Monday, July 03, 2006

The Reuben, a merchantman that took part in the Battle of Dover on 29 May 1652

A merchant ship, the Reuben, as drafted to take part in the Battle of Dover on 29 May 1652. When R. C. Anderson wrote his Mariner's Mirror article about the English ship lists for the First Anglo-Dutch War, he did not know the name of this ship. He must not have read the literature very closely, as a rather chatty letter written by Thomas White, which was later published, gives the name. The letter also gives the English losses in the battle:
Triumph   8 men killed, 20 wounded
Reuben    3 men killed
Centurion 2 men killed
Victory   2 men killed
Fairfax   1 man killed
The letter appears in Vol.I of The First Dutch War, which is available online in the Google Book Search. Thomas White says that only 36 of the 42 Dutch ships were actually engaged in the battle, and that before the battle, Robert Blake had declined to take the 6 Dutch merchantmen (of the seven convoyed by Jacob Huyrluyt and Joris van der Zaan). His men wanted to take them, but Blake said of them "they were men about honest occasions, and he had no order from the Council of State to meddle with them".

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