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Admiral Collingwood’s Diary is up for Auction, and I’m up for a Rant 20 October, 2012

Posted by Molly Joyful in Art, Books, Cuthbert Collingwood, Events, Letters, Menorca, Quotes, Royal Navy, things you don't need but probably want.
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The traditional October auction over at Charles Miller Ltd. is just around the corner. There’s always a wondrous plenthora of Maritime and Scientific objects and works of art on offer, but this year, one very special object caught my eye:

A PRIVATE AUTOGRAPH JOURNAL KEPT BY ADMIRAL LORD COLLINGWOOD (1750-1810) WHILST COMMANDING THE BRITISH FLEET IN THE MEDITERRANEAN DECEMBER 1807-JUNE 1810

This diary is not only of greatest interest to paranormal researchers (having died on 7 March 1810, Collingwood must have added entries from the afterlife), but also to anybody with even a remote interest in naval history. All political and military information aside, this diary might also give us more insight into the last months of Collingwood’s life.

Wouldn’t it be great if we could read this diary? If a transcript was available? Or a book? Powerpoint Presentation? Anything?

Alas poor Yorick! I knew a collector, Horatio: a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy…

I don’t really mind items like this diary going to private collectors.  The state doesn’t have the money to buy all items of historic importance; taxes just barely cover the essentials like MPs’ expenses for duck houses, toilet seats, moat cleaning and kitty treats for Larry the No. 10 cat (I don’t object the latter, though). When it comes to funding, history and heritage have been hung out to dry on the governmental washing line along with the unemployed, disabled and disadvantaged, the NHS, the arts, education and science.

But I digress. My point is that private ownership of historic documents is not the problem; the attitude of some collectors is. It’s all about owning. It’s all about “me me me”. And, who would have guessed, about money. That’s the only explanation for the request of the Navy Records Society to transcribe the diary before the auction being turned down by the owner. No transcript = exclusivity = higher price. Simples!

If we’re lucky, the new owner will be willing to share this important historic document and help adding another piece to the jigsaw of our history. If not, the diary will end up in a tresor and on an inventory list. And there is not a thing you can do about it. Except, maybe, pushing for a law which makes it mandatory for historic documents to be transcribed before they can be sold off. As things are, the main sources of historical information left for future generations might soon be digital copies of “Antiques Roadtrip”. A comforting thought, indeed.

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Vice Admiral Cuthbert Collingwood: Wisdom will never go out of Fashion 7 March, 2012

Posted by Molly Joyful in Books, Cuthbert Collingwood, Family, Letters, Quotes, Royal Navy, things you don't need but probably want, Trivia, Vices and Virtues.
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Vice Admiral Cuthbert Collingwood, 1st Baron Collingwood, died on 7th March, 1810 at the age of 61. Unfortunately, we couldn’t visit St. Paul’s Cathedral today as I’ve just started a new job, but be assured that “Old Cuddy” wasn’t deprieved of his annual gift of flowers. A very lovely flowerbox with red roses and berries, not unlike the one from last year, was placed on his tomb.

So rather than paying my respects in person, I’ll do so in writing. I won’t talk about naval battle strategies or politics, though. When asked why I took such an interest in some old admiral who died a gazillion of years ago, I usually say: “People with common sense never go out of fashion.” Collingwood was born in 1748, but had a more modern approach to many things and better understanding of human nature than a good number of people nowadays.

On 17 April, 1809, Collingwood wrote a letter to his daughters while aboard his ship, the Ville de Paris, anchored off Minorca. I dare say that we’d all live in a much better world if some of the advice he gave his girls was headed today. Actually, I petition for his pieces of advice to be printed on a 4x20ft banner and put up in the Houses of Parliament. I suggest neon pink vinyl, so that really nobody can miss it.

The education of a lady, and indeed of a gentleman too, may be divided into three parts; all of great importance to their happiness, but in different degrees.

The first part ist the cultivation of the mind, that they may have a knowledge of right and wrong, and acquire a habit of doing acts of virtue and honour. By reading history, you will perceive the high estimation in wihch the memories of good and virtuous people are held; the contempt and disgust which are affixed to the base, whatever may have been their rank in life.

The second part of education is to acquire a competent knowledge how to manage your affairs, whatever they may happen to be; to know how to direct the economy of your house; and to keep exact accounts of every thing which concerns you. Whoever cannot do this must be dependent on somebody else, and those who are dependent on another cannot be perfectly at their ease. (…)

The third part is, perhaps, no less in value than the others. It is how to practise those manners and that address which will recommend you to the respect of strangers. Boldness and forwardness are exceedingly disgusting, and such people are generally more disliked the more they are known; but, at the same time, shyness and bashfulness, and the shrinking from conversation with those with whom you ought to associate, are repulsive and unbecoming.

This quote was taken from the excellent book “The Five Hundred  Best English Letters”, selected and edited by The First Earl of Birkenhead, first published in 1931. I’d like to thank Esteven for the many hours of enjoyment I spent reading it.

The Battle of Trafalgar, 21st October, 1805 21 October, 2010

Posted by Molly Joyful in Cuthbert Collingwood, Letters, Nelson, Quotes, Royal Navy.
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“Now, gentlemen, let us do something today which the world may talk of hereafter.”

Vice-Admiral Cuthbert Collingwood to his officers, before engaging in battle

(…) Such a battle could not be fought without sustaining a great loss of men. I have not only to lament, in common with the British navy, and the British Nation, in the fall of the Commander-in Chief, the loss of a hero, whose name will be immortal, and his memory ever dear to his country; but my heart is rent with the most poignant grief for the death of a friend, to whom, by many years intimacy, and a perfect knowledge of the virtues of his mind, which inspired ideas superior to the common race of men, I was bound by the strongest ties of affection; grief to which even the glorious occasion in which he fell, does not bring the consolation which, perhaps, it ought: His Lordship received a musket ball in his left breast, about the middle of the action, and sent an officer to me immediately with his last farewell; and soon after expired. (…)

In Euryalus, off Cape Trafalgar, October 22, 1805

Letter by Collingwood up for auction: “Etc. etc. etc., Collingwood” 16 October, 2010

Posted by Molly Joyful in Books, Cuthbert Collingwood, Events, Family, Lady Sarah, Letters, Quotes, Royal Navy, things you don't need but probably want, Trivia, Vices and Virtues.
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If you should have a spare £ 1’000.00 in your piggy bank (plus £ 2.20 for postage), you have the chance to become the owner of a letter Cuthbert Collingwood sent to Captain Hoste in HMS Amphion “by Hind”, reporting the presence of a French frigate at Palma, and ordering him to attack if the enemy ship “is found to be in a situation where she is assailable”. The letter was written “off Toulon, 4 May 1808”.

CLICK HERE TO HAVE A LOOK AT THE AUCTION

Letter from Vice Admiral Lord Collingwood to Captain William Hoste, 1808

As most of us very likely don’t have that amount of money to spend on letters, I recommend you purchase

THE OFFICIAL FESTIVAL BROCHURE

instead. It contains articles, never-before seen pictures and commentaries.

The price is £5.00 + £0.60 p&p in the UK, £5.00 + £2.00 p&p in the rest of Europe and £5.00 + £3.35 p&p if ordered from elsewhere in the world. Credit card orders may be placed by telephone 0191 – 2650040 (from overseas +44 191 2650040) or send an email directly to the publisher, Powdene Publicity, on info @ powdene.com – thanks!

This is a must-have item for all Collingwoodites!

From the written word to music: has anybody attended the event with The New Scorpion Band in Collingwood’s honour on the 9th October? I haven’t found any reviews so far; Ylla was there and commented on it, but if anybody else should have been there, please yell and let us know what it was like.

UPCOMING EVENTS

21st October is coming closer, and the good people of North Tyneside Council have organised

Toast the Admiral!

At 1200 midday on 21st October 1805, the opening salvo was fired in the Battle of Trafalgar as Vice-Admiral Collingwood’s Royal Sovereign came within range of the French ship Fougeaux. At 12.00 midday on this year’s Trafalgar Day, we will “raise a glass” to Collingwood’s memory at the monument in Tynemouth. This forms the last public event of the Collingwood 2010 Festival and everyone who is a follower of Collingwood and the Festival is welcome to attend.

Proceedings will start at 11.30am and the toast will be at 12.00 noon.

For more information, please consult the Official Collingwood 2010 Website.

“This forms the last public event of the 2010 Festival” – what about the future?

My health has unfortunately forced me these last months to cut back drastically on my time spent in front of a computer, TV set or anything else that’s flickering and blinking. So, until very recently, I’ve planned to stop updating this blog on Trafalgar Day and leave it up as a part of the 2010 celebrations; an archive, so to speak.

And then I thought: there are 8089230582395238 blogs in honour of Lady Gaga, but only one exclusively dedicated to Old Cuddy (to my knowledge, maybe there are 8709089080 others out there I haven’t found yet), get over yourself, woman!

So I’m very happy to tell you that not only “Old Cuddy” will stay, it will also be updated whenever I come across  something interesting and Collingwood-related.

Furthermore, I can confirm that laying flowers in front of Lord Collingwood’s grave at St. Paul’s Cathedral will become a yearly event.

Our dear regular reader ShipRat has posted a lovely excerpt recently from the correspondence between Collingwood and his wife, which I just have to share:

Queen, off Carthagena, Dec. 20, 1805.

“… The editors of the Naval Chronicle have written to me for the history of my life and progress, for which they are pleased to say the world is very impatient. Now this rather embarrasses me, for I never could bear the trumpeter of his own praise. So, to get rid of it as well as I can, I have employed _____ to write a history for me. For my birth and parentage he has selected two or three chapters of Bamfylde Moore Carew*: for my service in the ‘West Indies and on the Spanish main, he has good assistance in the History of the Buccaneers; and for my shipwreck he has copied a great deal out of Robinson Crusoe: all which, with a few anecdotes from the Lives of the Admirals, a little distorted, will make, I am inclined to think, a very respectable piece of biography.”

*i.e., “The Life and Adventures of Bampfylde Moore Carew, the noted Devonshire stroller and dogstealer”  (1745) a.k.a. “The Accomplished Vagabond”

He didn’t like to trumpet his own praise, but I think he can live with one wee blog. ;-)

“His mind is calm and serene as possible…” 4 March, 2010

Posted by Molly Joyful in Art, Bounce, Cuthbert Collingwood, Events, Letters, Quotes, Royal Navy.
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On the morning of the 7th there was a considerable swell, and his friend Captain Thomas, on entering his cabin, observed that he feared the motion of the vessel disturbed him. “No, Thomas,” he replied, “I am now in a state in which nothing in this world can disturb me more. I am dying; and I am sure it must be consolatory to you, and all who love me, to see how comfortably I am coming to my end.”

Admiral Lord Cuthbert Collingwood
26th September 1748 – 7th March 1810

Major Commemorative Events, Tyneside 6th – 7th March 2010

Admiral Collingwood and his dog Bounce. (c) Amandine de Villeneuve; may not be reproduced without permission.

Huzzah! The Official Collingwood 2010 Website is ONLINE! 22 February, 2010

Posted by Molly Joyful in Cuthbert Collingwood, Events, General, Menorca, Online articles, Quotes, Royal Navy.
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Today the official  Collingwood 2010 website went online, so all your questions regarding events, time schedules etc. will now be answered. But that’s not all – information about Admiral Lord Collingwood’s life and his achievements, a special page for “Young Tars”, articles – and even Bounce got his own space! Woof!

OFFICIAL COLLINGWOOD 2010 WEBSITE

Workshops and talks and exhibitions and parades and and… this is going to be a busy year, and not only  in and around Newcastle! Events are planned for Menorca (we already mentioned it here), Collingwood in Ontario/Canada and Collingwood in New Zealand. Additional information will be available in time on the official website.

Dolls made by artist Teresa Thompson. From the collection of Emma C.

Now I only have to try and find at least one date where I can catch a talk by Max Adams… please spread the word that the website is online; the more, the merrier!

Oh – this will make my fellow Aubreyad-aficionados in the area happy: On 6 March, you can watch “Master and Commander” at Morpeth Town Hall, 2pm, free admission!

Quote: “For winter or summer he rigged alike…” 15 February, 2010

Posted by Molly Joyful in Books, Cuthbert Collingwood, Quotes, Royal Navy.
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“Poor old Cuddy! a better soul, nor braver heart in breeze or battle, never thumped ‘twixt the ribs of man! He was none o’ your nice-uns as never seed daylight till the decks were dried up, and reg’larly reported dry as a bone. Sea or harbour, wet or dry, gale or calm, the dawn always seed him on deck. There he’d pace the break o’ the poop, with his bluebreeks and white stockings (for winter or summer he rigged alike), his hard-weather hat shipped—for the scraper he bent in a breeze was always in use afore breakfast. It was as brown as a berry, and the lace round the rim as black as an old copper bolt. Well, there, with his three-cocked-scraper a-thawtships—for ’twas a reg’lar razee—ay, lower cut-down nor a Green’ich boson’s—well, there, in this sort o’ rig, he’d pace the poop, twirling his two thumbs afore him, for all the world like a straighthaired quaker, whilst the mizen-topmen washing decks of a morn, would sluish and slash the water about him, in every direction.

“Never mind me,” he’d say, as if he was no more,—no, no more nor a reg’lar galoot, never mind me, my man,” (for he always spoke to a man like a man,) “if I gets in your way,” he’d say, in a voice and look as told the truth of his tongue—for half your chaps as say a kind word to a fellow, don’t say it so much from their nat’ral bent, as to try and earn a name, as they knows in their hearts they doesn’t desarve—”if  I gets in your way,” old Cuddy ‘ould say—”it’s my fault, my man, and not yours, my man.”

He’d the most takenest tongue I ever met in my day.—I’m blessed, if I woudn’t rather get a reg’lar blowin-up from he—nor—ay,—a good word from half your capring skippers.”

Quote from an unknown tale by “Captain Glasscock”, as reviewed in The Edinburgh review, Vol. 52, October 1830 to January 1831. In the same issue, the first book my Frederick Marryat was reviewed, and they didn’t like it – “we are sorry to be obliged to say, that it is marked by many violations of taste and propriety.”

Source

Quote #1: “You do not find pigeons associated with hawks…” 17 January, 2010

Posted by Molly Joyful in Cuthbert Collingwood, Lane, Letters, Quotes, Vices and Virtues.
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Going home on a Saturday night after the movies is like hopscotch-  it’s difficult not to step on some completely plastered git (male or female) passed out on the pavement. Reading through Collingwood’s correspondence, I think it’s safe to say that he wouldn’t have approved. Or spent his summer holidays on Ibiza.

Every day affords you instances of the evils arising from drunkenness. Were a man as wise as Solomon, and as brave as Achilles, he would still be unworthy of trust if he addicted himself to grog. (…)

We can also rule out that he’d ever have participated in “I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here”…

Young men are generally introduced to this vice by the company they keep: but do you carefully guard against ever submitting yourself to be the companion of low, vulgar, and dissipated men; and hold it as a maxim, that you had better be alone than in mean company.

Quote: “Dear Lane…” – Cuthbert Collingwood, London, Nov 7, 1787