts and lower studding-sails on the port side, the wind being about W. by N. The weather had been fine all day, wind unsteady, shifting from W.S.W. to W.N.W. Passed St. Catherine's Point N.N.E. 2 miles at 3.45 P.M. I then observed dark heavy clouds to the N.W. About 4 P.M. the wind shifted suddenly to N.N.W., blowing strong, with snow, and continued about half-an-hour. I believe that the appearance of a squall coming on would not be seen from Her Majesty's ship. I did not see it until clear of St. Catherine's Point; It was low down, and clear overhead, and also clear over Isle of Wight; therefore, Her Majesty's ship would get the squall without any warning. I remain, Sir, your most obedient servant, JOHN LOUTTIT. That document bore out a suggestion which he had ventured to make to their Lordships, when he addressed them a few nights ago on this subject—namely, that the nature of the land might have very possibly prevented the squall being seen by those on board the Eurydice until too late. Their Lordships knew what occurred when the squall struck that vessel. They knew what followed; but what they did not know—and what they could never know—was what was passing in the minds of those in a responsible position in charge of that vessel before the squall struck her, and the last fatal moment arrived.

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