Robust (1782 ship)

Robust was built in France in 1779. The British captured her in 1781 and she was registered at Liverpool in 1783. She first entered Lloyd's Register in 1789 as whaler in the Northern Whale Fishery. However, she left on the first of three slave trading voyages in December 1788. After her third voyage as a slaver her registry shifted to Bristol and she then made two voyages to the Southern Whale Fishery. She returned from the second voyage in 1797 and is last listed in 1798.


Robusts early history under British ownership is obscure. She did not appear in Lloyd's Register until 1789. At that time she appeared with L. Smith, master, J. Fisher, owner, and trade Liverpool–Davis Strait. That is, she apparently had been sailing in the Greenland or Northern Whale Fishery.

1st slave trading voyage (1788–1790): Captain James Bowie sailed from Liverpool on 17 December 1788. She arrived at Dominica on 26 January 1790 and landed 304 slaves. At some point Captain Richard Kelly replaced Bowie. Robust returned to Liverpool on 25 April 1790. She had left with a crew of 35 and suffered 12 crew deaths on her voyage.

In 1791 Robust underwent a large repair.

2nd slave trading voyage (1791–1792): Captain James Bowie sailed from Liverpool on 29 May 1791, Robust arrived at Africa on 29 August and left on 14 March 1792. She arrived at Kingston 20 May and landed 324 slaves there. At some point Captain John Thornborrow replaced Bowie. Robust left Kingston on 1 July and arrived at Liverpool on 9 August. She had left 38 crew members and suffered 14 crew deaths on her voyage.

In 1792 Robust underwent repairs for damages.

3rd slave trading voyage (1793–1794): Captain Archibald Forrest acquired a letter of marque on 9 March 1793, immediately after the outbreak of War with France. He sailed from Liverpool on 24 March 1793, bound for Calabar. On 20 November Lloyd's List reported that Robust (Forrest, late master), had captured the French vessel Patriote du Sol on the African coast. Patriote del Sol was carrying 260 slaves and cargo.

Robust also recaptured Little Joe, Captain Jones, and Echo, Captain Kelly, which the French privateer Liberty, of Bordeaux, had captured. Forrest and Robust may also have captured a second French slaver carrying 200 slaves. Reportedly, Robust took Patriote Soldat into Dominica.

Captain Thomas Shaw replaced Forrest. Robust arrived at Kingston in May 1794 and landed 160 slaves. She left Kingston on 23 July and arrived back at Liverpool on 24 September. She had left with 52 crew members and she suffered 16 crew deaths on her voyage.

Lloyd's Register for 1795 showed Robusts master changing from A. Forrest to T. Leece, her owner from J. Fisher to "Hnirson", and her trade from Liverpool–Africa to Liverpool–Southern Fishery.

Robust underwent repairs in 1795.

1st Southern Whale Fishery voyage (1795): Robert/Robust, T(haddeus) Luce, master, was reported to have sailed in 1795, and to have been at Rio in November.

2nd Southern Whale Fishery voyage (1796–1797): Captain T. Luce sailed from England in 1796 for the Pacific Ocean. Robust returned to England on 25 July 1797.


Lloyd's Register still listed Robust in 1798 with T. Luce, master, and J. Jones, owner. It gave her trade as Bristol-Southern Fishery. However, Robust does not appear in the reports of vessels' arrival and departure in 1797–1798 after her return from her second voyage.

Notes, citations, and references



  • Clayton, Jane M. (2014) Ships employed in the South Sea Whale Fishery from Britain: 1775-1815: An alphabetical list of ships. (Berforts Group).
  • Craig, Robert, & Rupert Jarvis (1967) Liverpool Registry of Merchant Ships. (Manchester University Press for the Chetham Society), Series 3, vol. 15.
  • Williams, Gomer (1897; since republished) History of the Liverpool Privateers and Letters of Marque: With an Account of the Liverpool Slave Trade. (W. Heinemann).Category:1779 ships Category:Ships built in France Category:Captured ships Category:Age of Sail merchant ships of England Category:Whaling ships Category:Slave ships