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The Fourth Antique Arms Fair incorporating the Park Lane Arms Fair

2 March 2019 Pillar Hall Olympia London

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INTRODUCTION Welcome to the Fourth Antique Arms Fair at Pillar Hall, Olympia, incorporating the London Park Lane Arms Fair. We are delighted to have combined the two fairs and hope that it will benefit both exhibitors and visitors to the event. It is planned to be the first of a number of fairs under our joint supervision and direction. We are very pleased to welcome all our exhibitors and appreciate the considerable efforts that have gone into bringing some outstanding objects to the fair. We hope that there will be something of interest for everyone who is able to attend. This enlarged guide continues the long standing tradition of the Park Lane fair in a universally recognised publication which is acknowledged as an important contribution to the subject of antique Arms and Armour. We are very grateful to the authors for their continued commitment and dedication and hope that you will all enjoy it. Thomas Del Mar

David Oliver

March 2019

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CONTENTS Clive Thomas “Sharp-Pointed Bars of Steel” Further notes and observations on Oakeshott’s Type XVII bladeform

pp. 9-24

Neil Melville A Carbine From The Guard Of A Prince-Archbishop Of Salzburg

pp. 25-30

Brian Godwin A 16th Century English Snaphance Gun Revisited

pp. 31-36

Herbert G. Houze Four Advertising Handbills Published by Emanuel Wetschgi and His Son

pp. 37-45

Leslie Southwick Patriotic Fund Swords awarded to the British naval comrades-in-arms, George Nicholas Hardinge and William Dawson, and other ‘Honorary Marks of Achievement’

pp. 46-90

“Authorised Release” labels will be provided to exhibitors and must accompany any and all items which have been sold. Name badges provided to exhibitors at registration must be worn at all times throughout the duration of the event. Live ammunition, black powder, and any firearms that cannot be legally classified as antique are not permitted.

Exhibitors must adhere to any and all requirements and guidelines of Olympia London as listed on their website.

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“Sharp-Pointed Bars of Steel” Further notes and observations on Oakeshott’s Type XVII bladeform by Clive Thomas

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A Carbine From The Guard Of A Prince-Archbishop Of Salzburg by Neil Melville

Wolf Dietrich von Raitenau was elected Prince-Archbishop of Salzburg in 1587 at the age of 28. This is not surprising when we consider his family background: his grandfather and greatgrandfather had both been Landsknechtfuhrers in the service of the Emperor while his grandmother was from a branch of the Medici and could boast Pope Pius IV as a brother. Wolf Dietrich’s father was also an imperial colonel and an uncle was a cardinal, who gave him his first ecclesiastic position at the age of 11 as canon in Constance where he, the uncle, was the bishop. He continued his career in Pavia and Rome where his uncle was now based and where he may have formed the ambition to recreate the baroque splendour he saw there. His election to the archbishopric of Salzburg, a position which carried with it civic rule as a Prince of the Holy Roman Empire, gave him the opportunity to fulfil his ambition. In his endeavour to create a “Rome of the North” he wrought considerable changes in the architecture of the city, magnificent churches, wide squares, attractive streets. In order to portray the dignity and importance of his princely position he established a magnificent bodyguard in the first year of his reign, perhaps in imitation of the Papal Guard which he would have met in Rome, this in addition to the existing Schlossgarde which was stationed in the two fortresses of Hohensalzburg and Hohenwerfen, the former in the city and the latter overlooking the Salzach valley on the approach to the city.

Although in practice a priest and civil administrator, Wolf Dietrich admitted that he had always had a passion for everything to do with war, so it is not surprising that the armour which he commissioned for himself and the weaponry with which he equipped his princely bodyguard were of exceptional quality. His personal armour, which is now dispersed over

Fig.1. Wolf-Dietrich von Raitenau, Prince-Archbishop of Salzburg 1587-1612

various museums in Europe is a magnificent garniture signed by the Milanese maestro dal castello. Of five helmets one is in the Hermitage, St Petersburg, one in the Wallace Collection, London, two in the Bavarian National Museum, Munich and one lost; the major elements are divided between the Wallace Collection and the Bavarian N.M.

Fig.2. A carbine from the Prince’s Guard, private collection 25 The Antique Arms Fair at Olympia

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Figs.3. and 4. Details of the carbine 26 The Antique Arms Fair at Olympia

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Figs.5. and 6. Details of the carbine

Fig.7. Interior of the lock

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The Guard was clearly formed as two sections – a Foot Guard armed with halberds and round Venetian shields, all elaborately decorated with etching or paint respectively, and a mounted company armed with wheel-lock carbines and, presumably, swords. The Foot Guard numbered 29 (although one of the halberds is numbered ‘50’) and the Horse Guard initially 24, later, by 1605, increased to 36 according to episcopal archives. By good fortune, or due to their quality, many of the halberds survive as do a great many of the gilded and painted leather shields and most of the carbines; about 50 of the latter are known, scattered over Europe (with a very few in the USA), clearly including, as with the halberds, a number of spares.

In general terms the carbines seem to be divided between two barrel-makers, Georg Zellner of Zell am Wallersee in Salzburg province just to the north of the city and Valentin Klett of Suhl in Thuringia, whose family soon afterwards moved to Salzburg, quite possibly to be more closely associated with their wealthy and influential patron, the Prince-Archbishop. They were all, however, stocked in Salzburg and while not being absolutely identical (which is not to be expected in the days before standardised mass production) are instantly recognisable as a group. They are mostly between 83 and 85cm long, two-stage (octagonal to round) barrel around 57-59cm, with moulding at the muzzle, and brass fore and rear sights – some of the barrels are rifled. They are full- stocked in fruitwood, have a short, sharply-curved, butt with a high comb rising from a narrow wrist, and are elegantly decorated overall with inlaid engraved plaques and lines of engraved horn or bone. Flowers, plantforms, masks and sea monsters comprise most of the motifs, with variations on a baroque mirror-frame shape, complete with flying threads and balls on each side of the comb and long slim kite shapes along both sides of the fore-end. In contrast the locks are plain, though of good quality, with only a maker’s mark (several lock-makers were involved), and some slight chiselled decoration on some. On some locks the wheel is exposed, on others it is protected by a domed wheel cover; on some the dog has a long curved cock spur, on others a short spur and on others no spur at all. Very few are dated, but those few are consistent – 1595 (only one is known to be dated earlier, 1594, in the museum in Klagenfurt, southern Austria). It might have been expected that the Horse Guard would have been equipped with their carbines as soon as possible after they were established in 1587-8. Possibly there was an early consignment of arms which were not dated, and the ones which were dated, in 1595, were replacements or intended to form a reserve. The subject carbine conforms to the above general pattern, being 84cm long overall with a barrel of 57cm and weighs 2.525 kg. It bears a heraldic shield enclosing a capital Z between two pellets on the top flat of the barrel at the breech, indicating a member of the Zellner family, presumably Georg, or less likely Sebastian (who was certainly supplying firearms to the court in Salzburg in 1626). On the lockplate, below and left of the wheel, is another heraldic shield bearing the image of a ‘lindwurm’ (stylised dragonlike creature), a so-far unidentified maker’s mark. The reddish-brown fruitwood stock sets off the pale cream colour of the delicate horn/bone inlay which decorates the slim fore-end and the sides and ridge of the comb of the butt. Hollow baroque cartouches entwined with flowing threads


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Fig.8. Maker’s mark on the barrel

Fig.9. Maker’s mark on the lockplate

which in turn are strung with small flower-like balls distinguish both sides of the butt; that and the overall form of the gun instantly mark out this carbine as one of the Guard series. Horn/bone plaques also serve as butt plate, fore-end cap, cover for the mouth of the channel for the ramrod (which itself is tipped with horn), and surround the barrel tang.

The barrel is formed in two stages, octagonal at the breech end for just over a third of its length and round for the rest, the two sections separated by a ring moulding. The muzzle is formed with a triple ring moulding on top of which sits a brass bead foresight; the rear sight is formed as a split brass scroll. The barrel has a smooth bore of approximately 11.5mm. The flat undecorated lockplate supports a solid flat undecorated wheel cover from which issues a prominent spindle with its winding key attached by a removable pin – a useful device to avoid loss if the soldier was loading the carbine while on horseback. An elaborate safety catch which locks the trigger is mounted behind the wheel and held in either the open or closed position by a long leaf spring. The large curved dog develops rather oddly from a short straight neck of pentagonal section and is held in whichever position by a powerful V spring. The top jaw extends backwards into an elegant curved spur, and a sliding spring-loaded pan cover completes the lock.

At first sight this carbine looks very short for a long gun, almost resembling a wheel-lock pistol but for the petronel shape of the butt. In fact it is difficult to see how it could be fired effectively: if the butt is held to the chest like a petronel then the sights are so far out of line as to be useless; but if the butt is brought up to the shoulder then the trigger is so close to the body as to be very awkward to reach, since the distance is only 18cm.

However, if the carabinier was wearing a stout cuirass well padded on the inside this would increase the distance from trigger to body to a feasible stretch, especially if the angled butt was brought up to the curve of the cuirass at the top of the chest. Since all the carbines of von Raitenau’s Guard are identical in overall shape and size it must be presumed that they could be fired effectively by any and all the carabiniers. The subject carbine is a superb example of a group of firearms which illustrate the craftmanship and artistic excellence achieved by royal and princely gunmakers at the end of the 16th century, not to mention the artistic taste of their patrons. Similar high craftmanship and style of decoration can be seen on a group of long wheel-lock pistols made for the Guard of Duke Moritz of Saxony in Dresden in the mid 16th century.

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Figs.10-12. Elements of the garniture made for von Raitenau by the Maestro dal Castello, now in the Bavarian National Museum, Munich

In his desire to strengthen Salzburg’s independence and gain control of the lucrative salt trade von Raitenau got into an unfortunate dispute with the much larger Duchy of Bavaria. In 1611 he invaded Bavaria with 1,000 men. Duke Maximilian responded by sending an army of 24,000 into Salzburg and occupying the city. The emperor, Rudolf II, von Raitenau’s superior in secular matters, withdrew his support and von Raitenau was captured by Maximilian, relieved of his office as Prince of the Holy Roman Empire and imprisoned in his own fortress of Hohensalzburg. His position with the emperor had not been helped by his refusal to join the Catholic League despite having been a zealous counterReformationist. Similarly his standing with the pope and the local authorities of the church had been weakened by his long-lasting affair with his mistress, Salome, with whom he had fathered 15 children and on whom he had bestowed a luxurious pleasure palace, a situation which perhaps had been instrumental in denying him the usual status as a cardinal. Von Raitenau was swiftly deposed by his cathedral chapter and remained in prison until his death in 1617. He was buried, according to legend, upright in a chair where he will sit until Doomsday, when he will stand up and ask the Lord for mercy for himself and his enemies. Ironically he was succeeded by his own cousin, Markus Sittikus von Hohenems, who also established an impressive bodyguard. All photographs by the author except 1 and 14, from the Internet.

Fig.13. A halberd from the Prince’s Guard, dated 1589, in the B.N.M. Munich

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Fig.14. A shield from the Prince’s Guard, unknown location

Fig.15. The fortress of Hohensalzburg 30

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A 16th Century English Snaphance Gun Revisited by Brian Godwin

Fig.1a-c. An English snaphance gun, c1600 - Schwarzenberg Palace , Prague (Inventory No.1.c.D-957)

In 1985, the late Claude Blair drew our to attention a very fine English snaphance gun, in his Park Lane Arms Fair catalogue article entitled, “A 16th Century English Snaphance Gun”1. The gun now part of the magnificent display of early firearms of the Imperial Armoury in the Schwarzenberg Palace, Prague (Inventory No.1.c.D-957), is one of a very few English snaphance firearms to survive from the late 16th century. The author has recently obtained new colour photographs of the gun, many of which are shown here for the first time.

Blair states that the gun was formerly part of the armoury at Konopiště Castle, 30 miles south of Prague, which at the turn of the 20th century belonged to Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Sarajevo fame. In recent years the gun was first transferred to the Prague Military Museum and then to the impressive Schwarzenberg Palace, which is situated near the Castle complex, on the hill high above the city.

The subject gun

The gun is similar in form to other known English snaphance and matchlock muskets of the late 16th and early 17th century and has a wooden full-stock with a triangular shaped, or “fish-tail”, butt of flat, hexagonal section, and a deep semi-circular thumb groove just behind the barrel tang. The upper portion of the butt forms a comb, which thins towards and along its top edge. The stock also has an iron trigger guard with a finger rest extension at the rear. [Fig.1a-c]

The wooden full stock is 58½ inches (148.5cm) in length and profusely inlaid with bone and mother of pearl pieces, engraved and shaped into foliage and ball flowers, Tudor roses, human figures, animals and exotic birds. The flattened areas of the butt are inlaid with hunting scenes, each contained within a bordered panel and interspersed with scrolling foliage. On the right-hand side of the butt are two hunters armed with spears fighting a bear, while in the panel

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Fig.2a-c. Butt decoration


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Fig.3a-f. Butt and stock decoration

below this is a mounted hunter chasing a wolf. On the left side of the butt a lone hunter pursues a stag, while the panel below depicts a mounted hunter chasing a lion. The mid-section of the left side of the stock also depicts a mounted hunter and his dog, chasing an ibex. The entire length of both sides of the forestock has more inlay featuring other animals including hares, dogs and boar. Engraved mother of pearl decorates the underside of the stock, which narrows forward of the trigger guard, becoming angular before it reaches the rear opening of the ramrod channel. The wooden ramrod has an engraved bone tip. [Fig.2a-g; Fig.3a-f; Fig.5]

The butt terminates with a large bone butt plate engraved with fruit and foliage. On either side of this plate, on the rear of the butt, is a wide bone banding engraved with birds of prey, perhaps hawks or falcons2. Surrounding the barrel tang are engraved bone plaques, and those on either side of the tang depict the ‘half-face’ of a classical head adorned with a laurel-leaf crown, while below this can be seen the striking face of a stylised lion. [Fig.4a-e]

A trigger of ‘acorn’ form is suspended from a pin that is inserted just above the rear of the lockplate. The pin has a large ballshaped head projecting from the stock, a characteristic feature of many English snaphances [see Fig.1 and Fig.4].

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Fig.4. Butt and stock decoration

The octagonal iron barrel is 43⅜ inches (110cm) in length and of .75 inch (17.5mm) calibre. Much of the barrel is decorated with punched and engraved ornamentation, which is enhanced with gilding. At the breech is a long ‘tubular’ peep sight, its top with decorative moulding and traces of gilding. Just forward of this is a makers mark, an angular shield containing the letters TA divided by a hammer, set against a gilded ground. The muzzle is slightly flared and has a large bead foresight. [Fig.5a-e]

The large snaphance lock is unusual in that the edges of the flat cock and the arm of the steel have been embellished with pierced and engraved scrolling projections, both of which appear to be integral to these two components. In fact, they are separate decorative panels which have been overlaid onto the cock and the arm of the steel and extend across the peripheral border of


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both. The base of the cock is engraved with a monster head, while a projection on the breast of the cock is in the form of a grotesque human head. This ‘head’ covers the buffer when the cock is in the forward or fired position. At the end of the pan is a circular fence, its flat surface decorated with punched and engraved decoration which retains traces of gilding.

On the lockplate behind the cock is the large engraved and gilded knob that operates a sliding safety catch. Pushing this catch forward effectively blocks the movement of the sear and stops the release of the cock. This form of safety is quite unusual, and has only been found on a few fine quality English snaphance guns dating to the period 1600-16153. The lock is held to the stock by three side-nails. [Fig.6a-c]

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Fig.5a-e. Detail of the barrel, makers mark, breech, and muzzle

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The inlay work seen on this gun was inspired by the designs of early 16th century artists and engravers such as Peter Flötner, Adriaen Collaert and Jost Amman who specialised in the creation of decorative patterns with their subjects based on classical mythology, including the hunt, allegorical subjects, figures of virtue, gods, goddesses, and heroic warriors4. The most important of these artists was Virgil Solis of Nuremberg (1514-1562) whose hunting scenes proved extremely popular for the decoration of arms and armour. His designs were published and sold throughout Europe through his pattern book, and were consequently used by many different types of craftsmen, all involved in decorative art.

The TA barrel mark of the subject gun has been attributed to Thomas Addis of London, who is recorded between 1590–1647. Addis was a Liveryman of the Blacksmiths Company and worked as a gunsmith at the Minories, near Tower Hill. He supplied arms to the Ordnance from 1596 and was appointed Commissioner for the Repair of Common Arms in 1631. He died in 16465.

In an attempt to build up a national arms industry, Henry VIII and later Edward VI both encouraged foreign gunmakers to come to London. By the 1560s, several thousand immigrants of Flemish, German, Italian and French origin could be found in London6, some in the ‘foreigners quarter’ which had been established in Southwark, on the other side of London Bridge. Over a fifty year period from 1550 some 200 gunmakers and gun associated craftsmen were recorded in London7 including barrel-smiths, lock-smiths, gun inlayers, bone engravers and iron damaskers and gilders, all of whom had the necessary expertise to embellish luxury firearms8. By 1600, London had become a centre for gun production in England and specialised in the making of luxury firearms.

With the help of Vladimir Denkstein, the former Director of the National Museum, Prague, Claude Blair was able to consider the origins of the subject gun. It transpired that many of the Konopiště firearms were only relocated there in 1904, and were made up of arms brought from the Hapsburg collections, the House of Este and the Obizzi family of Catajo Castle, Padua. These ancient Royal families had many connections throughout Europe during the 16th century and it was therefore deemed impossible to be sure where the gun had come from. It may perhaps have been a gift from one nobleman to another. This gun is typical of the fine top quality firearms that were produced in London around 1600 and has fortunately survived as one of the most outstanding early English firearms. C.Blair, A 16th Century English Snaphance Gun, 2nd Park Lane Arms Fair Catalogue, London 1986, pp.21-26. 2 Godwin, B; “A newly discovered English Snaphaunce”, The London Park Lane Arms Fair Catalogue, Spring 2017, pp. 93-101, discusses an English musket with similar decoration to the subject of this article." 3 A short snaphance fowling piece in the Armoury Chamber at the Moscow Kremlin (OR-4292); a pair of very long, plain snaphance fowling pieces, which were part of the gift from James I to Philip of Spain in 1604, and now at the Armeŕia Real, Madrid (K127); a snaphance gun dated 1622 (Musée de l’Armée, Paris; M995-227). 4 J.F.Hayward, The Art of the Gunmaker, Vol.1, London 1962, pp.78-80. 5 H.L.Blackmore, A Dictionary of London Gunmakers 1350-1850, London 1986, p.40. 6 Blackmore 1986, op.cit., p.12. 7 Blackmore 1986, ibid., Introduction 8 Blackmore 1986, ibid., pp.11-12. 1


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Fig.6. Detail of the lock


The author would like to thank the following; Lucie Němečková, Curator National Gallery (Sternberg Palace), Prague; Mgr. Jan Šach, Curator of Historical Weapons, Military Historical Institute, Prague, for providing the pictures and for allowing their publication; John Batty, Arms & Armour (consultant), Lyon Turnbull Auctioneers, Edinburgh. For more information on the English snaphance see; B.Godwin, “The English Snaphance Lock”, London Park Lane Arms Fair Catalogue, Spring 2006, pp.28-63. B.Godwin, “An English Snaphance dated 1584”, Journal of the Arms & Armour Society, London, September 2013, pp.49-65. B.Godwin, “Some observations on the Decoration of English Snaphance Guns 1584 - 1622”, London Park Lane Arms Fair Catalogue, Spring 2015, pp.80-93.

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Four Advertising Handbills Published by Emanuel Wetschgi and His Son by Herbert G. Houze

Today we are constantly bombarded by advertising campaigns in magazines, newspaper supplements, junk mail, radio programs and most notably, television that extoll the advantages of one product or another. Immense amounts of money are spent developing commercials that feature ever smiling consumers drinking specific brands of beverages, driving the latest automobiles to grandmother’s house for the holidays or using the most modern appliances to reduce the drudgery of cleaning. To reinforce the visual presentations text panels and voice-overs present specific bullet-points that cite factors such as gas mileage, health benefits and the like to support a product’s value. Finally, many of today’s sales pitches end with a catch phrase (e.g., “Good to the last drop”®1) intended to stick in the listener, reader or viewer’s mind.

Since advertising of this type is now a constant presence in our lives, it is understandable that many would think it is a totally modern phenomenon, but in fact it is not. As early as 1724,2 the Augsburg gunmaker, Emanuel Wetschgi, used all the same techniques in a series of handbills to acquaint the public with a new repeating magazine gun that he had developed (Fig.’s 1-5). Each of these single or double page leaflets enumerated the advantages of his new arms using numbered bullet-points, employed visual imagery to show his inventions in use and in two instances included advertising slogans to further set his arms apart from those made by others. Wetschgi also designed his handbills to appeal to both a local, as well as an international audience, by producing them in German and French.

Fig. 1. Detail view of the engraved vignette used to illustrate Wetschgi’s 1724 handbill. While the nobleman firing the pistol has previously been identified by this author as having most likely been Christian III, Count Palatine of Zweibrucken, it is entirely possible due to a statement made in Wetscgi’s second handbill illustrated in Fig. 5, that he may have been Frederick Augustus II, King of Poland and Elector of Saxony (1670-1733).

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Fig. 2. Emanuel Wetschgi’s French-language promotional handbill describing the advantages, as well as the operation, of the repeating flintlock pistols and rifles he was making in Augsburg circa 1724. Photograph courtesy of the Staats- und Stadtbibliothek, Augsburg, Germany. 38

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Fig.’s 3 and 4. German language version of the Wetschgi handbill preserved in the Graphics Collection of the Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Nuremburg, Germany (Inv. No. HB 14177 – © Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Georg Janssen, photographer).

Fig. 5. Enlargement of the pistol being fired by Augustus the Strong in Wetschgi’s handbill clearly showing the operating lever located on the left-hand side of the arm opposite its lock. The Antique Arms Fair at Olympia


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Perhaps the most noteworthy and forward-thinking feature of Wetschgi’s circulars was his use of engravings to promote his work. Although this writer previously identified the nobleman shown in the first leaflet to be discussed as Christian III, Count Palatine of Zweibrucken,3 it now appears, due to a statement made in the maker’s third handbill, that it was probably intended to depict Frederick Augustus II, King of Poland and Elector of Saxony (Fig. 6).4 Certainly, no better person or one as easily recognizable could have been found to demonstrate the safety with which the new magazine gun could be used. Aside from the shooting scene the engraving is of significance in that it includes along its top margin a banderole containing a four-line verse flanking a crossed pair of repeating pistols that reads in translation:

What other pistols can shoot multiple rounds on one loading as accurately, rapidly and as far, as today’s Wetschgi’s?

Textually, the two handbills mirror each other in content except for the following differences. The German version begins with a statement that it had been published with the official approval of Augsburg’s city fathers and concludes with a statement that Wetschgi’s work could be seen at his workshop from 9 to 12 o’clock in the morning or from 3 to 6 o’clock in the afternoon. Since the French version was intended for foreign distribution it omits any reference to Wetschgi’s shop hours and merely concludes with a statement that details concerning his arms could be obtained upon written request or personal inquiry. Finally, while the German circular repeats the four-line advertising slogan immediately before the body of its text, the French copy only presents the slogan within the engraving itself.5 Instead it begins and continues as follows:

With the Permission of the Administration, Every Day the Curious May View a Very Rare Masterwork of Pistol Making That Has Been Thoroughly Tested and Applauded

Firstly, it is remarkable that with a single loading, one can fire thirty shots one after another. 2.) At 100 paces with a surprising accuracy. 3.) For one to make so many shots does not require more powder for a charge than is normally used and there is never more than one ball in the barrel at a time. 4.) The barrel never becomes too hot and it is not necessary to cool it. 5.) It is not necessary to use more powder for 4 or 5 shots than it takes to fill a hazel nut. 6.) It is of the same form as other pistols of ordinary style despite being smaller and it has a single barrel and lock. 7) It is not necessary to use a ramrod for loading. 8.) Its stock is not clumsy as many others. 9.) It is not necessary to prime the pan, nor cock the hammer, nor close the frizzen. 10.) But we can spare those tasks due to the wondrous design. 11.) For all it takes for a shot it does admirably by itself in a second by means of a spring. 12.) One can fire 2, 6 or 12 shots each with its ball, fast or slow, as one likes, for one can stop shooting at one’s pleasure. 13.) The final shots have the same velocity as the first and in one minute one can fire 10 shots one after another. 14.) There is no powder in the barrel so that even the jarring movements while riding on horseback will not move a ball. 15.) Those purchasing this arm will be given printed instructions informing them how to use these newly invented pistols. 16.) One does not load them with hollow balls, but balls cast in a mold. 17.) One can shoot 40

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Fig. 6. Unsigned engraved portrait of Frederick Augustus II, King of Poland and Elector of Saxony. British Museum, Acc. No. Bb.16.720 (Gift of Karl Marie Ehrenbert, Baron von Moll, 1818). Reproduced with the kind permission of the Trustees of the British Museum.

these pistols on a river at 400 paces with such force that the ball throws up 50 paces of water to the grand wonderment and pleasure of those who are present. 18.) The inventor of this masterpiece also has rifles of the same design suitable for hunting with great ease and utility. 19.) Likewise, one can shoot at 80 paces with the smallest pistols without difficulty and using only a small charge of powder. 20.) He has also invented a novel gun that can be used with large or small shot, at one’s pleasure at 70 paces with the same velocity as the newly invented pistols. 21.) One will also find with him a new assortment of instruments for cutting the quills of feathers with a single stroke and other worthy tools, also penknives to cut both large and small clock gears and hunting swords fitted with pistols.

It is possible that a number of people who out of ignorance do not hold positive sentiments concerning these pistols and hold bad opinions about there being fired without danger who would prejudice others against using them but they have been put to the test and over a long period have been found superior to others because there is no fear of them bursting. The inventor has (22.) made more than one thousand demonstrations at Frankfurt, Augsburg, Nuremburg, Munich, Ulm, &c., in the presence of Princes, Counts, Knights and other personages who have had the pleasure of firing and testifying to their satisfaction to the inventor’s masterwork and providing

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Fig. 7. Emanuel Wetschgi’s third advertising circular detailing the types of repeating arms, including artillery pieces, that he was making, as well information concerning their operational advantages. Photograph courtesy of the Universitaats- und Landesbibliothek, Darmstadt, Germany.

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letters for others attesting to its advantages. And we can boast that none has seen or made such pistols before. A pair of these pistols may be purchased for 50, 70 or 100 écus and one can buy arquebuses and sporting guns well gilded, artistically engraved and properly mounted. Whoever wishes these pistols can send their request to the Imperial City of Augsburg by a friend, or by a correspondent and the inventor, Emanuel Wetschgy, citizen of that city, will give each satisfaction.

It is worthwhile noting that Wetschgi specifically noted that his arms did not use hollow bullets and that the number of shots that could be fired at one time was fully controlled by the user. Through these comments he set his rifles and pistols apart from those that employed superimposed charges which were successively fired without interruption by the ignition gases from the uppermost discharges passing through hollow vents drilled in the bullets below them.6 It was probably in reference to this “roman-candle” style of repeating firearm that Wetschgi declared his arms only held one ball in their barrels per firing and as a result, were not liable to burst.

The third advertisement illustrated here was almost certainly issued at the same time as the preceding since its content mirrors the first (Fig. 7). However, it was solely intended for distribution within German-speaking territories and in place of the advertising slogan, the engraved vignette contains four lines of verse buttressing the inventor’s claim that his arms were worth the praise they received and their price.7 It also contains a more detailed technical description of Wetschgi’s inventions, comparative information concerning the powder charges and bullet weights of the arms themselves, as well as a note stating they had been demonstrated in a trial held before Frederick Augustus II, King of Poland and Elector of Saxony.

The fourth handbill was published some four years later in 1728 (Fig. 9), by Emanuel Wetschgi’s son, who bore the same name as his father.8 As with both of the preceding, it describes a repeating flintlock magazine pistol which, from the text, appears to have incorporated some kind of an improvement to his father’s design.


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The Honourable Hessian Artillery Captain Wetschgi, living at the present time in Augsburg, has invented a practical and well-conceived new type of thread-sealed firearm which he will soon offer for sale. Description.

1. Various models of light-weight hunting or target rifles which will prove to provide sustained accuracy that the inventor is prepared to demonstrate to the satisfaction of customers. As the customer wishes, using a normal load of powder and at a distance of 60 to 100 paces, the inventor can place the majority of rounds through a 2-inch thick target with most of the rounds being in the bulls-eye. This is something that no other weapon excepting this type, is capable of.

2. In addition, the arm is easy to care for, a pleasure to use, with even the flint lasting much longer, needing less care and sustaining less damage than those in other weapons.

3. Through the use of a lever, the hammer is cocked, the chamber is closed and powder is place into the pan. In the same motion, one of 15-20 rounds contained in the storage chamber is place in the correct position along with the correct amount of powder from the powder storage chamber. This all happens at a quicker speed than possible with any other type of arm. It is possible to easily place ten rounds, one after the other, in the target in the space of one minute. So it is easy to see that the shooter does not need to hold himself back and can choose to shoot1, 2, 4, 8 or all 10 rounds, one after the other. Simply cock the weapon and shoot as one desires. And this arm can be used to shoot several hundred rounds in a day without the least worry of the piece overheating. All this is guaranteed by the inventor, who puts his good name and quality of workmanship under the seal of the City of Augsburg and the blessings of the city fathers.

4. The barrel is made of iron and the furniture of brass, all well-made and neatly finished. A hunting rifle, target rifle or musket will cost between 40 and 50 Reichthalers. The inventor stands behind his statement that nowhere will be found another arm that is as accurate and as well built as his, a fact supported by hundreds of trials. He offers to meet a customer where the customer wishes to test the arm or to arrange for their friend or agent to send an opinion on the arm. The customer may also be sent or given printed specifications if he chooses. In addition to offering instruction on the use and repair of these arms, the inventor stocks arms suitable to every customers taste that will soon include shotguns, muskets, target pistols and a useful pocket pistol.

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Fig. 8. Repeating flintlock magazine carbine signed FECIT ET INVENIT WETSCHGE AUGUSTAE given to the Livrustkammaren Museum in Stockholm by the estate of Baron Set Adelsward (1813-1868). Livrustkammaren, Stockholm, Sweden (Acc. No. LRK 11089, Old Number 4265). The Antique Arms Fair at Olympia


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Fig. 9. Handbill published by Emanuel Wetschgi the Younger in 1728 describing improvements he had made to the breech-loading magazine firearms invented by his father. Photograph courtesy of the Staats-und Stadtbibliothek, Augsburg, Germany.


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Since there is some confusion concerning the genealogy of the Wetschgi family, the following family tree has been reconstructed using the official necrologies published annually by the City of Augsburg.9 The final date listed for each family member indicates their date of burial followed by the page reference for that year’s interment volume. Generation I

Melchior Wetschgi (died Dresden ca. 1690) and his wife Rosina Wetschgi (1619-July 19, 1705 [p. 14])

- Melchior Wetschgi the Younger (1649-August 1, 1728 [p. 11]) - Andreas Wetschgi (1657-June 29, 1721 p. 11])

Generation II

Melchior Wetschgi the Younger (1649-1728) and his wives Maria Barbara Wetschgi (1645-October 9, 1712 [p. 16]) Anna Maria Wetschgi (1650-January 13, 1715 [p. 2]) - Johann Melchior Wetschgi (1676-January 24, 1730 [p. 3]) - Emanuel Melchior Wetschgi (1677-June 9, 1728 [p. 9]) - Samuel Wetschgi (ca. 1679 - ? )

Andreas Wetschgi (1657-1721) and his wife Regina Wetschgi (1661-March 29, 1742 [p. 7])

- Andreas Wetschgi the Younger (1690-October 9, 1765 [p. 15]10

Generation III

Emanuel Melchior Wetschgi (1677-1728) and his wife Maria Rosina Wetschgi (1680-July 1, 1757 [p. 10]) - Captain Emanuel Wetschgi (ca. 1695-1700 – date of death unknown)

Samuel Wetschgi (ca. 1679 - ? ) and his wife Margaretha Barbara Wetschgi (1682-June 9, 1756 [p. 11])


The author would like to sincerely thank Frau Korber, of the Staats- und Stadtsbibiothek in Augsburg for providing the images of the first and third Wetschgi advertisements, and; Andrew Mowbray of Lettweiler, Germany, for his translation of Captain Wetschgi’s handbill. In addition, thanks must be extended to the Trustees of the British Museum; the Livrustkammaren in Stockholm, and; the Universitaats- und Landesbibliothek, Darmstadt, for the images they supplied. Sources and Notes

1 2

3 4

5 6

7 8 9

This registered trademark has been used as an advertising slogan by Maxwell House Coffee since 1915.

The date of this handbill’s publication can be set to early 1724 at the latest since its format and contents closely parallel those found in an article discussing Wetschgi’s inventions published in the periodical, Neue Zeitungen von Gelehrten Sachsen (Leipzig), No. XI (7 February 1724), pp. 97-100. The document itself is preserved in the collections of the Staats- und Stadtbibliothek, Augsburg.

Herbert G. Houze, “The Firearms Collection of David Martin, Limner to the Prince of Wales,” The Third Annual Arms Fair at Olympia London, September 29, 2018, p. 17.

This identification is further supported by the court dwarf or fool and two attendants/hunters to the right of the group. The individual holding the sporting gun to the king’s right may have been intended to represent Wetschgi himself, but that claim is purely speculative. The omission of the slogan was almost certainly due to the fact that it could not be satisfactorily translated into rhyming couplets.

For a schematic drawing of this system and the illustration of an actual example see: Arne Hoff, Feuerwaffen II (Klinkhardt & Biermann; Brunwich: 1969), pp. 46 and 51. This handbill is preserved in the Universitaats- und Landesbibliothek, Darmstadt.

Several examples of this handbill have survived and the copy illustrated is from the collections of the Staats- und Stadtbibliothek, Augsburg.

These records were published annually under the title Richtige Verzeichnis aller der jenigen Manns und Weibs Personnen by various church officials and printers. The relevant year volume and page number noting the burial date for those listed is presented in square brackets following the date of death. Interments for new borns and minor children are not listed.


Andreas Wetschgi the Younger evidently died in straightened circumstances since it was noted that his body was removed from the Augsburg arbeitshaus or work house.

- Magdalena Wetschgi (1714-April 29, 1792 [p. 7])

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Patriotic Fund Swords

awarded to the British naval comrades-in-arms,

George Nicholas Hardinge and William Dawson, and other ‘Honorary Marks of Achievement’ by Leslie Southwick

The £100 Patriotic Fund Sword of Honour awarded on 17 April 1804 to Commander George Nicholas Hardinge, R.N., for his personal leadership in the attack, cutting out and carrying of the Dutch National Armed Brig, Atalante, at anchor in Vlie Roads, Texel, Holland, by the boats of HMS Scorpion and HMS Beaver on the night of the 31 March 1804 [Fig.1 and 2], was the third Patriotic Fund sword of the highest value presented to a notable recipient following the Institution’s establishment on 20 July 1803.1 Most of the swords of the three grades of tokens (£100, £50 and £30), awarded after the collapse of the Peace Treaty of Amiens (25 March 180218 May 1803) and the threat of invasion from Napoleonic France, were given to young naval officers and were often awarded for various forms of successful ‘boat actions’ undertaken by sailors and marines in order to ‘annoy the enemy’ and to capture suitable vessels to add to the British fleet. The frequent boat attacks and assaults on ships and on harbour fortifications by the British navy during the Napoleonic War (1803-15) were daring and hazardous missions, usually undertaken at night by volunteers. These exploits are comparable to later renowned British commando raids of the Second World War (1939-45), such as those on St Nazaire in Normandy and the ‘Cockleshell Heroes’ attack on the harbour of Bordeaux in 1942. The £100 Patriotic Fund Silver Vase below, a testimonial awarded to commemorate Hardinge’s valorous final service - a single ‘ship to ship’ action (a dual between two armed vessels usually equal in size, tonnage, men and guns) - was the last Vase officially presented by the Institution and was given to commemorate the capture of the French frigate La Piedmontaise by Hardinge’s ship, HMS St Fiorenzo, in the Gulf of Manaar, on 8 March 1808, and the hero’s death in action (see below).2

Fig.1. Patriotic Fund Sword of £100 value of George Nicholas Hardinge, RN, and scabbard, 1804. Collection: The Royal Hospital School, Holbrook, Ipswich, Suffolk. Photograph by courtesy of David Goodwin

Fig.2. Patriotic Fund Sword and Scabbard of George Nicholas Hardinge, RN, 1804 (cf. Fig.1).

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Although a number of officers received a Patriotic Fund sword and vase for the same action between 1803 and 1809 (the period when the Fund was officially awarding ‘honorary marks of achievement’), only four recipients appear to have been awarded the institution’s sword and vase for two separate and distinct exploits;3 and although Hardinge’s sword of honour was exhibited as No.2801 in the celebrated Royal Naval Exhibition held at Chelsea in 1891, it is thought that most of the images in this paper and the description of the sword, form the first detailed published account of this hero’s ‘token of honour’.4

George Nicholas Hardinge [Fig.3], a gallant officer, saw a good deal of active service during his short, but distinguished career, before his death in action on 8 March 1808, aged 26.5 In addition to the two tokens of achievement given by the Patriotic Fund above, he was also nominated for the two Naval Service Medals (one posthumously) for the same two exploits undertaken four years apart.

Fig.3. George Nicholas Harding, RN (1781-1808). National Maritime Museum, Greenwich

Fig.4. Viscount Hardinge of Lahore, GCB (1785-1856), younger brother of George Nicholas 48

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Hardinge was fortunate in being born into an eminent influential English family, one which produced prominent lawyers, royal and government advisors, MPs and poets, and who distinguished themselves as Consuls, Soldiers and Governor-Generals in India and elsewhere, such as George’s younger brother, Henry, 1st Viscount Hardinge of Lahore (1785-1856) [Fig.4]. He received, due to his family’s influence, what every aspiring candidate wished for in his chosen career, namely, an abundent amount of ‘interest’ (or patronage), social and military advantages generously provided in the form of education, placements, promotions, ships, and commissions, by the captains and commanders-in-chief with whom he served, notably Lords St Vincent and Keith, Capt. Charles Tyler, Sir Edward Berry, Sir William Sydney Smith, Sir James Saumarez, and Sir Edward Pellew, and also the Princess of Wales, wife of the future George IV.

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Fig.5. Sir George Hardinge (1743-1816), uncle to George Nicholas Hardinge, RN

Hardinge was born at Kingston-upon-Thames, Surrey, on 11 April 1781, the second son of the Rev. Henry Hardinge (1754-1820), vicar of Kingston and later rector of Stanhope, County Durham (a living said to be worth £5000 a year), and his wife, Frances, daughter of James Best of Wrotham, Kent. His grandfather was Nicholas Hardinge (1699-1758), Latin poet, politician, Joint Secretary to the Treasury, Chief Clerk to the House of Commons and Attorney General to the Duke of Cumberland. With his parent’s permission, young George was raised in the family of his uncle and godfather, the judge, writer and critic, Sir George Hardinge (1743-1816) [Fig.5], Attorney General to Queen Charlotte, wife of George III, and MP for Old Sarum, who sent the boy to Eton, aged about 9 or 10, with the intention that his nephew and ‘adopted son’ would follow him into the law. However, at Eton, he did not prove himself to be a scholar, but desired, at aged 11 or 12, to go to sea. This impulse arose in part from conversations he had with his uncle, Richard Hardinge (later Sir Richard Hardinge, Bart), a captain of an East Indiaman, but primarily from the advice given to him on a visit to Eton by the distinguished naval officer, Sir John Borlase Warren, Bart, KB (1753-1822) [Fig.6], who assured him that ‘he was better calculated for a naval hero than for a lawyer’. Subsequently, he was inspired to join the Royal Navy and, in 1793, was appointed Midshipman in the 32-gun frigate Meleager (Capt Charles Tyler) [Fig.7] and saw service in Lord Hood’s blockade of Toulon and at the reduction of Corsica.

Fig.6. Admiral Sir John Borlase Warren, Bart, KB. (1753-1822)

Fig.7. Admiral Sir Charles Tyler, GCB (1760-1835)

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Fig.8. Admiral of the Fleet Sir John Jervis, Earl of St Vincent, GCB (1735-1823)

During this period, Tyler attacked and sank the French 40-gun frigate La Minerve, but, shortly afterwards, the vessel was weighed up and repaired. It was renamed, HMS St Fiorenzo [also San Fiorenzo], in honour of the Corsican town and fort of that name and, in March 1794, Tyler was appointed to command her. Midshipman Hardinge removed with Tyler to his new ship, a vessel in which he was later to command and die in fourteen years later. He removed again with Tyler to the Diomede (64 guns) and took part in Vice-Admiral Hotham’s action off Genoa (14 March 1795) and off Hyeres Islands (13 July 1795) and in operations along the coast of Italy, where, it is said, he met and made an impression on the British envoy at Naples, Sir William Hamilton, Bart. He returned to England in the spring of 1798 and then joined Tyler again aboard the frigate Aigle (38 guns), in which he was wrecked on the Isles of Planes, near Tunis, on 18 July 1798. After that incident, he came under the patronage of Admiral Earl St Vincent, C-in-C Mediterranean [Fig.8], who placed him in the Theseus (Capt Ralph Willet Miller) serving off Acre, a ship in which he survived the massive explosion that killed Miller and other members of his crew on 14 May 1799. Ordered home, he was placed on board the Foudroyant (80 guns) (Sir Edward Berry) [Fig.9] as a supernumery lieutenant, and took part in the capture of the Guillaume Tell on 30 March 1800. He was next removed to the Tigre (Commodore Sir Sydney William Smith) and commanded a gun-boat with naval forces [under Lord Keith, Fig.10] in the Egyptain Campaign, was promoted Lieutenant,


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Fig.9. Rear Admiral Sir Edward Berry, Bart. KCB (1768-1831)

Fig.10. Admiral Sir George Keith Elphinstone, 1st Viscount Keith, GCB (1746-1823)

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Fig.11. Admiral Sir James de Saumarez, 1st Baron de Saumarez, GCB (1757-1836)

Fig.12. Admiral Sir Edward Thornborough, GCB (1754-1834)

off Alexandra, on 15 October 1800, and received the Turkish gold medal. On 22 March 1801, he served on the Santa Teresa at Minorca and, in May 1802, was promoted Commander and appointed, in March 1803, to the bomb-ship, Terror, off Boulogne, where he was to ‘to signalize himself in the bombardment of Granville’, actions which brought him to the notice of the commander at that station, Sir James Saumarez [Fig.11].

earlier during the Egyptian Campaign above. Hardinge, while being delighted with his ship, was not keen to serve in the North Sea and asked his relations to obtain for him another theatre of war, but they refused. They felt that it would be an insult to Hardinge’s patron, Earl St Vincent, and believed that for naval advancement ‘it marks the wisdom of accepting without reserve, and without hesitation, whatever naval appointment happens to be offered’.6 It was sound advice, for soon after Hardinge and the Scorpion had arrived off the Texel, he was presented with the opportunity which won him his Patriotic Fund sword. The naval dispatches are inserted below, but a fuller account of what happened was given personally by Harding in a letter to a friend shortly after the exploit, and it is this account, as well as official Admiralty reports, that historians like William James and the author have drawn on to write about Hardinge’s first outstanding achievement.7

Following the collapse of the Treaty of Amiens (18 May 1803), the threat of invasion and the renewal of war with France (now under Emperor Napoleon I), Hardinge (due to the influence of his patron Earl St Vincent, now C-in-C Channel Fleet) was, in early 1804, appointed to the newly-built armed sloop-of-war, HMS Scorpion (18 guns), and placed with the North Sea Fleet under the immediate command of Rear-Admiral Edward Thornborough (1754-1834) [Fig.12] off the Texel, and under the overall direction of the C-in-C North Sea, Lord Keith [Fig.10], stationed off Ramsgate, a man whom he had impressed

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On 28 March 1804, Hardinge was detached by Rear-Admiral Thornborough to reconnoitre the Vlie Passage (or Vlie Road) into the Texel and he ‘perceived a couple of the enemy’s brigs at anchor with my ship, on account of the shoals that surround the entrance, I determined upon a dash at the outermost one in the boats, if a good opportunity could be found or made. It came, unsolicited, March 31. Preparing to embark, we accidentally were joined by the Beaver sloop, who offered us her boats, to act in concert with ours: we accepted the reinforcement, under an impression, that it would spare lives on both sides, and would shorten the conflict. At half-past nine in the evening [9h.30m P.M. 31 March], we began the enterprize. Captain Pelly, an intelligent and spirited officer, did me the honour to serve under me, as a volunteer, in one of his boats. We had near sixty men, including officers, headed by your humble servant, in the foremost boat. As we rowed with the tide flood, we arrived alongside the enemy at half past-eleven [11h.30m PM]. I had the good fortune, or (as by some it has been considered) the honour, to be the first man who boarded her. She was prepared for us, with boardnettings up, and with all the customary implements of defence. But the noise and alarm, &c &c. so intimidated her crew, that many of them ran below in a panic, leaving to us the painful task of combating those whom we respected the most. ‘The decks were slippery, in consequence of rain; so that grappling with my first opponent, a mate of the watch, I fell, but recovered my position, fought him on equal terms, and killed him. I then engaged the captain, as brave a man as any service ever boasted: he had almost killed one of my seamen. To my shame be it spoken, he disarmed me, and was on the point of killing me, when a seaman [Mr Williams, the master] of mine came up, and rescued me at the peril of his own life, and enabled me to recover my sword.

‘At this time all the men were come from the boats, and were in possession of the deck. Two were going to fall upon the captain at once. I ran up – held them back – and then adjured him to accept quarter. With inflexible heroism, he disdained the gift, kept us at bay, and compelled us to kill him. He fell, covered with honourable wounds. ‘The vessel was ours, and we secured the hatches, which headed by a lieutenant, who has received a desparate wound, they attempted repeatedly to force.


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‘Thus far we had been fortunate; but then we had another enemy to fight; it was the element; a sudden gale, and shifted against us, impeded all the efforts we could make; but as we had made the capture, we determined, at all efforts, to sustain it, or to perish. We made the Dutch below surrender; put forty of them into their own irons, and stationed our men to their guns; brought the powder up, and made all the necessary arrangements to attack the other brig. But as the day broke [1 April 1804], and without abatement of the wind, she was off, at such a distance, and such a position, that we had no chance to reach her. In this extremity of peril, we remained eight and forty hours. Two of the boats had broke adrift from us, and two had swampt alongside: the wind shifted again, and we made a push to extricate ourselves, but found the navigation so difficult, that it required the intense labour of three days to accomplish it. We carried the point at last, and were commended by the admiral for our perseverance.

‘You will see in the gazette [below] my letter to him [Thornborough]: I aimed at modesty, and am afraid, that in pursuit of that object, I may have left material facts a little too indefinite, if not obscure.

‘The Atalante’s captain, and four others, are killed; eleven are wounded, and so dreadfully, that our surgeon thinks every one of them will die.

‘To the end of my existence I shall regret the captain. He was a perfect hero; and if his crew had been like him, critical indeed would have been our peril.

‘The Atalante is much larger than my vessel, and she mounted sixteen long twelve-pounders: we have not a single brig that is equal to that calibre. Her intended complement was two hundred men, but she only had, as it happened, seventy-six on board.

‘I expect your joy by the return of post – ever affectionately and gratefully yours, G N Hardinge.

‘P.S. In two days after the captain’s death he was buried, with all the naval honours in my power to bestow upon him. During the ceremony of his interment, the English colours disappeared, and the Dutch we hoisted in their place. All the Dutch prisoners were liberated; one of them delivered an eloge upon the hero they had lost, and we fired three vollies over him as he disappeared into the deep’.

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Hardinge’s letter provides a rare and honest account of an officer’s view of his successful naval action, but one which made him reflective after the event. Hardinge’s dispatch sent to his immediate commanding officer, Rear-Admiral Thornborough, was (as Hardinge himself said) notably modest in what actually occurred at the capture of the Atalante. These dispatches are included here to show how reports (written soon after a determined and bloody exploit) went up the chain of command, and (because the action took place near to England) resulted swiftly in Hardinge’s sword of honour being awarded.8 Hardinge wrote to Thornborough:

Hardinge’s last sentence in his dispatch (and that in the personal letter above) explains why the report is dated four days after the event. A dispatch would have been written normally, if practicable, the same day or the one after the action. Edward Thornborough’s letter to his Commander North Sea Fleet, Admiral Lord Keith, KB, stationed off Ramsgate, adds further details to the exploit and shows that Hardinge not only brought the Atalante to where Thornborough was stationed off Kykdem in his ship, HMS Defence, but also conveyed verbally further details of the exploit before Thornborough wrote his accompanying dispatch:

‘His Majesty’s Ship Scorpion off the Vlie 3rd April 1804

‘Defence, 4th April 1804 Kykdem East 8 Leagues

Having reconnoitered the Position of the two Men of War Brigs in the Vlie, I resolved to attampt the Outermost on the first favourable Opportunity.

I have the Honor to inform your Lordship, that I detached the Scorpion Sloop on the 25th Ultimo [25 March] to cruize off the Vlie Passage, in order to watch the Motion of the Enemy in that Quarter, having previously received Information that Two Dutch National Brigs were at Anchor in the Vlie Road. I have now the Satisfaction of stating to your Lordship, that I was Yesterday Afternoon [3 April] joined by the Scorpion and Beaver Sloops, bringing with them the Atalanta [sic] Dutch National Brig, One of the Vessels above alluded to, and the Commodore of a small Squadron placed there, for the Protection of that Passage and Road, which they carried in the most gallant and spirited Manner, although she was fully prepared for the Contest, having Boarding Netting triced up, and defended in the most obstinate Manner; so determined was the Captain that he refused Quarter when most generously offered him, and fell in the Defence of his Brig; she carries Sixteen long Twelve-Pounders, is the largest and finest Vessel of her Class I ever saw, is only Three years old, and, in my Opinion, will make a most complete Sloop of War.


When accidentally falling in with His Majesty’s Sloop Beaver in her Way to her Station, on the 31st Ultimo [31 March 1804], Captain Pelly very handsomely volunterred the Assistance of himself and his Boats.

The attack was made the same Night; the Intrepidity of British Seamen overcame every Obstacle, (she being in all Respects prepared with Boarding-netting, &c) and after a sharp Contest we were in full Possession of her. She proves to be the Dutch National Brig Atalante, Captain Carp, mounting Sixteen long Twelve Pounders, and had on board Seventy-six Men.

She is one of the largest Brigs in the Dutch Navy, is a remarkable fine Vessel, and in my Opinion admirably calculated for His Majesty’s Service.

I am happy to add, it has not been attended with the Loss of one Man on our Part, and only five wounded. I beg Leave to say how much I am indebted to the Zeal and Gallantry of Captain Pelly, Lieutenants Bluett, White, and Shields, with Messrs Williams and Fair, Masters, and the rest of the Petty Officers and Men, for their cool, steady, and determined Conduct throughout the Whole, as from a Shift of Wind we were unable to bring her out for Three Days. I have the Honor to be &c

G. N . Hardinge’.

My Lord

I have the Honor of enclosing to your Lordship a Copy of Captain Hardinge’s Letter to me upon the Subject, and must beg Leave to remark, that both Captains Hardinge and Pelly were personally engaged in the Enterprized, which I trust will recommmend them to your Lordship’s Protection. I have the Honor to be, &c

Edw Thornborough’.

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Thornborough’s letter arrived at Lord Keith’s anchorage five days later, and the Commander North Sea responded immediately with a letter to William Marsden, Esq. Secretary to the Lords of the Admiralty in London, ‘dated on board His Majesty’s Ship Monarch, off Ramsgate, the 9th Instant [9 April 1804]: ‘Sir

I herewith transmit, for your Lordship’s Information, a Copy of a Letter which I have this Morning received from RearAdmiral Thornborough, including one to him from Captain Hardinge, of His Majesty’s Sloop the Scorpion, in which he reports the successful Issue of a most gallant and spirited Attack which was made by Captain Hardinge and Pelly with the Boats of the Scorpion and Beaver on the Dutch National Brig Atalante, at Anchor within the Vlie Roads on the 31st of last Month.

Although the Brilliancy of this Service can receive no additional Lustre from any Commendation that is in my Power to bestow, I obey the Dictates of both Duty and Inclination in recommending the distinguished Services of Captains Hardinge and Pelley, and the Officers and Men employed under them on this Occasion, to the Consideration of their Lordships, which will not fail to observe the Delicacy with which Captain Hardinge refrains in his Narrativre from any Mention whatever of himself, nor to recollect that Captain Pelley was promoted to the Rank of Commander in consequence of his being most severely wounded in the Performance of his Duty before Boulogne. I am &c Keith’.

The day after Keith wrote his letter, all three reports above were delivered together to the Admiralty in London and were published in The London Gazette of 10 April 1804 (No. 15691, pp. 438-9). A week later, on 17 April 1804, the Committee Managing the Patriotic Fund met and read the letters and ‘Resolved, That it be proposed at the next Meeting “That Swords of One hundred Pounds Value or that Sum in Money, at their Option, be presented to Captn Hardinge of H.M.S. Scorpion; and to Captn Pelly of H.M.S. Beaver”.9 The officers chose the swords, not the ‘Sum in Money’, and they were delivered by Richard Teed, the Dress-Sword Maker to the Patriotic Fund, to both men five months later on 21 August 1804.10 (Three other swords of £50 value were awarded for this action shortly afterwards to Lieutenants Bluett, White and Shields).11


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The £100 Patriotic Fund Sword of Commander George Nicholas Hardinge, RN, 1804

Stirrup-hilt of fire-gilt bronze (ormolu) with ivory grip [Fig.1 and 2].12 The shaped grip has three turned bands near the top and is cut with checkering. It is secured at its base by a gilt– bronze ferrule cast in relief with a wreath of laurel. Over-laying the back of the grip and fitting into a shaped recess is the pommel and back-plate integrally cast in the form of the Skin of the Nemean Lion (emblematic of ‘Victory’ and the ‘proudest’ of the trophies of Hercules). This unit is screwed into the grip, on both sides, at the side of the top-jaw of the lion’s mouth. Extending from the lion’s mouth is a ring looped by the head and body of a serpent (emblematic of ‘Wisdom’), which forms the link with the straight knuckle-guard, designed as the Club of Hercules (the two symbols emblematic of ‘Herculean Efforts’ aided by ‘Wise Council’). The snake entwines down the club onto the cross-guard, which supports the knuckle-guard. The straight quillons of the cross are in the form of a Roman fasces (indicative of ‘National Unity’, which produces ‘British Valour’), divided by a stepped rectangular quillon–block, decorated with trophies of arms and accoutrements. Below the block, on each side, is a single V-shaped langet cast with acanthus leaves. Curved, hollow-ground, single-edged blade of Light Cavalry pattern 1796, double-edged at the point [Fig.1]. It is etched, blued and gilt over its entire length with acanthus, oak and acorn garlands, roses, thistles, and shamrocks, maritime devices, the cypher of George III, the seated figure of Britannia, and the initials of the recipient. On a panel on the outside of the blade is an inscription of presentation etched in gilt Roman capital letters against a blued ground [Fig.13]: ‘FROM THE PATRIOTIC FUND AT LLOYDS, TO GEOE N. HARDINGE, ESQR COMMANDER OF H. M. SLOOP SCORPION, FOR HIS GALLANT, SPIRITED / & SUCCESSFUL ATTACK, WITH HIS BOATS & THOSE OF H. M. S. BEAVER, ON THE DUTCH NATIONAL BRIG ATALANTE, WHILST LYING AT ANCHOR / WITHIN THE VLIE ROADS IN THE NIGHT OF THE 31 ST MARCH 1804. RECORDED IN THE LONDON GAZETTE OF THE 10TH APRIL’.

Elaborately ornamented wooden scabbard covered in dark-blue or black velvet and encased in a gilt-bronze frame [Fig.1]. Around the throat is engraved the name and address of the man who manufactured and supplied the sword for the Patriotic Fund: ‘R. TEED, SWORD CUTLER, LANCASTER COURT, STRAND’ [Fig.14]. At the top section, an oval medallion, set against maritime trophies and instruments, shows Britannia, seated to left on a rocky headland, holding a spear in her left hand, her right hand supported on the Union Shield with the British Lion on guard behind; the figure looks keenly out to sea, to right, and watches as, in the distance, four boats row to attack the Atalante [Fig.15]. Above the medallion is the name of the recipient’s ship ‘SCORPION’ and the date ‘1804’. On the rear edge is a suspension mount in the form of a scrolling sea serpent. At the centre of the scabbard (or mid-locket) is a second oval medallion which portrays Hercules accomplishing

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Fig.13. Hardinge’s Patriotic Sword Blade with etched and gilt inscription of presentation, 1804

Fig.14. The rim of the throat of the scabbard engraved with the cutler’s details ‘R. TEED, SWORD CUTLER LANCASTER COURT, STRAND’, 1804

his Second Labour, the slaying of the Lernaean Hydra [Fig.16]. A second serpentine suspension mount is also on the rear edge at this point. On the base section (or chape), a third cartouche illustrates Hercules accomplishing his First Labour, the conquering of the Nemean Lion, and around the outside edge is a beaded trail [Fig.17a-b]. The open panels have pierced and cast ornament, comprising naval and classical trophies of arms including the naval crown (Corona Navalis Rostrata), the skin of the Nemean Lion, a Roman cuirass and corslet, a fasces, Athena’s (or Minerva’s) Medusa shield, flags, pennants, anchors and scrolling laurel sprays [Fig.1].

Length of sword overall: 38in. (96.5cm) Length of hilt: 6in. (15.2cm) Length of cross: 6in (15.2cm) Length of blade: approx. 33in (83.8cm) No fitted sword case or belt Collection: Royal Hospital School, Holbrook, Ipswich, Suffolk. Sword donated to the school by Lloyds of London in 1962.

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Fig.15. The top-locket of Hardinge’s Patriotic Fund scabbard showing a medallion with Britannia looking out to sea below the name of Hardinge’s ship and year of action - ‘SCORPION 1804’

Fig.16. Mid-Locket of Hardinge’s Patriotic Fund scabbard cast with ‘Hercules subduing the Leanean Hydra’ set against trophies of arms

Fig.17a. Chape of Hardinge’s Patriotic Fund scabbard cast with ‘Hercules and the Nemean Lion’

Fig.17b. Detail of Chape medallion


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On 10 April 1804, the day the Gazette published the reports and the day before the recipient’s twenty-third birthday, Hardinge was promoted to Post Captain, and his new rank no longer qualified him to command a sloop-of-war. He was thus obliged to quit HMS Scorpion (‘a fine brig of 384 tons’), in August 1804, to be the captain of a ‘dull, convoy-keeping “post-ship” the Proselyte of 404 tons’, a former Newcastle collier that ‘had been patched into the name of 22-gun frigate, a name she ill deserved’.13 Hardinge, and his ship, were ordered immediately to Portsmouth to convoy trade ships to the West Indies, ‘but ere he left Portsmouth, his relations interferred, and successfully, against the project for his advancement. They deprecated the effect of the West Indian climate upon his very sanguine habit; and they had received a discouraging impression of the ship from naval men. Their exertions obtained his removal into another frigate, and a more acceptable scene of action’. In January 1805, he was transferred to the frigate Valorous, a vessel which proved unfit for sea.

However, following the appointment of Lord Barham as First Sea Lord, Earl Camden (Hardinge’s father’s first cousin and Secretary of State for War and Colonies) used his influence and Hardinge was offered the command of the 36-gun frigate the Salsette, ‘which Lord Barham described “as newly built, of teak wood, at Bombay, and being ready at all points, for the Captain’s instant command of her, on his arrival there equipped and manned”.’14 Gratefully, Hardinge accepted the offer and sailed as a passenger to India on board HMS Belliqueux (Capt. Byng). At the Cape of Good Hope, he volunteered his services in commanding the marines at the capture of Cape Colony under Lieut.-General Sir David Baird and Commodore Sir Home Popham, and said ‘This will detain me from the Salsette, whom I long to embrace; but what cannot be averted must be encountered with fortitude. And again his name found its way into the gazette.’15

On arriving at Bombay, Hardinge discovered that a frigate named Salsette had only just begun to be built. He therefore travelled immediately to Madras and presented his letters of credence and his commission for his ship to Rear-Admiral Sir Edward Pellew, later Admiral 1st Viscount Exmouth, GCB (1757-1833) [Fig.18], Officer Commanding Ships and Vessels East Indies. Pellew consoled Hardinge for his disappointment. He assured him ‘that it was a mistake of the name, for that instead of the Salsette, then just born, the new frigate intended for him was the Pitt, which had been called the Salsette; that she was then cruising off the Isle of France, under the command of Captain Bathurst, as her provisional captain; that she would return to Madras in a few months, and that Captain Hardinge should be then put into complete possession of her’. Then Pellew ‘with his pen, altered the name of Salsette [on the Admiralty’s commisssion] into that of the Pitt’ and offered Hardinge in the meantime ‘an immediate command of the St Fiorenzo [see above], a very admired frigate of her day, but superannuated and crippled’.16 In October 1807, the St Fiorenzo was repaired at Bombay and, in December 1807, Hardinge was

Fig.18. Admiral Sir Edward Pellew, 1st Viscount Exmouth, GCB (1747-1833)

ordered to carry treasure to Bengal ‘for which he was said to receive 1, 000 guineas for the carriage or (to use the naval term) ‘freightage of this treasure’. It was in the performance of that humble task that we find him at Porte de Galle, Ceylon, in February 1808’.17

At 11h. 30m AM, ‘Friday, the 4th of March 1808’, Harding and the St Fiorenzo sailed from Point de Galle to return to Bombay. Two days later, on 6 March ‘at seven A.M.’, the frigate passed, off Cape Comorin (southern tip of India, Gulf of Manaar), three East Indiamen (the Metcalfe, Devonshire and Charlton), sailing to Columbo; and shortly afterwards sighted the powerful French frigate, La Piedmontaise (‘50 guns on main-decks and 36-pounder carronades on her quarter-deck, 566 men’), ‘which had long been the terror of the Indian Seas’ bearing north-east and about to attack the merchantmen.18 The St Forenzo intercepted the enemy frigate and a three-day running battle ensued between the two ships. Hardinge was killed by grape-shot on the last day, the 8 March 1808, just after 3 PM. The command devolved upon the frigate’s First Lieutenant, William Dawson, another young naval hero, whose detailed report of the action and Hardinge’s death was sent first to Sir Edward Pellew, at Bombay, and who, adding a letter of his own, then forwarded both reports on to London. The dispatches took eight months to arrive and were published by the Admiralty in The London Gazette (no.16210, pp.1710-11) of 17 December 1808.

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Dawson’s report to Pellew, dated the day after the action, reads:

‘His Majesty’s Ship St Fiorenzo, at Sea 9th March 1808 ‘Sir

It is with great Regret I have to inform you of the Death of Captain Hardinge, late of His Majesty’s Ship St Fiorenzo, who fell gloriously in the early Part of an Action on the 8th inst. between His Majesty’s Ship St Fiorenzo and the French National Frigate La Piedmontaise.

The St Fiorenzo sailed from Point de Galle on Friday the 4th inst. at Half past Eleven A.M. On the 6th at Seven A.M. passed [off Cape Cormorin] Three Indiamen [travelling from Bombay to Columbo], and, shortly after, saw a Frigate bearing N.E. We immmediately hauled our Wind in chace, and made all Sail, being at that Time in Latitude 7 32’ Longitude 77 58. We made the private Signal, which was not answered; and at Five shewed our Colours, which the Enemy took no Notice of. At Forty Minutes past Eleven P.M. we ranged alongside of him on the Larboard Tack and received his Broadside. After engaging till Fifty Minutes past Eleven P.M. within a Cable Length, the Enemy made sail a-head, out of the Range of our Shots, we ceased firing, and made all sail after him; continuing to come up with him till Daylight, when finding he could not avoid an Action, he wore, as did we also. At Twenty-five Minutes past Six recommenced the Action at the Distance of Half a Mile, gradually closing with him to a Quarter of a Mile. The Fire was constant and well-directed on both Sides, though that of the Enemy slackened towards the latter Part of the Action. At a Quarter past Eight P.M. the Enemy made all Sail away; our Main topsail-Yard being shot through, the Main Royal mast, and both Main topmast-Stays, the Mainspring-Stay, and most of the standing and running Rigging, and all our Sails shot to Pieces, and most of our Cartridges fired away, (as our Guns were directed at his Hull he was not much disabled about his Rigging,) we ceased firing, and employed all Hands in reparing the Damages sustained, and fitting the Ship again for Action. From the great Injury our Masts, Yards, and Sails had received, I am sorry to observe that it was not in our Power to chace to renew the Action immediately; we, however, succeeded in keeping Sight of him during the Night; and at Nine A.M. on the 8th, the Ship being perfectly prepared for Action, we bore down upon the Enemy under all Sail; he did not endeavour to avoid us till we hauled athwart his Stern, for the purpose of gaining the Weather Gage, and bringing him to close Fight, when he hauled up also, and made all Sail; but perceiving that we came fast up with him, and that an Action was inevitable, he tacked, and at Three we passed each other on opposite Tacks, and recommenced Action within a Quarter of a Cable’s Length. With Grief I have to observe that our brave Captain was killed by a Grap-Shot the second Broadside. When the Enemy was


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abaft our Beam he wore, and, after an Hour and Twenty Minutes close Action, struck their Colours, and waved their Hats for a Boat to be sent them. She proved to be La Piedmontaise, commanded by Mons. Epron, Captaine du Vaisseaux; she mounts Fifty Guns, long Eighteen-Pounders on her Main Deck and Thirty-six-Pounder Carronades on her Quarter Deck. She had Three Hundred and Sixty-six Frenchmen on board, and nearly Two Hundred Lascars,19 who worked their Sails. She sailed from the Isle of France on the 30th December.20 In the Action she had Forty-eight Killed and One Hundred and Twelve wounded. The St Fiorenzo has Thirteen killed and Twenty-five wounded; most of the latter are in a most promising Way. A List of them I have the Honour to inclose for your Information. The Enemy was cut to Pieces in his Masts, Bowsprit, and Rigging; and they all went by the Board during the Night [Fig.19].

It is now a pleasing Part of my Duty to recommend to your particular Notice the cool, steady, and gallant Conduct of Lieutenants Edward Davies and Henry George Moysey; the latter I am sorry to add, was severely wounded about Ten Minutes before the Enemy struck. I also experienced very great Asisistance from Mr Donovan, the Master, by the judicious and Seaman-like Manner in which he laid as close alongside the Enemy. To Lieutenant Samuel Ashmore, of the Royal Marines, I am much Indebted, for the cool and determined Courage evinced by him through the whole Action. Indeed every Officer, Petty Officer, Seaman, and Marine in the Ship behaved in the most brave and gallant Manner, and nobly maintained the Pre-eminence of the British Flag. In the first Boat from the Prize came Mr W. F. Black, Assistant-Surgeon of His Majesty’s 86th Regiment, captured by the Piedmontaise on his Passage to Madras, who rendered the Surgeon great Assistance. I am also much indebted to the Officers of the Army, and the Captains and Officers of the Country Ships, who were Prisoners on board the Enemy for the great Assistance they afforded us with their Lascars in erecting Jury Masts, and working the Ship in Port, as from our weak State, and the great Number of Prisoners on board us, we could spare but few Hands from our own Ship to send on board the Prize. I have the Honour to be, &c WILLIAM DAWSON’.

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Dawson’s report was forwarded, as normal, by Pellew together with the Admiral’s own covering letter, on to the Admiralty in London. Pellew’s letter, dated a month after the action, reads: ‘To the Honourable William Pole, Secretary to the Lords of the Admiralty, dated on board His Majesty’s Ship Culloden, in Bombay Harbour, the 7th of April 1808: ‘SIR

I request you will submit to the Right Honourable the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty, the inclosed Letter from Lieutenant William Dawson, acting in the Command of His Majesty’s Ship St Fiorenzo, stating the Particulars of the Capture of La Piedmontaise French Frigate, mounting Fifty Guns, on the 8th ultimo, in the Gulph of Manaar.

In making this Communication to their Lordships I am desirous of expressing those mingle Sentiments of Admiration and Concern which I experience in the Loss of Captain George Nicholas Hardinge, who fell in the Moment of Victory, after having exerted, during Three successive Days, the most remarkable Zeal, Gallantry, and Judgment in the Conduct of this very brilliant Action. His Majesty’s Service has been thus deprived of a most excellent and distinguished Officer; of whom the highest Expectations have been justly formed, from the Knowledge of his many, great and excellent Qualities.

The Merit of Lieutenant William Dawson, upon whom the Command devolved after the Death of Captain Hardinge, is already well known to the Board by his gallant Behviour on a former Occasion, when he was severely wounded at the Capture of the Pfyche Frigate by the St Fiorenzo, in which nearly the whole of her present Officers and Crew had the Honour to share.

The Manner in which he continued the Action, which had been so nearly concluded by his lamented Captain, and finally conducted it to a successful Issue, will, doubtless, secure to him the high Approbation and Recompense of their Lordships.

The undaunted Bravery, the animated and persevering Exertions of every Officer, Seaman, and Marine on board the St Fiorenzo, have been truly worthy of the beloved Country in whose cause they have been so nobly engaged; - the public Gratitude will be commensurate with their eminent Services.

I learn that the St Fiorenzo had arrived with her Prize in Safety at Columbo, from whence she may shortly be expected at this Port. I have the Honour to be &c.


Fig.19. The two combatants on the day after the action, ‘St Fiorenzo and Piedmontaise, March 9th 1808’. National Maritime Museum, Greenwich (PAD8625)

After forwarding his dispatch to Pellew (above) and after the three masts of the Peidmontaise fell over her side on the 9th March [Fig.19], Dawson took the prize in tow and, on the 12th March, cast anchor at Columbo, Ceylon. The Governor of the island and officer-commanding British forces, LieutenantGeneral Sir Thomas Maitland (1760-1824), ordered that the highest military honours were to be paid to Hardinge as he was interred at Columbo. The St Fiorenzo and her prize then continued on to Bombay, where the Piedmontaise was later taken into British service. Nine months later, following the above letters being received in London and being published in The London Gazette, the Committee Managing the Patriotic Fund met on 10 January 1809.21 The reports of Pellew and Dawson, recounting the capture of La Piedmontaise and the death of Captain Hardinge, were read and it was ‘Resolved

That a vase of the value of £100, with an appropriate inscription be presented to George Hardinge Esqr His Majesty’s Justice for the Counties of Glamorgan, Brecon & Radnor and Attorney General to the Queen, in commemoration of the zeal, gallantry and judgment, displayed by his adopted Son in the above mentioned brilliant action. [It was also] Resolved

That a Sword of the value of £100 with an appropriate inscription be presented to Captn [sic] Wm Dawson, in testimony of the gallant manner in which he continued the action after the death of Captn George Nicholas Hardinge & finally conducted it, to a successful issue [see below]’.

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Fig.20. Patriotic Fund Vase of £100 value awarded to George Hardinge, KC (cf. Fig.5), commissioned from Rundell, Bridge & Rundell, maker’s mark of Benjamin Smith, London 1808-9. By courtesy of Christie’s, London

Fig.21. Inside face of Hardinge’s Patriotic Fund Vase 60

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Patriotic Fund Vase awarded in memory of Captain George Nicholas Hardinge, RN, killed in action 8 March 1808 [Fig.20 and 21] Silver vase of urn-shape, modelled on the Greek volute krater, with two vertically scrolled, floret-paterai handles applied and mounted against foliate sprays.22 The engraved cover has a gadrooned rim, surmounted by the figure of a prowling British Lion cast in the round stalking an imaginary prey. On the neck of the vase is an applied band of laurel set against a matt ground. On the polished band between the neck and the shoulder on the outside (above Britannia) is engraved a full inscription of presentation which reads:

‘IN MEMORY OF GEORGE NICHOLAS HARDINGE ESQ’R CAPTAIN OF HMS ST. FIORENZO, OF 36 GUNS / Who NOBLY FELL in the Moment of Victory, whilst COMMANDING THAT SHIP in ACTION with LA PIEDMONTESE, FRENCH SHIP, OF 50 GUNS, OFF CEYLON on the 8 of March 1808 after a continued ACTION of the Three successive Days as recorded in the LONDON Gazette of the 20 of December 1808 [sic]23 THIS VASE IS PRESENTED TO HIS UNCLE GEORGE HARDINGE, ESQR KINGS COUNCIL ATTORNEY GENERAL TO THE QUEEN, / and His MAJESTY’S JUSTICE for the Counties of Glamorgan, Brecon and Radnor / FROM THE PATRIOTIC FUND AT LLOYDS’.

On the shoulder is a chased floral scroll pattern, below which there is a double band of rope-work containing a scrolling band of flowers and foliage against a matt ground. On the outside of the vase is the applied, cast and profiled seated figure of Britannia (based on ancient prototypes) looking to left, holding in her extended right hand the figure of Victory (Nike) bearing a crown of laurel, and in her left hand a palm branch and a shield charged with the British Lion. On the reverse is the applied figure of a Greek warrior fighting a three-headed serpent (similar to Hercules’ Second Labour, the destruction of the Hydra of Lerna). The figure is bearded and muscular. He wears a cloak and a Corinthian helmet and wields a short-sword. Beneath the figure is an applied band of foliage, alternating oak sprays with water-leaves, and the base is ornament with gadrooning and leaves. Around the foot of the base is engraved in Latin the name and warranted title of the royal silversmiths, who were commissioned to provide the vase for the Fund: ‘RUNDELL BRIDGE ET RUNDELL AURIFICES REGIS ET PRINCIPIS WALLIAE LONDINI FECERUNT’. Maker’s mark of Benjamin Smith, London Assay Marks and date-letter ‘N’ for 1808-9. Height 15 1⁄8 in (38.7cm) weight 120 oz (3,738 gr).

This fine posthumous ‘mark of achievement’ was commissioned from the Patriotic Fund silver supplier and royal warrant holders, Rundell, Bridge & Rundell, and delivered to the named recipient in ‘July 1809’, seven months after the Committee’s resolution, at a total cost of £101-17s-9d.24 It was one of only thirty-nine £100 Patriotic Fund vases actually accepted by the recipients and delivered by Rundell’s during the first six years of the Napoleonic War and it was the last official Fund vase ever awarded by the Committee.25 Following the losses sustained by the army of Sir Arthur Wellesley (later the Duke of Wellington) at the hard-won victory at Talavera, Spain (27-28 July 1809), the Committee Managing the Patriotic Fund resolved, on 24 August 1809, that the awarding of ‘honorable marks of achievement’ was to be discontinued and that the Fund ‘be appropriated

exclusively to the relief of the widows, orphans, and relatives who depended for their support on those who fall in the cause of their country; to the relief of those whose wounds are attended with loss of limbs or disability from future service; to the annual allowance made towards the aged and infirm British prisoners of war, and to the support of the schools and hospitals established at the different Depots in France’.26 *****

Following news reaching England of Hardinge’s death, many letters of condolences were sent to his family by prominent naval officers with whom he had served, such as Admirals Earl St Vincent and Charles Tyler.27 An obituary notice that appeared in the Gentleman’s Magazine (1808, p.748) ends: ‘An officer more beloved, as well as admired, never adorned his profession. He had the most engaging mannners, and the most benevolent heart, which accompanied a sound judgment, a cultivated mind, and the zeal of a patriot for his Country; a high sense of honor in everything; and the most servent but unaffected piety’. The following year, on the 18 May 1809, ‘Mr Ward moved, in the House of Commons, for a public monument to Captain Hardinge’.28 Mr Ward ‘felt it here necessary to call the attention of the House to the gallant services of Captain Hardinge. Though he was a strippling in years, yet he was a veteran in achievements: his short career was marked by the most brilliant exploits; and in every service, and upon every occasion, he met with merited approbation from his commanders’.

In time, a marble plaque in relief by Charles Manning (1775-1812), showing ‘mourners by a bier’, was mounted in memory of Hardinge above Nelson’s monument in the Transept Nave of St Paul’s Cathedral in 1813; and a most elaborate heroic monument was raised by public subscription in St Thomas’s Cathedral, Bombay [Fig.22a-d]. This fine monument shows the dying Hardinge comforted by the wingedfigure of Victory (Nike) being carried in Neptune’s shell chariot driven by sea horses supported by a merman carrying a flag. A pedestal below with oval roundel is sculpted in low relief with the St Fiorenzo and the dismasted La Piedmontaise (modelled after the contemporary sketch, Fig.19, above); at the sides is an elephant at left and, on the right, a tiger (animals emblematic of the East Indies). The supporting base has an inscribed memorial to the dead hero’s accomplishments [Fig.22d], which reads:

‘This monument is erected here by the public Spirit of Bombay to consecrate the memory of Captain George Nicholas Hardinge, R.N. Animated by the example of his great master Nelson,29 he acquired an early fame and died a heroic death. Commanding the San Fiorenzo of 36 guns and 186 men, he chased and brought into action upon three successive days the enemy’s frigate La Piedmontaise, who had 50 guns and 566 men, bore a high character, and was the terror of the Indian Seas. Nobly supported by his First Lieutenant, William Dawson, by his other officers and by his crew, he achieved a most brilliant conquest but fell with glory in the last and most critical portion of his heroic enterprise, upon the 8th March 1808, and in the The Antique Arms Fair at Olympia


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Fig.22b. Main classically-inspired group on the Hardinge Memorial, Bombay.

Fig.22a. Memorial to Captain George Nicholas Hardinge (1781-1808) raised by public subscription designed and sculpted by John Bacon the Younger (17771859) St Thomas Cathedral, Bombay (Mumbai). By courtesy of Tim Willasey-Wilson, London

Fig.22d. Inscription on the Hardinge Memorial


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Fig.22c. Details of the victorious and defeated ships, 9 March 1808.

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28th [sic] year of his age. His ardent perseverance and skill in those actions were so extraordinary, that by unanimous vote of the House of Commons there was raised a monument in St Paul’s Cathedral [above] for a perpetual record of honour to his name and character. Thus it is that Great Britain by herself and by her colonies marks her tribute of national recompense, gratitude and affection to heroes who devote and sacrifice life itself upon the altar of Patriotic Valour. These are tributes that will animated the courage and zeal of her champions to the latest posterity’.

It is not known why the discrepancy, which showed that La Piedmontaise was a more powerful frigate than the San Fiorenzo, has entered the records, although it made Hardinge’s achievement more heroic. Clearly, the number of enemy guns and men in the ship originated with Dawson’s report, which was first sent to Pellew and hence to the Admiralty in London when it was published in the Gazette above. Dawson, an experienced naval officer, was in command of both ships at the scene and it seems strange that he would have wrongly calculated the number of enemy guns, unless he had been told by the captured French commander (or by the British prisoners aboard La Piedmontaise above or by naval assessments) that the ship was a much more powerful vessel than its opponent. However, these are the figures that have entered the mythology and are repeated in most naval accounts and are engraved on the Patriotic Fund Vase and in the memorial inscription at Bombay above. However, as William James wrote in his Naval History (while not detracting from Hardinge’s, Dawson’s and the San Fiorenzo’s achievement in their outstanding ship-to-ship contest) the two frigates were much closer in size in terms of men and gunnage than first reported.30 This discrepancy was corrected in The London Gazette a year after the encounter, but, by then, the original numbers had been accepted and began to be entered on testimonials and thus entered the mythology. The revised opinion was that the British 32-gun frigate, San Fiorenzo (204 men) had defeated and captured the French 32-gun frigate La Piedmontaise carrying 330 men and soldiers. Later, the captured French prize was taken to Bombay, where she was fully repaired, overhauled, refitted and commissioned into British service on the East India Station as the 32-frigate HMS Piedmontaise with William Dawson as its commander. *****

George Nicholas Hardinge was one of a number of distinguished naval heroes, who were admired for their leadership, their courage, their exertions, and their desire and willingness to combat the enemy at every opportunity (a Nelson trait). They were men who were also awarded a Patriotic Fund sword (or vase) of honour, but in their endeavour to do their duty died young, either in action (as Hardinge) or in the pestilent regions in which they were appointed to serve (such as the West and East Indies). These men included Austin Bissell (1780-1807), Conway Shipley (1781-1809), George Younghusband (c.1780-1806), George Elphinstone (c.1780-1807), William Coombe (1770-1808), George Bettesworth (1783-1808), James Ayscough (rec.1796-1808), James Bowen (1782-1812), Sir James Yeo (1782-1818) and William Dawson below.

Fig.23. £100 Patriotic Fund Sword awarded to Captain Arthur Farquhar, RN, HMS Acheron, 1805. By courtesy of Bonhams

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Fig.24. £100 Patriotic Fund Sword awarded to Captain Jaheel Brenton, RN, HMS Spartan, 1808. By courtesy of Bonhams

Hardinge’s sword and vase are of high quality and historic value, tokens awarded by the Patriotic Fund for distinguished service to naval officers of the rank of captain or commander. For example, Hardinge’s sword is comparable to those awarded to Shipley, Younghusband and Elphinstone above, and also to those given to Commander Arthur Farquhar, HMS Acheron (awarded 64

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1805) [Fig.23], to Captain Jahleel Brenton, HMS Spartan (awarded 1810) [Fig.24] and to Captain James Richard Dacres, HMS Bacchante (awarded 1807) [Fig.25]; and also to those swords bearing the most famous naval battle honour - Captain Charles Tyler, HMS Tonnant [Fig.26] and Commander John Stockham, HMS Thunderer, both for Trafalgar [Fig.27 and 28].

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Fig.25. ÂŁ100 Patriotic Fund Sword awarded to Captain James Richard Dacres, RN, HMS Bacchante, 1807, complete with original belt and hangers in fitted mahogany case. Private Collection

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Fig.26. £100 Patriotic Fund ‘Trafalgar Sword’ awarded to Captain John Tyler, RN, HMS Tonnant, 1805. By courtesy of Bonhams


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Fig.27. £100 Patriotic Fund ‘Trafalgar Sword’ awarded to Commander John Stockham, HMS Thunderer. National Maritime Museum, Greenwich. Author’s Image

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Fig.28. £100 ‘Trafalgar Sword’ of Commander John Stockham, RN, cf. Fig 27. Author’s Image


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Fig.29. Patriotic Fund Vase of £100 value awarded to Captain James Nicoll Morris, RN (1763?-1830), HMS Colossus for services at Trafalgar (21 October 1805). Commissioned from Rundell, Bridge & Rundell, London 1806-7, maker’s mark of Benjamin Smith and Digby Scott. National Maritime Museum (PLT 0091)

Fig.30a. Patriotic Fund Vase of £100 value (a gift of larger size which cost in total £200) awarded to Mrs Louisa Cooke, widow of Captain John Cooke, HMS Bellerophon, killed in action at Trafalgar (21 October 1805). Commissioned from Rundell, Bridge & Rundell, London 1808-9, maker’s mark of Benjamin and James Smith. National Maritime Museum (PLT 0033)

Fig.30b. Inside face of Cooke Vase

Fig.30c. Inscription on Cooke Vase

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Fig.31a. Rare £100 Patriotic Fund Vase awarded to Major John Hamill, Royal Regiment of Malta, for his services at the Battle of Maida, Calabria, 4 July 1806. By courtesy of Lyon & Turnbull, Edinburgh

Fig.31b. Detail of Major John Hamill’s Vase, Fig.31a

Hardinge’s £100 vase matches, with small variant ornamental differences, those given to Captain James Nicoll Morris, HMS Colossus for services at Trafalgar [Fig.29]; to Mrs Louisa Cooke, widow of Captain John Cooke, HMS Bellerophon, killed at Trafalgar [Fig.30a-c]; to Mrs Sophia Duff, widow of Capt. George Duff, HMS Mars, also killed at Trafalgar; that of Captain John Stewart, HMS Seahorse (awarded 1808); and the rare army vase of Major John Hamill, Royal Regiment of Malta, for his services at the Battle of Maida, Calabria, 4 July 1806 [Fig.31a-b].31

Hardinge’s sword and vase are of well-known design, patterns agreed on early in the establishment of the Fund.32 One intriguing feature on the Hardinge sword, of some iconographic interest, is the image of Britannia on the top medallion of the

scabbard. Except for the framed oval on £100 ‘Trafalgar’ swords (which all illustrate Britannia looking out at the spectator and holding a wreath of laurel over Nelson’s line of battle attacking the Combined Fleets of France and Spain on 21 October 1805) [Fig.26-28 and 32], medallions on other £100 naval sword scabbards usually show Britannia seated on a headland, turned to her left, looking out to sea, watching as a British ship (or ships) sail away into action or are involved in battle [Fig.33]. In contrast, the top medallion on Hardinge’s scabbard (the third £100 sword awarded) shows Britannia turned to her left and watching as four boats row to attack an enemy ship in a choppy sea, a faithful representation of the event that earned Hardinge his sword of honour [Fig.34].33

Fig.32. Top-locket on the £100 Patriotic Fund ‘Trafalgar’ Sword awarded to Captain Charles Bullen, HMS Britannia. Sim Comfort Collection 70

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Fig.33. Top-locket of the £100 Patriotic Fund Sword scabbard of Captain Arthur Farquhar, see Fig.23

Fig.34. Detail of the top-locket of Hardinge’s £100 Patriotic Fund Sword scabbard 72

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The Life and ‘Marks of Achievement’ of William Dawson, RN (1783-1811) Following the death in action of George Nicholas Hardinge, the command of HMS San Fiorenzo, devolved upon First Lieutenant William Dawson, and this officer’s prompt, decisive and determined bravery brought about, after hours of chasing and fighting, the eventual capture of the French frigate, La Piedmontaise.

William Dawson was a greatly admired young naval hero, who was expected to reach the highest ranks in his profession and who earned the plaudits from, among others, of one of the great naval fighting captains - his commander-in-chief in the East Indies, Admiral Sir Edward Pellew, later Viscount Exmouth (see below). Unlike many recipients, a good deal of information is known about Dawson, simply because his family, residents of Liverpool, kept a detailed record of his career which has survived, accounts which also report the service records of his two valiant brothers, Henry and Charles. These brothers were commissioned into the 52nd (Oxfordshire) Regiment of Foot (Light Infantry), ‘a regiment never surpassed in arms since arms were first borne by men’ and served in Wellington’s armies in the Peninsula and at Waterloo. Capt Henry Dawson was killed in action at San Monoza, Spain, on 17 November 1812, and Lieut. Charles Dawson, died at Chantilly, France, on 3 June 1816, from wounds received the year before at Waterloo (18 June 1815). This important archive of three little known, but valiant men (men who predeceased their parents in the service of their country), is now in the Royal Armouries, Leeds (RAR. 0147).34 Other information on Dawson has been obtained from the Liverpool Record Office, British Admiralty Records, Patriotic Fund Minute Books, and from the Royal Australian Naval College (RANC) Heritage Collection, HMAS Cresswell, NSW, where his tokens are now owned and displayed.35

William Dawson was the son of Pudsey Dawson (1752-1816) and his wife Elizabeth Ann, daughter of James Scott of Amsterdam (born c.1752-died 2 February 1837, aged 85). He was born in Liverpool on 17 March 1782 and christened at St Thomas’s Church, Park Lane, on 19 April 1782. His father was a prominent merchant active in civic affairs and patron of the School for the Blind, who lived at 43 Park Lane (an area just north of Salthouse Dock in the district of South Liverpool) in 1781 and who later moved with his family to the more salubrious, 21 Rodney Street (named after the celebrated admiral), in the centre of the City. Pudsey was also Colonel of the Royal Regiment of Liverpool Volunteers, raised in 1798, and was elected Mayor of Liverpool in 1799. Although Pudsey lived and worked in Liverpool, he had descended from an ancient family from Bolton-by-Bowland in Yorkshire and had also inherited Langcliffe Hall, near Settle, in the West Riding of Yorkshire, where Dawson’s descendants still live.

Fig.35. Miniature of Captain Thomas Parr, RN

William entered the Royal Navy, aged 13, as Midshipman aboard HMS Malabar (50 guns) (Capt Thomas Parr) [Fig.35] at Gravesend on 3 July 1795. The ship sailed for service in the West Indies, arriving at the Cove of Cork on 7 November, before sailing on to Barbados, where she was present at the surrender of Demerara on 23 April 1796, and at the capture of two armed

Fig.36. The frigate HMS Aimable (32 guns)

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ships (the Thetis, 24 guns, and the Seagull, 14 guns) at the island. On 29 April 1796, Captain Parr allowed Dawson to move to the frigate Aimable (32 guns) (Capt Jemmet Mainwaring) [Fig.36] and he was present at the capture of St Lucia (26 May 1796) and in an engagement with the French frigate, La Pensee (44 guns), off Guadaloupe on 22-23 July. The Aimable next convoyed a fleet of merchantmen and captured the L’Iris (6 guns), before sailing for England. The ship arrived at Waterford on 8 January 1797 and, from there, Dawson returned to Liverpool to visit his family (his rating period as Midshipman lasted until 31 January 1797).

On 1 February 1797, he moved with Mainwaring to La Babet (20 guns) on service again in the West Indies and took part in the capture of La Desiree by boats of the Babet, off Martinique, on 16 January 1798. He remained in his ship until 30 April 1798, when he returned to Liverpool suffering from scurvy. Between 2 and 9 September 1798, he served briefly aboard the Zealand (64 guns) (Capt Thomas Parr) (entered on that ship’s books from 25 July 1797) before joining the powerful frigate, Fisgard (44 guns) (Capt Thomas Bryam Martin), at Plymouth, on 25 October 1798, a ship in which he was to serve in the Channel fleet, off the coast of NW Spain, Ushant and Brest for the next four years. On 16 April 1800, the Fisgard re-captured the American ship, Minerva (value £60,000), which had been taken by the French privateer, Mars, while on a passage to Boston on 15 April. A month later, on 12 May, the Fisgard, in company with the Cambrian, captured the 14-gun French national corvette, the Dragon; and a month after that, on the night of 10 June 1800, the boats of the Fisgard took part with boats of Sir John Borlase Warren’s squadron in cutting out a convoy of merchantmen at anchor under the protection of heavy shore batteries and troops from the harbour at St Croix, with Dawson sailing one of the prizes into Plymouth on 18 June 1800. Two months later, on 30 September 1800, the Fisgard captured the Spanish armed brig-of war, El Vino (El Veino) (14 guns) out of Ferrol; and on 23 October, the Fisgard and the Indefatigable captured the 32-gun French national frigate, La Venus, bound for Senegal out of Rochefort. On the night of 20 August 1801, the boats of the Fisgard, Diamond and Boudicea attacked enemy vessels lying in Corunna Harbour under the protection of strong shore batteries and sentries on ramparts, and brought out three vessels, including the new national gunboat, El Neptuno (20 guns); and, at the end of that month, the active boats of the Fisgard and Boudicea cut out a Spanish Packet from under heavy fire of the inner harbour at Ferrol. On 2 September, the Fisgard returned with the prize Spanish gunboat, El Neptuno (20 guns), to Plymouth. On 4 November 1801, Dawson passed the examination for Lieutenant and his commission is dated 20 March 1802, when he was aged 20. He returned home to Liverpool for a short break before being appointed, on 9 June 1802, Fourth Lieutenant aboard the 18-pounder 36-gun, St Fiorenzo (Capt. Joseph Bingham), a ship in which he was to serve for the next six years on the East India Station under the command of four captains - Joseph Bingham, John Bath (acting-capt), Henry Lambert and George Nicholas Hardinge - rising in seniority and distinguishing himself in the most dashing exploits.


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The first exploit of particular note in which he took part in the San Fiorenzo, was the capture, under the command of Captain Henry Lambert (rec.1795-1813), of the French (late privateer) but now 32-gun frigate Psyche, off Vizagapatam, on 13 February 1805, an action in which his ship had twelve men killed and many more wounded, including Dawson. For this service, Lambert was awarded a Patriotic Fund Sword of £100 value on 27 August 1805.36

The second most important exploit in, the now First Lieutenant, Dawson’s career involved the three-day action with the French 40-gun frigate, Piedmontaise, in 1808, an episode fully described above. Following the death of Captain George Nicholas Hardinge above and the command devolving upon First Lieutenant Dawson, the younger man completed the action, defeated the French frigate and took her captive. Following Dawson’s return to Bombay with her prize, Sir Edward Pellew, C-in-C HM Ships and Vessels East Indies, wrote in his letter to the Admiralty, which accompanied Dawson’s dispatch (above):

‘The merit of Lieut. Dawson upon whom the command devolved after the death of Captain Hardinge is already well known to the Board by his gallant behaviour on a former occasion, when he was severely wounded at the capture of the Psyche frigate by the St Fiorenzo, in which nearly the whole of her present officers & crew had the honour to share [the action above]. The manner in which he continued the action, which had so nearly concluded by his lamented captain, & finally conducted it to a successful issue, will, doubtless secure to him the high approbation & recompense of their Lordships’.

Following dispatches arriving in London and being published by the Admiralty in The London Gazette of 17 December 1808 (see also below), the Committee Managing the Patriotic Fund met on 10 January 1809 and awarded Dawson a £100 Patriotic Fund sword of honour for his gallant services (see Sword 2 below).37

Dawson was promoted Commander (8 March 1808), served briefly aboard the Colombe (16 guns) as Commander and was placed as Acting Post-Captain in the Wilhelmina (32 guns) from 2 May 1808. Pellew was keen to raise Dawson to Post rank. He wrote to Sir Richard Bickerton from Bombay on 31 May 1808:

‘Lieutenant Dawson who so bravely followed up what his lamented Captain had commenced I have appointed to the Wihelmina. Lieutenant Dawson is a prodigious fine young man of 25 [sic. 26]. I think he promises as much as I ever met in talents, zeal & gallantry; he was run thro’ the lungs by a pike in boarding the Pysche last year [sic. 1805] when he fell on her deck, & is as conspicuous for his goodness of heart [as] for every other officer-like acquirement. I speak disinterestedly for I know him only by his merits; I have only anticipated what Lord Mulgrave & you would have done, & my motive is public good by keeping him here. Their Lordships may send him Post Rank by the time this year expires. I have sent him in a Post ship in charge of the China convoy, that should an opening occur in the year, I may appoint him to it without interferring with Lord Mulgrave’s list in which he stands for promotion. I trust I shall not offend in this instance. Dawson is a skilful navigator, an able seaman & a gentleman. This distinguished action [the capture of the Piedmontaise] marks him for future service to our country’s glory, & we cannot have too many of the breed’.

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Fig.37. ‘Sword No. 1’ Hilt of William Dawson’s presentation sabre, 1808. HMAS Creswell, NSW, Australia

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Pellew, at Bombay, promoted Dawson to Post Captain on 5 September 1808, but (due to the distances involved) this was not confirmed by the Admiralty in London until six months later on 9 March 1809. Dawson commanded briefly the Expedition (44 guns) before being appointed to his prize, the Piedmontaise (38 guns) on 30 April 1810, the ship he had captured two years before, but a ship he did not join until 2 August 1811.

Following his arrival at Madras from Bombay to take up his command, Dawson became seriously ill and, although he continued to perform his duties, he came under the close attention of two doctors. However, their constant care failed to save him and he died at 3.30 PM, on Sunday, 29 September 1811, aged 29. He was buried with military honours in the churchyard outside the walls at Madras on Monday afternoon, 30 September 1811 (among the mourners was his comrade, Captain James Bowen RN, another notable young commander, who was to suffer a similar fate a year later).38

Swords awarded to William Dawson for the action on 8 March 1808

Although a number of officers are known to have been awarded swords of honour from two separate institutions or parties, such as, most notably, Nelson’s City of London sword for the Nile action and also the famous ‘Crocodile-Hilted’ sword presented by the captains under his command at the same action in 1798, also Lucius Ferdinand Hardyman, of HMS Surprise for his capture of the French frigate La Forte on the night of 28 February 1799 following the mortal wounding of his commander, Captain Cooke (like Dawson), and later General Sir William Fenwick Williams for his valiant defence of Kars, Turkey in 1855, the occurrence, in general, was rare and only occurred when the action or deed was both outstanding and of particular relevance to the presenting organisations or bodies.

‘Sword No. 1’ from the Merchants, Ship-Owners and Underwriters of Bombay39

The first Sword awarded to Dawson following the action of 8 March 1808 is the token presented by the Merchants, Ship-Owners, and Underwriters of Bombay, nominated on 9 April 1808, only a month after the encounter. Although Dawson’s two swords were given in recognition of the same action and both were made and supplied from London, Dawson was an officer attached to the British Naval Base at Bombay, the place where he returned with his prize, where the news of the capture was first announced and acknowledged, and where he was first rewarded. (Dawson’s second sword below was awarded ten months after the action, simply because the ocean voyage to England took many months around the Cape and news was not published by the Admiralty in London until 17 December 1808.


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Fig.38. Inside face of Dawson hilt

‘Sword No. 1’ is a Presentation Sabre with an ormolu (gilt-bronze) stirrup-hilt with lion’s head pommel cast in relief with acorn and oak leaves and, on the outside of the grip, with ‘Neptune riding in his shell chariot’ [Fig.37] and, on the inside face, with trophies of arms [Fig.38]. The curved back-edged blade with two–edged point, frost etched, gilt and blued [Fig.39], bears on the outside, an inscription of presentation which reads [Fig.40]:


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Fig.39. Full-length view of Dawson’s presentation sabre

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Fig.40. Presentation inscription on Dawson blade, ‘Sword No. 1’

Fig.41. Scabbard of Dawson’s presentation sabre

Fig.42a. Upper part of outside of Dawson’s sword scabbard 78

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Fig.42b. Inside face

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The scabbard of wood covered with fish-skin is mounted with an ormolu top-locket, mid-locket and chape, and with two serpentine suspension mounts [Fig.41]. The Herculean imagery on the scabbard within framed medallions is precisely the same as that found on most Patriotic Fund swords of £50 value, namely, on the top-locket, ‘A young Hercules overcoming a tyger chained to an anchor’, the mid-locket with ‘Hercules destroying the Lernaean Hydra’, and, on the chape, ‘Hercules fighting the Nemean Lion’ [Fig.42a-d].40 The inside of the toplocket is signed ‘RUNDELL / BRIDGE & / RUNDELL / LONDON’ [Fig.42b].

Fig.42c. Mid-section of scabbard

Dawson’s first sword of honour was awarded (like a number of other presentation tokens known) by a prominent trade and business organisation in the East Indies - the Bombay Merchants, Ship-Owners, and Underwriters of Bombay. This company (like their counterparts in London) was one of many businesses greatly indebted to the valorous deeds of the Royal Navy in protecting both ‘the Indian trade and British commerce in that region’ from the marauding assaults of enemy squadrons and privateers in the Indian seas.

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Fig.43a. Silver-Gilt Mounted Dress Sabre presented by the Inhabitants of the Colony of Berbice to their Governor, Brigadier General Murray, as a mark of respect and esteem for his services and duties as Civil Governor of the Colony, 17 May 1813. London 1813-14, maker’s mark of Thomas Price, commissioned from and signed ‘RUNDELL / BRIDGE & / RUNDELL / LONDON’. Private Collection 80

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Fig.43b. Brigadier General Murray’s sabre, full length

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This sword was awarded a month after the action on 9 April 1808, but only after Dawson had returned to base with his prize. The token is of notable and distinctive form, one which compares with the designs of a small number of other swords presented to certain naval and army officers late in the Napoleonic War. These include the silver-gilt mounted stirruphilted dress sabre ‘Presented by the Inhabitants of the Colony of Berbice to his Excellency Brigadier General Murray as a Mark of Respect and Esteem and of their high sense of his upright and able discharge of the duties of Civil Governor of that Colony, May XVII, MDCCCXIII’, maker’s mark of Thomas Price, commissioned from and signed ‘RUNDELL / BRIDGE & / RUNDELL / LONDON’ [Fig.43a-c];41 another similarly marked sword to Commander John Bull, HM Packet Marlborough, for saving the lives of his passengers on 12 March 1814, London 1814-15, mark of Thomas Price, commissioned from and signed Rundell, Bridge & Rundell, London [Fig.44];42 and the silver-mounted stirrup-hilted sabre ‘Presented by the Illustrious Board of Cabildo of the Town of Port of Spain to his Excellency Rear Admiral Sir Philip Charles Durham in Testimony of their high sense of his services and of the effectual protection afforded by him to the Maritime Interests of the Colony of Trinidad’, again signed Rundell, Bridge & Rundell, London, maker’s mark of Thomas Price, London Assay marks and date-letter for 1816-17.43

The above swords were made some years after that given to Dawson, but all were ordered from the royal goldsmiths and jewellers, Rundell, Bridge & Rundell, in London. Moreover, the swords above were all made of silver not ormolu (gilt-bronze) as Dawson’s sword is. However, one other sword is known that compares with Dawson’s token and that is the ormolu-mounted sword presented by the passengers on board the Packet Marlborough to its Master, Mr William Macdonnell (a rank below Commander John Bull above), for helping to save their lives on 12 March 1814 [Fig.45a-d].44 This token was also commissioned from Rundell, Bridge & Rundell; and, as the process of casting gold, silver and ormolu is precisely the same (except the latter metal is not required to be assayed), it is no doubt certain that the ormolu–mounted swords of Dawson and Macdonnell were made from design castings as the silver-hilted sabres (awarded to higher ranking officers) in the workshop of Thomas Price of London, the man subcontracted by Rundell’s to undertake their major sword-work of the day.45

One other factor makes the Dawson sword of particular interest. The earliest swords formerly known with this hilt design were those presented to Brig.-General Murray in 1813 and to John Bull and William Macdonnell in 1814 above. Dawson’s sword, in contrast, was given for an earlier action and is inscribed with the date of the award, 9 April 1808, several years before the other three. It is not known when Dawson’s sword was actually commissioned by the Bombay Group through Rundell,

Fig.43c. Inside view of the Top-Locket of Brigadier Murray’s scabbard

Bridge & Rundell, but as the Companies heard the news before naval dispatches were sent and arrived in London in December 1808, it is likely that they had begun the procedure to award Dawson with such an honour shortly after he had returned to Bombay with his prize. It is therefore possible, taking into account the time difference of ordering such a token by sea (4-5 months or longer), that Rundell’s might have received the order sometime in the late summer or early autumn of 1808 and that they had begun to manufacture the token shortly afterwards. Therefore, the Dawson sword might have been ready to send out to the recipient sometime in early 1809 and was received later in that year, but almost certainly before the recipient’s early death.

Rundell, Bridge & Rundell drew on a number of reliable specialist outworkers to undertake particular work for them. In view of the fact that the maker’s mark of Thomas Price is struck on the three silver-mounted variations of this pattern of ornate sabre above, it is certain that Price’s workshop was also commissioned to manufacture the two known ormolu mounted swords awarded to Dawson and Macdonnell in 1808 and 1814 respectively. And the evidence points to Dawson’s sword being the earliest yet recorded of this particular distinctive design.

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Fig.44. Silver-Gilt Mounted Stirrup-Hilted Dress Sabre presented to John Bull, Esq. Commander of H.M. Packet Marlborough by the Passengers on board on a voyage from Falmouth to Lisbon and for saving their lives against a ship of much superior force on 12 March 1814. London, 1814-15, maker’s mark of Thomas Price, commissioned from and signed ‘RUNDELL, BRIDGE & RUNDELL, LONDON’. National Maritime Museum Falmouth, Cornwall, Loan 2.153 (National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, WPN1056)

Fig.45a. Ormolu-mounted Presentation Dress Sabre presented by the passengers on board H. M. Packet Marlborough to William Macdonnell, Master, for supporting his Commander, John Bull, and helping to save their lives against the Primrose, a ship of much superior force, on 12 March 1814 (cf. Fig.44). Commissioned from and signed ‘RUNDELL / BRIDGE & / RUNDELL / LONDON’. Attributed to the workshop of Thomas Price. Now in the National Maritime Museum, Falmouth. Images Courtesy of Bonhams


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Fig.45c. Details of 45a

Fig.45b. Full-length view of Fig.45a

Fig.45d. Inside of top-locket of 45a

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Fig.46. ‘Sword No. 2’ - Dawson’s £100 Patriotic Fund Sword. HMAS Creswell, NSW, Australia


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Fig.47. £100 Patriotic Fund Sword of William Dawson, RN

Fig.48 Scabbard of Dawson’s Patriotic Fund sword

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‘Sword No. 2’ of £100 value from the Patriotic Fund46

Fig.49. Surviving central belt-buckle and hanging-strap-buckle from Dawson’s gift

Dawson’s second sword for his command of San Forenzo, in the capture of La Piedmontaise following the death of George Nicholas Hardinge above, is a notable Patriotic Fund Sword of £100 value, which was awarded by the Committee Managing the Fund on 10 January 1809, following news of the action being announced officially in London [Figs.46-48]. This sword and scabbard are very similar to Hardinge’s £100 token described above [cf. Fig.1-2 and 46-52]. The only major differences between the swords are the medallions on the top-lockets [cf. Fig.15 and 50], Dawson’s bearing the British ship’s name ‘St Fiorenzo’ and ‘Britannia watching ships sailing away into the distance’; and the inscription of presentation on the Dawson blade [Fig.52], which reads: FROM THE PATRIOTIC FUND AT LLOYDS TO LIEUT WM DAWSON FOR HIS UNDAUNTED BRAVERY AND PERSEVERING EXERTIONS, ACTING IN / THE COMMD OF H.M.S. ST FIORENZO OF 36 GUNS AFTER THE DEATH OF CAPT HARDINGE, IN THE CAPTURE OF LA PIEDMONTAISE, FRENCH FRIGATE OF / 50 GUNS & 566 MEN IN THE GULPH OF MANAAR ON THE 8TH MARCH 1808 AS RECORDED IN THE LONDON GAZTE OF THE 20TH [sic] OF DECR 1808.


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Dawson’s £100 Patriotic Fund Sword was one of the last swords of the highest value to be given by the Committee in its history and Richard Teed’s account lists states that the sword, awarded on 10 January 1809 (without the alternative offer of cash instead of the sword, if the officer preferred), was ‘delivered’ on ‘June 19, 1810’.47 This eighteen-month period would have involved both the making and preparing of the sword and Teed being informed as to where to send it. Merchants sent goods all over the world invariably by sea and often to naval personnel, like Dawson, who may have to move from one base to another during their service. Teed’s delivery date of ‘June 19, 1810’, almost certainly refers to the day when the sword was sent on an outward bound East Indiaman (or a navy vessel) to Dawson in India, rather than the date when Dawson actually received it. However, although Dawson died fifteen months after the Patriotic Fund sword was sent by Teed above, it is certain that both the swords made in England - the Patriotic Fund £100 Token and the other presented by the Merchants, Ship-Owners and Underwriters of Bombay (ordered from Rundell’s in London) - were received by Dawson before his untimely death on 29 September 1811.

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Fig.50 Upper part of Dawson’s scabbard with Britannia medallion inscribed above with the name of the recipient’s ship, ‘ST FIORENZO 1808’.

Fig.51. Chape of Dawson’s Patriotic Fund scabbard

Fig.52. Inscription of presentation on Dawson’s Patriotic Fund sword blade

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Silver Soup Tureen awarded to Dawson for his protection of Bombay trade

Fig.53. Silver Soup Tureen awarded to William Dawson for his protection of the Bombay Trade. London 1810, commissioned from Rundell, Bridge & Rundell. HMAS Creswell, NSW

As with a number of other known examples, Dawson was not only presented with a sword from the Merchants of Bombay, but the institution also generously gave the officer a Silver Soup Tureen and Silver Soup Ladle a year after first presenting Dawson with his sword as a further mark of their esteem [Fig.53]. The tureen of regency design is decorated with lion masks, shells, acanthus and four dolphins in support at base. The lid is surmounted by the Dawson family crest – ‘a lion’s head with a rat in its mouth’, and the gift is engraved at the sides with a full inscription of presentation: Presented on 25 June 1810 to William Dawson, Esq., Captain, Royal Navy, by the Merchants, Shipowners and Underwriters of Bombay, as an additional mark of the high sense they entertain of the attention to their interests in the protection of the trade of the port.

Diameter 12 5⁄8 in. (32 cm), Width across the handles 17¼ in. (43.7 cm) Height 13in (33 cm) London Assay marks for 1810 Commissioned from Rundell, Bridge & Rundell, Ludgate Hill, City of London


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The silver Soup Ladle is said to be earlier in date to the Tureen. It is 16 inches (40.6cm) long and said to bear the London date-letter ‘P’, probably 1692.

Dawson’s various ‘Honorary Marks of Achievement’ above are now owned and exhibited in the Heritage Collection, Royal Australian Naval College, HMAS Creswell, NSW, Australia.48 They were presented to the college by Mrs H. H. Florance of Whinstone Park, Bowral, New South Wales, the daughter of the late Rear-Admiral Willoughby Pudsey-Dawson, a royal navy ocean surveyor and a direct descendant of William Dawson, on Wednesday 7 December 1966. Mrs Florance, when presenting the gifts, said that ‘she had first considered giving them to a museum or naval establishment in the United Kingdom, but felt that these institutions already had so much valuable silver that they would not appreciate the items nearly to the same extent as the R.A.N. College. She was particularly anxious that the articles, which are of great sentimental value to her, should be placed and used in a naval establishment where they are appreciated’.49

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I should especially like to thank the Trustees of the Royal Hospital School, Holbrook, Ipswich, Suffolk, for granting permission to publish the Sword of George Nicholas Hardinge, RN, and to thank David Goodwin, a former member of staff, for the detailed images of the sword, which remain his copyright. Also, to thank the Heritage Collection, Royal Australian Naval College, HMAS Creswell, NSW, Australia, for permission to publish William Dawson’s ‘marks of achievement’ now in their collection and to Peter Cannon for providing the Dawson images included here. Lastly, my thanks to Philip Abbott, Archivist, Royal Armouries, Leeds; David Oliver, Thomas Del Mar, Paul Willcocks, Sim Comfort, Ian D. Campbell, David Williams, Bonhams, London, Andrew Currie, Deputy Director Press and Public Relations, Bonhams, London; The Liverpool Record Office, The Guildhall Library, Aldermanbury, City of London; Christie’s, London, and the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich. Sources and Notes

1. See L. Southwick, ‘The Patriotic Fund Swords, Parts 1 and 2’, The Journal of the Arms & Armour Society, Vol. XII, Nos 4 & 5, September 1987 and March 1988, pp. 233-311. 2. See L. Southwick, ‘The silver vases awarded by the Patriotic Fund’, The Silver Society Journal, 1, Winter 1990, pp. 27-49. 3. These include the tokens to Hardinge, Captain Thomas Baker, Sir Charles Brisbane and Lieut. Ogle Moore (see Southwick, notes 1 and 2). 4. My thanks again to the Royal Hospital School, Holbrook, Ipswich, for granting permission to publish details of this fine sword and for supplying images. 5. The account of Hardinge’s life and career is drawn from various sources, notably Admiralty Records (see Main Text) and the ‘Biographical Memoir of George Nicholas Hardinge Esq. late Captain of the San Fiorenzo’, in The Naval Chronicle for 1808, Vol XX (July to Dec) pp. 257-287, and the ‘Addenda ‘ in the same volume, pp. 430-435. Also, the Naval Chronicle Memoir was drawn upon by William James for his various wartime accounts of Hardinge in The Naval History of Great Britain from the Declaration of War by France in 1793 to the accession of George IV, London 1937 (6 vols), in particular, Vol. III: 261-2; Vol. IV, p. 240; and Vol. V, pp. 21-24. However, the present writer has preferred to quote from (and credit information in) the original documents and reports of various officers, rather than make them into a flowing narrative. 6. See note 5. 7. Ibid. 8. The closer the action was to England, such as in the Channel or North Sea, the sooner reports were delivered to the Admiralty in London and officially published in The London Gazette. This enabled the dispatches to be quickly read before the Committee Managing the Patriotic Fund and a sword or vase awarded, see Southwick, op. cit. 1987 (note 1), pp. 230-1. 9. Patriotic Fund Committee Book 1, Guildhall Library MS. 31590/1, p.150. 10. For Richard Teed (1756-1816), see L. Southwick, London Silver-Hilted Swords, Their makers, suppliers & allied traders with directory, Royal Armouries, Leeds, 2001, pp. 238-9. See also L. Southwick, ‘The Deaths and Burials of Richard Teed (1756-1816), Dress Sword Maker to the Patriotic Fund, and of John Prosser (c.1769-1837), Royal Sword-Cutler and Belt Maker,’ in The Journal of the Arms & Armour Society, March, 2012, pp. 167-177. 11. See Southwick, op. cit. 1987, p.272. 12. For the swords and their imagery, see note 1. 13. See note 5. 14. Ibid. 15. For the capture of Cape Colony in January 1806, Lieut.-General Sir David Baird was awarded a £300 Patriotic Fund Vase and a 200 guinea City of London Dress Sabre, and Commodore Sir Home Popham given a £200 Patriotic Fund Vase and a 200 guinea City of London Dress Sword. See Southwick, op. cit. 1990 (note 2) pp. 43, 47-8, and Fig.7. For all the City of London Swords awarded from 1797, see L. Southwick ‘The Recipients, Goldsmiths, and Costs of the Swords Presented by the Corporation of the City of London’, The Journal of the Arms & Armour Society, March 1990, XIII (3), pp. 178-207. 16. See note 5 17. Ibid. 18. Ibid. 19. ‘Lascars’ were native soldiers providing extra manning power on certain ships. 20. The Isle de France (now the Island of Mauritius) was renamed by Guillaume Defresne d’Arsel in September 1715 and made the island a French Colony. On 3 December 1810 the British captured Port Louis (Ile de France) and the island became a British protectorate. The island became independent on 12 March 1868, but chose to remain under the protection of the British Empire and later the Commonwealth.

21. Patriotic Fund Committee Book 6, Guildhall Library MS. 31590/6, pp.119-121. 22. See Southwick op. cit. 1990 (note 2) and also Christie’s London ‘Trafalgar Bicentenary. The Age of Nelson, Wellington and Napoleon, Wednesday, 19 October 2005, Lot 84 (ill). 23. The actual Gazette date was 17 December 1808. The London Gazette covered the weekdays, Tuesday to Saturday, and the Fund usually referred to the last day of the week, unless of course, the Gazette reported on a great success. Following a major victory, the Gazette was published as a London Gazette Extraordinary, an issue published on any day of the week as soon as news arrived at the Admiralty or War Office. 24. See Southwick, op. cit. note 2. For accounts of Rundell, Bridge & Rundell, see John F. Hayward ‘Rundell, Bridge and Rundell, Aurifices Regis’, Part 1, Antiques [USA] 99, June 1971 and Part II, Antiques 100, July 1971; John Culme NineteenthCentury Silver, Country Life Books, Hamlyn Publishing Group, London 1977, pp. 57-65; Shirley Bury ‘The Lengthening Shadow of Rundell’s, Parts 1-3’, The Connoisseur, CLXI, 1996; Southwick op. cit. 2001 (note 15), pp. 211-13; and Christopher Hartop (ed) Royal Goldsmiths: The Art of Rundell & Bridge 1797-1843, published by John Adamson, Cambridge for Koopman Rare Art, London, 2005. 25. Sixty-nine vases and various pieces of plate were officially delivered by the Patriotic Fund to recipients who accepted the token in preference to the monetary option or a sword, although no choice was given to those of the highest awards, gifts given to the rank of an officer and his achievement (see note 2). The official sixty-nine tokens of honour included three £500 vases, one £400 vase, seven of £300, seven of £200, thirty-nine £100 vases, five £50 silver pieces, and seven £30 or less (small vases, tankards or other plate) (a complete list of recipients and the cost of gifts is given in Southwick op. cit. 1990, see note 2). 26. Southwick op. cit. 1988 (note 1), pp. 304-5. Also Patriotic Fund Committee Book 7, Guildhall Library MS. 31590/6, p. 66. 27. Tyler, who had known Hardinge for half his life, wrote ‘His latter conduct has placed him amongst the greatest heroes of this country; and I hope to see his monument in St Paul’s, where the great and glorious Lord Nelson lies; a fit and proper companion for our lamented hero’s name and memory’. Tyler’s somewhat exaggerated claim to place Hardinge ‘amongst the greatest heroes of this country’ and on the same level as Nelson is delusional, especially from an officer who had commanded a ship-of-the-line under Nelson at Trafalgar, the greatest naval victory of the age. 28. For Mr Ward’s statements to the House of Commons recommending that a monument be erected in memory of Hardinge, together with an account of his career and the praises of the top naval men he served under, see James Ralfe, The Naval Chronology of Great Britian, 1803 to 1816, Volume 2, CUP, pp. 117-119. See also Simon Bradley and Nikolaus Pevsner The Buildings of England, London 1: The City of London, Penguin Books, London, 1997, p. 173. There is little doubt that Hardinge was a brave and determined officer, who might have gone on to greater things, but who died young in the service of his country. However, virtually no other officer, who had accomplished a similar amount of service as Hardinge and who also died young, was so praised and posthumously rewarded with elaborate monuments and obituaries following their deaths as Hardinge was. Hardinge never commanded a ship larger than a frigate, never directed a squadron or a station of naval operations, and never commanded a ship-of-the-line in a major fleet engagement. There appears to be little doubt that ‘interest’ and the Hardinge family’s influence, wealth, and numerous distinguished contacts came to bear on the publicity following Nicholas’s valiant death, particularly from his uncle and godfather, George Hardinge, King’s Council and Attorney General to Queen Charlotte, a prominent Member of Parliament, HM Justice for the Counties of Glamorgan, Brecon and Radnor, an influential political and social figure of his day, and the recipient of his nephew’s Patriotic Fund Vase (see Main Text).

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29. As far as it is known, Hardinge never served directly under Nelson, but he was an active young sailor who served in various ships in the Mediterranean Fleet (under Admirals Lord Hood and Sir John Jervis, Earl St Vincent) when Nelson was performing historic exploits, notably at the Nile and on blockade duty. Nelson was the ideal model for all ambitious, aspiring, daring and courageous young officers (as Edward Hawke had been to him), candidates who wished to rise in the ranks, succeed in the service, win fame and fortune, play an active role in a major victorious action and, if necessary, die doing their duty. Nelson, born 29 September 1758, was aged 38 when he first came to public notice and achieved true fame at the Battle off Cape St Vincent (14 February 1797) and aged only 39, when he commanded the victorious British squadron at the Nile a year later. He was battle-scarred, determined, unbending, successful, admired for his naval battle skills, tactics and achievements, who led from the front and who refused to contemplate defeat, unlike several cautious and inactive commanders who lived on naval bases on land and rarely went to sea. 30. James op. cit. (note 5) Vol. IV, p. 240. 31. Only one of three £100 Patriotic Fund Vases given to an army officer, see note 2. 32. See notes 1 and 2. 33. James op. cit. records that five boats took part in the attack on the Atalante, although the image shows only four. It could be said that the lead boat might have been ahead of the others and thus out of view. However, this interesting feature suggests that, in the first months of manufacturing Patriotic Fund swords, Teed was careful to represent a ‘boat action’ (an exploit specific to Hardinge’s sword) and not just any other naval exploit. 34. I am indebted to Philip Abbott for supplying me with details of the Dawson Archive (RAR. 0147), now in the Royal Armouries Archives and Records, Leeds. 35. I should like to thank again the Liverpool Record Office and the Australian Naval Service, Cresswell, NSW, for supplying me with various details regarding Dawson’s life and family and his ‘tokens of achievement’. 36. Patriotic Fund Committee Book 2, Guildhall Library MS. 31590/2, p. 5. Lambert, a brave and courageous officer, was later mortally wounded in combat against the superior American frigate, USS Constitution, on 29 December 1812 (War of 1812). Lambert’s ship, HMS Java, was captured and sunk. Lambert was taken prisoner and conveyed to San Salvador, where he died of his wounds on 4 January 1813. He was buried with full military honours at Fort San Pedro, San Salvador, on 5 January 1813. 37. Patriotic Fund Committee Book 6, Guildhall Library, MS. 31590/6, pp. 119-121. 38. Captain James Bowen (1782-1812) was the second recipient of a Patriotic Fund Sword. His fine example is of £50 type awarded on 26 August 1803, now in the Royal Armouries, Leeds (IX.2565). Dawson’s Will (National Archives PROB 11/1589/337) was proved some years after death on 21 February 1817. The main beneficiary was his father Pudsey Dawson, a man who had died in 1816.


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39. To avoid confusion, Dawson’s swords are referenced in this text as ‘Sword No. 1’ and ‘Sword No. 2’, because that is the way they are numbered in the Australian Naval Museum. They are numbered one and two simply because No. 1 has a date on the blade earlier than that on No. 2. However, the Australian references supplied to the author imply that the dates on the swords were awarded for two separate and distinct actions in 1808, events that earned Dawson two swords of honour. This is not correct. After the action on 8 March 1808, the French frigate La Piedmontaise was defeated, demasted, captured and transported back to Bombay by Dawson and his crew via Ceylon, where Hardinge was buried. The enemy frigate was in no fit state to escape to fight another day. As discussed in the Main Text, the two swords were given to Dawson for the same action, tokens awarded at different times by two separate independent presenting bodies situated in different parts of the world and awarded when news of Dawson’s capture of La Piedmontaise in the Indian seas reached first Bombay and several months later London. The dates on the sword blades are the dates when the individual swords were resolved to be given for one notable action in one particular place (In contrast, Hardinge’s sword and vase were awarded for two distinct actions fought at different locations four years apart, see Main Text). For instances similar to that of Dawson and in the same area of operations, see the two fine swords awarded to First Lieutenant Lucius Ferdinand Hardyman, RN, for the capture of the French frigate La Forte in 1799. Like Dawson, Hardyman took command of his ship when his captain was mortally wounded. These swords first came to light in 1974. They appeared in Sotheby’s Sale of Arms & Armour on 16 April 1974, Lot No. 120 (a fine small-sword) and Lot 119 (a gold stirrup-hilted sword). Both appeared later in L. Southwick The Price Guide to Antique Edged Weapons, Woodbridge, Suffolk, 1982, Nos. 216 and 282, and in other of this author’s publications. 40. For a discussion of this imagery, see Southwick op. cit. 1988 (note 1). 41. L. Southwick, ‘New Light on the Gold Sword of Major George Wilson’, Arms & Armour, Vol. 12 No. 2, October 2015, pp.145-180. See also L. Southwick ‘The maker’s mark of Thomas Price on British Presentation Swords’, Arms & Armour, Vol. 4, No. 1, 2007, pp. 5-44. Murray’s sword was made by Thomas Price, but only came to the author’s notice in 2014 and thus was not included in his article on Price and his swords in 2007 above. 42. See Southwick op. cit. 2007 (note 41), pp. 19-22, Fig.16. 43. Ibid, p. 33, Fig.26. 44. Bonham’s Sale of Antique Arms & Armour, London, 27 July 2006, Lot 244 (ill), purchased by the National Maritime Museum Cornwall Trust and exhibited at NMM Falmouth, Cornwall. 45. See Southwick, op. cit. 2007 (note 41). 46. See note 39. 47. See Richard Teed’s payment and delivery account in Southwick op. cit. 1987 (note 1), 48. I would like to thank this institution again for generously providing me with information of the Dawson gifts. 49. Information supplied by HMAS Creswell.

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