Emigrant Soldiers Gazette & Cape Horn Chronicle (Eng-BC, 1858-1859)

Place of Publication:  “Editor’s office, Starboard Front Cabin, ‘Thames City,'” en route from Gravesend, England to Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Frequency:  Weekly (“read aloud each Saturday night, the day of publication, by the commanding officer, Capt. H.R. Luard, R.E.”)

Volume and Issue Data:  17 numbers issued:  No. 1, Nov. 6, 1858 to No. 17, April 2, 1859; not published during three week layover at Falkland Islands

Size and Format:  10.75 x 18 inches; pre-printed title/masthead; pen and ink

Editor/Publisher:  Second Corporal Charles Sinnett, R.E., assisted by Lt. H.S. Palmer, R.E.

Title Changes and Continuation:  None

General Description & Notes:

Contains a news section, natural history of the voyage, correspondence, conundrums, naval and military intelligence, songs, poetry, jokes, advertisements, foreign intelligence and market intelligence.

The Emigrant Soldiers Gazette and Cape Horn Chronicle was published originally in manuscript form on board the ship “Thames City,” which sailed from Gravesend, England, on October 10, 1858 and reached Esquimalt, Vancouver Island, British Columbia on April 12, 1859.  Aboard the ship was a detachment of Royal Engineers selected for service in B.C.

The paper was edited by Second Corporal Charles Sinnett, R.E., and assisted by Lt. H.S. Palmer, R.E.  Each Saturday night, the day of publication, the paper was read aloud by the ship’s commanding officer, Captain H.R. Luard, R.E.

The first issue explained that as one of the ways to avoid monotony and “keep a merry heart,”

[A] thoughtful friend on shore, whose name should be held in honour among us, has provided us with the means of establishing a small Newspaper, to be kept up by our own contributions.  Let us set about it with good will and heartiness.  Some little amusement and instruction will be sure to follow.  Any trifling matter recorded now will be a pleasure to refer to hereafter as a memorial of the peaceful and happy days of our voyage.

The first issue also published a notice “To Correspondents,” as a guide to contributors:

1.  In future, contributions of Leading Articles on any subject are requested to send them in to the Editor by noon every Thursday, and all other contributions should be sent in by 8 o’clock the same evening, to give ample time for publishing the paper.

2.  Any person willing to answer letter addressed “To the Editor,” are invited to do so, addressing their answers in the same manner.

3.  The answers to Charades and Conundrums will be published the Saturday after they appear, and any person guessing an answer, may learn on application to the Editor or Sub-Editor if he is right or wrong.  But is hoped correct guessers will keep their secret.

The paper maintained a regular front page news section and other regular sections, such as “Natural History of the Voyage,” “Correspondence,” “Conundrums,” “Naval and Military Intelligence,” “Songs and Poetry,” “Jokes,” “Foreign Intelligence,” “Market Intelligence,” and “Advertisements.”

The printed edition of the paper included a map detailing the ship’s route and marking its locations on the dates of publication.

After the arrival of the Thames City at New Westminster, B.C., the men aboard the ship paid to have the paper printed as a souvenir of their voyage.  The “British Columbian” newspaper in New Westminster printed the paper from the manuscript originals.

In Volume One–”To the correspondents  1. In the future, contributors of Lending Articles on any subject are requested to send them in to the editor by noon every Thursday, and al other contributions should be sent in by eight o’clock the same evening, to give ample time for publishing the paper.  2. Any person willing to answer letters addressed “To the Editor,” are invited to do so, addressing their answers in the same manner.  3. The answers to the Charades and Conundrums will be published the Saturday after they appear, and any person guessing an answer may learn on application to the Editor or Sub-Editor if he is right or wrong.  But it is hoped correct guessers will keep their secret.”

Preface to the published collection:  [Printed by R. Wolfenden, 1907]

“The ESGCHC was published originally in manuscript form, on board the ship “Thomas City,” which was sailed from Gravesend on the 10th of October, 1858, and reached Esquimalt, V. I. on the 12th April, 1859, having on board a Detachment of Royal Engineers selected for service in B.C.  The paper was edited by Second-Corporal, Charles Sinnett, R.G., assisted by Lt. H. S. Palmer, R.G.  and was read aloud each Saturday night, the day of publication, by the commanding officer, Captain H.R. Luard, R.G.  After the arrival of the Detachment of the camp, New Westminster, it was thought advisable to have this most interesting journal printed for distribution amongst the members of the Detachment.  This was done, at the men’s expense, at the office of the “British Columbia,” New Westminster, by the late John Robson.

From No. 1 [11/6/58]–p.1  “As one means towards this desired end [to avoid monotony and keep a merry heart], a thoughtful friend on shore, whose name should be held in honour among us, has provided us with a means of establishing a small Newspaper, to be kept up by our own contributors Let us set about it with good will and heartiness.  Some little amusement and instruction will be sure to follow. Any trifling matter recorded now will be a pleasure to refer to hereafter as a memorial of the peaceful and happy days of our voyage.

Information Sources:

Bibliography:  Emigrant Soldiers Gazette and Cape Horn Chronicle (Printed by R. Wolfenden, 1907); Roy Atwood, “Shipboard News: Nineteenth Century Handwritten Periodicals at Sea,” Paper Presentation to the History Division of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication Annual Convention, Chicago, IL, 1997; Reprint, New York Public Library.

Locations:  British Columbia Archives and Records Services, Victoria, British Columbia; (printed edition) The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley, California; New York Public Library, New York.

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