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Date Posted: 21:03:18 11/05/16 Sat
Author: Albert Parker
Subject: Re: São Francisco Xavier
In reply to:
's message, "São Francisco Xavier" on 15:39:02 11/04/16 Fri
Note that the claim is not that this was a ship of the Portuguese state navy. It was supposedly built in Portuguese India and remained in the Indian Ocean. The rank or office of the commander between 1804 and 1814 is given as "Division commander of the navy of Goa." Thus, there would be good reason for the ship not to be included in lists of vessels of the state navy built in Lisbon or occasionally in Brazil.
Still, there are other puzzles. The illustration on the Web site shows a two-decker that must have a very short waist so that the forecastle (?) could accommodate the 14 nine-pounders and the quarterdeck 10 eighteen-pounders. But those would be unusually heavy pieces for the quarterdeck.
Although Portuguese ships of the line made trading voyages to the Indian Ocean in peacetime, I'm not aware that the Portuguese government ever sent a battle squadron there. Given events in Europe, authorities in Portuguese India might have thought they needed to provide their own naval support. Still, this would have been a big ship and expensive to build and man, even with the low-end crew of 500. I don't think the HEIC ever built a ship of this size to serve purely as a warship, and I don't have the impression that the Portuguese outposts in India and China were by 1804 supporting a lucrative international trade—my understanding is that Portuguese prosperity depended by the late 18th century on gold and sugar from Brazil. Where did Portuguese India get the money for such a ship? Nonetheless . . .
At http://abemdanacao.blogs.sapo.pt/carta-a-camilo-castelo-branco-1190497 I found the text of a letter written from Goa to a correspondent in Porto in 1863 that says "Como Vossa Ex.cia sabe, o seu tio Simão embarcou na nau “São Francisco Xavier” cujo capitão era o senhor Caetano de Sousa Pereira, pessoa desta terra e muito amiga que foi de meu pae, ambos já falecidos." Later in the letter, there are other references to "capitão Sousa Pereira." The same letter may be found at http://fgamorim.blogspot.com/2014/05/carta-inedita-camilocastelo-branco.html and at other sites. I have not taken the time to go through the multi-stage translation process I have to use for Portuguese, to figure out what the letter says.
http://marinhadeguerraportuguesa.blogspot.com/2014/03/o-porto-real-de-lisboa.html has a list of promotions in the "marinha de Goa," including:
Decreto de 06.02.1800 foi promovido a Chefe de Divisão da Marinha de Goa Caetano de Sousa Pereira.
(The Marinha de Goa seems to have had more division commanders than it could have had divisions.)
Therefore,I don't think the mention in the OP can be dismissed as a fabrication or even as a misunderstanding. The Portuguese navy, and its operations, is not well known in the English-speaking world, and these Web sites suggest to me that there was activity in the Indian Ocean that has not come to the attention of historians working only in English-language sources. Portugal managed mostly to stay out of the wars that included Indian Ocean naval campaigns, tending to their own business there.
In the period I am currently studying, the 1740's, there was a lot more Spanish naval activity than you can find in English-language naval histories. It was not the Spanish navy's sole mission and reason for being to lose battles at sea to the British navy, and for it as for other navies, it's just not true that if it didn't involve the British navy, it didn't happen.
>Need some help on what I think is a ghost ship tahht
>has appeared from a Portugese naval blog entry. This
>claims there was a Portugese 80-gun ship called the
>São Francisco Xavier launched at Damão in 1804, but I
>can find no reference to it in any other source.
>The Blog entry is below
>Navio português de linha de 3ª classe, construído
>no arsenal da marinha em Damão na Índia, com três
>deckes de artilharia com 80 peças de artilharia e com
>500 a 650 homens a bordo, lançado ao mar em 1804 com o
>nome de ‘São Francisco Xavier’ e pronto para o serviço
>no mesmo ano, fez várias comissões na costa da Índia,
>fora de serviço em 1840, desmantelado em 1840.
>1804-1814 - Chefe de Divisão da marinha de Goa Caetano
>de Sousa Pereira.
>1804 - 1815 - 80 peças de artilharia, 28 peças de 24
>libras, 28 peças de 18 libras, 10 peças de 18 libras,
>14 peças de 9 libras.