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The Boy who sailed with Blake   By: (1814-1880)

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First Page:

The Boy who sailed with Blake, by W.H.G. Kingston.

Another vintage Kingston book, this time with a background of the 1650s, when Cromwell and the Roundheads were in power.

With acknowledgement to Chamber's Biographical Dictionary we read:

Blake, Robert (1599 1657) English naval commander, the son of a merchant. Educated at Wadham College, Oxford, he continued his father's business and led the life of a quiet country gentleman until he was 40. Returned for Bridgwater in 1640 to the short Parliament, he cast in his lot with the Parliamentarians. In the Civil War he took part in the defence of Bristol (1643) and Lyme Regis (1644), and his defence of Taunton (1644 45) against overwhelming odds proved a turning point in the war. Appointed Admiral in 1649, he destroyed Prince Rupert's fleet and captured the Scilly Isles and Jersey. In the first Dutch War (1652 54) he defeated Tromp at the battle of Portland and shattered Dutch supremacy at sea. He destroyed the Barbary Coast pirate fleet off Tunis (1655) and in 1657 destroyed a Spanish treasure fleet at Santa Cruz off Teneriffe. He died as his ship entered Plymouth, and was buried in Westminster Abbey, but his body was removed at the Restoration. He is considered one of the greatest of English admirals, second only to Nelson.

That was the background to this story. The only thing that upset your transcriber is that he is by nature on the side of the Cavaliers and the Monarchy, rather than that of the Roundheads.


The following story is not one of reckless adventure, nor one in which fighting and bloodshed are introduced to fan a spurious spirit of heroism. It is the reproduction of a page of history, and a most important one, when good men held not their lives dear to uphold and defend that which was dearer than life civil and religious liberty.

The example of Blake is held up to the boys of to day, not because he fought and conquered, but because he was a conscientious, God fearing man, and his conscience told him that the best interests of his country demanded resistance to the Stuart rule. Such a man as Blake was a hero everywhere, and needed not a quarter deck to display his heroism.



"Hark! the bells of Saint Michael's are sending forth a jovial peal!" exclaimed Lancelot Kerridge, as he, Dick Harvey, and I were one day on board his boat fishing for mackerel, about two miles off the sea port town of Lyme. "What they are saying I should mightily like to know, for depend on't it's something of importance. Haul in the lines, Ben!" he continued, addressing me; "and, Dick, put an oar out to windward. I'll take the helm. We shall fetch the Cob by keeping our luff."

The wind was off shore, but as we were to the westward of the Cob, and the tide was making in the same direction, we could easily fetch it. The water was smooth, the sea blue and bright as the eyes of sweet Cicely Kerridge, my friend Lancelot's young sister, while scarcely a cloud dimmed the clear sky overhead.

Lyme, then containing but one thousand inhabitants, where my two companions and I lived, is situated in Dorsetshire, near its western border, on the northern shore of a wide bay, formed by the Bill of Portland on the east and the Start Point on the west. Along the coast are several other towns, of which Dartmouth, owing to its excellent harbour, is the most considerable, besides numerous villages, including Charmouth and Uplyme. A line of cliffs of no great height extends away on either side of Lyme, which stands at the bottom of a valley; while beyond it rise the green slopes of Colway and Uplyme, hills overlooking the town.

On the eastern side was the house of my father, Captain Roger Bracewell... Continue reading book >>

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