A History of the Falkland Islands
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1833 - 1849
1833 – January 2 nd , the Clio arrives at Puerto Louis. Capt. Hope in HMS Tyne arrives at Port Egmont.179
Commander Onslow sends a written instruction to Pinedo requiring him to remove his flag and depart. The Lt. Colonel protests...
January 3 rd , Commander Onslow orders his men to lower the Federal Pact flag and hoist the Union Jack in its place. The ensign is folded with due respect and returned to the Sarandi with the message that the British had found, "a foreign flag in the territory of His Majesty.”
Lt. Colonel Pinedo, with only the remains of a mutinous garrison, and a British crew, offers no resistance other than a further verbal protest.
January 5 th , the Sarandi evacuates the garrison, while the Rapid transports most of the prisoners.
Before his departure, Pinedo provides a written order to one of Vernet's settlers, Juan Simon, a Frenchman, promoting him to 'Political and Military Commander' of the Islands. Simon is illiterate and, apparently, either unaware of the contents of the order, or disinterested in the responsibility.
Capt. Onslow persuades the majority of Vernet’s settlers to remain, including 12 gauchos whose wages he pays in silver. He appoints William Dickson, an Irishman, and the settlement's storeman, as the British Representative on the Islands. Dickson's instructions are to fly the flag on Sundays and whenever a foreign vessel arrives at the port.180
January 10 th , the small British force leaves. Dickson is now the only authority in the Falklands.181
January 14 th , the Islands are visited by Belford Hinton Wilson who is a passenger on the Tyne, commanded by Capt. Charles Hope, en-route to Peru where Wilson is to be Consul-General. Wilson speaks to the gauchos, who complain about the wages Vernet pays them, mostly in promissory notes.
A description of East Falkland, prepared by Luis Vernet, is read by Woodbine Parish to the Royal Geographical Society in London. Parish informs the Society that 89 British, American and French visited the Islands for the whales and seal fisheries between 1826 and 1831.182
January 15 th , the Sarandi and the Rapid arrive at Buenos Aires.
The Sun arrives at Montevideo and informs the new commander of the USS Lexington, Capt. Isaac McKeever, that the Sarandi forced the vessel to leave the Falklands.
Capt. McKeever immediately writes both to Levi Woodbury, in Washington, and George Slacum in Buenos Aires, to tell them that he intends to take the Lexington back to the Falkland Islands in order to protect American interests.
January 16 th , McKeever is made aware of the arrival of the Sarandi and delays his departure whilst enquiries are made in Buenos Aires.183
José Pinedo records in his ship's log, the names of those he has brought back from Puerto Louis;
“Capt. D. Juan Antonio Gomila, Miguel Hernandez and his wife Maria Romero, Sgt. Santiago Almandos Almonacid, Soldiers: José Barrera, José Gómez, Manuel Francisco Fernández, Toribio Montesuma, Jose Soto, José Rodríguez, Juan Castro and his wife Manuela Navarro, Antonio García, Juan J. Rivas and his wife Maria I. Beldaño, Denis Godoy, Hipólito Villarreal and his wife Lucia Correa and two sons, Gregory Durán and his wife Carmen Manzanares, with two sons, Benito Vidal and his wife Maria Saisa. Daniel Molina.
Settlers: Joaquín Acuña, his wife Juana, Matthew González, his wife Marica.
Aliens: José Viel, John Quedy, Francisco Ferreyra, plus 1 prisoner.”
Military prisoners removed on the Rapid are recorded as: Sgt. José María Díaz, Soldiers: José Antonio Díaz, Manuel Delgado, Mariano Gadea, Manuel Suares, Francisco Ramírez, Bernardino Cáceres, Manuel Saenz, Antonio Moncada, Women: María Rodríguez, with three children; Anastasia Romero; Encarnación Alvarez; Carmen Benitez; Tránsita González, with a son.
February 8 th , Mestivier's murderer, Sáenz Valiente, is shot after having his right hand cut off, six other mutineers are shot by firing squad in a public execution and two others are flogged. José Antonio Gomila is only condemned to 2 years on half pay.184
Also in February , US Secretary of State, Edward Livingston questions Francis Baylies, about the events during his time at Buenos Aires. Baylies responds, " The existing Government have repeatedly denounced the intrusive government under which the decree of the 10th of June (was made) as mutinous, and have recognized none of their laws and decrees… It may be asked why should they exhibit such pertinacity in sustaining Vernet? In my opinion they should have abandoned him without hesitation, had not the interest of some of the leading men in the Govt. been in a degree involved… Vernet will eventually be compelled to relinquish his claims to the Falklands which will become in some way or other the exclusive domain of the ruling family. – Hence the strong effort to sustain Vernet."185
March 1 st , Charles Dawin and Capt. Fitzry arrive in HMS Beagle. Darwin records the make-up of the remaining settlers in his diary, ” …The present inhabitants consist of one Englishman, who has resided here for some years, & has now the charge of the British flag, 20 Spaniards & three women, two of whom are negresses.”
Fitzroy, merely notes that seven gauchos and five Indians remain.
March 9 th , Lt. Col. José María Pinedo is court-martialed, found guilty and suspended.
Matthew Brisbane returns to the Islands, presenting his papers to Capt. Fitzroy.
March 30 th , Charles Darwin writes to his sister, Caroline - " ... We arrived here in the Falkland Islands in the beginning of this month & after such a succession of gales, that a calm day is quite a phenomenon. We found to our great surprise the English flag hoisted. I suppose the occupation of this place, has only just been noticed in the English paper; but we hear all the Southern part of America is in a ferment about. By the aweful language of Buenos Ayres one would suppose this great republic meant to declare war against England! These islands have a miserable appearance; they do not possess a tree; yet from their local situation will be of great importance to shipping; from this Cause the Captain intends making an accurate survey ... "
April 15 th , the 790 prime fur seal skins, together with, 401 pup skins, liberated by Silas Duncan from Vernet's storehouse, and subsequently handed to Capt. Davison, arrive at Stonington in the United States.
In June , Vernet sends six more employees to join the settlers on the islands. Brisbane resumes paying the gauchos in promissory notes.
June 17 th , Minister Plenipotentiary to the Court of St James, Manuel Moreno sends an official protest to the British Government, complaining of the eviction of Argentina’s garrison. Moreno goes on to have his complaint printed and circulated in London, " The international question respecting the sovereignty of these islands, between Great Britain and the provinces of Rio de la Plata, being again brought under discussion, it is of paramount importance that the public should have a clear, and as it were tangible account of them, as well as of the claims of the respective competitors to their permanent and unmolested possession. ....."v
July 4 th , General Lucio Mansilla, at a party to celebrate 57 years of American independence, "after several toasts had been drank, rose, and in the most violent terms, impugned Great Britain for its occupancy of the Falkland Islands."186
August 26 th , Antonio Rivero, a 26 year-old gaucho, leads a riot over pay. Dickson and Brisbane are killed, together with Anton Wegner, Jean Simon and Ventura Pasos, all of whom work for Vernet. The survivors take refuge on Turf Island in Berkley Sound.
“ .. here we heard an account of the shocking event and its immediate cause. Brisbane employed the Spaniard Antook as a shoemaker, and several Mestizos and South American Indians as herdsmen, bullock-hunters, etc. Failing to pay them promptly, from lack of means, as he said, they were angry, and determined to kill him and all his friends and plunder the village. According to the plot agreed on, Antook came to the door of this room one morning while Brisbane was sitting before the stove lighted with a fire of peat, the principal fuel of these islands, and demanded pay. Brisbane refused, and immediately a bullet went through his body. He grabbed for his pistol, in a cupboard on his left, arose to fire, but staggered and fell, when he received a blow upon his head from a cutlass and three stabs from a dirk. He was then dragged to the door, his feet bound with raw-hide rope, and this being attached to the saddle of a horse, he was drawn out into the field, where he was stripped, mutilated, and left unburied. His clerk was also killed with several others at the same time, and the town was sacked, a few Englishmen escaping ..”187
September , the Harriet, seized by Vernet, is auctioned off.
September 29 th , King Ferdinand VII dies and leaves the crown to his daughter the Infanta Isabella.188
October , the settlers hiding on Turf Island are rescued by the British sealer Hopeful.
November 19 th , Philip Gore, British chargé d'affaires in Buenos Aires, sends a note to Minister Guido; "In compliance with the orders of his court, the undersigned, his Britannic Majesty's Charge d'Affairs, has the honour to notify to the government of Buenos Ayres, that the Rear-Admiral Commander-in-Chief of his naval forces in South America has been directed to appoint a Lieutenant from under his command, with a certain number of men, to reside at the Falkland Islands, for the protection of his Majesty's rights on those Islands."
December 3 rd , in his Annual Message to Congress, US President Andrew Jackson, refers to Buenos Aires;
“The negotiations commenced with the Argentine Republic relative to the outrages committed on our vessels engaged in the fisheries at the Falkland Islands by persons acting under the color of its authority, as well as the other matters in controversy between the two Governments, have been suspended by the departure of the chargé d'affaires of the United States from Buenos Ayres. It is understood, however, that a minister was subsequently appointed by that Government to renew the negotiation in the United States, but though daily expected he has not yet arrived in this country.”
1834 – January 28 th , the Reverend Titus Coan and Capt. Nash, arrive in the Islands in the American schooner Antarctic, hoping to replenish the ship's stores.
Lt. Henry Smith also arrives, in HMS Challenger, as the “Resident Naval Officer” responsible for the administration of the Falkland Islands, and intent on capturing the murderers.
The settlers remaining on the Islands are; Thomas Helsby, Charles Russler, Faustin Martinez, Santiago Lopez, Pascual Diego,Manuel Coronel, Antonina Roxa, Gregoria Madrid, Carmelita and her two children.
January 8 th , the British Foreign Secretary, Viscount Palmerston, responds to the Manuel Moreno protest.
" ...The undersigned, &c. has the honour to acknowledge the receipt of the note of M. Moreno, &c. dated the 17th of June last, in which he formally protests, in the name of his government, "against the sovereignty lately assumed in the Malvina (or Falkland) Islands, by the crown of Great Britain."
Before the undersigned proceeds to reply to the allegations advanced in M. Moreno's note, upon which his protest against this act on the part of his Majesty is founded, the undersigned deems it proper to draw M. Moreno's attention to the contents of the protest which Mr. Parish, the British Chargé d'Affaires, at Buenos Ayres, addressed, in the name of his court, to the Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic, on the 19th of November 1829, in consequence of the British Government having been informed that the president of the United Provinces of the Rio de la Plata had issued decrees, and had made grants of land, in the nature of acts of sovereignty over the islands in question.
That protest made known to the government of the United Provinces of the Rio de la Plata:—
1st. That the authority which that government had thus assumed, was considered by the British Government as incompatible with the sovereign rights of Great Britain over the Falkland Islands.
2dly. That those sovereign rights, which were founded upon the original discovery and subsequent occupation of those islands, had acquired an additional sanction from the fact, that his Catholic Majesty had restored the British settlement, which had been forcibly taken possession of by a Spanish force, in the year 1771.
3dly. That the withdrawal of his Majesty's forces from the Falkland Islands, in 1774, could not invalidate the just rights of Great Britain, because that withdrawal took place only in pursuance of the system of retrenchment adopted at that time by his Majesty's Government.
4thly. That the marks and signals of possession and of property, left upon the islands, the British flag still flying, and all the other formalities observed upon the occasion of the departure of the governor, were calculated not only to assert the rights of ownership, but to indicate the intention of resuming the occupation of the territory at some future period.
Upon these grounds Mr. Parish protested against the pretensions set up on the part of the Argentine Republic, and against all acts done to the prejudice of the just rights of sovereignty heretofore exercised by the crown of Great Britain. The Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic acknowledged the receipt of the British protest; and acquainted Mr. Parish that his government would give it their particular consideration, and that he would communicate to him their decision upon the subject, so soon as he should receive directions to that effect.
No answer was, however, at any time returned, nor was any objection raised, on the part of the government of the United Provinces of the Rio de la Plata, to the rights of Great Britain, as asserted in that protest; but the Buenos Ayrean government persisted, notwithstanding the receipt of that protest, in exercising those acts of sovereignty against which the protest was specially directed.
The government of the United Provinces of the Rio de la Plata could not have expected, after the explicit declaration which had been so formally made of the right of the crown of Great Britain to the islands in question, that his Majesty would silently submit to such a course of proceeding; nor could that government have been surprised at the step which his Majesty thought proper to take, in order to the resumption of rights which had never been abandoned, and which had only been permitted to lie dormant, under circumstances which had been explained to the Buenos-Ayrean government.
The claim of Great Britain to the sovereignty of the Falkland Islands having been unequivocally asserted and maintained, during those discussions with Spain, in 1770 and 1771, which nearly led to a war between the two countries, and Spain having deemed it proper to put an end to those discussions, by restoring to his Majesty the places from which British subjects had been expelled, the government of the United Provinces could not reasonably have anticipated that the British Government would permit any other state to exercise a right, as derived from Spain, which Great Britain had denied to Spain herself; and this consideration alone would fully justify his Majesty's Government in declining to enter into any further explanation upon a question which, upwards of half a century ago, was so notoriously and decisively adjusted with another government more immediately concerned.
But M. Moreno, in the note which he has addressed to the undersigned, has endeavoured to shew that, at the termination of the memorable discussions referred to between Great Britain and Spain, a secret understanding existed between the two courts, in virtue of which Great Britain was pledged to restore the islands to Spain at a subsequent period, and that the evacuation of them, in 1774, by his Majesty, was the fulfilment of that pledge.
The existence of such a secret understanding is alleged to be proved; first, by the reservation, as to the former right of sovereignty over the islands, which was contained in the Spanish declaration, delivered at the time of the restoration of Port Egmont and its dependencies to his Majesty; and, secondly, by the concurrent description of the transaction, as it took place between the parties, given in certain documents and historical works.
Although the reservation referred to cannot be deemed to possess any substantial weight, inasmuch as no notice whatever is taken of it in the British counter-declaration, which was exchanged against it; and although the evidence adduced from unauthentic historical publications cannot be regarded as entitled to any weight whatever with a view to a just decision upon a point of international rights; yet as the allegations above-mentioned involve an imputation against the good faith of Great Britain, to which his Majesty's Government cannot but feel sensibly alive, the undersigned has been honoured with the King's commands to cause the official correspondence with the court of Madrid, at the period alluded to, to be carefully inspected, in order that the circumstances which really took place upon the occasion might be accurately ascertained.
That inspection has accordingly been made, and the undersigned has the honour to communicate to M. Moreno the following extracts, which contain all the material information that can be gathered from that correspondence relative to the transaction in question ....vi
(after the extracts, Palmerston continues)
… M. Moreno will perceive that the above authentic papers, which have been faithfully extracted from the Volumes of Correspondence with Spain, deposited in the State Paper Office, contain no allusion whatever to any secret understanding between the two Governments, at the period of the restoration of Port Egmont and its dependencies to Great Britain, in 1771, nor to the evacuation of Falkland's Islands, in 1774, as having taken place for the purpose of fulfilling any such understanding. On the contrary, it will be evident to M. Moreno, that their contents afford conclusive inference that no such secret understanding could have existed.
The undersigned need scarcely assure M. Moreno, that the correspondence which has been referred to, does not contain the least particle of evidence in support of the contrary supposition, entertained by the Government of the United Provinces of the Rio de la Plata, nor any confirmation of the several particulars related in M. Moreno's note.
The undersigned trusts, that a perusal of these details will satisfy M. Moreno, that the protest which he has been directed to deliver to the undersigned, against the re-assumption of the sovereignty of the Falkland Islands by his Majesty, has been drawn up under an erroneous impression, as well of the understanding under which the declaration and counter-declaration relative to the restoration of Port Egmont and its dependencies were signed and exchanged between the two courts, as of the motives which led to the temporary relinquishment of those islands by the British Government; and the undersigned cannot entertain a doubt but that, when the true circumstances of the case shall have been communicated to the knowledge of the government of the united provinces of the Rio de la Plata, that government will no longer call in question the right of sovereignty which has been exercised by his Majesty, as undoubtedly belonging to the Crown of Great Britain.”
January 22 nd , the schooner Adventure is directed to survey the Falkland Islands.
February 1 st , Reverend Coan encounters 3 gauchos and negotiates for beef.
February 3 rd , the gauchos, together with 4 other men, deliver beef to the Antarctic.
February 5 th , Capt. Smith, with a party of 6 marines, discovers the Antarctic and hears about the gauchos. The information he receives leads him to the arrest of Rivero and eleven others, five of whom are Englishmen. All the suspects are dispatched to Rio de Janeiro.
February 12 th , the American Minister in Madrid, Cornelius Van Ness, presses the new Regent for recognition of the independence of the Spanish-American colonies.189
March 10 th , the Beagle returns to East Falkland, where she remains until April 7 th.
March 29 th , London's 'Morning Chronicle' notes that, "At least 7,000 head of fine wild cattle, and 500 wild horses, are roaming over a large expanse of the most excellent pasturage. Game is also in abundance, particularly rabbits, and the shores abound with excellent fish, as well as whales and seals."
June 12 th , Spanish Secretary of State, Martinez de la Rosa, indicates that the Queen Regent is willing to reach a 'just and honorable arrangement' with any Spanish-American representatives that arrive before her Ministers in Paris or London.
August , the new Colonial Secretary, Mr. Spring Rice, in considering what to do with Rivero and the other prisoners being held in Rio de Janeiro, states his view that, “ .. as the Falkland Islands are an undoubted possession of Great Britain there can be no question as to the right which His Majesty possesses of ordering the Murderers to be sent home and to be submitted to the ordinary course of the law in this country.”190
December 29 th , Manuel Moreno answers the Palmerston letter with a request, asking only that Puerto Louis and East Falkland now be restored to the United Provinces.191
1835 – March , Antonio Rivero, and the others accused of murder, are sent to London for trial.
The case over the ownership and salvage rights, if any, of the seal skins removed from Luis Vernet's storehouse in 1832 comes up in the Admiralty Court of Connecticut.
Circuit Justice Thompson concludes that the actions of Luis Vernet in seizing the skins was not 'piratical', as he had acted under the authority of the Buenos Aires Government;
“ Thus our government, four years after the seizure of the Superior, and, as must be presumed, with full knowledge of the fact, treated this right as a subject for negotiation between the two governments, and does not undertake to affirm such seizure to be a piratical act. And under this view of the case, I cannot consider the retaking by Captain Duncan a lawful act; and unless it was so, the claim of the libellant to compensation as for salvage services, in a court of admiralty, cannot be sustained.”192
May , in Britain, the Home Office seeks legal advice on the prosecution of Rivero, asking the Law Officers193 whether the accused can be prosecuted under British law; whether the evidence is likely to be sufficient and whether they would recommend a prosecution.194
June 2 nd , the Law Officers opinion is that the prisoners can be prosecuted under the legislation that was available, that the evidence appeared to be sufficient but, “ .. under all the circumstances it appears to us that in a case of a conviction the sentence could not justly be carried into execution and therefore we cannot recommend a prosecution.”195
June 16 th , the Admiralty is asked to repatriate Rivero and the 3 other remaining prisoners.196
September , Antonio Rivero is quietly put ashore near Montevideo.
Ambassador Manuel Moreno, in London, is instructed to go to Washington to pursue Argentina's claim for damages against the United States over the Lexington raid. Moreno declines, citing illness.
1836 – East Falkland is surveyed.
August , the liberal Constitution of 1812 is reinstated in Spain.
November 7 th , the Cortes in Madrid is consulted over recognition of the new States in South and Central America. Secretary Calatrava tells the Cortes that the revolted States wish to be considered independent, and that they desired Spain to renounce; “all territorial or sovereign right” over them. As this was contrary to the Constitution, the Cortes is asked to give its authority.197
9 members of the legislature form a Committee to consider the problem.
November 27 th , the Committee Concerning Treaties with the New States of America, reports to the Cortes; “ …In the opinion of the committee, the honor and dignity of Spain demand that the Cortes should act generously in this important affair, …. The regret of the mother country on separating forever from her American children is natural and well-founded. But that sentiment is transformed into an agreeable emotion of national pride on considering that, during the brief period of three hundred years in which that large family has been ruled by the laws of Spain, its members have reached that stage .. which enables them to take leave of their mother and to begin their career as independent nations...
The general Cortes of the kingdom authorizes the government of her Majesty that – notwithstanding articles 10, 172 and 173 of the political constitution of the monarchy promulgated at Cadiz in the year 1812 – it may conclude treaties of peace and amity with the new states of Spanish America upon the basis of the recognition of their independence and the renunciation of all territorial or sovereign rights on the part of the motherland, ..”198
The deputy for Badajoz declares; “ The emancipation of the Americans is de facto accomplished; nations, like individuals, have their periods of vigor and strength; at present the Americans are in that stage. On our part we should give to their separation a legal character; in order to legitimize what they now possess, ..”
December 1 st , the Spanish Cortes meets to consider the conclusions drawn by the Committee.
During the debate, Miguel Cabrera de Nevares, declares that the Spanish-American countries are “de facto independent”, which they owed to themselves, but, “to be independent de jure they will owe us.”
December 3 rd , the Cortes approves the Committee's work unanimously, allowing for recognition of a Spanish-American State, on application and the negotiation of a Treaty of Recognition in each case.199
1837 – March, Luis Vernet attempts to impede a ship, the Elizabeth, from leaving Montevideo, however the vessel, offered protection by the British Navy vessel, Fly, flees Montevideo, albeit without regaining the ship's Register which is held by the port authorities.200
April 11 th , Luis Vernet agrees a contract with Samuel Fisher Lafone of Montevideo to 'speculate in the Falkland Islands'. This agreement is to be drawn up and signed in May.201
“ .. if your Memorialist (Vernet) with his own limited resources and under a weak unprotecting Government succeeded in establishing a prosperous little Colony … it is evident that under the all protecting British Flag and the assistance of a powerful Company in England, as stipulated in the aforesaid Contract, and under proper management, there would now exist a very considerable Colony or Colonies in the Islands, ..”202
May 20 th , Vernet refuses to sign the contract when it is presented, believing the terms have been changed to favour Lafone.
Also in May , General Carlos María de Alvear is appointed Minister to the United States of America. Alvear is instructed;
“(1) to promote the most satisfactory reparation for the insults inflicted upon Argentine sovereignty by Duncan's destruction of Vernet's colony, by his capture of innocent persons and their removal to foreign lands, and by Slacum's lack of respect for Argentine authority; (2) to promote reparation to the Argentine Republic, Vernet, and the colonists for all damages caused by Duncan's aggression; and (3) to clarify and defend Argentine rights to the Falklands and to fisheries along their coasts.”203
Luis Vernet provides the General with a report of the events of 1832.204
July 29 th , William Hunter, the US charge d'affaires in Rio de Janeiro, makes mention in a letter to US Secretary of State, John Forsyth, about the Diplomatic Mission recently arrived from Argentina, "The mission to the United States from Buenos Ayres is doubtless for the purpose of reviving the old affair of the Falkland Islands, - Vernet's claims - our Captains alledged offences .... In connection with this case that of the Partheon has come to my notice. The Captain Adams was obliged to leave Monte Video without his papers, being pursued by Vernet for sealing on 'one of his' islands ..."
1838 – January 3 rd , John Henry Mandeville, British Minister at Buenos Aires, writes to Lord Palmerston about the opening session of the House of Representatives; “It adverts to the worn out question of the Falkland Islands, and declaims as usual upon the injustice of its occupation by Great Britain – without, I believe, receiving much sympathy or support from the public, except the very few persons who have speculated on an establishment there. It will make an annual paragraph in the message until the subject dies of exhaustion, ..”
Argentina offers to abandon any claim to the Falklands in exchange for the cancellation of the national debt owed to Barings Bank. The British Government declines.205
Lt. Robert Lowcay is placed in charge of the islands as Military Administrator.
Lowcay imposes the rule of law and announces that fishing rights extend to 3 miles from the shore. He also states that the cattle, horses and wild animals are protected and that any trespassers will be "... proceeded against ...".
July , a prospectus is published proposing the colonisation of the Falklands; “ The objects contemplated by this association (which upon investigation will be found, from its natural resources, utility, and beneficial employment of capital, to merit the fullest confidence of the public) are, to form a colony on the most easterly of the islands, the unusual facilities and advantages of which are demonstrated in the subsequent remarks to create in the magnificent and secure harbours of Berkeley Sound and Fort William that important national object-a naval and commercial depot for the shelter and repair of the numerous vessels now navigating the South Seas; to erect an establishment for supplying fresh and cured provisions, naval stores, water, fuel, and other requisites; to select parties properly qualified for carrying into effect extensive and most valuable fisheries, cattle farms, &c., for all of which nature has here pre pared everything ready for the industry of man, with the superiority of important adjacent markets.”206
July 9 th , the Arrow sails from Falmouth Harbour. The ship is fitted out to survey the Falklands and has seeds, agricultural implements and 2 bloodhounds on aboard.207
October 14 th , Arrow arrives at Port Louis; “At 5 o'clock we came-to off the settlement, Port Louis, and were much disappointed at its insignificance, as it only consisted of two small houses, in one of which lived the governor, Lieut. Lowcay, and three or four mud huts, occupied by three gauchos and their families.”208
1839 – In January , the case of Charles L. Williams v The Suffolk Insurance Company reaches the US Supreme Court on Appeal. This case concerns the loss of the Harriet following its seizure by Vernet in 1831. The insurance company argue that, in accordance with the Connecticut case, Vernet was acting legally and that therefore they have no duty to compensate the owners.
However, the court accepts the right of the US Government to decide its position in foreign relations and finds for the owner; “ It was the duty of the master to prosecute his voyage, and attain the objects of it, for the benefit of his owners: and, in doing this, he was not bound to abandon the voyage by any threat of illegal seizure. We think, therefore, that the underwriters are not discharged from liability ..."209
March 21 st , General Alvear, in Washington, submits Argentina's claim for reparations.
September 18 th , Lt. Lowcay reports to the Admiralty; “ … on 22 nd July last I left Port Louis, in the Sparrow, for the Westward, principally with the Intention of observing the cattle put last Summer on West Falkland, and to look after the American Vessels generally cruising here... During the cruise no American or other Vessels were seen, not have I heard of any Outrages having been committed by them.”210
Lowcay leaves the settlement in the charge of Lt. Robinson, until his successor arrives. During his tenure, Robinson reports that the American vessel, Benjamin de Wolf, is taking cattle.
December 23 rd , Lt. John Tyssen takes over as Military Administrator.
The Falkland Islands Commercial Fishery and Agricultural Association is formed in Britain to put pressure on the Government to permit the colonisation of the Falkland Islands. The Association is founded by George Thomas Whitington.
1840 – January 14 th , the Colonial Land and Emigration Commission is created from two previous authorities. It is given the task of overseeing and reporting on the colonies, dealing with grants of land and the outward movement of settlers.
The first licence for sealing is issued by Lt. John Tyssen, for the rookery off Volunteer Point.
February 29 th , Tyssen reports that there are 25 settlers on the Islands.
George Whitington sends 2 vessels to the Islands, under the direction of his brother, John Bull Whitington, with settlers, stores and a few sheep.211
August 22 nd , having been asked to consider the case for the colonisation of the Falklands, the Colonial Land and Emigration officers report, "..There appear to be Four Grounds upon which the Establishment of a regular Colony at these Islands has been urged upon the Government. 1) The usefulness of affording to the Merchant Vessels which sail round Cape Horn a Port for Refit and Refreshment. 2) The Expediency of having a British Port placed as it were between the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans, to which our naval Force on the South American Station could resort. 3) The Peculiar Advantages which the Islands afford for the Establishment of a Penal Colony. 4) their Fitness generally as a Settlement for agricultural and commercial purposes. On the Three first Grounds above stated, we entirely agree as to the Value and Importance of these Islands. On the Fourth, we think that considerable Doubt still rests."212
December 15 th , Lt. Tyssen writes; “From information I have received I firmly believe that American Vessels visit this Island to the Westward solely for the Purpose of killing wild Cattle, and from the Difficulty in detecting them in the Act they pursue this Robbery with Impunity...”
1841 – January 16 th , John Whitington, now in Port Louis, presents Lt. Tyssen with a claim for 10 square miles of land which he says is the property of his brother, George Whitington, following an arrangement with Luis Vernet.213
March 5 th , Capt. John Onslow, in London, suggests the relocation of distressed “Scotch Islanders” to the Falklands.
March 22 nd , complaints are received at the Admiralty, from George Whitington, concerning the activities of American vessels operating illegally around the Islands.
March 30 th , the Colonial Land and Emigration Commissioners make extensive recommendations regarding the establishment of a proper settlement, and the siting of a suitable port and Capital on the Islands. Port William is proposed as one option. They also suggest that Marines should be retained to bring law and order to the Falklands.
The Commissioners close their report by quoting from Capt. Fitzroy; “ .. whomsoever it may happen to colonize these Islands, there can be no Doubt that Industry will be well rewarded; that Health, Safety and a frequent Communication with the Mother Country will be as certain as in any other Colony; and that the only Drawbacks to be contemplated are those likely to be caused by Wind, and Deficiency of solar Heat.”214
Juan Manuel de Rosas again offers to abandon Argentina's claims of sovereignty over the Falklands in exchange for forgiveness of the 1824 Baring Brothers’ loan to Buenos Aires.
August 23 rd , Lt. Richard Moody is appointed to head the military administration of the islands. He receives his orders from Lord John Russell; “ .. you will turn your attention, immediately upon your arrival, to the means of administering law and justice within the colony. You will inform the inhabitants of the Falkland Islands, by proclamation, that the law of England is in force within the islands; you will ascertain whether there are any persons in the islands fit to be entrusted with the functions of judges or magistrates.”
October 14 th , Capt. Rob Russell in the Actaeon, arrives at Port Louis with more horses and supplies for the settlement;
“ On my arrival here I … found its inhabitants to consist of 27 men and women and 12 children. With the exception of the settlement-house ( which is a very miserable one), the whole of the habitations are mere hovels.”
December 4 t h , the US Department of State replies to General Carlos de Alvear's complaint of 1839;
“ The undersigned, Secretary of State of the United States, has the honor to acquaint General Alvear,
1842 – January 15 th , Lt. Richard Moody arrives in the Falklands.
January 22 nd , Lt. Moody formally takes command and addresses the 78 settlers;
“ … The only points upon which I deemed it necessary to lay any stress were, first, to remove the erroneous ideas that might still linger in the mind of any one concerning Mr. Vernet's fancied claims upon Great Britain; I have been given to understand that some of the residents have claims upon Mr. Vernet, many of his paper dollars being in their possession, and some even in the government treasury of the colony, ...”
In February , Argentina's Ambassador to Britain, Manuel Moreno, protests the forming of a colony on the Islands as " .. contrary to law."
April 14 th , Lt. Moody, sends a comprehensive report back to the Admiralty, describing the Falklands in detail. He also notes that; “The hair and fur seals which were formerly so abundant in these islands have decreased considerably in number, in consequence of the wanton destruction as all times of the year when they can be met with; neither old seals nor pups are spared by the sealers.”216
Capt. James Clark Ross, the Antarctic explorer, over-winters at Port Louis in the Erebus. Capt. Clark and his naturalist, Joseph Hooker, assist Lt. Moody in surveying Port William and assessing its potential as a site for the main town and port on the Islands.
June 6 th , on the subject of settlers, the Lt. Moody writes;
“My further acquaintance with the industry and steadfastness of the few Scotch settlers (Highlanders from Argyleshire, the last from Glasgow), at present in the colony, induce me again to take the liberty of drawing your Lordship’s attention to the advantages of emigrants for these islands being selected from similar districts. The pastoral inhabitants of the hills and dales of the southern Scotch counties on the borders, would also be well adapted as settlers in the Falklands. They have the general character of being intelligent, steady, well-disposed men, and excellent shepherds; and the hardships they might have to undergo at the commencement of their residence would be trifling in comparison to what they constantly experience among their native hills during the greater part of the year.”
He also informs the Government that some English residents of the Rio de la Plata are interested in sheep farming on the Islands, and that they seek permission to do so.
October 21 st , a report in The Southern Australian newspaper:
“ At the Irish Court of Admiralty, held at Cork on the 24th March, John Hartnell was convicted on a charge, of piratically running off with a vessel the property of Mr. George Whitington, called the Mary Anne, and of which Hartnell was Captain, together with a large quantity of goods which were on board the vessel. The Mary Anne was sent to the Falkland Islands, from which place the prisoner took her off to South America, and after so altering her that she could hardly be known, he took a cargo to Cork, where he was seized. The prisoner was sentenced to seven years transportation.”
1843 – January 25 th , Lord Stanley informs Lt. Moody of his intention to seek from Parliament the authority to establish a legislative power on the Falklands.
March 24 th , after a good deal of deliberation, Lord Stanley advises Lt. Moody that he has decided that, “ .. the seat of government should at once be fixed at Port William.”
In April , an Act; ' to enable Her Majesty to Provide for the Government of Her settlements on the coast of Africa and in the Falkland Islands'.217
In June , Richard Clement Moody, Corps of Royal Engineers, is gazetted Governor and Commander-in-Chief of the Islands, with powers to appoint officials and judges.218 The appointment of a Legislative Council is reserved for the Privy Council in London.
June 23 rd , British Letters Patent provide for the government of South Georgia as a Dependency of the Falkland Islands.
Governor Moody reports the presence of 28 foreign ships over a period of a few months. His secretary, Murrel Robinson, employs 2 Argentine gauchos to work on the Islands.
Samuel Lafone writes to Governor Moody with a proposal to exploit the wild cattle.
August 28 th , Charles Le Blanc, is appointed Magistrate.219
December 30 th , Governor Moody reports an estimated 300 million cubic feet of peat on the Islands.220
1844 – January 8 th , William Fishbourne is appointed Magistrate.221
In April , Harvey M. Watterson is sent to Buenos Aires as "Special Agent" of the US State Department with instructions to obtain information concerning the domestic and foreign affairs of Argentina, and to seek the resumption of full diplomatic relations between that government and the United States.
August 13 th , diplomatic relations between the Argentine Republic and the United States resume with the appointment of William Brent, as charge d'affaires.
November 22 nd , William Henry Moore, an Irishman, is appointed as Stipendiary Magistrate to the Islands.222
1845 – July 18 th , the new capital is named after Lord Stanley, Secretary of State for the Colonies.
September 18 th , a blockade of the Rio de la Plata is declared by French and British forces.223
September 23 rd , the Reverend James Moody is gazetted as Her Majesty's Colonial Chaplain at Stanley.224
On the same day, a letter written by resident Thomas Edmondston, puts the population at 150 men, women and children.
1846 – March 16 th , Samuel Lafone, is contracted to hunt the wild cattle;
" 1st. Indenture, made the 16th day of March, 1846, between her most gracious Majesty Queen Victoria, of the one part, and Samuel Fisher Lafone, of Montevideo in South America, merchant, of the other part. Her Majesty Queen Victoria sells to Lafone that part of East Falkland lying south of the isthmus in Choiseul Sound, Also the islands in Choiseul Sound, and all other islands adjacent to the coast purchased ; also Beauchene Island ; also one town allotment of half an acre, and one suburban allotment of twenty-five acres in the principal town.
2d. For six years and six months from this date, Lafone to have absolute dominion over all wild cattle, horses, sheep, goats, and swine on east Falkland.
3d. For the above advantages, Lafone is to pay her said Majesty Queen Victoria, £60,000 by installments in the following manner £10,000 within ten days (since paid); £5000 on the 1st of January, 1851; £5000 on eachsucceeding 1st of January, until the whole shall be paid in full.
4 th. Technical reservations of lands for government purposes, such as arsenals, ports, bridges, &c.
5 th. That Lafone is to deliver to the governor yearly in good health the following stock: in 1847, 500 cows, 5 bulls, 4000 wild sports of the Falklands, 263 sheep, 40 rams, 20 horses.
In 1848, 1000 cows, 10 bulls, 5000 sheep, 50 rams, 20 horses, 50 mares, 5 stallions, 30 sows, and 10 boars.
In 1849, 1500 cows, 5 bulls, 5000 sheep, 50 rams, 50 mares.
In 1850, 6000 sheep, 60 rams.
The sheep to be all white ewes, good breed (not merinos), common and hardy, similar to those in the colony. The stock to be delivered at such good and safe ports as the Governor may direct.”
Legislative and Executive Councils are formed, a police force is introduced and a room in the barracks designated as a school.
Stipendiary Magistrate Moore is suspended.
November , Lafone sends a party of gauchos to the Islands to hunt cattle.
1847 – Government House opens as an administrative center and Governor Moody introduces a grazing scheme to encourage small-scale farming.
In May , the French Count, Walewski, and an Englishman, Lord Howden, arrive in Buenos Aires to negotiate the lifting of the Anglo-French blockade.225
December 15 th , Lt. George Rennie takes over as Governor.226
Also in December , Ministers from Colombia, Chile, Bolivia, Ecuador, and Peru meet in Lima, Peru. The US sends an observer, and Buenos Aires sends minor officials.
60 houses are now in use at Port Stanley. Whittington has a small farm of sheep and cattle near the old Port Louis.
1848 – January 29 th , “ The official and private accounts from Anson, the chief settlement of the Falkland Islands colony, have been so gloomy and discouraging for some time past, that many persons have doubted the probability of continued possession; and few persons nave been found adventurous enough to enter personallyupon the work of colonization there
We learn, however, that since the substitution of Stanley for Anson, as the chief settlement, some very marked alterations and improvements have become apparent in the position and a prospect of the settlers; and Governor Moody has taken fresh courage, instead- of applying to be recalled.
Wells have been successfully sunk, and extensive- drainage of the marsh lands living been resorted to, the herbage has become improved, and the cattle have thriven amazingly.
The amount invested by the Government ,and individual colonists at the new settlements is between £10,000 and £20,000; and the prejudices which had well-nigh proved fatal to the whole scheme of colonization having given way before a more accurate examination of the local resources, we shall not be surprised to learn that a considerable increase of population has taken place.”227
In March , the Lima Conference concludes. Article 7 of the final agreement adopts a political arrangement to define the borders between the conferring States228; The confederated Republics declare that they have a perfect right to the conservation of their territories as they existed at the time of independence from Spain, those of the respective Viceroyalties, captaincies-general or presidencies into which Spanish America was divided.229
July 25 th , Sir William Molesworth, the colonial reformist and Radical politician, delivers a long speech in the House of Commons on the subject of colonial expenditure. It is widely circulated at the time by the Financial Reform Association, and described as, 'a complete and searching exposure of colonial administration.' He details the monies spent on all the colonies and says of the Falkland Islands; "... I will now conclude the catalogue of the military stations with the Falkland Islands. On that dreary, desolate, and windy spot, where neither corn nor trees can grow, long wisely abandoned by us, we have, since 1841, expended upwards of £35,000; we have a civil establishment there at the cost of £5000 a year; a governor who has erected barracks and other 'necessary' buildings, well loop-holed for musketry; and being hard up for cash, he issued a paper currency, not, however, with the approbation of the Colonial office..... What I propose to the House is this .... to acknowledge the claim of Buenos Ayres to the Falkland Islands."230
1849 – the population in Stanley reaches 200.
In April , General Rosas submits his terms to the British and French representatives.
May 17 th , the Colonial Land and Emigration Commission estimate, in its annual report, that 14 more settlers had departed for the Falkland Islands in 1848.231
June 1 st , in a Parliamentary debate on the costs of the various colonies, Mr. Cobden says he;
“ .. could not refrain from reading over the manner in which the money was expended in the government of those islands. There was a governor, 800l; magistrate, 400l.; chaplain, 400l.; surgeon, 300l.; first clerk, 200l.; second clerk, 150l.; schoolmaster, 20l.; surveyor's department, 1,230l.; public works, 1,050l.; Guachos, 300l.; purchase of stores, freight of vessels, and incidental expenses, 1,100l.; rations, 750l.—in all, 5,700l. Really, if this country had more money than it knew what to do with—if it were the most flourishing nation in the world, it would be impossible to throw away its money in a more wanton manner than they were doing.”
July 28 th , an answer by Lord Palmerston to a question by Mr. Baille MP, is reported in The Times: " … a claim had been made many years ago, on the part of Buenos Ayres, to the Falkland Islands, and had been resisted by the British Government. Great Britain had always disputed and denied the claim of Spain to the Falkland Islands, and she was not therefore willing to yield to Buenos Ayres what had been refused to Spain. 10 or 12 years ago the Falkland Islands, having been unoccupied for some time, were taken possession of by Great Britain, and a settlement had ever since been maintained there; and he thought it would be most unadvisable to revive a correspondence which had ceased by the acquiescence of one party and the maintenance of the other."
Argentina 's Ambassador, Manuel Moreno, protests, stating that the discontinuance of correspondence should not be interpreted as acquiescence; ".. the Government of Buenos Aires and Confederation Argentina has never consented to the divestment of its sovereignty in the Falkland Islands made by the English Government in 1833; and that far from withdrawing their protest on June 17 of that year, reiterated in the (letter) of 29 December 1834 he has kept his undisputed rights to that possession by all media who have been in his possession, and constantly has stated its just complaint for lack of satisfaction..."
November 24 th , the, “ Convention for re-establishing the perfect Relations of Friendship between Her Britannic Majesty and the Argentine Confederation”, is signed in Buenos Aires.232
“Article 7: Under this Convention perfect friendship between Her Britannic Majesty's Government and the Government of the Confederation, is restored to its former state of good understanding and cordiality.”
December 27 th , US Secretary of State, John Clayton, writes to William A. Harris, his charge d'affaires at Buenos Aires;
“ I transmit a copy of a letter under date the 24th instant and of the memorial which accompanied it, addressed to this Department by Mr Seward of the Senate, asking for the interposition of this Government in behalf of Isaac P. Waldron and William H. Smyly, who were injured in their persons and property at the Falkland Islands in 1832, by Louis Vernet who claimed to be the Governor of those Islands under the authority of the Buenos Ayrean Government. You will press this case for an adjustment at the same time with those of the other citizens of the United States who were aggrieved by Vernet at those Islands.”232
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