Sunday, April 30, 2006

I like how my English-to-Dutch conversion factors work

Frank Fox had encouraged me, a few years ago, to see if I could arrive at a system for converting English measurements to Dutch, so we could estimate the Dutch dimensions for ships that had been taken by the English. Ships that survived in service after the Restoration were recorded by Samuel Pepys, so we have them for our perusal. It is not beyond the realm of possibilty that there are dimensions for other ships in existence. The problem is the uncatalogued heaps of papers dating from the Interregnum and beyond. No one has taken the time to examine them, and only people like us, a very small segment of historical researchers, have any interest. Frank Fox was able to hire a researcher in Britain for look for him, and she found records about guns painted, so Frank was able to greatly expand his information about armament carried in the Four Days' Battle in 1666. I have wondered if there might also be records that show the circumstances under which the Dutch prizes were taken in 1652 and 1653. Some of them, we know, such as the ships hired by the Amsterdam Directors and taken at Portland and the Gabbard.

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