letter and watercolour sketch relating to swivel gun (letter)


A 2-page letter from Sidmouth-based antiquarian Peter Orlando Hutchinson to RAMM’s curator William D’Urban. In it Hutchinson tells the story of the seizure of a brass cannon from a Malay pirate ship and it’s subsequent transport to England and then the museum.

‘This gun was captured by my cousin, the late John Robertson, on the 29th of January 1845, from a pirate prahu on the east coast of Borneo. The circumstance is mentioned in Captain Sir Edward Belcher’s ‘Narrative of the voyage of HMS Samarang during the years 1843-1846’ in the eastern archipelago. John Robertson was lieutenant on board the Samarang and the Captain was so pleased at the gallant way in which he attacked and took the pirate that he made him a present of the gun when he brought it on board. My cousin’s health failed so much on the voyage home that he was put on shore at the Cape where he died. The gun was sent to Tiverton where it remained till it was given to me.’

This object is not on display.

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