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White Wings Vol II. Founding Of The Provinces And Old-Time Shipping. Passenger Ships From 1840 To 1885

Wreck Of The Prince Rupert Near Capetown

Wreck Of The Prince Rupert Near Capetown.

The brig Antilla, 283 tons, Captain Burnett, arrived at Wellington from Sydney on December 8th, 1841, and among her passengers was Mr. William Spain, who had been appointed by Lord John Russell as Commissioner to examine all native land purchases made in New Zealand. Another passenger was Mr. Charles Whybrow Ligar. These gentlemen, and some other passengers, had left Portsmouth in the New Zealand Company's ship Prince Rupert, 500 tons, Captain Ramage, on April 21st, 1841, the ship conveying altogether 125 New Zealand colonists. Unfortunately, the Prince Rupert was wrecked on the night of September 4th following, near Capetown. She was driven ashore during bad weather on the rocks at Mouille Point, with the loss of one life, that of Mr. Merewether (a son of Mr. Sergeant H. A. Merewether, of London), who was drowned after heroically rescuing a number of persons from the wreck.

Quite seventy of the emigrants, finding themselves stranded in Cape Colony, accepted the offer of the Hon. Mr. Porter, H.M. Attorney-General at Capetown, to take up their residence there. The rest came on to New Zealand in the Antilla, passages for them having been arranged by His Excellency the Governor, Sir G. Napier.

Out of eighty-two vessels dispatched to New Zealand by the New Zealand Company up to 1848, the Prince Rupert was the only one which failed to reach its destination. This points to the admirable way in which the vessels were found and officered, and it is doubtful if this fine record had been surpassed up to that time, or perhaps since.