Royal Naval Biography/Sherer, Joseph
JOSEPH SHERER, Esq.
We first find serving under Captain George Francis Lyon, in the Hecla discovery ship, on a voyage to the Arctic regions, in 1821, 2, and 3. He was made a lieutenant during his absence from England, by commission dated Dec. 26th, 1822; and advanced to his present rank, Dec. 30th, 1829, for his activity while commanding the Monkey schooner, on the West India station, where, within eight months, he captured three large vessels, bound to Cuba, having on board 743 slaves.
The Monkey was a vessel of only 75 tons, mounting one long 12-pounder on a pivot, with a complement of twenty-six men. One of her prizes was the brig Midas, belonging to Havannah, of 360 tons, mounting four long 18-pounders, and four medium 12-pounders, with a crew of fifty-seven men: she was heavier rigged than a British 10-gun brig; the boom of her fore-and-aft mainsail was as long as the Monkey altogether. The following account of her capture was transmitted to us in 1829:–
“On the 27th June, about 9 a.m., on rounding the Beminis from the southward. Lieutenant Sherer discovered a brig at anchor on the bank, distant about six or seven miles, with her top-sail yards at the mast heads, and other suspicious appearances. On seeing the Monkey approach, she weighed and stood off and on under easy sail, apparently undecided how to act. When the schooner got within about three miles of her, she again anchored, with a spring on her cable, keeping her top-sails set, with the yards slung and sheets stoppered. There being but little wind, a considerable time elapsed before the Monkey got within point-blank range, when the brig let fly an ill-directed broadside, which was not returned until the schooner got near enough to make every shot tell. At the expiration of half an hour, part of the slaver’s crew hailed to say they had struck, whilst the remainder kept up a fire of musketry from the forecastle. Three or four more discharges of grape and canister settled the business, and all resistance ceased. She proved to be from the river Bonny, with four hundred slaves on board, of whom two hundred and fifty-one perished within nine weeks after her capture. On her passage from the African coast, one hundred and fifty-seven of her original cargo had died of small-pox. The Midas had one of her crew killed, and three wounded; the Monkey not a man hurt; but she, as well as her antagonist, suffered greatly in the hull and rigging. Three English sailors, formerly belonging to a Liverpool vessel wrecked on the above coast, were found in arms on board the slaver, sent home, tried for piracy at the Old Bailey, and condemned to death, but had their sentences commuted to transportation for life.”
Commander Sherer was appointed to the coast guard service at Lymington, Feb. 26th, 1831; and removed to the Weymouth district in Oct. 1832.