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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 Actaon, and was 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 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




of ship and engines but on against each other in the bay,
the efficiency of her engine- much where the Pique encoun-
room complement, so in old tered the Castor. We all knew
days the seaman-like qualities that sailing was doomed as a
of the officers and men were an fighting factor; but we were
important factor in the sailing just as keen over the merits of
trials. The seamen of those our ships, and as critical as to
days, it is to be remembered, the sit of the jib and the trim-
not only sailed their ships but ming of the sails generally, as
rigged them as well, which the seamen of eighty years be-
made their interest all the fore, with whom smart seaman-
keener. In this case the Pique ship and good sailing qualities
was sent to the Bay of Biscay made all the difference between
during February and March an efficient man-of-war and a
to try rate of sailing against useless dummy.
the Castor, a crack frigate, re- The next task for the Pique
ported one of the best ships in

common enough for
the service for sailing. The our cruisers in the days of good
Pique, under Captain Rous, King William, but now, in these
afterwards that well-known, days of rapid and luxurious
most upright, and thorough mail-steamers, quite as much
sportsman Admiral Rous, did out of date as royals and sky-
well, but the Castor seems to sails. This was to convey a
have been somewhat superior. new governor-general and his
A month in the Bay of Biscay staff to Canada, and thence to
at the equinox was enough bring home his predecessor.
even for Mends's zeal, and keen The passage out was unevent-
as was his interest in the sail- ful, except that the ship nar-
ing contests, he lets slip a little rowly escaped running on the
growl towards the close of them. rocks in the Straits of Belleisle.
But in those good old days In those days of imperfect
where was there a gunroom in charts and few lights, passages
which the mates were not priv- which are now traversed with-
ileged to growl? In many gun- out danger by our steamers
rooms there were men who had were full of risk for even the
seen service in the great war, best found sailing - ship; and
and whose hair was actually when the Pique was homeward
turning grey and they were bound she actually ran on the
mates still. They worked hard, rocks, and it was only by the
but were most notorious growls, skill of her captain and crew
and thus worked off their spleen. that she was brought safely
Sailing trials not only contin- home. The stranding of the
ued the order of the day in ship was, as is usual, inquired
the forties and fifties, but, into by court-martial, and Cap-
such is the conservatism of the tain Rous and his master were
navy, even in the seventies the most honourably acquitted :
writer was in one of a pair of there was, therefore, no
new ironclads which were dili- lessness or recklessness to ac-
gently beating to windward count for the accident. As in




the case of the Thetis, the ship were successful in getting the was stranded at night in thick ship’s head in the right direction. blowing weather, all the cir- A better and more permanent cumstances being such as might jury-rudder was prepared, and well have caused a panic. But getting one day of fine weather, once more the power of discip- the opportunity was seized to line shows itself, assisted as ship it. With this rudder the before by a romantic attach- ship was steered into the enment to the ship. In the midst trance of the Channel, where of the work of shortening sail, another gale swept it away, sending down spars, and laying and the ship was saved from out anchors, Mends is deep in wreck by anchoring with her his sympathy for the Pique. last remaining cable near the “The poor ship now began to thump

Caskets. Finally a light breeze and struggle for it very violently, enabled them to weigh and which I am sure, if other hearts felt make Spithead without assistas mine did, made many ache for her.

On anchoring, these gal.. Many a time did I think of my lant seamen, following the expoor Thetis, though hers was a worse case.”

ample of those saved from the

Thetis, were not ashamed to The ship was very severely assemble together to publicly damaged, nevertheless Rous thank God for their safety. decided to take her home, and The hand of God was this during the equinox. As fully recognised then as ruling long as the pumps remained in the raging of the sea than is good order they were able to the case in the present day. cope with the leaks; but, as so Mends now got his promotion often happens in such cases, to lieutenant, and, thanks to one of the pumps gave out, and the reputation as the necessary repairs were too which he was making, was much for the skill of the car- quickly appointed to a crack penters. However, the ingen- frigate in the Mediterranean, uity of the bluejacket came to the 50-gun Vernon. Most of the fore, and three seamen who his lieutenant's time was spent took the pump in hand got on this station under two anit into working order. The cient and amiable commandersweather became very bad, and in-chief, Sir Robert Stopford before they were half - way and Sir Edward Owen. In the across the Atlantic the rudder early years of her Majesty's carried away.

It was reign the navy was in a very blowing hard at the time, and depressed condition. Such life the ship at once broached to, as there was existed mainly in threatening every minute to the Mediterranean, but even carry away her masts, which there matters were in a very were badly sprung when the sluggish state. After leaving ship stranded. Sail being the Vernon, Mends was fortunate shortened, the

set to in getting into that really smart work to make a temporary and efficient ship the Rodney, rudder, and after a time they under the command of Captain





Hyde Parker, whose friendship the ships of the Mediterranean was of service to him in after- fleet were constantly under his years. Much of the rest of his windows: he watched their pertime as lieutenant was spent as

formances at sail-drill and other flag-lieutenant to Rear-Admiral exercises, and busied himself Louis, superintendent of Malta with an organisation for the dockyard, where he fell in love crew of a line-of-battle ship and married his charming and which would enable every excellent wife, but did not ad- emergency to be promptly met, vance his prospects from a ser- whether arising from the exigvice point of view. In 1843 he encies of the service or simply came home, and was offered the from the requirements of exerfirst lieutenancy of the Fox by cise. His journal at this time Sir Henry Blackwood, son of bears record to his diligence in

n's friend, who command- preparing himself for undered the Euryalus at Trafalgar. taking the duties of commander The three years in the Fox of a line-of-battle ship. After passed uneventfully: the ship a year's waiting his chance ran ashore once in the Persian came. The Vanguard, a ship Gulf, but was got off without notoriously in bad order, needed being in much danger. At the a commander. Captain Rich, close of the commission Mends the newly appointed captain of was promoted to commander, the Vanguard, was naturally and set up house at Malta. anxious for a man who would

Promotion in the lower ranks improve the bad state of affairs. of the navy being by selection, Mends gladly accepted the task, the competition amongst lieu- and accomplished it with contenants for promotion to com- spicuous success. The Vanmander is, and has always been, guard paid off when Mends had very keen. It results, therefore, been a year in her, and he was that in order to gratify the am- again relegated to half - pay, bition of those who are pressing which was brought to an end for promotion, more are ad- by his appointment to the Venvanced than there is any em- geance, an 84-gun ship then ployment for So that those waiting at Portsmouth for her who have succeeded in obtaining crew. Mends owed his appointtheir promotion have yet to ment to his old friend, Sir H. obtain employment, and it fre- Blackwood, who in 1850 was quently happens that a man more hoisting his penwho manages to get promoted nant as captain of a line-offinds himself in a worse battle ship. It took nearly a than before; for if unpromot- year for the Vengeance to get ed, he would at any rate get her crew! For in 1850, on a employment as a lieutenant, ship commissioning, the men whereas as it is he is relegated had to be picked up from the to half-pay as a commander. shore by voluntary enlistment.

The way Mends spent his When volunteers failed, there half-pay was very characteris- being no pressgang, the ship tic of the man. Living at Malta, had to wait and wait until she




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was fit to go to sea. This took the strange resolve to alwaiting-time was demoralising low him to remain in command, to all concerned, and it does and to appoint an active rearMends immense credit that after admiral, who was to do the this tedious delay the ship not work whilst the commander-inonly held her own with others chief acted as figurehead. The in the Mediterranean, but man selected for this somewhat speedily excelled them in all invidious task was Rear - Adduties or exercises, thus becom- miral Sir E. Lyons, who, after ing crack ship in the Mediter- making his reputation in the

navy, had nineteen years before In the end of 1852, being accepted an appointment in the forty years of age, Mends at- diplomatic service, and had not tained the rank of post-captain. since gone to sea.

Moreover, He had worked his way up in distinguished as Lyons' services the service by diligence, smart- had been, he had never ness, and resource as a seaman much as served on board and organiser; and now a new line-of-battle ship, nor had he force was making its way in any acquaintance with the the navy which bade fair to working of a fleet. All his sweep away masts, sails, and time had been served in frigseamen together. The old type ates, and almost always on of seaman was naturally bit- detached service. With steam terly opposed to steam and all he was of course entirely units accessories. But Mends was acquainted, and yet his flagof another stamp. He saw the ship was to be one of the advantages which steam would finest of our steam line-of-battle bring with it, and decided not ships. Under these circumonly to accept the inevitable, stances Lyons looked about for but to keep abreast of, if not a flag-captain who would bring actually ahead of, the times, and with him the knowledge and accordingly utilised another experience that he himself inevitable spell of half-pay for lacked. He had any number the study of marine engineer- of applicants : 132 captains ing at Woolwich Dockyard. were candidates for the ap

Towards the end of 1853 it pointment! His choice in the began to be apparent that war first place fell upon Captain with Russia was wellnigh in- Symonds, who was then serving evitable. Both


army in the Arethusa frigate; but were exceedingly ill prepared, Mends was to act as flag-capand even the Admiralty recog- tain for the passage out, and nised that the commander-in- when on the Mediterranean stachief in the Mediterranean was tion Symonds was to have the not likely to distinguish him- option of exchanging into the self if active operations were flagship. For one of the junior needed. Instead, however, of captains on the list the offer relieving Admiral Dundas, they was most flattering to Mends,

1 See • Blackwood's Magazine' for January 1899. VOL. CLXV.-NO. MIII.


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