The Naval Miscellany
This was the first of the Miscellany volumes and while it contains documents from the sixteenth century to the turn of the nineteenth century, the majority relate to the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars.
Of the two sixteenth century documents, one relates to French warship signals and the other is a narrative of the Cadiz expedition. There is a translation of a Portuguese description of the Battle of Quiberon Bay and the journals of Captain Duncan between 1776 and 1782.
The rest of the selection are correspondence of Viscount Hood, letters describing daily life in the navy, extracts relating to life in the East India Company’s service, official correspondence on the capture of Heligoland in 1807 and 41 letters to and from Nelson.
Table of Contents
Preface, Book Of War By Sea And Land, Anno 1543; Relation Of The Voyage To Cadiz, 1596; Lyngisbie. Glorious England: A Relation Of The Battle Quiberon Bay. From The Portuguese, Journals Of Henry Duncan, Captain, Royal Navy, Extracts From The Papers Of Samuel, First Viscount Hood, Letters Of The Hon. William Cathcart, Captain, Royal Extracts From The Journals Of Thomas Addison, Of The East India Company's Service, Seizure Of Helgoland, 1807, Miscellaneous Letters.
Sir John Laughton was born in Liverpool on 23 April 1830, son of a Master Mariner. He was educated at the Royal Institution School, Liverpool and Caius College, Cambridge, where he read mathematics and graduated as a wrangler in 1852. He entered the Royal Navy as an instructor, joining his first ship, Royal George, in 1853, serving in the Baltic during the Crimean War. In 1866 he went ashore to teach at the Royal Naval College at Portsmouth, moving with the College to Greenwich in 1873, becoming Head of the Department of Meteorology and Marine Surveying.
In the 1870s he turned more to teaching history, delivering a famous lecture to the R.U.S.I. in 1874 on the importance of actually analysing historical events, rather than merely reporting them chronologically. This new approach meant that he “acted as a catalyst for the entire intellectual development of naval history as an independent discipline” (Andrew Lambert). He was an undoubted influence on naval thinkers of the time: Alfred Thayer Mahan, Julian Corbett and Herbert Richmond. In 1885 he left the Royal Navy to accept the position of Professor of Modern History at King’s College, London, and succeeded in convincing the Admiralty to allow limited public access to their archives. With Admiral Cyprian Bridge he founded the Navy Records Society in 1893. He wrote more than 900 entries on naval personalities for the Dictionary of National Biography. He was knighted for his work in 1907, awarded the Chesney Gold Medal in 1910 and died on 14 September 1915.