The Barrington Papers, Vol. 77. Originally published by Navy Record Society, London, 1937.
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The Prince of Wales - Letters
On so many Ships being ordered to be put in condition for the sea, I think it my duty to offer my service, and to assure their Lordships that I shall always be ready to obey their commands at the shortest notice.
I am, &c.,
I shall be much obliged to your Lordship if you will appoint Lieutenant William Carlyon (fn. 1) fifth of the Prince of Wales, moving up Messrs Shipman (fn. 2) and Brine (fn. 3) to third and fourth.
Lieutenant Bazely (fn. 4) at the Rendezvous at Dover has sent me a List of eleven Volunteers for the Prince of Wales. They are embarked in the Wells Cutter and Speedwell Sloop, but we are at such a distance that without your kind intercession they will be smuggled by some of the Eastern Pirates.
We are rigged and our Ground Tier stowed, but all at a
stand now for want of assistance. These fine fellows and
a few Blackguards that are to be got here would set me
I am, &c.,
I am informed that the Lord Camden Prize, which I
took on my late cruize, is one of the completest Ships in
every respect that can possibly be built; is of 350 Tons;
and will make an excellent Sloop of War, to carry 16 Guns.
Should my Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty have
occasion for such a Vessel, I beg leave to offer her to them.
I am, &c.,
I waited till your return from your cruise to answer the letter I received from you some time ago. (fn. 5)
Before I had received your letter the Command to the
Leeward Islands was destined to Lord Shuldham; but
many things may happen in which your services may be
wanted to command a Squadron before there is another
promotion [to] Admirals, and you may be assured that I
know no one more fit to command a Squadron on the most
serious business than the person to whom I am writing.
If you should be called upon to serve as a Commodore with
a Captain under you, I am very certain you would have no
reason to differ with me about the appointment of your
officers, as I shall always be disposed to oblige you to the
utmost of my power, and to prove the truth and regard
with which I am, &c.,
Since I received my Orders on Monday night last, the Prince of Wales, Bedford and Asia have been twice short on their anchors, with the wind at N.W., but veering to the westward were obliged to moor again. The wind in the Sound is now at N.W.bW., but at W.bN. and West without Penlee Point. I do not think it advisable to beat down Channel with so large a Ship at this season of the year; but their Lordships may be assured, I shall not let slip the first favourable opportunity of sailing.
I am, &c.,
As the wind is against your sailing, possibly this letter may reach you in time for me to learn in answer to it, whether in case it should be thought advisable to send a Flag Officer to be second in command under Lord Howe, it would be agreeable to you to have your Flag and to be appointed to that service. As in a former letter you told me that the thing that principally induced you to wish for a Command was that it might give you an opportunity of being useful to your officers, I am very ready and have pleasure to inform you that I will take your recommendation of your Captain and all your officers, of which if you please Sir James Barclay (fn. 6) may be one. You will observe that I do not as yet say that His Majesty will appoint you to this Command, as we wish to hear from Lord Howe before any final arrangement is taken concerning it; my only meaning in writing this is to know your sentiments upon the subject before you get out of my reach, as by that I may be enabled to settle matters notwithstanding your absence. I am, with great truth and regard, &c.,
I am just honoured with your Lordship's letter of the 19th instant. As I acquainted you in a former letter that my only inducement to command a Squadron was to have it in my power to provide for my officers, my being sent in a subordinate character could never answer that purpose. Surely, my Lord, you can never think it agreable to an officer of sentiment to serve in a part of the World where one so junior to himself was honoured with a distinguishing Pendant in preference to him. Let my opinion be what it will about the treatment I have, and may yet receive, your Lordship will please to observe I never refused when called upon, let the service be ever so disagreable. Your Lordship was pleased to tell me in a former letter that the Command of the Leeward Islands was designed for Lord Shuldham before I applied for it, but that many things might happen in which my services might be wanted to command a Squadron, and that you knew no one more fit to command a Squadron on the most serious business than the person you was then writing to. What occasion your Lordship may have for altering that opinion is best known to yourself. I can only say it is my earnest wish to have it in my power to serve those officers who deserve so much from me. They have been with me from their early youth without a friend but myself. It is now necessary to open myself to your Lordship fully on this subject, and to assure you that I shall (after the numberless flattering compliments and professions from you) think myself excessively ill-treated should you dispose of the Leeward Islands, or any other Command, to a junior officer to myself. Sir James Barclay is made a Lieutenant by Lord Howe, but I am equally obliged to your Lordship for your kind intentions towards him.
The wind is still unfavourable and I fear will remain so. Beating down Channel at this season of the year is a tedious work to little purpose and much risk, but your Lordship may be assured I shall not let slip the first opportunity of sailing.
Nothing was farther from my thoughts than that anything I said in the letter which I lately wrote to you could have given you the least degree of offence. I never had the least idea of employing a junior officer to you to command at the Leeward Islands while you wished for that Station, and I could never devise that it could be imputed to me as a crime that I had barely asked you the question, whether you should like to be second to Lord Howe, which employment at this moment is held by a Rear-Admiral. You mention Commodore Hotham's Pendant as an objection to your being employed in America, as he is much junior. Now I own I never thought of employing you on that service, because you could only have been third in command, Sir Peter Parker being on the spot. Had I proposed that arrangement to you, I should have thought you might have considered it as a slight; but I own I do not see my late proposal in that light. However to cut this matter short, and to convince you that my words and actions always keep pace together, I will repeat to you that I know no officer in the King's Service more fit to be trusted with a Command than yourself, and that I have no intention of proposing any officer junior to you for any foreign Command, unless you are previously disposed of entirely to your satisfaction. Nothing is done about the Leeward Islands; an Admiral of rank and reputation has applied for it, but I have avoided entering into any engagement about it as yet, as there is nothing that makes it immediately necessary to recall Admiral Young. I will acknowledge that a junior officer to you did apply for the Command in question, but so far was I from thinking of employing him in preference to you, that my immediate answer to him was, that as Captain Barrington had applied, it was impossible for me to recommend a junior officer.
I have the pleasure to acquaint you that I have just taken the Savanna Brigantine, James Johnston, Master, from Georgia, laden with Rice, bound to Nantz. I have ordered her to Plymouth; and am, &c.,
Having executed their Lordships' Order of the 12th November last, I am to acquaint you with my arrival here this day. Although the Ship's Decks and Sides have been twice caulked since the month of June last, yet she is in more need of it than ever. She is so weak, and strains so much in a sea that the Ocham works out of the Seams to such a degree that the People never lay dry in their Beds; and if I may be allowed to give an opinion, it is not fitting she should go to sea again without her being Ridered.
I am, &c.,
I am ignorant whether you have received a letter which I wrote to you when you was on the point of sailing, and which was in answer to yours which expressed yourself a little dissatisfied at what I had said to you relative to your having a foreign Command. I do again most sincerely assure you that I have no object more at heart than that of accommodating you to the utmost, and to have your service where you yourself think it may be best applied for the public good. I am however convinced that we shall never understand one another by correspondence in letter; I could therefore wish that as soon as you return from your cruise you would take a trip to London for a few days that I may have a little conversation with you, and let you know the particular services on which Flag Officers will be shortly wanted, when I am very certain I shall easily convince you that I am, with the utmost truth and regard, &c,