Letters Hydrographic Office 1844/1845

Very much obliged to the UK Hydrographic Office for their help and for allowing the letters to be reproduced on this website.
Letters transcribed by Fabiënne Tetteroo, with thanks to Catriona Whitefield and Edmund Wuyts.

On 2 October 1844 the Clio was back in Portsmouth, England from mainly India and the Persian Gulf.
Commander Fitzjames was finishing up the paperwork connected to paying off a ship and wrote two letters to Captain Francis Beaufort, Hydrographer.
The letter of 2 October is about some instruments from the Euphrates expedition (1834-37) having been brought back to England. On 10 October Fitzjames wrote another letter to Beaufort to send him a sketch made by Lieutenant Henry Le Vesconte showing the Shatt al-Arab River in Iraq. This sketch was not included with the letter anymore and unfortunately could not be located by the UKHO.

Captain Francis Beaufort F.R.S.
~ ~ ~
Admiralty London

HMS Clio Portsmouth  2nd October  1844

I beg to accquaint you that I have brought to England three instruments late belonging to the Euphrates Expedition when commanded by Colonel Chesney which I have reason to believe are private property lent to the Expedition –
With the concurrence of Capt Lynch I.N. who found them in a store at Aleppo – [I have] decided on bringing them home in the hope that you may be able to ascertain their proper owners. and I await your instructions as to their final destination

I am Sir
Your very obedient servant
James Fitzjames

see other side

List of instruments brought from Baghdad in HMS Clio late belonging to the Euphrates Expd.

One sextant complete – ~ Cary London (no number)
Box marked no 3 E.F.

One box containing Becher’s False Horizon &c. &c ~ The tube marked Invented by Lieut AB Becher 1834

One field telescope with 5 joints – in leather case ~ Troughton and Simms

[ ]te
The sextant and False Horizon are supposed to belong to Capt Becher RN. lent by him to the late Lieut Murphy R. Engineers. –
The telescope is supposed to be the private property of Colonel Chesney – in which case I shall be happy to take charge of it for him.

James Fitzjames

Commander HMS Clio

HMS Clio Portsmouth 10th October 1844

I have the honor to send you a sketch of the Shat-ul Arab -commonly called the Bussorah River from Mahamah where the Admiralty chart ends to the junction of the Euphrates and Tigris at Karna. in which latter river (the Tigris) HMS Clio was anchored in 3 fms water.
     The 1st part is made by and is entirely the result of the observations of the Senior Lieutenant H. Le Vesconte.
     The 2d part – also by Lt. Le Vesconte is added merely to continue the river and shew the [D?]ubba Shual where

Captain F. Beaufort FRS
~ ~ ~
Hydrographer to the Admiralty

a considerable change has lately taken place

I have the honor to be


Your obedient servant

James Fitzjames

In January 1845 Fitzjames was in the middle of trying to secure his appointment to the upcoming Arctic Expedition (Franklin Expedition). But it seems that the Clio chapter couldn’t be closed just yet… Apparently he had not received any half-pay since October 1844 because of some lost documents. On 15 January 1845 he wrote about this matter to Captain Francis Beaufort:

11 Regent Street Pall Mall
15th January 1845

I have the honor to transmit the qualifications of the late [ ] master
of HMS Clio under my command which will I believe enable me to procure the necessary certificate from your office for paying my accounts – which I have as yet been unable to do, though the Clio has been paid off upward of three months – and I have in consequence had no half pay –
I beg to accquaint you that on arriving at Spithead I

Captain Francis Beaufort FRS

had this document (in common with the other necessary documents on paying off a ship according to the Admiralty instructions) – ready for transmission to the Admiralty.
But was desired by the “Port Orders” at Portsmouth to send them to the Admiral. This I did, and I have reason to believe that the “masters quali
=fications” remained in the Port Admirals office – and the present copy was procured by Mr E.H. Helpman (late clerk of HMS Clio after six weeks application –
I had hitherto considered

this report as a confidential one to the Admiralty through the Hydrographer’s Office but find that it is detained by the Port Admiral at Portsmouth for the benefit of the inspection of his office.
Having procured no copy of this document I was unable to send it before & I beg respectfully to represent that I have been kept from my half pay in my opinion unjustly –

I have the honor to be
Your Obedient Servant

James Fitzjames
Commander late “Clio”

Note upper left page 1:

I am desired by Capt B. to say in reply to your letter of the 15th that your
certificate of the Masters Qualification which you have enclosed here enabled him
to issue the necessary certificates […..ey?] your charts + [Reward?] which your
Agent can now have whenever he sends for them