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Archive for June, 2013

Regency Personalities Series
In my attempts to provide us with the details of the Regency, today I continue with one of the many period notables.

General Sir Edward Paget
November 3rd 1775-May 13th 1849

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General Sir Edward Paget GCB, GCTS (1775–1849) was a British Army officer.
Sir Edward Paget was born on the 3d Nov. 1775, the fourth son of Henry first Earl of Uxbridge, by Jane, eldest daughter of the Very Rev. Arthur Champagne, Dean of Clonmacnoise.
He was appointed Cornet and Sub-Lieutenant in the 1st Life Guards the 23rd March, 1793; Captain in the 54th Foot 1st Dec. following ; and Major the 14th Nov. 1793. The 30th April, 1794, he obtained a Lieut.-Colonelcy in the 28th Foot, and in that year he served the campaign in Flanders and Holland. In March, 1795, he returned with his regiment to Ireland, and sailed in the expedition for Quiberon, but was recalled.
In Sept. following, he sailed for the West Indies, under the orders of Sir Ralph Abercromby, but was twice driven back, and finally, in Jan. 1796, landed at Portsmouth. In July, 1796, he went to Gibraltar, and from this period to the end of 1801 he was stationed in the Mediterranean.
He was present in the naval action off Cape St. Vincent, the 14th Feb. 1797. The 1st Jan. 1798, he received the rank of Colonel and was appointed Aide-de-Camp to the King. He was at the capture of Minorca in 1798, under Sir Charles Stuart; served the campaign in Egypt, under Sir Ralph Abercromby and Lord Hutchinson, the 28th Foot being in the reserve, commanded by Sir John Moore.
He was in the actions of the 8th, 13th, and 21st of March, and in the latter was wounded ; was also present at the investment of Cairo and Alexandria, and a hostage with the French army of Cairo until their embarkation at Aboukir.
In Oct. 1803, he was appointed Brigadier-General on the staff in Ireland, and stationed at Fermoy; the 2nd of July, 1804, he was removed to the staff in England, and stationed at Brabourne Lees. The 1st of Jan. 1805, he received the rank of Major-General. From April to October, in that year, he commanded a brigade of infantry at Eastbourne, and in the latter month embarked with it, under the orders of General Don, landed at Cuxhaven, and advanced to Bremen; he returned with the army to England in Feb. 1806.
In June following he was appointed to the staff of the army in the Mediterranean, and placed by General Fox in the command of the reserve of the army in Sicily. In Jan. 1808, he returned to England from that island with a part of the army under Sir John Moore, and on the 23rd Feb. received the Colonelcy of the 80th Foot.
In April, 1808, he accompanied Sir John Moore to Sweden, and was appointed by that officer to the reserve of his army. In June he returned with the army to England, and was immediately sent to Portugal, where he was appointed by Sir Hugh Dalrymple to the command of the advanced corps of his army. He served the campaign in Spain, under Sir John Moore, and commanded the reserve of that officer’s army at Corunna, the 16th Jan, 1809. For that victory he received a medal.
He was next appointed to the staff of the army in the Peninsula under Sir Arthur Wellesley, with the local rank of Lieut.-General, and commanded the left wing of the army. He conducted the advance from Coimbra to Oporto, and in the action at Oporto the 12th May, 1809, be lost his right arm, and returned to England.
His lordship in his dispatch observed, in allusion to this accident:

“In Lieut.-General Paget I have lost the assistance of a friend who had been most useful to me in the few days which had elapsed since he had joined the army. He had rendered a most important service at the moment he received his wound, in taking up the position which the troops afterwards maintained and in bearing the first brunt of the enemy’s attack.”

He subsequently served as second in command to Lord Wellington, and was taken prisoner in the retreat of the army from Burgos in 1813. The 4th June, 1811, he received the rank of Lieut. General. On the 26th Dec. 1815, he was removed to the Colonelcy of the 28th Foot; and the 31st Oct. 1818, was appointed Captain of Cowes Castle, in the Isle of Wight, where he later died. He attained the full rank of General on the 27th May, 1825.
Sir Edward Paget received the King’s permission to accept the Portuguese order of the Tower and Sword for his services in the Peninsula, on the 29th April, 1812; and he was nominated a Knight Grand Cross of the Bath on the 12th June in the same year.
He was twice married: first, in 1805 to the Hon. Frances Bagot, fourth daughter of William first Lord Bagot, who died in 1806 in childbed of her only child.

  • Rev. Francis Edward Paget

Secondly, Paget married in 1815, to Lady Harriet Legge, fourth daughter of George third Earl of Dartmouth, who survived him.

  • Henry William Paget (1816-1853)
  • Frances Jane Paget (1817-1903)
  • Harriet Mary Paget (1820-1906)
  • Patrick Lewis Cole Paget (1820-1879)
  • Charlotte Louisa Paget (1821-1903)
  • Barbara Paget (1822-1822)
  • Caroline Paget (1823-1894)
  • Edward Heneage Paget (1828-1884)
  • Mary Georgiana Paget (1829-1902)

The remains of this distinguished officer were consigned to their last resting-place in the cemetery of Chelsea Hospital, on the 21st May. The funeral was a private one, and extremely plain. He was followed to the grave by his four sons, his brother the Marquess of Anglesea, Lords Dartmouth and Crofton, &c.; the officers of the hospital, Lieut.-Colonel Le Blanc, the Major; Captains Evans, Pecvor, Edwards, Chadwick, and Ford ; Colonel Sir John Wilson, the adjutant; and the medical officers, Maclachlan, Gaulter, and Prout. The pensioners in their full dress lined the way from the Government house to the Hospital chapel, and from thence to the burial-ground.

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Regency Personalities Series
In my attempts to provide us with the details of the Regency, today I continue with one of the many period notables.

William Lovett
1800 – 1877

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William Lovett

William Lovett was a British activist who was a leader of the political movement Chartism as well being as one of the leading London-based Artisan Radicals of his generation.

A proponent of the idea that political rights could be garnered through political pressure and non-violent agitation, Lovett retired from more overt forms of political activity after a year of imprisonment on the political charge of seditious libel in 1839-1840, and subsequently devoted himself to the National Association for Promoting the Political and Social Improvement of the People, desiring to improve the lives of the poor workers and their children by means of a Chartist educational programme put into practice.

Born in the Cornish town of Newlyn in 1800, Lovett moved to London as a young man seeking work as a cabinet maker. He was self-educated, became a member of the Cabinetmakers Society, and later its President. He rose to national political prominence as founder of the Anti-Militia Association (slogan: ‘no vote, no musket’), and was active in wider trade unionism through the Metropolitan Trades Union and Owenite socialism. In 1831, during the Reform Act agitation, he helped form the National Union of the Working Classes with radical colleagues Henry Hetherington and James Watson. After the passage of the Reform Act he turned, with Hetherington, to the campaign to repeal taxes on newspapers known as the War of the Unstamped. However, Lovett is best known for his role in the Chartist movement. Chartism, a campaign for parliamentary reforms intended to correct of the inequities remaining after the Reform Act of 1832, spanned roughly 1838 to 1850.

In June 1836 Lovett founded the London Working Men’s Association with several radical colleagues including Hetherington. The LWMA’s membership was restricted to 100 working men, although it admitted 35 honorary members including the later Chartist leader Feargus O’Connor. Other honorary members included radical MP’s, but the LWMA was strictly a working-class organisation, unlike groups such as the Birmingham Political Union, whose executive was dominated by the middle-class. The original purpose of the LWMA was education, but in 1838 Lovett and fellow Radical Francis Place drafted a parliamentary bill which was the foundation of the Peoples’ Charter, and the Association was effectively sidetracked into Chartism. The Bill was signed by Lovett and five other LWMA members, along with six Radical MPs including Daniel O’Connell.

Like most leading Chartists, Lovett was arrested. In February 1839 the first Chartist Convention met in London, and on 4 February 1839 unanimously elected Lovett as its Secretary. The Convention later moved to Birmingham. Many supporters gathered in the city’s Bull Ring, but local authorities had prohibited assembly there, and several were arrested. The Convention condemned the actions of police in breaking up the “riot”, and posted placards which described the police who put down the riot as a “bloodthirsty and unconstitutional force”. Lovett, as secretary, accepted responsibility for the placards, and was arrested along with John Collins, who had taken the placards to a printer. Lovett and Collins were later found guilty of seditious libel, and were sentenced to twelve months imprisonment in Warwick Gaol. They were released in July 1840.

While in prison Lovett, with Collins, wrote “Chartism, a New Organisation of the People”, which focused on Chartist Education. Once released Lovett retired from politics, and in 1841 formed the National Association for Promoting the Political and Social Improvement of the People, an educational body. The body was to implement his New Move educational initiative, through which he hoped poor workers and their children would be able to better themselves. The New Move was to be funded through a 1 penny per week subscription paid by those Chartists who had signed the national petition. Hetherington and Place supported the move, but O’Connor opposed the scheme in the Northern Star, believing it would distract Chartists from the main aim of having the petition implemented. The New Move was unable to generate the popular support that Lovett had hoped for. Membership never surpassed 5000, and education was limited to Sunday schools. The National Association Hall was opened in 1842, but closed in 1857 when the operation was evicted. Lovett opened a bookshop, and wrote his autobiography, The Life and Struggles of William Lovett, in 1877. He died impoverished the following year.

Lovett was a moral-force Chartist, and decried the use or threat of violence to achieve political change. He believed in temperance, and was a staunch advocate of sobriety. Against the educational standards of the time, he believed in teaching methods founded on kindness and compassion.

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As we do on Fridays, when we have an interview, we take a break from the Regency Personality series. It shall of course return. As early as tomorrow.

Today we are fortunate to have with us novelist Anna Belfrage and are looking forward to hearing more about her historical novels set in the 17th century.

What moved you to become an author?
When you read as much as I do – and have done from a very young age – I think it’s a natural progression to start thinking about writing a book, you know be in CONTROL of the whole story. Plus, I can’t remember a day in my life when my head hasn’t been buzzing with one story or the other. Committing all this buzzing to paper has been a good way of ensuring my brain didn’t collapse under all that frenzied activity.

Tell us about your current novel.

I have just released The Prodigal Son Image0-2013-06-28-07-00.jpg, which is the third book in The Graham Saga. Set in 17th century Lowland Scotland, it has as its main theme the religious conflicts in Scotland post-Restoration. Now that may sound a bit…err… boring, but I can assure you the religious rebels were daring individuals who led quite an exciting life, hunted over the moors by the English dragoons. My male lead is a devout member of the Scottish Kirk who has no intention of bending knee to the authority of the Church of England – no matter what it costs him. His unstinting devotion to his faith and his ministers causes serious discord in his relationship with his dearly loved wife and unfortunately it will cost him – a lot. At some point Matthew Graham will start wondering if maybe the price is too high, but by then it is too late. As Calvin once said, “Build a man a fire and he will be warm for one day. Set a man on fire and he will be warm for the rest of his life.” Dangerous things, convictions; they can cause countries to explode!

How did the story begin to develop in your mind?
I am very interested in the religious conflicts that were the hallmark of the 17th century. I find it fascinating that people would ride to war over what, to me, seem as very small differences in interpretation of the Bible. Of course, the main bone of contention was never the Bible, it was the control over the Church; was this a royal prerogative? A papal right? Or, as the Scottish Kirk believed, was the kirk an independent body that should be governed by its elders, encouraging its members to commune directly with God?

I also enjoyed working the religious conflict into the Matthew/Alex love story. For those as yet unfamiliar with my work, Matthew Graham is a 17th century man, but Alex, his wife, is a modern woman who had the misfortune (hmm. Not entirely sure I agree) to be yanked out of context and propelled three centuries backwards in time. To Alex, all this religious conflict is borderline ridiculous – and far too dangerous, placing her man and her family in grave risk of losing everything they have, including their lives. To Matthew, his faith is an integral part of who he is, and he is frustrated by his inability to make Alex see just how important these issues are.

What did you find most challenging about this book?

One of the central characters in the book, Alexander Peden, actually existed. He was one of those inflammatory ministers who urged his flock never, ever to kowtow to the Anglican Church or to the sorry excuse for a Scotsman who sat on the throne and claimed to be head of the church. When including a real person in a book you have to do quite the balancing act between fictional requirements and facts. Of course I don’t think my Sandy fully reflects Alexander Peden. But I hope I have created a character close enough to the real thing for Alexander to smile and nod. I wouldn’t want to get on the wrong side of Prophet Peden!

How did you choose your publishing method?

I have sent out query letters – of course I have. But I am somewhat impatient and also quite the control freak which makes self-publishing a very attractive option. And now that I’m doing it, I’m really enjoying it – even if at times it’s a lot of work. Anyway; I decided I wanted an overall professional look to my books which is why I have used a publishing company rather than to do it all myself.

Tell us a little about yourself?

Swedish, mother of four, financial professional – which, BTW, comes in quite handy when self-publishing. I’m very good at doing product cost and return on investment calculations. Something of a history addict, with my original preference being for the middle ages, anything between 1100 and 1500. However, over the years I’ve sort of gotten stuck in the 17th century, this due to a couple of splendid biographies (Lady Fraser’s Charles II is a favorite) plus a developing fascination for all the religious wars that dominated the 17th century – throughout Europe.

What is your next work, and beyond that, what do you want to work on.

My next work will be the coming books in The Graham Saga. The writing is done, all to the final “The End”, so now it is editing and editing and editing some more. (DWW-I know how that goes.)

To reenergize myself after all this editing I am also working on a novel set in Sweden, England and … hmm, as yet undecided … during the reign of Queen Christina. It is something of a picaresque, with a heroine who has to run for her life after nicking one very impoverished nobleman’s family jewels (real jewels). She is helped by a disillusioned former royalist with a limp and a gigantic grudge vis-à-vis his family back in England, and then there’s charming Ned the Quill, a scribe/spy/assassin/anything you might need.

In the current work, is there an excerpt to share?

I rather like the below, as it highlights the inherent conflict between Alex and Sandy. (My favorite scene would be something of a spoiler)

“What’s he doing here?” Alex said a few days later, her eyes shooting darts into the back of Sandy Peden, who disappeared into the house.

“Joan asked for him, so I went and found him.”

“Joan? Why would she want to see him?”

“Mayhap because he’s a man of God?” He wiped a hand over his face. His sister’s apathy had him worried, and if Sandy could rouse her out of it, he’d be eternally grateful. “She blames herself; one bairn, and a lass at that.”

Alex muttered something about living in a man’s world, eyes still stuck on the door.

“He’s not staying.”

“Nay, of course not,” Matthew hastened to say. “He knows that.”

Alex tightened her shawl around her shoulders, turning to sweep their yard, the lane, the surrounding slopes with her eyes.

“Alex,” he sighed, “I’m no fool. I have Gavin sitting at the top of the lane.”

Sandy sat for hours with Joan and when he came out of her room so did she, gripping the minister’s arm as she made her way down the stairs.

“Well done,” Alex said, ushering Sandy in the direction of the kitchen. “It sort of brings to mind the tale of Lazarus.”

Matthew choked on a gust of laughter.

“She wasn’t dead,” Sandy corrected, accepting the food she put in front of him.

“Minor difference, she’s been staring at the wall for days on end – more dead than alive.”
“I heard that,” Joan said with a touch of asperity.

“A miracle, a miracle,” Alex muttered. “Look, she moves, she talks, she even hears.”

Matthew threw her a reproving look, but Alex just snorted and disappeared in the direction of the parlour, where a succession of loud noises indicated wee Rachel was doing something she shouldn’t.

Matthew lifted Jacob to sit in his lap and smiled at his sister. “It is good to see you up.”

“Aye, well, ‘tis good to be up.” She didn’t sound convinced, but smiled when Sarah placed Lucy in her arms. “Will you christen her?” she asked Sandy, handing him the wean.

“He’s not allowed to,” Alex voice cut in. “He’s been formally ejected, and mustn’t perform any sacraments.” She entered the kitchen, frowning at all three of them.

“He’s a minister of my Kirk, and I’ll much rather hide out in the moss to hear Minister Peden preach than go to Cumnock and hear a mealy mouthed representative of the Church of England offer us salvation if we just recognize the authority of the king over the church.” Joan sounded more animated than she’d done for weeks, with two spots of bright red on her cheeks.

“He baptized Jacob,” Matthew said, stroking back the thick, fair hair of his son.

“That was two years ago,” Alex said. “Before it began to get really nasty.”

Sandy smiled down at the child in his arms. “I’ll be glad to baptize the wean,” he said, “and if you want we can do it now.” He threw a challenging look in the direction of Alex, who opened her mouth to say something but clearly thought better of it. Instead she lifted Jacob out of Matthew’s lap and left the room.

“She fears for them, and for me,” Matthew tried to explain, watching Alex cross the yard with all their children and Ian in tow.

“Aye well,” Sandy said, “she’s but a woman – weak of body and of mind.”

Matthew met Joan’s eyes, suppressing a smile at this description of Alex.

Who do you think influenced your writing, this work, and who do you think you write like.

I’m not sure I want to write like anyone, but of course I have been heavily influenced by such literary heroes as Sharon Penman, Diana Gabaldon, Barbara Erskine and Elizabeth Chadwick. Not that I aspire to be compared to them… As to who influenced my writing, it all goes back to a fervent hope while young that one day I would be able to time travel – for real. The outline of the Graham Saga (young woman is yanked backwards in time, finds her intended mate & a whole set of adventures in this new existence of hers) has been with me for decades – I think I still have the notebook where I have the first tentative scenes – all of them scrapped since then.

Who do you read? What are the things that a reader can identify with that you have grounded yourself in.

I read a LOT. All genres, all types of authors, in three languages. When I need to relax it is often crime, as my favorite genre, Historical Fiction, nowadays suffers from the fact that I start making notes to self in the margins – mostly when I see something that I should learn from. Despite this, I’d say 65% of what I read is HF, and as a reader I want a book that is based on solid historical fact, contains action and adventure and a love angle. I like love angles – wait; I love love angles. As I get very irritated with authors who leave me with cliffhanger endings, I always try to ensure my books do have an end, some sort of conclusion on this particular set of adventures, before I move on to the next.

When writing, what is your routine?

First I just spout. I let myself go amok as I get the story down. Then I set it aside for some time, but I think a lot, writing little notes as to where I think the story needs to be revised. I do those revisions, print the whole thing out and start to cut. I’d say that for every final word I’ve excised two. And then comes the editing….

Do you think of yourself as an artist, or as a craftsman, a blend of both? 

I actually think writing is a craft, but storytelling is an art. So I guess this means being an author of novels per definition requires a bit of both.

Where should we look for your work?

Anna’s latest:

The Prodigal Son

He risks everything for his faith – but will he be able to pay the price? Safely returned from an involuntary stay on a plantation in Virginia, Matthew Graham finds the Scottish Lowlands torn asunder by religious strife. His Restored Majesty, Charles II, requires all his subjects to swear fealty to him and the Church of England, riding roughshod over any opposition.

In Ayrshire, people close ranks around their evicted Presbyterian ministers. But disobedience comes at a heavy price and Alex becomes increasingly more nervous as to what her Matthew is risking by his support of the clandestine ministers – foremost amongst them the charismatic Sandy Peden. Privately, Alex considers Sandy an enervating fanatic and all this religious fervour is totally incomprehensible to her. So when Matthew repeatedly sets his faith and ministers before his own safety he puts their marriage under severe strain.

The situation is further complicated by the presence of Ian, the son Matthew was cruelly duped into disowning several years ago. Now Matthew wants Ian back and Alex isn’t entirely sure this is a good thing. Things are brought to a head when Matthew places all their lives in the balance to save his dear preacher from the dragoons. How much is Matthew willing to risk? How much will he ultimately lose?

The Prodigal Son is the third in Anna Belfrage’s historical time slip series,
which includes the titles The Rip in the Veil Screenshot_6_27_13_11_31_AM-2013-06-28-07-00.jpg
and Like Chaff in the Wind Screenshot_6_27_13_11_30_AM-2013-06-28-07-00.jpg.

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This is available on: Amazon and Amazon.UK

For information regarding the previous books in The Graham Saga please visit her website! http://www.annabelfrage.com

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Regency Personalities Series
In my attempts to provide us with the details of the Regency, today I continue with one of the many period notables.

Sir Henry Blackwood
28 December 1770 – 17 December 1832

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Sir Henry Blackwood

Blackwood was the fourth son of Sir John Blackwood, 2nd Baronet, of Ballyleidy (later renamed Claneboye), and of Dorcas Blackwood, 1st Baroness Dufferin and Claneboye. In April 1781 he entered the Royal Navy as a volunteer on board the frigate HMS Artois, with Captain John MacBride, and in her was present at the battle on the Dogger Bank.

He was promoted lieutenant, commander, and to the rank of post captain. From 1795 to 1796 he was captain of the floating battery HMS Nonsuch in the Humber. He was then appointed to the frigate HMS Brilliant, of 28 guns. Early in 1798 Brilliant was sent out to join Admiral Waldegrave on the Newfoundland station; and whilst standing close in to the bay of Santa Cruz in quest of a French privateer, she observed the frigates Vertu and Régénérée preparing to sail for Rochefort. The French frigates put to sail and started firing on Brilliant; Régénérée was closing in to her opponent when Vertu, which had sailed large, touched the wind; Régénérée imitated her manoeuver, but lost her mizzen and bowsprit, allowing Brilliant to flee. Vertu gave chase, but could not overhaul her opponent and returned to Tenerife. There, Régénérée replaced her rigging, and both frigates eventually arrived in Rochefort.

Early in 1799 the Brilliant returned to England, and Blackwood was appointed to the frigate HMS Penelope, of 36 guns, in which, after a few months of Channel service, he was sent out to the Mediterranean, and employed during the winter and following spring in the close blockade of Malta.

In 1800 the Guillaume Tell, of 80 guns, taking advantage of a southerly gale and intense darkness, weighed and ran out of the harbour. As she passed the Penelope, Blackwood immediately followed, and, having the advantage of sailing, quickly came up with her: then — in the words of the log —

‘luffed under her stern, and gave him the larboard broadside, bore up under the larboard quarter and gave him the starboard broadside, receiving from him only his stern-chase guns. From this hour till daylight, finding that we could place ourselves on either quarter, the action continued in the foregoing manner, and with such success on our side that, when day broke, the Guillaume Tell was found in a most dismantled state.

At five o’clock the Lion, of 64 guns, and some little time afterwards the Foudroyant, of 80 guns, came up, and after a determined and gallant resistance the Guillaume Tell surrendered; but that she was brought to action at all was entirely due to Penelope’s action. Nelson wrote from Palermo (5 April 1800) to Blackwood himself: ‘Is there a sympathy which ties men together in the bonds of friendship without having a personal knowledge of each other? If so (and I believe it was so to you), I was your friend and acquaintance before I saw you. Your conduct and character on the late glorious occasion stamps your fame beyond the reach of envy. It was like yourself; it was like the Penelope. Thanks; and say everything kind for me to your brave officers and men’.

In 1803 Blackwood was appointed to the Euryalus, of 36 guns. During the next two years he was employed on the coast of Ireland or in the Channel, and in July 1805 was sent to watch the movements of the allied fleet under Villeneuve after its defeat by Sir Robert Calder. On his return with the news that Villeneuve had gone to Cadiz, he stopped on his way to London to see Nelson, who went with him to the Admiralty, and received his final instructions to resume the command of the fleet without delay.

Blackwood, in the Euryalus, accompanied him to Cadiz, and was appointed to the command of the inshore squadron, with the duty of keeping the admiral informed of every movement of the enemy. He was offered a line-of-battle ship, but preferred to remain in the Euryalus, believing that he would have more opportunity of distinction; for Villeneuve, he was convinced, would not venture out in the presence of Nelson. When he saw the combined fleets outside, Blackwood could not but regret his decision. On the morning of Trafalgar, 21 Oct., in writing to his wife, he added: ‘My signal just made on board the Victory — I hope to order me into a vacant line-of-battle ship.’

This signal was made at six o’clock, and from that time till after noon, when the shot were already flying thickly over the Victory, Blackwood remained on board, receiving the admiral’s last instructions, and, together with Captain Hardy, witnessing the disregarded codicil to the admiral’s will. He was then ordered to return to his ship. ‘God bless you, Blackwood,’ said Nelson, shaking him by the hand; ‘I shall never speak to you again.’ ‘He’ (and it was Blackwood himself that wrote it) ‘not only gave me the command of all the frigates, for the purpose of assisting disabled ships, but he also gave me a latitude seldom or ever given, that of making any use I pleased of his name in ordering any of the stern most line-of-battle ships to do what struck me as best’.

Immediately after the battle Collingwood hoisted his flag on board the Euryalus, but after ten days removed it to the Queen, and the Euryalus was sent home with despatches and with the captured French admiral, Pierre-Charles de Villeneuve. Blackwood landed at Falmouth and was one of the first messengers to use the Trafalgar Way to deliver his dispatches to the Admiralty in London. He was thus in England at the time of Lord Nelson’s funeral (8 January 1806), on which occasion he acted as train-bearer of the chief mourner, Sir Peter Parker, the aged admiral of the fleet.

In 1807, while captain of Ajax in the Dardanelles under the command of Admiral Sir John Duckworth, his vessel accidentally caught fire, with the loss of 252 lives. This still counts as one of the greatest tragedies in British naval history. Blackwood survived by clutching an oar for an hour in the water before being rescued by Canopus.

Following the obligatory court-martial hearing over the loss of Ajax, after being acquitted Blackwood was given command of Warspite, where one of his midshipmen was his nephew Price Blackwood, 4th Baron Dufferin and Claneboye. With this command he sailed in the North Sea and later with the Channel Fleet, receiving a small squadron command during the blockade of Toulon in 1810. He continued to serve in Warspite after her repairs in 1812, returning to the Channel Fleet, and serving at the blockades of Brest and Rochfort during a cruise that took Warspite to Vlissingen, Netherlands; Douarnenez, France; Basque Roads, France; and Cawsand, Cornwall.

One of his midshipmen, James Cheape, describes Blackwood as a disciplinarian who seemed to order lashings almost daily. Elsewhere Cheape describes the conflict between Blackwood and Lord Keith when in November 1813, Cheape says he wrote that Lord Melville ordered a line of battleships to the “Western Islands”, and wanted the Warspite to be among them. Lord Keith, however, advised Captain Blackwood, “that he could not possibly send him as he had orders to send another ship” and sent his friend Captain West’s ship instead. Captain Blackwood then sent a “private letter to Lord Keith – saying he wished the Warspite to have the preference before any other ship – when showed the letter to Lord Keith he would not read it – so I suppose they don’t speak now.” This caused Blackwood to resign his command immediately after a continuous active service of six years.

On 4 June 1814 Blackwood attained the rank of rear-admiral, and in September he was created a Baronet, of the Navy, for his conduct of the heads of royal families of Europe to England following the defeat of Napoleon. In August 1819 he was made a Knight Companion of the Order of the Bath, and appointed commander-in-chief of the East Indies Station, nearly suffering a shipwreck in Leander on his way there off the coast of Madeira. He returned from this station in December 1822. He became vice-admiral in May 1825, and from 1827 to 1830 he commanded in chief at the Nore. During this period, he lived at Blackwood House, 6 Cornwall Terrace, Regents Park, London. He died after a short illness, differently stated as typhus or scarlet fever, on 17 December 1832, at Ballyleidy, the seat of his eldest brother, Lord Dufferin and Claneboye.

Blackwood was married three times, and left a large family. Blackwood River, Western Australia, is named in his honour; it was named by Captain (later Admiral Sir) James Stirling, who served under Blackwood as a youth from 1808 to 1810.

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Amid a cacophony of cranking sprockets and cogs, in chuffs of steam and soot, comes the expansion of classic literature into alternative Steampunk masterpieces. Follow nine skilled authors as they lead old friends and new acquaintances through Jamaica, Singapore, Cape Town, Denmark, Paris, London, and Geneva on a phantasmagorical Steampunk World Tour.
Tropic of Cancer: Edward Rochester battles the elements and Bertha Mason to save his brother and his own soul.
Sense and Cyborgs: Privateer Margaret Dashwood makes port at Singapore to get her husband back on his feet.

Micawber and Copperfield (by David W. Wilkin): Commander Wilkins Micawber III of the RDC’s Golden Mary and Midshipman Daniel Copperfield create a legacy of loyalty in the Royal Dirigible Corps. Stationed in Southern Africa, just after the Zulu war, trouble is brewing for the Boers are not pleased that the British Empire has seen fit to annex their lands and put them under the yoke of their ‘protection.’ (From David Copperfield by Charles Dickens.)

Little Boiler Girl: Power has a price, and one city unwittingly demands an enslaved child pay it.
The Clockwork Ballet: At the Palais Garnier, the Phantom trips the light fantastic with Meg Giry, the prima ballerina of his mechanical troupe.
His Frozen Heart: Jacob Marley saves Ebenezer Scrooge from robbing his wife’s grave and selling his soul.
Our Man Fred: Scrooge’s nephew, Fred, and his fiancé, Mary, protect the Empire from mechanized malfeasance.
Lavenza, or the Modern Galatea: Victor Frankenstein’s bride discovers more than his horrific experiments on her wedding day.

Available in Trade Paperback ($14.99) and as a Digital eBook ($3.99)

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Regency Personalities Series
In my attempts to provide us with the details of the Regency, today I continue with one of the many period notables.

Isaac Milner
11 January 1750 – 1 April 1820

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Isaac Milner

Milner was born in Mabgate. He began his education at a grammar school in Leeds in 1756, but this ended in 1760 with the death of his father. He was apprenticed as a weaver, reading the classics when time permitted, until his elder brother, Joseph Milner, provided him with an opportunity. Joseph was offered the mastership at Hull’s grammar school and invited Isaac to become the institution’s usher.

Through the patronage of his brother, Milner was subsequently freed from his duties in Hull and entered Queens’ College, Cambridge, in 1770. He graduated BA in 1774, winning the Smith’s first prize.

Shortly after he was ordained as deacon; in 1776 Queens’ offered him a fellowship; in the following year he became a priest and college tutor; and in 1778 he was presented with the rectory of St Botolph.

During these years his career as a natural philosopher began to take off. In 1776 Nevil Maskelyne hired him as a computer for the board of longitude, and two of his mathematical papers were presented to the Royal Society, of which he was elected fellow in 1780. In these papers Milner displayed three things: proficiency in mathematics, suspicion of French philosophy, and adherence to English Newtonian mechanics.

In 1782 the Jacksonian professorship of natural philosophy was established and the syndicate selected Milner as the inaugural professor, a position he retained until 1792.

Besides lecturing, Milner also developed an important process to fabricate nitrous acid, a key ingredient in the production of gunpowder. His paper describing this process was published in the Royal Society’s Philosophical Transactions in 1789 alongside an article of Joseph Priestley’s, and the two corresponded on the subject. In later years Milner transferred his elaborate collection of chemical apparatus into the president’s lodge at Queens’ and performed experiments with E. D. Clarke, William Whewell, and the Wollaston brothers; he also collaborated with Humphry Davy and Joseph Banks in an attempt to cure gout.

Over the span of his forty-five-year career, Milner’s scientific sentiments came to reflect his religious sentiments strongly. Although he never parted from the Anglican fold, he came to embrace the central evangelical doctrines of the late eighteenth century.

Milner, with Charles Simeon, was largely responsible for the evangelical revival at Cambridge. Indeed, through the years of his tenure at Queens’ he dramatically changed the entire complexion of the college. He was also responsible for the conversion of William Wilberforce, which occurred during their long continental tour of 1784–5. While the parliamentary act of 1807 to abolish slavery owed much to their partnership, Milner’s co-authorship of the seven-volume Ecclesiastical History of the Church of Christ (1818) with his brother Joseph also earned him nationwide renown.

After his death Milner was remembered for his astonishing intellect, his peculiar lifestyle, his tremendous physical bulk and his part in the rise in evangelicalism. Thomas De Quincey, in his preface to the Confessions, deemed Milner an ‘eloquent and benevolent’ opium user.

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We’ll All Go A Trolling
Not only do I write Regency and Romance, but I also have delved into Fantasy. The Trolling series is the story of a man, Humphrey. We meet him as he has left youth and become a man with a man’s responsibilities. We follow him in a series of stories that encompass the stages of life. We see him when he starts his family, when he has older sons and the father son dynamic is tested. We see him when his children begin to marry and have children, and at the end of his life when those he has loved, and those who were his friends proceed him over the threshold into death.
All this while he serves a kingdom troubled by monsters. Troubles that he and his friends will learn to deal with and rectify.
It is now available in a variety of formats. For $2.99 you can get this fantasy adventure.

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Amazon for your Kindle
King Humphrey, retired, has his 80th birthday approaching. An event that he is not looking forward to. A milestone, of course, but he has found traveling to Torc, the capital of the Valley Kingdom of Torahn, a trial. He enjoys his life in the country, far enough from the center of power where his son Daniel now is King and rules.

Peaceful days sitting on the porch. Reading, writing, passing the time with his guardsmen, his wife, and the visits of his grandson who has moved into a manor very near. Why go to Torc where he was to be honored, but would certainly have a fight with his son, the current king.

The two were just never going to see eye to eye, and Humphrey, at the age of 80, was no longer so concerned with all that happened to others. He was waiting for his audience with the Gods where all his friends had preceded him. It would be his time soon enough.

Yet, the kingdom wanted him to attend the celebrations, and there were to be many. So many feasts and fireworks he could not keep track, but the most important came at the end, when word was brought that the Trolls were attacking once more.

Now Humphrey would sit as regent for his son, who went off to fight the ancient enemy. Humphrey had ruled the kingdom before, so it should not have been overwhelming, but at eighty, even the little things could prove troublesome.

Feedback

If you have any commentary, thoughts, ideas about the book (especially if you buy it, read it and like it 😉 then we would love to hear from you.

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