Robert Loney – 1842 China medal - Paymaster & Purser – HMS Samarang
Robert Loney was born in around February 1818 in Torpoint, Cornwall, his father was also called Robert Loney and was at that
time a RN Lieutenant on half pay (see details at end). He was part of a large family, other members of which were to serve the
country in both the Navy and in diplomatic circles. Robert’s first ship would be the 10 gun ship ‘HMS Savage’ which had been built
in 1830 and which was commanded (strangely enough) by his father, Lieutenant Commander Robert Loney, who had been in
command of her for just a few days.
Loney Junior joins the Savage on the 10th of November 1832 at Plymouth as a volunteer aged 14 years. He is discharged to ‘Asia’
on the 6th of September 1833. The Savage was a brig with a crew of 52 men. (ADM 37/9783)
During its cruise the musters on the ship were taken in:-
Hamoaze (Plymouth) – 05/12/1832
Sea – 06/12/1832
Lisbon – 10/02/1833
Sea – 24/02 to 03/03/1833
Lisbon – 24/03/1833
Falmouth – 18/04/1833
Sea – 21/04/ to 28/04/1833
Tagus – 11/05/1833
Sea – 19/05 to 26/05/1833
Off Oporto – 31/05/ to 25/08/1833
Tagus – 08/09/1833
Sea – 29/09/1833
Plymouth – 10/10/1833
This period of sail included the Portuguese Civil war – this is a basic synopsis.
At the death of the constitutional monarch Joao VI in 1826 his son Pedro was appointed king by the regency council. He
conditionally abdicated in favour of his daughter, Maria, with his exiled younger brother, Miguel, as regent. On his return from exile
Miguel abolished the liberal constitution and proclaimed himself king in 1828, recognised only by Mexico and the USA.
In 1830 Pedro was proclaimed regent in the Azores and on 9 July 1832, encouraged by France and England, he landed at with
7500 men at Oporto where he was closely besieged by some 13,000 Miguelites. The defending force included an international
brigade with a British contingent under Charles Shaw. Together with the civil population they suffered cholera, starvation and the
effects of Miguelite bombardment.
The deadlock was broken when Pedroite forces landed in the Algarve in 1833 under the protection of Captain Charles Napier's naval
squadron and marched on Lisbon. The Miguelites were finally defeated at Evora Monte in May 1834.
After this first spell afloat our man is discharged to HMS Asia on the 7th of September 1833 as a Landsman and later as an Able
Seaman – he rejoins the Savage as an Assistant Clerk on the 12th of July 1834, again under his father, and remains with her until
the 12th of December 1834. This period would have taken in the trip to America in connection with the ‘Panda’ affair..
On 4 June 1833 HMS Curlew discovered the pirate ship Panda in the River Nazereth on the African coast. Panda, a Baltimore clipper
of about 150bm, was wanted for the sack and attempted burning of the Salem ship Mexican on 20 September 1832. Capt. Trotter
went in with 40 men in three boats and boarded Panda but most of the pirates escaped ashore where they were captured by a
native chief. Twelve of the pirates were taken back to Curlew in irons. Panda was destroyed by an accidental explosion which killed
Curlew's Purser, Gunner and two of her seamen and a boy.
The captured pirates were sent in the brig Savage, Lieut. Loney, to Massachusetts where they were tried in Boston on 11
November 1834 and on 11 June 1835 five of them, the master and four seamen, were hanged. (The last survivor of the affair,
Thomas Fuller of the Mexican died in Salem in December 1906)
After being paid off from HMS Savage, Robert Loney Junior joins HMS Cruizer and sees the world of America and the West Indies..
Cruizer – ADM 37/8958, joined from ‘Savage’, 13th December 1833 by order of Commodore Pell. Rated as AB/Asst. Clerk,
appointed Clerk on 24th March 1835. Paid off on 28th July 1837. Under Commander John McCausland, then Commander William
Alexander Willis from 07/10/1835. Cruizer was a sloop of 120 men, 1 gun.
Havana – 06/1834
Jamaica – 07/1834
Port Royal – 12/1834
Barbados – 04/1835
Columbia – 10/1835
Halifax – 11/1835
Bermuda – 12/1836
Jamaica – 02/1837
After a period ashore from the 29th of July 1837 to the 6th of September 1837, Robert Loney joins HMS Favorite at Plymouth..
Favorite – ADM 38/727, joined 07/09/37, previously with Cruizer. Under Sir William Elliott at Hamoaze (Plymouth). Sloop of 120
men, b. Torpoint, 19 years, rated as a clerk. He remains with this ship for only 12 days before joining HMS Melville as a Clerk.
Melville – Joined 19th September 1837, this large 74 gun vessel had been built in Bombay in 1817 and was commanded at that
time by Captain the Hon. Richard Dundas. She was to carry out cruises to the Cape of Good Hope and around the African Coast.
Loney was rated as a Clerk until the 10th of March 1838 and then as an Additional Clerk until his discharge from that ship in the
23rd of April 1838.
Discharged from Melville he joins HMS Bonetta which is also on the African Station on the 24th of April 1838 as a Clerk in Charge.
Bonetta was a 3 gun Brigantine which had been built at Sheerness only 2 years previously. She was under command of Lieut. John
Stoll and served on the Cape and Coast of Africa. She captured nine slavers, including three 50 miles up the River Congo, during
the 26 months she was on station before returning home in May 1840. Before returning to England however the Bonetta
discharges Loney (now a Passed Clerk since the 9th of November 1838) back to Melville on the 15th of December 1839 where he
fulfils the post of the Secretary’s Clerk until he is discharged to HMS Wellesley around the time he is promoted to Paymaster on the
4th of May 1840.
HMS Wellesley discharges Paymaster Loney to the 26 gun vessel HMS Samarang which is under command of Captain James Scott
on the East India station, the Samarang is a steam powered vessel with a 220hp Archimedes screw drive. Loney joins the
Samarang on the 1st of December 1840 in the actual rank of Purser and is in time for the actions in China in 1840-42 which were
to become known as the 1st China War or the Opium War…
The First Opium War was a trade-inspired war between the Great Britain and the Qing Empire in China from 1839 to 1842. It is
often seen as the beginning of European imperial hegemony towards China. The conflict began a long history of Chinese
resentment toward Western society that still has remnants today.
During the 19th century, trading in goods from China was extremely lucrative for Europeans. But trade to China suffered from the
fact that the Chinese consumer professed no interest in foreign products, such that it was difficult to find trading goods the
Chinese might buy. Silver was one, to the extent that the drain on European specie metals was noticeably affecting the economy.
In casting about for other possible commodities, the British soon discovered opium, and would use its narcotic effects for economic
gains. Between 1821 and 1837 imports of the drug to China increased five-fold. The drug was taken from India and shipped by
British traders to China.
The Qing government attempted to end this trade, on public health grounds --numerous opium addicts were appearing in trading
ports throughout China. The effort was initially successful, with the official in charge of the effort Lin Zexu, who wrote a letter to
the Queen of Great Britain in an unsuccessful attempt to stop trade not beneficial to China. He eventually forced the British Chief
Superintendent of Trade in China, Charles Elliott to hand over all remaining stocks of opium for destruction in May 1839.
However, in July 1839 rioting British sailors destroyed a temple near Kowloon and murdered a Chinese man Lin Weixi who tried to
stop them. The British government and community in China wanted "extraterritoriality", which meant that British subjects would
only be tried by British judges. When the Qing authorities demanded the guilty men be handed over for trial, the British refused.
Six sailors were tried by the British authorities in Guangzhou (Canton), but as the court had no legal authority they were
immediately released. Charles Elliott had been told by the British government that without authority from the Qing government he
had no legal right to try anyone.
The Qing authorities also insisted that British merchants would not be allowed to trade unless they signed a bond promising not to
smuggle opium, agree to follow Chinese laws, and acknowledging Qing legal jurisdiction. Refusing to hand over any suspects or
agree to the bonds, Charles Elliot ordered the British community to withdraw from Guangzhou and prohibited trading with the
Chinese. Preparing for war, they seized Hong Kong (then a minor outpost) as a base. In late October 1839 the Thomas Coutts
arrived in China and sailed to Guangzhou. This was owned by Quakers who refused to deal in opium and the captain believed Elliot
had exceeded his legal authority in banning trade. In order to prevent other British ships following the Thomas Coutts Elliot
ordered a blockade of the Pearl River. Fighting began on November 3, when a second British ship, the Royal Saxon, attempted to
sail to Guangzhou. When Volage and Hyacinth fired a warning shot at the Royal Saxon the Qing navy attempted to protect the
British merchant vessel. They were out-classed by the Royal Naval vessels, and several of the Chinese ships were sunk. The next
year, the British captured the Bogue forts which guarded the mouth of the Pearl River --the waterway between Hong Kong and
Guangzhou. By January 1841, their forces commanded the high ground around Guangzhou, then defeated the Chinese at Ningbo
and the military post of Chinhai.
On the 7th of January 1841Capt. BELCHER placed the steamers QUEEN and NEMESIS in position to bombard the upper fort at
Chuenpee in the Boca Tigris (on the eastern side of the mouth of the Canton River). Meanwhile SAMARANG, MODESTE, DRUID and
COLUMBINE silenced the guns in the centre while Royal Marines and army detachments attacked from the rear. Later in the day
SULPHUR's boats joined those from CALIOPE, LARNE, HYACINTH and STARLING in an attack on 15 war junks in Anson's Bay.
NEMESIS struck a rock rounding Chuenpee Point and tore off the outer paddle ring of one of her wheels at the time Capt.
BELCHER came alongside her with two of his boats, so he sent some of his men on board. They were later joined by Lieut.
KELLETT from STARLING and NEMESIS opened up with her two 32-pounder pivot guns and Congreve rockets. Eleven junks were
destroyed, some of those which had drifted ashore were set on fire by SULPHUR's people. This was dangerous because many had
still loaded guns which exploded when the flames reached them. Some 80 guns were recovered the next day.
By the middle of 1842, the British had defeated the Chinese at the mouth of their other great trading river, the Yangtze, and had
occupied Shanghai. The war finally ended in August 1842, with the Treaty of Nanjing. Gen. Sir Anthony Blaxland Stransham led the
Royal Marines during the Opium War as a young officer, and as the 'Grand Old Man of the Army', was awarded two knighthoods by
The Treaty of Nanjing committed the Qing government to nominal tariffs on British goods as well as granting the right of
extraterritoriality. Hong Kong Island was ceded to the UK, and the Treaty Ports of Guangzhou, Xiamen (Amoy), Fuzhou (Foochow),
Shanghai, and Ningbo were opened to all traders. The Qing government was also forced to pay reparations for the British opium.
The ease with which the British forces had defeated the Chinese armies seriously affected the Qing dynasty's prestige. This almost
certainly contributed to the Taiping Rebellion (1850–1862). For the victors, the Opium War paved the way for the opening up of
the lucrative Chinese market and Chinese society for missionary purposes.
Purser Robert Loney is paid off from HMS Samarang on the 25th of August 1841 and then has 18 months on the Half Pay list. His
next commission is the Sloop HMS Rose of 16 guns. He joins the ship on the 13th of March 1843 as Paymaster and Purser and
she is commanded by Commander Henry Sturt, the ship then proceeds to the North American and West Indian stations.
Commander Richard Pelly takes command in December 1844 and Loney is discharged to HMS Eurydice on the 20th of January 1845.
HMS Eurydice was a 26 gun vessel which was also on the West Indian/North American station at this time. Loney was to remain
with this ship as a Paymaster and Purser until the 6th of April 1846 when he is again placed on half pay.
The next commission is in the 5th rate Steam Frigate HMS Amphion of 300 horse power under command of Captain Woodford J.
Williams. Loney joins this ship as a Paymaster and Purser on the 21st of January 1847 and is on board until his discharge on the
16th of October 1848.
There then follows a long period of six years in which Loney is unemployed until he is commissioned to work in the Hydrographical
Office, Whitehall, under the command of HMS Fisgard. He is employed as such from the 12th of October 1854 until the 11th of
January 1855 as a 2nd Class Paymaster.
On the 12th of January 1855, 2nd Class Paymaster Robert Loney joins the 91 gun, 600 horse power steam ship HMS Orion which
is to be on the North American and West Indian Station under the command of Captain John E. Erskine. He remains with this ship
until paid off to HMS Impregnable on the 2nd of October 1857, it would seem that this was just a holding vessel as 13 days later
he is discharged to shore on half pay.
21 months later on the 17th of June 1859 Loney joins the 91 gun Screw Steam Ship of 600 hp, HMS Edgar, Flag ship to the
Channel Squadron, as Secretary to the now Rear Admiral John Elphinstone Erskine. Loney is in service with the Edgar until he
retires on the 2nd of November 1861.
Passed Clerk : 09/11/1838
Savage – 10/11/1832 to 06/09/1833
Cruizer – 13/12/1833 to 28/07/1837
Favorite – 07/09/1837 to 18/09/37
Melville – 19/09/1837 to 23/04/1838
Bonetta – 09/11/1838 to 14/12/1839
Melville & Wellesley – 15/12/1839 to 30/11/1840
Samarang – 01/12/1840 to 25/08/1841
Rose – 11/03/1843 to 19/03/1845
Eurydice – 20/01/1845 to 16/04/1846
Amphion – 21/01/1847 to 16/10/1848
Fisgard – 12/10/1854 to 12/01/1855
Orion – 13/01/1855 to 01/10/1857
Impregnable – 02/10/1857 to 15/10/1857
Edgar – 17/06/1859 to 02/11/1861
On retirement, Robert Loney does not go back to England but instead travels to the Philippines to join his younger brother
Nicholas Loney who is the Vice-Consul at Iloilo. The two had been in communication for some years and Nicholas had even asked
Robert for some money to help in the trade he has begun in the Sugar industry. Robert Loney’s retirement date corresponds to
the date in which Nicholas Loney arrived back in England on a trade mission.. he docked at Plymouth on the 2nd of November 1861.
Before the arrival of Nicholas Loney in mid-1856 the area of Iloilo had been predominantly a cotton growing area, rich in fertile land
with a port just opened to free trade. Nicholas Loney had set up his own trading company ‘Loney & Co.’ in an attempt to better
achieve his aim of trading with the United Kingdom, but the main export material of hand woven textiles could not compete with
those made cheaply in Europe by machine. By 1858 Nicholas Loney has overcome huge problems and with a series of initiatives has
started to increase the production and export of his chosen crop – Sugar cane. The export of this crop in 1855 was 750 tons, by
1860 it was 7500 tons. This production brought about an increase in the prosperity not only of Loney, but of the local workers. In
late 1861 Nicholas Loney returns to England on a trade mission and it would appear that his place in Iloilo in charge of Loney & Co.
was taken by his elder brother Robert. Certainly when Nicholas writes from London in February 1863 he sends the letter to Robert
During Nicholas’s absence in England the sugar trade at Iloilo has grown again, with £135,620 worth of sugar being exported to
China and Great Britain in 1863. Nicholas Loney married in that year, and the following year his wife presented him with a daughter
who was named Roberta after her uncle.
At this time Loney & Co. build their own Hacienda on the edge of the Matabang river with a modern sugar mill and boiler and
Robert began to become more involved in the agricultural processes and problems that accompanied these activities. He wrote
memorandums to the Governor General on these matters in his capacity as the manager of the Sugar estate of Loney & Co. in
Negros. By 1869 Robert had overcome his initial dislike of the country and its ways, although he still had a dislike for the Spaniards
with whom he constantly had to deal as they were the masters of the Philippines.
Nicholas Loney, the ‘father’ of sugarcane in Iloilo, died on the 22nd of April 1869 and a marble monument was placed over his
grave with 4 sides bearing the inscription in English, French, Spanish and Ilongo:-
In Memory of Nicholas Loney of Plymouth, England, who was Vice Consul in this Port . Died 22nd April 1869 aged 41 years. This
monument is erected by his numerous friends, Spaniards, foreigners and natives, as a slight testimony of the esteem and
remembrance in which his memory will be held by all who knew him’. This monument was destroyed shortly after WW2 by the local
According to ‘Sugar is Sweet – the Story of Nicholas Loney’ by Demy P. Sonza the company under Robert’s steerage continued
until 1875 when a world-wide economic depression caused the company to be liquidated. Sonza states that Robert returned to
England and died in Plymouth, however the pay accounts of the Royal Navy (PMG 5/90) state that Robert Loney was on half pay in
Iloilo and was being paid through his brother Henry whilst he carried on the post of Vice Consul to the Visages – he was being paid
10s 6d per day. The next in this series (PMG 5/99) shows that Robert Loney died on the 28th of April 1882 – and the fact that I
can find no record of this death in any UK index, that he isn’t in the 1881 census and that his will is not shown in the Probate
calendar lead me to believe he died in the Philippines. He would have been around 62 years old. His estate was sent to an address
at Charleton, Kingsbridge, Devon in July 1883 – his father’s address. His father however had died 2 months prior to his own death
in Plymouth, where the confusion above no doubt springs from.
Other Information: -
1841 Census of Cornwall..Torpoint (Robert Loney Senior and family)
Myrtle Cottage,1,Robert Loney,49,,Navy H P,Not in county,
Ann Loney,,40,,In county,
Elizabeth Loney,,20,,In county,
Henry Loney,19,,Surgeon's Apprentice,In county,
Ann Loney,,17,,Not in county,
Mary Loney,,12,,In county,
Harriett Loney,,9,,In county,
Sophia Loney,,4,,Not in county,
Susanna Blight,,20,Female Servant,In county,
‘Biographical Dictionary of all living Naval Officers – Vol. 1’
Loney, Robert (Father) - entered the navy as a boy in September 1797 on board the Atlas, 98, Captains Matthew Squire and
Theophilus Jones, with whom he served in the Channel until March 1801. In March 1803 became a First class Volunteer on the
Salvador Del Mundo, bearing the flags of Admirals Sir John Colpoys and William Young at Plymouth, where he continued to officiate
as Midshipman, until transferred in February 1806 to L’Aigle, 36, Capt. George Wolfe. In March 1808 he participated in the very
gallant engagement fought by L’Aigle with two French Frigates and the enemy’s batteries at Ile de Groix, where, besides having 3
of her guns split and dismounted, a bower anchor cut in two and her mainmast and bowsprit irreparably injured, the ship had 22
of her people more or less severely wounded. One of her antagonists was compelled to take refuge under a fort, and the other to
run on shore on Pointe des Chats. In April 1809, immediately prior to the destruction of the shipping in Aix Roads, Mr. Loney
served in the boats under Lieut. Richard Devonshire at the destruction of the works on the Boyard Rock, a hazardous achievement
which elicited the thanks of Lord Gambier, and he subsequently, on becoming attached to the Walcheren armament, assisted in
forcing the passage between Flushing and Cadsand; on which occasion L’Aigle, in consequence of a shell bursting in her after gun
room, sustained a loss of 5 men and had her stern frame greatly damaged. After a servitude of three months in the West Indies
on board the Pert, Sloop, Captain William Hall, Mr. Loney rejoined the Salvador Del Mundo, bearing the flag of Sir Robert Calder at
Plymouth, where he remained a few weeks, and had command during the period of the Admiral’s tender. Joining then the Scorpion,
74, he served as Second Master of that ship, under the flag of the Hon. Robert Stopford, at the reduction of Java in September
1811; immediately after which event he was nominated Acting Lieutenant of the Madagascar, Frigate, Captain Charles Sullivan. He
was confirmed a Lieutenant on the 8th of May 1812, and on the 16th of October 1812 was appointed to Reindeer, 18, Captain
William Manners, with whom he cruised until compelled from ill-health to invalid on 21st June 1814. His subsequent appointments
were to the command on the 16th of December 1825 to the Nimble, Revenue Cutter; 12th August 1829 (four months after leaving
Nimble) to the Vigilant, ketch, on the Plymouth station where he served until paid off on 21st November 1831. Appointed on 1st
November 1832 to the Savage, 10, which vessel he put out of commission on 23rd July 1836. For his services in the Savage off
Oporto during the civil war in Portugal, and the protection he afforded to British interests during the revolution in Venezuela, Lieut.
Loney was rewarded with the rank of Commander, 10th January 1837. He has since been on half-pay.
Other sources (www) quote..
He was well acquainted with the English and St. Georges Channels, with five years in a frigate on the coasts of France. He knew the
north coast of Spain and was for two years Lieutenant of a sloop on the Channel station. Among the ships he commanded were a
revenue cruiser, H.M. ketch Vigilant for six years in the English Channel and H.M. brig Savage. The latter was on the coast of
Portugal during the contest between Don Pedro and Don Miguel. He spent twelve years sailing to the West Indies and the Spanish
main and was employed at the capture of Java. He was also acquainted with the Gulf of Finland and Baltic. His plan of the bar and
harbour of Exmouth was published by the HO and he submitted another, small manuscript plan of a port on the south side of St.
Domingo. He had begun the St. Domingo plan in late 1845.
He wrote to Francis Beaufort while living at 56 Crown Street, Liverpool, on November 5th 1846. In the letter he stated that he had
a large family, three of whom were in the service, and that he was anxious to procure employment under the Admiralty at the HO.
He explicitly sought the post of naval assistant which would fall vacant on the then forthcoming retirement of Joseph Foss Dessiou.
The service records of Robert Loney (senior) show his further promotion on the half-pay list as follows:-
Captain – 6th August 1852…
Rear Admiral – 11th April 1870
Vice Admiral – 25th August 1873
Admiral – 15th June 1879.
Robert Loney (senior) died on the 22nd of February 1882. His will was read on the 13th of March that year:- (Probate Calendar
The Will of Robert Loney formerly of Torrington Place, Plymouth, but late of Mannamead in the tything of Compton Gifford both in
the county of Devon, Admiral R.N. who died on the 22nd of February 1882 at Woodbine Villa, Mannamead was proved at Exeter by
Henry Loney of Woodbine Villa, Deputy Inspector-General of Hospitals and Fleets R.N., the son and Charles Edward Stickland of
Southampton, gentleman, two of the executors.
Admiralty Records – ADM 37 (muster lists), ADM 196 (officers services), ADM 171/12 (China war medal rolls), ADM 11/44 (services
of paymasters, 1860).
Paymaster General Records (PMG 5/90 & 99, Half pay officers)
Biographical Dictionary of all living Naval Officers – Vol. 1
‘Sugar is Sweet’ the story of Nicolas Loney – Demy P. Sonza, National Historical Institute, Manila
Various WWW sites.
|Robert Loney - Paymaster & Purser - HMS Samarang