William Peile (also spelt Peele or Peelle) was a typical
mid-nineteenth century barque, which sailed a few times to the River Plate
in the mid-nineteenth century. The first journey was in
September 1843, followed by other voyages the following
with cargo and emigrants. In 1851
she sailed again through the southern seaways and arrived
in Buenos Aires with forty-eight emigrants. According
to the Whitehaven Herald (20 May 1843), she was
'a handsome new barque called William Peile in honour of
the senior partner of that firm [Peile, Scott & Co.]'.
Seemingly, the last South American journey of the William Peile was in November 1860. About a day run to the south
of Rio de Janeiro, she encountered bad weather and was driven
by the storm during the night towards the shore, foundering
on the rocks - fortunately near enough to allow the passengers
and crew to eventually land.
arrival of 11 February 1845
announced in the British Packet
captain decided to make it to Rio de Janeiro and they started
out to tramp. For three days they wandered over sandy country
when in exhausted condition they arrived at a Brazilian ranch.
Here they were welcome with total kindness and after five days
of rest they found enough carts to enable them to continue
their journey to Rio de Janeiro and later to Buenos Aires.
lists of passengers were compiled from Eduardo A. Coghlan's El
Aporte de los Irlandeses a la Formación de la Nación Argentina
(Buenos Aires, 1982), and from the British Packet
paper. Sources used by Coghlan included the files of the Archivo General de la Nación Argentina
('Libros de Entradas de Pasajeros' 1822-1862). Coghlan selected the names which he
presumed of Irish origin and sorted all entries alphabetically.
He did not include passengers with other nationalities than
English or Irish. Most of the additional data for individual
immigrants has been obtained from the second major work
of E. Coghlan, Los Irlandeses en la Argentina: su Actuación
y Descendencia (Buenos Aires, 1987), as well as from
M.G. & E. T. Mulhall's Handbook of the River Plate
(Buenos Aires: Standard Printing-Office, 1869).
The William Peile was a small barque (or
bark) of 279 tons burthen built in
Workington, Cumbria (Northwest England). A barque is a three masted-vessel,
square-rigged on the fore and main masts, and fore-and-aft
rigged on the mizzen mast. The Peile was launched on
13 May 1843. Her maiden voyage was from Workington departing
28 June 1843 for Cádiz, where she called on 20 July,
Montevideo on 12 September, and arriving in Buenos Aires on
14 September 1843. Captain Joseph Sprott was in charge, and
the cargo included salt and coal to John Best & Bros.
Capt. Sprott (b.1804) of Harrington, was a veteran of the
North Atlantic and Pacific seaways. There
were forty-nine passengers on board, most of them Irish.
then returned to England, with Liverpool as her first port
of arrival, which she reached on 26 February 1844.
April 1844, the William Peile weighed anchor at Liverpool
again under captain Joseph Sprot's command (a). Mate was William Scott
(b.1823), and second mate John Bell (b.1826). In addition to the
master and his two mates, the crew was composed of a carpenter,
six seamen and two apprentices. The William Peile called
on 13 May 1844 at Saint Jago (Cape Vert Islands, about 620
km off the west coast of Senegal). She was 'becalmed in
mid ocean for three weeks' (b) and,
after crossing the South Atlantic Ocean, she probably called
on Rio de Janeiro and finally arrived in the River Plate
on Sunday, 25 June 1844 (c). 'In
those days, sailing vessels anchored far out in the river,
from there they came as far as possible in rowing boats
and then on in carts. When the tide was high, the boats
came in as far as the Merced Church, and were tied up to
iron rings to the wall of church. For many years after,
those rings were still there' (d).
What did the immigrants find in the Buenos Aires?
were violent times for the Argentine provinces. The internal
conflict between unitarios and federales (led
by strongman Juan Manuel de Rosas) was mounting to a higher
level, with consequences in Uruguay, Paraguay and Chile. British and
French war vessels sailed up the Paraná River and fought
against local armies. General Oribe, loyal to Rosas, blockaded
Montevideo. However, in spite of the official disagreements
between the British and Argentine governments, the local
bourgeoisie was remarkably anglophile and admired the
lifestyle and products. In this way, the Irish newcomers
were warmly welcomed in Buenos Aires as ingleses. When
arriving at the port, since they were subjects of the British
crown, all the Irish immigrants travelling on the William Peile
were recorded as British citizens. Two
months later, the William Peile weighed anchor at
Buenos Aires on 31 August 1844, sailing back for Liverpool.
The third trip in 1844 was
recorded by the British Packet of 15 February 1845
(thanks to Maxine Hanon for this information). The Peile
departed from Liverpool on 23 December 1844 and arrived in Buenos Aires on
11 February 1845 with captain Joseph Sprot and sixty-six passengers on board, and general cargo commissioned by John Best & Bros.
From the last voyage, we know that she sailed out from
Liverpool with John Bell as master, and arrived in Buenos
Aires on 10 February 1851. In this voyage, there were
forty-eight Irish immigrants recorded by Coghlan.