The Trafalgar Chronicle New Series 3

THE TRAFALGAR CHRONICLE Dedicated to Naval History in the Nelson Era New Series 3 Journal of THE 1805 CLUB Edited by PETERHORE In association with The 1805 Club

Text copyright © individual authors 2018 First published in Great Britain in 2018 by Seaforth Publishing, A division of Pen & Sword Books Ltd, 47 Church Street, Barnsley S70 2AS British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library ISBN 978 1 4738 9980 3 (PAPERBACK) ISBN 978 1 4738 9982 7 (EPUB) ISBN 978 1 4738 9981 0 (KINDLE) All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without prior permission in writing of both the copyright owner and the above publisher. The right of the individual contributors to be identified as the authors of this work has been asserted by them in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. Pen & Sword Books Limited incorporates the imprints of Atlas, Archaeology, Aviation, Discovery, Family History, Fiction, History, Maritime, Military, Military Classics, Politics, Select, Transport, True Crime, Air World, Frontline Publishing, Leo Cooper, Remember When, Seaforth Publishing, The Praetorian Press, Wharncliffe Local History, Wharncliffe Transport, Wharncliffe True Crime and White Owl. Designed and typeset in Times New Roman by Mousemat Design Printed and bound in India by Replika Press Pvt Ltd

CONTENTS President’s Foreword– Admiral Sir Jonathon Band 5 Editor’s Foreword – Peter Hore 7 Women and the Sea – Margarette Lincoln 9 A Real-Life Jane Austen Heroine and her Naval Hero – Peter James Bowman 13 Questing for Cuba Cornwallis, Nelson’s Afro-Caribbean Nurse – Jo Stanley 24 Portsmouth Polls and Spithead Nymphs: Sexual Health in Nelson’s Navy – Kevin Brown 34 ‘I shall be anxious to know…’: Lives of the Indefatigable Women – Heather Noel-Smith and Lorna M Campbell 44 Women All at Sea: Soldiers’ Wives aboard Naval Transports during the Napoleonic War – David Clammer 55 When You See Thee, Remember Me, Forget Me Not – Sim Comfort 67 Utterly Charming and Adorable: Lady Nelson of the Silent Screen – Lucie Dutton 78 Four Female Ancestors: Life in Trade, Foreign Courts and Domesticity – Lily Style 90 Emma, Lady Hamilton: The Untold Story – Geoff Wright 102 Television Interview with Emma, Lady Hamilton – Joe Callo 120 3

The ‘Kidnap’ of Betsey Fremantle: A Captain’s Romance – Tom Fremantle 126 Lady Bentinck and the Tunis Slaves – Charles Fremantle 142 Letters Home: Trauma and the Cost of Conflict in Eighteenth-Century Naval Families – Ellen Gill 153 Johanna Hård: The Story of a Swedish Piratess – Marianne Kindgren and Birgitta Tingdal 164 ‘Going to the Bay in Utmost of Distress’: Women Convicts Being Transported to Australia 1803–1824 – Deirdre Palk 176 Did Nelson Know Mary Anne Talbot? The Strange Story of Mary Anne Talbot – Peter Turner 192 ‘My Love to War is Going’: Women and Song in the Napoleonic Era – Karen McAulay and Brianna Robertson-Kirkland 202 Sea Surgeons and the Barbers’ Company of London – Peter Willoughby 213 Contributors’ Biographies 229 Notes 234 Colour Plate section between pages 64 and 65 4

President’s Foreword Last year, when the Trafalgar Chroniclewas themed on the Royal Marines and the US Marine Corps, it enjoyed a record readership, principally in the United Kingdom and in the USA. While the Trafalgar Chronicle continues to gain broad recognition internationally for its scholarship and breadth of subject matter, this year’s edition focuses on the role which women and families played at sea and ashore. It may seem surprising, when so much has already been written about the age of sail, and in particular about the years leading up to and after the epic Battle of Trafalgar, but, as this edition shows, there is still much to be discovered. Further, such has been the response to the call for papers that the entire Chronicle this year is given over to the subject. There should be no surprise at the continuing interest in the age of sail as the exploits and effect of ‘Nelson’s navy’ were not only strategic but touched every stratum and aspect of society, including life at home, the relations between women and men, and the sometimes surprising adventures of women at sea. The reader will find much new research and writing about the subject which adds to our knowledge of the period. The ongoing success of the Trafalgar Chronicle marks a high tide in The 1805 Club’s publishing, which can be seen in the context of the broad range of the Club’s conservation, educational and international activities, details of which are available on the website, The contributors and the editor are warmly congratulated on another great read. ADMIRALSIRJONATHONBANDGCBDL Former First Sea Lord President of the 1805 Club 5

6 Engraved coin montage. (Sim Comfort Associates)

Editor’s Foreword Women have for various reasons left a light footprint in the sands of history, and historians – mainly male historians – have unfairly overlooked women and their importance in the tides of history. When women have been written about, it has often been with an air of surprise or innuendo, surprise that women should have anything at all to do with the generations of men who bore the brunt of the hardships of events, or innuendo that women’s roles were somehow inadvertent or even immoral. I therefore decided some time ago that this edition of the Trafalgar Chronicle would be themed on women and the sea in the age of the Georgian navy. When then I read Dr Margarette Lincoln’s words that ‘women’s contribution to British naval supremacy in the long eighteenth century tends to be neglected or sensationalised’, I became even more determined to redress the imbalance. The most readily conjured image is of the cross-dressing woman running away to sea, typically to be near her lover, and the most famous and best documented instant of this is that of Hannah Snell (1723–1792), who served as a marine. Her descendants live on in Australia and her story has been faithfully recorded by Matthew Stephens, but otherwise cross-dressing heroines are the stuff of stage drama, and few other cases exist. Another well-known case, that of Mary Anne Talbot, has deceived historians, but here is roundly debunked by Peter Turner. More typical, but much less well-known of this genre, is the story of Lady Bentinck, who dressed as a Royal Marine officer to visit North Africa, a story which has been rescued from a French newspaper and the family archives by Charles Fremantle. There certainly were women in the navy, mostly as passengers, as Tom Fremantle tells us in the charming story of Betsey Fremantle, who embarked as a teenage refugee, and landed in England over a year later, a pregnant wife to Tom’s ancestor and a nurse to the wounded Nelson. Another nurse, as Jo Stanley tells us, is Cuba Cornwallis, the black doctoress, and her sisters, who saved many lives in the West Indies, including Nelson’s. Other women were passengers, like soldiers’ wives in naval transports, as David Clammer tells us with some humour, or convicts being sent to Australia as Deirdre Palk recounts with quietly understated horror. 7

Of course, the stories of Fanny Nelson and Emma Hamilton are compared and contrasted. Geoff Wright has contributed a significant account of Emma’s mother; Lily Style, a descendant, has written about her female ancestors; Lucie Dutton has written about the choice of one of the most beautiful actresses of the age to play Fanny in a silent movie; and Joe Callo has completed his series of interviews with the lovers in the Nelson ménage. Love always played a part, as Sim Comfort’s beautifully illustrated report of love tokens and miniatures tells us, just as Kevin Brown reminds us soberly of its occasional consequences. And Jane Austen also features, in the incredible life-is-stranger-than-fiction love story of the ‘real Captain Wentworth’ by Peter James Bowman, and ‘Letters Home’ by Ellen Gill. Before the days of email and even #metoo campaigns, lovers and loved ones communicated by letter, as Heather Noel-Smith and Lorna M Campbell remind us. The Trafalgar Chronicleis increasingly an international journal, and though most writers have been anglophone, I am particularly pleased to welcome a contribution by two Swedish scholars, Marianne Kindgren and Birgitta Tingdal, where the reader is left to ponder whether their subject was or was not a piratess. Finally, Karen E McAulay and Brianna E Robertson-Kirkland remind us through an unusual medium, library records in Scotland, that Georgian women were well-informed about political history and current affairs, particularly the progress of the war, and used their musical talents to show their support. For this cornucopia of knowledge, including Peter Willoughby’s article on sea surgeons, I am grateful to all the contributors and wish to thank them warmly for their research and writing. I also wish to thank Margarette Lincoln for her contribution as guest editor, colleagues who have refereed papers, and Peter Turner for help in proofreading. The call for papers and choice of theme resulted in a large number of submissions, and I can only deeply regret that I have not been able to publish every paper – but I trust that I have done my duty towards women and the sea in the age of sail. PETERHORE THE TRAFALGAR CHRONICLE 8

Women and the Sea Margarette Lincoln Women did not feature significantly in studies of British maritime history until the 1990s. The Royal Navy first allowed women to serve at sea in 1990. The prevailing view among historians before then seems to have been that since Admiralty Regulations officially barred women from going to sea, scholars would find few archival records to pursue. The wives of warrant officers had gone to sea, but they elicited little interest. Other women did travel on naval ships, whatever the rulebook said, but finding references to them would be a matter of serendipity; any research project about them would be timeconsuming and unbalanced. There was some acknowledged female interest: the notorious pirates, Anne Bonny and Mary Read; the soldier Hannah Snell, who served at sea for three years in a regiment of the Royal Marines; and Mary Lacy, the female shipwright. The life stories of Snell and Lacy had been published in their own times and could be tracked down. It was also known that women had served in Nelson’s fleet at Trafalgar. But apart from these few examples, the history of Britain’s maritime world remained a largely masculine affair. This situation began to change in the 1990s as scholars grew more interested in women and the sea. Jo Stanley’s ground-breaking book, Bold in her Breeches: Women Pirates Across the Ages (1995), included essays by herself and others which ranged across centuries and geographically from Ireland to China. In 1996, Suzanne J Stark published Female Tars: Women Aboard Ship in the Age of Sail, which proved hugely influential. Stark focused on three kinds of women to be found on warships: prostitutes, officers’ wives, and women in male disguise. She helped to popularise the story of Mary Lacy and came up with new information that encouraged others to think there was a subject here that could be pursued. David Cordingly, in his Heroines and Harlots: Women at Sea in the Great Age of Sail (2001), drew on extensive archival study in Britain and America to confirm that a surprising number of women went to sea. He set out to do more than produce a book about seafaring heroines and posed questions about the role of men in relation to women in a seafaring environment, including ‘What did the sailors think of their women?’ and ‘To what extent did sailors live up to their reputation for having a wife in every port?’ In my book, British Sea Power: Representing the Navy, 1750–1815(2002), I included a chapter that explored women’s views of the navy. Cultural history 9

had gained much ground since the 1980s and, at the National Maritime Museum, I was well placed to consider how eighteenth-century women had used material culture to celebrate naval heroes, display patriotism and, at the same time, develop a social voice. This approach was extended when, in 2005, the Museum celebrated the bicentenary of Trafalgar in its exhibition Nelson & Napoléon. In both the exhibition and the accompanying catalogue, curators traced women’s reactions to Nelson’s victories and explored the impact on women of prolonged warfare. Of course, Nelson’s relationship with his wife, Frances, and his mistress, Emma Hamilton, gave the show added piquancy. By now, the study of women and the sea was no longer confined to the comparatively few women who actually went to sea. In 2004, Nicholas Rodger in his The Command of the Ocean. A Naval History of Britain, 1649–1815, made the point that knowledge of the social history of the navy would never be complete until more research was undertaken into the wives and mothers who stayed at home. The publication of this volume coincided with a chance find I made in the Museum’s archives of a cache of eighteenth-century letters to seamen’s wives. These had been well catalogued but little studied. Few letters from wives to husbands have survived: men generally burnt them before battle to prevent personal or even political exchanges from falling into the wrong hands. But from this one-sided correspondence, something of the lives of naval women could be reconstructed and my study Naval Wives and Mistresses (2007) ensued. Ellen Gill extended this study in her well-researched Naval Families, War and Duty in Britain, 1740–1820 (2016). While Gill considers individual lives in the context of eighteenth-century warfare, she also explores contemporary concepts of masculinity and duty, placing an emphasis on fatherhood to balance the study of naval women. In another aspect of the study of women on land, Helen Doe explores maritime businesswomen in her book Enterprising Women and Shipping in the Nineteenth Century (2009). Anne Massey has looked at the few female designers commissioned in the 1920s and ’30s to work on the interior design of P&O and Cunard liners, and Melanie Holihead has investigated a community of women in mid-nineteenth century Portsea whose lives were connected to naval seamen (both in Journal for Maritime Research 18: 2016). The importance of the sea to the history of Britain ensures that discrete studies of this nature readily contribute to a larger national story. Research on women and the sea has fed into scholarly interest in maritime femininities and masculinities, revealing assumptions about femininity and relational models of gender during Britain’s wars of the eighteenth century. This was an underlying theme of the National Maritime Museum’s 2016 exhibition about Emma Hamilton, explored further in the splendid catalogue edited by THE TRAFALGAR CHRONICLE 10