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William Bligh: Captain of Bountiful Mutineers

blighVice Admiral William Bligh,  (9 September 1754 – 7 December 1817) was an officer of the British Royal Navy and a colonial administrator. His naval career was contemporary with that of Jane Austen’s brothers and the Austen family no doubt followed the details of his unusual history through the London papers.

A historic mutiny occurred during his command of HMS Bounty in 1789; Bligh and his loyal men made a remarkable voyage to Timor, after being set adrift in the Bounty’s launch by the mutineers. Fifteen years after the Bounty mutiny, he was appointed Governor of New South Wales in Australia, with orders to clean up the corrupt rum trade of the New South Wales Corps, resulting in the so-called Rum Rebellion.

Bligh was born in Tinten Manor in St Tudy near Bodmin, Cornwall, to Francis Bligh and his wife Jane. He was signed for the Royal Navy at age seven, it being common to sign on a “young gentleman” simply to gain experience at sea required for promotion. In 1770, at age 16, he joined HMS Hunter as an able seaman, the term used because there was no vacancy for a midshipman. He became a midshipman early in the following year. In September 1771, Bligh was transferred to the Crescent and remained in the ship for three years.

In 1776, Bligh was selected by Captain James Cook for the position of sailing master of the Resolution and accompanied Cook in July 1776 on Cook’s third and fatal voyage to the Pacific. Bligh returned to England at the end of 1780 and was able to give details of Cook’s last voyage.

Bligh married Elizabeth Betham, daughter of a Customs Collector (stationed in Douglas, Isle of Man), on 4 February 1781. The wedding took place at nearby Onchan. A few days later, he was appointed to serve in HMS Belle Poule as Master (senior warrant officer responsible for navigation). Soon after this, in August 1781, he fought in the Battle of Dogger Bank under Admiral Parker. For the next 18 months, he was a lieutenant in various ships. He also fought with Lord Howe at Gibraltar in 1782. Continue reading William Bligh: Captain of Bountiful Mutineers

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The Nautilus: Submarine Terror of the Seas

Louisa, by whom she found herself walking, burst forth into raptures of admiration and delight on the character of the navy: their friendliness, their brotherliness, their openness, their uprightness; protesting that she was convinced of sailors having more worth and warmth than any other set of men in England; that they only knew how to live, and they only deserved to be respected and loved.
-Persuasion

Two of Jane Austen’s brothers were sailors, and, in the grand tradition of the Austens, were content not to merely exist in their capacities, but rather, excelled in them. By the end of their long careers they were known as Sir Francis Austen, G.C.B., Admiral of the Fleet, and Rear-Admiral Charles Austen (though Jane referred to him as her “own particular little brother”).  Both brothers joined the Royal Naval Academy at Portsmouth upon reaching the age of 12, and as both had several years of service “under their belts” so to speak, would, no doubt have watched with interest the rapid developments in naval warfare produced by the American inventor, Robert Fulton.

450px-FultonNautilus1
Full-sized section model at Cité de la Mer, Cherbourg, France.

It was Fulton, who, in 1800 tested  The Nautilus, often considered the first practical submarine (though preceded by Cornelius Drebbel’s of 1620.) And Fulton, who, always in need of financial support for his experiments, worked first for the French Navy, then the British and finally the Americans (during the War of 1812).

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Robert Fulton and the Development of Modern Naval Warfare

AntiqueGold copy Robert Fulton (November 14, 1765 – February 24, 1815) was an American engineer and inventor who is widely credited with developing the first commercially successful steamboat. In 1800, he was commissioned by Napoleon Bonaparte to design the Nautilus, which was the first practical submarine in history.He is also credited with inventing some of the world’s earliest naval torpedoes for use by the British Navy.

Robert Fulton was born on a farm in Little Britain, Pennsylvania, on November 14, 1765. He had at least three sisters – Isabella, Elizabeth, and Mary, and a younger brother, Abraham. His father, Robert Fulton, was born in Ireland and emigrated to Philadelphia where he married Mary Smith. The father moved the family to Lancaster, Pennsylvania where the younger Fulton attended a Quaker elementary school. Fulton showed an early interest in mechanical things. At the early age of 14, he invented paddle wheels to go alongside his father’s fishing boat. He especially favored gunsmiths and even offered some suggestions that were adopted by the workmen. As a boy he built rockets and experimented with mercury and bullets. His friends nicknamed him “Quicksilver Bob.”

He learned to sketch early on and by age 17 he decided to become an artist. His father, who had died when Robert was eight, had been a close friend to the father of painter Benjamin West. Fulton later met West in England and they became friends.

Fulton stayed in Philadelphia for six years, where he painted portraits and landscapes, drew houses and machinery, and was able to send money home to help support his mother. In 1785 he bought a farm at Hopewell, Pennsylvania for £80 Sterling and moved his mother and family onto it. While in Philadelphia, he met Benjamin Franklin and other prominent Revolutionary War figures. At age 23 he decided to visit Europe.
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Mrs. Lucas’ Mince Pie Recipe

mince pie

Mrs. Lucas’ Mince Pie Recipe

Did Charlotte dine with you?
No, she would go home. I fancy she was wanted about the mince pies.
-Pride and Prejudice

Although Mrs. Bennet makes a sly jab at Charlotte Lucas for being home advising the staff on how to prepare a mince pie, it is clear that she is a much better manager and housekeeper than either Mrs. Bennet or her daughters are likely to be.
Mince pies are often associated with Christmas, and for good reason. They are the Christmas pies referred to in Medieval times, though these were generally rectangular, to represent the Christ child’s cradle. The dried fruits and spices symbolized the three gifts of the Magi. Many mince pies contained chopped meat as well as spices. The brandy used in the filling acted as a preservative, allowing large quantities to be made up at one time and stored until use. I’ve pared down this recipe to make enough filling for one large pie. If you choose to replace the brandy with juice, use the filling immediately; it won’t store well.

 

To Make A Mince Pie Without Meat
Chop fine three pounds of suet, and three pounds of apples, when pared and cored, wash and dry three pounds of currants, stone and chop one pound of jar raisins,
beat and sift one pound and a half of loaf sugar, cut small twelve ounces of candied orange peel, and six ounces of citron, mix all well together with a quarter of an ounce of nutmeg, half a quarter of an ounce of cinnamon, six or eight cloves, and half a pint of French Brandy, pot it close up and keep it for use.
ELIZABETH RAFFALD

INGREDIENTS:
• Pastry for 23 cm / 9 in double crust pie
• 2 large Apples, chopped fine
• 225 g / 8 oz / ½ lb of Beef Suet, minced
• 90 g / 3 oz / ½ cup Raisins
• 120 g / 4 oz / ½ cup Sugar
• 60 g / 2 oz / ¼ cup Candied Orange Peel
• 2 tbsp Citron, cut fine
• 1/4 tsp Nutmeg
• 1/8 tsp Cinnamon
• 6-8 Cloves
• 75 ml / 3 fl oz / 1/3 cup Brandy or 1 oz
Brandy Extract and ¼ Cup Apple Juice
Preheat your oven to 220° C / 425° F.

Mix together the suet, apple, raisins and sugar. Add the remaining spices, fruit and
brandy or juice.

Line a deep dish pie plate with pastry, and add the mince filling.

Roll out the remaining crust and cut a pattern in the top to vent the pie. Place the top crust
on the pie and crimp the edges together.

Bake for 35-40 minutes.

Serves 8


 

This mince pie recipe was excerpted from Cooking with Jane Austen and Friends, by Laura Boyle. Available in our giftshop!

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