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Admiral of the fleet : Sir Geoffrey Phipps Hornby, a biography Egerton, Mary Augusta Phipps; Egerton, Fred Mrs. 1896

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Array    The University of British Columbia Library
wml "THE bairn that is born ON 1
S SABBATH-DAT  jC^fey   ^^ far*
HORNBY  fa-^-z*
G. C. B.
% Biograpffg
MDCCCXCVI  Betftcattti
AND   COMRADES.  contents.
Parentage and birth—Early traits—School-days at Winwick
and Plymouth—Choice of a profession
H.M.S. Princess Charlotte—How ships were fitted out in 1837
—An adventure at Malta — Recollections by Sir Arthur
Farquhar—Defeat of Ibrahim Pasha and the bombardment
of Acre, 1839   .......
H.M.S.   WINCHESTER,  1842-1844 H.M.S.   CLEOPATRA,  1844-1847.
H.M.S. Winchester, 1842—Letter to Admiral Sir Robert Stop-
ford—Voyage to the Cape—A Boer insurrection—Expedition to Natal—^Reminiscences by Sir Anthony Hoskins—
H.M.S. Cleopatra, 1844—East African slavers—Return to
England, 1847. .       ^ . . . . 1
H.M.S.  ASIA,  1847-1851.
Personal appearance and character—Appointment as flag-lieutenant to his father in the Pacific Squadron—H.MS. Asia,
1848—Life at Valparaiso—Death of his eldest brother—
Appointed commander of the flagship—Discovery of gold
in California—Return to Littlegreen, 1851 .
Tour with Lord Stanley—Malta—Suez—Ceylon—Illness and
return to England—Promotion—Marriage, 1853—Management of his father's  estate — Appointment to the Naval
H.M.S.   TRIBUNE,   1858-1860.
The command of H.MS. Tribune in China, 1858—Descriptive
letters from Whampoa — Nangasaki — Esquimault — The
Frazer river—The San Juan difliculty—Naval officers electioneering—Return to England—Death of Lady Hornby    .
H.M.S.  NEPTUNE,  1861-1862.
Appointment to H.M.S. Neptune, 1861—Sir William Martin—
The beginning of steam-tactics—Celebrations at Naples—
Life at Malta—King Victor Emmanuel visits the fleet—
Residence at Naples—H.MS. Black Prince . .     75 CHAPTER   VHL
H.M.S. Edgar, 1863—A tour of the British Isles—Greenock-
Liverpool—Visit from Garibaldi at Portland — Captain
Cowper-Coles on armoured ships—Mission to Lisbon—Investiture of the Bang of Portugal with the Garter—* "Uncle
Geoff"—Comparisons with the French fleet .
H.M.S.  BRISTOL,   1865-1868.
Appointed commodore of the West African station, 1865—
H.M.S. Bristol—Outbreak of fever at Sierra Leone—The
slave-trade—Missionary and trading difficulties—Ascension
—St Helena—Death of Admiral Hornby, 1867—Impaired
health—Home again   ......
Promotion to flag-rank with command of the Flying Squadron—
Its composition—Notes for the use of captains—Rio—Cape
Town—Melbourne and Sydney—Hobart Town—Notes on
New Zealand—Reception by the Mikado—End of the cruise
The loss of HMS. Captain—The Committee on Naval Construction—Command of Channel Fleet, 1871—General Sherman—Kingston—Steam evolutions—Sailing races—Sport at
Vigo—Abdication of King of Spain—The Shah's visit—
Coronation festivities in Sweden—Trial of HMS. I
tion—Question of naval uniform CHAPTER   XIL
THE  ADMIRALTY,   1875  AND  1876.
Holiday at Littlegreen—Second Sea-Lord—Work at the Admiralty—Criticism of the Board       ....
THE   MEDITERRANEAN,  1877-1880.
The Mediterranean command, 1876—The prospect in the East
—HM.S. Alexandra—Steam evolutions—Insubordination
—The Russian advance on Constantinople—Series of letters
describing the situation—Passage of the Dardanelles—Causes
of the Russian failure—Interview with the Sultan—Peace
with honour—Sir Geoffrey—Estimate of the value of Cyprus
—Explosion on HMS. Thunderer—The Sultan's banquet—
Expiry of command    ......
Letter of approval from Admiralty—Appointed President of
the Royal Naval College—Work at Greenwich—The Egyptian campaign .......
PORTSMOUTH,   1882-1885.
Commander-in-Chief, 1882—Work at Portsmouth—Cruise to
Channel Islands—Rumours of war—Manoeuvres—Farewell
dinner ........ CHAPTER   XVL
Life at Lordington—G.C.B. and AD.C—The Queen's Jubilee
—Admiral of the Fleet—Illness—German manoeuvres
A serious accident—Death of the Admiral's sister and wife—
Public duties—The last Drawing-room—Illness and death .   386  POBTRAITS.
From a miniature painted at Naples.
NEPTUNE . . . . . . To face p. 90
From a photo taken at Naples.
ADMIRAL HORNBY To face p. 362
From a photo taken at Lordington.  S1K GEOFFREY PHLPPS HOENBY, G.C.B.
At the highest point of the low ridge which
divides Cheshire from Lancashire, Winwick Church
crowns the slope. It is a beautiful old thirteenth-century church, and used to boast of a
unique east window, but this was restored away
some fifty years ago. Winwick was one of the
best livings in Lord Derby's gift, and from 1781
to 1855 was held by two Hornbys in succession.
The elder of these two rectors was Geoffrey,
only son of Edmund Hornby, Esq. of Poulton and
Scale Hall, and Margaret, his wife, daughter of
John Winckley, Esq., of Preston. The Rev.
Geoffrey Hornby married, April 27, 1772, Lucy
Stanley, sister of Edward, twelfth Earl of Derby. SIR GEOFFREY PHLPPS HORNBY.
The Rev. Geoffrey and his wife were parents
of thirteen children, of whom the second son,
James John, succeeded his father in the living,
1812; and the fifth son, Phipps, so called after
his godfather, Mr Thomas Peckham Phipps of
Littlegreen, Sussex, entered the navy.
Captain (afterwards Sir Phipps) Hornby, who
had served as a mate on board the Victory under
Nelson, commanded the 22-gun ship Volage at Sir
William Hoste's action off Lissa, March 13, 1811,
for which he was awarded the rare distinction
of a gold medal. A flag, belonging to a French
frigate captured in the action, still hangs in Win-
•wick Church as a trophy of the victory.
Captain Hornby married, December 22, 1814,
Maria Sophia, daughter of the Right Hon. General
John Burgoyne. The bride, after her father's
death, lived with Lord and Lady Derby, and
was married from her old home, "The Oaks,"
in Surrey, a place which Lord Derby had bought
from General Burgoyne, and where he usually
spent the early part of the winter. Of Mrs
Hornby there seems to have been but one opinion,
"the wisest woman that ever lived." Her relation with her children was most beautiful, and
many who were not her children, but who were
lonely and in trouble, were taken to her heart
and "mothered."
After the war, when Captain Hornby was put
on half-pay, the attraction of old associations and CHILDHOOD. 3
the neighbourhood of his brother drew him to
Winwick, where the young couple settled down
in a little cottage near the church. It was here
that on Sunday morning, February 20, 1825, was
born their second son and sixth child, Geoffrey
Thomas Phipps, as he was christened in Winwick
Church, March 22, of the same year.
The earliest nursery tradition of the little Geoffrey is of a sturdy, red-headed little boy, very
angry because he had been contradicted by his
nurse, and vociferating as loudly as he could, "I
must! I will!  I shall!"
Mrs Hornby kept a little memorandum-book
in which she noted down all the quaint sayings
and doings of her children. In most of the anecdotes which concern her son Geoff signs may be
traced of qualities which distinguished him in
after-life. The strong will, which helped him to
overcome a naturally impetuous temper, and made
him such a leader and ruler of men, because he had
learnt to control himself; a touch of dandyism;
an innate sense of chivalry and politeness; a
scrupulous honesty and dislike of any half-truths,
and a simple faith and strong religious feeling,
which made him always give duty and uprightness the foremost place, and would never allow
him to truckle to expediency.
The first seven years of his life were spent at
Winwick, with only an annual break of a few
months' visit to Knowsley.    Lord .Derby's great SIR GEOFFREY PHIPPS HORNBY.
pleasure was to gather a large family party together in the summer months, and the visit to
Knowsley was looked forward to by all the children as the holiday-time of the year. Every
room in the house, every spot in the park, seems
to have its own legend, its own particular "Do
you remember ?"
In 1832 Captain Hornby was appointed Captain Superintendent of the Naval Hospital and
Victualling-Yard at Devonport. The whole party
went round to Plymouth by sea — father and
mother, seven children (the eldest son was then at
Rugby), governess, and servants; and owing to
stormy weather, the passage from Liverpool to
Plymouth took eleven days.
Little Geoff had already been to school for a
year, as a day-boy,—to the Grammar-School at
Winwick, which just then had risen to great prosperity as a preparatory school under the mastership of the Rev. T. Hinde. At Plymouth the
school chosen for him was Mr Southwood's, because
the mathematical teaching was said to be good.
His ability showed itself not so much in any precocious quickness, as in thoughtfulness, perseverance, and a keen desire for knowledge.
One who knew Geoff at this time describes him
as a quick, active boy, neither particularly good-
looking nor the reverse, with a very red head, which
his mother called "auburn," and a great passion
for animals,  especially horses.     His only other CHILDHOOD. 5
passion was the navy: every evening his occupation was to carve little boats out of small pieces
of wood, spreading his handkerchief very tidily on
the table to catch the chips, and then, having got
his sisters to hem the sails, he proceeded to rig
his small flotilla. Some of his uncles amused
themselves by trying to persuade him to try for
the appointment of page to William IY. Among
many of the glories of the position, which they
invented for his benefit, they told him that he
would have a horse kept for him. For a while
this rather attracted him; but when they told him
truthfully that the end of a page's career was a
commission in the Guards, he utterly declined to
countenance the idea, renouncing even the hope
of having a horse, because he would be a sailor. CHAPTER   II.
Geoffrey Thomas Phipps Hornby was entered
on board H.M.S. Princess Charlotte as a first-class
volunteer on March 8, 1837. She was then fitting
out as the Mediterranean flagship, carrying the
flag of Admiral Sir Robert Stopford, K.C.B. One
of the advantages of being in a flagship was that
she carried a schoolmaster, a privilege seldom
granted to any other class of ships in those days.
Captain Phipps Hornby took his little son down
to Portsmouth to enter him; but as the flag-
captain, afterwards Sir Arthur Fanshawe, did not
want the boys on board when he was fitting out,
the lad was given leave to return to Plymouth
till May 20, when he left home to join his ship
by a steamer which plied between Plymouth and
Portsmouth every Monday morning.
The Princess Charlotte was still at Portsmouth H.M.S. PRINCESS CHARLOTTE. 7
at the time of the Queen's Accession, June 20, and
the first royal salute which Geoff Hornby ever
heard fired was in honour of that event. In afterlife he was wont to say that he and her Majesty
entered the public service in the same year. In
those days, fitting out a ship was a much longer
business than it is now. Instead of receiving her
quite ready from the hands of the dockyard, the
captain had usually to hoist in her masts and to
see to her rigging; and how she was found depended very much on what means he had at his
disposal. He had, moreover, to enter his own
men. Placards would be posted up all over the
town where the ship was commissioning, "Wanted,
so many hundred men of the right sort," &c., &c.
If few ships had been commissioned lately, and if
the captain or the station was popular, a ship's
company was very quickly got together. The day
before she sailed the men were given a little pay
in advance, and there was a regular orgy on board.
All the men's friends, male and female, came to
take leave, and a great many who were not friends
brought liquor on board. There was a great deal
of drunkenness, and some mothers, who were ill-
advised enough to go that day to take leave of their
little inidshipmen sons, went away with a horrible
impression of life on board ship. A day or two at
sea, however, usually sufficed for things to settle
down in their usual routine till the end of the
The Princess Charlotte, with Admiral Sir Robert,
Lady Stopford, and her daughters on board, sailed
for the Mediterranean from Portsmouth on July
3, 1837.
During the winter 1837-1838 the fleet wintered
as usual at Malta, and in those days the feeling
between the English and Maltese ran very high.
There was one exhibition of this during the
winter, which Geoff Hornby used always to describe with great gusto. One night at the opera,
in consequence of a large party which was going
on elsewhere, there were very few English in the
house. A prima-donna, who was very popular
with the English, was singing, and for this reason
the Maltese decided to hiss her. Directly she had
finished her aria, and the English began to applaud,
the Maltese began to hiss. A big Englishman who
was sitting next to a Maltese said, " If you do that
again I shall turn you out." The Maltese turned
round, and saw that his countrymen very much
outnumbered the English, so he hissed again.
Immediately he was taken by the collar and forced
towards the door; the Maltese tried to rescue him,
the English backed up their man, and the fight
became general. The English were in such a great
minority that the flag-captain, anxious for their
safety, broke the legs off the chairs in the Commander-in-Chiefs box, and handed them down to
his officers as weapons of defence and offence.
Somehow word had been passed up to the main- H.M.S. PRINCESS CHARLOTTE. 9
guard that some officers were getting the worst
of it in the opera-house. Of course the guard
turned out, and took the Maltese in the rear,
just as the English inside the house were beginning to force them into the street, with the
result that the Maltese had a very bad time of
it. Next day there was an inquiry; but as the
flag-captain, who had been present, said that his
officers had only been acting for the maintenance
of order and in self-defence, no further notice was
taken of the incident.
Much less leave was given then than now, and
the commander of the Princess Charlotte was not
fond of giving the youngsters a run on shore.
He had a way of replying to the question, " Please,
sir, may I go on shore ?" " Oh yes, certainly,
certainly;" and when the boy had almost finished
saying, " Thank you, sir," he would add, " but
not to-day, no, not to-day." Occasionally, however, the commander's heart softened, and the
midshipmen did get on shore; for during the
summer of 1838 an uncle of Geoff Hornby's (the
Rev. George Hornby), who lived at Naples, of-
* fered him £10 if he would sit for a miniature
to be sent home to his mother. The boy very
much grudged the time he had to sit cooped
up in the studio, when he might have been
careering all over the country round Naples on
horseback; but it was finished, and despatched
at last, and the £10 procured him a great deal 10 SLR GEOFFREY PHIPPS HORNBY.
of enjoyment, to say nothing of a certain amount
of smartening up of the cutter, of which he was
given charge. This boat was an endless source
of delight and pride to him, all his spare cash
was spent in beautifying her, and he even got
his sisters to work little mats for the men to
sit on. Her great achievement, during the commission, was winning a race at a regatta when
it was blowing very fresh. The little lad was
never a very good sailor, and this day he was
very sea-sick indeed; but he carried on, and
brought his boat in a winner, in spite of all
the pangs of sea-sickness.
Probably on account of the smartness of the
above-mentioned cutter, and also because Geoff
Hornby spoke French better than any other midshipman on board the Princess Charlotte, he was
frequently employed in carrying messages to and
from the French ships when the British squadron
was at Toulon at the time of the Queen's Coronation, June 1838. On the Coronation day the
French Admiral and suite dined with Sir Robert
on board the Princess Charlotte, and for several
days after they were royally entertained by the
Even then young Hornby, or, as his messmates
called him, " Rufus," had made himself a reputation for "smartness." Sir Arthur Farquhar
"Hornby was my messmate in the Princess H.M.S. PRINCESS CHARLOTTE. 11
Charlotte from autumn 1838 to autumn 1840,
he being a midshipman and I being a mate at
that time. Afterwards I was lieutenant of the
Princess Charlotte from November 1840 to August
1841, whilst he was still a midshipman. Young
Hornby was a very bright, clever boy, with a
ruddy complexion and reddish hair; he was a
great favourite with both his messmates and
superior officers, and even then gave promise of
high qualities as an officer. He, young Peel
(afterwards Sir William Peel), and Egerton (the
late Admiral the Hon. Francis Egerton) were, I
think, the finest specimens of youngsters I ever
The summer of 1839, after visiting a portion
of the coast of Sicily and the Greek Archipelago,
was spent at Besika Bay, and at Vourla in the
Gulf of Smyrna.
On July 14, 1839, the Turkish fleet of thirty-
two sail was delivered over to Mehemet Ali by
a traitorous Turkish admiral, thus leaving the
Sultan virtually at the mercy of Ibrahim Pasha
(a stepson of Mehemet Ali and generalissimo of
the Egyptian forces), who was ruling in Syria.
The European Powers (except France) agreed to
interfere to help the Sultan; but as there was
no really secure anchorage for ships during the
winter on the coast of Syria, operations did not
begin till the spring. In March 1840 two ships
were sent to reinforce Sir Charles Napier on the SIB GEOFFREY PHLPPS HORNBY.
coast of Syria, and orders were given to Lieut.-
Colonel Hodges, Consul-General at Alexandria,
to give immediate notice of the sailing of the
Turco-Egyptian fleet. Sir Robert Stopford did
not go to Syria till September, but remained
most of the summer at Mitylene, so as to be
out of the way of collision with a French fleet
of eight sail which was anchored at Besika. He
(Sir Robert) was waiting, 1st, for some, Turkish
ships and transports, under the nominal if not
real command of Sir Baldwin Wake Walker,
which were to be conveyed to Syria; 2d, for
the Benbow, which was bringing some sappers
and miners from Gibraltar, and 10,000 stands of
arms to be distributed among the Syrian mountaineers ; 3d, for Mehemet Ali's answer to the
Sultan's ultimatum.
Mehemet Ali declined to accept the Sultan's
conditions, and the English Admiral proceeded
to the coast of Syria, where all the marines of
the fleet were landed, so as to make a demonstration imposing enough to induce the people from
the mountains to come down to receive their arms.
The combined English (under Sir Charles
Napier), Austrian, and Turkish forces defeated
Ibrahim near Beyrout on October 10, and the
Egyptian army retreated south to St Jean
d'Acre, which on November 3d was taken, after
a three hours' bombardment. The capture of
Acre led to the expulsion of the Egyptians from H.M.S. PRINCESS CHARLOTTE.
Syria, and to a peace by which the viceroyalty of
Egypt was made hereditary.
This, then, was the only time in his life that
Geoffrey Hornby saw a shot fired in anger; and
it seems a curious coincidence that his first and
last service afloat should have been in a fleet which
was acting as the ally of the Sultan. CHAPTER ni.
H.M.S. WINCHESTER, 1842-1844-
From the time the Princess Charlotte was paid
off, August 1841, till the spring of 1842, Geoffrey
Hornby was at Woolwich Dockyard, to which his
father had been appointed as Captain Superintendent after leaving Plymouth. Admiral the Hon.
Joscelyn Percy, C.B., was then commissioning the
Winchester as his flagship for the Cape of Good
Hope, and it was thought well to send the boy
in another flagship. She sailed from Spithead on
Thursday, June 9, and the earliest letter extant
in Geoffrey Hornby's handwriting describes the j
voyage to the Cape:—
" Admiral the Hon.
Sir Bobert Stopford, G.C.B.
"H.M.S. Winchester,
Simon's Bay, Sept. 4, 1842.
"My dear Sir,—As you were so kind as to WINCHESTER.
express a wish to hear from me by any opportunity, I will, now that I have a little time to
myself, give you an account of our proceedings.
We arrived at Madeira after a fortnight's passage from England, and as we were to lay there
two days, a large party of us started to see the
lions, and we made the most of our time, for we
went to the Nunnery, the Church on the Hill,
and afterwards to the Grand Corral, which is a
large ravine between two of the largest hills, and
comprises in itself, and in the road to it, quite the
most beautiful scenery I ever saw. And, moreover, on our way home we nearly made a vacancy
for a lieutenant—one of our party who was rash
enough to race with two of us mids. He was of
course beaten, and as he was going astern was
saluted by four horse-shoes whistling by his head,
which had been discharged with considerable force
from our horses' heels. Our next exploit was receiving Neptune, and the christening of us his
new children. We were fortunate in having a
very fine day, and the Miss Percys, who were
on the poop, seemed to take as much interest
as we who were concerned. We reached Rio
after rather a long, but a very fine, passage of
five weeks from Madeira. We lay there a week,
and, I think, I never enjoyed a week more. We
had several parties to the most beautiful parts
of the environs, and we were also invited to two
balls.    The first was a native one, and rather re- --■
minded us of Peter Simple's 'dignity ball,' and
we laughed not a little at many of the figures.
Fortunately, everybody who noticed us was, or
seemed to be, pleased at being noticed, and
thought we were admiring them. The other ball
was at the British Minister's house, and this we
enjoyed, if possible, more, as 'we met either English people or those who spoke French or English.
We very foolishly sailed on a Friday, and we were
of course kept under double- or treble-reefed topsails the whole way, fell in with the usual gale off
the Cape, and lay-to four days, as the captain and
master did not like going into a place where they
had neither of them been for some years. We anchored here on Thursday last, and were rather astounded at the apparent barrenness of the place,
though on landing we were equally surprised at
the beauty of the wild flowers, which proves that
the land must be good as well as the climate. We
have lying here the Southampton and Iris, which
have lately returned from Port Natal, where they
were obliged to go with a detachment of troops,
200 men, to quell an insurrection that has broken
out among the Dutch Boers, who wish to declare
their independence. They had some smartish work
for their first brush, which took place very shortly
after their landing; they lost 45 men killed and
wounded out of 200. They say that these fellows
get behind some shelter to fight, and being excellent marksmen, they picked off our men before they H.M.S.  WINCHESTER. 17
could find out where their enemies lay. However,
they were subdued for the time; but we hear a
report that they have risen again, and killed the
officer commanding the troops and several of his
men. If this is true, it is supposed that we
should have to go down there again with more
troops. We have fortunately secured the Kaffirs
to our side, and they are of more use in such
irregular war than even our own soldiers—that
is, when they are properly supported. I find
the ship very comfortable, as much so as the
Princess Charlotte, except from the superior advantages of a gunroom to a berth, but I do not
think we shall be in such good order. The ship
sails remarkably well, and is exceedingly easy in
her motion, although she rolls very deep, and is
wet when under a press of sail. I am sorry to
say there have been two very bad shipwrecks
in Table Bay,—one, the Abercrombie Robinson,
a troop-ship that we overtook on our passage
out with troops for the Cape. The agent was
persuaded to go in to Table Bay, and she went
on shore in a north-westerly gale that we fell
into, Sunday, 28th. Every one was saved from
her; but the other, the Waterloo, a convict-ship,
was totally wrecked at the same time, and lost
about 180 men.
"Sept. 11.
"The Hyacinth, which we expected would sail
last Monday, has been delayed a week, I believe, SIR GEOFFREY PHIPPS  HORNBY.
on account of Admiral King's- illness. Every one
who has been at Cape Town is delighted with
it. I am thinking of going up for a day at
the end of the week to make acquaintance with
the Governor, who has sent me a most kind invitation; and I should like to go again on the
24th for the races, which are expected to be
very good this year, and a race ball is to be
given on the 28th, to which everybody is going. We hear of more losses in Table Bay
almost every day; I think there are now about
eight vessels on shore. We are anxiously looking out for a packet from England, as we have
heard nothing since we were at Madeira. We
there heard the news of the Tariff having passed,
though whether the news was true we cannot tell.
The Hyacinth brought no news from China; she
had been engaged in a few skirmishes just before
she left, and she left all the fleet looking forward
anxiously for the commencement of this year's
campaign. I must now close my letter, which is
shorter than I could have wished. Pray remember me to all your family, and believe me ever,
sir, your sincere and grateful young friend,
" Geoffrey Hornby."
The Winchester was a good deal at Simon's Bay,
and consequently the midshipmen were often on
shore. As is proverbial with " Jack on shore,"
they were a great deal on horseback.    It is re- H.M.S.  WINCHESTER. 19
corded that Geoff Hornby once rode seventy-five
miles to a ball. He had ridden from Simon's Bay
to Cape Town, a distance of twenty-five miles,
when he discovered that part of his evening uniform was missing. There was nothing for it, as he
was detennined to go to the ball, but to ride the
extra fifty miles to Simon's Town and back, to
fetch what he required. Another time, when
riding near Cape Town, he had a bad accident.
Having been thrown from his horse, he was picked
up insensible, and carried into the house of a
Dutch lady, Mrs Van der Byl. Here he was
nursed with the greatest kindness and attention,
so that after he recovered he used always to allude
to Mrs Van der Byl as " my old Dutch mother."
During the first winter at the Cape the Winchester went up to Natal with provisions for the
town, an expedition which lasted only three weeks,
January 15 to February 3.
Sir Anthony Hoskins, who was a messmate of
Geoffrey Hornby's in this commission, furnishes
the following recollections of this time:—
11 have a vivid recollection of the fitting out of
the Winchester, 50, in April 1842 (Hornby's second
and my first ship), and of the lead he at once
took among us youngsters. His bright, debonair
appearance and high-toned look and bearing are as
fresh in my mind's eye as if it were yesterday that
we were thrown together in that ship. After we
put to sea he was stationed as mid of the main-top, SLR GEOFFREY PHIPPS  HORNBY.
and of the admiral's barge, the latter a not unenviable position, with such a charming family as that
of Admiral Percy. His passion for riding, cricket,
and all manly sports and amusements was intense;
and I need hardly say that he excelled in all, and
was considered the champion of the midshipmen's
berth, if not of the ship. Many a cricket-match
on Miller's Point and at Wynberg attested his
prowess at that game, and he was, though so
comparatively junior in rank, generally voted the
captain of our team, as the wardroom officers were
not very proficient at it. Those who were in the
ship can well remember his neat, active figure as
wicket-keeper, and the geniality with which he
chaffed us into good humour, and kept us
"Soon after we arrived at the Cape, we were
sent to Natal with provisions and stores for the
troops, who were in a state of siege, or rather
blockade, by the Boers. The bar of the Natal
river, which our heavily laden boats had to cross,
was little known in those days, and considerable
risk attended the service. The jolly-boat, in charge
of Hyde Parker (who was the first officer killed in
the Russian war), was swamped, and all the stores
lost, but the crew fortunately were saved, principally by the shallowness of the water where the
accident occurred. All the boats returned to the
ship as soon as discharged, except the second cutter
in charge of Hornby, which Captain Eden  had H.M.S.   CLEOPATRA. 21
selected to take him in. This boat was detained
by him until late in the afternoon, but in the meantime a gale of wind had come on, necessitating the
ship being got under weigh, and it was by the exhibition of much skill and seamanship, both in the
ship and the boat, that the latter was at last got
on board and a course shaped for Simon's Bay. It
was a very narrow escape. I remember Hornby
describing how he was fully occupied in baling out
the boat, no other hand being available, and how
more than once, owing to the knocking about of
the boat, he could not help discharging the contents of the baler right in the captain's face.
" After two years in the Winchester I went with
the commander (Kelly) into the Conway, and
Hornby shortly afterwards obtained a death-
vacancy in the Cleopatra, and we did not meet till
1846 (I think December), when the Conway being
at the Cape for refit, he was borne on her books,
while waiting passage home after the trial of a
slaver which he had brought down from the
Mozambique. He was not doing duty, but I re-
|jinember his once walking a forenoon watch with
me, and unfolding his views of the service. How
necessary it was to preserve the highest tone and
discipline, and how determined he was that in
his hands nothing should ever be allowed to detract from it. It was an inspiring confidence, and
has remained with me through life."
Admiral Percy had intended to give the death- 22 SLR  GEOFFREY PHIPPS   HORNBY.
vacancy alluded to above to his son; but as
Percy was not old enough to pass for mate,
and the Admiralty refused to keep the vacancy
open, it was given to young Hornby instead.
He did not join the Cleopatra till the autumn
of 1844. She was a Symondite 26-gun frigate,
and a very pretty little ship indeed, commanded by a very smart officer, Captain Wyvill,
and for the next two years was employed exclusively in suppressing the slave-trade on the
East Coast. Here the experience in boat-sailing
which Hornby had acquired in the Mediterranean
came in very usefully, as the ships were often
obliged to lie out a long way from the shore, and
the boats would be sent in for information, fresh
provisions, or water. Often the distances were too
great or the reefs too dangerous to allow a return
to the ships in the dark, and the boats had to
remain in some creek or other for the night. As
the malaria was very dangerous, awnings had been
made for the boats, with curtains all round, which
at night were laced down to the side of the boat.
There were generally fourteen men in the boat,
very often poultry and goats as well; and yet no
one got suffocated—nay, more, they did hot get
fever as much as when these precautions were not
observed, so that it does not seem as if ventilation
were such a necessity as we are taught to believe.
There were one or two very exciting chases, and
also one or two captures.    One slaver in trying to HM.S.   CLEOPATRA. 23
escape struck on a reef. The Qeopatras were able
to get off the women and children, and they gave
the men leave to swim on shore, taking anything
they liked with them. One black fellow went overboard with a Dutch cheese under each arm, and
another wrapped a large piece of diachylon plaster
round and round his body, though what ultimate use
it could be to him no one could discover. The crew
of five men either could not swim or else were afraid
to face the surf, and as Captain Wyvill would not
let his men's lives be risked in saving such blackguards, they were left for the night; and though
it was momentarily expected that the ship would
go to pieces, no one felt very much compunction at
their punishment, for those who had seen what
cruelties were practised on the slaves grew very
hard-hearted towards their capturers.
After two years of this work, Geoff Hornby
was, as Sir Anthony Hoskins says, sent down
to the Cape in charge of a captured slaver.
Here he remained for some months on board
the Conway awaiting a passage, as Captain Hornby
thought his son had been long enough—four and
a half years—on the same station, and was anxious to get him home; but though he was daily
expecting him to arrive in February 1847, the
opportunity did not occur till March, when he
got a passage in the Wolverene.
She was a smaller ship than any Geoff Hornby
had been in before,  and for the first few days 24 SLR  GEOFFREY PHIPPS  HORNBY.
he was very sea-sick. The voyage home took
little more than a month, March 28 to April 29,
and the next day he joined his family at Shooter's
Hill, when we find the following entry in his
father's diary:—
"Saturday, May 1.—Left London at 8 a.m. to
get home to breakfast. Found my dear Geoff,
whom I had not seen for five years, grown into
a fine young man. James arrived from Oxford
in order to see his brother, so we were a large
and grateful family party." CHAPTER IY.
H.M.S.  ASIA, 1847-1851.
GREEN,  1851.
As his father had said, the promising boy had
developed into a fine young man, not very tall,
about 5 feet 10 inches in height, but slight,
well proportioned, giving rather an impression of
activity and energy than of physical strength,
spruce and dapper in his appearance, scrupulously
clean and particular, more from self-respect than
from vanity, though he had quite the average
share of good looks. Either time or the tropical
sun had burnt his ruddy hair into a warm chests
nut; but, after all, no description of curly hair,
or hazel eyes, or firm-cut mouth or chin, would
give any idea of the charm of the man, of
his light-hearted bonhomie, and the irresistible
twinkle with which his eyes lighted up if any- 26 SLR  GEOFFREY PHIPPS  HORNBY.
thing amused him, so that you were constrained
to laugh whether you understood the joke or no.
Then another of his great attractions was the
keen interest he took in everything that came
in his way, whether dancing or cricket, sport or
science, politics or service matters, so that those
about him were stirred to enthusiasm by his
keenness. Below all this there was a very warm,
tender heart, and a wonderful gentleness to anything weak and suffering; hence probably his
great love for and sympathy with animals. If
ever he was disposed to be hard or intolerant, it
was towards those whom he would have called
" fools "—those who either did not make the best
of the abilities with which they had been endowed, or were not conscious of their own shortcomings. If such a one were caught tripping, he
was certainly not let down easily.
When Geoffrey Hornby returned from the Cape,
his father, who had lately been promoted, was just
giving up his house at Shooter's Hill; and very
soon after the young man had passed his lieutenant's examination—a matter which took him to
Portsmouth for the inside of a week—the whole
party started off to spend the summer, among
their relations in Lancashire. While at Knowsley,
Admiral Hornby received in August the offer of
the Pacific command. It was not an appointment
which he coveted, for at his age, sixty-two years,
he very much dreaded the prospect of starting off H.M.S. ASIA. 27
to assume an active command on the other side
of the world. The probability, however, of being
able to give his hauling-down vacancy to his son
induced him to accept it, and to take his boy
Geoff as his flag - lieutenant. Captain Robert
Stopford accepted the position of flag - captain,
Mr Jones that.of secretary; and on September 6
the new commander-in-chief of the Pacific station
hoisted his flag on board H.M.S. Asia at Sheer-
ness, but left again the same day with his flag-
lieutenant for Knowsley, to be present at the
festivities in honour of Lord Stanley's coming of
age. As things never seem to go quite right in
this world, just a few days after Admiral Hornby
had accepted the Pacific command, Portsmouth
Dockyard, an appointment he much desired, was
given away to Admiral Sherriffe, who had been
extremely anxious to go to the Pacific
The one month's leave extended to two before
the Asia was ready for sea, and it was not till the
beginning of November that the Admiral and his
son took leave of their dear friends at Knowsley,
Winwick, &c. After a ten days' stay in London,
to complete preparations and to receive final instructions from the Admiralty, they left for Portsmouth, where they were to join the ship. Besides
his son, Admiral Hornby was taking out with him
his wife and three daughters, and Mrs Parker, a
widowed sister of Mrs Hornby's. The whole party
embarked finally on November 26, and sailed next 28 SLR GEOFFREY PHIPPS HORNBY.
day for Plymouth, where they were to take in
some boats, &c. They were detained here for three
days, and when not far outside, got into a very
severe gale of wind, which so damaged the ship
that they were obliged to put back to Plymouth
to have her caulked. She was not ready for sea
again till the 29th, when she was towed out into
the Sound, where she was kept waiting for despatches till January 1, 1848, and till the 6th for
a wind. Though light at the time they weighed,
the wind freshened, with every appearance of bad
weather, and next day at 6 p.m. the main-yard
went in the slings. The yard-arms, which were
knocking about a good deal, were, however, lowered without any further damage, though it took
most of the night to do this, and next day the
mizen-top-sail was set as a mainsail. Thus they
proceeded to Lisbon, where the Channel Fleet was
lying. Here the Canopus sent her main-yard to
the Asia.
Five days' sail brought them to Madeira, where
they did not anchor, but merely waited to send in
home letters for the Queen-Dowager, who was
wintering there. A week later, January 25, they
passed the last of the Cape de Yerde Island's, and
saw no land again till 6 a.m. on February 13,
when they sighted Cape Frio, and anchored the
same evening in the harbour at Rio de Janeiro.
The beauty of Rio harbour seems to have impressed the younger Hornby much more than on H.M.S.  ASIA.
his former visit in the Winchester; in feet, henceforward Rio was always the standard by which
he judged other harbours: " Almost as beautiful
as Rio!" "Not a patch on Rio!" &c., &c
After a week at Rio they sailed and rounded
Cape Horn on the 14th March, reaching "Valparaiso April 3* Admiral Hornby agreed to take
over the house and furniture belonging to his
predecessor, Sir George Seymour. This first house
was not a good one, some of the floors were undermined by rats, and it was too small for Admiral
Hornby's family. He was therefore not sorry to
accept the offer made by an English resident to
build a house for him. The new house was a
very comfortable one, built round a courtyard
or patio, surrounded by a large field or garden
full of orange - trees and lucern - grass, and only
one storey high, because of the earthquakes, which
were very frequent, and occasionally very severe.
Sometimes on returning from a shooting expedition Geoff Hornby would find that fissures wide
enough to jump his horse over had appeared in
places where in the morning there had been no
sign of any disturbance; but, as a rule, houses
founded on the rock did not receive any damage,
though the shaking of the floors and furniture
was enough to be very disagreeable, and often
very alarming.
When the Admiral was living on shore at
Valparaiso, the duties of the flag-lieutenant were 30
not very arduous. There was a certain amount of
signalling to the ships in harbour, invitations to
send out and to accept, and occasionally visits
to be paid. Valparaiso was a hospitable and sociable
place, and the Hornbys did their share of entertaining with continual dinner - parties, which
never exceeded the number of sixteen, and an
occasional reception or dance. Besides this, the
fashion of evening visits obtained in Chili, so an
evening rarely passed without some one coming
in, the French Admiral being among the most
frequent of these casual visitors.
In the daytime, for serious occupation, Geoffrey
Hornby and his sisters set themselves to learn
Spanish, as they found French not quite the universal language it pretends to be, and also to
acquire some knowledge of the natural history of
the country. For amusement they had chiefly
riding expeditions, whether it were only to Playa-
ancha to see a cricket-match, or for a riding tour
of a few days' duration to various points of interest.
Some curious old customs still prevailed in Chili;
for instance, on Maundy Thursday all business
ceased, all vessels of Roman Catholic countries
struck their flags half-mast, the women left off
their usual bonnets, and walked about the streets
with black scarves or mantillas over their heads.
This continued till 8 a.m. on Easter Eve, when
the ships  saluted and squared their yards, the H.M.S.   ASIA.
flags were hoisted, and the traffic in the streets
recommenced. In the autumn, again, there was
the rodeo, or annual collection of cattle. Admiral
Hornby describes it in his Diary, October 5, 1848,
" Up at six, and the whole party on horseback
started to see the driving of the cattle and horses
from all the surrounding hills down to the enclosure in the plain. The scene wild, beautiful,
and striking, the riding of the horsemen wonderful,
all the party highly amused. A picnic under the
trees at noon, consisting of a lamb roasted whole
over the embers and a leg of veal. Dined at Mr
Macfarlane's rancho, and two or three of the
farmers' wives and daughters to dance the national
dance in the evening.
" Oct. 6.—Still at Pitama, a mere rancho of the
country, affording a sample of rural life in Chili.
The girls on two truckle-beds in a room floored
—a great luxury—but not ceiled, and bare walls.
The dining - room ditto, two of the gentlemen
sleeping there, and the remaining four in another
apartment of the same description. Food, a soup,
called casuela; dish 1st, made of fowls chopped up
and stewed with potatoes; 2d, ditto of mutton;
and 3d, ditto of turkey. We saw also young
horses, unbroken, mounted at once and ridden;
but they are small weak things, and soon beaten.
The lasso is first applied, and poncho thrown over
the head, the saddle then put on, and a leathern 32 SLR GEOFFREY PHIPPS HORNBY.
thong in the mouth for a bridle. The man mounts,
poncho and lasso are removed, and off they go—
a few plunges, a fall or two, and the horse is made.
Certainly, as an exhibition of horsemanship and
skill, I never saw anything like the facility with
which the heaviest bull was thrown and rendered
powerless by a man with a mere pony."
These mere ponies were, it can be understood,
not very easy to be ridden by people accustomed to
well-broken English horses. The first horse Geoff
Hornby had, broke away one day just as his master
had dismounted, and galloped over a precipice. At
the time he did not seem much hurt, but after a
few days died from his injuries. The next horse
was very satisfactory, except that he had a tendency to buck, and to run away with any rider
who did not understand the peculiarities of his
mouth. Once, when this horse was lame, the flag-
lieutenant hired one which had recommended itself
to him by its good looks: it proved, however, to
buck furiously on being mounted, and before amicable relations could be established the girths broke,
and saddle and rider were deposited on the road,
luckily without any serious injury.
Only part of the year was spent on shore; at
other times the flag-ship cruised about to various
parts of the station. The first cruise was to Callao,
Payta, and Guayaquil, May to August 1848. The
Peruvian capital showed signs of having gone back
a good deal during the late revolutions, though a certain amount of trade seemed to be returning to
the place through the enterprise of foreigners.
While at Callao, the Plover arrived on her way
to Behring's Straits in search of the Franklin expedition ; and more than a year later the Gorgon
was sent to tow two other ships through the
Straits of Magellan on the same errand, as it was
not till the summer of 1850 that the news was
confirmed of the loss of Sir J. Franklin and all
with him.
At Callao, 1848, Admiral Hornby heard of the
death of his eldest son, a captain in the Royal
Engineers, which had occurred at Montreal the
preceding April. A heavy blow this to the old
Admiral; but though clinging perhaps more than
ever to his second son, Geoffrey, he at once sent
him off to break the news to his mother, who,-after
the long voyage out, had preferred remaining at
Valparaiso during the cool weather.
The Admiral's family embarked with him for the
next cruise to Concepcion the following December;
the French flagship also sailed the same day,
December 4, for the same destination. There had
been a discussion between the two Admirals as to
whether it was better to make an inshore voyage
or stretch right away, as was the practice with
English ships. To settle the question, the Asia
stood out close to Juan Fernandez; the French
frigate, Poursuivante, took an inshore course.
The two ships met again in a thick fog close to
the entrance of the bay at Concepcion on the 9th,
when the Poursuivante appeared on the Asia's
weather-beam, and then began a trial of seamanship in which the English ship proved successful,
as she just managed to get in a short time before
the Frenchman.
The longest expedition was planned for the
early part of 1850, but the Asia had only got as
far as Panama, on her way to some of the Pacific
islands, when the news arrived that Captain
Paynter of the Gorgon had come into collision
with the Americans in the Gulf of Fonseca, and had
landed and taken possession of Tiger Island there.
Of course the Admiral had to go off at once to
inquire into and settle the affair, and the longer
voyage was abandoned. It was during the cruise
to Central America that the younger Hornby was
promoted to commander. Captain M'Dougall,
commander of the Asia, having been given the
vacancy caused by the death of Captain Rodney
Eden, the Admiral made his son commander of the
flagship, thus giving him his step a day before his
twenty-fifth birthday, February 19, 1850. Meanwhile Captain M'Dougall had gone off to join the
Amphitrite, and bring down a freight from the
coast of Mexico. Just then the discovery of gold
in California was making the freights very heavy,
some of the ships carrying as much as 400,000
dollars. In Valparaiso merchants were throwing
up their businesses to go off to the gold-fields, and H.M.S.   ASIA. 35
even the peons left their masters and begged, borrowed, or stole sufficient for a passage. As in all
these epidemics of gold-fever, it was only the few
who succeeded; the others, after enduring unheard-
of privations, returned poorer than they went.
Still, the accounts which came were sufficient to
excite the most phlegmatic. Admiral Hornby in*
his occasional memoranda says:—
" Wonderful are the accounts that have for some
time reached us of the riches of California, and all
are more than confirmed by Captain Courtenay of
the Constance, who left that country September
17, 1848. Pieces of solid pure gold have been
picked up of thirteen pounds, and one of sixteen.
The gold is found in all the ravines over an extent
of country ninety miles by thirty on the banks of
the Sacramento river. The average value of a
cart-load of earth is 400 dollars, but in one instance
five cart-loads produced 16,000 dollars of gold-dust.
New diggings are being daily discovered. The
Rocky Mountains are said to be full of gold, and
the streams and rivers to the east also."
No wonder that some of the men from the Asia
tried to desert, and though some were brought
back, two marines succeeded in getting away.
This last year of Admiral Hornby's command in
the Pacific was the only experience which his
son had as commander. His midshipman logs
are lost, but he kept a log of all his subsequent
voyages,  including  the  one   home  in  the  Wol- 36 SLR GEOFFREY PHIPPS HORNBY.
verene. When he became a commander he added
notes as to the advantages and disadvantages of
the various ports, the facilities for watering, the
prices of provisions, and sometimes also of water*
During the earlier commissions, he mentioned sometimes where baulks of timber were to be bought,
and the different varieties of wood produced, but
later he usually noted only the quality and price
of coal, and what lighters, &c, were to be had.
In February 1851 Admiral Hornby's successor
arrived at the station, and on the 13th the
Admiral embarked with his family for the return
voyage. Four months later the Asia arrived at
Spithead, and almost immediately Admiral Hornby
settled at Littlegreen, a place which he had inherited from his godfather, Mr Thomas Peckham
Phipps, in 1837. At that time there were so
many charges on the property, and so many
annuities to be paid, that Admiral Hornby could
not afford to live there; but now, as many of the
annuitants had died off, and he had made a certain
amount by freight during his command in the
Pacific, he was enabled to establish himself there.
Luckily, Littlegreen was only sixteen miles from
Portsmouth, for besides the usual impedimenta of
a family move, each member of the family had
brought collections of animate and inanimate objects from the other side of the world. There
was a white mule, who had been bought from
a priest to draw Mrs Hornby's chair, because he H.M.S.  ASIA. 37
had the reputation of being very old and very
steady, who nevertheless lived for more than thirty
years after his removal to England. There were
some black-headed swans, the first ever introduced into England; a stuffed alligator, and other
trophies of the chase; a collection of butterflies
and insects; some ponchos and other articles of
national costume, including the full dress of a Fiji
chief (which is not bulky), and a variety of other
things impossible to remember or to catalogue.
J "*1
After his one year as commander in the Asia,
Captain Hornby never served again in that rank.
He was not, however, very long at home, as he
was asked to go with Lord Stanley for a tour in
India. The two young men started from London
July 22. From Paris to Marseilles was a fifty-one
hours' journey, part of it by rail. At Chalons-sur-
Sa6ne their diligence, which had accompanied
them on a truck, was taken off, and they drove
the rest of the way.
Journal. "July 1851.—The want of gentlemen's country houses and dilapidated state of
most of the country buildings deprive it of a home-
look; but its richness is surpassing, and the extreme appropriateness of the terms 'La Belle
France' and ' Merrie England' has been recurring JOURNEY TO CEYLON. 39
to my mind perpetually, as so expressive of the
peculiar features of the two countries."
A three days' voyage brought them to Malta,
where things remained pretty much as in 1840,
except that "the roads have been a good deal
improved since, I was here, and the horses also.
There are also dressed police at the corners of the
streets, armed with batons, who must be a great
temptation to the naval officers."
Two days later, August 1, the steamer from
Southampton arrived, and they went on to Alexandria, thence, August 5, by Nile boat to Cairo,
arriving there the next day. The same evening
they start for Suez:—
Journal. "Aug. 6.—Bathe and dine, pay an
exorbitant bill, and get into a yellow box on two
wheels, drawn by four horses, which is called a
'van.' I must say it is admirably suited to its
work. Preceded by two men, one cracking a whip,
the other carrying a cresset full of lighted pine,
we drive at a hand-gallop through the streets,
and halt about half a mile outside the walls to
allow the other vans to join us. The horses are
changed every five miles, and at every twenty
miles there is a very good house, where tea, coffee,
bread, meat, &c., is provided by the P. & O.
Company. At the first and third three-quarters
of an hour is allowed, at the second one and a half
hours. The night - travelling is very cool and
pleasant.    Indeed I found my greatcoat very com- 40 SLR GEOFFREY PHIPPS HORNBY.
fortable. During the day on the Nile the thermometer had been 94°."
They reached Suez at noon on the 7th, and
embarked on board the Haddington next day,
but were detained twenty - four hours for the
mail. Six days took them to Aden, ten more
to Point de Galle. From Point de Galle they
visited Colombo and Kandy. At the former
place they came to the conclusion that the
cinnamon-trees did not scent the breezes. In
the neighbourhood of the latter, Europeans were
scarce, and at a village they went out to see
they were received by a grand procession:—
"There were six elephants, very well caparisoned with covers of red and white, sometimes
plain, sometimes embroidered. Each elephant
was followed by a chief of the temple to whom
he belonged, all of whom were more finely dressed
than any we had previously seen,—embroidered
iackets, caps, and belts,—and each chief attended
by three or four well-dressed followers. All the
people had good clothes, and many of the handkerchiefs that they wore on their heads, or round
their waists, were either red, white,. or particoloured, and always of a different colour from
the ' to-petty,' which when white was always very
clean. They thus presented a most gorgeous
show, fully equal to any drawing or description
of Eastern splendour, and the odd thing was to
think that these, after all, were their common JOURNEY TO CEYLON. 41
dresses, and that this pretty show cost nothing,
and pleased them as well as us."
From Kandy they went up to Newara Ellia
by most difficult roads, which they thought most
appropriately described by Knox, "The King of
Kandy loveth to have his country intricate and
difficult of access." Here they heard reports of
elephants being in the neighbourhood, but were
unsuccessful in getting anywhere near them, or
even in finding a sort of sambur deer, which
they call elk in that country.
Their original idea had been to go from Ceylon
to Calicut, thence through the Neilgherry Hills
and Mysore country to Seringapatam, and so on
to Madras, getting some elephant - shooting by
the way. This, however, was frustrated, as far
as Captain Hornby was concerned, by an attack
of illness, which developed into abscess on the
liver. The climate had never agreed with him
from the first, and in the early days of his stay
in Ceylon he writes several times, "Not well
enough to go with Stanley;" "Not well enough
to dine with So-and-so"; but the collapse did
not happen till they were on their way down
to Colombo again.    September 17 he writes:—
" We had a ride of about eighteen miles to the
hut of one of the road officers, where we were to
pass the night. The ride was most tedious, rain
falling heavily. Just before sunset we caught a
glimpse of Adam's Peak.    We did not get in till 42 SLR  GEOFFREY PHIPPS  HORNBY.
8 a.m. I complained to our host of the diarrhoea,
and he gave me a mixture that was issued for his
men in such cases, which gave some relief."
"Sept. 18.—Started at daylight, after a copious
draught of the mixture, and rode about seventeen
miles to Yatiantolli. By the time I arrived there
I was dead asleep from the effect of the laudanum
in the draught. I lay down and slept till 4 p.m.,
when the boat was reported ready. We embarked
in tremendous rain, which I believe continued all
night. We arrived at the bridge of boats at
3 A.M., knocked up one or two fellows, who, we
were certain, knew the road to the house; but
they were so lazy that, though we offered any
reward, they would not turn out. So we set
off alone, and at last found a guide by chance.
The walk seemed interminable, for I was in
great pain. At last we arrived, and I was
carefully put to bed and attended to."
There is no further entry till October 21 :—
"Stanley left this morning for Galle, and I
am sorry I could not accompany him, but I
suppose it is all for the best. Employed myself writing up his [Stanley's] journal and reading the ' Calcutta Review.' "
During this time the Bishop of Colombo and
Mrs Chapman were doing everything imaginable
for him in the way of kindness and hospitality,
but it seemed impossible for him to recover in
that   climate.     It  was   therefore   decided,   after JOURNEY TO CEYLON. 43
several relapses, that he must be sent home,
and accordingly, as he writes in his journal,
November 15—
v I left Elie House in company with the doctor
at 4.30 a.m. At 5 a.m. we took to the coach,
and the rain commenced, which lasted until 10
A.M., of course doing me no good. To add to
my pain (which was very great) the carriage was
overloaded with luggage, and so came down on
the bed of the springs, giving us tremendous jolts.
"Nov. 17.—We went off to the steamer at
3 p.m., and I found a very good cabin ready
for me on the main-deck. The old doctor seemed
quite sorry to part from us, and though I cannot
say that I was anything but happy at being
again homeward bound, I felt fully aware of what
kindness I had received at his hands. I am put
on bread-and-milk diet, which, as they have four
cows on board, they can afford to give me."
Though he had been put on board the steamer
as the only chance for his life, his recovery began
from that time. In Cairo, after the journey from
Suez, he had another bad turn; and though for
a year afterwards he was subject to attacks of
fever and ague, which left him very weak, he
was to all intents and purposes well by the time
he arrived in England towards the end of the
The following February, Admiral Hornby accepted a seat on the Board of Admiralty under 44 SLR GEOFFREY PHIPPS HORNBY.
the Duke of Northumberland, chiefly in the hope
of being able to help his son, and in May was
made a K.C.B. Parliament dissolved in June,
and Sir Phipps at Lord Derby's request stood
for Lyme, but was beaten by a majority of twenty.
Most of the summer was spent at Littlegreen, the
family only returning to town in November for
the Duke of Wellington's funeral, November 18.
Diary. " The funeral of England's greatest
man! The day was fortunately fine, the arrangements very good, the behaviour of the crowd admirable. The show of the procession and the mournful
notes of the band were very impressive. As the
car passed every one rose and uncovered, and
the voices of the crowd were hushed to silence.
It was indeed painful to think that he in whom
we all trusted for our safety was gone, and that
Providence had not as yet designated the man
who was to stand in the gap in the coining hour
of danger."
The man who wrote these words was at that
time a young commander, twenty-seven years of
age, studying at Woolwich. Twenty-five years
later, 1877 to 1878, he was the one man who
virtually held in his hands the question of peace
or war.
In November 1852 Lord Derby's Government
was defeated on the Budget, and on resigning
office the Duke of Northumberland promoted two
very young captains, the sons of his colleagues, MARRIAGE. 45
Hyde Parker and Hornby. Captain Parker was
appointed to the Firebrand, but as Sir Phipps
Hornby resigned office at the same time as his
chief, Captain Hornby remained on half-pay during
the whole of the Crimean war.
The disappointment of having to remain idly
on shore while all his friends were actively employed in the Black Sea was, however, compensated for by his marriage, in the following
year, to Emily Frances, daughter of the Rev.
J. J. Coles of Ditcham Park, Hants. The wedding took place on April 27, 1853, the anniversary
of his father's birthday and of his grandfather's
wedding. Speaking of his engagement, Captain
Hornby writes in his diary, January 27:—
"I do believe firmly I was directed to it, as
I had prayed that I might be to the right thing.
May God bless her! and make us a good and
useful pair, helpmates for one another, and His
true servants."
After a three-months' honeymoon, spent partly
at Woodcote Manor, near Alresford, they settled
first at Huxholt, a tiny cottage about a quarter
of a mile from Littlegreen, till Lordington should
be ready for them.
From 1853 to 1858 Captain Hornby remained
on half-pay, five years with nothing to mark
them except small domestic events: the births
of four little children; marriages of his sister
and his wife's brother;  deaths of the uncle and 46 SLR  GEOFFREY  PHIPPS  HORNBY.
cousin at Winwick, which brought a large accession of fortune to Sir Phipps.
Though quiet, they were not by any means
idle years. In the first place, he was managing
the property for his father. The estate is of
about 4000 acres, a good deal of it down-land,
so poor as arable land that even at the time
when corn was dear it hardly paid for the expense of breaking up. At one end of the property is Littlegreen, seven miles from Petersfield,
twelve from Chichester, which, though not a
pretty house, has very pretty surroundings of
downs, and beautiful trees, chiefly beeches and
hollies, which latter here grow into forest trees.
Lordington, at the other end of the property,
is a gabled cottage, ivy-covered to the eaves,
which has been added to three separate times,
till it has become a much larger house than it
looks. There are the remains of some avenues
of old elms which led to the old Manor House;
but all the other trees have been planted since
1854, and most are beautifully grown. Woodcraft was always a favourite science with Captain
Hornby, and in those days the copses were the
most profitable part of the property; but to-day,
though the woods he planted add very much to the
beauty of the scenery, their value has considerably
decreased. Another thing in which he took much
interest was the improvement of the cottages and
farm-buildings, and of this there was a good deal NAVAL COLLEGE. 47
to be done, as there are six villages or hamlets
on the property—Compton, one mile from Littlegreen ; Walderton, one mile from Lordington;
four Mardens—East Marden, West Marden, North
Marden, and Up Marden.
For indoor occupation he had the study of
strategy (naval and military), mathematics, geology, and chemistry; and for outdoor amusements
fishing, hunting, shooting, and in summer breaking
in setters, in which he took great pride, though
it not unfrequentry happened that though the
dogs worked splendidly for him, they would not
.do a stroke of work for any one else.
All through the Crimean war he looked with
very envious eyes at his friends who were fitting
out ships at Portsmouth and elsewhere for the
Black Sea, but he had no connection with the
service till in August 1857 he was appointed to
the Naval College at Portsmouth. Here he remained till after the examination, an easy one,
which took place early in June 1858. CHAPTER VI.
H.M.S. TRIBUNE, 1858-1860.
Hitherto Captain Hornby had been content to
take life pretty much as it came. When he first
joined the navy he was a younger son, and as
one of a large family he had to work for his
living; but by the death of his elder brother
in 1848 he became heir to Littlegreen. His
father, who had lately had one eye operated on
for cataract, was growing an old man, and would
have been glad to have his son near him. The
latter had a wife and four little children, in fact
abundant excuses for giving up the service and
settling down into a country gentleman; but he
had undertaken to serve his country, and he
would not allow himself to be turned from his
purpose. H.M.S.   TRIBUNE. 49
As soon as Lord Derby returned to office in
the spring of 1858, Captain Hornby began to
press for a ship. A few days after he left the
College, June 10, he went up to see Sir John
Pakington, and afterwards wrote to Lord Stanley
to use his influence in getting him one of the
new corvettes, and so on through the summer.
Yet when at length the appointment came to
command the Tribune in China, it came as a
shock. The offer was made on August 16, his
appointment dated from the 19 th, and he was
ordered a passage by P. and O. overland, but,
to give himself a few days longer in England,
he paid his own way as far as Malta.
On September 8 he started, having had just
a little over a fortnight in which to make his
preparations. Admiral Martin said that his trip
would only be a short one, but it takes time to
get round the world. The journey to Ceylon
was very much as in 1851, except that there
was now a railway all the way to Marseilles,
and from Cairo to Suez. After Point de Galle
they only touched at Penang and Singapore,
reaching Hong - Kong at midnight on October
24. The next morning he breakfasted with
Captain Edgell on board the Tribune; and was
much pleased with what he saw of her. On
Friday 29 he took command, and on the 31st
sailed for Whampoa. From there he writes to
" October 31.
"It is true I have a vast of little inconveniences
connected with my housekeeping. For instance,
I had the other night to be indebted to the gunner
for a pillow. To-morrow I intend to give a dinner,
and I have no soup-ladle, cheese, or beer. I shall
call it a picnic.
"November 7.
" The furniture Captain E. has left me is faded
and worn, but it is comfortable enough, and I
hope as soon as I get to Hong-Kong to make
a few improvements in the cabin. I have bought
out of a ship here some hams, beer, bottled fruits,
and preserved haddock. Tea and sugar from the
shore. The officers had a chance of buying fourteen sheep, of which they have offered me half.
My acting steward is a very worthy man, an
excellent ship's corporal, but as much fit for a
steward as I am for a violin-player.
"As to strange sights, they are innumerable.
The river population strike one as very extraordinary. Every Ijoat, instead of.having a man
and a boy belonging to it, has a whole family.
The mother generally takes the heavy stern-oar,
with which she sculls away with immense vigour,
frequently with a little child, of two or three years
old, tied at her back, and then it falls asleep, and
you see its little head, hands, and feet nodding
in time as she sways about with the oar.     As H.M.S.   TRIBUNE.
to Chinese ladies, I have not yet seen one; but
the women here are ugly to a degree: the only
good part about them is their feet, which are
very small and well-shaped, and they keep them
very clean.
"November 13.
" I have had a most successful trip to Canton.
I started yesterday morning in my gig at five
o'clock. Of course the tide went down sooner
than usual, so I had a long pull up, and did
not reach till 7.30. I went on board a very
nice brig, the Camilla, had a capital breakfast,
and about half-past ten went on shore with the
commander. We walked the whole day. We
visited every part, and all the worst parts of
the town, and not a soul said a word or lifted
a finger against us. We went into a very large
temple 'of the 500 gods.' I believe it has only
once before been visited by a European. There
we delighted the old priests by making the two
dogs that were with us carry the umbrellas, and
go and fetch them when we had hid them among
the idols. The town was much cleaner than I
expected—indeed I should call it decidedly clean.
We went into no end of china, lacquer-ware, and
curiosity shops. I have bought you a fan, some
china, a curio, a table, &c. The only thing I
was disappointed about was in not getting any
toys for the chicks; the toys don't seem to exist
"Sunday, November 21.
" My dear Father,—I left Whampoa on Monday 15th. I then began to pull the ship to pieces,
and found that the rigging wanted overhauling
very much. The ship has been lying at Whampoa
for the last nine months, during which the rigging
has had nothing else to do but rot. The first
lieutenant in charge (who is very young) merely
thought of keeping the ship looking nice, so now
we require, and are having, a heavy refit. Our
mainmast is not to come out. They have cut the
decayed parts out, have filled in with new wood,
and have encased that part of the mast with iron
fishes, which are to be strongly hooped together,
so that if it now decays right away we shall be
like a hollow iron mast; they say the decay will
go no further. We shall be awfully lumbered up
with our 150 marines; I don't know where all the
room gets to. She is 1570 tons, her complement
is only 330, and yet she only stows three months'
provisions for them below. No tiers, bad storeroom, sailroom, &c. I take three marine officers
to sleep in my forecabin. We .shall have three or
four casks between every gun on the main-deck,
and the Royal Marines stowed on top of them;
so—as they say she is very wet at sea.—they will
have a jovial time of it. It seems to me that our
fellows here have got to a great extent tarred
with the Chinaman's brush, and do things just
opposite to what they would elsewhere.    In the H.M.S.   TRIBUNE. 53
first place, the flagship never exercises. All the
ships lie with top-gallant-yards across, and the
sails bent, and do nothing. When I came down
the Admiral said he was anxious to get me away,
' when could I be ready ?' I said it depended on
his carpenters, as I could do little till they were
ready. When I found out they hoped to have
done by Tuesday, I went to him again, to ask
what day we were wanted to go. But he said,
■ Oh, you must settle that; get ready as convenient.' This is very civil and comfortable, but
sounds to me strange. I then said I thought
if the fittings could be sent us for the troops, we
should be ready to go on Thursday. 'As I
pleased.' So then I went and asked Hall (flag-
captain) for a lot of carpenters, which he sent
us directly, more than most flag-captains would
do; and the first lieutenant went on board the
nearest ship and quietly asked her first lieutenant
to make us 150 pair of clews for the marines'
hammocks, which he immediately agreed to do.
Altogether I am dumfoundered at their civility.
Then the last time I dined with the Admiral he
said, ' If I were you, I should look in to Nanga-
saki as I passed. I can't order you there, but
I should <run short of water or something, and
go in, for it is worth seeing.' I think, as I have a
good many sick on board, I shall, if possible, drop
in. Lord Elgin is trying to do a grand thing
to the northward—viz., push up the Yang-tse- 54 SLR GEOFFREY PHIPPS HORNBY.
Kiang 500 or 600 miles. Most people think he
will have no difficulty but the unknown navigation, and that by going up he will open up a
very large trade. I think the Admiral does not
like his taking the ships about in this way without
consulting him, and still less his being active,
while the Admiral is only doing the routine business of the station down here. It is a great pity
that they do not hit it off together, for I suspeot
they are both capital men in their way, but they
did not start well together.
" Thursday, Nov. 25.
" I have received orders to be ready for sea on
Saturday, and we embark our marines to-morrow.
I am sorry to say I have plenty of work before
me; not that I am sorry to have work, but I am
sorry to find that things have been allowed to go
so far to the bad. The fact is, I formed at first
too favourable an opinion of the ship; she looked
clean, and the Admiral said her gunnery was excellent. To-day after our refit, and plenty of
warning, we bent sails. We took from 2.20 P.M.
to 6.10 p.m. to bend and furl all sails!! And the
sorts of mistakes I saw made, and the answers I
received from captains of the tops, astonished me,
for it showed they had forgotten their duties as
seamen. I say ' forgotten,' because some of them
came out of good ships, and must have known
better there. The great difficulty I have is that
we shall be so overcrowded with supernumeraries I H.M.S.   TRIBUNE. 55
on deck, and casks on the main-deck, that the
exercises aloft and at the guns will be much impeded. I shall expect to make a rare exhibition
before the Ganges, where we hear there is a good
deal of exercise. If we do, I shall of course get
the credit of having spoilt the ship; if we improve,
and get on passably, we shall at least have no
credit. Again, I find all the midshipmen very
much in debt, and to-morrow I have the pleasure
of going on shore to compromise a claim on their
mess of 100 dollars.
" The Admiral threatens me with a sixty days'
passage to Vancouver's Island, but I hope to do
it under fifty, even if I call at Nangasaki. Of
course there is much luck in it, but I shall think
it most perverse luck if I don't get a fair wind
"We have as yet no news from Lord Elgin.
The flagship's people are not much pleased at his
being made a G.C.B. and nothing done for the
Admiral, and it does seem to me a great slight."
Diary. " Saturday, Nov. 27.—Got up steam
9.30 a.m. Got all on board, and weighed about
11 A.M. Squadron cheering. Ran out through
the Simoom passage. A heavy swell outside, but
light winds. Made sail to single-reefed top-sails
and royals. If it were not for the supernumerary
marines, I do not know how we should get on;
our men are singularly adrift." 56 SLR GEOFFREY PHIPPS HORNBY.
Letter to Wife.
" Nangasaki, Dec. 31,'
" My notable Tribune, with whose appearance I
was so much taken, proves to be a very queer
craft. As long as the screw is down, or she is at
anchor, it is all very well, but get her outside, and
in a breeze of wind, and it is another pair of shoes.
After the first day that we were out, and I found
how helpless the men were, I began, before doing
anything, to explain to them all the details of how
it was to be done, and so we are now beginning to
get a little straight. As to ever having things
done in a man-of-war fashion, that is a thing I
despair of; but still we now go on with comparative safety, though very slowly. Of course misfortunes never come singly, so, coming to sea
overloaded with provisions and marines, and with
a sickly crew, we of course fell into very heavy
weather. As I found the currents running against
us, I was obliged to carry a press of sail, and with
all that, I constantly found myself set back in one
day as much as I had gained in three, besides the
wear and tear of ropes, sails, and body in being up
at night constantly to shorten sail. At last, after
about twenty days' hard battling, we passed a
certain chain of islands (called the Bashees) that
had been our bugbear, and after one final gale
outside of them, we discovered that the head of
the mainmast was seriously damaged. We found
that three of the four fishes were broken or sprung. H.M.S.  TRIBUNE. 57
From the pieces that came out I should say they
were rotten, and have taken measures accordingly;
but as it occurred on the other side of the Loochoo
Islands, I determined to make for a Japanese port,
to secure the mast as much as possible before
stretching across; and the direction of the wind
determined this to be the one. Here we anchored
yesterday, having made a very long passage, and
the most unfortunate one I have ever made. For
thirty-one days we were never able to steer our
course, and it was only during a few hours of the
last day that we got a fair wind."
Diary. "Dec. 31.—Landed early, with
officers and two midshipmen, to call on the Governor. We were received in great state by a very
intelligent-looking man, and feasted in succession
on pipes, tea, sweetmeats, cold omelettes, and
something that looked like cheese, very good soup,
both meat and wild-fowl and turnips in it, most
excellent. More things were brought, but we had
had enough, so we let them pass. Everything was
handed on separate lacquered trays, black with
gold edge, and the soups were in lacquered cups.
We took our leave in about half an hour, after he
had asked us several questions about where Vancouver's Island was, &c. The people were all very
civil as we passed through the streets, but some
laughed considerably at our cocked hats. All the
little children rush out of the shops, shouting after 58 SLR GEOFFREY PHIPPS HORNBY.
us ' Bouton cachee,' a gilt button being apparently
the height of their ambition. I shall go on shore
to-morrow well armed with them. The town is
clean, with streets a fair width, generally paved in
the centre for about 6 feet, and the sides left of
plain earth. They are a jolly-looking people, and
must be hardy, for the lower classes have no
trousers, and their loose dresses must be very airy.
Neither do they cover the head, and yet we find it
cold in our cloth,—the thermometer varying from
42° at night to 52° in the daytime."
Letter to Wife.
% January 7, 1859.
" Whenever we see anything in the shape of
lacquer-ware or china that takes our fancy, we
walk in and pull it down, perhaps search the shop
for more. The people seem very much amused at
our proceedings, and crowd round us, feeling our
cloth and buttons, always asking for some of the
latter. In one of these excursions I came across
some very fine lacquer-ware, and found that the
owner had a shop in the Dutch factory, in which
he had a few of the same sort; but he seldom produced them, as the foreign taste seemed to lie in
the more gaudy specimens. The officers and I
have nearly cleaned him out of good things. I
have not done much in china-ware. What we call
egg-shell china is very pretty and curious, and I
have got one or two specimens.    The thick stone H.M.S.  TRIBUNE. 59
china is doubtless very good, but they do not bring
in good specimens as regards design. I have seen
one large dish that was a present from the Governor of Nangasaki to the head of the Dutch factory,
which is admirably executed, but I can buy nothing
like it. My Dutch friend invited me yesterday to
go for a walk with him to show me some bronzes.
I went accordingly, and was delighted with them.
They are of such a good design, and so well
executed,. that you might put the vases on a
dinner-table as centre ornaments mixed with silver
things. If I can buy the dollars reasonably, I
think I shall have a shy at them; our sovereigns
go for nothing here, and dollars are scarce, and
therefore very dear."
To Admiral Sir Phipps Hornby, K.G.B.
Lot. 150" north, long. 143" west,
Feb. 7,1858.
" We left Nangasaki, January 15.
" We have made a very good run hitherto, and
as we are now within three figures of our port, we
consider ourselves there. Our passage has been a
very rough one—perpetual gales of wind, though
mostly fair, and latterly very cold. We .have been
navigating with an amount of science that is perfectly appalling. First making a great circle
course, then we- fell in with one of those circular
storms off the coast of Japan, round the outer edge
of which we ran,  as Colonel Reid would have 60 SLR GEOFFREY PHIPPS HORNBY.
directed us, and so kept out of harm's way and
nearly made a fair wind of it, but it did blow above
a bit. At about the height of it a whirlwind passed
about a quarter of a mile of us, which was one of
the most frightful things I ever saw. You may
have seen in windy weather the dust in a road
whirled up in an eddy. In this case the surface of
the sea for the space of about half a mile in length
was whirled up in that manner, but with tremendous violence, to the height of 20 feet, looking like
a mass of steam of an orange-red colour, as if the
water were red-hot.
"Then I have been all the time making and
shortening sail by the barometer, and it is surprising how correctly he has guided us. Once I nearly
came to grief, for he had been telling us for so
many hours that bad weather was coming that I
began to mistrust him, and I thought I had done
enough at sunset in putting the ship under treble-
reefed top-sails, and a reef in the mainsail, with
top-gallant-masts housed. But in the first watch
we got a rattler, only got the fore- and mizen-top-
sails in in time to save them, and I spent that and
the middle watch on deck trying to furl the mainsail, which we did not succeed in doing. Since
then I have always reefed as it fell, and have only
been on deck once in the night-time since. The
men are getting more handy than they were at
reefing, and the officers are getting into my ways
about carrying sail—viz., to carry plenty, but not H.M.S.   TRIBUNE. 61
to carry spars away. I have fitted two splendid
outriggers of the fore- and main-top-gallant-masts,
and if I can get some new royals shall do well; the
present ones are like brown paper. The advantage
of carrying sail is shown thus. We have made
good as follows: first week, 1337 miles; second
week, 1255 miles; third, 1190 miles, or, as it was
really a week of eight days from our crossing the
180th meridian, 1369 miles.
"Esqotmault, February 14.
" Fourth week, 1875, and beat the Pylades. We
anchored here all safe on Sunday, and the next
day the Pylades had the satisfaction of finding we
had beaten her on the passage across, as on the
second day from leaving Japan we were abreast of
her, and not many miles apart.
"February 18.
"I have been twice up to Victoria, which is
growing wonderfully. It is laid out in wide
streets, most of which are at present nearly impassable for mud, and contains nothing but wooden
houses. They are still finding gold in the Frazer
river, and expect to do so very largely next
month; at present the weather is too severe to
admit of much washing."
All the ships at Vancouver's Island had already
lost men, and the Tribune and Pylades were no
exceptions to the general rule; indeed, considering 62 SIR GEOFFREY PHIPPS HORNBY.
the inducements which were offered to bribe the
men away, it is surprising that so few of them
deserted. In June, Captain Hornby made an expedition up the Frazer river, and was much struck
by the scenery.
Letter to Wife.
■ "June 19,1859.
" The mountains are mountains, not Drachenfels.
The river is a river and no mistake, about as wide
as the Thames at Gravesend for nearly 110 miles
up, and running six knots. The whole country is
a forest, and the woods come down into the river
with a foliage as luxuriant as if the country were
tropical. It is beautiful to look at, but, to colonise,
it would be better if it were more open and less
precipitous. I started Tuesday at 3.30 a.m., and
got back on Friday night. We lived all the time
in the boat, and were boarded, lodged, and carried
at the expense of the Company, so that the trip
did not cost me more than five dollars. We saw
all the new towns, but they are nothing but a
few huts with more or less cleared ground round
them. We never stopped more than two hours
except at night, so we could see nothing but the
river, and did not see any miners at work. I was
very anxious to dig a little gold for myself, but the
river was so full of water that mining operations
are almost at a standstill. We brought down
several miners, and I was much pleased with them. H.M.S.  TRIBUNE.
They are intelligent and energetic men,
pointed with the country, and consider themselves
neglected by the authorities (I agree with them),
but perfectly civil, quiet, and sober, and not
blustering and fighting as I expected."
All these letters are signed "Geoflrey Phipps
Hornby," unlike the earlier ones, "Geoffrey
Hornby." It seems that after his brother's death
he used his name " Phipps " as an acknowledgment
of his connection with the Littlegreen property.
The letters took nearly two months from Vancouver's Island to England and vice versd, and
the postage was half a dollar, so that correspondence was somewhat expensive in those days.
Except the trip up the Frazer river, and another
in the Tribune to Nanaimo to get coals, and to
■convoy back to the north part of the island some
Indians (who had so thoroughly acquired all
the European vices that their presence in the
neighbourhood of Victoria became a great scandal
to the place), the first months of his stay at
Esquimault were occupied in putting a new mainmast into the Tribune. There were plenty of
single trees large enough, but it was difficult to
find a suitable one close enough to the water.
Two were cut, and had to be rejected because they
had a dead knot or other defect, but a third perfect stick was found at last, and successfully
got in.    " It is a great weight off my mind, and 64 SIR GEOFFREY PHIPPS HORNBY.
' though I says it as didn't ought to,' it was very
well done."
Part of the foremast also was discovered to be
rotten, but the bad parts were cut away and replaced with good wood: altogether the repairs
were not completed till the beginning of July.
Just about this time, as it seemed that England
was likely to go to war to help Austria out of
her troubles, the Americans took the opportunity of advancing their claim to the island of
San Juan.
Letter to Wife.
"San Juan, July 31, 1859.
"You must know that there is a considerable
group of islands lying between Vancouver's Island
and the mainland, and the terms of the treaty do
not define clearly to whom they should belong.
This is the one that lies nearest Vancouver's, and
has always been held by the Hudson Bay Co. as
a sheep-farm, and the agent has until lately had a
commission as a magistrate. The Americans claim
the island, and as the negotiations do not seem to
advance rapidly, a hot-headed General Hearney
(who hopes to get his name up for a future President) has sent a small detachment of soldiers,
who have formed a camp on the island and hoisted
their flag. Now, the Governor's instructions expressly tell him we are to commit no act of war,
and we are not allowed to bundle these fellows off H.M.S. TRIBUNE.
neck and crop, so he takes a medium course. He
sends over a magistrate, who is to take legal
steps to warn them off the land, and to issue a
summons (! !) against those that won't go. I am
sent to prevent any more troops landing, and to
assist the civil power.
"8 p.m.
" Everything is changed since I began my letter
this morning. I have received fresh orders to take
no steps against these men at present, or prevent
others landing. We have sent for a detachment
of marines from Queenborough, with whom it is
proposed to occupy part of the island. The object
now seems to be to avoid a collision at all hazards
until we hear from the American authorities, but
I fear if the marines are landed, it will inevitably
produce one sooner or later. We have had one
most lucky escape. The Governor told me it
would be as well if I called on the commanding
officer, and told him what my orders were. When
I called he was away, and before he returned my
visit I had received my counter-orders, so I have
not the disgust of having blustered, and then being obliged to haul in my horns. He (a Captain
Pickett) speaks more like a Devonshire man than
a Yankee. /Sis manner is more quiet than that
of most of his countrymen, but he seems to
have just the notion they all have of getting a
name by some audacious act. He dropped one
or two things which may be useful to us to know, 66 SLR GEOFFREY PHIPPS  HORNBY.
and, I hope, did not get much information out
of me.
"August 5.
" De Courcy has gone down to San Francisco to
take Colonel Hawkins, R.E., who goes home with
despatches on the subject. This leaves me senior
officer. The Governor has sent me a long despatch, which seems to me to give me considerable latitude of action. He told me to propose
certain arrangements to Captain Pickett, which,
he says, he has not authority to accept, but has
forwarded them to his commanding officer. As
he has refused them, I have told him that he
and his Government must be responsible for
whatever happens hereafter, and also that I
land directly I conceive that the honour or interests of England require it. As we are fortunately here in much superior force to him, we
can afford to be forbearing without danger of
our motives being misunderstood, while I hold
it would be impolitic to land except some of our
people were absolutely interfered with."
Extracts from letters from Colonel Moody, Vancouver's Island, to Sir John Burgoyne :—
" It is fortunate for Great Britain that Hornby
of the Tribune is at San Juan. His sound good
sense may avert eviL    He will avert war to the H.M.S. TRIBUNE. 67
last moment without in any degree perilling the
proper dignity of England. The Governor wrote
him a very clever letter, indirectly ordering him to
land the troops, but throwing the responsibility on
him. Hornby has far too much ' mother wit' to be
caught that way,—of course he did not land them.
He is a fine fellow; I cannot tell you how charmed
I am with him."
"August 12.
" I am rejoiced at Hornby's prudence. The
Governor's letter involved an impracticability,—
to land, but not on any account to come into collision, and that he confided in his judgment and
| discretion as to how to act. There can be no
doubt from Hearney's instructions, and his present
letter, that a collision was desired. The imbroglio
would then have been inextricable."
Captain Hornby's Letter to Wife.
"November 6,1859.
"I hear from the Admiral, but in confidence,
that General Scott [relieved General Hearney] has
asked us to occupy San Juan jointly with 100 men
each; that he and the Governor have suggested
instead a civil occupation, which does not meet
General Scott's views; that General Scott is very
anxious to make some definite arrangement before
the mail goes, so that he may send it to Washington in time for publication in the President's message  to Congress, while our authorities wish to 68
hold off to see what instructions the' mail may
bring from home, and further, because they think
that General Scott ought at once to begin to
remove his troops and guns from the island. The
Admiral then went on to say that he considered
we were indebted 'to my good judgment in not
following the Governor's instructions' for not being
involved in a war, and that he had written to that
effect to the Admiralty.
" I hear that the Governor has got much praise
in England for keeping the peace with the Yankees.
That is rather good, when one knows that he would
hear of nothing but shooting them all at first, and
that, after all, peace was only preserved by my not
complying with his wishes, as I felt he was all in
the wrong from the first. I got the abuse for
saying that San Juan was not more our island than
the Americans.', and that we should be equally I
wrong in landing troops there, and now they find
that I was right."
The joint occupation took place some little time
later, but the question of the ownership of San
Juan remained an open question till the island was
finally given up to the United States as a sop
to get them to agree to the Alabama Arbitration,
It had been arranged that after the temporary settlement of the San Juan difficulty the H.M.S. TRIBUNE. 69
Tribune was only to remain at Vancouver's Island
long enough for the Admiral to transfer his flag
into her from the Ganges. However, the day
before leaving San Juan, symptoms of dry-rot were
discovered in the stern of the Tribune. A survey
was ordered, with the result that it was decided
that the ship was too rotten to remain out longer.
Still, what with waiting for instructions from home,
and one thing and another, most of the winter
passed away without any very great excitement
except the elections, which took place about the
middle of January.
"January 8,1860.
" Yesterday, to my great delight, the two most
respectable members were returned for Victoria, a
miserable, Radical newspaper editor being rejected.
Our own candidate here for Esquimault is to be
polled for to-morrow. The Opposition papers are
very irate at the Navy helping him, and began to
try to write us down. First they began by saying
generally that they should report us to the Admiral, who would soon set us to rights. Of course
I read him the (paragraph at once, to his great
amusement. Then they had a shot at me specially.
I didnt understand it at first; but as I am assured
on the best authority that, it was meant for me, of
course I go at the election with redoubled ardour,
and by help of Peele of the Satellite we are going
to have a great demonstration if we are successful,
as I think we shall be." 70 SLR GEOFFREY PHIPPS HORNBY.
" January 13.
" We carried the election triumphantly, but the
demonstration we had intended failed. It was
proposed to have a waggon and four horses in
which to take back our candidate (if successful) to
Victoria, and having covered it and the horses with
motto-flags, ribbons, &c, to draw up abreast of the
newspaper office and give three cheers. However,
though we started it from here in great style,
a wheel broke just before they reached Victoria,
and shot the inside passengers into the mud. Still
our friend the editor was very angry at the result
of the election, and gave us an angry shot in his
paper next day, at which we laughed."
A year or two later it was reported that the
candidate so triumphantly brought in by the Navy
had been convicted of embezzling public funds,
after which Captain Hornby said that he would
not again interfere in colonial politics.
The Tribune sailed from Esquimault on January
31, and made a long but uneventful passage to
Valparaiso, as the ship was for two or three weeks
more or less becalmed in the doldrums.
Chili struck them all as specially charming and
civilised, after their long stay at Vancouver's
Island, and the fruit and fresh provisions as
specially delicious after the long voyage. They
were delayed at Valparaiso nearly three weeks,
as there had been a great run on the stores lately, H.M.S. TRIBUNE. 71
and it took time to collect all that was required.
On April 24 they left Valparaiso, and got on very
well till they were near the Straits of Magellan,
whence Captain Hornby writes to his wife:—
" Plaza Parda, Straits of Magellan,
Sunday, May 13,1860.
" It seems to me that we are bound (as Jack
says) to have ' man-of-war Sundays' this cruise.
It being supposed that in the Navy the fourth
commandment runs, 'Six days shalt thou labour,
&c, &c, and the seventh day strike lower yards
and topmasts, exercise all guns and small-arms,
&c, &c.'—in fact, work like seventeen slaves.
Last Sunday I would not forego service, and we
got washed out of church by a sea. The breeze
freshened, which caused us to perform various
nautical evolutions- entailing considerable trouble.
The next day, as I sat down to dinner, I was
enlivened by the sudden appearance of the first
lieutenant to say that a bad leak had broken out
in our rotten old stern, and that they couldn't stop
it. At last we did stop it, but I saw enough
rotten wood in those parts to make me feel very
anxious. Yesterday I was told that the leak had
broken out again worse than ever. Of course
having to look for an anchorage, it came on very
thick, and we had some difficulty in finding a
certain Port Valentyn, where we lay last night.
As it was called a bad harbour in the ' Directory,' 72 SLR GEOFFREY PHIPPS HORNBY.
I weighed this morning to come on here. It blew
so hard to-day that in coming in here, not 400
yards from a high hill to windward of us, and in
perfectly smooth water, all the steam would not
force her ahead. To avoid a shoal-point I had to
anchor pro tern., and then to weigh again to get
a safe berth for the night; so our whole Sunday
has been spent weighing, loosing, reefing, and
furling sails, anchoring, weighing again, &c, and all
to the accompaniment of a heavy gale of wind.
" On Tuesday we fell in with a merchant-ship in
distress, and took the crew out of her. She was
leaking greatly, and the sea washing clean over
her; the crew had been sixty hours at the pumps
and were exhausted. The captain has now been
taken off sinking ships three times. One of the
men, when he came on board and asked the ship's
name, said, ' Why, I was saved from the wreck of
the Europa by this ship four years ago.' And
another man proved to be the brother of one of
our marines, and they had not met for fourteen
" Sunday, May 20.
" We lightened the ship abaft, and found the
leak proceeded from all the oakum having worn
out of the seams in those parts from age. Fortunately she is more sound than we had expected.
In fact, outside she is quite sound, so that we were
able to caulk her and make her tight again, but
inside she is dreadfully rotten." H.M.S. TRIBUNE. 73
" Rio de Janeiro, June 6.
" After infinite bother from fog and rain, nearly
getting on shore and being obliged to resort to
steam, which always goes against the grain with
me, we got in here, Monday afternoon, June 4."
The necessary repairs at Rio occupied till June
the 10th, and though Captain Hornby had intended
making a forty-five days' passage, it extended to
forty-eight, as they did not anchor at Spithead till
the morning of the 29th.
It was probably the happiest home-coming he
ever had, as his old father had just been restored
to sight. At one time during his absence in the
Tribune, Captain Hornby had almost decided to
give up his command and come home, as, though
the first operation had seemed successful, Sir Phipps
either caught cold in his eye or used it too soon,
and completely lost the sight of it. It was feared
that the poor old man would become totally blind,
but the operation on the other eye proved quite
successful, and there was never again any serious
thought of Captain Hornby's leaving the service.
The happy family circle only remained complete
for a very few months longer, and then the first
break came in the death of Lady Hornby. Captain
Hornby was away at the time on a visit to a
married sister in Lancashire, and though he and
his sister started immediately the news of their
mother's dangerous illness arrived, they were met 74 SLR GEOFFREY PHIPPS   HORNBY.
at Petersfield with the sad tidings that they were
too late to see her in life. It was the morning
of Christmas Day, and the death on that day of a
mother so much beloved cast a gloom over many
subsequent Christmastides. CHAPTER VH.
H.M.S. NEPTUNE, 1861-1862.
After his first appointment Captain Hornby was
not obliged to wait for another ship until his own
party was again in power. The March following
his return in the Tribune he was appointed to the
Neptune in the Mediterranean. The Neptune was
an old three-decker converted into a screw two-
decker, and she was manned by what Captain
Hornby describes as "the last and worst of the
bounty crews." The bounty-men had been induced to enter when there was a war scare in
1859 by a bounty of £10. This of course attracted some of the worst characters, and also
made them desert and re-enter as often as was
possible without detection. To make matters
worse, the Neptune had twice changed her captain
during the commission, and when Captain Hornby 76 SLR GEOFFREY PHIPPS HORNBY.
went on board at Malta, March 13, 1861, his
diary of that date gives a gloomy view of the
state of affairs:—
" Crew a very rough-looking lot, but the officers
have evidently done well with them. Ship looking
well below, but wanting polishing up aloft and
on the gun-deck. The Admiral acknowledges the
wretchedness of the crews we have to deal with,
but says we must work at the young ones, as it is
our last chance."
On March 21 he writes to his wife :—
"I am beginning to settle down a little, but
I am aghast at the load of work there is to do.
What has been done on this ship is wonderful,
seeing the shameful riffraff they have in the shape
of a crew; but still there remains more to be done
than in any newly commissioned ship I ever saw.
Now, when one hears Lord Clarence Paget saying
so barefacedly to the House of Commons that
everything is couleur de rose, and having been
deprived of the greatest part of our authority
by a new system of punishments, which are to
come into vogue on the 1st of April, I must I
say I feel very much disgusted and appalled.
"I cannot sufficiently admire what I see of
the officers in this fleet, but the Admiralty are
treating them cruelly, and I really don't know
how it will end."
There were a few minor cases of want of discipline,  &c.,  which   occurred   during   April,  but H.M.S. NEPTUNE. 77
nothing of any importance went wrong till May
8, when [Diary) "I came into collision with a
watch (starboard) who would not hoist the maintop-sail, for which they got a benefit." Again,
May 20 {Diary) : " Found a lot of ropes cut this
morning—sail-tackles, tacks, bunt-lines, &c. Had
the ship's company aft, and told them what fools
they were. Asked if there were any grievances,
was told that they were aggrieved at having to
scrub hammocks every week instead of every fortnight, and at being exercised in their dog-watches
—i.e., after quarters. Pretty well for the present
state of things! Told them they were not likely
to get much redress except in the way of hammocks, which would be less frequently scrubbed if
they kept them clean. Put sentries from among
the ordinaries on the ropes at night."
The culprits were never discovered, although
"the Admiral was very savage at our not being
able to identify them."
The Admiral then commanding in the Mediterranean was Sir William Martin,1 and he was of
the school which considered that in service matters
business and pleasure ought not to be combined.
For instance, to take an extract from Captain
Hornby's Diary:—
"April 26,  1861.—I went to the  office, and
1 Admiral Martin was not made K.C.B. till July 31; but he is
better known as Sir William Martin, therefore it is simpler to describe nim thus. 78 SLR GEOFFREY PHIPPS HORNBY.
Martin (secretary) told me that there being a
good many supernumeraries to go to Naples and
Palermo, and for other reasons the presence of
another ship being desirable, he had suggested to
the Admiral that we should combine pleasure with
profit, and go to Syracuse, Messina, Naples, and.
Palermo. This had been agreed to, and it was
ordered with the proviso that we were not to stay
more than twenty-four hours at each place. It
then occurred to the Admiral's secretary that it
would be more desirable to give all the officers a
chance of landing at Naples, and he suggested
that we should be allowed to stop there forty-
eight hours. The Admiral was off directly. No
amusement on any account. He would send off a
despatch-boat with the supernumeraries, and we
are to go only to Syracuse and Messina, and cruise,
and the orders are peremptory not to stay more
than one night in port."
Therefore they were kept cruising about for
nearly three weeks, sometimes in sight of Malta,
seeing the mails going in and out, and not allowed
even to fetch their letters. At last, May 16, they
were called in by signal to take in provisions for
Corfu, and sailed next day for a very pleasant
cruise. They joined Admiral Dacres, then captain
of the fleet, between whom and Captain Hornby
a very warm friendship was established: After
his return to Malta, Captain Hornby watched his H.M.S. NEPTUNE. 79
opportunity to represent to the Admiral how much
inconvenience was caused to officers by their being
kept in ignorance of their future movements. The
Admiral's flagship Marlborough had gone home for
repairs, the Neptune for a time carrying the flag,
and in July Sir William and all his family took a
passage in the latter to Naples to get further advice about one of the Admiral's daughters who was
ill with fever. Captain Hornby thought his heart
might be softened, and that it was a good moment
to appeal to his feelings.
Letter to Wife.
"July 17.
" I spoke out my mind pretty plainly. I said,
' The authorities might in a great many cases tell
us what their intentions are as to our future movements : they of course should say that they were
not bound to these arrangements; but officers
might avail themselves of the information in many
instances, and at all events they would be satisfied that everything possible was done to meet
their comforts.'
" He evidently profited by my hint; for the
next morning when I went to call on him he said,
' I hope to get a squadron together, and away from
Malta early in August, to cruise for six or seven
weeks, anchoring here or at Cagliari, &c., every
week or ten days, then to go into harbour' (mean- 80 SLR GEOFFREY PHIPPS  HORNBY.
ing Malta) ' for three weeks to avoid the equinoctial gales, and then take another three weeks'
cruise before laying up for the winter.' Then he
added, ' This is what I hope to do, if the Secretary
of State does not interfere with me.'
" A nod is as good as a wink to a blind horse,
and as he came on board specially to wish us goodbye, and thanked us very heartily for having made
him and his so comfortable, I feel sure he means
to do us a good turn."
It was during the summer of 1860 that what may
be called the embryo of steam-tactics appeared.1
June 20, Captain Hornby writes in his Diary :—
" Looked through the Admiral's steam-tactics,
which do not seem to me to be very brilliant, and
looked at the boats performing them in the evening. It seems to me, if he tries them on with
ships, that there will be a deal of fouling, and I
cannot see the advantage to be gained by most of
" Sept. 26.—The Admiral had the boats out to
manoeuvre, and I was not much edified. Too many
boats; and it hardly seems to me that the boats
are any test of what ships will do. This occupied
all the forenoon, then on board Marlborough to
discuss these things till 2 p.m."
1 In after-life Admiral Hornby always gave Sir William Martin
great credit for having originated the present system of steam-
tactics. H.M.S.   NEPTUNE. 81
Monday, October 7, the experiment was tried
with the ships :—
"Weighed at 10 A.M., and got through a few
simple evolutions indifferently,—no one knowing
his own speed, or the relative speed of other ships.
Great fun at the meeting on board flagship when
we came in, for every one was pitching into his
neighbour. Doris [Captain M'Clintock] and ourselves were complimented on the station we
" Oct. 8.—Manoeuvring as yesterday, and not so
much abuse."
" Oct 9.—Manoeuvring about the bay again all
the morning at general quarters, and passing so as
to get shots on opposite tacks, &c."
So it went on till the middle of the month, when
Captain Hornby writes to his father:—
" I hear we are all to be called on for our reports
on these manoeuvres that we have been trying. I
hope we shall all tell the truth. I fear the service
is likely to be saddled with a very second-rate
system, because there is a dislike to condemn what
the.Admiral.has been taking so much pains to
perfect, and what he is so well satisfied with. My
own opinion is that they are quite wrong in every
principle, and I shall say so. It is no use fancying
that steam-ships can only form as sailing-ships
used to do; and by adhering to those ideas, instead 82 SIR GEOFFREY PHIPPS  HORNBY.
of following- the new systems, which have been
shown to be possible under most circumstances,
we are throwing away the advantages that steam
has given us."
In the intervals between manoeuvring, the ships
went into Naples for a few days at a time, and in
September Captain Hornby was present at some of
the festivities in honour of the anniversary of the
entrance of Garibaldi into the town the year
before. The account of the three days' festivities I
is given from his Diary:—
"Saturday, Sept. 7.—Landed at 11 A.M. Met
Uncle George [Rev. George Hornby], walked with
him up the Toledo, and through the streets, where
the principal illuminations would be.
" The processions were very late, and I did not
stay to see much of them, but walked out to look
at the illuminations. Except the large church in
the Palace Square there was nothing very fine, but
I never had an idea of such a thorough demonstration ; every little street was lighted. They
had some second-rate fireworks, and I then went
across to the Chiaia gardens, which were prettily
lit. Garibaldi's hymn was always received with
the greatest enthusiasm, and indeed when any
little grumbling appeared, the bands by striking
up that tune could instantly stop it, and change it
into cheers.
" Cialdini [the Piedmontese general who com- H.M.S.  NEPTUNE.
manded at Castelfidardo, and who had been
charged with the pacification of the Neapolitan
kingdom] was well received.
"Sept. 8.—Heard that an invitation had been
sent to [Captain] Glasse for all of us to accompany
Admiral Torresano to the f&te this evening. Old
Glasse made all inquiries, and told us we were to
go in frock-coats, and, much to our disgust, we
found every one else in full dress. However, they
were very civil to us, and we had a very good look
at Cialdini, who is a very good-looking—that is,
working-looking—fellow, with a remarkably bright
determined eye. A great many soldiers and
National Guards were turned out, and everything
went off welL
" Sept. 9.—An order to meet Admiral Dacres to
arrange for dining with Cialdini at 7 P.M. The
dinner went off very well, though it was a thousand
pities the Admiral (Sir W. Martin) did not come.
I sat between the chief of the staff and a very
nice young fellow, an A.D.C. who had been in the
Crimea, and we got on very well together. The
dinner very fair, but nothing extraordinary. No
one there but ourselves, the Italian admirals, our
consul, and Italian officers."
Some one represented to Sir William Martin
that he had committed a breach of etiquette by not
accepting General daldini's invitation. The Admiral therefore did his best to make amends when
the Piedmontese general dined on board the Marl- 84 SLR GEOFFREY PHIPPS  HORNBY.
borough, October 5. Captain Hornby's Diary thus
describes the reception given to the General:—
" I had to be back by 5 p.m. so as to dress for
dinner with the Admiral to meet Cialdini. They
took Cialdini forward to look at the large Armstrong gun, which seemed to interest him, and
round the decks, which was a great mistake, as he
suffers from sea-sickness, and there was a close
smell among so many hundred men.
" He was received with manned yards on board
.all the ships, and a salute, and when he went away
the Marlborough manned yards with blue-lights
at the yard-arms, coloured lights—red, white, and
green—at the side to represent the Italian colours,
and a double line of boats from the ship to the
shore, all burning blue-lights to light him. I think
it must have had a very pretty, and I hope a good,
effect on shore."
Towards the middle of October Captain Stewart
(Sir William Martin's flag - captain) had serious
thoughts of giving up his appointment on account
of the critical state of Mrs Stewart's health, and
the Admiral's secretary was sent to consult Captain Hornby as to whether he would like to succeed him. Somewhat to the Admiral's surprise,
he demurred, for the reasons he gives in a letter
written the same day :—
To Sir Phipps Hornby.
" October 15,1861.
" I told him [the secretary] I could not receive H.M.S.  NEPTUNE. 85
such an offer without feeling flattered by it, and
that in the main, as regards the service, I should
feel inclined to accept it, because it was looked on
as a hard and unpleasant place, and one, therefore,
which one would not like to shirk; but I said that
I thought in some of our service notions the Admiral and I did not agree, that a worse objection
was a private one—viz., that when I left home, you
had understood that I should probably get back
about this time of year, and that it would be a
disappointment to you if I was delayed—besides
that, for other reasons connected with the property, it was not desirable that I should be very
long out of England."
Partly because he found some difiiculty in
finding a substitute, and partly because every
one he consulted on the subject advised him to
do so, Sir William Martin decided to give Captain Stewart two months' leave to remain with
his wife, and to leave Captain Hornby in the
Neptune. Shortly afterwards the squadron dispersed for the winter, the Marlborough and
Neptune going to Malta, where Captain Hornby
found that Mrs Hornby and "my bonny chicks,"
as he generally called them, had just arrived.
Except that there is now a railway from
Valetta to Citta Vecchia, six miles, a new opera-
house, and that the head of the Grand Harbour
has been drained for a race-course, Malta is very 86 SIR GEOFFREY PHIPPS HORNBY.
little changed since those days. There may be
a few more winter visitors, but otherwise society
is exactly the same. In the first place, there is
the governor; and almost every governor may-;
be described as Captain Hornby did "his Excellency" in 1861: "He is so great a man that it
is said he seldom condescends to notice any one;
and when he does have you to dinner, he is
like George IV., he sits up and does king and
queen. I do like to see these little dignitariesj
make fools of themselves." Then there is the
Naval Commander-in-Chief, who has a house in
Strada Mezzodi out of sight of the harbour, and I
lives on shore in the winter; the Dockyard Admiral ; and the officers of the ships, with a certain number of wives and families. The military
also, a general commanding the troops, engineers,-1
artillery, and two or three line regiments, with
a great many wives and families. Besides these,
there is the Colonial Secretary; the Maltese
nobility, who, by the way, are generally not
Maltese at all, but old Spanish, Italian, and
Sicilian families which have settled in Malta.
Lastly, there are the minor officials, elected members of Council, &c, &c. A few people who have
merely official positions are only invited to official
parties, but, as a rule, everybody goes everywhere;
and as when the ships are in dock the sailors have
very little to do, and except an occasional review
or march-out the soldiers comparatively nothing, H.M.S.   NEPTUNE. 87
there are a great many entertainments, and everybody meets everybody else at least twice a-day.
The houses are large, the Governor's palace being
the old Grand-Master's palace, and the club, most
of the official residences, and some of the barracks
being the old auberges of the Knights. Living
is cheap, luxuries—such as game, fruit, and flowers
—very cheap, thus entertaining is very easy; and
to people of a sociable disposition a few winter
months pass very pleasantly. Captain and Mrs
Hornby established themselves in a roomy house
in Strada Forni; but Sir William Martin did not
allow his captains to be too comfortable. Early
in December the Neptune was sent out for a
three weeks' cruise, returning only just two days
before Christmas Day. Some of the authorities
thought so badly of the crew of the Neptune
that they wished to prevent any of the usual
indulgences, but Captain Hornby did not think
discipline was likely to be improved by denying
the men their legitimate enjoyment. He dined
on Christmas Day in the wardroom, and slept on
board that night; but otherwise everything went
on as usual, except that having so lately come
into harbour it was not possible to decorate the
lower deck. The men's dinner was, however, excellent, and no one was any the worse except the
captain's two little sons, who tried to eat all the
plum-pudding which was given to them when they
went round the dinners with their father.    In 88 SLR  GEOFFREY  PHIPPS  HORNBY.
February again the ship was sent off for a
six weeks' cruise to Corfu, and while there the
Osborne arrived with the Prince of Wales on
board. It was the first time that Captain Hornby
had seen his Poyal Highness.
By the time the Neptune returned to Malta
the Carnival was over, and the only excitement
during Lent was the arrival of the first Japanese
ambassadors on their way to England.
Diary. "March 28.—Himalaya arrived unexpectedly at 10 a.m. We were all summoned
to the palace to receive the Japanese ambassadors
at 2 p.m. The younger of the two is a very intelligent man. Called on them with the Admiral
at 4 p.m., found the French consul there trying
to persuade them not to go through France. The
Japanese are not well pleased.
" March 29.—A review at Florian in the morning. In the afternoon the Japanese came on board
us, and we went to quarters, with which they were
much pleased, and seemed astonished at the facility
with which the guns could be moved. Ship looked
very clean, but the men forward talked on the
yards, and we were not as quiet as we usually
Letter to Sir Phipps Hornby.
"March 30.
" As they went away they paid a visit to the
Marlborough, which was cruising outside.    They H.M.S.   NEPTUNE. 89
said they liked the ships the best of anything they
saw, and then the ladies."
At Easter, about the middle of April, the fleet
left Malta, Sir William Martin being obliged to go
East because of the troubles in Greece; but the
Neptune was sent to Naples, where she arrived the
same day as King Victor Emmanuel.
Diary. "April 28.—Very much hurried, as the
king had left Gaeta at 8 a.m. About 3 p.m. he
came in sight escorted by four French liners under
Vice-Admiral Bigault de Genouilly. We manned
yards and cheered, &c. The French seemed not to
manoeuvre their ships very well, to come in very
slow, and to have a chfficulty in picking up their
berths. We landed to receive the king at the
palace, and were presented to him. Went out on
the balcony (where he was well received) to see
the troops march past. In the evening four more
French liners arrived, and took up their berths
well, seeing it was dark. Landed with the two
boys [his sons] and drove about to see the ilhimin-
ations, which were very fine. Feeling very sore at
the French producing so strong a fleet here, we
having only three ships, one of which is under
" April 29.—-I went off to call on the French
admirals with Codd and Price. Paid long visits,
and then Price and I went to call on the captains.
All the ships were painting, and in that, and in SLR GEOFFREY PHIPPS  HORNBY.
the rapidity with which they get their crews to- I
gether and make their ships look decent, they are
a good deal ahead of us; but there is no ship I
among them to compare with the James Watt,
and they do not look so neat aloft. We all had to
dine at the palace. Dinner handsome, but cold;
wines indifferent. Then to the theatre for a ballet,
at which there was some very good dancing.
" May 3.—Got an intimation late last night that
the king was coming on board us to-day. He went
first to the Bretagne, and then came here. We
manned yards and saluted when he embarked,
cheered as he passed. Manned and saluted when
he left the Bretagne, dressing ship at the same
time. I think our manoeuvre must have looked
very pretty, and better than that of the French.
"May 4.—Torresano came on board to ask if
I would accept a decoration, which of course I
declined. Got an invitation to the palace to
witness a French engagement which is to take
place at 8.30 p.m. this evening. Got a little
feverish attack, which prevented my going to the
palace, but they said the Frenchman's spectacle
was pretty."
While the king was fating and being fitted
by one part of Naples, there were other sides to
the picture. On one hand there were some who,
like the Rev. George Hornby, had strong Bourbon
sympathies, which he expresses very forcibly, vide
his letter to Sir Phipps Hornby:— f^^L^^ri^g. place.
mi J^^C^ru^,  H.M.S.  NEPTUNE. 91
"Naples, April 30.
" My dear Admiral,—Well, here we are, Geoff,
wife, and the most charming children. Geoff is
stifled in the midst of eight great French ships.
There never was such folly; but the whole plan of
backing up a new Italy against Austria is insanity,
as far as English interests are concerned. I say
nothing of the state of this place, or you won't get
my letter, the post being, according to the constitution, 'inviolate.' N.B.—I wrote two letters
to N. F. while she was at Pome, and she three to
me, none of which reached their destination! and
whereas under the tyrant Bourbons there were
11,000 persons in prison, there are now (on suspicion) 18,000, and people arrested every day.
The number taken and shot then and there innumerable. I rejoice to think you have so many
you love around you, and with every good wish
to all, am ever yours, G. H."
On the other side were those who thought that
the unification of Italy did not advance quickly
enough, and there were risings and rumours of
Captain Hornby's Diary :—
"May 18.—Called on Sir James Hudson [the
English Minister] when Batazzi came to consult
him about Garibaldi's movements, which are causing him some anxiety.
"May  19.—Heard of an  outbreak  of Gari- 92 SLR GEOFFREY PHIPPS  HORNBY.
baldians near Brescia. They are about to make
an incursion on Austrian territory. The Government seems to have acted very well, and the
agents concerned were arrested at once, and it
is said that Batazzi telegraphed to say that
Garibaldi himself must be arrested if he were
"May 20.—I nearly was late for the Palace
dinner, to which we had been invited in plain
clothes. Found every one there similarly dressed,
a large party, and we dined in the ballroom, which
was beautiful. I had to go off directly it was
over; but it seems the party broke up, and the
king hurried off, in consequence of a demonstration in favour of Garibaldi, which took place in
the Toledo."
O bella Napoli! With your blue sky and still
bluer bay, and the beautiful hills all round ! All
so bright, and rich, and luxuriant, the vines
festooned among the fruit-trees, and the corn
growing below,—three crops ripening at the same
time. And there, central point in the landscape,
Vesuvius, with one dark burnt-out crater, and the
other with a tiny cloud of smoke resting on its
summit, as a warning that angry fires are still
smouldering below. The people also, seemingly,
so simply light-hearted and friendly. Shouting,
yelling, one moment for Garibaldi, and when an
hour or two later the king came along the Toledo,
equally ready to shout and yell for him.    Now H.M.S.   NEPTUNE. 93
and then you heard a story of brigands, of some
one (perhaps from the centre of the town) being
carried off, where and by whom no one exactly
knew; and if the ransom were not promptly paid,
a bit of an ear, or a finger, sent to the relatives
as a hint to use despatch. In the same villa
where Captain Hornby and his wife were living, a
German banker and his wife were almost always
guarded by Bersaglieri, because they had been
threatened; but the English captain, who lived on
the other side of the courtyard, who sometimes
had the band up from his ship to play in the
gardens of an evening, who had the terrace
iUuminated, and who, when the party was over,
would with some of his guests march down through
the town with the band playing before them,
bringing all the people to the doors and windows
to see what was happening — he was perfectly
safe! He was free to come and go through
the woods, and vineyards, and narrow streets at
any hour of the day or night, with no companion
but his black-and-white setter "Jerry," and no
weapon but his walking-stick.
At Malta Captain Hornby had lived on shore,
but at Naples he was senior officer, and he therefore made it a rule never to sleep away from his
ship, so as to be ready at any moment for any
emergency. Nothing, however, was required of
him till, at the time of the rising near Brescia, Sir
James Hudson asked for a ship to take him to 94 SIR GEOFFREY PHIPPS HORNBY.
Leghorn; and as the Neptune could steam more
economically than any other ship then at Naples,
Captain Hornby embarked the Minister and his
suite and took them to Leghorn. After a three
days' visit, as Sir James Hudson's guest, to
Florence and Pisa, he rejoined his ship, and
returned to Naples under sail. What was his
surprise to find, three days after his return,
that he was superseded by Captain Chads in the
London, and was ordered to go off at once for a
cruise to Sicily, " because I had gone to Leghorn
instead of the Algiers, the Admiral having written
to the Admiralty to say that Algiers would take
Sir J. H. I wrote two very angry letters to my
father and Martin [secretary]."
The letter to Mr Martin was, however, modified,
and rewritten on the following day as a semiofficial explanation, as officially Captain Hornby
could only write acknowledging the receipt of the
To G. P. Martin, Esq.
"H.M.S. Neptune, June 6,1862.
"You may conceive, if I cannot describe, the
surprise with which, on my return from gun-exercise
off Capri yesterday, I received the Admiral's letter,
and orders of the 27th and 28th inst. I look at
the telegram, 'Yes, send Algiers, if necessary.' It
seems now, as it did at first, more permissive than H.M.S.   NEPTUNE. 95
imperative. What necessity was there to send the
Algiers f Neptune would go as fast as Sir J. Hudson required, had as good accommodation for him,
and, what was the real inducement, she has always
gone her eight knots for from 30 to 40 tons a-day,
while Captain Bice tells me Algiers consumed from
40 to 45 at the same speed. I think these reasons
over, and still believe I did what was right under
the circumstances, and economically for the Crown.
I of course regret that the Admiral should disapprove—still more, that in a case which at most
amounts to an error in judgment, he should inflict
on me so public a reprimand as is conveyed in my
supersession, as senior officer here, one month after
my arrival. Between you and me, I confess to a
small private influence. I think I told you of a
conversation I had with the Commander-in-Chief
on board the Marlborough, in which he said he
must always set his face against officers making
themselves too comfortable with their families. It
did, therefore, occur to me, that in going away
from them, and encumbering myself with a lot of
I passengers, I was at least taking the most disagreeable course, and, if there had been a doubt, this
would probably have decided me that it was the
right one. You must not tell Sir J. Hudson that
I talked of' encumbrances.' As the event proved,
he and his suite were most agreeable, and I cannot
but think, after his kind expressions to me, that he m^
will be very sorry if he hears that, indirectly, he
has brought me to grief.
" P.S.—If you have an opportunity, you will do
me a kindness, perhaps, by bringing the matter
before the Admiral."
Captain Hornby's orders were to go for ten days
to Palermo, then on to Messina to await instructions.
Two days after bis arrival at the latter place, he
was surprised by receiving a telegram from Admiral
Codrington (Malta Dockyard) ordering him at
once to Malta, preparatory to relieving Algiers at
Naples. Part of the Neptune's engines were on
shore being repaired, but by great exertions she
was got under weigh that evening, and a forty
hours' passage took her to Malta. -Here, however,
she had to wait for a week till the answer arrived I
to what Captain Hornby calls his "letter of
apology." Sir William Martin acknowledged that
the telegram might have been read in the sense in
which Captain Hornby had taken it, and gave him
leave to return to Naples. The same evening he I
sailed, but the winds were so fight that it was
eleven days before they got back into Naples Bay,
and when the ship had been eight days out, she
was boarded by a felucca, asking for bread and
water, as she had been eighteen days from
All the rest of the summer Captain Hornby re- H.M.S.   NEPTUNE.
mained at Naples, as the Admiral was occupied in
watching affairs in Greece. There were, therefore,
no more steam manoeuvres this summer,
King Victor Emmanuel did not return to Naples,
but part of the summer his three sons were there,
when Prince Humbert seems to have impressed
Captain Hornby by his simple unaffected manners
and general air of intelligence. Just after the
departure of the Princes the Garibaldian rising
broke out in Sicily, and it was rumoured that the
king himself meditated a march on Rome, so that
the English ships at Naples received orders to be
ready at any moment to embark the Pope, and take
him to Castiglione. The time for making Home
the capital of Italy had, however, not arrived, and
whatever designs may have been afloat, Cialdini
was sent against Garibaldi, who was taken
(wounded), with all his men; and except that the
people grumbled sorely at the weight of taxes and
the severity of the Bersaglieri police, the rest of
the summer passed without any political incident.
In October the Neptune received orders to return
to Malta and England, and at the same time
Captain Hornby was granted permission to give
his family a passage home. They accordingly
embarked at Naples, and reached Gibraltar on
November 14, where they found part of the
Channel Meet, and where Captain Hornby for
the first time saw an ironclad in commission.
Diary.   "Nov. 14.—Went to Black Prince; had 98
not time to see her thoroughly, but what I did
see was very fine. The vulnerable ends, however,
are a great mistake, also the three masts instead
of four. The men in the ironclads are so disgustingly proud of their ships that they will allow
them no faults." CHAPTER VIH.
H.MS. EDGAR,  1863-1865.
Captain Hornby had been on shore for barely
three months when he was asked by Admiral
Dacres (who succeeded Admiral- Smart in command of the Channel Meet) to go as his flag-
captain. The offer was accepted without hesitation.
To Rear-Admiral Dacres, G.B.
" Lordington, April 1,1863.
" I feel extremely gratified at your letter of the
26th March, and so far from refusing, I shall be
most happy to accept your kind offer, if you don't
object to what follows. With my present standing, I think I may naturally look forward in a
year or eighteen months to one of the better
appointments  of the  service, such  as   a  steam- 100 SLR GEOFFREY PHIPPS HORNBY.
reserve or dockyard, especially if there was a
change of Ministry; indeed in the latter case, if
I heard of a good thing going a-begging, I might
feel inclined to ask for it. Now, though I know
you would not like to stand in my way, it very
probably may not suit you to take a captain who
may wish to leave you before your flag comes
down. I therefore leave the matter thus : if it
suits you to take me, with the chance of my
getting a steam-reserve or dockyard, I shall be
very glad to serve under you again. The appointment having been made public, I have so far I
taken advantage of the permission given in the
end of your letter as to tell my father of your ;
offer, though it will go no farther than his ears. I
I write hurriedly to save the post."
Admiral Dacres hoisted his flag at Plymouth on
May 17 in the Edgar, and the ship remained in '
the hands of the dockyard for another three weeks,
while the cabins were being put in order, and leave
given to some of the men. It was a very busy
three weeks,—a cheerful time also, as Captain
Hornby had many friends in Devonport and the
neighbourhood, and hardly ever dined on board.
The only unusual incident which occurred was
that the flag-captain got one of his wrists badly
burnt while helping to extinguish a very bad
fire, which destroyed several houses in Plymouth.
Early in June the flagship sailed to join the rest
of the squadron at Portland. H.M.S. EDGAR 101
Letter to Wife.
"June 9,1863.
" We left Plymouth at noon yesterday, and
went right out into the open sea between France
and England; but we navigated with much skill
until we at last saw certain lights, which proved
to be those of Portland, and entering the anchorage there, we cast out an anchor at midnight, and
made the ship fast until the daylight appeared.
We had a splendid breeze, and it is a pleasure to
have a ship that can sail again, and not such an
old dummy as the Neptune. However, I find I
have plenty to do; for though the mariners here
are by no means such villains as those were at
first, they don't knock the yards and sails about
as our fellows did latterly. Though Foley has
begun this ship remarkably well, still she is but.
a new ship. I fancy it will be with the squadron
that I shall have most bother. So you doubtless
will hear me plentifully abused for my own sins,
and those of the Admiral, in calling them to
The transition from sails to steam for battleships was gradually being accomplished. In the
Tribune it had simply been a question of steaming in and out of harbour; in the Neptune there
had been passages under steam, steam tactics,
and orders by telegram; and now in the Channel
Meet came a mixture of wooden ships and iron- 102 SLR GEOFFREY PHIPPS HORNBY.
clads: most of the former could not steam, none
of the latter could sail.     Nevertheless the Admiralty, who  always  have  an eye  to  economy,
decreed that, as the ships had masts and yards,■
they must sail.
June 17, Captain Hornby writes to his wife
from Yarmouth:—
"We sail for Sunderland to-morrow, weather
permitting. I have no idea how long we may be
getting there. It is 190 miles—one day's sail for
this ship; but if Sir F. Grey's dummies are to go
under sail, I shall think it lucky if we get there
in ten."
As a matter of fact it only took five days, as the
squadron had to get up steam to avoid some
dangerous shoals on the Norfolk coast. The
dummies alluded to above were the five ironclads, |
the Resistance, the Defence, the Black Prince, the
Royal Oak, and the Warrioi\ The other ships of
the squadron were the Edgar, flagship, a two-
decker ; the Emerald and Liverpool, frigates; and
the despatch vessel, Trinculo. Their summer
cruise was to be a tour of the British Isles, and
to stay two or three days at each of the principal j
ports.    As Captain Hornby says :—
" We are doing popularity to a great extent.
Ostensibly we are to show the ships, and what
happy fellows the British mariners are in a man-
of-war—nothing but porter and skittles! Really
I suspect we are doing a little electioneering." H.M.S. EDGAR. 103
After Sunderland, they were to visit Leith, In-
vergordon, Kirkwall, Lough Foyle, Lough Swilly,
the Clyde, and Liverpool. At every place crowds
of people visited the ships, and the townspeople
got up balls, dinners, and every sort of festivity in
their honour. The officers on their part were also
anxious to make some acknowledgment for the
civility shown them. For this purpose Captain
Hornby tried to arrange " a plan for enabling the
officers of the squadron to show some special civility to people whose acquaintance they may make.
It is, to set apart one ship every day, where only
people will be received who are brought by officers
of the squadron; and that there, there shall be a
band playing for dancing, and a little tea, and so
on. Most of the fellows seem to like the idea, and
I think it will work by-and-by."
As far as he personally was concerned, the flag-
captain was not able to do much entertaining, or to
accept much hospitality, from the time he left Sunderland till they reached Lough Foyle. The fatigue
and anxiety of being up constantly at night (to see
that the ships kept station, and that the sailing-
ships shortened sail, so as to prevent their overtaxing the powers of the boilers of the ironclads—
" tin pots," as he called them) brought on a severe
liver attack, accompanied by a great deal of fever
and ague, which left him so weak that it was not
till they reached the Orkneys that the cooler air
enabled him to begin to regain his strength.    By 104 SLR  GEOFFREY PHIPPS  HORNBY.
the time the fleet reached Greenock he had quite
recovered, and was immensely interested in the
great shipbuilding yards.
To Sir Phipps Hornby, G.OJB.
" H.M.S. Edgar,
Greenock, Sept. 6, 1863.
■ I was up in Glasgow on Friday with the
Admiral inspecting some of the building-yards,
and notably an iron-cased frigate building for the
Confederates, and three more for the Turks. I
am delighted with the energy and skill of these
Glasgow men, and the more I see of them the
more Radical I grow with regard to our dockyard
system and Somerset House. When these men
sit down to plan a warship propelled by steam,
they make a steamship of her, and don't go puddling on drawing large sailing-ships to put engines
into. The Cunard people took us a grand trip on
Thursday round Bute and up Loch Ranza. The
steamer was beautifully fitted, and we went at the
rate of fourteen knots all the way. Her sister-ship
the Giraffe was sold for £30,000 to run the blockade, putting a profit of £8000 into the hands of
the company. I wonder what the new Admiralty
yacht the Enchantress has cost; and if she ever
goes fourteen knots for six hours together, I'll eat
From thence the squadron crossed to Belfast,
and after four days there, to Liverpool.    Here H.M.S. EDGAR. 105
Lord Derby had offered Captain Hornby a week's
shooting for himself and his friends, but he was
only able to manage two days' shooting, as the
other days were taken up with visits to the building-yards and docks, and various entertainments
on board the ships and on shore—the week's festivities ending by a banquet given by the Mersey
Yacht dub to the Admiral, captains, and officers
of the fleet, on Monday, September 21. At this
banquet it fell to Captain Hornby to propose " The
Ladies." An anonymous bard (not a sailor) who
wrote a rhymed account of the " Meet in the
Mersey" seems to think that it was very well
" Admiral Dacres gets up, and makes every one laugh
In a speech that's a mixture of cake1 and of chaff.
Lord Stanley is lengthy; the Archdeacon is dull;
Admiral Evans is heavy—in fact makes a mull
The toast of ' The Ladies,' the last of the night,
The gallant Hag-Captain was told was his right;
He rose, and in a few well-chosen phrases,
More expressive than all the most flattering praises,
Gave the toast, which was drunk—as it always will he
By soldiers and sailors—with twice three times three."
The summer cruise ended with visits to Dublin
and Plymouth, and then the Edgar was for two
months at Portsmouth giving leave and making
good defects.
The winter   of  1863-64  was   spent between
1 An allusion to the Knowsley ale and cakes with which they had
been regaled the previous Saturday. **m
Madeira, Teneriffe, Gibraltar, and Lisbon, though
there were many rumours of the possibility of the
English interfering to help the Danes in their
resistance to Germany.
The beginning of March saw the ships again in I
England, and on their arrival at Portland, Captain
Hornby, who had again been knocked over with
one of his fever attacks, was sent home for a week
to recruit, and took with him a poor little midshipman who had been very much pulled down by
sea-sickness. There was a great deal of small-pox
at Portsmouth, so the ships had to do as much as
possible of their caulking, &c, at Portland, instead
of going there to be docked.
Towards the end of April Garibaldi came down
to visit the ships.
Letter to Wife.
" H.M.S. Edgar, Portland, April 26, 1864.
"Yesterday about five p.m. he turned up and
came on board with a large party, who ate ravenously of the lunch which the Admiral had prepared. It seems the Great Western directors had
arranged to make a private show of him by taking
him to Taunton, where they had prepared a lunch,
and invited their friends to meet him; but he insisted on coming to see the ships, so they turned
off at Durston, just short of Taunton, and sold the
directors. With him came the Duke of Sutherland, Lord Sefton, Mr Ashley (Lord Palmerston's H.M.S. EDGAR. 107
private secretary), Colonel Peard and his (Garibaldi's) younger son. After lunch (6 p.m.) the
Admiral went with Garibaldi to the Warrior. I
was glad of the opportunity of seeing Garibaldi,
and must say that his face is benevolent, and not
cunning, like Uncle George said. He is much
shorter than his pictures make him appear, and
very lame. His intimate friends say he has been
turned out of England by the Ministry, and I
think we shall see a row about him yet. It is
evident that the extreme Radical party, who are
closely identified with the Italian Liberals, are
very much disgusted with their Whig allies about
it, and that this visit of his must be another
source of weakness to Ministers."
The next move was, in the beginning of May, to
the Downs, to make a demonstration against the
Austrian squadron, which was going round to
support their German allies in the Schleswig-
Holstein war. As the fleet were only to bluster,
and not to obstruct the passage of the Austrian
ships, it was perhaps just as well that they did
not arrive in the Downs till too late. In the
Downs they were kept all the time that the
Austrian ships were in the Elbe, and they then
moved down to Plymouth to be docked.
During the summer there was no regular cruise;
the squadron was moved backwards and forwards
between Plymouth and Portsmouth, Queenstown 108 SIR GEOFFREY PHIPPS HORNBY.
and Bantry Bay. Captain Hornby does not seem
to have been very much impressed by the Irish
This summer there had also been much talk of
steam manoeuvres, of trying a steam signal-book •
lately issued,—" an abortion of a signal - book,"
Captain Hornby calls it; but as ships were
constantly detached for particular duties, it was
not possible to do much in that line. Nevertheless, the flag-captain advocated "keeping the
sea as much as possible; for the whole art of
sailoring seems to me to be nearly extinct in
the British Navy, and the only way I know
of putting common-sense into officers and men
is to keep them at sea."
Though steam tactics were not nearly so perfect
as Captain Hornby would have liked, the general
smartness of the squadron was very much increased, and the state of the Edgar was good
enough to satisfy even so severe a critic as
Admiral Jones, who came on board at Queens-
town in August.
Letter to Wife.
" He [Admiral Jones] was our commander in the
old Charlotte, and a pretty tight hand, when tight
hands were the fashion. When he got below he
said, ' Well, it is a pleasure to see things like this
again. You don't see it nowadays.' The last part
of his remark is melancholy to think of, but it is H.M.S. EDGAR. 109
something to hear that we keep up the traditions
of cleanliness and order somewhere."
From the middle of August to the end of October the headquarters of the fleet was at Portland, the ships going out for a few days at a time
for exercise. Nothing much was doing on shore,
except an occasional cricket-match, so Captain
Hornby was able to devote most of his leisure
time to assisting his brother-in-law, Captain
Cowper-Coles, in a great paper warfare with the
Admiralty on the subject of fighting-ships. Captain Cowper-Coles held that armoured ships should
be mastless floating batteries, with low free-boards
and revolving turrets; but the Admiralty would
hear of no innovations, except a certain thickness
of iron plates on the outside of fully rigged ships.
Yet within a very few years, masts for fighting-
ships have entirely disappeared, and Captain
Cowper-Coles's theories form the basis of all naval
construction. In spite of opposition, Captain
Cowper-Coles continued to press his views all
through the winter, and when Parliament met,
Captain Hornby primed Lord Stanley and Sir
John Pakington with awkward questions to ask
the Government, until in the following June the
Committee which had been sitting on the question agreed to advise the Government to try a
two-turret ship.
The fleet had wintered ,in England—the Edgar 110
and some of the ships at Portsmouth, the rest of
the squadron at Plymouth. They remained in
their winter quarters till March 27, when the
Edgar came out of harbour under sail—the last
line-of-battle ship that ever sailed out of Ports- ■
mouth harbour. At Spithead she remained till,
in the middle of April, the Channel fleet was sent
to Lisbon with Lord Sefton, who was to invest the
King of Portugal with the Garter. On April 22
they arrived at Lisbon, and Captain Hornby's
account of their proceedings begins:—
"April   22,   1865. — My  Lord  and  his   two
Guardsmen attache's  made themselves extremely
agreeable, and indeed everything on the voyage
went  as  well  as  possible.     Lord   S.   seems  to I
think we shall be here about eight days.
" April 25.—Nothing can exceed the civility of
the Mission since they landed. On Sunday Lord
S. took a lot of us to see a bull-fight, a poor affair
enough, keeping us to dine afterwards. To-night
he dines all the captains of the squadron, tomorrow the officers of the Edgar. We went
yesterday to be presented to the king. There
is nothing to be said about that—it was a dull
affair. On Thursday we go to present him with
the Garter. The Admiral and I take part in
the play, having to carry the cloak, or the spurs,
or something.
"April 27.—Our departure is delayed for four
days on account of the death of the Cesarewitch. H.MS. EDGAR.
The Court did not like to have the installation
so soon after hearing of his death, and accordingly postponed it until next Thursday. The
dinners still go on greedily. To-night the Admiral has a heavy feed on board, and to-morrow
we honour the Minister with our company.
" April 28. — Just returned from our heavy
dinner. Four-and-twenty people at the feast,
which was very elaborate as regards cooking,
but wanted arrangement in the guests. Chamberlains, naval captains, ex-prince, ministers, &c,
all jumbled together at table without introductions. I was fortunate in getting near the Russian Minister, who is a decent fellow. Everything
was dressed with truffles, so I am like a stuffed
turkey. If I get a good innings to-morrow, I shall
attribute it to them.
"May 5.—Yesterday was our great day. We
landed about 10 A.M., started in very gorgeous
old carriages, all gold, glass, and landscapes, drawn
by six horses each (Sefton having eight), and
proceeded at foot's pace to the palace. Colonel
Carleton and I went in the first carriage, carrying the 'hat' and 'cloak,' each upon brilliant
velvet and gold cushions; then followed the
Admiral and Lord H. Percy with the fcollar'
and 'sword'; then the heralds with the 'Statutes of the Order,' &c.; and last, Sefton and
the Garter King-at-Arms. It took us nearly
two hours to get to the palace.    Arrived there, 112 SLR GEOFFREY  PHIPPS  HORNBY.
we formed a procession in which Carleton and I
led, accompanied by six little pages. We passed
through a very handsome banqueting-room, in
which all the officers who had been invited to
see the ceremony were drawn up, and then into :
the throne-room. On the dais stood the king
and queen, with the king's father and brother.
The queen is quite a good-looking woman, very
well dressed, and wearing some very beautiful
emeralds and diamonds. The king's father is a
very handsome man. As for the king, he is
not good looking, and when he came to be
covered up in the cloak that I had so carefully carried for him, he looked very miserable.
We (the procession) advanced from the door towards the throne in a series of three steps and
a bow, opening out as we came, and halting
about six feet from the king. Lord Sefton and I
'Garter' then came through the middle, the
former presented the Queen's letter 'To our dear
brother,' and made him a speech in English.
The king then read a reply in Portuguese.
Lord S. then proceeded to invest him with the different articles, a small herald taking each article
in succession from us, giving them to 'Garter/
and he to Lord S. 'Garter' then read the king
a couple of long Latin sentences, and we all bowed
out backwards in the same order as we had come
in. Tk>rd S. was then recalled, and given the
highest order of ' Tower and Sword' in diamonds. H.M.S. EDGAR. 113
"We all went back as we came, in our magnificent glass coaches, and at the slow pace, so we
did not get to the hotel till 4 p.m. We then had a
mouthful of lunch, and went to be photographed.
"At seven we were again at the palace for
dinner, sitting down, about forty-five, to a handsome
table, with everything very well done, and all
the people remarkably civil. After the king had
taken his leave, he returned to ask if we would
like to see the queen's private apartments, which
are certainly very pretty, and the Admiral, who
was specially favoured, saw the queen and the
" On. Wednesday the king visited this ship,
Achilles, and Prince Consort. The Admiral gave
him a lunch, and we manned yards, and fired
various salutes in a way that was most gratifying
to him.
"On Tuesday the Achilles and ourselves gave
the Lisbon C.C. a tremendous thrashing. I believe
I saved the first innings, for we were unlucky at
first, and our fellows got nervous; but in the
second we made about 220 runs, and showed that
we were better at every point of the game."
Captain Hornby also received an order, which he
was allowed to accept, but not to wear.
The fleet having returned to England, and
landed the Mission at Portsmouth, left again
towards the end of the month for Portland. Here
they remained the greater part of the summer,
going out occasionally, as in the previous year, for
a few days at a time, and sometimes getting into
such confusion, in bad or thick weather, that the
flag-captain feared that "his chickens would run
into each other and crack their shells." No col-"
lision occurred, but it was probably the solicitude
about the said " chickens " which earned for Cap-
tarn Hornby his service nickname of " Uncle
Geoff," a nickname which seems first to have come
into use about this time.
In August the fleet sailed for Cherbourg, where
they were to meet the Lords of the Admiralty.
Letter to Wife.
"H.M.S. Edgar, Cherbourg, Aug. 15.
"We did not get securely moored here until
6.30 p.m. yesterday, and have since been living in i
a state of turmoil, disgust, and envy. ' My Lords'
did not leave Portsmouth yesterday morning
when they ought, 'because the weather looked
threatening.' Consequently all the people here,
who were expecting them at 2 p.m., were kept
waiting nearly four hours. We were very late
in getting the ships moored. This morning I
have been calling on all our half-pay and other
admirals here, and have been to the Magenta,
whence I have come back full of envy at their
cleanliness. I always thought this was a clean
ship, but they beat us into fits. Their steam-
launches are a deal better;  but that I always H.M.S. EDGAR.
knew, and said, for which I was called a Frenchman, &c.    Now they may see for themselves.
" On Tuesday we dined at the H6tel de Ville.
A very handsome service of plate, good attendance,
dinner, &c, and I had a fine opportunity of improving my French between two French officers.
The next morning dejeuner on board La Flandre
at 11, lasting till 1.30 ; truffles. Dinner on board
the Magenta, very prettily arranged, but more
truffles. This morning deje&ner on board Heroism;
truffles and oil. Inspect Heroism and Magenta
with Stewart, then our own Hector. Stewart and
I in disgust. The Frenchmen's decks are a deal
cleaner than ours, and many of their fittings much
neater, besides being better ventilated below.
Never mind! Thank God, we are young and
strong, and we must grind till we beat them. But
we shall have plenty to do to beat them, for they
are active intelligent men, and have got a start
which they mean to keep. Admiral Dacres tells
me the Minister of Marine is immensely struck
with the Royal Sovereign [altered according to
Captain Cowper-Coles's plans]. The Frenchmen
fully appreciate Cowper, though we do not.
" Brest, August 21.
" Here we are, safe in one of the most magnificent harbours I ever saw.    I wish we had it in 116
England. I think we made rather a pretty sight
of it coming in, steam and sail; but I must ask
Stewart, who was a spectator, and see if he was
"August 22.
" I am glad to tell you that the French Mediterranean Squadron, now here, are nothing like so
clean as we are, so possibly the Frenchmen may
have told us the truth at Cherbourg—viz., that it
was only from their being so much in harbour that
they looked better than we did. Almost every one
complimented us very much on the way we came
in yesterday. Stewart said we shortened sail
well, and that the manoeuvre was a very pretty
one; but Sir F. Grey, Hall, and Fanshawe won't
say a word of commendation. This rather annoys
the Admiral, who was pleased, and said to me as
we picked up our buoy, ' If they all come in as well
as we have done, it will be a very pretty sight.'" CHAPTEK  IX.
H.M.S.  BRISTOL, 1865-1868.
The " year or eighteen months," of which Captain
Hornby had spoken as his probable term as flag-
captain, had lengthened out into nearly two and a
half years,^during which time dockyard and other
appointments had been given away to men junior
to him, before an offer of an appointment came,
that of commodore on the West Coast of Africa,
—an offer very flattering in itself, but with so
many pros and cons that the decision to accept
it was a difficult one to make.
Letter to Wife.
" S.M.S. Edgar, Portland, July 26,1865.
" I have been surprised and perplexed by a great
offer that has just come to me from the Duke of
Somerset—viz., to send me out to the coast of
Africa as a commodore of the first class and Commander-in-Chief. In other words, he makes me for
the next three years a Bear-Admiral, and gives me
the command of a station. I know there is much
to be said against it, and especially that dreadful
separation. On the other hand, it brings me so .
much to the front that it cannot but eventually be
a help to those dear boys. I pray to God to guide
us in making the proper decision."
"July 30,1865.
"Your letter has carried the decision. My
father was against it, and I was sorely divided. I
have taken Admiral Dacres' opinion and Willes',
and they both agree most strongly that I have the
ball at my foot, and shall for ever regret it if I
don't kick it. I have decided to take the most
disagreeable course and go."
To Captain Robert HaU, BJf.
"Admiralty, July 30,1865.
"My dear Hall,—As there is no postal
delivery to-day in London, I have taken till the
last moment to consider the very handsome offer
that the Duke of Somerset has had the goodness
to make to me through you. My only ground for
hesitation was, whether my health would stand in
the tropics so as to enable me to work. I have
come to the conclusion that I ought to try, and it
will be my endeavour to justify the selection the H.MS. BRISTOL. 119
Duke has been pleased to make. I feel there are
circumstances in my case which make the Duke's
offer peculiarly complimentary, and I trust that
you will convey my warmest sense of his kindness
to his Grace. You speak of the Bristol not being
commissioned before next week. I am most unwilling to leave my good Admiral just as he is
going into French ports, to say nothing of losing
all the wrinkles that I expect to pick up there.
Could the commissioning be deferred till the end
of August or beginning of September ? It would
suit me much better, as I suppose we shall not be
back till the third week in August; and really to
get officers, and still more cooks and stewards, is
a thing that cannot be done in a minute. Pray
believe that I am much obliged for your kind
letter, &c., &c."
Captain Hornby not only remained in the Edgar
till after the visit to the French ports, but until
the return visit of the French squadron had been
paid. Then on September 5 he took leave of the
Channel Fleet, and was rowed on shore by the
midshipmen, a compliment which he very much
appreciated. The next day he proceeded to Sheer-
ness, but the Bristol (his flag-ship) was not yet
ready for commission, and he was therefore
appointed for one month to the Formidable, It
was not till the middle of November that the
Bristol  was   ready  for   sea,   and   that   Captain 1
Hornby took leave of his old father, now eighty
years of age, whom he was never to see in life
again. On November 19 the ship sailed, but was
detained at Portland for a week by some of the
most severe weather experienced for years. They
arrived at Sierra Leone on Christmas day, and-,
their greeting on the station was the appearance
of "yellow-jack" on board.
Letter to Wife.
"H.M.S. Bristol, Sierra Leone,     j
Dec 29,1865.
"I should have sailed yesterday, but delayed
that I might shift to a more healthy position—an
unfortunate depot ship, the Jris, on which all the
people have been getting fever and dying.
"Jan. 4, 1865.
"We have been obliged to alter our course in
consequence of fever having broken out on board,
and are now making our way to Ascension, calling
at Cape Palmas to leave these letters. Out of 104
men who were employed in shifting the Iris, 35
have been attacked by fever. Of these, three are
dead, and we are likely to lose three or four more.
" Ascension, Jan. 14.  '
" We arrived here last night, coming in under
sail, with a bit of splash that has pleased all on
board with themselves, and which they believe to
have been the admiration of all on shore.    All I H.M.S. BRISTOL. 121
can say is, ' More's the pity that it should be so
rare a thing to see a ship come into harbour
under sail.' I am sorry to say we have in all
lost 21 men. But, thank God, all the first and
worst cases that have survived are mending, and
we have only had one more case of fever this
week, and that a slight one, so I hope we have
got over it."
To Sir Phipps Hornby, G.G^B.
" Bristol, Jan. 23,1866.
" The fever laid on us very hard. We had
thirty-nine cases, and lost 22 men, all dying of
yellow fever. Fortunately it did not spread, no
man taking it who was not on board the Iris.
For the sake of this island I keep in quarantine
until the 26th—i.e., fourteen days from the last
case. This has been an unhealthy season on the
coast, so I hope I may have seen the worst of it.
" Still, it is not a place that any one would stay
at if he could get away. I hear on all sides that
the slave-trade is done, that the demand from
Cuba has ceased, and that no vessels come to
this coast. If this is so (and the Foreign Office
seems to believe it), this squadron should be reduced to one half at least, and there can be no
doubt that one commodore could work the whole
of S. Africa well. I can go even further, for if
the slave - trade does continue, I feel sure that
it would be better to combine the East and West 122 SLR GEOFFREY  PHIPPS  HORNBY.
Squadrons, so as to give the ships an opportunity
of profiting by the change of climate from one
coast to the other, and still more by the occasional bracing of the Cape. Three years for a
small ship on this coast is very hard,—more than
our men should be called on for, merely to suit<
the whims of so-called ' philanthropy,' and a niggardly philanthropy too."
Only two officers on board the Bristol had been
attacked by the fever, both of whom recovered;
but the unhealthy climate had been doing its work
among the officers of other ships, and before the
new commodore had been a fortnight on the
station he had promoted his flag-lieutenant, R.
O'B. Fitzroy, into a death vacancy, caused by
the death of Commander Blakiston of the Sparrow, I
and given Mr James Bruce the flag-lieutenant's
vacancy. Commander Fitzroy did not, however,
leave the Bristol, but exchanged with Captain
Cambier, her commander, who was anxious to
return to England on account of private affairs.
He was therefore glad to get the Sparrow, which
had only a few months to remain on the coast.
This exchange having been effected, and the
men being sufficiently recovered from the fever,
the commodore left in January 1866 to visit the
principal ports on his station. As Captain Hornby
said in his letter to his father, " the slave-trade
was done," mainly because the demand had ceased. H.M.S. BRISTOL. 123
Since the war no slaves had been taken into the
United States, and the Governor of Cuba refused
to have any more. As for the blockade, Captain
Hornby writes :—
" It appears as if it would be very difficult to
keep up an effective blockade against slave-dealers,
if there was a sufficient demand to make it again
worth their while to run, and if they really organised their scheme. At Manque Grande more than
20 canoes are reported by Commander Nelson,
each of which can ship 30 slaves at a trip, so that
in half an hour a cargo of 600 might be shipped.
At present (February 1866) the demand seems to
have totally ceased, but it is reported that a few
will be wanted ere long for Brazils."
What Captain Hornby advocated in this eventuality was, that the chiefs on the coast should be
made to see that, it was in their own interest to
encourage legitimate trade—i.e., palm-oil, india-
rubber, &c.—instead of the illegitimate^—i.e., slaves
Notes on the Bight of Benin, 1866, 1867.
" From the Yolta to Porto Novo, a distance of
only 220 miles, is the main seat of the slave-trade;
in that short distance, backed by the King of
Dahomey, the slaves are shipped. The country
for 20 miles east of the Yolta belongs to England,
having with the now deserted fort of Quito been
purchased from the Danes, with all rights, in 1850. 124 SLR  GEOFFREY  PHIPPS  HORNBY.
I propose that the fort be repaired and garrisoned,
which would reduce the beach for shipment to 100
miles in length. These 100 miles of coast may be
divided into two parts. The most westerly about
65 miles, with the small towns of Flowhow, Fish-
town, Gowaionto, Porto Seguro, Little Popo, Ag--
hevey, and Great Popo; the easternmost, with the
large town of Whydah and its dependencies. The
former six towns are independent, and governed by
their chiefs and headmen; sometimes they fight
among themselves; they have little or no territory. These towns are purely trading communities ; they carry European goods into the interior,
and sell them for produce, oil, &c. I am convinced,
from a tolerably intimate acquaintance with them,
that any person of character, firmness, and, above
all, patience, could, partly by reasoning and partly I
by a small demonstration of force (merely the
presence of the two nearest gunboats), get them
to agree to a few simple conditions—viz., not to
allow slaves to be exported from their territories,
or to admit white dealers in slaves; to give protection to black or white missionaries or merchants,
a fair import duty, &c. If a reasonable, though
rather heavy, duty were placed on rum and spirits
from the Volta to Lagos, it would give revenue to
the chiefs, and make it worth their while to encourage legal trade to the utmost. I believe that
they would gladly accept such a treaty, and, what
is more, keep it.    It must be borne in mind that H.M.S. BRISTOL. 125
we can, by means of a regular blockade of any particular port, easily stop its trade, which is nearly
equivalent to starving the chiefs into submission.
There now remains about 35 miles of coast, the sea-
front of Dahomey, for 150 years the headquarters
of the slave-trade. The chief seaport, Whydah, is
situated a short two miles from the beach, from
which it is divided by the lagoon, here generally
fordable. From its central position, and command
of water-carriage, Whydah will always be an important place. The King of Dahomey would make
no treaty promising to abstain from exporting
slaves, and he would not keep it if he did. An
agreement with the French, and if necessary a few
police from Lagos (Houssa men), would cause a
bloodless revolution or secession, and Whydah
would form another petty trading community, like
the other towns in the 65 miles of sea-coast. The
smaller ports would speedily follow, and Dahomey
would be cut off from the sea. The consequence
would be, that the kingdom, with its Amazons,
. sacrifices, and hideous fanaticism, would cease to
exist in three years, and the present king be
begging for chop round the English factories."
Another burning question on the West Coast at
that time was the missionary and merchant question. The reason of this difficulty was, that the
missionaries so often combined trading with their
other avocations that it was  not easy for the 126 SLR  GEOFFREY PHIPPS  HORNBY.
native to distinguish between the Europeans who
came in the interests of commerce and those who
came in the cause of religion. Apart from cases
which were reported to the commodore, of a negro
being tortured to death by a Portuguese, or shot
by a drunken factory clerk for no reason except"
that the clerk was drunk, and happened to have a
revolver in his hand, there were disturbances which
arose from a mere trifle.    For instance—'
" March 31, 1866.—Commander St Clair reports
that some time back a native's dog strayed into
the factory-yard at Chinaongo, and was wantonly
shot by one of the clerks. The owner remonstrated and claimed compensation, which was
refused, so he came the next day and shot a pig
belonging to the factory. They sent to his village,
and asked the chief to give him up, which was I
refused, and they then sent a party of Kroomen
to take him by force. These got hold of the man,
but the natives rescued him, fired on the Kroomen,
and it is believed killed one of them. After this
both sides took to arms. The natives fired on the
factory, the whites called in the assistance of the
Portuguese, and, from what Commander St Clair
could hear, attacked one of the native villages.
After going on in this way for some time, the
natives agreed to give the man up; but he died,
or was killed, before he reached the factory.
Finally, there was a palaver, on which the whites
succeeded in getting a promise to pay them thirty H.M.S. BRISTOL.
barrels of palm-oil for the expenses to which they
had been put."
No wonder that under these circumstances the
negroes were not disposed to receive missionaries
with open arms, especially as they were not easily
distinguished from traders, and the majority of
the said missionaries were not men of very high
calibre. Captain Hornby often speaks in very
strong terms of their worthlessness, and warns
his relatives against subscribing to missions to the
West Coast. " For, as a rule, they [the missionaries] are a bad lot, and the worst enemy to the
black man. If he is dull and incapable of civilisation, he is at least a good-tempered harmless
brute until they come amongst them. After that,
the negroes become untruthful, discontented, and
tricky." During all the time he was on the West
Coast, the commodore notices only two missionary
settlements with any approbation. One was at
Trading Town on the Cameroons river.
"April 13.—When we got up, we found rather
an interesting missionary, a Baptist, looking, poor
fellow, as if he hadn't an ounce of life left in him;
but he must be a man of wonderful energy. He
has reduced the language of the natives to writing,
and has translated the Bible for them. He has
been miles up the pestilential rivers, and has been
stripped by the natives, and obliged to walk thirty
miles naked, through these mangrove swamps,
till he came to a friendly village, yet he will not 128 SLR GEOFFREY PHIPPS HORNBY.
hear of our using force against the offenders. He
fives up to his Christian principles, and has to a
great extent succeeded in living down their opposition. He told me he had taught several men
different trades, and trained many boys in his :;
house and schools, but that they all fell back
into their old savagedom. His hope now was in
educating girls, who as mothers might improve
their children. There cannot be much enjoyment.:
in this life, but I have no doubt he will reap a
rich reward in the next world."
The other instance was an American settlement
at Cape Palmas.
"March 22, 1867.—Only one of the missionaries I
present, the rest having gone to America for health.
He said honestly he was not satisfied with the!
progress of the place.    The educated blacks did I
not show sufficient energy either in opening the I
country or in cultivating the soil; most of them
liked to keep a shop, or, as they called it, to trade.
At  the same time, the  climate was against industry.    Four hours' work a-day was as much as I
a man could well stand; truly, those four hours I
would produce as much as twelve hours' work in
America, yet the balance of rest engendered habits I
of idleness,    He had seen many energetic black
men who on their arrival had worked early and
late, as they were accustomed to do in the States,
but they never lasted more than four or five years.
In the county of' Harper' he says there are 1200 H.M.S. BRISTOL.
or 1300 American blacks and 100,000 natives.
The latter are now docile, and feel that the missionaries are their friends. In his own village,
'Bocktown,' he says he is supreme, but they are
bigoted to their old superstitions, ' as fond of them
as Englishmen are of their Church.' He sees little
progress in Christianity, but he hopes his successors may reap a larger harvest."
Everywhere on the coast it was the same story;
men seemed either to wear themselves out by the
force of their own energy, or to sink under the
enervating effect of the climate and the exceeding
monotony of the life. Captain Hornby in the early
days on the coast describes his own manner of
" I get up at 7 A.M., have a bath and a quarter
of an hour at the dumb-bells. Breakfast at 8.15 ;
then write, and see people all the forenoon.
Lunch at one; land at four; walk till six. Dine
at seven, with another turn at the dumb-bells
before dinner. A game of whist at nine, and to
bed about eleven."
So it went on, year in year out, with no
variety but working at mathematics, " so as to be
able to help my boys," when there was no writing to be done; and that at sea the walk was
up and down the deck instead of up and down
hill Even the reception at each new place,
though at first amusing, became, by frequent repetition, tedious.
To Miss E. Phipps Hornby.
"Feb. 20, 1866.
" You have no idea what a ' Grand Panjandrum'
your father is nowadays.    Wherever he lands, if J
there are guns, off goes a salute of eleven guns
when he lands, and again when he embarks. • A I
large guard of soldiers is turned out.     ' Present
arms!' two officers in full fig saluting, ' Too-too-1
ti-too,' &c, on an old cracked bugle.     All the I
nigger soldiers dressed in dirty Zouave dress, with I
huge shoes and gaiters, looking like canoes with I
large sails, and legs like pipe-stems, or masts on
which the sails were set.    Then all the niggers
of the place are collected on the beach to see the
sight, and the number of very ugly, skinny old
women is surprising.    A lively nigger in the crowd |
calls out,  ' Yep, yep, yep,   oily!'   by which   he I
means ' Hip, hip, hip, hurrah!' and they all call
' Yolly!' and break into shouts of laughter."
Nothing occurred to break the monotony of
visiting one little trade settlement after another,
except a run to St Helena and Ascension in June
and July, till in August an American man-of-war
brought news of war having broken out between
Italy, Austria, and Prussia, of a change of Ministry in England, and that war was imminent
between France and Prussia. In this^state of
conflict on the Continent, Captain Hornby could
only believe that England would shortly be drawn H.M.S. BRISTOL.
into the fray. No confirmation of the news could
be expected for a month, as it took two months
for the mails from England to reach the West
Coast. Just as the commodore was cogitating at
what place he could most quickly and surely hit
off the next mail, Captain Somerset, flag-captain,
came to report that the engines had completely
broken down. There was no possibility of repairing them on the station, so the only thing to be
done was for the ship to make the best of her way
to Ascension, where the commodore landed with
his secretaries, while the Bristol was sent home
to have the necessary repairs executed. While
awaiting the arrival of the Greyhound, to which
he intended to shift his flag, Captain Hornby
moved into a little cottage on the " Green
Mountain," as it is called, where a few bushes
and tufts of grass make an agreeable refreshment
to the eye. The island of Ascension is of volcanic
origin, and the general effect is that of a cinder-
heap. There are no wells on the island, and as it
practically never rains, all the water had to be
condensed. At that time the allowance for all
purposes was one gallon per diem for each person.
Fresh provisions were also very scarce; and as to
meat, except an occasional rabbit, it was impossible
to get any besides the Government allowance of
1 lb. per head three times a-week, and more than
once Captain Hornby made official complaint of
the quality of the meat thus served out. 132 SIR GEOFFREY PHIPPS HORNBY.
Some alterations had to be made in the Greyhound to accommodate the commodore and his
staff, so it was not till the middle of October that
she was ready to sail for St Helena. At St Helena
Captain Hornby took a little cottage, and very
much enjoyed the cooler air and the luxury of
cold baths; but either Ascension had disagreed
with him, or the climate was beginning to tell on ;*
his health, as during his residence at St Helena
he was never well. At first he thought the cooler
climate was doing him good, and at one time he
improved sufficiently to enjoy a game of cricket;
but the mischief continued to increase, and when
at the end of the year he left again for the Bight
of Benin and Sierra Leone, he was attacked with
such a severe form of dysentery that he wrote
privately to Sir Sydney Dacres to say that it
might be necessary for him to " invalid." Before
resorting to this course he determined to try
what a strictly milk diet and a run to the
Cape de Verd Islands would do for him. Even
by the time he reached Sierra Leone he was so
much better that he was able to accept an invitation to dine with the French Admiral. Admiral de Langle received him warmly, and in
proposing the commodore's health coupled it
with that of Sir Phipps Hornby, alluding feelingly to the time when they were serving together in the Pacific, so that Captain Hornby felt
compelled to reply in French,—the first time he H.M.S. BRISTOL. 133
had made a speech in any language except his
Within a few days of this dinner the old Admiral, his father, passed away at Littlegreen, after
a very short illness. Almost the last service act
of his life had been to ask the Admiralty to bestow a vacant G.S.P. on his son, who, though now
holding the highest command possible as a captain,
was the only one among the twenty-six senior
captains on the list who had never received any
official recognition of his services. The old man's
request was refused, with the usual polite but
empty excuses, and his disappointment was very-
keen. He appeared, however, as well and cheerful
as ever when on the 13th of March he had a few
of his dearest friends to dine to celebrate the anniversary of Lissa. The next day he was taken ill,
and after a four days' illness died, March 18, 1867.
The news first reached his son by a newspaper report on April 24, the home letters not reaching
him till a week later. April 25 he writes to his
" Only yesterday I heard of my dear father's
death. My last accounts of him were so good that
I was quite unprepared for it. I was completely
knocked down, and though I know, as long a*s you
and the dear children are spared to me, it is wrong
to complain, I feel constantly inclined to abuse
this ship and all the ill-luck she has brought us.
First, that heavy sickness and the loss of so many 134 SLR GEOFFREY PHIPPS HORNBY.
men; then the loss to poor Boyle of his father, I
and to Cambier of his wife; next, the grief that
must have fallen on the mother of the boy we
buried at Sierra Leone, just as she had started J
him in life; and now my loss, and the great disappointment of feeling that I shall not see his I
kind face on my return.    God grant that when I
die I may have as good a name and example for
the encouragement of my boys as the dear old man I
who has now left us has given to his children."
By the time that Captain Hornby had received
this news the Bristol had returned from England,
and as the cruise to the Cape de Yerd Islands had
so far restored his health that he felt better thanx
he had done for the last six months, he was able J
to start in her to visit and inspect the various!
cruisers  employed in the blockade of the West
Coast.    Many of the crews were very sickly ; and, I
as far as was possible, he took the invalids on
board the Bristol, and replaced them by healthy
men from that ship.    What he saw on this cruise
caused him  to write most strongly to the Admiralty on the subject of relaxing the blockade,
and   again  joining   the  Cape   and  West  Coast
To Sir Alexander Milne, E.G.B.
" Congo River, May 28, 1867.
"The fact is, Sir, the bow has been overstrained.
With very few vessels the officers have kept as H.MS. BRISTOL. 135
strict a blockade as fully employed a larger number two years since. A bad season has fallen on
them, and they are done. I must tell you openly,
that if it is not the intention of the Admiralty
to keep the squadron up to the lowest mark—
namely, fourteen effective cruisers—I think we
should have permission to relax the stringency
of the blockade. The work is very hard; there
is no excitement, not even hope, nothing but a
dogged pressing on to the duty because it is
ordered. Yery fine to contemplate, doubtless;
but it is destroying promising young men, officers
principally, but also seamen largely. I do not
advocate an increase of squadron, rather a decrease; a stray cargo of slaves may go across,
but as the demand is slack we seem to waste
our powers for a worthless object."
To Sir Sydney Dacres, KGB.
"St Helena, June 26,1867.
" We found no letters from the Admiralty on
our arrival here, but the papers and letters from
Plymouth affirm that the Rattlesnake is coming
out to relieve this ship. Far be it from me to
say that this is not a very wise change. At the
same time, knowing how hardly she can accommodate my staff, feeling that there is nothing
doing here, as far as I can see, that requires
the country to be put to the expense of a first-
class commodore, and that two years is as much SLR GEOFFREY PHIPPS HORNBY.
as most people can last on the coast, I am writing I
to Sir A Milne to request him to relieve me, if
he relieves this ship. I can say to you what I
might not be justified in intruding on him, that I
in my opinion, instead of sending out a large
corvette with another commodore, you ought to
send out a small one with a young captain, and
put him and all the remains of this squadron
under a commodore at the Cape. If Greyhound^
and Racoon are kept out you would then have
three captains, who could relieve one another as
senior officers in the Mozambique, the Bight, and
the South Coast, supposing you still keep up the
blockade against the Transatlantic slave-trade.;
They could do their work far more easily, and
with less loss to the crews, than under the present I
arrangement. The cruisers for some time past
have not had more than fourteen days in a year
here, and then seven days at Ascension. It would
be a boon to them also if they could make an
annual trip to the Cape instead. It would pro-
occupy but little more time; and the
iter coldness of the climate would have a
very invigorating effect on the crews. Indeed,
the separation of the station from the Cape, and
the removal of the Admiral thence, seem to have
been made after a superficial glance at a chart,
and without any consideration of the prevailing
winds and currents, which really govern the differences of distance between places from a sea- H.M.S. BRISTOL. 137
faring point of view. We have had an indifferent
season off the coast during the last six months,
and several of the crews have felt it."
The report about the Rattlesnake proved to be
true. Though the engines of the Bristol had been
patched up during her visit to England the preceding winter, they were liable, from their construction, to break down at any moment, and there
was no means of repairing them on the station.
It was therefore decided that the Rattlesnake
should relieve her, and as Captain Hornby had
expressed a wish not to be left out after the
Bristol went home, a second-class commodore
was appointed to succeed him. The Rattlesnake, with the new commodore, Captain Dowell,
on board, reached Ascension at the end of November, and as soon as possible after its arrival
the Bristol sailed, reaching England early in
January. Though Captain Hornby had seemed
to stand the climate on the coast better than
most people, it told on him a good deal after
his return. He suffered terribly from neuralgia,
and, what surprised and troubled him a good
deal more, from "nerves" as well. When he
first arrived in London, whenever he drove he
was convinced that every cab or omnibus he
saw coming must run into him, and if there
was no carriage approaching, he expected to
come   into   collision  with   every  lamp-post   he 138 SLR GEOFFREY PHIPPS HORNBY.
drove past. After some months of medical treatment, he recovered completely, and whatever else
may have ailed him, his nerves never troubled him
As he had been relieved before he expected,
both of his places were still let. He lived for
the first few months after his return in Dresden,v
where Mrs Hornby was spending the winter for
the sake of the education of her children.
Lordington became vacant first, and he returned
thither with his family in May, when he found
that the succession duties, legacies, and charges
on the property would prevent him from being
able to afford to live at Littlegreen for five years I
to come. This was the more annoying, as his I
family, six children, had outgrown the smaller I
house, and it was necessary to add to Lordington.
The additions were planned, but Captain Hornby
was not able to remain to see them carried out,
as on January 1, 1869, he was promoted to flag-
rank, and, almost immediately, was offered the
command of a squadron to sail round the world. CHAPTER X.
promotion to flag-rank with command of the flying
squadron its composition notes for the use of captains—rio cape town melbourne and sydney hobart
town notes on new zealand reception by the mikado
 end of the cruise.
The Admiral at the time of his appointment to
the Flying Squadron was barely forty-four years
of age, and the junior Admiral on the list. The
squadron was to consist of four frigates and two
corvettes. Its primary object was to be the
instruction of officers and men in seamanship;
the secondary one, that of showing to foreign
countries and our colonies that England could
afford to man and equip a number of ships for
training purposes only.
Before sailing, the Admiral compiled the following notes for the use of his captains:—
1. Objects of cruise.—To teach officers and men, to elicit
smartness, both in appearance and execution, by competition.
2. That the last frigate squadron did much for the service
in this way; that officers were largely successful.   Draw 140 SLR GEOFFREY PHIPPS HORNBY.
attention to the subsequent advancement of Smart, Symonds,
Dacres, Elliott, Caldwell, &c, &c.
3. My orders are minute, but it is only by attention to
minutiae that we can teach the young officers thoroughly.
4. That the first requisite for improvement is to know
your own deficiencies and wants; and these can be—as
regards ships—more easily seen by outsiders than by
5. I have ordered a signal to be filed by which we can
ask one another the appearance of our own ships.
6. This may always be used by semaphore from ship to
ship, and the senior of two adjacent ships should call a
junior's attention to a yard not squared, a rope towing
overboard, &c.
7. In so doing, it is not to be considered that one man is
finding fault with another.
8. Captains to make officers of watches trim upper yards,
not to be relieved till the relief has been round to see everything right, and not to take charge without calling the I
captain if the ship is not in station.
Officers of watch to make and reduce sail in minute
proportions, and to watch the compass narrowly. (Ben
WyvilTs plan for keeping station.)
Officers of watch to keep ship in station and to carry on.
If any of them are bad their names will be shown.
9. To converse with them, to see if they understand
the principle of a station bill, the principle on which
manoeuvres are executed, and generally on the current
events of the cruise.
10. To call up the junior officers to watch other ships
going in and out of harbour, and to note defects, such as
upper yards not falling square, sails not trimmed, set, or
reduced, to aid helm.
11. Call attention of officers and midshipmen to running
down on a bearing. To the reason of tacking when object
is on weather-beam, &c. THE FLYING SQUADRON. 141
12. To watch mids. when boat-sailing, and encourage
Precision under sail will lead to precision under steam,
which otherwise cannot be learnt without great expense.
I am myself anxious to learn,—always ready to discuss
all questions—my own orders as much as anything else—
with the captains, and wish to give every information. But
my great wish, and I trust the hope of every captain, is,
that we may be able to do the country good service by
training a large body of young officers in a good school.
Goals are to be economically used, not only when steaming, but for condensing and cooking. To ensure the thorough
burning of ashes, it is advisable to make the stokers get up
their own ashes when steaming quietly.
Water is to be completed closely before leaving port, and
the ships are to be kept on a strict allowance at sea of 1J
gall per man out of the tropics. This is to include the
Sails.—The most worn sails are to be used in summer,
and in the tropics. If it is necessary to shift any, they are bent again directly they are repaired.
Mope is to be thoroughly worn out before being replaced
from the sea-store. Much of the running rigging should be
shifted end for end and cut in two, and the ends spliced
before being used. This does not apply to boat-falls, or the
more important ropes, such as lifts, lower and topsail
braces, bunt-lines, clew-lines, and clew-garnets, &c. Too
much care cannot be paid to the economising of sails and
When wearing in succession, the driver is never to be
set, or the after-yards braced up, until the last ship of the
column be abaft the weather-beam.
Before tacking in succession, the mainsails are to be set,
and sufficient sail added to ensure the ship staying without
making a large sternboard. The ships are to be kept under
thorough command in case of a leader missing stays. 142 SLR  GEOFFREY  PHIPPS  HORNBY.
Boats.—Boats are always to sail when it is possible.
When sailing, they should be steered by. their midshipmen,
sitting as low and as far forward as possible, with the crews
in the bottom of the boats. Boats going for officers will
generally be able to sail on shore, even with a foul wind, if
they are sent away in due time. Boats for stewards are to
be sent away at or before daylight, to ensure their being on
board by 7.45 A.M.
Dress.—In harbour, black or white hats are to be worn,
according as the signal orders dark or white trousers. At
sea, or in working dress, blue or white caps are to be worn.
On Sundays, or other holidays, blue jackets are to be worn
over blue or white frocks, as may be convenient; but men
are not to be sent aloft, or away in boats, in white frocks
and blue trousers, unless the signal 613 shall have been
made. It follows that blue frocks must be left out on
Sundays at sea when blue clothing is ordered. Stokers
and working idlers are not to be allowed to keep dirty
dresses, but their kit must be so ordered as to allow of
their wearing a clean working dress daily, and they need
not be obliged to keep so many frocks, &c, as other men.
The squadron sailed from Plymouth, June 19,
1869, consisting of the Liverpool, flagship, Flag-
Captain J. 0. Hopkins, Flag-Lieutenant James
Bruce, Secretary George Love; the Liffey, Captain
Johnson; Bristol, Captain Wilson; Endymion,
Captain Lacy; and Scylla, corvette, Captain
Herbert. The other corvette, Barrosa, Captain
Gibson, had not completed her repairs, and did
not join them till Madeira. The Liverpool, Liffey,
and Bristol sailed pretty evenly, the Scylla could
spare them courses, while the Endymion was very
slow.    They reached Madeira on July 1; three of THE  FLYING SQUADRON. 143
the ships got in under sail, but the Bristol and
Endymion were taken by an easterly current, and
had to get up steam. The next day they weighed
under steam, picked up the Barrosa outside, and
sailed for Bahia, which they reached on August
2, having crossed the line July 25, long. 18° W.
Though the allowance of water seemed so small,
it was never exceeded after the first week or two.
At Bahia they only remained forty-eight hours,
and here they parted company with the Bristol,
taking on with them the frigate Phoebe, Captain
Bythesea. Their passage to Bio de Janeiro was a
very slow one, twelve instead of six days, and, as
ill luck would have it^ the Emperor, counting on the
quicker time, had come down to Bio on purpose to
see the ships, and had given a ball in their honour,
which took place several days before the squadron
arrived. When they did arrive, the Emperor
paid them a long visit, asked to see the ships
at quarters and the boats armed, and after lunch
on board the Liverpool, he visited each ship in
turn. Everything possible in the way of saluting
and manning yards, &c, was done to do him
honour, and his Majesty went away expressing
himself much gratified, and the Minister assured
the Admiral that any feeling of soreness in the
Emperor's mind had been completely effaced by
the reception given to him by the squadron.
During the nine days they remained at Bio the
divers were set to work to scrape the Endymion's 144 SLR GEOFFREY PHIPPS HORNBY.
bottom, and the result proved  eminently satisfactory, as for the rest of the cruise she was quite,
able to hold her own in sailing with the other J
ships.     Another   twelve   days'   passage,   during I
which they encountered their first really severe
gale, brought them to Monte Video, where their-I
five   days'   stay   was   marked   by  no   particular
incident, except that they beat out  on a very |
dirty  day,  very much   to   the  surprise   of  the
French Admiral, who was quite convinced  that I
it was impossible to put to sea in such weather.
There was plenty of wind, and -plenty of hard
work, on the three weeks' passage across to the
Cape. Only three calm days during the whole *
passage; two of these were occupied in exchanging
naval instructors for the purpose of examining
midshipmen, and on the third the Admiral in-1
spected the Phcebe. A great concourse of people 5
assembled to see the squadron sail into Simon's
Bay, and the visit was hailed with great satisfaction, as three days' leave was given to each
watch, and it was calculated that during their
leave the men spent £30,000 in Cape Town. The
dockyard, on the contrary, was pretty well cleared
out of stores, for from constant wear and tear
many of the ropes, &c, were worn out, and had to
be replaced.
Changes at the Cape had been many, and many
of the Admiral's old friends had left ; but his " old
Dutch mother," Mrs Van der Byl, was still alive, THE FLYING SQUADRON. 145
and was much delighted at seeing her old midshipman friend developed into a full-blown Admiral.
From the Cape the squadron bore right away
to Melbourne, leaving Captain Johnson invalided
behind; Captain Gibson was put in as acting captain to the Liffey; Commander Hand acting captain to the Barrosa, Lieutenant Bosanquet replacing him as acting commander in the Endymion.
It was the Endymion's turn to be inspected at sea,
not many days from the Cape, shortly after which
the squadron fell into the typical weather of the
Boaring Forties: gales from which hardly any of
the ships escaped without some damage to boats,
sails, or yards; fog so dense that more than once
the ships were in imminent danger of collision; and
snowstorms, which proved very trying to the men.
On November 10 the Scylla and Endymion were
lost sight of in a gale, and it was not till the
25th that the Scylla rejoined, while the Endymion
did not put in an appearance till the 28 th, two days
after the squadron had anchored at Melbourne.
Both at Melbourne and Sydney the Flying
Squadron was received with the greatest kindness
and hospitality. Not only the municipality but
private individuals did their very utmost in the
way of entertainments. Sailors of all ranks were
franked everywhere, they had free passes on all
the Government railways, and wherever they went,
and whatever they did, they were met by the same
assurance—" Nothing to pay."    At Sydney, where 146 SLR  GEOFFREY  PHIPPS  HORNBY.
Christmas Day was spent, the town made the men
a present of their Christmas dinner, and in both
colonies there seemed a universal desire that the|
men should fare as well as their officers.
The Admiral and officers, on the other hand, did
all in their power to show their appreciation of the *
kindness shown to them, by giving every possible
facility to the public for visiting the ships. At J
Melbourne, partly for the gratification of the public and partly to show the capabilities of Hobson's
Bay as a manoeuvring - place for ships, a naval
review was arranged. The first idea had been I
that it should take the form of a sham attack on
the town, but this was abandoned. As many
guests as possible were accommodated on board
each of the ships, and as soon as the Governor had
been received with all due honour on board theft
flagship, the ships weighed under sail, and sailedjl
in two lines for some miles down the bay, where
they executed a few simple manoeuvres, anything
elaborate being prevented by heavy rain. The naval
display at Sydney was on Sunday, December 13,
when nearly all Sydney was afloat to see the Admiral bring the squadron in from their temporary
anchorage at the Heads to more convenient
quarters in Man-of-War Bay. At both places
the Admiral asked that a general holiday might
be given to the children for the purpose of visiting
the squadron. At Melbourne 6000 availed themselves of the invitation, very much to the per- THE FLYING SQUADRON. 147
plexity of the harbour authorities, who had only
made arrangements for the conveyance of about
1000; while at Sydney only about 1500 appeared
on board the Liverpool, one clergyman having prevented a school of 600 children from going, because
not only had the Admiral come in on a Sunday, but
he had thrown the ships open to the public the
following Sunday also. This, however, seems to
have been the only ill - feeling shown; otherwise
the visit of the squadron went off without a single
Beplying to a toast, " Admiral Hornby and the
officers of the Flying Squadron," the day before
they left Sydney, Admiral Hornby, who was
I received with great cheering," " thanked them
on behalf of the oflicers of the squadron, not
only for the kind way in which their health had
been proposed, but also for the cordial welcome
which they had received from the moment they
had set foot on shore. They felt not as strangers,
but as friends, and they should quit these shores
with a feeling that they had left true and hearty
friends behind them." The squadron left also 200
of their men, deserters, to whom the gold-fields
had proved too great an attraction; and though
the Admiral represented to the Government how
much this probability of losing men would militate
against future squadrons visiting Australia, it was
found to be either impossible or impolitic to take
any steps for their recovery. 148 SIR GEOFFREY PHIPPS  HORNBY.
At the next stopping - place, Hobart Town,
though the entertainments given by the inhabitants, were not on quite such a magnificent scale
as in Australia, the reception of the squadron was
not less cordial. The Admiral was the Governor's
(Sir Charles Du Cane's) guest; and it was while in
Van Diemen's Land that Admiral Hornby played I
his last cricket match. The match was between
the South Tasmanian Cricket Association and the
squadron eleven; the Governor played for Tasmania and the Admiral for the squadron. For the
honour of the Navy be it recorded that the;
Admiral made four runs, and the Governor only
The Admiral seems to have been much taken by
the Hobart Town anchorage. In his notes on the
various ports visited, he writes :—
" The squadron anchored near Government
House, in a very good berth, well sheltered from
N.W. wind, out of the way of merchant-ships,)
in from 4^ to 8 fathoms of water. A very good
supply of water from two pipes at the town,
about 8 tons per hour. Good beef and vegetables.
No stores are kept here, because there is no dock
or factory, which is much to be regretted, as from
the depth of water in the harbour, and its facilities of access and egress, as well as from its cool
climate, it is the best place naturally for headquarters."
From Hobart Town the squadron stood south- THE FLYING SQUADRON. 149
ward for New Zealand, where they touched at three
ports—Lyttleton, Wellington, and Auckland. New
Zealand struck the Admiral as being a better imitation of the mother country than any colony he
had as yet visited; and what really warmed his
heart was to see the course at the Wellington
races kept, as at Goodwood, by hunt-servants.
The prosperity of the islands was then at a high
Notes on New Zealand :—
" H. said the established custom here was, that
when a man arrived with, or acquired-, any capital,
he immediately bought a station, or other land, for
just three times the sum he possessed, leaving the
other two-thirds on mortgage. On this mortgage
he had to pay at least 10 per cent. While prices
remained good, he could of course pay his way, and
fancy himself prosperous, but directly they went
down, the weight of this annual payment brought
him down with it. The land returned to the mortgagee, usually the original owner, plus all the improvements the buyer had made, and the said
buyer was simply ruined. Of course this arises
from buying with borrowed capital, and should
be avoided; for as the interest of money ranges
from 10 to 15 per cent, the profits of industry
must necessarily be large, and the accumulation of
capital by a careful man must be rapid, so long as
the increase is gathered by himself and not by a
Northwards from New Zealand their route took
them to Japan, their longest time at sea, fifty-six I
days, and the improvement in sailing, which constant practice had given, began to make itself felt. I
On the voyage out nearly every sailing vessel of |
any size could beat them; now, running across the I
bay to Yokohama, the Admiral writes :—
"April 6.—Had a most interesting race with a
very handsome clipper, and by following the lead I
of a junk, and keeping rather more .to the E., we I
rather did him.    The number of ships and junks 1
about was surprising.    Besides our friend, another i
handsome clipper was coming up along the east |
shore under Cape Nula, another was running up I
the Uraga Channel, a fourth beating out, and three ^
more barques—two schooners  and a brig—were I
running in with us from Vries.    Fusiyama showed
occasionally above the clouds, very handsome.   The I
way the junks and fishing-boats sailed was surpris- I
ing, and it was hard to say whether we stared
hardest at them or their crews at us."w
Sir H. Parkes begged the Admiral to move the
fleet to Yeddo for the inspection of the Japanese
Ministers, and to this the Admiral agreed, on con- .
dition that he and his captains should be received
by the Mikado. To this the Japanese Ministers
consented, and the squadron was moved up on the
9th, the audience being arranged for the 15th.
The command to attend the audience, and an
invitation to lunch with the Ministers after, were THE FLYING SQUADRON. 151
sent in Japanese;   here is a translation of the
".4prtf 14,1870.
" Sir,—We have the honour to inform you that
his Majesty the Tenno is desirous of receiving you
at Court, and you are consequently invited to come
to the palace at one o'clock on the 15 th inst., with
your staff and the captains of the ships under your
command.—We have, &c, &c.
" Sawa Ju SAN i Kjyowara Noriyoshi, L.S.,
Terashdia Ju she i Fujtwara Munenori, L.S.,
Ministers of Foreign Affairs.
" His Excellency Eear-Admiral Hornby."
In due course the Admiral, the captains, and his
staff attended at the palace, and were received;
but in those days the Mikado was too sacred a
personage to expose his face to the common gaze.
He was seated on a raised platform or dais, in front
of which a screen or lattice descended low enough
to conceal his face. His sacred Majesty was but
human after all, and was just as curious to see
his guests as they to see him: several times the
Admiral saw him trying to peep below his screen
without being seen. Sir H. Parkes made the opening speech:—
" I have the honour to present to your Majesty
Bear-Admiral Hornby, together with the captains
of  the   vessels   composing   the   English  Flying 152 SIR GEOFFREY PHIPPS HORNBY.
Squadron, which has recently arrived in Japan on
a voyage round the world.    Bear-Admiral Hornby
is happy to avail himself of this opportunity to be
received in audience by your Majesty, and it will;|
afford him much satisfaction to be of service to
your   Majesty's   Government,  by enabling your !
Majesty's officers to inspect the vessels under his I
To this the Mikado replied, through one of his
" In obedience to the orders of your Government,
you have safely crossed wide seas on a voyage
round the globe. I take the opportunity offered |
me to-day of congratulating you on your good |
health, and on the unexampled undertaking in
which you are engaged. I have also to express my
satisfaction that, owing to your good offices, two of
my naval students will be placed on board your
fleet, and receive instruction in navigation!"
If the Admiral spoke, no record of his speech has
been preserved.
One of the above-mentioned young naval officers
was taken in the flagship, the other in the Phoebe.
The one in the Phcebe was remarkably quick and
sharp, and picked up not only English, but nautical
information, with astonishing rapidity.    The other THE FLYING SQUADRON. 153
on board the Liverpool had much more difficulty
in acquiring knowledge, and, what was worse, was
morbidly aware of his deficiencies. So low and
depressed did he become that the Admiral, to
cheer him, sent for his fellow-countryman to come
to see him. The experiment was not successful,
as a few days afterwards the poor young fellow
killed himself, and when his compatriot was told of
the fact, he did not seem surprised; on the contrary, he seemed to think that his friend had
taken quite the best way out of his difficulties.
The voyage from Japan was in many respects
the same as that taken in the Tribune in 1858-59,
except that the squadron got across to Vancouver's
Island under four weeks. The colony was poor,
and not able to offer much in the way of entertainment for the squadron,—only one ball, and a
regatta got up in Esquimault harbour for the
boats of the two squadrons, of which the Flying
Squadron carried off eight out of twelve events.
The squadron also took away from Vancouver's
Island a new main-yard for the Phoebe. As soon
as the regatta was over, the Boxer gunboat was
sent to a lumber camp, about 80 miles up the
coast, to choose a suitable stick. It was not till
about eleven o'clock the next day that the lieutenant commanding the Boxer was able to see the
foreman. The tree which was chosen was then
standing in the forest; by 5.30 p.m. it was cut
down and   the   yard  alongside  the  Boxer.    In 154 SIB  GEOFFBEY  PHIPPS  HORNBY.
thirty-six hours from the time the Boxer left
Esquimault, the yard was on board the Phoebe!
Labour is dear in British Columbia, and work is
consequently better and more quickly done.
By the time they left Vancouver's Island, the I
Flying Squadron had exchanged both of her corvettes ; the Pearl joined the squadron in Japan,
and the Barrosa was left in her place, and at
Esquimault, as seemed only natural, the Charybdis
took the place of the Scylla as far as Valparaiso.
As a parting gift the Scylla gave the Liverpool
their tame sheep, Jack. He had endeared himself
to his shipmates by refusing to remain in his pen-
He would butt the other sheep into a corner till J
he had a clear space, and then jump out. He was
washed and combed every Saturday, had his place
at divisions on Sunday, and acquired a decided
taste for tobacco and grog. When he was the
only sheep left, the ship's company came aft and
begged that his life might be spared, and on
arrival at Plymouth they presented him to the
Admiral, who relegated him to a paddock at Lordington, where he lived many years in honourable
On their way to Valparaiso the squadron put
in for six days to Honolulu, which seems to have
been purely a pleasure visit. At Valparaiso they
went in for an extensive refit; sails and rigging
were very much worn, and almost all the ships
required caulking.    Here their departure was has- THE  FLYING  SQUADRON. 155
tened by a telegram announcing that war had
broken out between France and Germany. Provisions for a hundred days, and coals, were completed, and on August 28 they sailed, quite prepared for any emergency, and ready to pick up
orders at the Falkland Islands, Bahia, and the
Azores, which were to be their only points of
communication. There was no signal made to
them at the Falkland Islands, so they did not go
in there after all, but kept on to Bahia, where they
arrived, October 6, and received the news of Sedan
and the fall of the Empire.
" I am sorry," writes the Admiral, " for the fall
of the Emperor. He has been a good friend to us,
and I have no faith in European republics."
Though after Sedan there seemed no chance of
England engaging in war, the Admiral left Bahia
again on the 9th, having only just remained in
harbour long enough to have the Satellite's rudder
repaired. She (the Satellite) had taken the
Charybdis's place at Valparaiso, and had got her
rudder-head badly wrung off the Falkland Islands.
Some of the other ships also had their steering-
gear slightly damaged, and for this reason the
Admiral thought it wiser to avoid the Azores and
sail straight for Plymouth. From Bahia he wrote
to Sir Sydney Dacres that he hoped to arrive in
England about November 15, and at daylight on
the 15th the signalman at Mount Wise reported
that the Flying Squadron was in sight.    During 156 SIR GEOFFREY PHIPPS HORNBY.
the forenoon the six ships anchored in the Sound,
and the cruise of the Flying Squadron was ended.
It remained, therefore, only for the Admiral to
write in the warmest terms to the captains who
had so ably and loyally seconded his efforts; to
write to the Admiralty to beg that the men, who
during the last seventeen months had been more
than 350 days at sea, should be granted extra
leave; and to urge that the services of at least
some of the commanders and first lieutenants
should receive the reward of promotion.
I The Flying Squadron was," he says, " I believe,
the only one which has ever kept continuous company round the world. It sailed great distances
in very limited times, and reached the different
ports with a punctuality which I venture to say
was not only unexpected, but unprecedented. On
its return each of the large frigates inspected in
the home ports was reported on most favourably.
These results could not have been achieved, seeing
that the squadron was manned by a large proportion of young and inexperienced officers and men,
if the senior officers had not done their duty with
the utmost diligence and ability."
For two or three days the Admiral took up his
quarters with Admiral Stewart at the Keyham
Dockyard, and on the morning when he drove
thence to the station, the officers and men were
drawn up at the dockyard gates to take leave of
him.    It was a parting much felt on all sides, this THE FLYING SQUADRON.
separation of old comrades, who had been so intimately associated for so many months, and who
would soon be scattered to the four quarters of the
globe. A farewell it was also to wooden ships, to
sails and yards, to the old navy of Nelson's time.
Henceforward came the era of steam and iron, of
torpedoes and electricity; of what is called Science
versus the keen observation which gained every
advantage possible to be taken from wind and
weather, and which used to be called Seamanship.
Table of Dati
Plymouth     ....
June 19
Funchal, Madeira   .
July    1
July    2
Bahia, Brazil.
Aug.    2
Aug.    4
Bio Janeiro, Brazil .
..     16
ir     25.
Monte Video, Biver Plate
Sept   6
Sept 11
Simon's Bay, Cape of Good Hope
Oct.     3
Oct   16.
Hohson's Bay, Melbourne .
Nov. 26
Dec.    7.
Sydney         ....
Dec. 12
..     26.
Hobart Town, Tasmania   .
Jan.     2
Jan.   10.
Lyttleton, New Zealand
i,     19
ti     22.
Wellington,        u
u     24
ii     27.
Auckland,          n
Feb.    2
Feb.     9
Yokohama, Japan   .
April   6
April 19.
Esquimault, Vancouver's Island .
May  15
May 28.
Honolulu      ....
June 16
June 23.
Valparaiso, Chili
Aug. 14
Aug. 2.8.
Bahia, Brazil....
Oct     6
Oct     9.
Plymouth     ....
Nov. 15 CHAPTEK  XI.
While the Flying Squadron was on its way home
to Bahia, a disaster had occurred in the Channel
Fleet which wrought such desolation as has perhaps only been equalled by the loss of the Royal
George or the Victoria. On September 7, 1870,
the Captain capsized in the Bay of Biscay, and
all hands were lost with the exception of sixteen
men. This opened up the question as to whether
naval construction was being conducted on satisfactory principles, and led to the formation of a
Committee to inquire into the cause of the loss of
the Captain, and to report on what was the best
form of battleship. The Committee was composed
partly of civilians, partly of naval men, under the
chairmanship of Lord Duiferin.    The naval mem- THE CHANNEL SQUADRON.        159
bers of the board were Admiral Elliot, Admiral
Ryder, Admiral Stewart, Admiral Hornby, and
Admiral Hood; the civilians, Sir William Armstrong, Mr Froude, &c.
The Committee met for the first time on January
18, 1871, and the naval members being men of
strong and widely divergent opinions, every point
was most thoroughly discussed at the meetings
held at irregular intervals between that date and
July 26, when the report was gone through and
signed by all but two members—Admirals Byder
and Elliot deciding to issue a separate report.
The Committee agreed that the loss of the Captain
was not due to any fault on the part of Captain
Burgoyne, but to her having two feet more displacement than was intended. Masts were condemned for first-class ironclads; but so strong was
the prejudice in favour of the old order of things,
that it was thought requisite to have a few fully
rigged ships, and some partially armoured fast
frigates, for foreign distant service and the protection of trade.
Within a month of the time that the Committee
on Naval Construction completed its labours, Admiral Hornby received a letter from Mr Goschen,
then First Lord of the Admiralty, saying that he
thought the service would be benefited by his
being Admiral Wellesley's successor (in the Channel Fleet), and that he would submit his name to
the Queen. 160
Accordingly, August 24, 1871, he received the
appointment, and on September 2 he hoisted his
flag on board the Minotaur. With the exception
of a new flag-captain, Gibson, his staff was the
same as in the Flying Squadron. The winter
cruise of the Channel Fleet was to very much
the same places as in 1863—viz., Lisbon, Cadiz,
Teneriffe, Gibraltar, Vigo, &c.—but the composition
of the squadron was entirely different. Except
the Topaze, which only remained with them a few
months, the ships were all ironclads. Three of
them were the great five-masted ships, Minotaur,
Agincourt, and Northumberland; the others, the
Hercules, the Monarch, the Bellerophon, and the
Sultan, then rather a new thing in ironclads.
The Admiral availed himself fully of the opportunity of exercising the squadron in steam tactics, and was much disappointed that during a
two or three days' rendezvous he had with the
Mediterranean Squadron, under Sir Hastings Yel-
verton, there was no opportunity of practising
manoeuvres on a large scale with the combined
Christmas was spent at Gibraltar, where the
Admiral met the Federal General Sherman.
Diary. " Dec. 26.—General Sherman came on
board this ship and the Hercules. He seemed
very much struck with the latter. He dined with
me in the evening, remarked on my youthful appearance ; in some expressions was very American, THE CHANNEL SQUADRON.        161
but an intelligent man,—a man with a remarkable-
looking head and good countenance."
The cheerfulness of the season was also much
enhanced by the good reports of the progress towards recovery made by the Prince of Wales, and
at Vigo, on February 27, 1872, the squadron had
its own Thanksgiving festivities. The ships were
dressed, a special service was held, the "main-
brace was spliced," leave was granted, and the
Admiral gave a large officers' dinner-party on
board the Minotaur.
About the middle of March the ships were
ordered home, and as the Minotaur had to go
into dock for a couple of months to have her
engines patched, the Admiral took a house for
the time being at Southsea.
A good many changes were being made at the
Admiralty just then, and very soon after his
arrival Admiral Hornby was offered a seat at
the Board as Second Sea-Lord, but he preferred
to remain in his present command. All the same,
during his stay at Portsmouth he was sent for
nearly every week by the First Lord to discuss
naval matters. Some of the questions under discussion—namely, moving the Naval College to
Greenwich, increasing the age for entry in the
Navy, &c.—were subsequently carried out.
The Minotaur came out for her steam trial on
May 27, and the following Sunday, June 1, on his
return from church, the Admiral received an order 162 '   SLR GEOFFREY PHIPPS HORNBY.
to proceed at once to Kingston (to receive the
Duke of Edinburgh), whither the Hercules and
Northumberland had preceded him. With a good
deal of difficulty he succeeded in getting away
that same evening; but when he reached Kingston neither of the other ships had arrived, as,
through some delay in the telegraph office, their
orders had not reached them till Monday morning.
The Admiral could hear nothing at Kingston about
the programme for opening the Dublin Exhibition,
and on going up to Dublin to write his name at
the Lodge, he saw the Duke of Edinburgh returning, with a very small procession, from the opening
ceremony. The Duke was most cordial, and was
evidently exerting himself " not only to do the
Prince in Dublin, but to make himself the head
of our profession." From Kingston the ships
crossed to Milford Haven to coal, en route for
Liverpool, Greenock (where they found great improvement and extension in the building-yards),
Lough Foyle, and Lough Swilly. Thence round
the north of Ireland to Berehaven, and back to
Portland, where the steam - reserve ships were
lying, and where the Prince of Wales and the
Lords of the Admiralty were expected for the
opening of the Breakwater.
Letter to Wife. "August 11, 1872.
" We had a strong gale from the N. W. yesterday, which has not yet blown itself out.    It very THE CHANNEL SQUADRON.        163
much interfered with the success of the ceremonial,
which, if it had been fine, would have been very
impressive. Fifteen large ships and five brigs
manning yards and saluting together is a sight
not often seen; and there were a heap of yachts
here which, if it had been fine, would have been
knocking about under sail and enlivening the
scene. As it was, the ships were a good deal hid
in the mist, and there was enough rain at times to
make it disagreeable to the spectators, and very
much so to those who had to pull about in
On the following day, as soon as the Prince of
Wales had left, the Admiral took the whole fleet
out for a ten days' cruise — a ten days' pretty
severe course of steam evolutions, on which, when
the ships anchored at Spithead, Captain M'Crea
of the Bellerophon commented to Captain Van-
sittart of the Sultan by semaphore as follows:
" Here endeth the first lesson," very much to the
Admiral's amusement.
For the next six weeks the headquarters of the
Channel Squadron were at Portland, the ships
going in turn to Portsmouth and Plymouth to be
docked preparatory to their winter cruise. At
Portland on September the 19th the first of the
annual sailing races for the Admiral's Cup took
place. This cup was given by the Admiral annually to encourage a taste for boat-sailing among 164 SLR GEOFFREY PHIPPS HORNBY.
the younger  officers,  and was   sailed for under
1. In this race service boats with any rig and of all
classes may compete; no restriction as to rig, false keel,%
&c, except that water ballast can only be admittecfcsM
necessary.    Distance not less than ten miles.
2. Time allowance to be as follows—viz.:  Launches,!
barges, and cutters to allow
Pinnaces (not steam)
Galleys       ....
Dingies       ....
Sub-lieutenants to allow midshipmen
Commanders and others
Of the three cups given by the Admiral in the
years 1872, 1873, and 1874, the two first were
won by Lieutenants Fitzgerald and Britten respectively, and the last by a midshipman, Frederick. On two occasions the winning boat was a
cutter, on the third an adapted steam-pinnace.
It was distinctly proved that, if there was any
breeze, the service rig was the best, but that, all
things considered, skill in handling the boat had
more to do with success than build, rig, or any
other supposed advantage.
Before leaving England, very much to the Admiral's regret, Captain Gibson was obliged to
resign his appointment on the plea of ill-health,
and was succeeded by an old flag-lieutenant and
commander, B,. O'B. Fitzroy, who had been pro- THE CHANNEL SQUADRON.        165
moted a few months previously. This winter a
much longer stay was made at Vigo than at
Lisbon. In the first place, there were not the .
same temptations for the young officers to gamble,
and there was more shooting to be had. In the
account of one of the Admiral's shooting expeditions there is an interesting notice of the rural
districts of Spain.
Diary. "Oct. 30, 1872.—Left the ship with
Hills [Staff commander], Manning [coxswain],
and Joan [a setter] at 5.45 a.m. Found Bar-
cena [the consul] and Don Xavier waiting, with
a very useful dog, near the diligence. Don
Xavier is by descent, and in reality, the great
sportsman of the place; his father held an appointment under Government as sort of grand
chasseur. He (Don Xavier) always wears a red
handkerchief round his head, and thinks himself very cunning on game, but is in my opinion an old poacher. The diligence, drawn by
wretched cattle, started half an hour late, and
made its usual leisurely way. On passing the
first ridge we found all the valleys towards the
Minho full of fog, so we saw nothing till
beyond Puente - Arias. Then it cleared, and
we saw some beautiful scenery — rugged hills
clothed with very varied foliage, the red colour
of the chestnuts and of a sort of wild cherry
being very striking, the vines, - a series of
beautiful browns and dull yellows, and a quan- 166 SLR GEOFFREY PHIPPS  HORNBY.
tity of dark-green fir. Half-way down the
hills were terraced almost as perfectly and
laboriously as in Japan, and water was led to
them all. The road, a very fine one, gradually
rose into a country where trees ceased, I fancy,
by reason of the soil, which looked like disintegrated granite. We left the highroad at
Fuente Fria, so called because there is no fountain there, and walked about two miles over
some undulating ground covered with short furze,
heather, and fern. There we came in sight of a
very deep, wide, and rugged valley, on the far
side of which, and high up, lay La Grafia. We
had a very long and rough walk, at least seven
miles, to reach it, mostly on the remains of the
decayed roads, which had once been paved with
huge blocks of stone, but since used as watercourses. On the way I killed a couple of partridges with two very good shots, much to the
astonishment of Don Xavier, who had no idea
a gun could reach so far; and on arrival we
found Fane and Brown, who had astonished a
keeper with a like exhibition of skill. I believe Don Xavier got frightened, and determined that we should not have a chance of
shooting much of his game.
" Oct. 31.—The house at which we put up,
though the priest's, and far the best in the
village, was rude and dirty to a degree, and
the  owner much  the  same — a very low - bred THE CHANNEL SQUADRON.        167
man .in appearance. I slept badly on an air
mattress, which had a tendency to slip from
under me, and was very cold.
" Don Xavier hurried us out at 8 A.M., took us
to the top of the mountains, showed us a lot of
very wild partridges on bare and steep hillsides,
and walked us through long valleys where birds
were not, till we were thoroughly tired. Luncheon
also, which we understood was to be sent out to
meet us, was not ordered, and we had to do our
best on a few biscuits which I had in my pocket.
At 5 p.m. we got home with only five brace of
birds and no temper, and found that Barcena,
who had left us tired, had killed three on his
way down close to the house.
"Nov. 1.—Left La Grana at 9 a.m.j thinking
what a beautiful country it was, how low in the
scale of civilisation were the people, how dirty,
and what a pity for them that there were no
game laws to attract gentlemen to live in the
country; for there is no possible amusement
for them, no roads, no shooting, and an enforced division of property at death, which prevents any large houses being kept up. We took
mules to help us up the hills, and reached Fuente
Fria at noon. The other muleteers dawdled, and
did not arrive with the luggage until 2 p.m. Then
only did we allow the diligence, which we had delayed for two hours, to proceed (this is how they
do things in Spain), and it went at a most doleful n
pace, taking six and a half hours to do twenty-nine
miles down-hill. I was truly glad to be again in
my clean cabin."
The year 1873 was, as far as the Channel Fleet
was concerned, marked by a good deal of attendance on Royalty. First came the abdication of
Amadeo, King of Spain. Things had been very
much disturbed in Spain during the winter, but
towards the beginning of February the country
seemed settling down a little, when, the Channel
Fleet being at Gibraltar, the news came from the
Governor of Algesiras that King Amadeo was likely I
to abdicate. Next day, February 12, the Admiral
writes in his Diary :—
" Heard in the evening that King Amadeo
had abdicated. Late received telegram ordering
Agincourt, Hercules, and Lively to Lisbon to
embark him.
"Lisbon, Feb. 16.—King Amadeo at Belem.
It seems that Forilla, after letting the king
down, was not sufficiently red for the Republicans, who have kicked him out, and brought
in an entirely new set of men — Figueras and
Castellar at the head. The Portuguese Government is much frightened, as their Republicans
are much elated. King Victor Emmanuel said to
be much displeased at his son's abdication, but I
fancy he had no alternative. Nothing is known
about his leaving, but Macdonald [Bear-Admiral]
and I are to see him on Tuesday at 1 p.m. THE  CHANNEL SQUADRON. 169
- "Feb. 18.—To Belem at 1 p.m. to wait on
King Amadeo; rooms in the palace large and
airy, looking on to a quaint garden, gravel paths
narrow, with high box edgings; King Amadeo
unshorn, and clad in a short black frock-coat of
the ' Young Spanish' cut; did not come to the
point with reference to using our ships or not,
said that an Italian squadron was coming, that
he could form no plans for moving till the queen
was better, and that he was much obliged to
the Government for offering ships.
"Feb. 24.—At 2 p.m. Amadeo came on board
particulierement, which I understand means in
diplomatic phrase ' privately'; but it is not easy
to know how to receive princes privately, unless
they say they wish to be incognito. So we
manned yards and saluted him on coming on
board, and on leaving the ships which he visited
—viz., Minotaur and Hercules. I wrote to
Oldoin and said I should salute him under the
Italian flag unless otherwise desired, and he replied that his Majesty since his glorious abdication had adopted the Italian flag. Amadeo in
his manner reminds me much of his father—
short and abrupt in his phrases."
Two Italian ships, Roma and Conte Verde,
having arrived, the Admiral sailed for Vigo, leaving Rear-Admiral Macdonald in the Northumberland at Lisbon, and at these two places they
remained  till   nearly   Easter,   when   they  were 170 SLR GEOFFREY PHIPPS  HORNBY.
recalled   to   Spithead.      Very   soon   afterwards
preparations   began for   receiving   the   Shah  of
Persia.     The Minotaur's engines  were in such
a bad state that it was absolutely necessary to I
replace them, so she was paid off, and the Ad- i
miral   transferred   his   flag    to   the   Agincourt.
About the beginning of June the Channel and
Reserve Squadrons  began to  assemble at Spit-
head, and  on the  11th  they sailed  for  Dover,
and for the first time practised the manoeuvres
to be executed off the Dover pier on the occasion
of the landing of the Shah.    Again on the 17th
the Admiral had " the captains on board to explain
certain manoeuvres which are to be performed off
Dover.     Vanguard, Audacious, and Devastation
left for Ostend to embark and escort the Shah. ;
Orders to embark certain correspondents of newspapers.   Persian flag need not be hoisted.   Though
the Admiralty will be present, I am to remain in I
entire command.
"June 18. — Morning broke calm and rainy.
Weighed at 10.30 and ran out S.S.E. Yachts
appeared at 1.40 p.m., but slowed as we turned,
and we had to stop also. This put us rather near
in to form line off the pier, and the Shah was a
long time disembarking, so we were a long way
to the southward before we saluted. We then
stood off to do some manoeuvres, which were but
moderately executed, and we were just forming
line again to go off the pier when a fog came THE CHANNEL SQUADRON.        171
suddenly down, and we were not very far from
the pier end. However, we stood on, and picked
up most of the ships when the fog lifted.
"June 19.—Off the Owens, slowed to let Achilles
and Black Prince up. Took a turn through
Spithead, and anchored simultaneously and very
"June 20.—Off early to trim the lines of the
ships, which, though fair, were not exact.
" June 22.—I landed about 3 p.m., and found Sir
A. Milne and Mr Goschen on board Enchantress.
Both were very complimentary about the handling
of the ships at Dover, and what they had heard
of our anchoring here.
" June 23.—A very fine morning, with light,
westerly wind. Ships in harbour dressed at 9
A.M.; at Spithead when the Shah arrived in
dockyard with white ensign at main. Shifted
to Persian ensign, when we saluted the yacht
off Southsea pier. Laid out on yards when off
Spit Buoy. Shah, Princess of Wales, and Czar-
evna visited Agincourt and Sultan. I received
them at the bottom of the ladder. Went to
quarters on board Agincourt; a gun shown at
work in Sultan.
" June 25.—^Complimentary letter from Sir Alexander Milne, also saying that we may probably
go to Drontheim.
" June 30.—Saw the official letter of thanks for
the review at  the Admiral's office,  thought  it 172 SLR GEOFFREY PHIPPS  HORNBY.
most cold and unsatisfactory.    A great contrast to
that given to the army for the Windsor review.
"July 5.—A thick morning with wind from
S.S.E. Embarked at 9.30 a.m. and waited for the
Shah. Shah reached the dockyard at 12.40. We
weighed, and he passed through Spithead at 1.40
p.m. We steamed about 11'5 against the wind.
About 4.15 saw the French squadron coming to
receive him. Yacht slackened speed to give
them time. They seemed rather slow in their
movements. We cheered and saluted when the
squadrons were about two miles apart. They .
received him with a treble salute, yards manned,
Persian ensign at main, English flag at fore,
French at mizen. I saluted the French Vice-
Admiral's flag at main, then we altered course and
made sail. The barbette guns in the towers of
two ships were very much exposed, and most of
their broadside guns very low in the water. They
went on very slow with the yacht, and one vessel
kept very bad station. I fancy the Hirondelle
(French royal yacht) could not do better than
11'6, as she barely kept up with us."
The allusion above about going to Drontheim
was for the purpose of escorting Prince Arthur
(now the Duke of Connaught) to represent the
Queen at the coronation of Bang Oscar of Sweden.
Therefore having handed the Shah safely over to
the French squadron, the Channel Fleet paid a
visit to Leith, and from thence crossed to Norway. THE CHANNEL SQUADRON.        173
Here they had the curious experience of twenty-
one hours of daylight, and the other three hours
twilight, so that it was never too dark to read in
the cabin.     Two days after reaching Drontheim .
the Admiral writes to Mrs Hornby :—
" Orkt.axd Bat, July 16,1873.
" On Monday we anchored here early, and I
went on to Drontheim in the Valorous, to look at
the anchorage. It is about twenty-six miles from
this, through some pretty fiords, and it stands on
a gentle slope facing the north, with a small islet
called Monksholm, on which is a fort (?) defending
the place. We found in there a German admiral
with four wooden ships, two Swedes, and two
Norwegians. Landed, and found a very clean-
looking town, built almost entirely of wood, houses
two-storeyed and comfortable. Streets very wide,
at least 40 feet of paving in the middle, then a
ride on each side, soft earth about 10 feet, and a
paved trottoir of another 10 feet. We had a
distant view of the cathedral, and I could see
a handsome end of a transept and a very quaint-
topped apse; but as I had to hunt for the harbourmaster for information, I had not time to go in.
Very little information did I get when I caught
that functionary, and I don't know in what sort
of a place we shall bring up. At 3 a.m. a
Swedish frigate, with the king's standard flying,
came suddenly round the point, and as a Nor- 174 SLR GEOFFREY PHIPPS HORNBY.
wegian corvette which was in the roads saluted
him at once, we had to do the same. At nine the
Admiral, who is on board with him, called on me
and said that the king would be glad to see me at
eleven. I found him a very tall good-looking man,
pleasant, and very cordial in manner, wonderfully
acquainted with many of our officers, ships, &c.
A Swedish councillor—a general officer, I believe— I
sat with us all the time to see we did not talk
treason; and before I left the king desired that I
should present the officers of my Staff to him.
Talked to Bruce about old Sir Henry, and to Love
about the Crimea. He (the king) has been touring in I
the north, and came here to meet the queen. She
arrived late (ladies generally do)—half-past seven
instead of five in the afternoon. We all saluted *;
as she approached. The king went on board to
greet her, yards manned. She returned with him
to the frigate, yards manned again. About 9 p.m.
they left for Drontheim, yards manned and a
Diary. "July 16, Drontheim.—The Enchantress yacht, with Prince Arthur on board, came
in sight about 5 p.m. We weighed and stood
across to fall in with the Prince as he entered the
fiord. As we fired our salute, the charge in one
of the guns exploded in reloading. A poor fellow
who was loading was blown overboard, while the
man serving the vent had his thumb blown off. THE CHANNEL SQUADRON.        175
We found nothing of the former. We ran up here
as fast as we could, nearly 12 knots, and anchored
very well. We rather astonished the Germans
and Swedes at the way we rattled in. Went to
yacht. H.R.H. desired me to convey his regret
at the accident to the ship's company; said he
had told the Chamberlain I was to go with him as
part of his Staff.
"July 17.—To breakfast with Prince Arthur,
where I met Prince Waldemar of Denmark in a
sailor's dress. He is serving his first apprenticeship
on board the Ijaelland. Then te call on admirals
alone, and afterwards in company with H.R.H.,
who finally came to Agincourt. Afternoon called
on Ministers, Mr Erskine, &c. At 5 p.m. to a
dinner at the Court. The Prince was driven up in
a carriage and four, very good horses, his staff and
myself in a tidy carriage and pair. Palace plain,
but rooms sufficiently large. Table service very
plain, dinner fair. King proposed our Queen's
health, and Prince Arthur that of their Majesties,
both speaking very neatly in French. Queen
agreeable, speaks very good English. No one
present but Swedes, Norwegians, and English.
"July 18.—Very fine morning. We all met the
Prince at the landing-place at 10.30 A.M., and
followed him on foot, he in a carriage, to the
palace. There we found we had to go to the
Cathedral, so went up through the lines of soldiers,
receiving much saluting.    King and queen arrived 176 SLR GEOFFREY PHIPPS  HORNBY.
about 11.30 a.m. Service began with a hymn,
then a sermon of some twenty-five minutes, then a
sort of choral service, a minister with a very good
voice chanting, and the choir responding. The king
then came to an old chair placed before the altar. A I
bishop anointed him, touching him with oil on the
forehead, both temples, the flesh of his breast, right
thumb, and both wrists. Then he was crowned,
and received sceptre, orb, and sword. After which I
a herald in plain court dress, with a red scarf,
proclaimed him to be 'King of Norway and Sweden, I
and no other person.' Then the queen was crowned.
As the crown was placed on the head of each, their
forts and ships saluted with 112 guns for each, and
we chimed in with our modest 21. More singing,
and the procession re-formed to leave the church
about 2.30 p.m. The king and queen went off
with their crowns on their heads, and their red
and ermine cloaks on, looking exactly like the
kings and queens in the children's picture-books.
A large dinner at 4 p.m. ; we sat down in the
ballroom 165, and nearly as many in an adjoining
"July 20.—Called on board the Nornen and
saw some very good charts of the coast as far
north as Aalsen. Telegraphed by the Prince's
desire for leave to accompany him to Bergen. To
a ball at 8 p.m. given by the town to the king and
queen. Very crowded, in a house built for the
purpose, and very prettily decorated.     Beauties THE CHANNEL SQUADRON.        177
not numerous, and all being dressed in white did
not show well King and queen markedly civil
to me, and doing a great deal to notice people
generally. I never saw any persons try more
to make themselves popular, or do it in a more
gracious manner.
" July 21.—A large party of Deputies from both
houses came on board and saw us go to quarters,
seemed much pleased. A telegram allowing of our
going to Bergen.
" July 22.—The Prince dined with me at 8 A.M.,
German and Norwegian admirals and Danish
commodore to meet him.
" July 23.—A very fine and hot day. King and
queen paid a visit to the squadrons. Foreigners
hoisted mast-head flags : we did not, but crossed
royal-yards. Prince Arthur came on board
Agincourt to receive them. General salute. Dane
saluted again when they left his ship. Afterwards
each squadron saluted the standard when hoisted
by their own ships. General salute on landing.
Yards manned, men cheering as he passed and
repassed. Went to quarters on board Agincourt,
where they stayed some time, king wanting to see
the double side, &c. They each fired an electric
broadside of tubes. Dined with Prince Arthur,
arranged to meet yacht in fiord near Bergen not
earlier than 6 p.m. on Friday 26th. Ball in
palace, walked in polonaise with queen and danced
quadrille with her, vis-a-vis to king with wife of
Governor of Drontheim.    Ball very crowded and
hot.    Prince asked to forego salutes on parting.
"July 25.—Our pilots were waiting for us off
Helliso lighthouse. As they came on board, the
yacht came in sight astern. We went slowly on,
and she overtook us about 6.30 p.m. Found the
people, apparently, very ignorant of the soundings
of their port. Where they said it was deep,
we found 20 to 25 fathoms, where they said it
was good anchorage we found 40 fathoms. We
anchored in the bight S.S.W. of Bergen, the yacht •
at the entrance to Bergen harbour. The Prince
complains of its being a stinking berth and infested
by rats. The fiord itself and the mountains surrounding it are beautiful—one on the N.E. seems
quite to overhang the water. The Cathedral has
rather a quaint doorway, and its churchyard well
planted with flowers. The towers of all the
churches look very large and massive, as if they
might have been built with an eye to defence.
Houses substantial, some quaint, all showing a
good deal of window.
"July 26.—Prince Arthur came on board to
say 'Good-bye,' and hinted that he should send
me a print of the Queen. The yacht left at
10 a.m. Called on the captain of the arsenal
Everything seems to be in excellent order. Saw
some of his gunboats hauled up; very formidable
ships before steam and iron plates were thought
of.    Weighed at 3 p.m." THE CHANNEL SQUADRON.        179
The print of the Queen arrived in due course,
which, to the Admiral's great gratification, had
written below the ordinary lithographed signature
"From Victoria." Henceforth in every ship he
commanded, in every house he inhabited, this
print always held the post of honour.
After Norway the Channel Fleet cruised westward for the purpose of trying the behaviour of
the Devastation at sea. She was the first powerfully armed and armoured mastless ironclad which
had been completed, and though she had taken
her part in the reception of the Shah, she had not
yet attempted any distant voyage or encountered
anything of a sea. The day on which they left
Portland, August 13, 1873, there was wind enough
to begin the experiment, and the Admiral writes
in his Diary :—
"Aug. 13.—I put Devastation on our starboard
beam to watch her. She plunged heavily into the
seas, taking a great deal of water on to her forecastle, along which it rolled and broke heavily
against the forepart of her breast-work, and seemed
to run off slowly. She looked as if overweighted,
and as if all the gear on the forecastle was a great
impediment to the free delivery of the water. As
the day wore on the swell became longer, and she
rode over it easily. We never went more than
5 knots.
" Aug. 21.—Found a certain amount of swell in
passing the Smalls, sufficient to give a perceptible 180 SLR GEOFFREY PHIPPS HORNBY.
motion to the Agincourt. Devastation rode over
easily and drily when going 6 knots, and with a
very different motion from that exhibited on the
13th. She had then 1350 tons of coal on board,
now she has 1180, or 170 less.
"Aug. 31.—As there was a single-reefed topsail
breeze blowing from W.S.W., we increased speed to
30 revolutions, and at 10 a.m. to 40 revolutions.
Devastation took the seas in over her decks, and
at times seemed covered half her length; and
measuring her by the horizon, the water on her
deck seemed to burden her, yet they signalled that
the instruments showed no change, and that she
felt very buoyant. At 1.30 p.m. we kept away,
increasing our speed to 9'5 and 9'8 ; she still went
well. The sea more on the beam, which I thought
would have covered her more, did not do so. The
result of her trial seemed to be that her buoyancy
is sufficient, and that so long as nothing gives way,
the sea covering over her does not hurt her.
" Sept. 2, Berehaven.—Went to look at Devastation, which I found quite tight, hardly a weep
anywhere. Mr Froude to dinner. He is brother
to the historian, and puts the rolling question in
quite a different view from what I believed it to
be. Waves of a much longer period than that of
the ship will not make her roll over. The worst
are those of rather more than her period.
" Sept. 9.—Scud flying fast, and wind freshening,
ordered Devastation and Sultan to get up steam. THE CHANNEL SQUADRON.        181
We found a strong double-reefed topsail breeze
outside, and had a good trial, which showed to
my mind that the ship could not be driven very
fast against a heavy Atlantic sea, but that she
was likely to lay to well enough, and I think to
run well
"Sept. 15.—Fresh breeze from N.W. and a
prospect of a sea outside. I embarked in Devastation, and, with Agincourt following, steamed out
of the bay. We there found the wind-force 8 and
a sea 23 high, but not angry, going 7 knots, with
it 2 points on the bow. She plunged into it very
heavily. The green seas were at times two-thirds
of the way up the jack-staff. It seemed incredible
that she could live with so much water on her, yet
she rose without effort. When eased from 50 to
40 revolutions, her speed fell to 4 knots, and she
ceased to dip deeply. With the sea 4 points on
her bow she behaved well, so also in the trough of
the sea, and running, with the sea on the quarter,
she shipped very little or no water. We anchored
in Berehaven at 6.30 p.m.
" Oct. 2, Portsmouth.—Drove to Eastney to meet
' my Lords'; met them returning. Had to fight
Mr Barnaby all the way out on my report on
Devastation, to discuss it with the Board in the
carriage, and again by paragraphs on board Enchantress. They cannot make up their minds
whether to send her out for the winter, with
the chance of meeting a gale, or to take her in 182 SLR GEOFFREY PHIPPS  HORNBY.
hand at once, raise the forecastle, and take out
extra weights, &c, and complete her on what
we know of her at present. I think that they
wished me to say I thought her quite safe."
As the Admiral did not think her quite safe, he
would naturally not allow himself to make any
such admission, so it ended in the Devastation
being left behind in the hands of the dockyard.
During the winter 1873 to 1874 the record of
the Channel Squadron was that of a happy country
—viz., nothing. The training in steam evolutions
still went on at considerably increased speed, but
the Admiral was not yet able to attain his ideal—
viz., "absolute precision and safety at 11 or 12
knots." In harbour—Vigo, Lisbon, &c.—all the
old shooting-grounds and marshes were revisiteJ^H
but as there was no visit to Gibraltar, there were
no exciting runs with the Calpe hounds. Towards
spring, what may be called " the great plain clothes
question," which had been smouldering during the
last two years, burst into flame. Undoubtedly the
orders as they then stood were exceedingly irksome
if enforced, as the Admiral writes privately to Sir
Alexander Milne:—
"Fd>. 10, 1874
" My difficulty is this. There is a printed order
that officers shall wear uniform except on specified
occasions. Not only so, but it is the only order in
the book which admirals and captains are specially
charged to see obeyed.    Nevertheless, it has be- THE CHANNEL SQUADRON.        183
come the universal custom for officers to ask leave
to land in plain clothes, as though ' going to take
part in country sports'; and under cover of that
permission they parade the streets of the ports.
In the event of a senior officer in uniform coming
in sight, a rush is made to elude him. I have
caused several officers to be admonished on this
account, but I still see almost all landing daily in
plain clothes. Nor can I altogether condemn
them; for I have proof that in two squadrons
the wearing of plain clothes habitually is permitted by order, and where that permission has
been given in a printed order-book, it must necessarily have been approved by the Admiralty. Besides, the wearing of plain clothes is freely allowed
in the home ports. I am satisfied that the order
ought either to be enforced, modified, or repealed.
As things are now, its existence is contemptuously
ignored, which must be subversive of discipline."
The order was, however, neither then nor for
some years later modified or repealed, therefore
the Admiral felt he was obliged to enforce it.
On February 26, an offer of a seat on the
Board was made to the Admiral; he replied that
he would go as Second Sea-Lord, if allowed a
naval secretary and an inquiry into the state of
the Navy. On the 28th came another cipher
telegram from Mr Ward Hunt:—
" Secretary must follow usual course.    Second 184 SLR GEOFFREY PHIPPS HORNBY.
seat at Board will give you great weight respecting naval matters.    Positive answer requested."
As the Admiral writes in his Diary, February
■ Of course I did not take long to send it.    In
about ten minutes the following was on its way I
' Naval secretary not being allowed, must decline I
offer of seat with thanks.'    So ends that negotia-1
tion, and I trust I have acted for the good of the
The negotiation was, however, not ended.  When
he arrived in England, not only Mr Ward Hunt
but many of his old friends urged him to alter his I
decision; and for once in his life he gave way, and ?
he not only agreed to go to  the Admiralty in|
January, but to stand for Parliament, if a seat^
could be found for him, under the following conditions :—
Diary. "April 21, 1874.—1. That I was to be
free to leave Parliament, as well as the Admiralty,
if I found I could not work at the latter.
" 2. Not to be at the call of the Whip.
"3. To succeed Admiral Tarleton in any case
when he resigned at the end of the year.
" 4. To have leave for the election, without
giving up the squadron until I was elected."
To the Admiral's great relief, however, no seat
was found for him, and he completed his three
years' command with a cruise round England,
almost a replica of that taken in 1863 as flag- THE CHANNEL SQUADRON.        185
captain, except that the fleet went round the
reverse way. At Sunderland on September 15,
Itear-Admiral Hancock and all the captains dined
with him for the last time. On the 22d he dined
in the wardroom of the Agincourt, where, very
unexpectedly to the Admiral, Commander Bedford
proposed his health and that of his Staff in a very
nice little speech. On the 30th he hauled down
his flag at Portsmouth, not only the captains but
some of the other officers of the squadron coming
on board to say " Good-bye " ; and, as the Admiral
says of it, " All seemed sorry at the parting." CHAPTER XII.
THE ADMIRALTY,   1875  AND  1876.
The time between giving up command of the-
Channel Fleet and taking his seat at the Board
of Admiralty was spent by Admiral Hornby at
Littlegreen. It was the only time that he had
any real enjoyment of the place, and he always
looked back to these three months as a true
holiday-time. He was busy in laying out and
improving the garden and grounds; and, as the
house had just been thoroughly repaired, in rearranging his household gods, especially his
beloved books. Till now he had hardly realised
the beauty and value of some of his inherited possessions, and among these he had to find room for
bric-a-brac collected from all parts of the world.
His time at Littlegreen ended on January 1,
1875, on which day Admiral Hornby took his seat
as Second Sea-Lord, and began the most uncon- THE   ADMIRALTY. 187
genial work in which he had ever been employed.
In the first place, a sedentary life was entirely
foreign to his habits and inclinations. He had
taken a house in Onslow Gardens, partly with the
object of getting a three miles' walk to his work
every day; and if he were able to leave early, or
was not dining out, he frequently walked home.
Even this was not sufficient, and his health began
to suffer. There are frequent entries in his Diary,
I Very seedy," " In bed all day." His doctor
ordered him riding exercise, and to go every day
to his club for lunch; if he only had a glass of
sherry and a biscuit, he was to walk to Pall Mall
to get it. In spite of these precautions the severe
headaches still continued, though at longer intervals, and it was only during the annual tour of
inspection, and his three weeks' holiday, that he
could be said to feel really well.
The first question on which Mr Hunt asked
Admiral Hornby's opinion was, how the reliefs for
the different stations were to be supplied. The
Admiral replied that to keep the twenty-three
ironclads required continually in commission it
was necessary to have one in every four either
building or in reserve; of other types of ships
eighty-two were required, with a reserve of one
for every three in commission. As a matter of
feet, there were only twenty-two ironclads in
commission, and allowing for those then building
and under repair rapidly becoming obsolete,   by 188 SLR GEOFFREY PHIPPS HORNBY.
1878 there would be twenty-four ironclads only in
existence—viz., twenty-three in commission, and I
one ship in reserve.    The other ships in commission numbered  only seventy-four,  with twenty I
under repair, and calling these latter a reserve, I
and counting on eight frigates then building to
replace seven nearly worn out, by 1878 the posi^J
tion would be improved by only one ship.     It I
would require an outlay of two and a half millions j
to lay down enough ships to bring the Navy up to I
the required strength in three years.   The Cabinet I
would not hear of such an outlay, yet some years I
later, in war-scares, £3,000,000 and £6,000,000
were granted with the greatest cheerfulness by I
Another subject under discussion in 1875 was
the modification of Mr Childers's retirement
scheme, as it was found to be not altogether
successful in its working, in so far as it enabled!
officers who had never risen above mediocrity to
retire on better terms than their brother officers
who had worked hard and risen to higher branches |
of the service. The first suggestion made by
Admiral Hornby was, that as in the junior
branches promotion went by selection, in the
senior retirement should also go by selection—
in fact, that they should copy the German system,
by which, when an officer has been passed over
two or three times, it is considered a hint to
him te retire.     This proposal not meeting with THE ADMIRALTY. 189
approval, the Admiral prepared another scheme,
which, Mr Hunt agreed, met the requirements of
the case; but as it meant increasing both the
Admirals' and Commanders' lists, the expense
would also have been increased by £8000 or £9000
a-year, and had therefore to be much clipped and
modified. Similar cases, in which efficiency had
to be sacrificed to so-called economy, could be
multiplied almost indefinitely.
Among the duties of a Sea-Lord was also that
of speaking occasionally, on naval matters, at City
and other public dinners. Admiral Hornby spoke
shortly and to the point, sometimes very humorously. He spoke slowly, and his voice, though not
loud, was clear and distinct, so that he was often
much better heard than men who exerted themselves far' more : his only peculiarity was that
while speaking he always rubbed his hands together as if he were washing them. Often in these
speeches he had to speak in diametric opposition
to the popular feeling of the day, yet generally
by his very straightforwardness he brought some,
at least, of his hearers round to his way of
October 19, 1875, he writes in his Diary :—
"Sir Alexander very low at continued attack
of press on Admiralty.
" Oct. 20.—Dined at the Saddlers' Hall. Spoke
about the dishonesty of the press and on the
effect of the Slave Circular.    Audience were sur- 190 SLR GEOFFREY PHIPPS  HORNBY.
prised, and did not like the conclusions, though
they could not deny the reasoning. One or two
approved entirely.
"Oct. 22.—'Times' has an article preparing to
look at Slave Circular in its true legal aspect."
In  the winter  of  1875-1876  the Admiralty
issued two minutes, which at the time were very
much  criticised.     One was  with regard  to  the
yacht Misletoe, which was accidentally run  into
by the royal yacht Alberta in the Solent.    The
other was on the collision between the Iron Duke I
and the Vanguard in the Irish Channel, which
resulted in the loss of the latter.    Of course the
subject is stale now; but at the time feeling ran
very high, the discussion being even carried into
Parliament, though Mr Goschen had said at first 1
that he would not  attack Mr Ward  Hunt  on I
the subject, because " a minute, for which Hornby
was partly responsible, must have something behind it."    That it had "something behind it" is.;
demonstrated by a  correspondence between  the
Admiral and   Sir William  Thomson (now Lord
Kelvin) with regard to some criticisms made by
the latter on the  said " Vanguard Minute" in I
an address which he delivered at Glasgow.    In his I
last letter Sir William admits that there remains
" little, if anything, more to be discussed when
we meet in London; at all events very little un-
collapsed of my case."
With the later spring came the return of the THE  ADMLRALTY. 191
Prince of Wales from India and his enthusiastic
reception, which the Admiral mentions in his
diary as being, if anything, warmer in the country places which the train passed through than
it had been at Portsmouth, where the Admiralty
received him. After this came the first mut-
terings of the storm in the East, and a hard
push to get the necessary reinforcements for the
Mediterranean Squadron. Next a trip in the
Enchantress to Wilhel m shaven, Cuxhaven, Hamburg, and by rail to Kiel, where the Admiral
was much interested by the meteorological offices
established by Neumayer and his system for
ascertaining the errors of sextants, for comparing
compasses, and for explaining the effects of local
attraction to which they are subject. On the
return home "my Lords" stopped for two hours
at Heligoland, which Admiral Hornby describes
as " a small useless place, but clean; no protection
for ships."
On account of this expedition in the spring
the dockyard inspections did not take place till
October. The other subjects which were receiving most attention at the Admiralty during the
last months of the year were, " the amalgamation
of the executive and navigating lieutenants,"
" whether the ships then building for the Turks
should be bought for the English Navy," " the
minute on the boiler explosion on board the
Thunderer"  "appointments  to the Pacific  and 192 SLR GEOFFREY PHIPPS HORNBY.
Chinese commands," " the return of the Challenger
and of the Arctic Expedition," &c, &c.
Sir Alexander Milne retired in September, and
was succeeded at the Admiralty by Sir Hastings
Yelverton; but Mr Ward Hunt had made a
stipulation that Admiral Hornby should remain
at the Admiralty till it was time for him to relieve Sir James Drummond in the Mediterranean
command. Accordingly he was to hoist his flag
on January 15, 1877, and not leave the Admiralty I
till the 13 th, on which day he commenced a
journal, which he kept during his whole Mediterranean command, with this entry :—
"Jan. 13, 1877.—I left the Admiralty with
less regret and more pleasure than any work
with which I have hitherto been so long (two
years) connected.    The faults of it are—
"First, The want of professional assistance for
the naval men who are selected to be the Naval
Council of the First Lord. The Board was, in
fact, abolished by Mr Childers's Order in Council
of 1869; for by it the First Lord was made
wholly responsible to Parliament, and the Sea-
Lords only responsible for so much of the naval
work as might be deputed to them by the First
Lord. These naval men have no one to turn to
to examine or carry out any professional details
with which they may be engaged. The only
assistance they can get is from civilian clerks,
who  know nothing   of  seafaring  matters or of THE  ADMIRALTY. 193
the method on which the service afloat is conducted.
" Each Naval Lord is smothered with the settlement of detail and all sorts of petty matters.
"If a signal has to be altered, a punishment-
table to be readjusted, a question as to the
number of men required for any work to be
raised, he must look the whole question up for
himself. He cannot receive any assistance from
his so-called assistants, for they do not understand the working of these things.
" Again, as if for the purpose of preventing him
from turning his attention to any of the important
subjects of the day, he has to direct such minutiae
as whether a man recommended for a truss shall
be allowed one. When a retired officer visits the
Continent, and when he returns, the Sea-Lord
has to sign the letter in which the officer reports
himself as having returned. He has to initial
every report that arrives from abroad of officers
who have been surveyed, whether they have been
invalided or only sent to sick-quarters for ten
days' change of air. With a hundred such ridicu-.
lous occupations his time is engrossed, and he has
to scramble through important papers without
sufficient time to consider them, and to leave
most reports and experiments unread. He cannot help feeling that his time is wasted and his
work ill done.
"The second great fault is want of unity of 194 SLR GEOFFREY PHIPPS  HORNBY.
plan. This arises to a certain extent from the 2
changes of Government and of First Lords; but;
as to discipline and internal organisation, which
are chiefly in the hands of the Naval Lords, they
would be carried out with more regularity, andj
better effect, if the First Sea-Lord were appointed
for five years, and if all the naval men had to
work under him as they do afloat.
"At present, each Naval Lord has a department of his own to attend to, and in it can work
very independently of his colleagues, and of those
who have preceded him, though each person may
be administering a branch which runs parallel
with, and should be treated in the same way
as, that under a colleague. For instance, my
predecessor thought it was a good thing to move
officers and men from ships frequently, and never
to allow them to be together more than two
years. I thought quite the reverse, and that the
longer men could be kept together, the better
for them and for the service. Accordingly, when
I came in, I left the men always three years
in ships, and whenever there was a good excuse,
even more; but this sort of business should be
ruled from above, and not be left to each Lord
to deal with as he pleases. There really must
be some principle at the bottom which should
guide it.
"Of course there is no feeling of connection
between the permanent officials and the service, THE  ADMIRALTY.
and therefore no esprit de corps, or care how the
work succeeds afloat. The office is looked on as
a department of the Civil Service, and care must
be taken that no other office obtains greater personal advantages to its members, in the way of
more pay and less work.
"It is not to be wondered at that a naval
man who comes there to work for the benefit
of that service in which he takes pride should
be disappointed and disgusted to find himself in
company with those who have great powers of
obstruction, and no desire to advance the service."
A year or two later a moment arrived when
there were only three men available for the
position of First Sea-Lord: these three were Sir
Beauchamp Seymour, Sir Cooper Key, and Admiral Hornby. The Admiral, therefore, wrote to
his brother officers to this effect: " If we three
agree that certain reforms are necessary for the
efficiency of the service, and refuse to accept the
position of First Lord unless they are carried
out, we must carry our point." As has been
said above, Admiral Hornby was commanding the
Mediterranean Squadron, Sir Beauchamp Seymour,
as the saying goes, "Played the game," but Sir
Cooper Key accepted unconditionally.
"I feel it a great drawback," he wrote to
Admiral Hornby, " to my power of being useful,
that I have not already served at the Board.
In the first place, it puts it out of my power 196 SLR GEOFFREY PHIPPS HORNBY.
to make stipulations on the offer being made, as
I could do so only from personal experience. You
and Sir Alexander Milne both found the great
need of naval assistance in the branches. I am
sure the want of an Intelligence Department is
much felt."
Thus an opportunity for administrative reform,
which may never occur again, was allowed to
slip by; and it still happens that scarcely any
naval man of ability ever goes to the Admiralty
as First Sea-Lord without thereby losing some
of his professional popularity or reputation. 197
THE  MEDITERRANEAN,   1877-1880.
As early as July 1876 the idea of the Admiral
being appointed Commander-in-Chief in the Mediterranean was mooted. In his Diary of July 10
he writes:— .
" Mr Hunt asked whether I should like best the
Mediterranean, or to be First Sea-Lord. He said
he was very anxious about the former command,
and yet should miss me very much; in fact, ' he
wanted two Hornbys.' I told him that as a matter
of pure choice I should infinitely prefer the Mediterranean; at the same time I had always made
it a practice to go where my superiors thought I
should be most useful, and wished to continue to 198 SLR GEOFFREY PHIPPS  HORNBY.
do so.    We then had a long talk about the organisation of the Admiralty, which I told him I
thought altogether inefficient for work, and he
to a great extent agreed.     The real difficulty,;^
he said,  was  the detail with which  every one
was overburdened,  and that it was  caused byf
the  House   of Commons requiring to know of,J
and hold Ministers responsible for, every detail. |
Nothing was settled, but he  said Milne would
leave in November, and I fancy I have a good
chance of the command."
Later on, when the question came to be discussed, the Admiral found that the opinion of
his friends fell in with his own inclinations, and J
about the middle of August the Queen assented
to his appointment. Even then things were looking very threatening in the East: the Sultan was
said to be mad; his Ministers .were weak, and
afraid to attempt or promise any reforms. Russia
was stirring up trouble in Bulgaria, and Germany
seemed to encourage her. On September 7 Mr
Gladstone's pamphlet about the so-called Bulgarian atrocities appeared, and tended very much
to influence public opinion. When these things
came to be inquired into later, it was found, not
only that the account had been very much exaggerated, but that in some instances the places
where the outrages were said to have occurred
existed only in the minds of the reporters. Violent meetings were held at the Mansion House THE MEDITERRANEAN. 199
and at Exeter Hall against the Ministry, the
Radicals hoping to upset the Government by
raising the cry of "Protection for the Christians !" After about a fortnight's excitement,
public opinion tired of Bulgaria, though Eastern
affairs still gave the Government much anxiety.
The Mediterranean Fleet was kept at Besika Bay
during the autumn and early winter, and Admiral
Hornby submitted to the Admiralty a sketch of
orders for concentrating ships in case of war,
which was approved, but not acted on.
Meantime the Alexandra was being prepared
as flagship. She had been built at Chatham,
and launched there by the Princess of Wales,
April 7, 1875, consequently H.R.H. was recognised, so to speak, as the patron saint of the
ship. Her birthday, December 1, became the
fete - day of the ship; a Danish cross, with a
garland of oak-leaves between the arms of the
cross, was adopted as a crest, and a photograph
of the Princess, her to the officers,
received the place of honour in the wardroom.
The Alexandra was considered a fast, powerfully
armed ship, most of the guns being placed in
two batteries on the main and upper decks.
These batteries cut up the decks, making it impossible, except from the bridge, to see from one
end of the ship to the other; and when she
was, as the expression goes, " cleared for action,"
launches hoisted in, &c., it was very difficult to 200 SLR GEOFFREY PHIPPS  HORNBY.
get about the ship. She was, as the Admiral
expressed it, " too complicated." The accommodation was very unequal: there was plenty
of room between decks (10 feet), but the men
were very much cramped up forward; the wardroom excellent; the gunroom small and stuffy.-
The Admiral had a good forecabin and sleeping
accommodation, but his after-cabin was small and
dark, and from it a winding staircase led up to
a little cabin under the poop, large enough to .
hold a writing-table, and with two doors opening on the stern-walk.
The Alexandra was commissioned at Chatham
on January 2, 1877, Captain R. O'B. Fitzroy, flag-
captain ; Alfred Leigh Winsloe, flag-lieutenant;
James Kirkness, secretary; Atwell Lake, com- "
mander; and a picked crew of officers and men.
When the Lords of the Admiralty went down to
inspect her on February 12, they remarked that
they had never seen a ship which had shaken
together so quickly. The Admiral left the Admiralty on Saturday, January 13, with very much
the feelings of a boy let out of school, and on the
following Monday hoisted his flag on board the
Alexandra. • He did not join, however, for another
six weeks, as he was busy, not only in making
his own preparations, engaging servants, ordering
wine and provisions, making his will, &c, but in
seeing Ministers and receiving final instructions.
On the 19th January he called on Lord Derby at THE MEDITERRANEAN. 201
the Foreign Office, and had a long political talk
with him, the gist of which was that the Admiral's
endeavour was to be, if possible, to avoid war. A
few days later he asked to have Sir Edmund Com-
merell appointed as his second in command, if the
Mediterranean Squadron were increased; but Mr
Ward Hunt replied that he must wait for the next
Russian move before deciding to send out any
more ships.
Private Journal. " Feb. 27.—To Osborne to see
the Queen by order. Lunched with the household.
After lunch I was taken to see the Queen. Her
rooms appear to be in the north-west angle of the
building. She was in a big drawing-room with
the Princess Beatrice and Prince Leopold. She
asked about the weather, &c"
The Alexandra left Chatham on the 14th, but
was detained by weather at Sheerness till the
21st; the following day she arrived at Spithead
for her steam trials, which were successfully completed by March 3. Monday, March 5, the Admiral's Diary notes:—
" Embarked at 10 a.m. A fine N.N.W. breeze,
to which we made sail, after some difficulty with
the anchors in stowing. The ship very lively
under one's feet, but not rolling deeply."
The same northerly breeze followed them till
they had rounded Cape St Vincent at noon on the
9th, when it fell very light; sails were furled, and
they proceeded to Gibraltar under steam only, 202 SIR GEOFFREY PHIPPS  HORNBY.
anchoring inside the Mole at 3 p.m. on the 10th.
During the night of the 11th Sir Beauchamp Seymour, then commanding the Channel Fleet, arrived I
in the Salamis from Cadiz.   The following day the
two Admirals lunched together on board the Alex- I
andra, and had a long talk after luncheon, doubt- I
less concerning plans for the co-operation of the
two squadrons in case of war.    Monday morning,
the 13th, Sir Beauchamp left to return to his com- 1
mand, and in the afternoon the Admiral sailed for |
Malta.    On the second day out, true to his principles of using sails and economising coal where i
possible, the ship was tried under sail only; but in I
one hour she dropped from 8 knots to 4, and except for purposes of exercise this experiment was
never repeated.    After four and a half days' pas- ;
sage the Alexandra anchored in Yaletta harbour,. I
where   the   Hercules,   Captain   Bowden   Smith;
Sultan, Duke of Edinburgh;   Monarch, Captain
Culme Seymour; Rupert, Captain Gordon; Hotspur, Captain Jones, were awaiting his arrival, and
the Devastation, Captain Hunt Grubbe, arrived
the same day.    Monday, 19th, the Admiral landed I
in state, paid his official call on the Governor, Sir
Charles Straubenzee, and lunched at St Antonio,
where the Duchess of Edinburgh was spending the
winter.     Sir James Drummond, his predecessor,
left a week later in the Hercules, and Admiral
Hornby at once set to work to see to the furnishing and redecoration of Admiralty House.    For THE MEDITERRANEAN. 203
five weeks longer the fleet remained at Malta,—
busy weeks from a naval point of view, as he had
to inspect the ships, make himself acquainted with
the capabilities of the dockyard and victualling-
yard, with the capacity of the naval hospital, with
the general routine and organisation of the station,
and with the defences of the island. Socially also
they were busy weeks, for though during the first
ten days there was a lull of festivities on account
of Holy Week and Good Friday, Malta society
made the most of the few remaining weeks of the
season. There were big dinners at the palace and
St Antonio, balls at the club, Auberge di Castille
(Artillery Mess), &c. ; afternoon dances and luncheon-parties on board various ships; races,
assaults-at-arms, private theatricals, and Christy
Minstrel entertainments.
Towards the end of April orders were received
from the Admiralty to cruise east instead of west,
and on the 28th the fleet left Yaletta for Corfu.
That same afternoon steam evolutions were commenced. There had been some trepidation on this
point among the captains, and some of them had
been hard at work reading up the subject, as
" Uncle Geoff" was known not only to be a great
master in the art of fleet manoeuvring, but to
attach great importance to the precision and intelligence required for executing complicated
evolutions. His [notes on the subject had been
sent   out three weeks  previously,  and,  as said 204 SLR GEOFFREY PHIPPS  HORNBY.
above, on the day they left Malta the first lesson I
was given. . Here is the Admiral's own account of |
the progress made :—
"April 28.—Tried a few simple evolutions—very
" May 14.—Steam tactics, fairly executed.
" June 22.—Exercised in two squadrons passing |
on opposite courses.
"July  23.—Weighed  for   steam   manoeuvres, v
Forenoon good; afternoon, with lieutenants, poor. |
"Aug. 7.—Weighed at 7.30 a.m. for evolutions.
Very    strong    breeze.     Performance    moderate. 1
Tried new plan of working groups. . It wants per- I
"Aug. 27.—Captains on board to explain to
them principles of steam tactics.
"Aug. 28.—Weighed for evolutions. Blowing
very hard at times.  Evolutions better, but not good. I
"Aug. 29.—Another day's tactics, with very
strong wind. Achilles messed one manoeuvre,
which should have been pretty.
"Sept. 3 and 5.—A lecture on tactics to lieutenants.
"Sept. 12.—Out for steam tactics. Very well
After that there seems very little complaint;
perfect confidence and sympathy were established
between most of the captains and their chief, and
it was no more a question of doing well, but of
excelling. THE  MEDITERRANEAN. 205
The squadron had by this time been for nearly
two months at Besika Bay. When they left Malta
their first destination had been Corfu, then Suda
Bay in Crete. The Russian Embassy had been
withdrawn from Constantinople, Servia and Bosnia
had begun the war, and Greece was like an active
volcano, a general eruption momentarily expected.
From Port Said, where he had been sent to arrange
about the neutrality of the Canal, the Admiral
thus describes the situation:—
To the Right Eon. G. Ward Hunt, MJP.
"May 16,1877.
"We anchored here at 11 a.m. and find a mail
on the point of leaving. I had no opportunity of
writing from Suda. I could badly spare Captain
Baird at present, as one must have a good man for
second in command. Seymour would do well, but
I suppose we shall retain him but very few days.
I hope to complete coal without difficulty at
Athens, but if we are likely to be in Turkish
waters, it will probably be well to send us coal in
vessels of our own. Our monthly consumption may
be reckoned at 30 tons per ship for each day we
are cruising. I should like to be under weigh eight
to ten days in each month. I should have been
much surprised if Hercules' boilers had proved fit
for further service ; but, in my opinion, the country
is stronger when such ships are shipping new
boilers   than when  they are   at   sea,  'making- 206 SLR GEOFFREY PHIPPS  HORNBY.
believe,' but really delaying effective ships. No
one looks at the real cost of bad boilers. The
Monarch, Captain Seymour, has burnt since leaving Malta 331 tons, while this ship has burnt 160 ;
and, I believe, this very fairly represents the difference between steam at 60 lb. to steam at 16 lb.
" I wish Lord Derby joy, if he shapes his course I
by consular reports.    So far as I can see, one man
generally contradicts his neighbour.    They only
agree in this, that if one ironclad is not left with .
each, a frightful calamity will ensue.    The consul |
at Khaina thinks a rising will take place in Crete
shortly.    Some leading Greeks in the Assembly
have asked him if England would accept the island,
as the people wished to be under English rather I
than Greek rule.    I am inclined to believe they
will rise as soon as they see an opportunity; and,
after   seeing   Corfu,   their   wishes   appear   very
" We have been doing well with our exercises,!
and I am very well satisfied with the condition of
the ships, except in the matter of boilers, in which
Monarch and Hotspur are weak, and Swiftsure not
very strong. I mean to detach Raleigh to Rhodes
to inquire about a piracy of six weeks' standing,
and her visit may cover the Salamis mission."
The Salamis, Commander Egerton, had been
sent from England on a secret mission to look
about among the Greek islands for a^safe harbour THE  MEDITERRANEAN. 207
and anchorage, to make a coaling-station for ships
of war. She joined the Admiral at Athens (where
the fleet had been ordered from Port Said, so as
to be at the end of the telegraph wire) with the
report that Scarpanto was absolutely useless, but
that Stampalia, an island which only had communication with Rhodes about once in three weeks,
had an excellent land-locked harbour, which only
required a few thousands spent on deepening the
entrance to make it perfectly safe. Subsequently
the Government took Cyprus, where there is no
harbour that can be rendered fit for warships
under an outlay of millions.
A few days after the arrival of the Alexandra
at Athens, one morning some of the gun-sights
were found to be missing—thrown overboard as an
expression of dissatisfaction by some of the crew.
This was exaggerated by the papers into a " mutinous outbreak," and many imaginary details
added. Here is the Admiral's account of the
To Admiral Sir Hastings Yelverton, K.G.B.
"Athens, June 23.
"The official letter, enclosing a 'Times' telegram of May 31, has but just reached me, and I
am sorry to think I can add nothing to the particulars of the acts of insubordination reported in
my letter of the 23d ult. Strong suspicion rests
on an individual, but no proof of his criminality. 208 SLR GEOFFREY PHLPPS HORNBY.
The telegram is false in every paragraph.     No
' mutinous outbreak' occurred, therefore no marines I
or other men were summoned to repress it.    No :
mutineers were arrested, and no court-martial has |
been assembled to try any man on any such charge. I
Leave was not given to the men at  Port Said ^
on account of there being so much smallpox there.
Elsewhere leave had been given regularly accord-1
ing to  the routine I found established on  the
station; and men have landed from this ship as
well as the others every day but one—a saint's.!
day, on which the consul begged they might be
kept on board—^including the day we anchored. C.
The Alexandra guns have never been rendered^
unserviceable, and I did not order her to cruise
uninterruptedly.     She was ordered  to call here
twice to receive mails, &c.    I hope a question may
be caused to be asked in the House of Commons,
so that the amount of lies included in one telegram
may be exposed.
"As to the discontent, I think it is probably
due to the same cause which induced some of the
young seamen to kick when they were ordered to
sea in the brigs—they disliked work, and the
trouble of learning their duties. In saying this,
I do not mean to reflect on our training service,
which I believe to be good. Boys who are drafted
direct from the training-ships to sea-going ships
give very little trouble. The insubordination is
always shown by our young ordinary seamen who THE MEDITERRANEAN. 209
have been in barracks or depot ships, unattached
to any older men, petty officers, or officers. How
can they be disciplined without being taught?
And who is there in those places to interest himself
in teaching the floating units that are received one
day and discharged the next ?
" This is the weak part of our system, and I am
more than ever convinced that it should be met by
keeping officers and men always together, as if
they were in regiments."
Elsewhere he writes with regard to similar
troubles on board the Achilles to Mr W. H.
Smith :—
f Besika Bay, August 22.
"I much regret that the first letter I have to
write to you should be to mention another of those
gross scandals which throw so much discredit on
our service. I am sorry to say we are not unaccustomed to them; in 1859 and 1860 they were
very rife. The cause then was the entry by bounty
of the scum of our streets, and at the same time a
large reduction in the captain's power of control.
Moreover, captains and officers did not receive
proper support from the Admiralty. Now, the
cause is that we introduce each year into the seamen class one-sixth of their number who are young
and undisciplined. At the same time, we remove
every year about one-eighth of the best of our
petty officers for coastguard service.   In olden time 210 SLR  GEOFFREY  PHIPPS  HORNBY.
ivould have remained to form the backbone of &
the petty-officer class.   If you draw out the guides, I
and pour in the undisciplined at such a rate, it -
is not surprising that difficulty is experienced in
keeping order.    But we increase the difficulty by|
a system which separates officers from men, and
men from one another, just as they are getting!
that acquaintance with and trust in one another
which is the root of all military discipline."
The insubordination in the Achilles had more
serious consequences than on board the Alexandra; I
one man was sentenced to four years' penal servitude for mutiny, but after that there was no more
trouble. " Discipline," according to the Admiral's
definition, had been established; men and officers,
captains and admiral, trusted each other, andI
worked together in a loyal and friendly spirit.
During the first few days at Athens, the Princess of Wales, with the King and Queen of Greece,
had been on board to see the ship, and had seemed
much pleased with what they saw. The Princess
left for England two days later, but the King and
Queen were on board again for the regatta, which
though supposed to be in honour of the Queen's
birthday, did not take place till June 28. The
Duke of Edinburgh had given a good many prizes
to be rowed for, and some of the contests were
very keen. The wind was too light to sail for
the Admiral's Cup the following day, so the race THE  MEDITERRANEAN. 211
came off a week later at Besika—Captain Britten,
who as lieutenant had won the cup at the 1874
Channel Fleet Regatta, coming in winner. Staff-
Commander Sullivan sailed him very close, but
passed unfortunately the wrong side of a buoy,
and so was disqualified.
News of the Russians crossing the Danube had
reached Athens, June 24, and a week later, as a
sort of counter-move on the part of the English,
the fleet was ordered to Besika Bay, close to the
entrance of the Dardanelles. There are three
definitions of Besika—
1. The most delightful spot in the world.
2. A very uninteresting place.
3. An infernal hole.
The point of view from which you look at it very
much depends on whether you are a sportsman,
tolerate sport, or dislike it.
As soon as the Helicon joined, Admiral Hornby
embarked in her for Constantinople, as he says :—
" I kept my flag down, and as quiet as possible,
for in the position we have taken up—vis-a-vis
to the Turks—I did not like paying and receiving
visits which were sure to suggest false hopes."
He visited the Ambassador, Mr (afterwards Sir
Henry) Layard, and called on the Italian Minister,
Count Corti, and on the Gorman Minister, Prince
" I called on Prince Reuss this morning to pay
my respects to him," he writes, July 10, " when 212 SLR GEOFFREY PHIPPS  HORNBY.
to my surprise he began to talk of current affairs,
He hoped the war might not spread; said that
we in England were very suspicious of the Russians, though they had no desire beyond that of
freeing their co-religionists; that the Emperor
had been forced into war by the excitement of
his people, &c, &c. He then said that we declared we should fight only to protect our own
interests; would they be seriously injured by the
freedom of the Straits ? I said that personally
I did not think they would be so much injured
directly, except that we should be obliged to
increase our squadron largely in the Mediterranean; but, indirectly, we should be seriously
injured in India by the great loss of our prestige,
and the gain to that of Russia. He said, ' In
England you always think Russia wants to attack you in India; she has no such wish. The
arrangement proposed by Lord Granville for the
retention of a neutral zone between the two
nations was a natural one, and one they would
like to see established.' He then recurred to
the question, why we were so suspicious, when
the Emperor had given his word that he would
not injure our interests? I said he had given
his word not to take Khiva, but he seemed to
have been unable to control his statesmen or his
generals, and that the result had been that he
had annexed almost the whole of the Khivan
territory, and that unless the statesmen of the THE MEDITERRANEAN. 213
two countries could come to some understanding,
I thought our suspicions would continue, for it
seemed he was not absolutely autocratic. He
then said, ■ Why should the statesmen not give
one another guarantees which would be satisfactory ?' I asked, ' What guarantee could they
give that they would not occupy Constantinople ?'
He said, 'You have advanced your squadron to
Besika, why should you not bring it to Constantinople to protect the town ?' I said, ' The
squadron alone could not prevent the advance of
a large army on to the town.' He answered,
' Then why not advance some other force, and
take such a guarantee as is satisfactory to you ?
I believe that if this were firmly but courteously
proposed, without saying you doubted the word
of the Emperor, no objection would be felt. But,'
he said, 'if it was done abruptly or with harsh
words, it might very likely lead to war. The
fact is,' he wound up, ' the Russians have got
on their hands a much tougher affair than they
expected. It is true the Turkish army cannot
do much in the field, but it can defend positions
well, and after the Russians have obtained one
decided success in Bulgaria, they will be very
glad to make peace.'"
Does this mean that the Germans wished to
urge us into war to save themselves trouble later,
or, as subsequent events seem to show, that if
England had only taken vigorous action at first, 214 SLR GEOFFREY PHIPPS  HORNBY.
much prestige would have been saved to herself, and
much bloodshed and misery to the two belligerenteH
The day after this interview Admiral Hornby
went over the arsenal at Constantinople, and was
much surprised by the capabilities of the workshops there, and the store of Martini-Henry rifles
in the armoury. He returned to Besika more than
ever convinced that the Turk only required to be
well led to make a fine soldier.
By this time the Russians had advanced to
Gabrova, and the English Government ordered out
the Agincourt—Sir E. Commerell as second in
command—and Achilles—Sir William Hewett—
to reinforce the fleet. The Achilles reached Besika
on July 30. On August 2 the Admiral and Sir
W. Hewett went in the Salamis to meet Sir
Collingwood Dickson, R.E., at Tchernak, as the
Turkish Government had granted permission to
inspect the Bulair lines above Gallipoli. Like all
Turkish fortifications, these lines had been allowed
to fall much out of repair; but as it was a point of
the highest strategic importance, commanding as
it does both the land and sea approaches to Constantinople, every effort was being made to put the
lines into working order.
Letter to Wife.
"August 3,1877.
" Our object was to inspect the old lines which
were thrown up by the French and English in 1854 THE  MEDITERRANEAN. 215
for the defence of the peninsula of Gallipoli, and to
see how far, and how fast, the Turks were restoring
them. We had a pleasant ride, chiefly along high
ground, looking across the Sea of Marmora on one
side and the Gulf of Xeros on the other. The
Turks had swept in by a sort of corvee 5000
peasants, old and young, and it was surprising to
see how well and cheerfully they were working.
That work was to clear out and enlarge the old
ditches over a length of at least five miles,
strengthen the parapets, lay platforms for the
guns, and build new magazines in the redoubts.
"Though they had only been at it five days,
they have nearly completed the earthworks of the
redoubts, and were going on so fast that (as the
Russians have received two severe checks this
week), if they continue to work with the same
vigour, I have no fear of the Russians seizing the
"Their method of collecting their labourers is
effective and simple, but somewhat onerous. They
have, for purposes of conscription, the number of
men in each village. They send an order to supply
one-fourth of the residents for four clays' work, to
be replaced by others at the end of that time. If
the reliefs do not appear, they retain the men who
are at work. As we returned we met many parties
going to perform their share. Several of the older
men looked tired and worn, but there seemed to
be no complaint. 216 SLR GEOFFREY PHIPPS  HORNBY.
" At present things seem to be rather in favour
of the Turks.    Every day that they can delay the
Russians north of the Balkans is a great gain, and I
doubtless   an  unsuccessful,  or even   a   partially I
successful, campaign would be a great shock to
Russian prestige."
It was not till after 9 p.m. that the three officers
got back on board the Salamis, but the long ride I
had not damped their spirits. During dinner, Sir
W. Hewett and Sir Collingwood Dickson began
discussing the old Crimean days, and one good
story led on to another, the Admiral sitting by and I
laughing till the tears ran down his cheeks, so that
the dinner-party did not break up till midnight.
From this time forward Admiral Hornby continued to press earnestly for a small force of
British troops to hold these lines, and in almost
every letter home he urges the importance of
securing our communications and threatening
those of the Russians. His letter to Lord Derby,
August 10, describes very concisely his views on
the subject:—
" I assume that you think the batteries of the
Dardanelles would not prevent the squadron
passing into the Sea of Marmora whenever it
pleased, and that in passing it might, with small
delay and damage, destroy them. In that opinion
I concur, but I doubt if you realise what might
" I suppose the squadron would only be sent up
to play a part. If the northern shore of the
Dardanelles were occupied by an enemy, I think
it very doubtful if we could play any material
part; and if the Bosphorus also was under their
command, it would be almost impossible. In the
latter case, we could not get even the Heraclea
coal. In the former, our English supply of coal,
our ammunition, and perhaps our food, would in
my opinion be stopped. This opinion depends on
the topography of the north shore. If you will
send for the chart of the Dardanelles, No. 2429,
you will see that from three and a half miles
below Kilid Bahar to Ak Bashi Lilian, six and
a half miles above it, an almost continuous cliff
overhangs the shore-line, while the Straits close to
half a mile in one part, and are never more than
two miles wide. An enemy in possession of the
peninsula would be sure to put guns on commanding points of those clifls. All the more if the
present batteries, which are a fieur d'eau, were
destroyed. Such guns could not fail to stop transports and colliers, and would be most difficult for
men-of-war to silence. We should have to fire at
them with considerable elevation. Shots which
were a trifle low would lodge harmlessly in the
sandstone cliffs; those a trifle high would fly into
the country, without the slightest effect on the
gunners except amusement.
"It is for these reasons that the possession of 218 SLR GEOFFREY PHLPPS  HORNBY.
the Bulair lines by a strong and friendly force I
seems to every one here to be imperative, if now, or
hereafter, you should want to act at Constantinople.
The Turks are making progress with them;  but
they are unarmed, not garrisoned, and the garrison
that would be sent to them in case of reverse would
probably be part of a beaten and dispirited force.
Is it wise to risk our vital interests in such hands ? I
The Russians take advantage of being at war to
destroy the Sulina navigation, ' for strategical pur- I
poses.'    Are we to have no ' strategical purposes'
because we are a neutral ?    I think even Freeman,
Gladstone, & Co. would not hear unmoved that
the Dardanelles were closed; but when they are
closed, it will be too late to act.    Now, I believe I
there is time to prevent it, and for that reason I
I write.     I want to  see   10,000  British troops I
occupying Gallipoli in  concert with the Turks;
and Mr Layard misinforms me, if the Turks would
not ask for, and welcome, such an occupation."
While pressing earnestly for the occupation of
the Bulair lines, the Admiral was working hard to
make sure of the efficiency of the fleet and its
readiness to act in any emergency. Besides the
steam tactics already mentioned, there were plenty
of the usual exercises aloft, manning and arming
boats, torpedo and gunnery practice. Colliers were
brought up to keep all the ships fully supplied with
coal; the ships were sent in turns to the Malta
dockyard to have their defects made good, and also THE  MEDITERRANEAN. 219
to Athens for a few days to give general leave to
the men. At Besika there was not much amusement for the men on shore except cricket. Some
Greek publicans endeavoured to set up drinking-
booths for the sale of spirits; this having come to
Admiral Hornby's ears was summarily stopped by
his sending a body of men on shore to destroy the
store of spirits, and by a request through the
consul at Tchernak to the Turkish authorities to
stop the licences. The old consul was very much
alarmed at these high-handed measures, but was
finally obliged to support the Admiral in not allowing his men to be drugged.
As to officers, the opportunities of amusement
depended on their taste; society there was none,
but there were cricket and lawn-tennis grounds,
snipe in the marsh, quail and partridges on the
higher ground, and pheasants on some of the
adjacent islands. Hares also, but of them later;
and rumours of wild boar, but no one ever succeeded
in getting a shot. Several shooting-parties went
away to the different islands, and great rivalry
existed as to which should bring home the largest
bag. On one occasion all the poultry on board
the Salamis was killed, and each pheasant had
a chicken tied to it to make it look like a brace ;
the game was then hung up on the davits to be
conspicuous, and to excite the envy of the other
ships when she rejoined the squadron.
The most brilliant inspiration of the autumn 220 SLR GEOFFREY PHIPPS  HORNBY.
was the plan of getting out a pack of beagles from
England. They arrived in the Wye on November
10, and the first meet took place on Saturday the
17th. Captain Hunt Grubbe was master, the Rev.
H. Gilbert, chaplain of the Raleigh, huntsman, and
the whips depended very much on which of the
lieutenants could get on shore on the day of the
meet. The first run was very good and sharp for
about ten minutes, and then the hounds ran into
a supposed hare in a bush. She seemed to take
rather an unusual amount of worrying, and when
the huntsman went in to see what had occurred, I
he brought out, not " puss" in the sporting sense
of the term, but a real cat. The brush had been
destroyed in the tussle, but a pad was duly presented to the Admiral, who had it mounted and
hung over his table as a pendant to a scut, the
trophy of the first hare killed, December 8. By
degrees a good many horses were brought down
to Besika: the Admiral bought four, but the
first broke its heart as they were trying to swim
it on shore; the second proved only fit for a
lady's hack, and was sent down to the Admiral's
daughters at Malta; the other two, Plevna and
Osman, turned out completely successful. The
Admiral usually rode one horse with the hounds,
and mounted a midshipman on the other ; but he
was far keener than any midshipman himself, and
was more often called to order for riding over the
hounds than any one else in the fieldr THE  MEDITERRANEAN. 221
During the early autumn things were looking
better for the Turks, who were making a vigorous
stand at Plevna, and also giving General Gourko a
good deal of trouble in the Schipka Pass. August
22, the Admiral writes to T. B. Sandwith, Esq.:—
" The way in which the Turkish army is gaining
ground is most surprising. Mr Layard tells me
that on the Armenian frontier Mouktar Pasha
repulsed a very powerful attack of Loris Melikoff,
inflicting on him a loss of 1800 men, and that the
Schipka Pass is again in Turkish occupation. He
adds a report, of which he does not know the
truth, that the Russians are suffering greatly from
fever, and have much difficulty in getting up their
supplies. Such difficulty must increase as time
goes on."
Whatever the Russian transport difficulties were,
those of the Turks were far greater from the want
of organisation. It is quite true that the Turkish
soldier can march and fight on far less than any
other European soldier, but how were his pluck and
endurance to hold out in the face of such scarcity
as this?
To Admiral Sir Hastings Yelverton, G.G.B.
" July 4..
"Drummond from Kustendje and Musgrave
from Sulina speak of nothing but incompetence
and sloth on the part of those in command, and
utter unpreparedness.   Lieutenant Dougall reports 222 SLR  GEOFFREY  PHIPPS   HORNBY.
from Armenia that up to the end of May,' Mouktar ,
Pasha allows that without artillery, cavalry, money, I
munitions, or provision, he is powerless to relieve I
Kars or to check the advance of an enemy in =
force.'    To show how great his deficiencies are, he
mentions that the Pasha had only three batteries *
and eighteen mountain-guns, short of ammunition,
to defend the Soghadi Dagh, and only £400 in his |
chest; and his officers did not know one day where
the provisions for the next were to be found.    How
can such an unprovided mob resist permanently an |
organised and equipped army ? "
Letter to Wife.
"Some of our fellows have just returned from
Schipka, and they seem satisfied that the horrors |
you read in the papers are, and have been, gross I
"At some of the towns on, and south of, the
Balkans, when the Russians were advancing, the i
Christians came forward and told the Mussulmans
that if they would give up their arms they, the
Christians, would protect them. No sooner were
the arms given up than the Christians fell to and
massacred every one of them. After the Russian I
retreat, some of these villages tried to resist the
Turkish advance. They were given up to sack,
and in some cases were simply wiped out. In
most the Turks protected both person and pro-
perty, but arrested many of those who had been in
arms against them, and hanged them. I fear there
will be much suffering as the winter comes on, and
that peace will not be concluded. I think the
Emperor cannot safely accept the only terms the
Turks are justified in asking."
Early in October the Admiral paid another visit
of about a week to Constantinople, and as things
were looking so much better for the Turks, called
on the Grand Vizier and Minister of Foreign
Affairs, and had an audience with the Sultan.
In November the tide of war turned. Erzeroum
and Kars fell, the Russian grip tightened on
Plevna, though it was thought that the inclement
weather would prevent much progress in military
operations till the spring. By November, however,
the anchorage at Besika had become very bad;
southerly gales made landing and embarking very
difficult; one of the Agincourt's boats capsized,
and a midshipman was drowned in trying to save
his coxswain, both being lost in the fog. The Admiral, who believed that the Russians could not
advance, was anxious to move his ships to winter
quarters at Vourla; the Ambassador, who was expecting the Russians to pursue their advantages,
was anxious to keep the squadron on the spot at
Besika, if not nearer Constantinople; " my Lords,"
thinking the Admiral wished to remain at Besika
for the sake of the shooting and hunting, were 224 SLR GEOFFREY PHIPPS HORNBY.     '
very peremptory in overruling the Ambassador's |
objections. Accordingly on December 27 the fleet
weighed from Besika, leaving the Agincourt to J
recover her steam pinnace, which had sunk at I
the boom the night before, and they anchored at I
Vourla, a little after noon on the 28 th.
Vourla Bay is a large bay at the entrance of the I
Smyrna gulf, dotted with small islands, the hills J
and shore very fertile, and thickly planted with I
fig-trees and olives.    In the distance the cypress-
trees of the town of Smyrna can be distinguished. J
The anchorage is sheltered from the south, but I
gets the full benefit of any wind coming down
from the north, and is not such  good holding- I
ground as Besika.'    The Admiral only remained
here long enough to make  arrangements about J
telegraphic communication, and to arrange about
kennels  and stables  for the hunt, and reached
Malta on January 4.    Mrs Hornby and his family I
had been at Admiralty House since November, but
the Admiral had barely time to establish himself
on shore when he was again ordered off.    He was
just starting to dine with Admiral Rice at the
dockyard on the 11th, when a telegram arrived*!
ordering him to return at once to the fleet, to get
all ships ready, to detain the Euphrates, which
had, however, sailed the day before with troops to
India.     The dinner-party, and the dance after,
went on, everybody trying to appear cheerful, and
yet every one oppressed with a feeling of anxiety, THE MEDITERRANEAN. 225
The Alexandra had been placed in the dockyard
hands, but the Sultan, which was ready to sail on
the 12th, was detained for a day, and the Admiral
took a passage in her. The Jumna, Indian troopship, which arrived on the 12th, was detained at
Malta for a short time.
For the next few days the Admiral's letters,
and the telegrams sent and received by him, contain the pith of the matter :—
To Mr W. H. Smith
" Malta, January 12,1878.
" Consequent on your telegram of yesterday, I
have asked for instructions as to coaling the ships
at Vourla. Their condition is as follows: Teme-
raire (Captain Culme Seymour), Swiftsure (Captain Salmon), Research (Captain Earle), Hotspur
(Captain D'Arcy Irvine), Ruby (Captain Moly-
neux), short of coal lately consumed, say one-
fourth ; Agincourt (Captain R. Wells, Sir E. Com-
merell's flagship), Rupert (Captain Gordon), less
than half full. (I kept these low, so that they
might arrive here light for docking.) The coal,
which is on its way from England to Vourla,
would about do the first five, but it will not be
there before the end of the month. If the squadron is likely to move soon from Vourla, it would
be preferable to complete the ships at once.' The
coals now en route would in that case be used by
Sultan (Duke of Edinburgh, captain), Alexandra 226 SLR GEOFFREY PHIPPS HORNBY.
(flagship, Captain Fitzroy), Achilles (Captain Sir|
W. Hewett), Raleigh (Captain Jago), and Devas-^
tation (Captain  Hunt Grubbe),1 as they arrive.
Devastation will be ready for sea by the 24th.
Her boilers will then be retubed, but will not have I
the additional stays which are desirable; they will
only be fit for 20lb. pressure.    Raleigh's boilers f
have had little done to them, and will require a
good deal in four or five months.    To complete
these ships, the repairs of the small vessels, Helicon,
Coquette, and Bittern, will be delayed; their want
will be much felt if there is anything to do.    I
ought   to  have   warning to   recall Rapid  from
Corfu and Condor from Syria.    Alexandra will be
ready about 20th with a clean bottom, but otherwise in much the same condition as when she
arrived.    Materials to repair two of her largest
defects will be sent after her.
"I have no means of judging what you intend
to do, but I know that if anything is to be done
in or above the Dardanelles, the passage should
be secured by occupying Gallipoli with a land
" May I be permitted to add that the further I
can be informed of your views, consistently with
State secrets, the more I believe I should be able
to prepare to carry them out, as, for instance, in
two subjects mentioned herein—viz., the coaling,
and the moving of troops."
1 These four last were in the dockyard hands at Malta. THE  MEDITERRANEAN. 227
To Admiral WeUesley, CJB.
" Votjbla Bat, Jan. 17,1878.
" Commerell has done a great deal here to improve the condition of the men. He has made
friends with the Vali of Smyrna, and arranged for
some of the petty officers to go there on leave for
twenty-four to thirty hours. He has got the promise of a quarantine island and establishment,
where he hopes to open a canteen and land the
general leave-men. Except at Athens, there is no
place in the East where they can land with safety.
He has seized a quantity of bad liquor on shore,
and threatened to hang the Greek to whom it
belonged. As Commerell is the Vali's friend, it is
supposed the threat may be carried out—an idea
which is very advantageous to us. In fact, if we
could but hang all the Greeks, the Eastern ques-'
tion might soon be happily settled.
" We had a good passage from Malta, and I was
glad to find the Sultan bore looking into as well at
sea as she did at an inspection."
Telegram from Ambassador, Constantinople, to Admiral.
a Confidential. « January 18,1878.
"Russians advancing upon Adrianople, which
they will probably occupy immediately. Turkish
plenipotentiaries will not reach Russian headquarters before Saturday. Austria and England
have remonstrated at St Petersburg. Panic
amongst Ministers here." 228 SLR GEOFFREY PHIPPS HORNBY.
Telegram from Ambassador to Admiral.
" January 20, 1878.
" Consul at Dardanelles reports that he thinks J
a further series of torpedoes have been laid at I
the entrance of the Straits between Castles Koum-
kali and  Sedulbahar, and also at the northern |
extremity of the narrows between Forts Nagara
and   Bovali.    The   mid - channel   at   bottom   of
the places not believed to  be obstructed.    Con-1
necting wires to  mines  placed last summer on
Asiatic shore have been led   probably into  old |
fortress, Sultanieh Calesi.    First mines submerged
have recently been inspected.    About sixty heavy
rifled guns are mounted now in the four principal I
forts in the narrows—the 50-ton Krupp gun at
Sultanieh Fort may be called ready for serviceiM
Telegram from Ambassador to Admiral.
"January 19, 1878.
" Russians expected to enter Adrianople to-day.
Porte urgently requested her Majesty's Government to order fleet to Besika or Macri, to be
ready to enter Dardanelles at once should Russians
advance towards Gallipoli. (Could you anchor at
place this time of year ?) "
Telegram, Admiral to Ambassador.
"Votjrla, January 20.1
" Your telegram of yesterday unintelligible after
word Gallipoli. I am ready to proceed there
when ordered, but would deprecate going farther
until it is determined to secure Bulair lines." THE MEDITERRANEAN, 229
Ambassador to Admiral.
a Constantinople, January 20.
" Your telegram received. I have not had any
warlike instructions from her Majesty's Government as to fleet. My telegram of yesterday,
which you could not decipher, was to ask you
whether you could anchor at Besika or Macri
at this time of the year."
Admiral to Ambassador.
" Vourla, January 21.
"Fleet can lie at Besika at this time of the
year, but might have to put to sea for a few
hours in bad weather. I know of no place called
Macri near Dardanelles. Could anchor off Ma-
kri-keui near Constantinople, weighing in bad
', London, 6.40 P.M., Jan. 23, to Admiral, Voiwla,
11.55 AM., Jan. 24.
" Sail immediately for Dardanelles and proceed
with the fleet now with you to Constantinople.
Abstain from taking any part in contest between
Russia and Turkey, but waterway of Straits is
to be kept open, and in the event of tumult at
Constantinople, protect life and property of British
subjects. Use your judgment in detaching such
vessels as may be necessary to preserve waterway
of Dardanelles, but do not go above Constantinople.    Report departure, and communicate with 230 SLR GEOFFREY PHIPPS HORNBY.
for   possible further orders,  but  do  not
wait if none  are  there.    Keep your destination |
absolutely secret."
Admiral to Ambassador.
" Vourla, January 24
"Have received orders to proceed to Constantinople with the fleet, and to keep Dardanelles
open. I sail at 5 p.m. to-day. Request firman
may be sent for the fleet to pass Tchernak, but
orders do not permit me to wait for firman."
Letter to Wife.
"January 24
" We have received orders to go immediately
to Constantinople, not to take part in hostile
operations on either side, but to keep the Dar-
danelles open.
" N.B.—With a determined enemy in possession of the Gallipoli peninsula, this is not possible
for ships to guarantee. I fear from the vacillation our orders denote that we are not well
commanded, and I do not anticipate much credit
will accrue to the country. I pray that I and
those with me may be able to do our duty."
So they were off, the Admiral leading the starboard line in the Salamis, Captain Salmon, in the
Swiftsure, leading the port division. They were
sailing under sealed orders, but no one had any
doubt of what their destination was.    It was a THE MEDITERRANEAN. 231
nasty night, and Vourla is not a particularly
easy place to get out of in the dark; however,
no mishap occurred, and by 8 A.M. on the following day they were off Besika. No orders
were awaiting them there, and they passed on.
Close to the Dardanelles the Admiral'transferred
his flag to the Sultan, and began to make such
preparations as were possible without betraying
suspicion, in case the Turks should—as by treaty
they have a perfect right to do—refuse to let
them pass. The Salamis was sent on with a
letter to the commandant at Tchernak, saying,
"We came as friends, but I was bound to go
on. If you fired at me, I should be obliged to
fire at you, and then we should only be playing the Russian game, which would be very disagreeable to me." Not long after the Salamis
had left, the consul of Tchernak came out in
a tug to beg the Admiral to delay a little, as
there were torpedoes in the passage, and there
might be an accident. The Admiral replied that
his orders were definite, and that he must go
on whether the Turks liked it or not. Meanwhile Commander Egerton had delivered the
Admiral's letter to the commandant. A Turkish
official of high rank never allows himself to exhibit any show of perturbation, even under the
most exciting circumstances. He made quite a
proper show of reluctance in granting the permission, though even his oriental calm could not 232 SIR GEOFFREY PHIPPS HORNBY.
quite conceal his satisfaction. Commander Egerton had received the firman, and was just shoving off when a telegraph clerk ran down to the
landing with a message for the Admiral. They
put back for it, and the firman and the telegram
were given to the Admiral together. The telegram ran as follows :—
Admiralty, London, Jan. 24, 7.39 P.M., to Admiral, Tchernak, 3.30 P.M., Jan. 25.
"Annul former orders.    Anchor at Besika Bay
and wait further orders.    Report arrival there."
The Admiral did not say much, but, as one of
the midshipmen irreverently expressed it,  "The
corners  of Uncle Geoff's mouth went down for ■
several days."
This is what he telegraphed to the Admiralty/^H
"Received your telegraphic communication to
anchor at Besika when abreast Dardanelles forts.
Firman received there for passage of Straits.    I ■
return to Besika immediately as ordered."
This is what he wrote privately, January 27 :—
" It was most annoying. My belief is, that on
Wednesday the Cabinet came to the conclusion
that the Russians were playing them false, and-
must be checked; subsequently, that the terms
of peace were communicated to them, and that
they were admissible. Hence our sudden recall,
for fear our presence  at  Constantinople   should
encourage the Turks to refuse them. Judging
from the speeches made at the opening of Parliament, it seems that the Ministers have made
up their minds not to fight; in fact, the people,
or the press, or anybody who knows nothing
whatever of the political forces which are in
action, is to be allowed to settle this intricate
and difficult Eastern question. I am sick of it,
and only look forward to returning to Malta."
This first Russian proposal for peace was as
follows :—
"Large war indemnity, for which Eastern
Armenia is to be given as a guarantee; the
fortifications of Erzeroum to be destroyed; independence of Roumania, with a part of the
Dobrudscha united to her; Servia and Montenegro erected into independent States, with accessions of territory; Bulgaria to become a vassal
State, with a prince named by Russia; all the
fortresses on the other side of the Balkans to
be destroyed, and never to be rebuilt; the Sultan and the Emperor to come to a private understanding as to the Dardanelles and Bosphorus."
What this private understanding was likely to be
may be gathered from the following telegram:—
Ambassador to Admiral.
" Constantinople, Jan. 30.
"Consul at Rodosto telegraphs Russian reconnaissance,   3000  men  marching  from  Ouzum 234 SLR  GEOFFREY  PHIPPS  HORNBY.
Kiupru on Kissan by Gallipoli road, and is four I
hours distant."
On February 2 came the news that the Russians said that their forces  would not be sent I
against Gallipoli and Constantinople, if the Turks I
made no resistance to the occupation of these two
places.    Five days later it was announced that,
by the terms of the armistice, the Turks had been
obliged to hand over the lines of Buyuk Tcher- I
medge, a suburb of Constantinople, to the Rus-1
sians.    By this time the Russian outposts were I
within thirty miles of Gallipoli, but the Admiral
still hoped to be able to save Bulair.     But to I
return to his letters.
To the Bight Hon. W. H. Smith, M.P.
"Besika Bat, Feb. 8,1878.
" Mr Layard's private letter of the 6th, showing
that the lines of Buyak Tchermedge were to be
evacuated, and Constantinople therefore left at
the mercy of the Russians, was startling to me,
and as his telegrams of the 5th were two days
in reaching me, I thought it best to telegraph
the news to you immediately. I added that
I still thought the Bulair lines might be saved.
In saying this I assumed—1st, That these lines
were not included in the neutral zone, or at
least that the Turkish troops will not be obliged
to evacuate the peninsula;  2d, -That the Turks THE  MEDITERRANEAN. 235
would accept our assistance to defend the lines;
3d, That the Turkish general is not a traitor.
Given these premisses, I think the position might
be saved; and, as it is the only one left in Rou-
melia which we could hold, it may be important
to consider the matter. The Russians are said
to have 3000 men at Rodosto, sixty miles from
Bulair; a force—amount unknown—at Kissen,
thirty miles off; and the roads from the north,
through Malgara, and generally, are bad. I
think, therefore, they could not approach the
place under three days, or have a large force there
in less than six days.
"In twenty-four hours we could land at Gallipoli a naval brigade of 500 men, and flank the
approaches to a certain extent in the ships. This
would give the Turks the encouragement and assurance they require, after their recent defeats, to
hold the ground for a few days. If orders were
sent to the Governor of Malta to co-operate with
me, I should send Agincourt, Achilles, and Raleigh
to Malta, and they should return in eight days
to Gallipoli with 3000 troops. (Distance to
Malta, 690 miles; return to Gallipoli, 730 miles.)
Steamers should be chartered at Malta, and
despatched forty-eight hours after receipt of the
telegram, bringing guns, ammunition, biscuit, rum,
and cocoa for the troops, and 2000 tons of coals
for this squadron. With 3500 English, the ships,
and the Turks, I believe we should hold the place 236 SIR GEOFFREY PHIPPS  HORNBY.
for  a fortnight  against   anything the   Russians I
could do.
" By that time—that is, twenty-two days from
the receipt of your telegram—you ought to be able I
to send us the 8000  or 10,000 men that would
make this place safe for ever.    The first steps will
be the most important, and of course the orders
must be prompt and decided from home.    Troops,
ships,  and Ambassador would then  co - operate. I
Transport animals and temporary shelter for the I
troops will be the greatest difficulty, but I believe |
we can meet them.     You may depend I will feed
and shelter my own men, and I have great confidence in our contractor, who is an Englishman.
I  mention this only that you may not suppose
such matters have not been considered.
" Sir Edmund Commerell is going to Constantinople privately on the 10th, looking at the Bulair
lines if possible en route, and will consult with Sir
Collingwood Dickson and Mr Layard on the subject.
" I have heard that last July it was thought we
were too late to defend Gallipoli. I believe Sir C.
Dickson was not of that opinion, and that he would
join me in saying the same now, and it seems our
last chance of keeping the Straits open."
Letter to Wife.
" Besika Bat, Feb. 11, 1878.
" We had just ended a nice little run with the THE  MEDITERRANEAN. 237
beagles1 on Saturday, February 9, when we were
surprised to hear that the blue-peter was hoisted
on board, and some one said he had heard a gun.
We all trundled back as fast as we could, and
found orders : ' Proceed that afternoon if possible
for Constantinople with Alexandra^ Temeraire,
Swiftsure, Achilles, Ruby, and Salamis, to protect life and property of British subjects. Ambassador has been directed to obtain the necessary
orders to the forts, and a firman if requisite, and
to communicate with me.' Off we went at 6
p.m., as I fully expected to find the necessary
orders had been received at the forts, and the
communication from the Ambassador. This time,
our errand was evidently a friendly one to the
Turk. There was no question of 'keeping the
water-way open,' but to go by permission of the
" I had sent Salamis ahead to-day to say we
were coming, and to get my telegrams from
Layard. Instead of that, when some six miles inside the Straits, Salamis returned, saying no
orders had been received; no telegram for me;
that the Pasha protested against our entering the
Straits, as contrary to the treaty. I didn't require
him to tell me that. In fact, I had been rather
too quick, and had made a mess of it. Why is it
one forgets that good old proverb, ' Never be in a
1 The beagles came up in the Agincourt, and the Salamis brought
twenty-nine horses from Vourla on February 2. 238 SLR  GEOFFREY PHIPPS  HORNBY.
hurry, except in catching a flea' ?   Well, luckily it I
was dark, and there was no one to see our movements except the look-out men on the lower forts,
six miles below us.    So we  turned round and
anchored at the mouth of the Straits.    Salamis ]
went back to Tchernak with messages and tele- i
grams.    At 5 A.M. yesterday, she rejoined me with
the news that the Porte had telegraphed to the
Pasha to say the English Ambassador had made
no request for a squadron to pass; therefore they I
could give no permission to me to proceed, and he
was to remind me that to enter the Straits was
contrary to international law.    As it was not yet
daylight, and as it was clear the Government telegram could not have reached the Ambassador, 11
thought it was no use stopping there, looking as if
we wanted to go up and couldn't, so we weighed, I
and at daylight were to be seen returning majestically to our own quarters.    I telegraphed home to
ask whether I was to go on and force the passage,
or to wait for permission to pass up; and last night
I heard from Layard that the Porte refused permission, and in that complication he had telegraphed
to Lord Derby for instructions.    So this morning
the Cabinet have got a nice little nut to crack.
On the one hand, the Turks are quite right, and if
we go up during time of armistice and without
their consent, we shall be breaking that treaty of
1856 by which we have professed so much to abide.
If, on the other hand, we do not go, the Opposition THE MEDITERRANEAN. 239
will say, ' Why did you order up your ships ?'
'To protect British life and property.' 'Then, if
they are endangered, why don't they go now?'
It's a very pretty kettle of fish, due, in my opinion,
to our countrymen being so vain and foolish, and
fancying they can settle the Eastern question,
instead of leaving it to the Government, who
might be instructed as to the secret wires that
were in motion. Perhaps if it had been left in the
hands of statesmen, we should have gone to Gallipoli in July, and that would have simplified
matters immensely."
To the Bight Hon. A. H. Layard.
"February 11,11.30 p.m.
"Your telegram, giving me the Grand Duke's
threat to occupy Constantinople if we pass the
Dardanelles, has just reached me. I think it very
likely he will occupy it sooner or later, and at the
stage at which matters have arrived, I should be
glad to see him advance. It would drive our
Government to take some steps such as I have
sketched, and secure the only strategical point in
European Turkey which is left. In case of his
advance to Constantinople, I presume the Sultan
would cross into Asia, and, I hope, take with him
his brothers and the son of Abdul Aziz.
"Have you sufficient influence to get Bulair
secured in the hands of a trustworthy Turk, with
whom we can safely act ?    If so, I adhere to my 240 SIR GEOFFREY PHIPPS  HORNBY.
plan.    Hussein Pasha1 was here yesterday, and:-
he evidently thinks Suleiman a traitor as much asl
other people do.    Could you get him replaced ? I
Hussein tells me the road from Gallipoli to Bulairl
is in a frightful state—almost impassable.    For ^
that reason I want an engineer at my side the
moment we move, and asked you for one by tele-1
graph.    As to the Turkish fleet, if it has to leave
Constantinople, there is hardly a secure port in the
Black Sea to shelter worn ships during the re-1
mainder of the winter.    In my opinion, all such |
should withdraw into the Sea of Marmora, with a
view to refit them by-and-by at Malta; and all^f
tugs, and such vessels as the Russians could use
for laying torpedoes in the Bosphorus, should be||
rigorously withdrawn  to  the south side.    Commerell cannot go to you at present, but I send
this by an officer specially."
After this, for a few days there was not much
done in the way of writing: the time had come for
action. At 3 P.M. on the 12th a telegram was
received from the Admiralty directing the Admiral
to proceed into the Sea of Marmora with the fleet
on Wednesday morning without waiting for a
firman, and if fired upon, and the ships struck, to
return the fire, but not to wait to silence the forts.
Accordingly at daylight on the 13th the fleet
weighed from Besika;   it was blowing a north-
1 Commandant at the Dardanelles. THE  MEDITERRANEAN. 241
easterly gale with snow, and very thick. As the
ships passed out of the bay they saw the Raleigh
on shore near Rabbit Island, and the Hotspur and
Ruby were detached to her assistance. The Alexandra had rejoined about a fortnight previously,
and the other ships with the Admiral were the
Agincourt, Achilles, Swiftsure, Temeraire, Sultan,
and Salamis. On the two previous occasions the
mission of the fleet had been ostensibly a friendly
one, and there had been no visible signs of any
warlike preparations, but now they had their masts
down and everything cleared for action. There
were then only four formidable forts in the Dardanelles. The lowest of these was Fort Namas-
ghia, in which were sixteen Krupp breech-loading
rifled guns, supposed to be about 26 centimetres,
also one Krupp and two Armstrong 7-inch muzzle-
loading guns. Nearly opposite is the Sultanieh
Fort, in which the monster 50-ton Krupp gun had
been mounted to command the approaches to the
" Narrows"; this was, however, the only formidable piece of ordnance in the fort. A mile above
is the Medgidieh Fort, probably the strongest of
all, having been reconstructed by a German officer,
Bluhm; it had thirteen 6-inch breech-loading
Krupp guns, seven of which enfilade the channel.
The fort of Nagara, two and a half miles further
on, completed the defences, as the other forts were
either only supplied with obsolete guns, or else the
modern ones had not been mounted. The night
Q -1
before leaving Besika, the orders given were, that
two of the ships were to engage each of the three
lower forts. The Agincourt and Achilles were to
endeavour to silence the guns in Fort Namasghia,
keeping far enough down stream to be out of
range of some old-fashioned monster bronze guns
mounted at the castle of Kilid Bahar a little
above, and also firing their starboard bow-guns at
the Sultanieh Fort. The Alexandra and Sultan,
were to undertake the destruction of the 50-ton
Krupp gun at Tchernak, and with their port-guns||
to engage any forts on the European side which
should open fire on them. The Swiftsure and
Temeraire were to pass on to the attack of the
Medgidieh Fort, and to do as much damage as
possible till the other ships were free to go to
their assistance.
When the morning dawned thick and snowy,
the Admiral thought it was possible that he might
get past the forts unobserved, and it was not till
the fleet was within two miles of Tchernak that he
ordered the Salamis to go on with a letter to the
Pasha. The engineers on board the Salamis had?
been expecting this signal, and immediately it
was given, one could almost have felt the ship
spring forward. She had been up and down so
often in all weathers, and at all hours of the day
and night, that she could have found, her way
blindfold, which was very lucky,  as  this  thick THE  MEDITERRANEAN. 243
weather was almost worse than darkness. As the
commander of the Salamis landed, he saw that
the tompion had not been taken out of the big
The Pasha received the Admiral's letter in his
usual dignified way. The letter was to this
Official Letter.
"Alexandra, at Besika Bat, 13i& Feb. 1878.
"Sir,—I have the honour to inform your Excellency that I have been ordered to proceed into
the Sea of Marmora to protect British life and
property, and I trust that your orders will permit
of allowing me to pass without molestation, as I
am ordered, if fired into, to return the fire. I
should be deeply grieved to have to take such
a course, as it could only result in mutual damage
to two old allies, and be to the benefit of their
11 have to inform your Excellency that, at the
request of the Turkish Prime Minister, Ahmed
Vefyk, conveyed to me by her Majesty's Ambassador at the Porte, I sent the Raleigh yesterday to Dedegatch to embark fugitives. Unless
the captain of that vessel receives orders to the
contrary, he will land them at the Dardanelles.
I trust, therefore, that, in any case, your Excellency will receive him as a friend.    The Raleigh 244 SLR  GEOFFREY  PHIPPS  HORNBY.
will return to Besika Bay when the fugitives are
disembarked.—I have, &c, &c,
"G. Phipps Hornby,
Vice-Admiral and Commander-in-Chief.    I
" His Excellency Hussein Pasha,
Governor-General of the Dardanelles."
Hussein Pasha sent an Arabic letter in answer,
but as the interpreter was away on board the
Raleigh, no one could decipher it. It was, however, understood to be a protest, because the
Pasha had talked of the danger of forcing the
passage, and of the torpedoes which had been
laid, entirely forgetting how, in a moment of
confidence a few days before, he had mentioned
that, during the recent gales, all the torpedoes
had been washed away into the iEgean Sea.
Finally, with a grand wave of the hand, he had
said, " Return to the Admiral, and tell him that
from motives of humanity I refrain from firing."
Outside it was thicker than ever; but after
groping about for a little while, the Salamis
found the Alexandra just below Tchernak, and
delivered the Pasha's message, which was received with much amusement.
The weather had become so thick, that just as
the fleet approached the narrowest part of the
Straits, the Alexandra hung on the edge of a
bank, though there was deep water within two
ships' breadths of her. Keeping the Sultan to
help the Alexandra off, the Admiral ordered the THE  MEDITERRANEAN. 245
other four ships to proceed to Gallipoli. The
Sultan anchored on the Alexandra's port-beam,
and on the cable being secured by the latter
vessel's wire hawser, the Sultan slipped, and anchored near. After about four hours' hard work,
the Alexandra was got off without damage, and
proceeded to Nagara Point, where, as- the men
had had a hard day's work, it was thought advisable to " splice the main-brace " and anchor for
the night.
On the morning of the 14th the Alexandra,
Sultan, and Agincourt (which had anchored at
Nagara for the night) went on to Gallipoli, where
Captain Fife informed the Admiral that the Russian troops were within twelve miles of the Bulair
lines. The Admiral left the Agincourt and Suriji-
sure at Gallipoli to watch the movements of the
Russians, and having sent the Salamis to Constantinople to arrange about forwarding cipher
telegrams, and to communicate with the Ambassador, he went on with four ships, Alexandra,
Achilles, Sultan, and Temeraire. As they left
Gallipoli they could make out the Turkish sentries, and the groups of workmen employed on
the Bulair lines, and early next morning they
found themselves off Constantinople, that most
beautiful of all cities as seen from the sea in
the early morning,—the dark cypresses rising
above the uneven red - tiled roofs, and, still
higher, the white minarets standing out against 246 SIR  GEOFFREY  PHIPPS  HORNBY.
the sky. Close by, the Russian and Turkish
tents could be seen in close proximity at San
Stefano: the Turks still clinging to " the pearl,"
as they call it, "between two emeralds and two
sapphires," and the Russian with his hand
stretched out to grasp it. Yet, in the very
moment of his triumph, he stopped. Why ?
Because four great stately ironclads had anchored at Prinkipo, or Prince's Island, about
ten miles off.
To the Russian the possession of Constantinople
is very much what the conquest of Jerusalem was
to the crusaders seven hundred years before. A
legend circulated among the troops declared that
when Constantinople fell into the hands of the
Turks, a priest who was celebrating Mass in St
Sophia had been walled up at the altar, and
that when the Russian army entered the city
the wall would fall down, and the priest complete
the half-recited office. There they were, within
three miles, with the last line of defences in
their hands, and yet they made peace and retired directly the English squadron entered the
Sea of Marmora. The Grand Duke had threatened to occupy Constantinople; he did not do
it: he asked to visit the Sultan in state—the
Sultan refused, but offered to receive him privately ; he contented himself with this. The
terms of peace required all the Turkish fleet to
be surrendered:   the Sultan stood firm, and in THE  MEDITERRANEAN. 247
this also the Russians gave way. They tried to
occupy the heights near Buyukdere, about nine
miles up the Bosphorus on the European side,
and to bring down torpedoes to bar the entrance
to the Black Sea: the Sublime Porte, backed by
England and Austria, remonstrated, and the Russian troops and torpedo-boats were withdrawn.
And all because of the menace of those four great
ships! It was true that the Russians believed
that they had 15,000 British troops on board;
true also that those other two ships, watching at
either end of the Bulair peninsula, and the removal of the unreliable commander, had put fresh
spirit into the Turks; but the real truth was,
that the Russians from the very beginning had
been playing "a game of bounce." They relied
on the feeling against the Mohammedans, so sedulously stirred up in Europe, and in defiance of
the first rule of strategy, pushed forward into an
ememy's country, every day farther from their
base—every day with a longer line of communication to protect. Their " bounce " had been almost
successful—there was nothing really to prevent
their occupying Constantinople; the Sultan and
his brothers were virtually in their power when
that " little black cloud," in the shape of English
men-of-war, appeared on the horizon, and they
dared not face the storm. A virulent form of
typhus had broken out among the ill - fed, ill-
sheltered troops;  the men had lost discipline; 1
the officers were only longing to return to their
comforts; and, if the English had made common
cause with the Turk, the Russian supplies both
by land and sea might have been stopped. The
Austrians, irritated, and not likely to let so good I
an opportunity slip, could have barred their retreat across the Danube, and thus, like rats in
a trap, they would have had no option but to
starve or surrender. When Todleben, that experienced old soldier, succeeded the Grand Duke,
his one idea was to bundle all the troops back;
across the Balkans as quickly as possible. But
this is anticipating!
So the Dardanelles had been passed at last.
Alas ! that the step had not been taken six months
before. What bloodshed and misery it might have
saved! Crowds of refugees were still thronging I
into Constantinople—mostly women and children
—packed like cattle in open trucks, standing perhaps for thirty hours, the snow falling all the time,
and, when they reached the station, nearly as many
dead as living bodies would be taken out of the
train.    Those who came by road fared no better.
Letter to Wife.
"H.M.S. Alexandra, Feb. 11, 1878.
" They are flying in panic, and Mr Layard tells
me their panic is quite justifiable, as the accounts
he has received of the outrages that both Russians
and Bulgarians have committed, as witnessed by
Englishmen, are frightful.    The rough old Pasha THE  MEDITERRANEAN. 249
told me he fairly cried at what he saw. It seemed
to him as if the end of the world were come, and
from the emotion he showed I can quite believe
him. The sufferings of the poor children from cold
and starvation; the way their waggons got set fast
in the mud; then on quitting them, children got
engulfed; called to their mothers for help; the
mothers themselves got fast; and so on. If the
Emperor of Russia is fated to see in another world
the misery that has been caused by his action, what
a hell he will suffer!"
Might not one almost put for " Emperor " " the
British Government," and for "action" the word
" inaction " ?
The first action of Admiral Hornby after arriving
at Prinkipo was very similar to that of Sir Sidney
Smith when the Queen of Spain refused to move
till she had seen the British-flag lowered on the
Rock at Gibraltar. With the remark, " Anything
to oblige a lady," the flag was hauled down till she
had time to retire. The Grand Duke had said that
he would occupy Constantinople if the English
ships came there, and on Mr Layard representing
that Prinkipo was within the prefecture of the
city, the ships were moved to Touzla Bay on the
mainland, a little southward of the Bosphorus.
Twice a-day small ships communicated with
Prinkipo for telegrams, and the Salamis lay at
the entrance of the Golden Horn, ready to carry 250 SLR GEOFFREY PHIPPS  HORNBY.
messages between the Ambassador and the fleet. I
Almost every day there was some panic among
the Ministers; every day letters came from the I
Ambassador detailing Russian threats and iniquities; or he would summon the Admiral by telegram to Constantinople to pour out volumes of
grievances.    Of course, if the Russians had wished I
to enter Constantinople, the Admiral was powerless to prevent them; but he had taken precautions I
to secure his ships against  a sudden attack by I
night, and he was prepared to take British sub-1
jects, and even the Sultan in person, under his J
protection if necessary.     The Flamingo came up
from Gallipoli on the 18 th with news that  the
Russians meditated an attack on Bulair from the
rear, and the same day Mr Hooper, engineer of the
Alexandra, was sent back in her with 3 cwt. of
gun-cotton to blow up the Dardanelles forts should
it be impossible to defend them.    On the 19th, as
nothing very particular seemed stirring, the Admiral wrote to Sir Edmund Commerell and Mr
Smith his views of the situation:—
"Totjzla Bay, Feb. 19, 1878.
" My dear Commerell,—I can't tell you what
a relief your news of the removal of Suleiman was
to me; we have now one more chance if the Government will but profit by it, and it is not my fault if
they do not. I am sending you orders to sound
Hussein Pasha as to the view he takes of our ships THE  MEDITERRANEAN. 251
passing his doors. If he does not object, I want
you to exchange Swiftsure for Research. If he
does not like it, leave it alone. Do not think I
have weakened you without due consideration, but
I find you have no opposition to dread from the
Turks in dismantling the northern forts, if there
should be occasion to do so. The Ambassador tells
me he was informed that orders had been sent to
Hussein that the northern forts were to be dismantled, and powder exploded, rather than they
should be allowed to fall into Russian hands. He
(the Ambassador) is anxious that you should ask
Hussein if he has any orders what to do in the
event of the Russians taking the lines. It will be
a small test of how far he is straightforward with
us, or how far the Ambassador can rely on what
he hears on high authority. He thinks the refusal
of the Turks to sell their ships is bona fide. If the
Russians enter Constantinople, the Sultan would
probably go to Prince's Island, and the fleet would
form a fitting guard for him.
" As to the Russian troops crossing the Marmora
in small vessels, I don't see how it could pay them
to risk it; after landing in Asia they would be at
our mercy. But your orders are sufficient to cover
any embarkation of Russians. If they landed in
Asia, they might easily come thence to Gallipoli. *
Therefore, if they embark, oppose them.
" I hear the Channel ships are ordered to Malta.
—Yours very truly, G. Phipps Hornby." SLR GEOFFREY PHIPPS HORNBY.
"Totjzla Bat, Feb. 19,1878.
"Dear Mr Smith,—Events do indeed march
quickly, and as they are reported by telegraph, it
seems almost useless to write. Nevertheless, I
must do so to acquaint you with the very grave
causes for anxiety which I, being on the spot,
must see and feel more pressingly than you do.
You say, 'Russia appears studiously to have
avoided the appearance of controlling the channel
by keeping clear of Bulair.' To me, and to Sir E.
Commerell, it appears she is straining every nerve
to get there. She is massing troops as close to
it as she can. She is bringing marsh buffaloes to
draw siege-guns. For what purpose, if not to
besiege the Bulair lines? She has examined the
N.W. coasts of the peninsula to ascertain the best
landing-places, and, according to consular reports, j
has noted all boats on both sides of it. For what
purpose, if not to land troops in rear of the Bulair
lines ? What further causes of distrust can we
expect to see ? As you prophesied, there will be I
now a lull—but why? Because Russia has not
sufficient troops to spring at once on Bulair and
Constantinople; not sufficient supplies at the frontj
to enable her to carry on two great attacks. But
no doubt they are now sending those supplies
across the Black Sea, and therefore in my opinion
we should be moving our supplies and troops also.
" If she is content with the enormous advantage
the terms of peace promise her, why is she making THE  MEDITERRANEAN. 253
these exertions, and irritating Austria and ourselves by her threatening position and language
with regard to Constantinople? I can account
for it in no other way than that she has determined to improve her opportunity and try for both
positions. We can save neither unless we come to
some agreement on the subject with' the Turks.
There seems to be an idea that this fleet can keep
the Dardanelles and Bosphorus open. Nothing
can be more visionary. Not all the fleets in the
world can keep them open for unarmoured ships.
Small earthworks on the cliffs would always prevent their passage. Then, look what a risk we
run if Russia once holds the north shore of the
Bosphorus, and shuts us out of the Black Sea!
She can reinforce and supply her army by a voyage
from Odessa to Bourgas of 280 miles, or to Midia
of 320 miles, while we should have to supply ours
from a distance of 3000 miles, even if we were so
lucky as to have saved Gallipoli. I cannot believe
that the time has not come to say to Russia, ' We
will help the Turks to defend Constantinople if
you attack them, and, as they are grievously imperilled, we must now move our troops in support.'
The traitorous general has been removed from
Bulair, so we may have one more chance to save
it. I earnestly hope we may not let this opportunity slip as we have so many, and as another
may not recur. My only consolation is to find
from the Ambassador that the Turks  will not 254 SLR  GEOFFREY  PHIPPS  HORNBY.
listen to the sale of any ships.    Even those they
have in England are not so good as this ship, and
I should be grieved to think that, after the war,
we were   to  be   burdened  with  suchlike,  while
other nations had been building, and we with the
money might build useful vessels like the Dread- I
nought  and Inflexible.     If we  go to war with
Russia, it will not be ironclads we want, but fast I
small vessels, competent to watch and catch the I
torpedo - vessels   and   extemporised   cruisers   like I
Vesta, which will annoy us in the Black Sea.—
Yours very truly, G. Phipps Hornby."
Much to the indignation of the Admiral, the
Russians were driving the very hardest possible I
bargain with the Turks; but as the British Gov-1
ernment had not yet made up its mind whether to
oppose the Russian demands by force or a,t the
Conference, he began to look for a more comfortable anchorage for his ships. February 27 he
writes in his Diary:—
" To Ismid in Salamis. It would be a nice place
to move the squadron to, but with the town so
visible, the ships would be very open to torpedo
attack. Society in a state of chaos, Governors
paralysed, inhabitants without power of combination, and many armed Circassians about. Prince
Alexander of Battenberg arrives to visit the Duke."
This visit of Prince Alexander gave rise to a
perfect howl of indignation in the English papers. THE  MEDITERRANEAN.
It was said he came as a spy, to ferret out torpedo
secrets. At that time, as now, all torpedo secrets
are secrets only to the majority of our own service,
but the public property of other nations, so in
that line there was nothing for Prince Alexander
to discover. Probably he may have ascertained
that the 15,000 troops were not on' board the
ships; but he must also have discovered what
perfect good-feeling and confidence existed between
the men and officers and their chief, and cannot
have failed to draw contrasts between their comfortable condition and that of his own disorganised
army, very much to the disadvantage of the latter.
On March 4 news came from Constantinople that
" peace was signed yesterday afternoon, and is to
be ratified within fifteen days at St Petersburg.
The Russians have abated some of their demands,
and have increased others. The 40 millions to be
paid in bonds have been reduced to 12 millions,
and the tributes of Bulgaria and Egypt are no
longer demanded as part of the guarantee. Sal-
onica will remain with the Turks, but the rest of
the iEgean. coast goes, I understand, to Bulgaria,
the limits of which will be extended considerably
more to the westward than was at first supposed,
in order to compensate for a large cession of territory to Servia. The ironclads remain with the
Sultan, who refused to give them up. At the last
moment General Ignatieff demanded, as an addition to the treaty, that Turkey should make a 256 SLR GEOFFREY PHIPPS  HORNBY.
formal signed declaration that the conditions were
accepted of her own free will, and that she would
stick to them at the Conference.    To this the j
Sultan also positively refused to agree."
As for the time being affairs seemed to be in the
hands of the diplomatists, the Admiral removed his
ships to pleasanter quarters at Ismid on the 9th,
and the same day Mrs Hornby arrived in the
Helicon on a three weeks' visit. A few days later
the Duke of Edinburgh and Prince Louis of Batten-
berg obtained leave to go to Malta; and the day
they sailed, the Admiral and his wife went for a
few days to Constantinople. He found that the
Foreign Ministers were a little more hopeful of
peace, and made acquaintance with Mouktar
Pasha, who, to his surprise, was quite a young
man. Besides matters connected with the war, he
was also at this time engaged in correspondence
with the Admiralty because they objected to his
having taken the wise precaution of ordering 2000
tons of coal to be ready for him at Constantinople.
In case the peace negotiations should fail, he was
also busy with plans for carrying the war into the
Black Sea, whether the Dardanelles were closed to
him or not.
To Admiral Wellesley, C.B.
" Ismid, April 2,1878.
" I reopen my letter, as I see I have not sufficiently noticed your point about the possibility of THE  MEDITERRANEAN.
keeping the sea after we had passed up the Bosphorus. If I went, I should try to go up by night,
taking as many colliers as I could. My object
would be to prevent the Russians communicating
with Sulina, Kustendje, Varna, Bourgas, and Midia.
The business of the Russian Admiral would be to
tease me by sending fast steamers laden with
munitions of war, which I might have to chase off
the land, and so burn my coal. Slower ones would
come by night to elude us; but they would have
to discharge them quickly, for at daylight we
should look into the ports, and probably sink them.
Thus it would be greatly a question of vigilance
and coal. The latter I should hope to get at
Heraclea regularly. Sir William Hewett thinks
our colliers could run up the Bosphorus with little
risk by choosing dark nights. He has had experience of blockade-running, and does not speak
of what he cannot do. Welsh coal would be preferable to that of Heraclea. If two or three fast
corvettes, say honest 12-knot ships, could be sent
up by night, they would be very useful. I have
nothing of the sort here at present, or I should
take them. If we had much chasing, our shells
might run rather short in two months; in three we
should want provisions. All those things would
have to be sent here (Lsmid) and carried across to
Kerpen Bay. By August the bottoms of the ironclads would begin to foul, and the enemy's light
ships would worry us all the more.    Still I think 258 SIR GEOFFREY PHIPPS HORNBY.
they would always find it risky to send troops or
the fleet; they would require to provision their
armies, for the country has been wasted this year,
and is very partially sown. Meanwhile, you would
probably be able to send us two or three more
cruisers, which would be a pull in our favour.
Probably the Russians would not think it worth
while to bring sufficient heavy guns to Bourgas to
prevent our destroying ships inside it. Eventually
perhaps we might borrow 2000 soldiers, and hold
that port against the Russians. Then we should
be in clover. I think we should keep the sea some
time and be disagreeable to them."
About this time the Admiral arranged for a
picnic for some of his officers to Beikos, a bay
near the north end of the Bosphorus, just opposite
Therapia and Buyukdere, where the Sultan has a
summer kiosk. Close by is a hill called the
Giant's Mountain, which commands a very good
view of the Black Sea, and near the landing-place
was a camp of Turkish refugees, so there was
plenty to interest both philanthropists and lovers
of scenery. It was the most beautiful time of the
year in the Bosphorus, all the trees were coming
into leaf, and the azaleas and rhododendrons, which
clothe the slopes, bursting into bloom. After
passing the Golden Horn, the Sultan has several
palaces on either side of the Bosphorus; one of
them has never been occupied, because the Sultan THE  MEDITERRANEAN. 259
who built it stumbled as he crossed the threshold,
and this is considered a bad omen. Then come
on either side two mediaeval castles, of Europe and
of Asia. Beyond, reminding one of the Thames
above London, only far more beautiful, come a
succession of summer residences of the principal
Turkish officials and millionaires, and, grouped
closely together at Therapia and Buyukdere, the
houses where the envoys of the various foreign
Powers spend the summer months. All the way
up the Bosphorus the water is very deep; but the
strength of the current setting down from the
Black Sea makes the navigation rather ticklish.
At one place, Candilli, a house is built close to the
water's edge with a latticed balcony overhanging
the stream. It seems as if the ship were being
steered straight for this, when, just at the moment
when it seems impossible to avoid carrying away
some of the woodwork on the bowsprit, the current
catches her bows and carries her into her course
Before Easter came the news of Lord Derby's
resignation, and, almost simultaneously, the announcement of a firmer and more consistent policy
on the part of the Government.
Letter to Wife.
"Ismid, April 7,1878.
"I received a very satisfactory telegram from
the Admiralty on Tuesday, giving Commerell the 260 SLR GEOFFREY PHIPPS HORNBY.
authority for which I had asked—viz., 'To take
any steps he might think necessary, pecuniary or
otherwise, in case of an attack by the Russians, to.
preserve the lines at Gallipoli.' This means that,
if it should be necessary, he may take the Turkish
troops at Bulair into our pay,—pashas, army, and
all,—and land some of his own men and his officers
to assist them in the defence. Of course Mr Layard
was pretty well pleased when he heard it. He
also had received some good news in his nrs|g
telegram from Lord Salisbury, which was to the
effect that England could not permit the formation
of this huge Bulgarian principality under Russian
control; that the Bulgarian province must not
come south of the Balkans; and that, after taking
sufficient precautions for its proper government,
we should leave it under the sovereignty of the
Sultan, and that he might tell the Sultan this.
Now we shall carry the Sultan with us; and the
Turkish Ministry, who are English in their policy,
will feel that there is more to be got for their
country by sticking to us than by following the
advice of their opponents, the Russian party, who
say, ' England will do nothing except for her own
interests; we had better join the Russians, who
promise to do everything for us in Asia.' Already
it has had an immense effect. There had been a
question whether it would be possible still to
preserve the city from capture. Now it seems to
be determined to try.    The Turks are quietly THE  MEDITERRANEAN. 261
throwing up a few earthworks here and there, and
have moved out the troops they had called in, so
as to reoccupy Buyukdere. The Russians sent to
inquire whether these preparations were made
against them, and said that if they were, they
also must intrench themselves, and occupy the
ground they were on more firmly. The Sultan
answered that they were occupying ground to
which they had no right, as it was far in advance
of that stipulated for in the armistice, and that,
as they had not quitted it, he had moved his
troops so as to guard against accidents. This
rapprochement is kept quite secret; but the
Turkish Ministers do not fail to show, whenever
they can, how much they appreciate it, and on
Friday they exhibited me in a way I thought
rather foolish, though it was amusing. I had told
one of the Ministers, Said Pasha, that I should be
glad to call on him, if he would allow me to do
so incognito, and it was arranged I was to do so
on Friday about noon. I went to the palace
accordingly, and found he had gone down with
the Sultan to mosque, leaving word to ask me to
follow to speak to him. The Sultan's going to
mosque is a great ceremony; all 'the Faithful'
turn out to look at him, and there is an immense
collection of troops, officers, &c, &c. On that day
a great number of Russians were present. When
we got near the mosque I dismounted, and my
cavass elbowed in through the thick of the crowd 262 SLR GEOFFREY PHIPPS HORNBY.
and the mass of the troops : I followed in my black
coat, and that low black hat, which is rather the
worse for Besika hunts. But, from what he said,
every one made way, and we went in among a lot
of officers standing at the porch of the mosque.
Then one A.D.C. asked me in French to step into
a side-room, and another went to tell Said Pasha
I was there. Presently he came down and said I
was to wait till the ceremony was over, as the
Sultan wanted to speak to me at his kiosk. He.
took me out and introduced me to Osman Pasha,
and I met there Reouf Pasha, Minister of WfflM
and Mouktar Pasha, and there we stood looking at
the troops and the Sultan's best charger. Most oh|
the pashas drew back a little, and left Said and
me well to the front. A tall man in an ulster
went down and began to talk to some of the
Russian officers. I asked who he was. ' Zenghis
Khan! he is one of the Russian spies.' It seemed
to me that he and his countrymen were asking
who the man in plain clothes and the bad hat
was, who was standing so forward among the
pashas. Presently we went inside. The Sultan
came down-stairs, and as he passed said something
to a general, Namyk Pasha, who was standing
close to me. It was repeated by him in French,
' That the Sultan hoped to see me presently at his
kiosk.' After the Sultan had left we saw the
troops file off, and then Said and I mounted, and
we rode together down the principal street, which THE  MEDITERRANEAN. 263
was very full of people. I was riding a very good-
looking horse of the Ambassador's, and as Said is
the Sultan's right hand, all eyes were turned on
him. I am sure what all the men were thinking
was, ' Who is that foreigner in the bad hat riding
such a nice horse?' Well, when we got to the
kiosk we went in to talk to the Sultan, and he
asked me questions on all sorts of subjects. How
we had fared at Ismid ? How many ships I had
there ? at Besika, &c. ? What I thought of the
internal state of Russia ? If in case of a disastrous
war, I thought that there would be a revolution ?
How many troops I thought we should send out
if we went to war with her ? How we were to
make much impression with so small an army?
How many ships I should want to carry out an
efficient blockade ? &c, &c, &c. He seemed rather
surprised at my giving him two or three answers
very contrary to his own opinions. He asked if I
did not think the Russian soldiers very barbarous.
I said, 'No; I thought they were naturally, so
far as I had read of them, peaceable and good-
tempered.' He asked how I accounted for their
murdering so many of his men when prisoners.
I thought he laid himself rather open there; but
I said all soldiers became cruel in war, and there
was no doubt that in the Indian rebellion our
soldiers had at times been very cruel. I thought
that much which had been done in Bulgaria had
been done by design, so as to frighten the Moham- 264 SIR GEOFFREY PHIPPS  HORNBY.
medans into leaving the country. Again, when he
spoke of our army being so small, I said we had
always acted with a small army because we had
not a large one; nevertheless, we had usually done
pretty well. For instance, when Napoleon was at
the zenith of his power and held Spain with
100,000 men, we landed an army of 20,000, and
yet in five years we bundled the French out.
Further, I said, nowadays war is carried on very
much by indirect means, and on our blockading the
ports on the Black Sea, the Russians would have
such a difficulty in keeping up their supplies that
they would have either to leave the country or to
be ruined in money and material, as they were in
the Crimean war by the stress we put on them to
hold Sevastopol. However, he took his contradgM
tions as one of the lessons he had to learn, and I
left him (rather wondering how a man who had
been brought up in a harem, and had never had
an opportunity of rubbing up against his fellow-
creatures, could have as much sense as he showed).
He said rather a good thing to Mr Layard the
other day. It seems that the Grand Duke forced
him}i by hints of the most barefaced sort, and by
telling those about him ' that he had heard it had
always been the custom of the Sultan to give a
horse to distinguished visitors,' to offer him the
choice of two of his Arab horses. He went to the
stable, said that the Sultan had offered him four,
chose them, and took them away there and then. THE  MEDITERRANEAN. 265
The Sultan, after telling all this, said,' I had often
heard that there is a great deal of communistic
spirit in Russia; perhaps this is an instance
of it.'"
A few days after this interview the Ministers
favourable to England resigned, and things looked
so threatening that the Admiral sent -off most of
his plate and valuables to Malta. The next evening, about 5 p.m., a sharp shock was felt on the
port side of the ship, and for a moment every one
thought that the Russians had eluded the patrol,
and were declaring war by a torpedo attack. It
turned out to be an earthquake, which shook down
some walls, and did a great deal of damage in the
town of Ismid. All the ships seemed to feel the
shock in much the same way, and it was supposed
to have been communicated by the anchor cables.
By a curious coincidence, there was in the harbour
a Dutch corvette, Maria, which had been accidentally struck by an uncharged torpedo in Malta
harbour during torpedo practice in the spring of
1877. The Admiral that time had apologised for
the accident, had the torpedo-head polished and
mounted, and had sent it as a present to the
Dutch captain. This time the Dutch captain
sent an apology to the Admiral, saying that he
was very sorry to have again got in the way
during torpedo practice.
During the reaction which followed this alarm 266 SLR GEOFFREY PHIPPS  HORNBY.
the fleet regatta came off; on the first day, rowing^!
races.    There were no very good races except that 1
between gunrooms, which was very closely contested between Achilles and Temeraire.    The next
day sailing races took place.
Letter to Wife.
"April 27.
" We finished our regatta yesterday—very successfully for this ship.    We took every first prize, I
except for launches, of which we got the second, I
and we got second prize in two out of the other I
three races for which they were given.    I sailed |
my own galley, and was very near beaten.    If I
had, it would have been by a gunnery-man, the
commander of the Temeraire, which would have
been a terrible blow; but I did him at the last I
buoy but one."
The race for the Admiral's Cup was not sailed^
till August 6, and was won by Lieutenant French
in the Cruisers' cutter, beating the Admiral's ]
barge by two minutes. The wind was light N.E.,
so partly on account of that, and their not being
very well handled, the launches did not do well.
It was also decisively proved that galleys cannot
sail against larger boats.
Rumours were rife that Lord Beaconsfield meditated a great coup during the Easter recess; and
the first move in his game was the despatch of a THE  MEDITERRANEAN. 267
contingent of 10,000 Indian troops to Malta in
May. The ultimate destination of these troops
remained uncertain, and the only thing the
Admiral could do was to encourage the Turks
in efforts to improve their own position without
forcing the hand of the English Government by
taking any initiative against the Russians. The
Grand Duke had returned to Russia; so far his
progress had been successful, and he left to Todle-
ben the task of extricating the army from the
awkward position in which it now found itself.
There had been some changes in the squadron;
the Devastation had replaced the Sultan, whose
boilers were worn out, and Captain Heneage had
replaced Sir W. Hewett in command of the
Achilles. For the rest, the Admiral's letters
speak for themselves.
To Mr W. H. Smith
"April 28.
"The great object we should have in view is,
to get the Russians far enough away from Constantinople to enable the Turks to form a good
line of defence in front of the city. For that
reason, if I were in your place, I would accept
nothing short of Adrianople. I telegraphed to
you in that sense to-day, and the reasons I gave
were, I believe, valid. I am much obliged for the
large supply of steamboats shipped in the Sumatra,
which will, I hope, relieve me from the necessity 268 SIR GEOFFREY PHIPPS HORNBY.
of buying in Constantinople.    Admiral Commerell ,
is much pleased with the new tug.    He has had
a very anxious time of it at Gallipoli.    I believe I
the Russians in Roumelia are very badly off, and I
have nothing to rely on but the game of brag.
Their troops are very sickly, and they have great
difficulty in feeding them.    Cavalry and artillery
horses very few, and in bad condition.     Money
very tight.     An excuse for a retreat would be
welcome.    If we could only hit them at once, I
believe we should crumple them up like paper." I
To Mr W. H. Smith
«April 30, 1878. ■
"... But what I cannot understand is the idea I
of going to war with Russia in these parts without first securing the alliance of Turkey. The
middle and lower class Turks wish nothing better
than English rule, and to assist in fighting Russia.
The Sultan and most of the Pashas are said to be
of the same opinion. There is no reason, because
we fight beside them, that we must thereafter
support the bad rule of the Pashas. As fighting
material you can hardly find better than the Turk,
and why we are to make a bulwark to Russia I
rather than an enemy to her, is one of those incomprehensible propositions that only justify themselves in my brain in a nightmare.
" We have just lost Sir W. Hewett.    He is
very anxious to rejoin us, as we are to have him THE  MEDITERRANEAN. 269
back; and I may remark that his local knowledge
would make him specially useful in the Black Sea."
Letter to Wife.
"May 2,1878.
"I am going up to Constantinople to see the
Ambassador, by his request, on account of the
negotiations which are going on for the simultaneous withdrawal of our ships from this sea and
of the Russian army to Adrianople. My belief
is that it would be a very good thing, as it would
enable the Turks to recover possession of the lines
which cover their city, and which should never
have been given up. The only thing I cannot
understand is, how the Russians can consent to
lose the grip they have of it. It would look as if
they were weaker in some way than we suppose;
but if we can by any means get them away, I shall
be easier in my mind than I have been since they
were so foolishly allowed by us to get to San
Letter to Wife.
"May 9, 1878.
" No signs of retiring on the part of the Russians. I shall believe it when I see it accomplished, not before."
To Mr W. H Smith.
"May 14,1878.
"I am writing officially to propose to change
the anchorage of the squadron shortly.    This place 270 SLR GEOFFREY PHIPPS  HORNBY.
is notoriously unhealthy in summer.    The reason
is patent.    There is a large marsh at the upper
end;   low, irrigated, and swampy land on either
side;   high hills all round which shut out light I
breezes; so that the gulf is in summer like a great
stew-pan.    I had great difficulty in ascertaining I
when   the   unhealthy season   began.     A   letter
published by a French doctor a few days ago, in
the ' Levant Herald,' I think, gives a reasonable
answer.    He says that heavy rains fall early in ■■
June, and that a hot sun following them causes^
mephitic exhalations.    The only good anchorage;*!
at this end of the sea, which is free from fevers >
in summer, is that near Prince's Island, and, so ;
far as the squadron is concerned, I should strongly
recommend it.    Among other advantages, it pos-
sesses a first-class telegraph station, and Avhile we
lay there, we should be between the Russians and
the newly laid telegraph cable.    The Russians will
probably object, and it is for you to say if their
objections  are  to prevail.     Hitherto  they have
done what seemed good in their own eyes, while
we might not move a step.    I hear privately from
Mr Layard that he sees no objection to the move,
and thinks  the  Turks  would have none.     ' Of
course,' he adds, ' the Russians must be dealt with
at home.'    In view of what I hear of the completeness of our military preparations, and  the  full
consideration which has been given to the alternative plans which our army may have to adopt, THE MEDITERRANEAN. 271
I cannot but wish I knew what the squadron is
expected to do. I much fear we may be found
deficient on some point, which, if foreseen, might
have been guarded against."
Letter to Wife.
"May 17, 1878.
"I have just received a telegram from Mr
Layard saying the Russians began to move last
night from San Stefano in the direction of Derkos
and the north shore of the Bosphorus, and asking
if I am authorised to take the ships nearer Constantinople. I have told him I will move to
Prince's Island immediately if he wishes it. My
belief is, that the Russians are about at last to
throw off the mask they have so long worn in
regard to us, and will try to seize Constantinople.
It is by no means safe, thanks to the insane folly
and vanity of the British public; but if it can be
held, the repulse will be very damaging to the
Letter to Wife.
"May 20,1878.
" I should like very much to see and meet Tod-
leben. There is no doubt he is a capital soldier,
and, I fancy, less dishonest than most Russians,
One thing is quite certain, he has done what we
least wished. He has moved all his camps and
stores away from the coast, where we could have
reached them, and has deposited them all inland, and 272 SLR GEOFFREY  PHIPPS   HORNBY.
very near the springs by which Constantinople is
supplied with water. The old Duke said he always,
thought Soult the best general he met, because he
always made the dispositions which were most disagreeable to him (the Duke). Todleben has done
the same by us."
To Mr W. H Smith.
"May 21, 1878.   I
" I warned you on the 7th that the Turks before
Constantinople were weak as compared to the
Russians. The Intelligence Department in London seem lately to have overrated the Russian
strength, but the late movements have demonstrated the accuracy of what I had been told. I
hope now that the Turks will insist on putting
guns into position to strengthen themselves with,
and that we shall support them in doing so. Last
month the Grand Duke forbade them, which, as
peace was signed, seems to me monstrous. At the
present moment the Russians are, I understand,
within striking distance of the Turkish lines, and
Todleben has removed all his stores out of our
reach; so the only help this squadron could now
afford to the defence of their vital positions would
be the moral encouragement which sending up our
few field-pieces manned by seamen would give to
the Turkish soldiers. I do not see why the
Russians should retire from their present position
so long as they continue to be supplied with all THE  MEDITERRANEAN. 273
they require. They have imported all sorts of
stores very largely, and their horses have improved immensely in condition. I trust you will
do your utmost to prevent the Turks giving up
either Varna or Batoum, however much Russia
may press them. As the Russians profess to have
drawn nearer Constantinople for sanitary reasons,
there can be the less objection to our moving to
Prince's Island on similar grounds."
Letter to Wife.
"May 23,1878.
" There has been an emeute at the palace, where
the ex-Sultan, Murad, was kept. It was got up
apparently by one Ali Suavi Effendi, an intriguing
fellow, lately director of a college at Galata. He
was killed in the row; very likely he hoped to get
up some interest in Murad. The thing that gives
it most importance is that a rising was expected
in the Russian camp on Monday, and of course
they would be glad to see any internal trouble in
To Admiral WeUesley, C.B.
"May 28, 1878.
" The Helicon is locked up in the Bosphorus by
a special request of the Ambassador, that she
may be held ready to embark the Sultan at any
To Mr W. H. Smith.
"June 4, 1878.
"I received last night your letter of the 25th
ult. I had heard previously from the Ambassador
that the withdrawal of this squadron and the
Russian army was contemplated; indeed his Russian colleague said it was settled. The squadron
can move at two hours' notice. I shall believe in
the retreat of the Russian army when it has been
effected; but I am glad to think that there are two
reasons for it now—perhaps three—which did not
exist before:—
" 1st. The Turks have made Constantinople
fairly safe.
" 2d. Todleben is said to be encumbered with sick.
" 3d. Perhaps the Austrians may be encouraged
by Russian difficulties to threaten the communications of their army.
"Meantime, M. Lobanoff says that Varna, the
only remaining Black Sea port in Europe, is to be
surrendered to Russia. Truly, if Todleben withdraws an army encumbered with sick, and whose
communications are compromised, and receives for
doing so a first-class fortress, and the removal of
an opposing squadron that is quite free, he deserves
immense credit for his bounce."
Letter to Wife.
"June 9, 187a
"The pashas are so supine and so mutually
jealous that really no trust can be placed in them: —
that they are pulling down their house as fast as
they can seems, to lookers-on like myself, quite
certain. Whether they will let the Russians get
possession of the best corner of it is uncertain,
but I fear the chances are in favour of it. I am
afraid to say how many Prime Ministers and
Grand Viziers the Sultan has had during the last
"I had a very interesting conversation with the
Austrian Ambassador the day I came up. He
said the Congress was summoned 'to consider
the treaties of 1856 and 1871; to examine, article
by article, that of San Stefano, with a view to
bring it into agreement with them, and that
Russia was willing to accept the decision of the
Congress.' He said that whereas, after 'Lord
Salisbury's despatch was published, it was understood that there was to be a Bulgarian principality
north of the Balkans, now there was no further
talk of a principality. There were to be two
Bulgarian provinces, as proposed at the Conference — both autonomous : the northern tributary
to the Porte, but under the protection of Europe;
the latter tributary to, and dependent on, the
Porte. Batoum was not to become Russian, and
all she would get in Armenia would be Kars
and a small territory round it. As he said, ' If
Russia cedes all this, what did she go to war
for?' The conclusion to be drawn, I think, is
that she does not mean to give them up, but 276 SLR GEOFFREY PHIPPS  HORNBY.
is  only gaining time  to reinforce and provision
her army, and to prepare her cruisers."
To Mr W. H Smith.
" June 11,1878. ■
"I received last week a message from M.
Bartoletti, who is the director of the Sanitary I
Department at Constantinople, that if I remained here till the hot weather, or till fever
appeared, I should find we had a great deal of
it after we left. I have therefore determined
to move to Prince's Island about the 20th, unlessf
the weather becomes very hot. I do not wish
to appear to be moving in a hurry just as the
Congress meets, but have said openly I should
probably do so in a week or ten days.
"I paid a visit to General Baker on the 4th
to 8th, and rode along all the lines in front of
Constantinople, so far as they have been formed.
I was disappointed with their strength. There
are two or three weak points far apart, which
would give the assailant great opportunities. The I
number of men is small to hold so long a line.
Artillery very weak. Some pashas work well to
secure the ground they have to defend, others
do not. The highest officers are frightfully supine.
I am told that Osman Pasha, who is Commander-
in-Chief of the whole Turkish army, and Mouktar
Pasha, who until a few days since was chief of
the staff,  have never visited the lines!    Tefik THE  MEDITERRANEAN. 277
Pasha, the man who planned and executed the
Plevna defences, is put on a clothing committee.
Mehemet Ali, who has hitherto been commander-
in-chief of the troops before Constantinople, and
by this time knows the ground well, has been
suddenly sent to the Congress, so as to make
room for Fuad, who is high in the Sultan's favour.
They tell me he is a plucky man. In'fact, the
troops may defend the lines. They are sure to
fight bravely, as they have always done, and
they will receive great help from the few Englishmen who are among them, and from some of
their own officers; but from the pashas, their
proper leaders, they will get nothing. It's a thousand pities we don't take the country thoroughly
in hand, muzzle the useless but oppressive pashas,
and give this brave and honest people the blessing of a good government as we do m India.
"General Baker spoke of Gallipoli in a way
that makes me anxious about its safety. What
he fears is that, in case of the Russians getting
any success near Constantinople, they would
frighten the Sultan, who is very timid, into
giving up to them the Bulair lines, to avoid or
delay an occupation of his capital. No noise
would be made. He would send one of his
AD.C.'s and a couple of generals, who on reaching Gallipoli would be ordered to supersede the
present commanders, and would hand the lines
over to the enemy.    The only way I can see to 278 SLR GEOFFREY PHIPPS HORNBY.
ensure against such dealing would be, in case
of a sudden attack here, to tell Commerell to
take the whole force there at once into English
pay, and to hold the place."
Diary. "June 14, 1878.—Heard yesterday
that Mouktar Pasha would visit the squadron
to-day. I returned here from Constantinople in
Salamis by 1 p.m. Found Mouktar and Tefik
Pashas looking at Devastation. They lunched
with me, and seemed quite prepared for large
changes in Government to the suppression of
arbitrary power. They returned to Constantinople
by evening train."
To Admiral WeUesley, GB.
"June 18, 1878.
" Affairs seem very critical at Constantinople.
Authority is very weak, and the Sultan very
unpopular. If a revolution broke out while the
Russians were still under the walls, it would be
a great temptation to them to move into the
town, and I expect their agents are fomenting
it for that purpose.
" June 19, 1878.
"Anchored at Prinkipo at 4 p.m."
To Mr W. H Smith.
"Prinkipo, June 24,1878.
" I must now draw your attention to the situation in which Lord John Hay has been placed THE MEDITERRANEAN. 279
since he came on this station, and in which he
now stands. From each port he has written to
me privately, and latterly publicly, to ask if
I could give him any information as to his immediate employment or his future movements.
I have to reply on each occasion that I know
absolutely nothing about him, except that latterly
he had been placed under my orders.' Now he
finds himself at Suda Bay with the country much
disturbed, and our consul carrying on special
negotiations under orders from the Ambassador,
but referring to him occasionally for countenance
and support, while he has not one line to guide
him, or enable him to form an opinion how far
the consul may be leading him right or wrong.
That, so far as my experience goes, is a position
so unprecedented for an officer of his rank to
he placed in, that I am obliged to bring it to
your notice, as I cannot think it will work advantageously to the country."
To Admiral Wellesley, G.B.
" June 24.
"I am sorry to be obliged to ask for another
store-ship, but, as you will see by my public
letter, I am driven to it. You will remember
what importance Sir Robert Stopford used to
attach to the mail-steamers and men-of-war bringing up officers' stores. But the Wye was unable
to convey even the provisions demanded, so 300 280 SLR GEOFFREY PHIPPS HORNBY.
casks and cases had to be freighted for the officers
and canteens by merchant steamer, and now the
things brought by Monarch from England remain
at Malta, while Helicon will come up empty. It
does not affect me personally, as I deal very little
with Malta, but get my things direct from Marseilles by French steamer. It affects the officers
and men considerably, though the way they have
behaved in the late tedious times makes them
deserve every consideration."
Diary.   " June 24.—Congress said to be gettanM
on well.     Some excitement about the agreement
between Lord Salisbury and Schouvaloff, said to
have been signed in May."
Letter to Wife.
" Baker came to lunch; says Turkish positions
are now, he thinks, safe. Much sickness in Russian camp, 30 men per regiment said to die daily.
The publication of that paper in the ' Globe' was a
trick of Schouvaloff. Batoum and Bessarabia are
not gone yet, and even if all in that paper is correct, it seems to me only to amount to saying that
we will not fight alone for those points. If others
will join, we may fight; or even if they will not,
and Russia strengthens herself on the Armenian
frontier, we retain a right to strengthen ourselves
and the Turks there also; and if we only develop THE MEDITERRANEAN. 281
the resources of Asia Minor, we may in a few years
make Russia look very foolish. If Schouvaloff plays
old Dizzy a trick, I feel pretty confident he will
play a return match with him."
Diary. "June 29, 1878. — Hay's squadron
ordered to Larnaca. Raleigh and Invincible to
join them."
Diary. " June 30,1878.—Sent Salamis yesterday to Therapia to carry some very secret orders
from Mr Layard."
Diary. " July 2, 1878.—Salamis delayed. So
far as I can make out, the orders depend on some
negotiations with the Turks, and probably the
latter will not give in."
Diary. "July 8, 1878.—Orders sent to Lord
John Hay to take possession of Cyprus."
Letter to Admiral Windham Hornby.
"July 10,1878.
"Ambassador telegraphs that the cession of
Cyprus was announced to the House of Parliament on Monday (8th). I am anxiously looking
for the details of the agreement made at Berlin.
So far as I know of them at present, I do not
like them at all. The occupation of Cyprus looks
so much like a sharing of spoil with the other
robbers; and to leave the Russians for nine
months in Roumelia is to hand over the Mohammedans of that province to the murders, rapes, 282 SLR GEOFFREY PHIPPS  HORNBY.
and robberies, which were held to be so monstrous when perpetrated by Mohammedans on
Bulgarians. For my part, I don't see any difference in the turpitude."
Diary. "July 12, 1878.—The Turks already
preparing to raise money on the revenue which we
shall guarantee them from Cyprus."
To Admiral the Lord John Hay.
"July 14, 1878.
" The disclosure of the Schouvaloff - Salisbur^B
circular, followed so closely by the occupation of
Cyprus, has had the worst possible effect here.
The Turks are as strongly opposed to us as the^
were in our favour before, and the French are extremely sore at our taking a position so near
Egypt and Syria, and doing it by a secret agreement, while we pretended to be negotiating quite
openly with them."
To Mr W. H. Smith.
"July 16, 1878.
" What I meant with regard to Lord John Hay
was, that it was very unusual for an officer of his
rank to find himself, in presence of an insurrection,
at the beck and call of a consul, while he had not
one line to tell him what the views of his Government were. The worst pinch is to be looked for
when the wires are cut, a thing which usually
happens as soon as affairs become serious. Perhaps neither he nor I might find difficulty in THE  MEDITERRANEAN. 283
taking a course, but whether we should carry out
the wishes of the Government is another question.
Yet it is the main one, and it used to be ensured
by the instructions or letters with which senior
officers were furnished when sent to disturbed
places. For my own part, I have no wish to
penetrate Cabinet or other secrets; but when a
course of action is settled, I know that the more
fully agents are informed of their masters' wishes
the better work will be done. I frequently see
instances of this. For example, a few days ago
you wanted two ships sent secretly from Xeros to
Cyprus. If Admiral Commerell had known this,
he could have sent them without exciting the least
attention. As he knew nothing, he could only
repeat your bald telegram, and the ships sailed
with sealed orders. Every Greek at Xeros knew
it directly, and it was telegraphed all over the
Levant. When Captain Jago reported his arrival
every one knew that we intended an expedition to
Cyprus. Again, on the 30th ult., I was told to
place a despatch vessel at the Ambassador's disposal. No sooner did she, at his request, reach
Therapia than every spy inquired her business,
and discovered that she must be on secret service.
On the 4th they found she was going to Cyprus.
She did not sail till the 7th. If I had known her
errand, she might have lain quietly here till wanted,
and when she sailed no one but her captain would
have known where she was bound.    On the other 284 SLR GEOFFREY PHIPPS HORNBY.
hand, take a case where secrecy was equally necessary, but where the authorities were told of the
projects — viz., the despatch of the Salamis to
examine Scarpanto, Stampalia, &c, last summer.
Considerable surveys were made by her officers,
but except them there is no one in the squadron,
nor a foreigner on shore, who knows what her
mission was."
To Admiral Wellesley, G.B.
"July 24.
" The only people who seem pleased by the Congress are the Russians, who, with Skobeleff at their
head, say we have let them out of a terrible scrape;
that they have got far more than they ever expected, and in Sofia all that is necessary for the
present. In two or three years they will be ready
to take the rest. I will ask the Generalx to send
his spies specially to Buyuk-Tchermedge to look
for those torpedo-boats. I shall be quite relieved
if we find them there, for a lot left the Danube
overland, and Bourgas, &c, and we have never
been able to account for them. It is difficult to
spy in the Russian lines, and Buyuk-Tchermedge
is so covered with high reeds that boats might
easily be hid there. I have not the slightest
doubt the Russians had full plans for attacking
us with them, and I kept up my patrols more or
less till the Conference met.    Commerell had to
1 Sir Collingwood Dickson. THE  MEDITERRANEAN. 285
run his still harder, but then he was awfully
exposed. The narrow entrance to Ismid was a
great protection to us, and we watched the trains
carefully, so as not to be taken from the shore."
Diary. "July 18, 1878.—On the 16th Commerell reported that the Siuiftsure's steam-pinnace
had been fired into by Russians, and two officers
taken prisoner, on Sunday 14th. Next day Sub-
Lieutenant Hall arrived with Commerell's report on
the subject. I sent Helicon to San Stefano, with
a letter for Todleben, in charge of Fitzroy. He
was very civilly received, and brought back an
answer full of regrets."
Official Beport.
"July 19,1878.
" General Todleben sent a despatch vessel with
answer to my letter, expressing great regret at the
firing at boat.    He informed me that he had sent
a colonel on the staff to Xeros to inquire into the
affair of the Sivifksure's boat having been fired
upon, and that he has not received any previous
information on the subject.    He will acquaint me
with the steps he has taken to prevent a similar
occurrence in future."
To Mr W. H. Smith.
"July 23,1878.
"I was very glad to hear of the treaty with
Turkey; we have immense opportunity to do good 286 SLR GEOFFREY PHIPPS HORNBY.
in these afflicted lands, if we only carry it out
boldly and vigorously."
To Mr W. H. Smith.
" August 12, 1878.
"Every Turk with whom I have been able to
speak confidentially tells me how anxious he is for
the future, and they give the same reasons for
their anxiety. They say the Sultan is very timid,
but autocratic. He enunciates good plans, but
lives in fear of insurrection, and under that influence he removes councillors, governors, &c, on
the least suspicion, and absorbs the time of his
Grand Vizier about the appointment and removal
of all sorts of people, and with such minor matters,
to the detriment of important business. They
speak very openly of the large party which exists
who are determined on a radical change. They
say it would have been made long since but for the
fear that a tumult in Constantinople would be
seized by the Russians as an excuse to occupy the
city. If, as I hope, we are determined to give good
government to this country, the time may soon
come when we are called on to act."
To Admiral WeUesley, G.B.
"August 12.
"lam very anxious about the health of our men
at Cyprus.    They are exposed to a powerful sun
in landing stores, working daily from 3 A.M. to
7 p.m.    I hear the Invincible has returned to Xeros THE  MEDITERRANEAN. 287
with many fever cases on board. If the ships were
entirely under my orders, I should recall them to
Besika, Xeros, &c., where they would be in a cool
and healthy atmosphere, and send down an equal
number with crews unaffected under Commerell.
The Russian Ambassador has informed ours that
the Russian army is about to retire immediately,
but up to the 10th they continued to land stores
at San Stefano."
To Admiral WeUesley, G.B.
"August 26, 1878.
I On Saturday 24th I saw two steamers passing
up the Bosphorus with the first of the Russian
troops to Odessa, and this morning I hear that
fourteen transports have left Cyprus with Indian
troops.    The removal of the Russian army will be
a long business.    General Todleben told Sir C.
Dickson he had over 80,000 men to send by sea.
To suit  their  system  of  peculation,  they have
refused the offer of an English firm, by which their
troops would have been carried at 16s. 6d. per
head, and have made a contract with a Russian
company which will cost them 19s. 2d., and be
carried out in small vessels.    So we shall not see
the last of them for some time."
To Admiral WeUesley, GJB.
"September 2, 187a
" The Russians move very slowly, some say purposely.    They say themselves from difficulty of 288 SLR GEOFFREY PHIPPS HORNBY.
obtaining transports; but the peculation they
practise will fully account for all difficultiejM
When the Sumatra took up invalids some six
weeks ago, the colonel commanding refused to
sign the certificate till the captain had given him
At all events, the Russian troops had begun to
move, and the strain of the last year was somewhat relaxed. Honours and compliments began to
be handed about; Lord Beaconsfield and Lord
Salisbury were made Knights of the Garter, the
Ambassador had been made G.C.B. in June, and
on August 6 the honour of a K.C.B. was conferred
on the Admiral The feeling in the serviceJ^H
letters of congratulation are to be believed, seems
to have been that the honour was much less than
he deserved, as Lord Charles Beresford writes :—
"How wonderfully complete your organisation
must have been, as if even a midshipman had lost
his temper, he might have run the country into
For himself, the Admiral accepted it more as a
compliment to the service than to himself, as he
says in a letter to his wife:—
" For my own part, it will give me no pleasure
to be called ' Sir Geoffrey'; but I certainly am
pleased and proud to know that the best men in
the service—I mean such as Commerell, Hewett,
Salmon, Baird, &c.—are glad to serve under me, THE  MEDITEERANEAN. 289
and I pray that, if opportunity offers, their trust
may be justified."
Even in his thanks he is anxious to show the
appreciation he felt for his fellow-workers:—
"Peetce's 1st, and, Aug. 19,1878.
"Dear Mr Smith,—I beg you to accept my
best thanks for the handsome terms in which you
have brought my name to her Majesty's notice, as
well as for the gratifying manner in which you
have publicly spoken of the conduct of the officers
and men of this squadron. I venture to hope that
you may be willing, and may find occasion, to
bring Sir E. Commerell to her Majesty's recollection. His work has been more difficult than mine,
as he had less assistance and a more exposed position, and he has excited among all with whom he
has been brought in contact—Greeks and Turks as
well as his own people—such a spirit of concord
and devotion as cannot fail to have a beneficial
effect in the new position we seem about to occupy
in this country. I ever feel deeply indebted to
him for the ability and loyalty with which he has
always helped me.—Believe me, yours very truly,
"G. Phipps Hornby.
"The Right Hon. W. H. Smith, M.P."
A few days before, Sir Edmund, while sailing a
match in his barge against the Rupert's pinnace,
got caught in a squall, which capsized both boats. 290 SLR GEOFFREY PHIPPS HORNBY.
The Rupert's pinnace sank, and two of her men
were drowned; those of the Agincourt managed to
cling to their boat till they were picked up, but
the Rear - Admiral was very much exhausted.
Commenting on it, the Admiral says:—
"The country would indeed have suffered a
grievous loss if Commerell had been drowned the
other day. He has not only shown in his present
command the decision and professional ability
which always distinguished him, but also a great
power of influencing all with whom he is brought
in contact. Even Turkish pashas are kept straight
by him."
There was a great deal of boat-sailing just then.
Besides the regattas before referred to, there was
an international one held at Prinkipo, where
Lieutenant Wyatt Rawson, in the Alexandra
pinnace, won the cup, beating all the yachts, including an American centre-board yacht. General
Todleben was among the guests on board the
Alexandra that afternoon.
Prinkipo was to Constantinople, so to speak,
what Brighton is to London, and the presence of
the squadron made it more than ever a fashionable
resort. The islands are all hilly, and more or less
covered with pine-woods, which keep the air very
sweet and fresh, and the views are lovely: at one
place, between the wooded capes of the island in
the foreground, you can see the islands of Marmora
eighty miles away.    On the highest part of the THE  MEDITERRANEAN. 291
principal island the officers had made a very good
lawn-tennis ground, and here nearly every afternoon the Admiral came up to play, and the
Easterns, who cannot understand any one taking
exercise in warm weather, amused themselves by
looking on and wondering at the eccentricity of
the English. An enterprising Greek had set up a
little shanty or cafe where the balls and rackets
were kept and where drinks could be obtained, and
later on he laid in a supply of little rockets, because
the people who rode up by moonlight to see the
view sometimes liked a few fireworks. One night,
when the Admiral had ridden up, some of the midshipmen who were of the party arranged a sham
fight, using the rockets as missiles. One of these,
aimed a little too high, fell on the thatch of the
little cafe, and in a few minutes the whole place
was burnt to the ground. The Admiral asked the
consul to ascertain what damage had been done,
and sent the man a cheque for the amount named.
To his surprise the man refused to accept it, and
on inquiring whether he had not offered enough,
the consul explained that if the man had accepted
it at once, he would have been compelled by the
officials to give them a good deal of it as baksheesh,
but if he waited till they had forgotten a little, he
would come one day privately to fetch it, and thus
secure the full amount.
During August and September the Admiral also
paid several visits to Therapia, where almost all 292 SLR  GEOFFREY  PHIPPS   HORNBY.
the embassies went for the summer. It was a
very cheerful and sociable little colony; almost
every evening one or other of the wives of the
Ambassadors received, and there was music an4f
conversation; sometimes also a little dancing.
Carriages were quite unknown in Therapia; every
one walked to and fro except some of the elder
ladies, who were carried in sedan-chairs. In the
daytime there was lawn-tennis; boating-parties on
the Bosphorus in caiques. A picnic in Asia to-day,
a picnic in Europe to-morrow. To these latter
every one rode except Lady Layard and Lady
Hornby, who went in an arabah (a country waggon
drawn by white bullocks). Occasionally there
were paper-chases: one special one took place a
few days before the fleet moved, when a hunt
breakfast was given at the Coal-Hole (as the house
where the secretaries lived was called), at which
Captain Chermside, R.E., sang a new version of an
old hunting-song:—
" Tis a fine hunting day, and as balmy as May,
Pretty near enough paper we've got;
Ere we sit down to lunch, vanish 'Times,' 'World,' and 'Punch,'
And the servants soon finish the lot.
All the sailors are on it to-day;
Each one to the other doth say,
' I'll hire a screw, and I hope worry through,
But I must go out hunting to-day.'
Chorus—Eor we'll all go a-hunting to-day,
The paper will show us the way;
We'll join the glad throng that goes laughing along,
And we'll all go a-hunting to-day. THE  MEDITERRANEAN. 293
Mr Malet, C.B.,1 gets wind of the spree,
Cavasses and servants axe gay;
Says the telegraph clerk, ' I am off for a lark,
As those " See's " go out hunting to-day.'
The Great Master says, ' No, they must stay !
What on earth will Sir Henry Layard say?
But if s such a grand spree, that I'll let them go free,
And well all go a-hunting to-day.'
Chorus—For we'll all go a-hunting to-day, &c.
B. J. K.2 is in boots, breeches brown as cheroots;
Greeks, Turks, Persians their visits may pay,
But he cares not a jot if they get in or not,
Or who sees the great ' Elchi Bey.' 3
There's Lord George * in his gaiters of grey,
He and K. are the hares, folks do say;
He sings out from his cob, ' It's a fine sporting job
To lead you a-hunting to-day.'
Chorus—Por we'll all go a-hunting to-day, &c
Mr Pritchard's 5 at large, on a horse that takes charge
Of him -when he goes for a ride;
' Public servant,'6 gay fellow, is up on a yellow;—
There's a host of young sportsmen beside.
Eussian ships and torpedoes, they say,
Are calling the Admiral away,
But he soon says, ' O Lord ! I cannot stop on board,
For I will go a-hunting to-day.'
Chorus—For we'll all go a-hunting to-day," &c
They threw off near some magnificent plane-
trees, where the crusaders had encamped seven
hundred years before, ran up the Buyukdere
valley, and through  the forest of Belgrade, on
1 Sir Edward Malet 2 R. J. Kennedy.
3 The Ambassador. 4 Lord George Montagu.
5 Paymaster of Antelope. 6 Mr A Leveson-Gower. 294
the other side of which the scent was very blind
among the fern, and there were a few rifle-pits,
which took some jumping. Soon after this the
hares were viewed, but by this time some of the
horses had begun to give out; even the Admiral's
was so blown that he had to pull up and bring
him in quietly. Only three were in at the finish:
one, a French attache, was so much pleased with
himself for having acquired the English view-halloo
that he never ceased hallooing from the moment
the hares were first viewed. He was riding a
capital, good-looking pony, and went afterwards
to Mr Kennedy to ask for a certificate to say he
had got in third.
Almost every day transports with Russian troops
passed up the Bosphorus on their way home. They
were very closely packed, and there seemed scarcely
standing-room on deck among the baggage, but
they appeared in excellent spirits. By way of a
little chaff, as one regiment of the Guard went by,
they eased down a few minutes before the English
embassy, and their band played "Jingo." They
evacuated the San Stefano lines about the 23d
September, and the Turkish military police occupied them; so, in accordance with the agreement,
the fleet moved on the 28th to Artaki.
A long hilly promontory runs out for about six
miles and encloses a very well-sheltered bay. All
the hillsides, where not cultivated, are well wooded,
and the soil seems very fertile.    The grape and THE  MEDITERRANEAN. 295
olive harvests were ripe, but for the first few days
after the arrival of the squadron they could not be
gathered, because the tax-gatherer had not been
round to assess the taxes on the crops, so the poor
people had to sit by and watch their fruit being
damaged by the wet without being able to help
themselves. There were partridges to be got by
those who cared to walk for them, fourteen or
fifteen brace being a good bag for four guns, with
an occasional landrail or snipe; and, later in the
year, Hobart Pasha came down and showed the
Admiral where good pheasant-shooting was to be
had. At Karaboya they got the only wild boar
seen during the winter-1878-79. He was shot,
not by one of the English, but by one of the
Turks, who always came out and constituted
themselves amateur beaters. The hounds were
not brought to Artaki, but there was a paper-
chase about once a-week.
December 2d, Besika Bay Hunt Steeplechases
took place. The stewards were Captain Fitzroyj
judge; Lieutenant Rawson; Hon. H. Lambton;
Lieutenant Hammet; Doctor Ellis; Captain Lake,
starter. The course was one mile and three furlongs over a fair hunting country. There were
fifteen entries for the Alexandra Stakes, and with
only two or three exceptions the horses were ridden
by their owners. Mr Vaughan-Hughes won on
his Moses, and Mr Grimston's Katerfelto was
second. 296
In October the Lords of the Admiralty came out
in the Himalaya to inspect Cyprus, and asked the
Admiral, if he could leave without risk, to join
them there. On his way thither in the Helicon
he looked in at Gallipoli and Tchernak to warn
the pashas to be very careful in watching the
Russians, and landed at Besika to have a look at
the beagles. Next day he stopped at Mitylene to
shoot, got eleven brace of partridges; then on to
Syra, where he interviewed Mr Binney, the Eastern
Extension Telegraph Company's agent there. From
there he went on to Rhodes and had a look at the
fortifications: " All those old knights did was very
good and substantial, but it has not altogether
survived three centuries of Turkish neglect." I
On October 28 he reached Larnaca. In the
intervals between service and political talks with
"My Lords," Lord John Hay, and Sir Garnet
Wolseley, he took several rides about the island
with Sir Garnet. After a few days at Larnaca
they went on to inspect Famagusta and Kyrenia;
and on November 4, after an interesting conference
with Mr Smith, Colonel Stanley, and Sir Garnet
Wolseley, he sailed for Artaki. On his way back
he touched at Samos and Scio. At Samos the
harvest was good, and the people therefore disposed
to be contented; at Scio he found the island in
the dilapidated condition usual in Turkish possessions. He stayed a night at Besika to put matters
right about a caique which Captain Beamish had THE  MEDITERRANEAN. 297
captured by mistake for a pirate, and next morning
called on Hussein Pasha to get his promise to
deal leniently with some runaway soldiers he had
captured. November 10 he got back to Artaki,
and turned over to the Alexandra; and two days
later he recorded his impressions of Cyprus in a
letter to Lord Derby:—
"Artaki, Nov. 12,1878.
11 have just returned from a short visit to
Cyprus, and I think you may like to hear what
we have learnt, as it is of value to us. First, as
a possible coaling-station for ships watching the
Canal, the survey in progress at Famagusta shows
that the roadstead there is considerably deeper
than we supposed. By carrying a breakwater
out along the shoals in a depth never more than
27 feet, averaging probably only 16 or 17 feet,
we should shelter a good harbour, about one and
a half sea miles in length and half a mile wide.
Some 1700 by 700 yards of this would have a
depth of not less than 6 fathoms, so any six
ironclads could moor there safely for the winter.
The remaining space would accommodate a great
many small ships with a depth of water from 4^ to
2^ fathoms, which is capable of being dredged out
to 6 or 10 fathoms without injuring the holding-
ground. Inside this again is the old harbour, now
silted up. It is a perfectly sheltered basin of 80
acres, which may be easily dredged out to 24 feet,
and would make an excellent mercantile harbour.   I 298 SLR GEOFFREY PHIPPS  HORNBY.
do not mean that any one proposes at present to ask
for the expense of a breakwater, but the shoals now
protect a space where a couple of ironclads could
lie in comfort, and a pier 300 feet long might
easily be built on a ledge of rock with a depth of
not more than 9 feet, which at its outer end would
allow ships of 19 feet to lie alongside. The position
is close to the old walls, which are useless for defence, but would give the material for a pier.
" Now, as to the climate and productive power.
One is struck with a curious change which our.
occupation is likely to make at once in the former*
A few years ago the plain behind Larnaca, and a
great deal of the Messaria, were under vines and
mulberry-trees, but the cultivators found it more
profitable to root them up and plant corn, which is
reaped in June. Directly a land-tax is substituted
for an arbitrary tithe, vines, mulberries, and cotton
will again be planted, and the soil sheltered from
the sun's rays during the hot months of July, August, and September. For some time, of course,
labour will be scarce, as late inquiries lead to a
belief that the population does not exceed 140,000.
But water is easily to be had from wells, and by
digging these in the ravines among the hills, rills
can be obtained which will irrigate the plains below
by gravitation, and cheaply. Population will increase rapidly.
" Now, as to sickness among our troops. When
they were landed they encamped on a bare hill THE  MEDITERRANEAN. 299
about two miles from, and 100 feet above, the sea.
The men had nothing whatever to do, or wherewith to amuse themselves. They had indifferent
food, and were kept all day under bell-tents in
which the thermometer stood at 110° to 120°, with
clouds of dust blowing in. I agree with the colonel
of the 71st, who says that if his men had been
treated in the same way, either at Malta or Gibraltar, they would have had just as much fever*
That regiment is now encamped on the northern
slope of the southern range of hills, and the men
have been set to work morning and evening to
prepare ground for and to erect their huts. The
result is that their sick are reduced to 5* per cent.
The 42d are more favourably placed on the slope
of the northern hills and close to the sea, but are
unemployed and kept in tents. Their sick reach
to over 10 per cent. When we first took possession
of the island, Buffo was garrisoned by seamen from
the Raleigh. They were provided with distilled
water from the ship, and had plenty of work in
landing stores, cleaning up the place, &c. They
had no sickness. They were replaced by two companies of the 42d, who have been carefully nursed
after the system adopted in the regiment: they
have had no end of sickness. It seems to me as
much a question of colonels as anything else.
" The latest accounts show that we shall have
to pay the Porte about £90,000 a-year. The tithe
and taxes in the Larnaca districts alone reach that SLR GEOFFREY PHIPPS HORNBY.
sum. The superintendent of customs told me that
up to the present we have received 50 per cent
more than the Turks received in any corresponding
period of late years. At Larnaca the streets have
been well repaired, and a small sea-wall nearly
built, by fines and small contributions. These
have been most willingly paid, for the people say
they see the money has been spent for their benefit.
The town is now as cleanly kept as Valetta, and
everywhere houses, walls, and fences are being repaired and tidied, showing not only that there
must be a good deal of money hid away, but that
already the people feel they are perfectly secure in
spending it. In fact, going there rather prejudiced
by what I had read against the island, I have returned feeling sure that we have at command the
power of making all we want in the way of a naval
station—an island that might easily give us, if
such were our policy, a large tribute; and we shall
give the blessing of a good government to a long-
oppressed people, with so small a change apparent
in system that they and their countrymen will be
astonished. I have heard but two ' growls' with
reference to our action. One was from some
Cypriot soldiers at Rhodes, who say they are now
English subjects, and should be freed from Turkish
service. The other from Syria, where the people
say it was very hard that we stopped at Cyprus,
and . did not go on to take possession of their
country." THE  MEDITERRANEAN. 301
Very soon after the Admiral's return from
Cyprus, Christmas festivities began to be considered, and all agreed that Christmas was to
be kept in the most orthodox fashion, because
the anxiety of the former year had prevented
any due celebration of the season. The preparations were almost complete when, as ill luck
would have it, the Admiralty decided just a
few days before Christmas to order the Invincible
and Pallas to change stations, thus spoiling the
Christmas dinners of both ships.
" Our men," says the Admiral, " have so few
diversions that I do not like to see them lose
one to which they look forward so long and hopefully as their Christmas dinner. I fear the arrangements for the Christmas dinners of the
Invincible and Pallas will be spoilt by their exchange of stations; the Invincible's men would
have gone to-night to Constantinople in the
Helicon with those of the other ships. Beamish
has doubtless made his arrangements, as we did
last.year, to get his things from Constantinople.
As our telegraphs have again broken down, he
probably will not know anything about this move
before the 19th, when it will puzzle him to get
them to this out-of-the-way place by the 24th."
From each of the other ships eight men had
been sent to Constantinople to get the necessary
supplies; and extra allowances of beer, tobacco,
and lights were given to the men with the per- 302 SLR GEOFFREY PHIPPS  HORNBY.
mission of the captains. The latter dined with
the Admiral, and a very merry dinner they had
—" thus," as he writes, " bringing to an end
pleasantly a year that has been very prosperous
to me through the good conduct of my three
dear boys, and which I shall look back on therefore with thankfulness to God."
For some time previously the Admiral had been
advocating a move to Ismid; he had written to
Mr W. H. Smith :—
"Decembers, 1878.
"I cannot see why the country is to be put
to unnecessary expense, and my men to the monotonous existence they endure here, to gratify
Russian whims and fancies. Their army moves
where it pleases on Turkish soil. So far as I can
learn, they occupy positions on it chiefly with
a view to put the most plunder in their officers'
pockets. I beg to submit the claims of my men
in preference. It is not here an officers' question.
The officers can get some diversion, shooting or
on horseback; the men get none except what
indifferent grog-shops can afford. We cannot even
get a recreation-ground within four miles of the
ship for them."
At last permission was granted for the squadron
to proceed to Ismid. The ships sailed, January 1,
from Artaki, and next day occurred a disastrous
explosion on board the Thunderer, Captain Chat- THE  MEDITERRANEAN. 303
field, which had relieved the Devastation some
two months previously. The official and private
reports of the accident say:—
Official Beport.
"At daylight the ships of the squadron separated, by signal, to carry out the usual monthly
firing at targets. On board the Thunderer the
practice began with an electric broadside, for which
all the guns were loaded with battering charges
and chilled shell This having been fired, the
guns were loaded with full charges and empty
shell. The starboard gun in the fore-turret fired
first; when the smoke cleared, the order was
given to fire the port gun. A violent shock was
felt throughout the ship, accompanied by a loud
explosion and much smoke, while masses of metal
of various sizes were thrown into the flying deck,
and one fragment even so high as the top. It
was found immediately that the gun just fired had
burst, all the muzzle before the trunnion being
blown away; that several men were killed, more
wounded, and that the ship was on fire in the
fore - shellroom and battery - deck. There was a
slight delay in extinguishing the fire, consequent
on so many hands in that part of the ship being
suddenly stricken down; but directly the reason
of the delay was recognised, the firemen from the
after-part of the ship ran forward with the greatest alacrity and coolness, and it was got under 304 SLR  GEOFFREY  PHEPPS  HORNBY.
without further loss of time. Captain Chatfield
immediately signalled for medical assistance, and
the nearest ships, the Monarch and Achilles, were
quickly on the spot. I followed them so soon as
I had ascertained the nature of the accident, for
the Thunderer was not within signal-distance of
the Alexandra, and by noon the wounded were
divided among the ships present, and the squadron
proceeded to Ismid. The two officers killed were
young men of considerable promise, and their death
is a great loss to the service. Lieutenant Coker
commanded in the turret, and, with seven out of
the nine men in it, was killed outright. Lieutenant Daniel, R.M.A., supervised the hydraulic
loading-gear. He was looking into the turret at
the time the explosion took place, and, with one
of his men, was killed instantly. The shock
throughout the ship was so severe as to put out
all the lights; and when the order was given to
stop the engines, the engineers had some trouble
to find the levers. . . . The sufferers are reported
as quiet, and doing as well as can be expected.
Indeed I may say that the medical officers are
sanguine as to saving the patients."
To Mr W. H. Smith.
"January 4, 1879.
" The Thunderer's accident is a great calamity,
not only from the loss of life and amount of suffering it has caused, but from the distrust it must THE  MEDITERRANEAN. 305
create in our heaviest guns. Fortunately those
two excellent officers, Captains Tryon and Heneage,
recognised instantly the gravity of the occasion,
and no sooner had they sent their doctors to assist
the wounded than they returned to their targets,
and blazed away with the heaviest charges, to
show that their guns were not going to burst.
I think there will be no nervousness in their
To Admiral WeUesley, C.B.
" January 8,1879.
" I am sending a report from Captain Chatfield,
commending some of his officers and men for
conduct in the late accident. I think if some
mark of approval could be given to two of them
it would have a good effect—viz., James Bunce,
bugler, who, though blown down and hurt by the
explosion, picked himself and his bugle up quickly,
and sounded the ' Still' smartly when told to do so
after the fire-bell rang; William Bridges, quartermaster, went down straight into the shellroom,
which was on fire, and from which thick smoke was
issuing, showing a very good example."
Official Beport.
"I received the following from her Majesty's
Ambassador at Constantinople — namely, 'Sultan
begs me to express to you and the fleet his deep
regret at the lamentable accident on board Thun- 306 SLR GEOFFREY PHEPPS  HORNBY.
derer, and places his kiosk at your disposal. He
will send down an aide-de-camp to make all
necessary arrangements. His Majesty adds, that
if you like to send up some of the wounded to
the hospital in the imperial palace, they will be
properly taken care of by his own surgeons, and
that he will himself visit them, this being the
least he can do for his friends and allies.' To
which I immediately sent the following reply:
'I have received your telegram, and desire to
tender to his Majesty the Sultan, through you,
the expression of my sincere gratitude, and that
of the officers and men of the squadron, for his
Majesty's kind message of sympathy, and goodness in placing his kiosk at the disposal of the
wounded. This afternoon, January 4, I received
instructions from England to send the Thunderer at once to Malta, so that the landing of the
wounded here will be inexpedient. His Majesty's
offer to receive some of the wounded into the
hospital at his palace, and to visit them himself,
is gratefully appreciated, but the medical officers
represent to me that the moving of the patients
from the ship at present is undesirable. I am
happy to say that only two cases give cause for
immediate anxiety, and the remaining thirty-four
are doing very well.'
" On the 3d the funeral of the two officers and
eight men killed by the explosion took place in
the Armenian  cemetery at  Ismid.    The funeral —■
was attended by the captains and nearly all the
officers, and a large number of seamen and marines
of the ships present."
" The evidence and report of inquiry into cause
of the gun bursting is lengthy: the opinion of
the inspecting officers is that, after being rammed
home, the shot followed the rammer down the
bore towards the muzzle, the cartridge remaining
in its right position, thereby subjecting the gun
to excessive explosive strain when fired. The shot
had slipt forward on former occasions, owing to the
wad having been withdrawn by the rammer."
Official Beport.
" Some of the wounded men made statements
that, when the rammer was withdrawn the last
time the gun was loaded, some of the wad was
withdrawn with it."
Letter to Wife.
"February 21,1879.
" At Constantinople they have subscribed about
£740 for the Thunderer's fund, and all the nations
and languages seem to have joined in it truly—
Jews, Turks, infidels, and heretics. The list begins
with H.M. the Sultan, contains a lot of Pashas,
Demetriades, Zafiropoulos, &c, &c., and ends with
A further inquiry was held at Malta when the
men were sufficiently recovered to be thoroughly
examined, and the conclusion come to was that
the gun burst from having a double charge. It
is possible for a gun to miss fire, when an electric
broadside is fired, without any one noticing it at
the moment. On the other hand, it seems incredible that no one observed that the rammer
did not go quite home; and as almost all those
who could have given decisive testimony were
killed, it remains one of those questions which
will never be satisfactorily solved.
The first two months in the year had been
spent at Ismid, and as the hounds had been
brought up from Besika, the second season of
the Besika Bay beagles commenced, under the
mastership of Captain Culme Seymour. There
were plenty of hares, but the country was very
much wooded, which made it very difficult to
kill them. Nevertheless the hounds went out
twice a-week and had some very good runs.
One day they drove puss into the sea; she
swam 300 yards before she landed, beating the
hounds who swam after her, and finally got
away by putting up two others. Another day
one of the Sultan's keepers, who had been told
to give the officers every assistance in his power,
with the best intentions in the world, shot the
hare immediately under the nose of the hounds.
He was very much surprised, first, at the volley of THE  MEDrTERRANEAN. 309
invective showered upon him, then to see the hare,
which such a number of men and dogs had turned
out to kill, given to the latter to eat, and went
off shaking his head and muttering to himself,
probably about the extraordinary customs of these
I dogs of Christians."
By the beginning of March the Admiral was
getting very anxious to be able to make a move
with the ships: he believed that when the Russian troops retired there would probably be
troubles among the smaller States, and was anxious to get the ships refitted, so that they
might be ready if called in to help. Moreover,
the men were much on his mind: some of them,
the liberty and special - leave men, had been
granted leave at Ismid and at Prinkipo, but general leave had not been given for fifteen months.
Letter to Mrs Stopford.
"... That is, many of them have not been
out of the ship for that time, nor, with the number
of villains who infest these towns, and the inefficiency of the police, is it possible to give leave
to any who cannot be trusted in the matter of
At last, early in March, the news came that
the Russians were about to withdraw their troops
from Adrianople, embarking them at Varna, and
shortly afterwards the Admiral received orders SLR GEOFFREY PHLPPS HORNBY.
to hold himself in readiness to leave at forty-
eight hours' notice. Preparations for leaving were
made accordingly, and the Besika Bay Beagles
were presented to the "Sport dub" at Constantinople. Their short but distinguished career
ended with the two seasons at Besika and Ismid,
as Levantine ideas of sport were peculiar. One
member of the club proposed that any member
might, by giving two or three days' notice, order
them to any particular place, and " use them for
stirring up a large wood, and driving out hares,
boar, deer, &c."
Orders to sail for Besika were received on the
11th, and next day the ships were ready to weigh,
when a telegram from Mr Malet (Sir H. Layard
•was away) delayed them. The reason for the
delay was that the Sultan wished to give to the
Admiral and his captains "a banquet in acknowledgment of the service which the presence of the
fleet had been to him, and to show the Queen his
appreciation of it."
It was a very high mark of imperial favour, but,
as the Admiral says in his journal, "We had a
most quiet dinner at the Yildiz Kiosk. The room
was in the shape of a wide cross—the side-bays
being separated from the aisle, in which the table
was laid, by very pretty and light marble pillars,
formed of four brownish columns each, the rest of
the room being white and gold. In each corner of
the dining-space was a very handsome glass can-
delabrum, about 10 feet or 12 feet high, and a large
glass chandelier hung over the centre of the table.
The silver plate on the table was fairly handsome;
the candelabra represented trees, with deer, sheep,
&c, at their roots. There were large and high
masses of artificial flowers on stands between, and
the whole effect was good. The party consisted of
myself, secretary, and flag-lieutenant, four captains, two commanders, and Wingfiel