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Memoirs of Lord Charles Beresford – 1868 – HMS Galatea

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Lord Charles Beresford (1846-1919) was a British Admiral and Member of Parliament, he was a hero in battle and a champion of the Navy in Parliament.  Below is another installment in our series of his memoirs – taken from ‘The Memoirs of Admiral Lord Charles Beresford’ written by himself and published in 1914.

This excerpt covers his time onboard The Galatea.

Catch-up with earlier posts in this series here.

Memoirs of Lord Charles Beresford – 1868 – HMS Galatea

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AFTER a brief spell in the royal yacht, I was promoted out of her to lieutenant, and was appointed to the Galatea, Captain [H.R.H.] Alfred Ernest Albert, Duke of Edinburgh, K.G., K.T.  

H.M.S. Galatea had four months previously returned from the long cruise of seventeen months, 24th January, [1867], to 26th June, [1868], during which the Duke visited South Africa and Australasia.  While he was in Australia, an attempt had been made to assassinate his Royal Highness, who had a very narrow escape. The pistol was fired at the range of a few feet, and the bullet, entering the Duke’s back, struck a rib and ran round the bone, inflicting a superficial wound. A full account of the voyage is contained in The Cruise of H.M.S. Galatea, by the Rev. John Milner and Oswald W. Brierley (London, [1869]; W.H. Allen).

The Galatea frigate was built at Woolwich and launched in [1859]. She was of 3227 tons burthen, 800 h.p.; she was pierced for 26 guns; maindeck, 18 guns, 10-inch, 86 cwt., and 4 guns, 10-inch, 6 1/2 tons; on the quarterdeck, 2 guns, rifled, 64-pounders; in the forecastle, 2 guns, rifled, 64-pounders. The 6 1/2 ton guns threw a shot of 115 lb., and a large double-shell weighing 156 lb. She stowed 700 tons of coal and 72 tons of water. Previously the Galatea, commanded by Captain Rochfort Maguire, had been employed from [1862] to [1866] in the Baltic, and on the Mediterranean and West Indian stations. She took part in the suppression of the insurrection at Jamaica, and, after the loss of H.M.S. Bulldog, destroyed the batteries on Cape Haitien. Her sister ship was the Ariadne, and Admiral Penrose Fitzgerald, who served in the Ariadne, in [1861], writes:

 “It would not be too much to say that she and her sister ship, the Galatea, were the two finest wooden frigates ever built in this or any other country” (Memories of the Sea).

Personally, I am inclined to consider, that fine sailor as the Galatea was, the Sutlej was finer still.

The Duke of Edinburgh was an admirable seaman. He had a great natural ability for handling a fleet, and he would have made a first-class fighting admiral. The Duke’s urbanity and kindness won the affection of all who knew him. I am indebted to him for many acts of kindness, and I was quite devoted to him.

The voyage of the Galatea lasted for two years and a half.  We visited Cape Town, Australia, New Zealand, Tahiti, the Sandwich Islands, Japan, China, India, and the Falkland Islands. It is not my purpose to describe that long cruise in detail; but rather to record those incidents which emerge from the capricious haze of memory. In many respects, the second long voyage of the Galatea was a repetition of her first voyage, so elaborately chronicled by the Rev. John Milner and Mr. Brierley. In every part of the Queen’s dominions visited by her son, the Duke was invariably received with the greatest loyalty and enthusiasm. It should be understood throughout that, when his ship was not in company, or was in company with a ship commanded by an officer junior to his Royal Highness, he was received as the Queen’s son; but when a senior officer was present, the Duke ranked in the order of his seniority in the Service.

Excerpt from The Memoirs of Admiral Lord Charles Beresford written by himself and published in 1914.

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Further Reading and External Links

Lord Charles Beresford on Wikipedia

Lord Charles Beresford on The Dreadnought Project

HMS Galatea on Wikipedia

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Memoirs of Lord Charles Beresford – 1867 – The Research

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Lord Charles Beresford (1846-1919) was a British Admiral and Member of Parliament, he was a hero in battle and a champion of the Navy in Parliament.  Below is another installment in our series of his memoirs – taken from ‘The Memoirs of Admiral Lord Charles Beresford’ written by himself and published in 1914.

This excerpt covers his time onboard The Research.

Catch-up with earlier posts in this series here.

Memoirs of Lord Charles Beresford – 1867 – The Research

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In [1867] I was appointed to the Research, which was stationed at Holyhead, and in which I served for a few months. There was a good deal of alarm felt with regard to the Fenians, who were active at the time, and the Research was ordered to look out for them. With my messmates, Caesar Hawkins, Lascelles, and Forbes, I hunted a good deal from Holyhead with Mr. Panton’s hounds. I also hunted with the Ward Union in Ireland. I used to cross from Holyhead at night, hunt during the day, and return that night.

Among other memories of those old days, I remember that my brother and myself, being delayed at Limerick Junction, occupied the time in performing a work of charity upon the porter, whose hair was of an immoderate luxuriance. He was – so far as we could discover – neither poet nor musician, and was therefore without excuse. Nevertheless, he refused the proffered kindness. Perceiving that he was thus blinded to his own interest, we gently bound him hand and foot and lashed him to a railway truck. I possessed a knife, but we found it an unsuitable weapon: my brother searched the station and found a pair of snuffers, used for trimming the station lamps. With this rude but practicable instrument we shore the locks of the porter, and his hair blew all about the empty station like the wool of a sheep at shearing-time. When it was done we made him suitable compensation.

“Sure,” said the porter, “I’ll grow my hair again as quick as I can, that way you’ll be giving me another tip.”

We had an old Irish keeper at home, whose rule in life was to agree with everything that was said to him. Upon a day when it was blowing a full gale of wind, I said to myself that I would get to windward of him to-day anyhow.

“Well, Harney,” said I. “It is a fine calm day to-day.”

“You may say that, Lord Char-less, but what little wind there is, is terrible strong,” says Harney.

A lady once said to him, “How old are you, Harney?”

“Och, shure, it’s very ould and jaded I am, it’s not long I’ll be for this world,” said he.

“Oh,” said she, “but I’m old, too. How old do you think l am?”

“Sure, how would I know that? But whatever age ye are, ye don’t look it, Milady.”

 

Excerpt from The Memoirs of Admiral Lord Charles Beresford written by himself and published in 1914.

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Further Reading and External Links

Lord Charles Beresford on Wikipedia

Lord Charles Beresford on The Dreadnought Project

HMS Reasearch

Memoirs of Lord Charles Beresford – 1866 – Days of Sails

Lord Charles Beresford (1846-1919) was a British Admiral and Member of Parliament, he was a hero in battle and a champion of the Navy in Parliament.  Below is another installment in our series of his memoirs – taken from ‘The Memoirs of Admiral Lord Charles Beresford’ written by himself and published in 1914.

This excerpt covers his time onboard The Sublej.

Catch-up with earlier posts in this series here.

Memoirs of Lord Charles Beresford – 1866 – Days of Sails

We were bound for Portsmouth. And when we rounded the Isle of Wight, and came into view of Spithead, lo! the anchorage was filled with great ships all stationed in review order. They were assembled for a review to be held for the Sultan of Turkey. We took in the signal containing our instructions, and fired a salute; and then, standing in under all plain sail and starboard studdingsails, we sailed right through the Fleet, and all the men of the Fleet crowded rails and yards to look at us, and cheered us down the lines. For the days of sails were passing even then; we had come home from the ends of the world; and the splendid apparition of a full-rigged man-of-war standing into the anchorage moved every sailor’s heart; so that many officers and men have since told me that the Sutlej sailing into Spithead through the lines of the Fleet was the finest sight it was ever their fortune to behold.

In the Tribune and in the Sutlej it was my luck to serve under two of the strictest and best captains in the Service, Captain Lord Gillford and Captain Trevenen P. Coode. I may be forgiven for recalling that both these officers added a special commendation to my certificates; an exceedingly rare action on their part, and in the case of Captain Coode, I think the first instance on record.

Part of the test for passing for sub-lieutenant was bends and hitches. Captain Lord Gillford was highly pleased with a white line which I had spliced an eye in and grafted myself. Knowing that I was a good sailmaker, he once made me fetch palm and canvas and sew an exhibition seam in public.

From the Sutlej I passed into the H.M.S. Excellent, in order to prepare for the examinations in gunnery. In those days, the Excellent was a gunnery school ship of 2311 tons, moored in the upper part of Portsmouth Harbour. The Excellent gunnery school is now Whale Island.

While in the Excellent I had the misfortune, in dismounting a gun, to break a bone in my foot; and although the injury seemed to heal very quickly under the application of arnica, I have felt its effects ever since.

Excerpt from The Memoirs of Admiral Lord Charles Beresford written by himself and published in 1914.

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Further Reading and External Links

Lord Charles Beresford on Wikipedia

Lord Charles Beresford on The Dreadnought Project

Memoirs of Lord Charles Beresford – 1860 – Benicia

var addthis_config = {“data_track_addressbar”:true}; Lord Charles Beresford (1846-1919) was a British Admiral and Member of Parliament, he was a hero in battle and a champion of the Navy in Parliament.  Below is another installment in our series of his memoirs – taken from ‘The Memoirs of Admiral Lord Charles Beresford’ written by himself and published in 1914.

 

This excerpt covers his time onboard The Sublej.

Catch-up with earlier posts in this series here.

Memoirs of Lord Charles Beresford – 1860 – Benicia

While I was at San Francisco, I had my first experience of the American practical view of a situation. Bound upon a shooting excursion, I had taken the train to Benicia, and alighted with a small bag, gun and cartridges. I asked a railway man to carry my bag for me to a hack (cab). He looked at me, and said,

“Say, is it heavy?”
“No,” I said, “it is quite light”
“Waal then,” said he, “I guess you can carry it yourself.”
I had to, so I did.

Benicia is celebrated as the birthplace of John Heenan, the “Benicia Boy,” the famous American boxer. The great fight between Heenan and Tom Sayers was fought at Farnborough on the 17th April, [1860]. Heenan was a huge man, six feet and an inch in height; Sayers, Champion of England, five feet eight inches. The fight was interrupted. Both men received a silver belt. I remember well the event of the fight, though I was not present at it. More than three years afterwards, in December, [1863], Tom King beat Heenan.

From San Francisco we proceeded to Cape Horn, homeward bound. On these long sailing passages we used to amuse ourselves by spearing fish. Sitting on the dolphin-striker (the spar below the bowsprit) we harpooned albacore and bonito and dolphin, which is not the dolphin proper but the coryphee.

We rounded the Horn, buffeted by the huge seas of that tempestuous promontory. On that occasion, I actually saw the Horn, which is an inconspicuous island beaten upon by the great waves, standing amid a colony of little black islands. And off Buenos Aires we were caught in a pampero, the hurricane of South American waters. It blew from the land; and although we were three or four hundred miles out at sea, the master smelt it coming. Indeed, the whole air was odorous with the fragrance of new-mown hay; and then, down came the wind.

Excerpt from The Memoirs of Admiral Lord Charles Beresford written by himself and published in 1914.

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Further Reading and External Links

Lord Charles Beresford on Wikipedia

Lord Charles Beresford on The Dreadnought Project

Memoirs of Lord Charles Beresford – 1866 – Deserters






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Lord Charles Beresford (1846-1919) was a British Admiral and Member of Parliament, he was a hero in battle and a champion of the Navy in Parliament.  Below is another installment in our series of his memoirs – taken from ‘The Memoirs of Admiral Lord Charles Beresford’ written by himself and published in 1914.

This excerpt covers his time onboard The Sublej.

Catch-up with earlier posts in this series here.

Memoirs of Lord Charles Beresford – 1866 – Deserters


We left Valparaiso about the middle of April, [1866], and proceeded to Vancouver. On the way, the Sutlej ran into a French barque, taking her foremast and bowsprit out of her. Captain Coode stood by the rail, his arms crossed, his hands folded in his sleeves, looking down upon the wreck with a sardonic grin, while the French captain, gesticulating below, shouted, “O you goddam Englishman for you it is all-a-right, but for it it is not so nice!”

But we repaired all damages so that at the latter end he was better off than when he started.

We arrived at Vancouver early in June, and left a few days later, to encounter a terrific hurricane. It blew from the 18th June to the 22nd June; and the track of the ship on the chart during those four days looks like a diagram of cat’s-cradle. The ship was much battered, and her boats were lost. On this occasion, I heard the pipe go “Save ship” for the second time in my life.

We put into San Francisco to refit. Here many of our men deserted. In those days, it was impossible to prevent desertions on these coasts, although the sentries on board had their rifles loaded with ball cartridge. Once the men had landed we could not touch them. I used to meet the deserters on shore, and they used to chaff me. As we had lost our boats, the American dockyard supplied us with some. One day the officer of the watch noticed fourteen men getting into the cutter, which was lying at the boom. He hailed them from the deck. The men, returning no answer, promptly pushed off for the shore. The officer of the watch instantly called away the whaler, the only other boat available, intending to send a party in pursuit. But the deserters had foreseen that contingency, and had cut the falls just inside the lowering cleat, so that the whaler could not be lowered.

Excerpt from The Memoirs of Admiral Lord Charles Beresford written by himself and published in 1914.

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Further Reading and External Links

Lord Charles Beresford on Wikipedia

Lord Charles Beresford on The Dreadnought Project

James ‘Rajah’ Brooke – 1856 – Chinese Kungsi

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James Brooke became the first White Rajah of Sarawak in 1841 after inheriting £30,000 and investing it in the schooner ‘The Royalist’ and sailing for Borneo. 

We are publishing a blog series that covers his adventures – taken from one of the books in our library called Rajah Brooke by Sir Spenser St John published in 1899.

Catch-up with earlier posts in the James Rajah Brooke series here.

James ‘Rajah’ Brooke – 1856 – Chinese Kungsi

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As the British Government would not allow me to ask for an exequatur from the Sarawak authorities, I left Kuching for Brunei in August [1856]. It was severing very precious ties. Before I sailed, Arthur Crookshank had returned to his post and brought with him, as his bride, a ‘vision of beauty,’ to use the Rajah’s own phrase.

During this year some capitalists in London formed the Borneo Company, to develop the resources of the territories under Sarawak rule. Coal had been discovered in various places, and there were valuable products to be collected, principally sago, gutta-percha and india-rubber; there was also the produce of the antimony mines, and subsequently cinnabar, or the metal containing quicksilver.

A short time before Mr Macdougall, the head of the Borneo Mission, had been raised in rank, and was named Bishop of Labuan and Sarawak.

As slight returns of fever and ague had weakened the Rajah, he accepted Sir William Hoste’s offer of a passage to Singapore in H.M.S. Spartan, where he passed a few months recruiting his health. Towards the end of January [1857] he returned to Sarawak in the Sir James Brooke, a steamer sent out by the Borneo Company to aid in their commercial work. The Rajah found the country greatly excited by persistent rumours of a Chinese conspiracy. His valuable officer, Mr Arthur Crookshank, fully believed in the hostile intentions of the Chinese Kungsi or Gold Working Company, and had therefore manned the forts with sufficient garrisons. But Sir James Brooke, having summoned the Chinese chiefs before him, and punished them for their illegal acts, was satisfied with their submission, and believed they would not be so insensate as to endeavour to carry out their previous threats. He therefore dismissed the extra men from the forts, and wrote to me on February 14th, Congratulate me on being free from all my troubles.

Excerpt from Rajah Brooke, published in 1899 by Sir Spenser St John

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Further Reading and External Links

James Rajah Brooke on Wikipedia

The Royalist Schooner

James ‘Rajah’ Brooke – 1855 – Despatches

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James Brooke became the first White Rajah of Sarawak in 1841 after inheriting £30,000 and investing it in the schooner ‘The Royalist’ and sailing for Borneo. 

We are publishing a blog series that covers his adventures – taken from one of the books in our library called Rajah Brooke by Sir Spenser St John published in 1899.

Catch-up with earlier posts in the James Rajah Brooke series here.

James ‘Rajah’ Brooke – 1855 – Despatches

In October [1855] Captain Brooke and Charles Grant left us for a visit home, and Arthur Crookshank was still absent in England, so that much work fell on the Rajah. We had scarcely settled down to a quiet life when we were disturbed by the arrival of despatches from Lord Clarendon, enclosing the Blue Book containing all the documents relating to the Commission, and expressing a cold approval of Sir James Brooke’s conduct. I also received despatches, one appointing me Consul General in Borneo, and the other containing an Order in Council directing me to send to the nearest English colony all British subjects accused of crimes and misdemeanours within the Sultan’s dominions, including Sarawak. The absurdity of such an Order in Council appears never to have struck the Foreign Office. In the first place, it was in direct opposition to our Treaty with the Brunei Government; secondly, the sending for trial to Singapore of a prisoner and all the witnesses would have entailed an expenditure of hundreds of pounds, possibly on account of a thief who had stolen the value of a shilling. It was no difficult matter to point out to our Government that it was wiser to let well alone; that the courts of Sarawak had always exercised jurisdiction over British subjects, and that no complaints of injustice had ever been made. I consequently suggested that the system then at work should be continued.

Any other solution would have been felt to be intolerable, both by the Rajah and by the native chiefs. Fortunately wise counsels prevailed in England, and the proposed arrangement, which was founded on ignorance, was reversed. I was authorised to inform the Sarawak Council that Her Majesty’s Government had no desire whatever to interfere with them, or to prevent them choosing what form of government they pleased; and I added that the British Government accepted the plan suggested for settling the question of jurisdiction. In fact, the Sarawak courts were authorised to continue to try British subjects as before.

The Rajah was deeply mortified by Lord Clarendon’s despatches. After all the promises the latter had made to the late Lord Ellesmere, that if the Commission reported in Sir James Brooke’s favour the Government would be prepared to do all that he desired, to receive a bare statement of approval of his conduct was very disheartening. After all the mischief which arose from the mere appointment of the Commission, the loss of prestige which produced the Patingi’s abortive plot, and later on the Chinese insurrection, such treatment was inexplicable to him. He was sore and indignant. He only asked for a steamer to be placed on the coast to check piracy. Even this was refused.

However, when Lord Clarendon agreed to recognise the jurisdiction of the Sarawak courts, the Rajah was greatly mollified. He wrote, “The Government has done far more than I expected, and our misunderstanding is at an end.” The strong expressions of good-will contained in the same despatch had a very tranquilising effect upon him, and he almost thought he had forgiven the Government their great injustice.

Excerpt from Rajah Brooke, published in 1899 by Sir Spenser St John

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Further Reading and External Links

James Rajah Brooke on Wikipedia

The Royalist Schooner