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WHEN Nelson was negotiat- increase of the navies of the ing with the Bashaw of Tripoli, world, is also notable for the and urging that potentate to almost entire absence of serious make peace with our protégés, fighting at sea. the two Sicilies and Portugal, Thus it came to pass that the negotiations proceeded sat- Sir William Mends, who served isfactorily up to a certain point. from 1827 to 1883, either afloat Then the Bashaw found him- or at the Admiralty, never was self on the horns of a dilemma in a purely naval action; and from which it was impossible indeed since the battle

of to escape, and which promptly Navarino in 1827 no British brought the negotiations to a man-of-war has been engaged close : he explained that if peace at sea. Fighting there has was concluded with our friends been in which the navy has he would have no war on his borne a part; but in every

inhands, and then, said he, “ What stance the fighting took place am I to do with my frigates ?” in connection with shore operFrom the Bashaw's point of ations, and much of it was acview this argument was un- tually on shore. In this fightanswerable: the frigates were ing, as we shall see, Mends

, provided for fighting purposes, took his share. Indeed the therefore if he had frigates he book seems to have been writmust have a war to keep them ten by the Admiral's son, who employed. Moreover, he could himself served some time in the not dispense with his ships, mavy, not so much to give to because his dignity would be the world an account of the impaired if he laid them up, so high attainments of the Adthe war must go on. Accord- miral, but rather to throw light ingly the frigates sailed on the work of the navy during their usual marauding expedi- the period which it covers, and tions. Here we see a standing especially to place on record navy regarded as an excellent the aspect of the Crimean camreason for breaking the peace, paign as viewed from the quarand this was a common senti- ter-deck of Lord Lyons' flagment not only in Tripoli but ship, which vessel was in closer all over Europe in the middle touch with the land forces by ages. Gradually, however, a whom the main operations in great change has come about the Crimea were carried and the nineteenth century, than any other ship in the which is notable for the large Black Sea.


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1 The Life of Admiral Sir William Robert Mends, G.C.B. By his son, Bowen S. Mends. London: John Murray.


In common with Blake, Nel- country's service, stood in a son, Jervis, Collingwood, and very different position from the great majority of prominent that of some Admiralty nomnaval men, Mends came from inee whose friends had politia good middle-class family. It cal interest; and the boy is indeed remarkable how few does not seem to have been of our great naval comman- badly received by his messders have been of noble birth. mates. His first ship was Many a scion of the nobility the Thetis frigate, stationed has worthily proved his mettle on the South American comin the sister service; but the mand; and though in the pipnoblemen who have served

ing times of


the afloat have very seldom risen mission did not pass without to prominence. In the early more than one incident, which part of this century the pro- showed that lives may be lost portion of noblemen serving in in the service even in peacethe fleet was by no means in- time, and that it is quite possignificant, and their interest sible for a man-of-war to be

always enabled them to get called upon to fight even when such appointments as would there is no The first give the opportunity of com- occurrence took place in Valing to the front; but very few paraiso Bay. The Thetis was distinguished themselves. moored with two anchors ahead

The method by which young and a third astern, a portion Mends entered the navy in of her men ashore, top-gal1827 was practically the same lant sails unbent and awnings

that which is in force spread, when a Chilian official at present: he had eighteen hurried on board to ask for months' training as a cadet in assistance in the capture of a a college on shore before being 24-gun brig whose crew had sent to sea. But this was then mutinied and were making off a novelty, and the youngsters with the ship, which contained who entered in this way—"col- a large amount of Chilian Govlege volunteers," as they were ernment treasure. styled--were looked upon with In a few minutes awnings a certain amount of suspicion were down, sails bent and set, by the service afloat. From cables were buoyed and slipped, time immemorial the nomina- and the ship was in full chase tion and entry of youngsters of the brig. Only three-quarto the service had rested with ters of an hour had elapsed the captains, and they natur- from the first warning when ally resented being deprived the Thetis drew up within gunof their patronage.

Mends, shot of the runaway, and a however, being the son of a shot


her captain in the navy, one of bows :fourteen fighting brothers who obtained commissions in the the shot, so a second was fired over

“No notice was taken by the brig of navy or army, and most of her, upon which she at once brought whom lost their lives in their her topsail to the mast and lay to.





Captain Bingham hailed that he probable that after this he wished to send a boat on board ; the found it expedient to pay

close answer came back that no boat would be allowed alongside. However, a attention to training his men boat was lowered with a lieutenant at their guns, and there is no and a party of marines in her, and doubt that the Thetis was in was proceeding towards the brig when excellent


order. the mutineers threatened to fire on

Bingham did not live to bring her, and she was therefore recalled. The brig was then hailed to sur

the Thetis home, and young render, and after ample time had been Mends nearly lost his life at given, a single shot was fired into the same time as his captain, her, which passed in at one ladder. through the capsizing of the way, through the mainmast, and out at the other. Upon receiving this ship’s barge by getting athwart shot the brig retaliated with a broad- the hawse of vessel at side of round and grape ; but as she anchor when running up the had momentarily fallen off and the Guayaquil river in a strong guns had not been retrained, little or

tide. The tide in this river runs no damage was done. The foremost division of the frigate's main-deck five or six knots, and Bingham guns were then fired into her, upon showed some lack of caution in which she struck her colours. sailing up this dangerous river The brig lost three men killed and in the dark, amongst anchored fifteen or twenty wounded in this brief engagement."

vessels. With poor Bingham,

Hall, his chaplain, also lost his It must have been a great life. The sailors of the Thetis satisfaction to Captain Bingham were, however, far from attribof the Thetis to demonstrate in uting this sad accident to any this forcible manner, in full lack of care : they had a much view of the French flagship, better reason for their captain's the smartness of his ship and death. It seems that the Thetis the excellence of her gunnery. sailed from Callao on a Friday ! It says much too for his human- Moreover, when making the enity and forbearance, as well as trance of the Guayaquil river, for the control which he held they sighted the island of Amorover his men, that he did not tajada—the shrouded corpse sink the brig when she fired her a name given to it by the anbroadside at the Thetis. Bing- cient Spanish explorers who ham had before been engaged in sailed with Pizarro, owing to a serious action during peace- its supposed resemblance to this time. He was captain of the gruesome object. Now, Captain sloop Little Belt when, owing Bingham was not only much to a mistake which has never interested in the strange name, been satisfactorily cleared up, but called to the chaplain to she was engaged at night by come and notice the resemthe United States frigate Pre- blance. Such matters sident, of fully treble her force. most serious in our ships of On this occasion the Little Belt seventy years ago, and though suffered a loss of thirty-two we may smile, the old quarterkilled and wounded, and in- master and his chum, the boatflicted very little damage on swain's mate, were absolutely her huge foe. It seems not im- certain that but for the reckless disregard of true wisdom their giving a moment's warning, to captain's life would not have order the men in his charge to been sacrificed. But the com


lie down between the guns. mission was drawing to an end, Thus no lives were lost amongst and the Thetis was soon making the men stationed before the the best of her way home, call- mainmast, and Mends's journal ing at Rio, where various records :changes were made amongst the officers, Captain Burgess of

“But the people rushing up the the Warspite taking command. severely, many being killed, including

main and after ladders suffered The coast near Rio lies nearly the man at the wheel, who continued east and west, and turns sharply to grip it firmly, thus still helping to to the northward at Cape Frio. bring the ship round. NotwithstandThe wind being to the south

ing the scene of chaos and desolation,

the fact that all the boats were deeast, as soon as Cape Frio was stroyed by the falling spars, and the weathered the ship could set groans

of the wounded and the dying, her course for home. The The- the ship's company never lost their tis once more, by order of the

discipline for an instant, and on the ·

well being sounded and it being ascerAdmiral, weighed her anchor tained that the ship was not leaking, , on Friday, and set to work to

they gave three hearty cheers.” beat to the eastward till far enough to windward to weather He then goes on to tell how the iron-bound cape.

On Sun- the ship drifted along the face day afternoon Captain Burgess of the cliff in deep water till thought that she was far enough

she struck on a reef of rocks to the eastward, and gave the

where the water shoaled :order to keep the ship to the “Just before she reached the rocks northward. Young Mends, now

I was sent down to see that the tiller a senior mid., had been given

was to starboard : I found that the charge of a watch in place of a

men were at the relieving tackles, and

that the helm was as desired. Whilst lieutenant who was sick, and I was below the hull of the dear old coming on deck at 8 P.M., found ship crashed upon the rocks, and there that there was a strong breeze

was great grinding, for the sea was with heavy rain. He had just very heavy. I found the sentry over taken command of the deck, and dollars were secured ; I also found the

the spirit-room, in which over 800,000 had gone round to ascertain guard over the gunroom door : there that all was right aloft and was no panic, and these men remained that a good look-out was being quietly at their posts." kept, when land was reported Although ships have changed close to. He at once put the beyond recognition since 1830, helm down, thus anticipating and officers and men also, recent the orders of the captain, who naval history records the same came running on deck. In an- quiet obedience to duty in men other moment the ship ran into stationed below in times of ima perpendicular cliff, which minent peril. Both in the escape

, swept her masts down like so of the Calliope and the loss of many reeds. Young Mends had the Victoria the ship was the the presence of mind, as the jib- first consideration, the dear boom crashed into the cliff, thus old ship,” as young Mends calls




the Thetis,-there is no thought nople, who were only withof self except that each indi- drawn in deference to urgent vidual must do his duty. It representations from the other is not only the strict sense of Powers, backed by a British duty and the fear of disobey- fleet in Besika Bay. Young ing orders that keeps men Mends was at Constantinople, steady in such crises as these, and was immensely interested but there is a real sense of in the embarkation of the Ruslove to the ship that makes sian troops :the duty almost pleasurable.

“I watched the embarkation of the The Thetis finally sank in com

Russian army the whole day, scarcely paratively shallow water, and leaving the deck of the Actæon even only twenty-one were lost, in- to eat. I made careful notes of their cluding those killed by the fall manner and methods of embarking of the masts.

the cavalry and guns, and most ex

cellent and expeditious they seemed The court-martial which as

to be, the whole force of 22,000 men sembled at Portsmouth for the with all their stores and belongings trial of Captain Burgess and being on board before 6 P.M., the emthe surviving officers and men

barkation having been commenced at

6 A.m." of the Thetis was ordeal for young Mends, who, This was undoubtedly a fine being officer of the watch at achievement for a nation like the time of the catastrophe, the Russians, who were not shared with the captain and supposed to be good seamen. master the responsibility for Moreover, the fleet which prothe loss of the ship. Both vided the boats and made all the captain and master were the arrangements was not a severely punished, the former very large one, numbering only losing two years' seniority, and ten line-of-battle ships. the latter being placed at the Early in 1835 Mends, still bottom of the list : Mends, on only a mate, though twentythe other hand, was warmly three years of age, was apcommended by the president pointed to the Pique, a new and members of the court for Symondite frigate just off the his conduct, and this commen- stocks. In these days the first dation took the practical form thing done with a new cruiser of the offer of a vacancy in is to try her speed. This is no every one of the ships then new thing, for although the fitting at Portsmouth.' Mends practice of running up and

. chose the Actæon, and

down the measured mile only speedily on his way to the came in with steamships, the Mediterranean, where he re- trial of a frigate's speed was a mained from 1831 to 1835. most important matter in the These were uneventful years

uneventful years early thirties. The method afloat, although the Eastern consisted in selecting some ship Question was very much in of known merit and trying the evidence on shore. In 1832 new ship against her. Just as the Russians had 20,000 men the efficient steaming of a ship encamped outside . Constanti- depends not only on the design


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