H.M.S. Pandora

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Pandora (1833-1862), 319 ton late packet brig, British surveying vessel with three canons, that accompanied the H.M.S. Herald on a voyage of exploration along the west coast of California north to Alaska in 1845-1851.


  • 18 Sep 1846 arrived at San Francisco, where an officer from the US corvette Portsmouth came on board and announced that America was now in possession of California, probably not unexpected, taking into account the recent problems with Oregon, and the problems at San Francisco, with no government in the region following the departure of the educated Spanish, and it had become a free for all, there being no law or order.
  • 22 Sep 1846 departed San Francisco, for Monterey, where the Pandora went in to pick up a letter from the Admiral, and found the Americans in occupation.
  • 27 Sep 1846 fixed the position of John Begge's Reef, and surveyed the islands of San Nicholas, San Clemente, and the Coronados Islands.
  • 20 Dec 1848 Surveying vessel, Pacific.


HMS Pandora in California



In the News~

October 3, 1846 [Californian]: “Marine Intelligence. Port of San Francisco—Sept. 28th, 1846. 18th, H.B.M. [Her British Majesty] Frigate Herald, Capt. Kellett, R.N., on surveying service. 18th, H.B.M. Brig Pandora, Capt. Wood, R.N., same service.”


December 8, 1847 [Californian]: “H.B.M. Surveying ship Herald and brig Pandora arrived here last week from the Straits of Juan de Fuca, having touched at San Francisco, San Diego, Monterey, Mazatlan and all the principal harbors on the Mexican coast.”


April 12, 1850 [DAC]: “The California Gold Flood—It appears beyond doubt that the California flood has already affected the money market of the world. There is no denial of the immense mass of that metal announced as at present in existence; on the contrary, there is daily confirmation of the authenticity of all the statements made on the subject, together with frequent announcements of new discoveries which throw the preceding entirely into the shade. Every steamer from the new world brings a large quantity of silver and gold on freight; and those vessels—H.M.S. Pandora for instance—who come round by Cape Horn, on their way to this country from Northern shores of the Pacific, bringing along with them immense quantities of that precious cargo. The Pandora had nearly a million's worth of California gold on board...Under these circumstances, and assuming not less than three millions of California gold has found its way into England...”


June 5, 1850 [DAC]: “H.B.M. Surveying Herald — This vessel was lying at Honolulu at the date of our last advices from that port. The following is a list of officers serving on board, 10th of May, 1850: Captain, Henry Kellett, Esq., C.B.; Lieutenants, Rochfort Maguire, Henry Trollope, — Lee; Master, W. F. Parsons; Surgeon, John O. Goodridge; Paymaster and Purser, Thomas Woodward; Mates, (acting,) William Chimmo, John Hutchinson, B. C. T. Pim, T. B. Collinson; Second Master, George Allen; Acting additional 2nd Master, Thomas Bourchier; Assistant Surgeon, W. T. Billings; Clerks, J. G. Whiffin, Edwin Jago; Midshipmen, Richard Roche, R. F. Packenham, J. B. Anderson; Master's Assistant, Thom. A. Hull; Gunner, William J. Ford; Boatswain, Thos. Chandler; Carpenter, S. Croggan; Naturalist, Berthold Seemann. E. J. L. Cooper, formerly Second Lieutenant, on board the Herald, has been transferred to the Pandora. J. C. Hill, formerly Master of the Herald, and John Hill, Carpenter, have gone home.”