1773 London letter, payment for victualing HMS Pallas during 1772-1773


These are to certify that Mr Andrew Forbes Purser of His Majesty’s Ship Pallas appears to be Creditor upon his account in this Office for Victualing the said Ship’s Company Between 1st April 1772 and 3 June 1773.
Dated at the Victualing Office
London 30th August 1773
Jonas Hanway (signed)


19 X 24.5 cm

Jonas Hanway (1712 –1786), was an English traveller and philanthropist.

In 1729, Jonas was apprenticed to a merchant in Lisbon. In 1743, after he had been in business for himself for some time in London, he became a partner with Mr Dingley, a merchant in St Petersburg, and in this way was led to travel in Russia and Persia. Leaving St Petersburg, and passing south by Moscow, Tsaritsyn and Astrakhan, he embarked on the Caspian Sea.

The rest of his life was mostly spent in London, where the narrative of his travels (published in 1753) soon made him a man of note, and where he devoted himself to philanthropy and good citizenship.

In 1756, Hanway founded The Marine Society, to keep up the supply of British seamen; in 1758, he became a governor of the Foundling Hospital, a position which was upgraded to vice president in 1772; he was instrumental in the establishment the Magdalen Hospital; in 1761 he procured a better system of parochial birth registration in London; and in 1762 he was appointed a commissioner for victualling the navy (10 July); this office he held till October 1783.

Hanway was the first Londoner, it is said, to carry an umbrella, and he lived to triumph over all the hackney coachmen who tried to hoot and hustle him down. He attacked vail-giving, or tipping, with some temporary success; by his onslaught upon tea-drinking he became involved in controversy with Johnson and Goldsmith. His last efforts were on behalf of little chimney-sweeps. His advocacy of solitary confinement for prisoners and opposition to Jewish naturalization were more questionable instances of his activity in social matters.


HMS Pallas was one of the three 36-gun Venus-class fifth-rate frigates of the Royal Navy. She was launched in 1757 and served until her loss in 1783.

The Venus class of 36-gun frigates were designed by Thomas Slade, the Surveyor of the Navy and former Master Shipwright at Deptford Dockyard. Alongside their smaller cousin, the 32-gun Southampton class, the Venus-class represented an experiment in ship design; fast, medium-sized vessels capable of overhauling smaller craft and singlehandedly engaging enemy cruisers or privateers. As a further innovation, Slade borrowed from contemporary French ship design by removing the lower deck gun ports and locating the ship's cannons solely on the upper deck. This permitted the carrying of heavier ordinance without the substantial increase in hull size which would otherwise have been required in order to keep the lower gun ports consistently above the waterline. The lower deck was instead used for additional stores, enabling Venus-class frigates to remain at sea for longer periods without resupply

In 1783, under the command of Captain Christopher Parker RN and acting as convoy escort for eight military transports from Halifax, Nova Scotia, to England, several leaks became evident soon after sailing. She became separated from her charges during a gale and the high winds and heavy seas only made the leaks worse. By 5th February 1783, there were eight feet of water in the hold and despite heaving overboard guns and heavy stores, little progress was made in reducing the water level. It was decided to make for the nearest land, which was judged to be the Azores.


1771/05/07      Sailed for the Mediterranean
1773/05           fitting at Portsmouth Dockyard at a cost of £529.7.11d
1773/06           Paid off
1774/09           Recommissioned
1774/12/12      Sailed for the African Coast
1775/11/16      Sailed for a cruise
1777/03/01      Sailed as escort for the African trade ships
1778/01           Began middling repair at Portsmouth Dockyard
1778/05           Completed middling repair at Portsmouth Dockyard, cost of £7049.1.10d
1778/05/25      Sailed for Newfoundland
1778/09/14      Occupation of Saint-Pierre and Miquelon
1779/03           Began coppering and fitting at Plymouth Dockyard
1779/05           Completed coppering and fitting at Plymouth Dockyard,cost of £3502.1.5d
1779/05/13      Action in Cancale Bay
1779/06           Sailed for Jamaica
1780/11/11      Took the Sixth Rate Diana in the Channel
1782/07/25      Sailed for England
1783/02/12      Run ashore at Sao Jorge in the Azores due to leaks
1783/02/24      Burnt


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