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Robert Howe (1795–1829)

from Colonial Times

The arrivals this week from the sister Colony of New South Wales have conveyed to us the melancholy news of the death of the Editor and Proprietor of the Sydney Gazette, on the evening of the 29th of January last, Mr. Robert Howe, eldest son of the late George Howe, Esq. the Australian Franklin. We, more than the generality of his friends and the Public, have to deplore his untimely fate, by drowning (in the exercise of paternal tenderness, in attempting to rescue his infant child from a watery grave.) On the announcement, so sudden and unexpected, and scarcely to be credited, occasioned, from our long intimacy and private friendship (although for the last few years strong public controversionists) more deeply felt and grieved for—recalling to our minds, with painful regret that the awful estrangement of acquaintance should have happened, without a reconciliation of political ideas, that in a great measure so varied and disunited those ties of friendship which for many years subsisted between us. The unfeigned tear of sorrow and regret is all that is now left us to offer as tributary and appeasing to his memory. His sudden death was occasioned by attempting to save his infant from drowning. It appears, the child being indisposed, he was recommended to try sea-bathing, as an effectual remedy of the little one's disorder. He had adopted the plan of towing the infant in a wicker basket alongside his pleasure boat. By some accident the rope that was attached to the basket broke, upon which the deceased jumped overboard, to rescue the babe, and it is supposed, on rising from his sudden immersion, his head must have struck the keel of the boat, or his person become entangled with the ropes (which must have been the case, having been a very excellent swimmer), for he rose no more! This unhappy accident having been witnessed by the second officer of a vessel in the harbour, he immediately plunged into the water, and rescued the infant from its wretched father's fate. The deceased was in the prime and vigor of his life, between 30 and 40 years of age; and was possessed of a refined and animated understanding—the chief essentials of an Editor. As such, he was most zealous, active, and indefatigable, in an eminent degree, and, as a relaxation of his arduous and unwearying professional and editorial duties, he purchased the boat, only a few days previously, strange does it appear, that the friendly joke of his acquaintance was but too truly verified, when quizzing him on his purchase, that "He had bought his own Coffin!" With most heartfelt grief, do we condole his amiable relict and young family on this sad, unexpected, and heart-breaking loss. Let us trust, the molifying hand of time will sooth her sorrows, and recall to her mind to the imperative and double duties claimed by her rising offspring. We know not what offers of condolence to address to his sorrowing relations, at this sad catastrophe, but to rest their feelings upon the soothing help upon the powerful omolyents of religious and Christian fortitude. The soothing hand of time softens all anguish. Time, then, must be their anodoyne. In alluding to the sad loss the Sydney Gazette Establishment must for a while feel, by this paralyzing misfortune, we trust that all the inconveniencies will be obviated, and the zealous energy of his relative, Mr. George Terry Howe, and his co-adjutor, the Rev. Ralph Mansfield, will continue to publish the Journal in the same name—handing down to posterity the proof of an Australian and St. Kitt's, (a Leeward Island) Franklin. The body was picked up and the funeral was to take place on the 2nd instant.

Original publication

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Citation details

'Howe, Robert (1795–1829)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 22 July 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

Life Summary [details]




29 January, 1829 (aged ~ 34)
Pinchgut, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Cause of Death


Cultural Heritage

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Religious Influence

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