Sunday, June 13, 2004

The Royal Navy: A History from the earliest times to the present, Vol.II, page 431 and note

Even the most prominent authors sometimes "gets it wrong". Mostly, it is due to lack of knowledge of the material in question. That seems to be the case with William Laird Clowes and his monumental 7 volume work, The Royal Navy: a history from the earliest times to the present. In volume II, page 431, and note 2 on that page, he makes several errors. On December 25, 1666, an English squadron commanded by Robert Robertson, captain of the Warspite, fought an action with five Dutch ships. He says that the English captured three ships, the Cleen Harderwijk (38 guns), the Leijden (36 guns), and the Els (36 guns). In his footnote, he notes that the contemporary accounts called the ships Clean Harder, Leyden, and Eeles. The only one of the ships that he got right was the Leiden. Both Leijden and Leyden were acceptable, contemporary spellings for the ship that had fought in the First Anglo-Dutch War. The footnote is closer to the right names. The first ship was actually the Klein Harder. The last ship was the Elias. The Elias seems to have been the only one which was taken into the English service. Frank Fox lists her in an appendix to his book, Great Ships: The Battlefleet of King Charles II. He gives the English dimensions as 78ft x 27ft x 8ft, with an English burden of 302 tons. Her armament was 34 guns. My estimate for her Dutch dimensios are: 102ft x 30.5ft x 9ft. I am somewhat skeptical of these dimensions. The length seems short for the beam and the depth also seems too small. We have to use the few cases where we definitely have both the English and Dutch dimensions as a guide, and what I have given are based on the average factors.

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