[FALKLAND ISLANDS.] - Collection of 15 official letters with enclosures addressed to Rear Admiral Sir Graham E. Hamond KCB, as commander on the South America station, relating to affairs in the Falkland Islands in 1834-36, including:
Letter signed H.S. Fox, H.M. Consul Rio de Janeiro, mentioning 'the important services which call you to the Falkland Islands' [Rio, 11 December 1834]; Letter from the Admiralty with contemporary copies of a letter and memorandum by Capt. W.E. Parry (the hydrographer and Arctic explorer) relating to the probable position of Beauchene's Island, which Hamond is asked to investigate [Admiralty, 6 February 1835]; Letter from the Admiralty, with enclosures, 'relative to the claim of Mr. Louis Vernet [former Governor of the Malvinas] to certain property in the Falkland Islands'; Letter from the Admiralty in duplicate (sent by different ships) approving Hamond's 'intention of proceeding to visit the Falkland Islands' [Admiralty, 25 February 1835]; Letter from the Admiralty in duplicate (sent by different ships) about clothing supplied 'to the twelve persons (Indians & others) who have been detained on board the Spartiate on account of the Massacre at the Falkland Islands' and here listed [Admiralty, 28 March 1835]; Letter in duplicate (sent by different ships) signed by Sir Charles Wood of the Admiralty, approving the sending of culprits and witnesses involved in the massacre to England [Admiralty, 14 May 1835]; Letter signed by Sir Charles Wood (contradicting his earlier letter) informing Hamond that the prisoners are not to be prosecuted in England, and all detainees in the case will 'be sent back to South America by the first Packet' [Admiralty, 24 June 1835]; Letter with interesting memorial by ship owners enclosed, from Sir Charles Wood of the Admiralty, relating to actions taken by Lieutenant Henry Smith [recently appointed Governor of the Falklands] to prevent the Cutter Susannah Ann from taking seals at the Falkland Islands [Admiralty, 4 July 1835]; Letter signed by Hamilton Hamilton, British Consul at Buenos Aires, worrying about the arrival of 'the individuals concerned in the massacre at the Falkland Islands' and fearing that any action will revive local claims to sovereignty of the Falklands and wishing to refer the case to Palmerston [Buenos Aires, 19 September 1835]; Letter signed by Sir John Barrow with enclosures relating to 'the conduct of certain Naval Officers on the occasion of the Wreck of the French Ship Pierre Louis' [Admiralty, 14 Ocotber 1835]; Letter signed by Sir Charles Wood in support of Hamilton's plan for 'the best mode of landing the Men concerned in the Massacre at the Falkland Islands' (see above) [Admiralty 21 December 1835]; Letter signed by J.H. Mandeville, minister plenipotentiary at Buenos Aires, a warning about the intentions of M. Vernet to take wild cattle from the Islands, 1836. Approximately 65 pages, folio, each docketed by Hamond; also, contemporary copy of resolutions carried at AGM of British residents in Buenos Aires, 1832; autograph letter signed by Sir W.J. Hooker relating to the Falkland Island tussock grass, Kew, 1849.
The correspondence provides interesting evidence of the tight control over administration held by the Admiralty as far afield as the South American station. The Falkland Islands had been reclaimed by Britain as late as 1833, which explains the concern expressed by the Consul in Buenos Aires in his letter to Hamond. The murders of settler Matthew Brisbane and others had occurred in August 1833, but the news did not reach Rio until January 1834, when H.M.S. Challenger sailed to the Falklands and landed Lieutenant Smith. Fitzroy of the Beagle arranged for the transport of the outlaws to Rio in March 1834.