"Sebastian", 1855, Lamport & Holt

Rian
6th November 2009, 00:09
Can anyone help me find out what killed my great great grandfather Kennett Banks at the age of 31? He was mate on the ship "Sebastian" in mid 1855 on a voyage which sailed from Liverpool and included Rio de Janeiro and Mauritius in it's route. The ship was not wrecked and he died before the leg to Mauritius.
I have 2 old letters sent to his widow as clues, transcriptions shown below. You can see from the dates that insurance payouts took as long then as they do today!
I would really appreciate any help to solve this mystery.
Thank you, Rian.

1.
<61 Moorgate St
London 10 Oct r. 1855

Mrs Banks
13 Burlington Street
Liverpool
Madam
In reply to yours of the 8th Inst we have to say that if you forward to us the monthly note of your husband signed on the back by yourself, we will recind you a P.O. order for the amount of his half pay & also return you the allotment note
Being the owners of the Sebastian we prefer paying the monthly notes ourselves thus the reason why our agents Messrs? Lamport & Holt have not paid you the last amount due
Enclosed we return letter received from you for your husband which we were unable to forward not knowing to what port the vessel would go from Rio Janeiro, whence she sailed on the 31 August to (we only heard yesterday) the Mauritius it would be useless to send a letter there as by this time we hope she is on her home passage.
Yours truly
Chas. Bryce/Nyce?? Yo/ So? >

2.
<61 Moorgate Street London Feby. 9th 1857
S. S. Peer Esq?
L’pool?
Dear Sir
I should have acknowledged receipt of your lines of the 26th Jany last ere this but have been awaiting the final & satisfactory reply from the London Assn. Coy. in reference to the claim of Mrs Banks on whose behalf I observe you have kindly interested yourself.
I find upon enquiry today that the affair is now settled as regards the Company’s admittance of liability seeing that they agree to pay – I hope therefore in a week or two to be able to cause the money to be handed over to her (Mrs B) upon which I shall trouble you – acting upon the offer of your assistance in the matter as contained in your aforesaid lines – for a receipt by Mrs B. on the usual form and custom required by Assur ce. Comp y.
Observing that every succeeding week only serves to confirm the melancholy loss which falls to the lot of poor Mrs Banks & with expressions of congratulation to Mrs B. she? having such a ready and good friend as yourself to act on her behalf
I have only to subscribe myself
Yours very faithfully
R? L? Thomas >