[From The Times (of London), 10 January 1803, page 2, column 4]




Proudly pre-eminent must ever wave the British Flag while such a spirit of enterprize and liberality animates our Merchants. The spectacle at Brent's Yard, Rotherhithe, on Saturday, was truly gratifying. The late Mr. Hamilton, of Blackheath, had, a short time before his death, contracted with Messrs. Randall and Brents' for the two Indiamen above named; they were completed, under the directions of his representatives, and are two remarkably fine ships, the one of 800 tons, called after the beautiful Lady Castlereagh; the other of 550 tons, named the Union, in compliment to that auspicious event.

Before two o'clock every part of Messrs. Brents' premises was crowded with spectators, and the Thames covered with boats. Most of the friends of the family were present, as were also many persons of distinction, amongst whom we noticed the Swedish Ambassador, Baron Silverhjelm and suite, the Batavian Ambassador, M. Schimmelpenninck and family, the Russian General Sabloukoff, Mons. de Casstrom, Secretary of Legation, Count Levenhauft, and several other foreigners of note; General Hulse, Sir Hugh Inglis, &c. &c. The splendor of the scene received considerable addition from the fineness of the day - and a more impressive sight we have never witnessed on a similar occasion.

At a little after two, Father Thames received into his embrace, the Lady Castlereagh, christened by Sir Hugh Inglis: the Union received her name from the beautiful Daughter of the same Gentleman.

After the launch, the Company adjourned from Messrs. Brents' House to the Model Room opposite, over to which a temporary bridge was thrown, to remedy the inconvenience of crossing the road. Three tables were covered with a cold collation, consisting of all the good things which the season affords. Upwards of three hundred and sixty persons sat down. The Collation was furnished from the London Tavern, as were the Wines, which (consisting of Madeira, Port, Claret, and Sherry,) were in abundance; and upon no occasion where so large a company has met, did we ever witness more regularity and conviviality. The smile of beauty every where heightened the scene. A dessert, good and plentiful, was put on the table the moment the dinner was removed. "Non nobis, Domine!" was given by Dignum, Sedgewick, and Master Smith.

The King, and the usual round of loyal and constitutional Toasts, were then given by the Chairman, Mr. Callender, whose exertions to keep the spirit of the Company, like the two ships, afloat, every where succeeded; and we were highly pleased by the feeling manner in which he begged to couple, with the family who then sat round him, (the children of Mr. Hamilton), the health of the Company. When he alluded to the family, the tear of sympathetic friendship started in the eyes of many.

The health of the Swedish and Dutch Ambassadors, together with that of the other Foreigners of Distinction who had honoured this Feast of Neptune with their presence, was then given, with three times three. Baron Silverhjelm, in the most polite manner, in returning his thanks, expressed himself happy in being numbered amongst the friends of Old England, where Religion, Loyalty, and Law were the basis of the Constitution; and M. Schimmelpenninck gave, "A liberal and free Trade between this Country and the Batavian Republic."

The song, the catch, and the glass, went round with great glee for some time; in the course of which a Lady, whose name we do not know, gave the first verse of, Had I a heart for falshood framed, in a stile of very superior excellence. Mr Maynard, the Proctor, joined his talents to the vocal corps, as did Mr. Angelo, the Fencing-master. At length the superior violin of Gow, assisted by some very excellent performers, drove the banqueters from their seats, and three sets of country dances occupied the spot. Side tables were covered with lemonade, orgeat, &c. and tea and coffee were liberally supplied to all who wanted it, in Messrs. Brents' House. The dancing was continued with the greatest vivacity until twelve o'clock, when the company departed, pleased in the extreme with the liberal treatment of the day. We believe there has not occurred, in the history of such ceremonies, another instance of an individual launching two ships from one yard in one tide.

The room in which the company partook of the collation was superbly fitted up for the occasion. The East India Company's Colours were formed into a canopy, just below the ceiling, and united in festoons around the windows, which, altogether, produced a charming effect.

Not the most trifling accident occurred. The nimble hand of the pickpocket, we are concerned to say, was successfully employed. One of the Gentlemen in the suite of the Swedish Ambassador was amongst those who were plundered by these vagabonds, who so much disgrace our nation. A man, decently dressed, was taken into custody, but nothing (on his being searched) could be found upon him. It was unfortunate that none of the Officers of the Police were present, as the fellows could only escape by their persons being unknown, and the pickpocket and gentleman dress, now-a-days, so near alike, that it requires much penetration to discover the one from the other.