Labouchere, 1858
This 1858 despatch reports that the HBC steamer Labouchere will start from the port of London on Thursday morning the 2nd [September] for Vancouver Island. By 1859, it had arrived on the coast and began work as a trade vessel, and it was a skookum craft, indeed, built of Baltic oak and teak, and, no doubt, imposing at over 61 m in length.1 Labouchere was driven by a large paddle wheel, the engine for which could generate a respectable 180 horse power.2
According to Middleton, the ship and crew were captured at some point by the Tako, likely Tʼaaḵu Ḵwáan, a Tlingit People subgroup; apparently, the crew were able to talk their way out of further violence and the raiders left the ship.3 A similar instance aboard the Nanaimo Packet is noted in this 1865 despatch.
Greater drama precluded the Labouchere's demise. It was refit in 1856, at considerable cost, for mail service between Vancouver Island and San Francisco, but on its first run it ran onto a reef in a fog near San Francisco.4 It reversed off the reef but soon flooded beyond hope, and in the scramble for the lifeboats Captain Mouatt was forced to shoot a man who had attempted to board a lifeboat before the women.5
The British Colonist reported that Eliza brought news of the total loss of the steamer Labouchere to Victoria in April of 1866, which, the paper adds, is an announcement not so melancholy in its nature or so important to the interests of mankind as this same ship's news that President Lincoln had been assassinated.6
  • 1. Lynn Middleton, Placenames of the Pacific Northwest Coast (Victoria: Elldee Publishing Company, 1969), 120.
  • 2. Ibid.
  • 3. Ibid.
  • 4. Ibid.
  • 5. Ibid.
  • 6. Singular Coincidence, British Colonist, April 20, 1866.
Mentions of this vessel in the documents
The Colonial Despatches Team. Labouchere, 1858. The Colonial Despatches of Vancouver Island and British Columbia 1846-1871, Edition 2.2, ed. The Colonial Despatches Team. Victoria, B.C.: University of Victoria.

Last modified: 2020-12-02 13:40:34 -0800 (Wed, 02 Dec 2020) (SVN revision: 5008)