London and New Brunswick
And, so, on 13 January 1850, the Drake family left Hobart, on board the Wellington, bound for London. Annie Baxter Dawbin wrote in her Journal on Wednesday, 16 January, saying:
On Saturday the “Wellington” left; and in it Mr Drake & family; I regret them leaving, for they were such nice persons = and one can ill afford to lose agreeable Society in a Colony.
The Wellington arrived at London on 17 April 1850, after “a very fine passage of 94 days.” Henry Drake would, at last, have been able to introduce his wife and daughters to his family in England. They might even have been able to meet up with their son, John, again. I have, however, not been able to find any definitive proof of their exact travel plans or whereabouts after their departure from Hobart.
Henry’s grandson, Brig. A. C. F. Jackson (whom I met in 1992 when I was starting my research for my MA thesis), who prepared a C.V. for Henry some years ago, suggested that in May 1850 Henry was “posted to St Helena for temporary duty while en route to Nova Scotia/New Brunswick”, but I have been unable to corroborate this. I do know that by 3 July 1850 A.C.G. Drake was in London, as he was presented to Queen Victoria “by the Chancellor of the Exchequer” at her levee at St. James’s Palace on that day. 1
At some point the Drakes then went to Canada. Even though Henry Drake is listed as being stationed at Nova Scotia in the Army Lists for 1851, 1852, 1853 and 1854, I know that he was stationed at Saint John in New Brunswick. On 17 August 1853 Henry and his wife, Louisa, were on board the Fairy Queen.
But on 28 October 1853 the family was plunged into sadness when Emily, “aged 8 years 8mos” died of scarlet fever at Saint John.
The family barely had time to grieve when they were on the move again. On 7 April 1854 Henry Drake wrote a letter “at sea, off Ireland” to his wife and three surviving daughters in Canada, saying, “I had intended chronicling our voyage but it has been so monotonous & unmarked that I have had nothing to write about One day telling the tale of all.” He added, “We expect to be at the Wharf at Liverpool tomorrow at 7 in the Morning – the quickest passage yet made I believe I shall leave for London by a train so as to arrive before 8 or 9 tomorrow Evg.” The Arabia docked at Liverpool on 8 April. Its arrival was reported in the Daily News as follows:
ARRIVAL OF THE STEAM-SHIP ARABIA. LIVERPOOL, SATURDAY. By the arrival this forenoon of the British and North American Royal Mail steamp-ship [sic] Arabia, Captain C. H. E. Judkins, we are put in possession of later advices from the United States and British North American possessions. The Arabia sailed from Boston at noon on the 29th ult., and on the 30th, at 9 a.m., passed the Canada, from hence, and arrived at Halifax at 9.35 p.m. After a delay of two hours in landing the mails she proceeded on her voyage. April 3rd passed the British ship Toronto, Canada west; 6th signalled the barque Atlas, from Trinidad, to Greenock; 7th, at 0.30 a.m., exchanged night signals with a steamer, bound west (the Arctic), and at 9.50 a.m. passed Cape Clear. 2
A year later, on 29 March 1855, Henry noted in his Journal that it had been one year since he’d left Boston by the Arabia. Not long before the Arabia left, however, it nearly foundered in Boston harbour. The Morning Post of 5 April 1854 reported:
March 19. – A heavy gale from N.W. prevailed here [Boston] yesterday and last night, which is reported to have been unusually violent at Portland, Bangor, Eastport, and Calais. During the gale, the Arabia (s.), and the ships Parliament and Bell Rock, and other vessels parted their cables, and nearly careened over, but were finally secured. 3
1. “Her Majesty’s Levee.” Times [London, England] 4 July 1850: 8. The Times Digital Archive. Web. 14 July 2012.▲
2. “UNITED STATES AND CANADA.” Daily News [London, England] 10 Apr. 1854: n.p. British Library Newspapers. Web. 28 Aug. 2017.▲
3. “SHIP NEWS.” Morning Post [London, England] 6 Apr. 1854: 7. British Library Newspapers. Web. 17 Apr. 2018.▲
©Megan Stevens 2018