Emigrants on the ship Symmetry, Leith-Buenos Aires 1825

The sailing ship Symmetry, commanded by Captain Samuel Smith, sailed from Leith on Sunday 22 May 1825 carrying 220 prospective colonists, comprising 45 couples, 42 bachelors, 14 single women and 79 children. After stopping at the Canary Islands, she arrived at Buenos Ayres on 8 Aug 1825. The colonists set up the first Scottish settlement at Monte Grande under the patronage of John and William Parish Robertson and were responsible for revolutionizing farming and food supplies to the city.

In addition to the Scots, some specialists were recruited from further afield. The six bricklayers came from London, as did architect Richard Adams and his family, and one of the surveyors, James Parris Fisher, hailed from Lynn Regis in Dorset.

Symmetry off the Madieras

Symmetry at Porto Santo, Madeiras
drawn by Richard Adams

From Lloyd`s List, Symmetry:

Copper sheathed, 3 masted square rigged ship of 382 tons. Single main deck with beams. Drew 18 feet of water when loaded. Registered at Scarborough in 1823. Owned by Tindles. Classified A1.

Anouncement of the arrival of the Symmetry in the Gaceta Mercantil, 8 Aug 1825

Anouncement of the arrival of the Symmetry in the Gaceta Mercantil, 8 Aug 1825

The only printed list of passengers was that compiled by the Rev. James Dodds in his history of the early Scottish colonists published in Buenos Aires in 1897. This is a very rare book as many of the original copies were destroyed by descendants of the Symmetry colonists who objected to references to their ancestors as servants. The list is not complete and contains a number of errors. It does not give the names of the children and some couples are listed as married when, in fact, they didn't marry until after they reached Argentina. No doubt some of these marriages were as a result of ship-board romances. This list has now been republished in From Caledonia to the Pampas.

You can see Dodds' list here

A second list exists in the registers of the British Consulate in Buenos Aires. I have yet to see this list but I am given to understand it is also incomplete. This list is probably the original source of Dodds' list,

Thanks to the kind offices of Alberto Buchanan I now have a copy of the passenger list from the Argentine Archivo General de la Nacion. This is, presumably, the definitive version. Alberto also supplied the scan of the Gaceta Mercantil entry. Transcribing this list has caused a few problems as it was written by a Spanish speaking clerk endeavouring to cope with, to him, unfamiliar Scottish names. Some Christian names are rendered in English, William for example, and some in Spanish, such as Jorge. Occasionally he uses either spelling, mainly Thomas, Tomas. To add to the confusion, some names are split between two lines.

You can see the transcribed list here

Alternatively you can view the scan of the original here. Warning: it is a large file and may take a while to download.

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© Graeme Wall 2003