Queen Anne - from A.D. 1702 to A.D. 1714.

Anne, daughter of James the Second, married the Prince George of Denmark, and ascended the throne March the 8th, 1702. Although the army was held in more consideration during her reign than the navy, the British seamen managed by their gallant deeds to make the service respected at home and abroad. It was not much to his advantage that the queen appointed her consort, Prince George, to be Lord High Admiral. The acts done in his name were not so narrowly scrutinised as they would otherwise have been, and the commissioners of the Admiralty took good care to shelter themselves under his wing.

Three of the most celebrated admirals in this reign were Sir George Rooke, Sir Cloudesly Shovel, and Admiral Benbow. Sir George, upon the breaking out of war with France, was appointed to the chief command of the fleet. An expedition, which he at once sent against Cadiz, was unsuccessful. Not long afterwards, intelligence was carried to Sir George that a French squadron and a fleet of Spanish galleons was at Vigo. Sir George immediately sailed with the English and Dutch fleets, and appeared before that port. The weather being hazy, the people in the town did not discover them. The passage into the harbour is not more than three-quarters of a mile across. Batteries had been thrown up on either side, and garrisoned with a large body of troops, while a strong boom, composed of ships-yards and topmasts fastened together with three-inch rope, had been carried across it. The top chain at each end was moored to a 70-gun ship, while within the boom were moored five ships, of between 60 and 70 guns each, with their broadsides fronting the entrance to the passage, so that they could fire at any ship which came near the boom, forts, or platform. As it was impossible for the whole fleet to enter, a detachment of fifteen English and ten Dutch men-of-war, with all the fire-ships, followed by the frigates and bomb-vessels, were ordered to enter and attempt the destruction of the enemy’s fleet, while the troops were to land and attack the forts in the rear. Vice-Admiral Hopson in the Torbay led the van; but when he got within shot of the batteries it fell calm, so that the ships were compelled to come to an anchor. A strong wind, however, soon afterwards springing up, Admiral Hopson cutting his cables clapped on all sail, and, amidst a hot fire from the enemy, bore up directly for the boom, which he at once broke through, receiving broadsides from the two ships at either end. The rest of the squadron and the Dutch following, sailed abreast towards the boom, but being becalmed they all stuck, and were compelled to hack and cut their way through. Again a breeze sprang up, of which the Dutchman made such good use that, having hit the passage, he went in and captured the Bourbon. Meantime Admiral Hopson was in extreme danger, for the French fire-ship having fallen on board him, whereby his rigging was set on fire, he expected every moment to be burnt; but it happened that the fire-ship was a merchantman, and laden with snuff, and being fitted up in haste, the snuff in some measure extinguished the fire. The gallant Hopson, however, received considerable damage, for, besides having his fore-topmast shot away, he had 115 men killed and drowned, and 9 wounded, while his sails and his rigging were burnt and scorched. He was, therefore, compelled to leave his ship, and hoist his flag on board the Monmouth.

At the same time, Captain Bokenham, in the Association, laid his broadside against the town, while Captain Wyvill, in the Barfleur, a ship of the like force, was sent to batter the fort on the other side. The firing of the great and small shot of both sides was continued for some time, till the French admiral, seeing the platform and fort in the hands of the English and his fire-ship useless, while the confederate fleet were entering, set fire to his own ship, ordering the rest of the captains under his command to follow his example, which was done in so much confusion, that several men-of-war and galleons were taken by the English and Dutch. The allies and French lost about an equal number of men, but by this victory a vast amount of booty, both of plate and other things, was captured. The Spanish fleet was the richest that ever came from the West Indies to Europe. The silver and gold was computed at 20,000,000 of pieces of eight, of which 14,000,000 only had been taken out of the galleons and secured by the enemy at Lagos, about twenty-five leagues from Vigo, and the rest was either taken or sunk in the galleons. Besides this, there were goods to the value of 20,000 pieces of eight, and a large quantity of plate and goods belonging to private persons. A few years ago only, a company was formed in England for the purpose of dredging for the treasure sunk in the galleons, but the scheme was abandoned on the discovery that much less amount of treasure than here described was really lost, the confederates having captured nearly all of that which had not been landed at Lagos.

By this blow the naval power of France was so deeply wounded, that she never recovered it during the war.

Admiral Benbow had in the meantime been despatched to the West Indies, in command of a small squadron, to prevent the Spanish islands from falling into the power of France. Hearing that Monsieur de Casse, the French admiral, had sailed for Carthagena, he pursued him. On the 19th of August, in the afternoon, he discovered ten sail steering westward along the shore under their topsails. Upon this, he threw out a signal for a line of battle. The frigates being a long time coming up, and the night advancing, Benbow steered alongside the French, having disposed his line of battle in the following manner:—The Defiance, Pendennis, Windsor, Breda, Greenwich, Ruby, and Falmouth. Though he endeavoured to near them, he intended not to make any attack until the Defiance had got abreast of the headmost. He, however, was compelled before long to open his fire; but after two or three broadsides had been exchanged, the Defiance and Windsor luffed up out of gunshot, leaving the two sternmost ships of the enemy engaged with the admiral, while his own ships in the rear did not come up as he had expected. He afterwards altered his line of battle. The next morning at daybreak, he was near the French ships, but none of his squadron, excepting the Ruby, were with him, the rest lying some miles astern. There was but little wind, and though the admiral was within gunshot of the enemy, they did not fire. In the afternoon, a sea-breeze springing up, the enemy got into line and made what sail they could, while the rest of the English ships not coming up, the admiral andRuby plied them with chase-guns, and kept them company all the next night. On the 21st the admiral again exchanged fire with the enemy’s fleet, as did the Ruby, and he would have followed had not the Ruby been in such a condition that he could not leave her. The Ruby was so disabled during this and the following day, that the admiral ordered her to return to Port Royal.

The rest of the squadron now came up, and the enemy being but two miles off, the gallant Benbow was at last in hopes of doing something, and continued, therefore, to steer after them, but again, all his ships, with the exception of the Falmouth, were astern, and at twelve the enemy began to separate. Early on the morning of the 24th he again came within hail of the sternmost of the French ships. At three, while hotly engaged with them, the admiral’s right leg was shattered to pieces by a chain-shot, and he was carried below, but soon after, he ordered his cradle on the quarter-deck, and the fight was continued till daylight, when one of the enemy’s ships, of 20 guns, was discovered to be very much disabled. A strong breeze now brought the enemy down upon him, when three of his own ships getting to leeward of the disabled ship, fired their broadsides and stood to the southward. Then came the Defiance, which, after exchanging fire with the disabled ship, put her helm a-weather and ran away before the wind, without any regard to the signal of battle. The French seeing the two ships stand to the southward, and finding that they did not attack, immediately bore down upon the admiral, and running between their disabled ship and him, poured in all their shot, by which they brought down his main-topsail yard, and shattered his rigging very much.

Some time after this, his line of battle signal flying all the while, Captain Kirby came on board and told him that he had better desist, that the French were very strong, and that from what was past, he would guess he would make nothing of it. On this he sent for the rest of the captains. They obeyed him, but were most of them of Captain Kirby’s opinion. This satisfied the admiral that they were not inclined to fight; when, had they supported him, the whole French fleet might have been captured. On this he returned with his squadron to Jamaica. As soon as he arrived he ordered a court-martial on the captains who had deserted him. One, Captain Hudson, died a few days before his trial came on. Captains Kirby and Wade were condemned to death, and being sent home, were shot immediately on their arrival at Plymouth, in 1703.

The gallant Benbow, in spite of the fearful wound he had received, lingered till the 4th of November, when he yielded up his brave spirit, feeling more the disgrace which his captains had brought upon the English flag than his own sufferings. All the time of his illness he continued to issue his orders, and showed more anxiety for the interests of the nation than for his private affairs. He received a proof of what would have been the result of the action had he been properly supported, in a letter from the brave French Admiral Du Casse. “Sir,—I had little hopes on Monday last but to have supped in your cabin, but it pleased God to order it otherwise. I am thankful for it. As for those cowardly captains who deserted you, hang them up, for by God they deserve it.—Yours, Du Casse.”

The opinion of the nautical poets of the time is well shown in one of those sea-songs which have done so much to keep up the spirits of British tars.

“The Death of Benbow.”
Come all ye sailors bold,
    Lend an ear, lend an ear,
Come all ye sailors bold, lend an ear;
        ’Tis of our Admiral’s fame,
        Brave Benbow called by name,
        How he fought on the main,
    You shall hear, you shall hear.
Brave Benbow he set sail,
    For to fight, for to fight;
Brave Benbow he set sail
With a free and pleasant gale,
But his captains they turned tail.
In a fright, in a fright.
Says Kirby unto Wade,
    I will run, I will run;
Says Kirby unto Wade, I will run;
        I value not disgrace,
        Nor the losing of my place,
        My en’mies I’ll not face
    With a gun, with a gun.
’Twas the Ruby and Noah’s Ark
    Fought the French, fought the French;
’Twas the Ruby and Noah’s Ark fought the French;
        And there was ten in all;
        Poor souls they fought them all,
        They valued them not at all,
    Nor their noise, nor their noise.
It was our Admiral’s lot,
    With a chain-shot, with a chain-shot;
It was our Admiral’s lot, with a chain-shot
        Our Admiral lost his legs;
        Fight on, my boys, he begs,
    ’Tis my lot, ’tis my lot.
While the surgeon dressed his wounds,
    Thus he said, thus he said;
While the surgeon dressed his wounds, thus he said,
        Let my cradle now, in haste,
        On the quarter-deck be placed,
        That my enemies I may face,
    Till I’m dead, till I’m dead.
And there bold Benbow lay,
    Crying out, crying out;
And there bold Benbow lay, crying out,
        Let us tack about once more,
        We’ll drive them to their own shore;
        I don’t value half-a-score,
    Nor their noise, nor their noise.

In 1703 Rear-Admiral Dilkes did good service by pursuing a fleet of forty-three French merchantmen, convoyed by three men-of-war, into a bay between Avranches and Mount Saint Michael. He first sent in his boats, under cover of the ships, when fifteen sail were taken, six burnt, and three sunk; and, on the following morning, the enemy having got into too shoal water for the large ships to approach, he in person led the boats, when two men-of-war were burnt, a third was taken, and seventeen more of the merchant-vessels were burnt, so that only four escaped. For this signal service the queen ordered gold medals to be struck, and presented to the admiral and all his officers.

Parliament this year voted 40,000 men, including 5000 marines, for the sea-service.

On the night between the 26th and 27th of November, one of the most fearful storms ever known in England began to blow. It commenced between eleven and twelve o’clock, from the west-south-west, with a noise which resembled thunder, accompanied by bright flashes of lightning, and continued with almost unrelenting fury till seven the next morning. During these few hours thirteen men-of-war were cast away, and 1509 seamen were drowned. Among the officers who lost their lives were Rear-Admiral Beaumont, when his ship, the Mary, was driven on the Goodwin Sands. Of the whole ship’s company, Captain Hobson, the purser, and one man, Thomas Atkins, alone were saved. The escape of Atkins was remarkable. When the ship went to pieces, he was tossed by a wave into the Stirling Castle, which sank soon after, and he was then thrown by another wave, which washed him from the wreck into one of her boats. Sir Cloudsley Shovel, who was lying in the Downs, saved his ship by cutting away her main-mast, though she narrowly escaped running on the Galloper. The wives and families of the seamen who perished on this occasion received the same bounty as would have been granted had they been actually killed in fight in her majesty’s service. The House of Commons also resolved to present an address to her majesty, stating, that as they could not see any diminution of her majesty’s navy without making provision to repair the same, they besought her immediately to give directions for repairing this loss, and for building such capital ships as her majesty should think fit.

In 1704 Sir George Rooke, who commanded a large squadron in the Mediterranean, on board of which was a body of troops under the Prince of Hesse, resolved to attempt the capture of Gibraltar. On the 17th of July, while the fleet lay in Tetuan Roads, he called a council of war, when, finding that his officers were ready to support him, he gave orders that the fleet should at once proceed to the attack. Entering the Bay of Gibraltar, the ships took up a position to prevent all communication between the rock and the continent, and the Prince of Hesse landed on the isthmus with 1800 marines. His highness having taken post there, summoned the governor, who answered that he would defend the place to the last. At daybreak on the following morning, the 22nd, Sir George ordered the ships under the command of Rear-Admiral Byng and Rear-Admiral Vanderduesen to commence the cannonade, but owing to want of wind they were unable to reach their stations till nearly nightfall. In the meantime, to amuse the enemy, Captain Whitaker was sent in with some boats, who burnt a French privateer of 12 guns at the old mole. On the 23rd, soon after daybreak, the ships having taken up their stations, the admiral gave the signal for commencing the cannonade, when, in five or six hours, 15,000 shot were thrown into the fortress, compelling the enemy to retreat from their guns. Sir George now considering that could the  fortifications be captured, the town would yield, sent in Captain Whitaker with all the boats, to endeavour to possess himself of it. Captain Hicks and Captain Jumper, who lay next the mole, were the first to reach the shore with their pinnaces, and before the other boats could come up, the enemy sprang a mine, which blew up the fortifications on the mole, killed 2 lieutenants and about 40 men, and wounded about 60 others. The gallant captains, then advancing, gained possession of the great platform, Captain Whitaker capturing a redoubt half-way between the mole and the town, many of the enemy’s guns being also taken. The next day the governor offered to capitulate; when, hostages being exchanged, the Prince of Hesse marched into the town, of which he took possession, the Spaniards composing the garrison being allowed to march out with all the honours of war—though the French were excluded from this part of the capitulation, and were detained as prisoners of war.

The town was found to be extremely strong, with 100 guns mounted, all facing the sea, and with two narrow passes to the land. It was also well supplied with ammunition, but the garrison consisted of less than 150 men. However, it was the opinion that fifty men might have defended the fortifications against thousands, and the attack made by the seamen was brave almost beyond example. Sixty only were killed, including those blown up, and 216 wounded. As this design was contrived by the admiral, so it was executed entirely by the seamen, and to them was the honour due.

Leaving a garrison under the Prince of Hesse, the fleet sailed to Tetuan, in order to take in wood and water. At the end of the year the Spaniards attempted its recapture, but Sir John Leake arriving to its relief, surprised and took three French frigates, a fire-ship, corvette, and storeship laden with warlike stores, the very night before the Spaniards had intended to storm it. The following month 2000 troops arrived to garrison the place, making it no longer necessary for the ships to remain in the bay.

Notwithstanding the many important services rendered by Sir George Rooke, his political opponents gaining the ascendant, so annoyed him that he resolved to retire, to prevent public business from receiving any disturbance on his account. He passed the remainder of his days as a private gentleman, for the most part at his seat in Kent. He left but a small fortune, so moderate that when he came to make his will, it surprised those who were present. The reason he assigned reflected more honour on him than had he possessed unbounded wealth. His words were: “I do not leave much, but what I leave was honestly gotten—it never cost a sailor a tear, or the nation a farthing.” He died on the 24th of January, 1708-9, in the fifty-eighth year of his age, leaving one son, George Rooke, by the daughter of Colonel Luttrell, of Dunster Castle, Somersetshire.

On the resignation of Sir George Rooke, Sir Cloudsley Shovel was appointed Vice-Admiral of England.

In 1704 a sum of 10,000 pounds was voted by Parliament for building a wharf and storehouses in the dockyard at Portsmouth, and 40,000 men for the sea-service, including 8000 marines, proving the value which was attached to this arm. Probably they were trained even then to assist in working the ship, while to them was committed those duties exclusively which have since been so ably performed by our gallant blue-jackets on shore.

On the 1st of December, 1704, Greenwich Hospital was opened for the reception of seamen, and a lieutenant-governor, captain, and two lieutenants, a physician, and surgeon, were appointed by warrant. Numerous other officers were afterwards appointed, as well as two chaplains.

In 1705, the Eddystone Lighthouse, which had been blown down during the great storm, was rebuilt by Act of Parliament, and the contribution from the English shipping, which had before been voluntary, was fixed by its authority. The contest with France, Queen Anne’s war, as it was called, resulted in the general destruction of the French power at sea; and after the battle of Malaga, we hear no more of their great fleets. The number of their privateers, however, was very much increased, in consequence of which Parliament was urged on by the mercantile interest to put them down. The loss also by the great storm, and the misfortunes met with in the West Indies, indeed, every untoward accident, induced the nation more eagerly to demand an augmentation of the navy. Thus, at the close of 1706, not only were the number but the quality of the men-of-war greatly superior to what they had been in Charles’s reign. The economy and discipline of the navy was also much improved. Great encouragement was also given to seamen, by the utmost care being taken in the treatment of the wounded, and exact and speedy payment of prize-money.

A bounty was now given for hemp imported from the plantations, and every encouragement was afforded to British merchants to enable them to carry on their schemes with vigour.

The gallantry of Captain Mordaunt, son of the Earl of Peterborough, in command of the Resolution, of 70 guns, in the Mediterranean, deserves to be remembered. He had sailed with his father from Barcelona on the 13th of March, 1706, with an envoy of the King of Spain to the Duke of Savoy on board, and had in company the Enterprise and Milford frigates. When within about fifteen leagues of Genoa, six French line of battle ships were seen, who immediately gave chase to the English squadron. Lord Peterborough and the Spanish envoy on this went on board the Enterprise, and, with the Milford, made their escape to Leghorn. The enemy continued the chase of the Resolution, when one of their ships came about ten o’clock at night within shot of her, but did not begin to fire till the other ships had come up. The Resolution had been much shattered a few days before in a heavy gale of wind, and was at no time a fast sailer. Notwithstanding the great disparity in force, Captain Mordaunt made a brave resistance; but by the advice of his officers he ran the ship ashore under the guns of a Genoese fort, from which, however, he received no manner of protection; and shortly afterwards he was wounded in the thigh, when he was carried on shore. At five the French commodore sent in all the boats of his squadron, but the enemy were repulsed and obliged to retire to their ships. The next morning a French 80-gun ship, brought up under theResolution’s stern, with a spring in her cable, and opened a heavy fire upon her. Her officers finding that there was no prospect of saving the ship, with the consent of Captain Mordaunt, set her on fire, and in a short time she was consumed, while they and the crew got safely on shore.

The last act of the gallant Sir Cloudsley Shovel was an attempt to assist the Duke of Savoy and Prince Eugene, who were closely investing Toulon. A large number, however, of the French ships were destroyed before the siege was raised. On his return to England, on the 23rd of October, 1707, a strong gale blowing from the south-south-west, his ship, the Association, ran upon the rocks called the Bishop and his Clerks off Scilly, and immediately going to pieces, every soul perished. The Eagle and Romney shared the same fate; other ships struck, but happily got off. The body of the brave Sir Cloudsley was the next day cast on shore, and was known by a valuable ring which he wore on his finger. Being brought to Plymouth, it was thence conveyed to London and interred in Westminster Abbey, where a magnificent monument was erected by Queen Anne to his memory.

We may judge of the progress of the navy by the sums voted by Parliament for its support, which in this year amounted to 2,300,000 pounds.

In 1708, Commodore Wager, with a small squadron, attacked a fleet of galleons on their way from Porto Bello to Carthagena. The Spanish admiral’s ship, the San Josef, of 64 guns and 600 men, blew up with a cargo on board of 7,000,000 pounds in gold and silver, only seventeen men being saved. The vice-admiral escaped, but the rear-admiral, of 44 guns, was captured. She had, however, only thirteen chests of eight and fourteen sows of silver. The rest of the galleons were for the most part loaded with cocoa. Two of Commodore Wager’s captains, who had disobeyed his orders, were tried by a court-martial, and dismissed from the command of their ships.

About the same time Captain Purvis, while chasing a French ship, got his vessel on a ledge of rocks, where she was bilged. He, and some of his men, however, reached a small Key within shot of the French ship, which mounted 14 guns and had on board 60 men. She kept up a brisk fire upon the Key until Captain Purvis with his own boats and a canoe had boarded her, when her commander called for quarter and surrendered on condition that he and his crew should be set on shore. Captain Purvis got the French ship off and returned in her to Jamaica.

Another gallant exploit was performed by Captain Colby, commanding a privateer. Being on a cruise on the Spanish main, he fell in with fourteen sail of brigantines and sloops, laden with valuable goods taken out of the galleons at Porto Bello. They were bound to Panama, under convoy of a guard sloop, which he bravely fought and took, with six of her convoy.

An Act of Parliament was passed this year, by which the forfeited and unclaimed shares of prize-money were to be paid into Greenwich Hospital.

The Prince George of Denmark dying, the Earl of Pembroke was appointed Lord High Admiral of Great Britain in his stead.

England was, as before, determined to assert her supposed sovereignty of the narrow seas, and to compel other nations to acknowledge her claims. While cruising in the chops of the channel the Winchester, Captain Hughes, chased a strange sail, on coming up with which he discovered her to be a large Dutch privateer. The commander, on being required to pay the usual compliment to the British flag, not only refused, but discharged a broadside into the Winchester. An obstinate fight ensued, in which the Dutch commander and forty of his men were killed. The Dutch and English were at this time, it will be remembered, at peace; but we hear of no complaint being made of the proceeding.

On the retirement of the Earl of Pembroke, the queen, in November, 1709, issued a warrant for the executing of the office of Lord High Admiral by commission. The next year an Act was passed for the purchase of lands in order to fortify and better secure the royal docks at Portsmouth, Chatham, Harwich, Plymouth, and Milford Haven.

By another Act, any seaman in the merchant-service, who had been disabled in defending or taking enemy’s ships was deemed qualified to be admitted into Greenwich Hospital.

A fleet, under Sir Hovenden Walker, whose flag-ship was the Edgar, was sent out to attack Quebec, and to recover from the French Placentia, in the island of Newfoundland. Having arrived too late in the season he was compelled to return. While he and most of the officers were on shore, on the 15th of October, the Edgar blew up at Spithead, when every soul perished.

There lay at that time in the Downs two privateers, the Duke, of 30 guns and 170 men, commanded by Captain Wood Rogers, and the Duchess, of 26 guns and 150 men, commanded by Captain Stephen Courtnay, having been fitted out by some Bristol merchants to cruise against the Spaniards in the South Seas. They had just returned from thence, having captured a Spanish ship with two millions of pieces of eight on board. On their voyage they had touched at the island of Juan Fernandez, which they reached on the 31st of January, 1708-9. Two of the officers with six armed men had gone on shore, but not quickly returning, the pinnace was sent well manned to bring them off. Towards evening they both came back bringing with them a man clothed in goat-skins, who appeared wilder than the goats themselves. He seemed very much rejoiced at getting on board, but at first could not speak plainly, only dropping a few words of English by times, and without much connection. However, in two or three days he began to talk, when he stated that, having been four years and as many months upon the island without any human creature with whom to converse, he had forgotten the use of his tongue. He had been so long inured to water and such insipid food as he could pick up, that it was some time before he could reconcile himself to the ship’s victuals, or to the taking of a dram. He stated that he was a native of Largo, in Fifeshire, that his name was Alexander Selkirk, and that he had belonged to a ship called the Cinque Ports, commanded by one Stradling, who, upon some difference, set him on shore here, leaving him a firelock with some powder and ball, a knife, a hatchet, a kettle, some mathematical instruments, a Bible, and two or three other useful books, with a small quantity of tobacco, a bed, bedding, etcetera. At first his loneliness weighed heavily on his spirits, but in time he became inured to it, and got the better of his melancholy. He had erected two huts, one of which served him for a kitchen, the other for a dining-room and bed-chamber. They were made of pimento wood, which supplied him also with fire and candle, burning very clear, and yielding a most refreshing fragrant smell. The roof of his hut was of long grass, and it was lined with the skins of goats, nearly five hundred of which he had killed during his residence on the island, besides having caught above five hundred more, which he marked on the ears, and then set at liberty. When his ammunition was exhausted he caught them by running, and so active was he, that the swiftest goat upon the island was scarcely a match for him. While the ships remained, Mr Selkirk often accompanied the men to hunt the goats with the dogs, whom he always distanced, and frequently tired out. At first, for want of salt, he was unable to relish his food, which consisted of goats’ flesh and crawfish, but in time he took to seasoning it with pimento fruit, which is not unlike the black pepper of Jamaica. At first the rats plagued him very much, growing so bold as to gnaw his feet and clothes while he slept. However, he managed to tame some cats which had been left on shore, and these soon kept the rats at a distance. He also made pets of a few kids, and used to divert himself by dancing among them, and teaching them a thousand tricks. When his clothes were worn out, he made a fresh suit of goat-skins joined together with thongs which he had cut with his knife, and which he ran through holes made with a nail instead of a needle. He had a piece of linen remaining, of which he made a shirt to wear next his skin. In a month’s time he had no shoes left, and his feet having been so long bare were now become quite callous, and it was some time after he had been on board that he could wear a shoe.

Alexander Selkirk subsequently entered the Royal Navy and became a lieutenant. A monument to his memory was erected on the island of Juan Fernandez by the captain and officers of a British ship of war which touched there a few years ago. On Selkirk’s adventures Daniel Defoe founded his immortal story of “Robinson Crusoe.”

For some time before the end of Queen Anne’s reign no general action worthy of particular mention was fought, although in several engagements between single ships or small squadrons the seamen of England maintained the honour of the British flag. At length, in 1713, the peace of Utrecht put an end to the war. During it the French had been deprived of all pretensions to the dominion of the sea. England had gained and retained possession of Gibraltar, Minorca, Hudson’s Bay, the whole of Nova Scotia, the island of Saint Christopher, and also the chief part of Newfoundland; her fleets had literally swept the Mediterranean of all foes, scarcely a French ship daring to navigate its waters, and even the Algerines and other piratical states of Barbary, instead of paying court to the French, now yielded to us, and acknowledged the superiority of the British flag.