How the  Dunlop Name came to be associated again with Freedom, by the

Capturing of Slave ships by Capt. Robert J Wallace Dunlop, RN.

and Lt Andrew R Dunlap, RN

Submitted by Mike Dunlap, Clan Historian



Brig Star                            Frigate Penelope


During the years 1838 through  1845, Great Britain , in treaty with France, Russia and the Netherlands, actively suppressed Slave traders of Sierra Leone in West Africa. The Royal Navy had squadrons of many ships of the Line on what was called: “the West African Station”. These ships were to (according to the “Instructions for the Guidance of Her Majesty’s Naval Officers Employed in the Suppression of the Slave Trade, 1844):


-1- Visit any ship suspected of transporting Slaves. On all occasions of visiting suspected vessels, the Officer sent on board is to be in proper uniform, and of the rank required by the Treaty or Instructions under which the visit is made; and the boat in which he goes is always to carry a British flag and pendant; and he is to be provided with to documents conferring authority to Visit and Search, and the Instructions applicable to the occasion.


-2- If Slaves should be on board, every effort is to be made to alleviate their sufferings and improve their condition, by a careful attention to cleanliness and ventilation, by separating the sickly from those who are in good health, by encouraging the Slaves to feel confidence in Her Majesty's Officers and men, and promoting amongst them cheerfulness and exercise.


-3-The Officer in charge of a captured Slave-ship will be warranted in landing the Slaves, or transferring them to other vessels, whenever such measures are absolutely necessary, but not otherwise; and in such cases a certificate of all the circumstances much be drawn out, and be taken with the vessel to the place of adjudication.


-4-The Master and crew, or such part of them as may be left on board a detained Slave-vessel, are to be well treated, and not to be subjected to further restraint than may be required for ensuring the due execution of the service entrusted to the Officer in charge; but it will be necessary to guard against attempts at recapture, whether by open force, or by any other means.


-5-In all cases of capture a full and accurate account of everything captured or destroyed and of the disposal of the same is to be sent in, together with a report of the case, by the Officer in charge to the Senior Officer on the station, and a duplicate thereof to the Secretary to the Admiralty, by the earliest opportunity.


Commanding one of these ships of Freedom was Robert John Wallace Dunlop, Captain of the packet Brig "HMS Star"(6 guns), 2nd Division West African Station, which he commanded off Sierra Leone and Gallinas in 1838-45...In these actions he seized the following ships: On Feb. 3, 1844 , the Nova Christina, freeing 70 slaves. On 1 Apr 1844 the  schooner Maria. On 30 Aug 1844, a brigantine; on 30 Jan 1845 the Cazuza; on 8 Feb 1845 the schooner Diligencia; on 11 Feb 1845 the Vivo; on 6 Mar 1845 the Virginia; on 26 Mar 1845 the schooner Audaz; on 27 Mar 1845 the Rafael; 17 Apr 1845 the Schooner Minerva; 28 Jun 1845 the schooner Mariquinha; 16 Jul 1845 the Brig Fantasma; in the next four days three more brigs with unknown names; on Dec 24 1845 another Brig;  and on 17 Feb 1846 the Brig Paquete de Rio. These Brigs held over 500 slaves each.  Captain Dunlop’s actions freed over 5,000 slaves on their way to the West Indies!


Another liberator during these actions was Lt Andrew R. Dunlap, who served on the HMS Penelope, a 5th rate 46-gun Frigate and also later commanding his own ship, the HMS Albert, a small troopship with three guns. While serving as an officer on the Penelope, he helped capture the schooner Maria Luisa on 3 Apr 1844 and two schooners on 20 Oct 1844. While captaining the small troopship HMS Albert, he captured the schooner Sua Majestade on 3 Feb 1845; the Brig Triumfo on 11 Feb 1845, and the Schooner Venus on 13 Feb 1845. Lt. Dunlap’s actions were responsible for the freeing of over 2,000 slaves!


Our two representatives in this glorious humane adventure again reiterate the Family Dunlop’s fine motto: “Merito!”

-Robert John Wallace Dunlop was son of Robert Wallace Dunlop,(b 1774), son of Robert Dunlop of Rotterdam and Magdalene Dunlop, daughter of Francis Dunlop, 18th of that Ilk and Magdalene Kinloch




 from the Irish University Press reprints of the British "Parliamentary Papers”.