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The Barque Assaye. A Mystery. [From our Lyttelton Correspondent.] Captain M'Allister of the steamer Kahu, which arrived from the Chatham Islands this forenoon, reports that about the middle of last month a quantity of wreckage to&s washed ashore at the Chatham Islands, including a life buoy, part of boats, &c. Some of the wreckage Captain M'Allister has brought back with him, and intends taking it on to Wellington, where he expects that either the portions he has got or the particulars of other portions which were washed ashore, will be the means of proving that it came from the barque Assaye, which is missing on a voyage from London to Wellington. Tiie Assaye left London on Feb. 16, and was spoken on the Equator on March 16 by the ship Angerona, which arrived at Sydney on May 29. To the Equator then the Assaye made a .very fair passage. Captain M'Allister kindly supplies me with the following particulars of the goods and wreckage washed ashore : — Ac MatorahaD, the chief island on the group, a life-buoy, much damaged, came ashore. Only some of tho letters were visible, the canvas being either torn or otherwise damaged between the letters. The letters distinguished were as follows : S.S.A. andja part of the letter T or W. This was all that could be made out of the painting on the b&by. Besides the life buoy, boxes and bundles of candleß, part of a companion, inclu ing two seats made of teak or cedar ; a case of Neave's food, with, no mark ; portions of beer and spirit cases, one of the former being mucked like T in a diamond, 68 outside, Wellington ; piece of end of piano, piece of boat's keel, case brown paper, and several other articles. At Pitt's Island a life buoy also came ashore, but no mark was visible on it, several cases marked Dunedin and Wellington, one being addressed Government office, Wellington, and another marked A with the figures 334625 over 1942 ; a quantity of fancy woodwork of a figure head, two pieces of cabin decoration, pieces of deck planking, pieces of a boat, boxes of candles, and a sailor's jacket, besides other articles also came ashore at Pitt's Island. The part of a case marked I.G. in a diamond, Wellington, was also found, besides three rolls of white printing paper. None of the articles give the appearance of having been in the water for any great length of time, and the packets of candleß presented the appearance of having been washed out of the surf, where, probably, the cases which contained them were broken up. The marks of the goods detailed above will no doubt put the question of what vessel they came out of at rest ; but as the Assaye is the only vessel from London to New Zealand which is missing, and as the letters on the life-buoy correspond with the letters in the vessel's name, the chances seem greatly in favour of the wreckage being from that vessel. To the question of HOW BHE WAS WRECKED, and where, no definite answer can of course be given. She wasbound to Wellington, and would, in all probability, make the passage round the island of New Zealand, so that to be in the vicinity of the Chatham Islands she would be fully four hundred miles oub of her course. The general opinion of the residents of the Islands, Captain M'Allister informs me, is that the vessel came to grief on the western reef, close to the Islands. Just previous to the date the wreckage was found a heavy gale from the North-west and Weßt had been blowing, and thejpeople of the Islands would be the beatable to form a correct opinion as to how the wreckage made its way to the islands. Although thi6 is the general opinion, there are others, and one is that the vessel was not wrecked in the vicinity of the Chatham Islands, but probably at Auekland Island, and that the goods drifted to the Islands where they were discovered. This theory finds aB many arguments against it as the one - that the vessel came to the grief at the Chathams. If she struck on the reef clobo to the Chatham^ about the middle of last month, then she must have been seven months out from London, and that alone seems very much against the theory that she met her fate there. On the other hand how is tho presence of bales of paper and an oilskin coat on the Islands to be accounted for, if it is considered that Bhe struck on any of the islands to the southward of New Zealand ? The whole thing appears most mysterious, provided, of course, that the vessel was the Assaye, which seems highly probable. She was an iron vessel, so the suggestion that she may have been water-logged and drifted on to the reef need not be entertained for one moment. The one item of undoubted fact that appears with regard to the whole matter is that a vessel, in all probability the Assaye, has been wrecked, and all hands lost. How or when she met her fate no man knoweth, and as the links in the chain of evidence to lead one to form an opinion are bo disconnected the subject must be left alone until the " sea gives np its dead. j THE ASSAYE was an iron ship of 1281 tons register. She was built by S. Steele and Co., of Grecnock in 1868, and was owned by J. and W. Stuart, of the same port. She would have a cargo of fully 2000 tons of merchandise on board, a portion of which, lam given to understand, is a large supply of printing paper for the West Coast of this island. She waß built with a collision bulkhead.

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Bibliographic details

WRECKAGE POUND AT THE CHATHAMS., Star, Issue 6987, 16 October 1890

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WRECKAGE POUND AT THE CHATHAMS. Star, Issue 6987, 16 October 1890