This volume contains documents that date from the sixteenth to the nineteenth century. The three for the sixteenth century include English piracy against the Spaniards, a Scottish document about a ship getting under way and the taking of the Madre de Dios in 1592.
Two documents from the seventeenth century are a description by Rear Admiral Stayner of the Battle of Santa Cruz and extracts from the notebook of the Controller of the Navy relating to strategy, administration and operations. There is a description of the sale of a seaman’s affects in 1750 and a letter relating to the mutiny at the Nore. Three sets of documents relate to Lord St Vincent and are mainly correspondence from or to him.
The rest of the documents are a variety from operations in Egypt in 1801, memoirs of a frigate captain, operations in the Scheldt, Bonaparte’s attempted escape from Bordeaux in 1815, extracts from the journal of Admiral Page and an incident in the 1850s.
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.