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William Loney RN - Background

Home-Loney-Background-The Royal Navy-Experimental squadrons 1844 - 1845 (2/3)

In 1845 three cruises of the Experimental Squadron pitted Symonds' ships of the line against earlier designs. In the first two cruises, his Queen (three-decker), Albion, Vanguard and Superb (two-deckers) were matched against Trafalgar, St Vincent (three-deckers), Rodney and Canopus (two-deckers). The third cruise was limited to the two-deckers, but also included the brig Daring, which had taken part in the 1844 brig squadron.

In the first cruise the squadron, under the command of an ailing Rear-Admiral Hyde Parker, sailed from Portsmouth on 15 July, was at Cork from 7 to 18 September, and docked at Plymouth on 20 September. On the second cruise the squadron, now under Rear-Admiral Sir Samuel Pym, sailed from Plymouth on 28 September and returned there on 10 October. On the third cruise the squadron sailed from Plymouth on 21 October and returned there on 3 December. During this third cruise it was commanded by one of the ship's Captains as Commodore (initially Moresby in Canopus, and then Willes in Vanguard, that joined later), the Admiralty apparently having no confidence in the available (and generally extremely elderly) Admirals.

The following extracts from (generally the Naval Intelligence column of) the Times newspaper refer to the activities of the 1845 Experimental Squadron.


Extracts from the Times newspaper
DateExtract
Tu 18 February 1845

14 February 1845

DEVONPORT

The Canopus, 84, completed masting on Wednesday. She is preparing for commission, and will form one of the line of battle-ship trial squadron, of which the following ships are already ordered to form part:- The Caledonia, 120, Captain Milne, flag-ship of Admiral Sir David Milne, Commander-in-Chief at Devonport; the Albion, 90, Captain Lockyer, at that port, ready; the Vanguard, 80, Captain Willes, now fitting at that port; the Superb, 80, Captain Corry, now fitting at that port; the St. Vincent, 120, Captain Rowley, flag-ship of Admiral Sir Charles Rowley, Commander-in-Chief at Portsmouth; the Rodney, 92, Captain Collier, C.B., now fitting at Portsmouth; and the Trafalgar, 120, Captain Martin, flag-ship of Vice-Admiral Sir J.C. White, Commander-in-Chief at Sheerness. The above ships will only have peace complements for the trial cruise.
Sa 22 March 1845

SHEERNESS

The Queen, 110, at Chatham, has the whole strength of the shipwrights' department employed upon her to expedite her for recommission. The Admiralty are determined that she shall not be excluded from the trial squadron. Every crotchet available to human means has been resorted to to make this ship an available three-decker,- with what success will be seen hereafter. Her magazines have been moved, her stowage altered, her fore and mainsails stepped further aft, à la Rodney, and indeed every alteration from her former majesty put in operation that could possibly tend to make her a fast-sailing and efficient three-decker. It does not appear a consideration with the Lords of Whitehall that the country at large, and the naval world in particular, is perfectly cognizant of the numerous failures made by Sir William Symonds, as developed in various large and small craft trial cruises, and are so dissatisfied with his system as to be thoroughly disgusted with the idea of any further expensive experimalism. Upon the principle, however of "fair play" we suppose their Lordships ordained that some of Sir William Symonds's vessels should perform parts in the forthcoming nautical burlesque. But to what extent does their Lordships' anxiety for "fair play" go?

Why, out of seven line-of-battle ships already in commission, and declared members of the forthcoming trial squadron, three are upon the Symondian construction, and if the Queen is added, there will be four out of the eight! Why is not some other ship of the 80-gun class put to compete with the Vanguard and Superb besides the Canopus? And after the specimen we have had of the utter failure of Sir W. Symonds's "finest three-decker," why is not some other ship of that class selected to compete with the St. Vincent (which will beat them all again); Trafalgar and Caledonia? We were inclined to believe the present Board of Admiralty meant "all fair and above board," when another trial cruise was projected; but as the matter now appears we think anything but praise is their due. The Surveyor of the Navy has had a fair and honourable trial, and has failed to prove his capabilities for the office which he has so long held; and, knowing this so well as the Lords of the Admiralty do, we are surprized they should be so regardless of their reputation as pertinaciously to persist in endeavouring to bolster up a cause so notoriously rotten. The commission of the old Hibernia at Portsmouth for service in the Mediterranean is far more creditable to the Admiralty, in a pecuniary point of view, than the advancement of the Queen for the pendant after so pitiable a failure as she has recently made.
Ma 16 June 1845

15 June 1845

PORTSMOUTH

The ships at Spithead forming the experimental squadron were yesterday morning ordered to ship as much provisions and water as each can carry, stowing it only in the appointed places, not allowing any between decks or to be put into store rooms, and each ship is ordered to report what she has on board for a full war complement of men. Each ship is also further ordered to report the weight of everything in her,- as masts, rigging, stores, armament, provisions, water, ballast, &c.; also the draft of water, fore and aft, when complete. The squadron is now moored in two lines, the port division consisting of the Vanguard, 80, Canopus, 84, Rodney, 92, and Superb, 80; the starboard division, consisting of the St. Vincent, 120, Trafalgar, 120, Queen, 110, and Albion, 90. Clinometers, instruments which register the ship's rolling and pitching, are supplied to each. Rear-Admiral Parker having taken the command of the squadron, all the ships hare changed their ensigns from white (the Commander-in-chief's) to blue.
Ma 23 June 1845

22 June 1845

INSPECTION OF THE FLEET AT SPITHEAD BY HER MAJESTY.

PORTSMOUTH

On Friday evening the Earl of Haddington, accompanied by Vice-Admiral Sir W.H. Gage, a Lord of the Admiralty, and Captain the Hon. R.S. Dundas, Private Secretary to the First Lord, arrived by the South-Western Railway about half-past 9 o'clock, and crossed the harbour to the residence of Admiral Sir C. Rowley, Bart, where their Lordships remained during the night, and where they were joined yesterday by the Right Hon. H.T.L. Corry, First Secretary to their Lordships. The Admiralty flag was hoisted over the dockyard gates yesterday morning at 8 o'clock, and at 10 their Lordships embarked on board their yacht, under salutes from the Victory and St. Vincent, the two flag-ships, and proceeded out of the harbour to receive Her Majesty at Spithead.

Her Majesty and his Royal Highness Prince Albert, attended by Major-General Wemyss, Equerry in Waiting on Her Majesty; Colonel Bowles, Master of the Household; and Lady Portman, Lady in Waiting on Her Majesty; embarked on board the Royal yacht from Mede-under-Osborne, at 20 minutes part 11 o'clock a.m., and in a few minutes after, the suite having all embarked, the Royal yacht steamed towards Spithead. It hove to for a moment on its way to receive the Lords of the Admiralty. At 12 o'clock it arrived at Spithead, when the whole of the ships composing the fleet manned their yards, "dressed" in colours, and fired a Royal salute. Spithead at this time presented a most beautiful and animating appearance, the rigging of every ship being most gaily decorated, and with their crews stretched out upon the yards; while innumerable yachts of the Royal and other yacht squadrons, and swarms of crowded steamboats and shore boats, added increased liveliness to a scene already imposing.

On nearing the St. Vincent, the flag-ship of the squadron, Her Majesty, the Prince, and their suite disembarked from the yacht and entered the Royal barge, and were steered by Lord Adolphus Fitzclarence alongside the St. Vincent, the Royal barge being followed by that of the Lords of the Admiralty and those of the other officers, according to seniority.

On Her Majesty setting foot on board the St. Vincent the Royal standard was run up to the main, and the crew cheered, the band playing "God Save the Queen." Her Majesty was received on board by Rear-Admiral Hyde Parker, Captain Rowley, and the chief officers of the ship, and was conducted over the upper and main decks by Rear-Admiral Parker, who explained the use and nature of the various places and things which came under her notice. After remaining on board about a quarter of an hour, the Royal train re-embarked, and was steered alongside the Trafalgar, 120, where Her Majesty was received by Captain Martin, who had the honour of conducting his Royal mistress from the quarter-deck over the whole ship to the main, middle, and lower decks. On entering the bread-room Her Majesty asked to taste the chocolate, which she pronounced "very good." On the orlop-deck Her Majesty inspected several of the Lieutenants' cabins, and appeared particularly pleased with one belonging to Lieutenant Ewart, Gunnery Lieutenant, and which is fitted up in particularly good taste. The Royal party next visited the carpenter's and boatswain's store-rooms, remaining upon the orlop-deck about 20 minutes, the last place visited being the chronometer room.

About a quarter past 1 the Royal party arrived alongside the Albion, 90, where Her Majesty was received at the gangway by Captain Lockyer, C.B., and conducted by him to his cabin, the superb fittings of which elicited the most gratifying eulogiums from Her Majesty, who remained some minutes in the stern walk chatting familiarly with the gallant captain. From the cabin Her Majesty was conducted by Captain Lockyer over the main and lower decks, and thence ascended to the quarter-deck, where, by Her Majesty's command, all the officers had the honour of being presented. After this ceremony, the Queen expressed, in the warmest terms, to Captain Lockyer, the delight she experienced from an inspection of his truly splendid ship. But here a somewhat amusing incident occurred. Her Majesty observed inquiringly, "Have you a good ship's company, Captain Lockyer?" "I had a good ship's company," replied the gallant captain, laying strong emphasis on the word "had." "Had a good ship's company?" rejoined Her Majesty, turning to the Earl of Haddington, as if for an explanation; but, as the venerable chief of the Admiralty Board did not vouchsafe any explanation, the undaunted Lockyer concluded, "Yes, may it please your Majesty, I had a good ship's company, until it pleased their Lordships of the Admiralty to take away from me 100 of my best men."

Every object on board the Albion was arranged in the most perfect order and good taste. The companion-ladder was lined with velvet, as were the various ladders on board with velvet side-lines. The decks were as white as it is possible for wood to appear, and every feature of the internal economy of the ship in that order and regularity which most palpably betokens smart officers and wholesome discipline. Having taken leave of Captain Lockyer and the officers most graciously, Her Majesty again stepped into her barge, and at half-past 1 o'clock re-embarked on board the yacht, which was made fast by a warp to the stern of the Albion; the crews and multitude cheering most vociferously.

The signal was then made for all the captains of the fleet to repair on board, and at this extempore levee all the captains (Rowley, of the St. Vincent; Martin, of the Trafalgar ; Sir B.W. Walker, of the Queen; Lockyer, of the Albion; Collier, of the Rodney; Willes, of the Vanguard; Moresby, of the Canopus; Corry, of the Superb), except Captain Fitzgerald, of the Vernon frigate, who was too late, were presented.At about 10 minutes before 2 o'clock the Lords of the Admiralty took leave of Her Majesty and embarked on board the Black Eagle. At the same time the Royal yacht cast off from the Albion, and, proceeding round the easternmost ship, passed along the line to the westward, and quitted Spithead under another Royal salute and the cheers of the thousands assembled at 10 minutes past 2 o'clock, followed by the Royal yacht squadron and the steam-boats with their enormous living freights.

The Royal party landed again at Mede-under-Osborne at 25 minutes to 3 o'clock under salutes from West Cowes Castle, the Royal Yacht Squadron Battery, and the yachts.

The Lords of the Admiralty having disembarked from their yacht in the harbour, left for town by the half-past 5 o'clock train.

To-morrow the squadron will exercise at Spithead in presence of Her Majesty, and, should the weather prove favourable, we believe a "sham fight" will take place, but whether at Spithead or seaward of the Nab will depend on circumstances. The crews will be exercised in shifting sails, topmasts, and yards, and such other evolution as the space will permit; but should there not be a fine commanding breeze the squadron will not weigh anchor.

Sa 28 June 1845

NAVAL EXPERIMENTS.

Surely we have had quite enough of such experiments as those again to be passed over in the new experimental squadron assembled at Spithead, the object of which appears to be, a sort of sailing match between the ships built by the present Surveyor of the Navy and some other vessels of a former period, with every chance in favour of the surveyor: and that the broad question of the condition of naval science in this country is altogether lost sight of in little individual partisan opinions and jealousies. Whether we have the best possible class of ships for the public service might, we think, be easily determined by a careful digest and a well-ordered analysis of all the experimental sailings hitherto made, and the reported and other qualities of the various ships of the British navy; but an analysis of this kind, to be of any use to the country, should be placed under the direction of men accustomed to that kind of inquiry. Then how much time and money night be saved! But it is only a particular clan of men to which such an analysis can be confided; at all events, we are quite sure there is no department of the Navy-office, as constituted at present, competent to the task. However, as the squadron now assembled at Spithead begins to excite much public interest, it may be worth while to review some of the conditions under which the experiments are placed. The ships understood to be submitted for trial are, the Queen, 110, St. Vincent, 120, Trafalgar, 120, Albion, 90, Rodney, 84, Canopus, 84, Vanguard, 80, and Superb, 80. The following table shows the draught of water, load displacement, and area of sails of each of these ships; that is, the working sails, viz., courses, topsails, top-gallant sails, jib, and spanker.

 Draught of waterArea of
sail in
square feet
Load dis-
placement
in tons
ShipForeAft
Queen232428,0004,405
Trafalgar242525,1694,484
St. Vincent242525,1694,484
Albion252430,0004,152
Rodney232428,1004,142
Canopus2324.628,1003,567
Vanguard232428,1003,390
Superb232428,1003,400

Now a material question arises here, viz., are these ships to be sailed at the load draught of water indicated in their construction drawing, or are they to be sailed at a light draught of water, as in the case of the former trials of the Vanguard in the Mediterranean, with only a few months' provisions on board? If the latter, then it is quite demonstrable that in light winds, or fine summer breezes, such as we may expect for the next three months, the surveyor's ships must necessarily have considerable advantage. Take for example in the above table the Rodney and Albion. Here we have only 10 tons difference in their load displacement; whilst there is nearly 2,000 square feet more canvass in the Albion's sails. Now, this is surely an imperfect experiment. Again, take the Queen and St. Vincent or Trafalgar,- here we have the Trafalgar and St. Vincent with 79 tons more load displacement, and with 2,830 square feet of canvass less in the working sails. Now, what fair deduction would arise out of such a trial as this, supposing the Queen outsailed these ships? Let us now take the Canopus and Vanguard and Superb,- here we have 177 tons more load displacement, with the same area of working sails. If we compare Rodney with Canopus, Vanguard, and Superb, we find that Rodney has 575 tons more displacement than the Canopus, and 752 more than either of the others. Here, then, Rodney has to drag 762 tons more through the water than Vanguard, and 575 tons more than Canopus, with the same area of sails. This is surely very much against the Rodney in summer winds and light weather, and it would not be very surprising if, under these circumstances, the Rodney were left behind. Now on the other supposition, viz. that these ships are to be sent to sea fully victualled and stored as men-of-war for six months, and that they are to be exposed to hard winter service in the Channel or on the French coast, similar to that experienced by our ships in former days; then these nice distinctions would not be of so much importance. Now, let them have a trial of this kind, and then we believe there will not be much difference of opinion as to the respective merits of these ships for the public service. But this kind of trial is, after all, really the only one of importance. With respect to a mere trial of sailing in fine weather, at a little draught of water, such as is usually selected for the full development of the sailing qualities of ships constructed on Sir W. Symonds's models, we cannot but think it a mere delusion, and of no value whatever in determining the great points of the question at issue. It is to be much regretted, that, in the many discussions which have hitherto arisen in the House of Commons on the navy estimates, the great question of the existing state of our naval science should have been treated in so desultory and so unsatisfactory a way. The arguments hive either assumed a form of dictation of duty to the Board of Admiralty, or an implied censure on its proceedings,- both of which would necessarily prove fatal to success with the Government.
Plymouth Times.

Ma 30 June 1845

29 June 1845

PORTSMOUTH

The scene of Monday last at Spithead was repeated by the experimental squadron on Thursday, but without the presence of the Royal and illustrious personages who on the former day attended; the result, however, as regards the evolutions performed, was more satisfactory, the various crews having followed the respective evolutions made by the flag ship with a much greater degree of alacrity than on Monday; in one respect, however, the result was the same - the Trafalgar was again universally first in obeying the signal made. This is consequent upon the additional efficiency of the crew of that ship over every other ship of the squadron, the same men having been in three line of battle ships (first rate) successively, without being paid off, namely- the Camperdown, Queen, and Trafalgar, whereas the majority of the crews of the other members of the squadron are either volunteers or very "ordinary" seamen, except those of the Albion, who has if not the most efficient crew of seamen, certainly the finest body of men on board of any ship in the service. Those who so industriously endeavour to preach up the efficient state of the navy, will not relish the fact that the Queen, 110, at the time she left Chatham with 700 men upon her books, had not 30 of that number rated as able seamen! The Vulture, first-class steam-frigate, came up to Spithead about the same time with only five able seamen upon her books, and left the anchorage no better off. With such a comparative scarcity of able seamen on board the squadron how is it possible the ships can be well manoeuvred at sea, when they have so much ado to perform creditably at anchor and in smooth water? A large number of the crews of the various ships now at Spithead are men drawn from our dockyards, "general service" men, i.e. men of no service at all as seamen, being, for the most part, unaccustomed to "working" a ship. Commanders of ships have got into a bad habit of looking for fine men instead of good sailors; they forget that it was the small or moderate-sized man that worked and fought so well during the last war. A fine looking, broad-set fellow, six feet high, will now be seized with avidity by the captain of a ship fitting out, whereas the thorough practical seaman of five feet six or seven will be rejected; instances of this occur daily, not only at this, but at all our ports and rendezvous, and as long as such ridiculous caprices are allowed by the Admiralty it is useless placarding the walls with huge announcements of the wants of the navy, and it were better far to save the public money so fruitlessly expended in printing. Admiral Sir Charles Rowley has tried a more likely expedient for raising seamen by exhibiting a notice at the dockyard-gates, inviting such seamen as have recently been paid off from Her Majesty's ships, or who are about to be paid off, and who may wish to enter for any ship of the experimental squadron, to apply on board his flag ship, the Victory, where they will be received and entered, and be allowed six weeks leave of absence, their pay and time going on, and retaining their present ratings. This is a good bait, and may, perhaps, take, but we doubt it.
Ma 7 July 1845

THE EXPERIMENTAL SQUADRON.

The continuance of the Experimental Squadron at Spithead has enabled us to observe more minutely, during the past week, some particulars respecting each ship's fitness for a trial with her competitors, and we are sorry that our observations have been far from favourable to several of them. It requires no great judgment to be aware that whatever may be the merits of the officers, a ship cannot be well worked with bad seamen; and that the majority of the crews of the Experimental Squadron are bad, or very indifferent seamen, we have abundant evidence, as we find that most of them are unused and inadequate to their duties and manifold labours. We need not go farther to prove this than the Queen, the largest of the squadron, which has not, if we are rightly informed, 50 able seamen on her books; her destitution in this respect is further shown in the fact that she joined the squadron with only 25 "AB's" on her books at the time when she had 700 men entered! The increase of the complements of the various ships stated in our last has been the addition of two or three hundred "general service" men and marines to the entire squadron, which, although an augmentation in numbers, is no increase of efficiency. The navy was never so deficient in good seamen as it is at this moment; and in point of naval construction, we are as far behind perfection as when the Victory was built. How humiliating is the fact, that in 1845 we are so deficient in right principles upon shipbuilding, that squadrons are required to be sent out to decide which is the best model to construct upon, and this after millions have been expended in building ships, many of which have never been to sea, and were cut down without their capabilities ever having been tested! Now that the squadron is fully stored and victualled we shall have an opportunity of showing the draught of water fore and aft, and the height from the water of each ship's lower deck midship portsill, which we know will not be favourable to the Surveyor's ships. Of this we had an instance on Saturday - the Superb, 80, Captain Corry, has immersed her copper line two inches, and consequently has been obliged to have a batch of shipwrights put upon her to copper her above her draft(!). We expect this will be the case with one or two others, now that there is to be no shirking the question of stowage. The ships have, during the week, exercised their crews in gunnery, firing blank cartridge. Trafalgar works her guns easy and well, and her firing is smart; so is Albion's, but the others are anything but smart or regular, dockyard men and "volunteers" being unused to the work at present. We shall have no lack of reports upon the approaching trial, if the rumour be well-founded that Vice-Admiral Sir William Parker takes command of the squadron in the Hibernia (which joins to day) as far as the seat of his command in the Mediterranean; that Rear-Admiral Hyde Parker will cruise about; and that Vice-Admiral Sir Edward Owen will bring home the squadron! Should this prove to be the case we expect the adage of "too many cooks," &c, will be most amply verified. We believe the squadron will receive final orders from the Lords of the Admiralty next week, after taking Her Majesty's pleasure upon the subject.- Hampshire Advertiser

Fr 11 July 1845

10 July 1845

THE EXPERIMENTAL SQUADRON.

PORTSMOUTH

Her Majesty and Prince Albert are expected to arrive here, en route to Osborn-house, on Monday next, intimation to that effect haying been received by the Admiralty authorities at this port The experimental squadron will leave on Tuesday. A portion of the squadron was paid advance wages this morning. The target practice has been continued daily, and on the whole has been good. Commodore the Earl of Yarborough intends accompanying the squadron throughout the cruise, in his yacht the Kestrel, which has shipped six months' provisions for the cruise.

Sa 12 July 1845

11 July 1845

THE EXPERIMENTAL SQUADRON

PORTSMOUTH

Nearly the whole of the squadron exercised this morning in target practice, which was very good. The effect was grand and imposing, the dark clouds which hang over the Isle of Wight serving to throw out into bolder view the effect of the firing from the shore, which drew some hundreds of persons to the ramparts to witness the spectacle. The squadron will positively sail on Tuesday next, at or as near about 1 o'clock p.m. as possible, in order to get under weigh upon the top of the flood and take the ebb tide when outside the Nab. Each ship will carry to sea five months' provisions. The additional men ordered for each ship are ready to be embarked. The Hibernia, 100, Captain Richards, will not start with the squadron, but will leave Spithead on Wednesday, the 16th. Vice-Admiral Sir William Parker, Bart, will arrive on that day, and leave the Gosport terminus of the railway direct for the ship, which will get under weigh and proceed direct for the port of the gallant admiral's command - Malta. The remainder of the squadron left unpaid yesterday were paid advance wages this day, except the St. Vincent, which will not be paid until the return of the squadron. The ships and vessels which will actually get under weigh from Spithead on Tuesday will be the St. Vincent, 120; Trafalgar, 120; Queen, 110; Rodney, 92; Albion, 90; Canopus, 84; Superb, 80; Vanguard, 80; Rattler, screw-steam sloop; the Victoria and Albert Royal yacht, and her tender the Fairy; the Admiralty yacht, the Black Eagle; the Lightning steamyacht, and Commodore the Earl of Yarborough's brigantine Kestrel, leading a dozen other yachts of the Royal squadron. Should wind and weather prove propitious the scene of getting under weigh will be one of the most imposing sights ever witnessed here. The Lords of the Admiralty will be in attendance upon Her Majesty.

Ma 14 July 1845

13 July 1845

THE EXPERIMENTAL SQUADRON.

The squadron now at Spithead under the orders of Rear-Admiral Hyde Parker, is officially reported ready for sea, and will leave the anchorage on the trial cruise on Tuesday next, at the time stated in The Times of Saturday.

This being the last opportunity we may have for some time of mentioning in detail the experimental squadron, we will give a few particulars respecting the construction, &c., of each ship, which may be interesting to the general as well as the nautical reader.

The St. Vincent, 120, Captain Rowley, the flag-ship of Rear-Admiral Hyde Parker, Commander-in-Chief of the squadron, was built on the lines furnished by the late Sir William Rule; the Trafalgar, 120, Captain W. P. Martin, was built by Mr. Oliver Lang, Master Shipwright of Woolwich Dockyard, at that yard, in 1841; the Queen, 110, Captain Sir B. Walker, was built on the plan furnished by Sir W. Symonds, Surveyor of the Navy, at Portsmouth Dockyard, in 1839; the Rodney, 92, Captain Edward Collier, was built on the plans furnished by the late Sir Robert Seppings (Surveyor of the Navy), at Pembroke Dockyard, in 1833; the Albion, 90, Captain Nicholas Lockyer, was built on the plans of Sir William Symonds (Surveyor of the Navy), at Devonport Dockyard, in 1842; the Vanguard, 80, Captain G.W. Willes, and the Superb, 80, Captain A.L. Corry, were also built by Sir William Symonds (the former at Pembroke Dockyard in 1836, and the latter at the same yard in 1842); the Canopus, 84, Captain F. Moresby, is of French construction, and was captured at the battle of the Nile.

These are the eight ships forming the experimental squadron of 1845, which will sail from Spithead on Tuesday to try their respective qualities as models for future ships of their class. As this is professedly to be a trial of fairness we may be excused for offering a few remarks upon what appears to us a want of equity in the said trial. It will no doubt strike the reader, as it does us, as somewhat strange, and at variance with those principles of impartiality upon which a squadron of such importance should be sent out for the attainment of so great and nationally important an end, that four of the eight ships composing it are by one constructor, and two of them of the same class.

The following table, being a copy of the official return ordered to be made to the Lords of the Admiralty by the Commander-in-Chief of the squadron, on Friday last, shows in undeniable terms the capabilities of each ship of the squadron, and, as an authentic document, is highly interesting and important:-

Ships' namesGunsTons
burden
No of men*Water in tonsWeeks
provi-
sions
Draught of waterHeight of
lower deck
midship
portcill
from water
Ft in
Square
feet of
canvass
in sails
Dis-
place-
ment
AllowedVic-
tualled
Can
stow
On
board
For-
ward
AftBy the
stern
St Vincent1202,6128407055305042124 326 2½1 10½6 125,1604,484
Queen1103,1037767395225002124 2½26 41 1½6 5¾28,0004,405
Trafalgar1202,6918406815125072124 524 110 66 1½25,1694,484
Albion903,0997056554324312623 525 31 106 1½30,0094,152
Rodney922,6257056194354102123 824 91 17 4½28,1004,142
Canopus812,3576455874304042123 024 91 95 11½28,1003,567
Vanguard802,5896455773583512023 724 50 107 128,1003,390
Superb802,5896456074674282123 1125 41 56 2½28,1003,440

*On the day of sailing we believe there will be 200 more men in the squadron than are returned here.

We will merely make one remark upon this table in support of our opinion of the want of fairness in the approaching trial. It will be perceived that the Albion, two decker, of 90 guns, is of 3,099 tons burden, but her displacement is 4,152 tons, and she carries 432 tons of water, her weight of provisions being less that of the St. Vincent, 120, three decker, by 168 days' consumption for 135 men; the St. Vincent also carries 98 tons more water, and her displacement is 4,484 tons; consequently the St. Vincent has a far greater burden to carry through the water than the Albion, yet has 4,840 feet of canvass less in her sails to enable her to do it! The Surveyor's 80-gun two deckers are each of the same tonnage, yet the Vanguard can stow 109 tons more [sic] water that her "sister" (the Superb)! We could give numerous other instances in support of our opinion as above expressed, did our space permit, but we leave the above tabular document to speak for itself.

We 16 July 1845

15 July 1845

The Experimental squadron departed from Portsmouth watched by Queen Victoria, Prince Albert and the King and Queen of Belgium: St Vincent (flagship of Rear-Adm Hyde Parker, Capt. Rowley), Trafalgar (Capt. Martin), Queen (Capt. Sir Baldwin Walker), Rodney (Capt. Collier), Albion (Capt. Lockyer), Canopus (Capt. Moresby), Vanguard (Capt. Willis Willis), Superb (Capt. Corry) and Rattler (Commander Smith).
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