HMS Argus (1799)

HMS Argus was launched in 1798 at Bordeaux as Argus. She became a privateer that the British Royal Navy (RN) captured in 1799. She served from April 1803 until she was broken up in April 1811.

Captured3 April 1799
Great Britain
NameHMS Argus
Acquired1799 by purchase of a prize
FateBroken up April 1811
General characteristics [1]
Tons burthen300,[2] or 326394 (bm)
  • Overall: 102 ft 9 in (31.3 m)
  • Keel: 82 ft 3+12 in (25.1 m)
Beam27 ft 3+12 in (8.3 m)
Depth of hold13 ft 0 in (4.0 m)
  • Privateer: 90
  • RN:86

Privateer and captureEdit

Argus was a 300-ton (French; "of load") brig or corvette commissioned in Bordeaux in 1798, probably built that same year for Paul Mairac & Sons.[2]

On 10 December 1798 the French privateer Argus brought too Mary, Darby, master, from London to St Vincent's. However the wind was blowing too hard and Argus was unable to board Mary.[3]

On 31 March 1799 at 45°25′N 9°16′W / 45.417°N 9.267°W / 45.417; -9.267 Pomone recaptured the West Indiaman Minerva,of Liverpool, that Argus had captured some 16 days earlier.[4]

On 3 April 1799, HMS Pomone met and captured Argus after a pursuit of 108 miles that hit 12 knots an hour. Argus was only six months old and was pierced for 22 guns, though she carried 18 brass 9-pounders. Prior to her own capture, Argus had captured Minerva, and two brigs from Teignmouth whose masters and crews were aboard her.[4] Argus had a crew of 90 men.[5]

Pomone also recaptured, on 9 April, an American schooner that the French privateer Gironde had taken on 1 April. The schooner had been on her way from Caracas to Corunna with a cargo of cocoa and indigo.[4]

Royal NavyEdit

Argus arrived at Plymouth on 4 May 1799 and was laid up. After the resumption of war with France, she underwent fitting between March and July 1803.

Commander Edward King commissioned Argus in June 1803 for the Irish station.[1] She spent her career primarily convoying vessels between Ireland and English ports such as Plymouth and Portsmouth.

On 15 April 1804 she convoyed a number of vessels from Cork to Falmouth.[6] Argus detained Sally, Swazy, master, which had been sailing from Boston to Amsterdam, and sent her into Plymouth.

Commander Edward Kittoe replaced King in May 1804. In October Argus detained and sent into Plymouth Nuestra Senora del Carmen. She had been sailing from Cadiz and she arrived in Plymouth on 29 October.[7]

On 16 February 1805 Argus came across Susan, of Appledore, Pitts, master, about 12 leagues (36 nautical miles (67 km)) south of Cork. There was no one aboard so Argus towed Susan towards Cork. Near the Harbour Rock Susan sank.[8][a]

Kittoe left in 1806 and Commander James Stuart assumed command in October.[1]

HMS Niobe, Captain J. W. Loring, and Argus, Commander James Stuart, captured the Danish ship King of Assianthe (Ashanti) on 31 August 1807.[10][b]

On 20 September Argus detained Fortuna and on 23 September recaptured Providence.[14] Fortuna, of and from Dram, had been sailing for Clonalky. Argus also detained at Cork Kimro (of Arundahl), Uberant, master, which had been sailing from Youghal to Lisbon.[15] A Spanish privateer of 11 guns and 120 men had captured Providence as Providence was sailing from Galway.[16]

In early 1810 Argus ran down and sank Union, Papler, master at Waterford; the crew was saved. Union had been sailing from Poole to Waterford.[17]

In April 1810 Commander Joseph Bott replaced Stuart.[1]


The Navy Board visited the dockyards and prepared a list of vessels that it condemned to be broken up and sold[18] The "Principal Officers and Commissioners of His Majesty's Navy" offered the sloop Argus for sale on 18 October 1810.[19] She apparently did not sell and instead was broken up at Plymouth in April 1811.[1]

Notes, citations, and referencesEdit


  1. ^ Susan, of 141 tons, had been launched in 1802.[9]
  2. ^ King of Assianthe, Ugland, master, was sold for £479 10s 10d.[11] She was probably the former slave ship Kongen af Assianthe, named for King Qussig, of Assianthe (Ashanti), on the Gold Coast, whom the Danes considered a valuable trading partner.[12] Kongen af Assianthe, of c.220 tons (bm), had been built in Finland and between 1797 and 1803 had made three voyages in the triangular trade between Copenhagen, West Africa, the Danish West Indies, and Copenhagen.[13]


  1. ^ a b c d e Winfield (2008), p. 267.
  2. ^ a b Demerliac (1999), p. 270, n°2374.
  3. ^ "The Marine List". Lloyd's List. No. 5032. 22 January 1799. Retrieved 11 October 2020.
  4. ^ a b c "No. 15125". The London Gazette. 16 April 1799. p. 358.
  5. ^ Naval Chronicle, Vol. 1, p.441.
  6. ^ "The Marine List". Lloyd's List. No. 4447. 24 April 1804. Retrieved 11 October 2020.
  7. ^ "The Marine List". Lloyd's List. No. 4502. 2 November 1804. Retrieved 11 October 2020.
  8. ^ "The Marine List". Lloyd's List. No. 4194. 22 February 1805. Retrieved 11 October 2020.
  9. ^ Lloyd's Register (1804), Seq.No.S782.
  10. ^ "No. 16407". The London Gazette. 22 September 1810. p. 1500.
  11. ^ House of Commons (1812) "Accounts and Papers of the House of Commons", Volume 10, Part 4 Danish, p.14.
  12. ^ Corneiro (2019), p. 18.
  13. ^ Lauring (2014).
  14. ^ "No. 17002". The London Gazette. 1 April 1815. p. 683.
  15. ^ "The Marine List". Lloyd's List. No. 4186. 11 September 1807. Retrieved 11 October 2020.
  16. ^ "The Marine List". Lloyd's List. No. 4192. 2 October 1807. Retrieved 11 October 2020.
  17. ^ "The Marine List". Lloyd's List. No. 4444. 27 March 1810. Retrieved 11 October 2020.
  18. ^ Naval Chronicle, Vol. 24, p.394.
  19. ^ "No. 16410". The London Gazette. 2 October 1810. p. 1564.


  • Corneiro, Enrique (2019). Runaway Virgins: Danish West Indian Slave Ads 1770-1848. ISBN 9780359101450.
  • Demerliac, Alain (1999). La Marine de la Révolution: Nomenclature des Navires Français de 1792 à 1799 (in French). Éditions Ancre. ISBN 9782906381247. OCLC 492783890.
  • Lauring, Kåre (2014). Slaverne dansede og holdt sig lystige: En fortælling om den danske slavehandel. Gyldendal A/S.
  • Winfield, Rif (2008). British Warships in the Age of Sail 1793–1817: Design, Construction, Careers and Fates. Seaforth Publishing. ISBN 978-1-86176-246-7.