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Royal Naval Review at Portsmouth
22-26 June 1773





ROYAL NAVAL REVIEW AT PORTSMOUTH :: 22-26 JUNE 1773


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St James, June 29, 1773.1

EARLY in the Morning on Tuesday the 22d Instant, the King set out from Kew for Portsmouth; and being arrived at Portsea Bridge between Ten and Eleven the same Morning, was received by a Royal Salute of Twenty-one Guns.  His Majesty then proceeded to the First Barrier, where Major General Parker, who commanded the Garrison during the Royal Residence at Portsmouth, delivered the Keys of the Garrison to the King, who was pleased to return them.  On His Majesty’s entering the Land Port-Gate, he was saluted by a triple Discharge of 232 Pieces of Cannon mounted on the Ramparts of Portsmouth, at Blockhouse Fort, and at South-Sea Castle.

His Majesty proceeded through the Town out at the Water-Gate to the Dock-Yard, and arrived at the Commissioner’s House ten Minutes before Eleven o’Clock, where he was received by the President of  His Majesty’s most Honourable Privy-Council, the Lord Privy Seal, the Lord Chamberlain of His Majesty’s Household, the First Lord Commissioner of the Treasury, the Secretaries of State, the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty, The Treasurer and Commissioners of the Navy, the Three Admirals of the Squadron at Spithead, and the Master and Lieutenant-General of Ordnance.  The Artificers and Workmen belonging to the Yard, being all assembled before the House, gave Three Cheers as His Majesty enter, and then immediately dispersed, and returned to t heir several Employments.

After His Majesty had taken some Refreshment, He went to the Governor’s House in the Town, attended by the Nobility and Persons of Distinction, and held a Publick Levee, at which a great Number of the Officers of the Navy and Army were present, as also many Gentlemen of the Country, who on this Occasion came to pay their Duty to His Majesty.

The Mayor, Recorder, Aldermen and Burgesses of the town waited on His Majesty, and presented the following Address.



To the Kings’ most Excellent Majesty.

May it please your Majesty,

WE the Mayor, Recorder, Aldermen and Burgesses of the Town of Portsmouth, humbly beg Leave to pay our Duty to your Majesty, and to congratulate your Majesty upon your Arrival in this Town.

Nothing can give us greater Joy and Satisfaction, than to see your Majesty shewing so much Attention, and doing so much Honor, to the Glory and Bulwark of these Kingdoms.  We desire to express the warmest Affection for your Majesty’s Person and Government; and to offer our earnest Prayers, that the Fleet may ever prove victorious under the Auspices of your Majesty, and your Royal Family; and redound to the Glory of the Sovereign of the British Empire.

They were all received very graciously, and  had the Honor to kiss the King’s Hand; after which His Majesty was pleased to confer the Honor of Knighthood on John Carter, Esq; the Mayor of Portsmouth.

When the Levee was over, His Majesty returned to the Dock-Yard, and at Half an Hour after One o’Clock embarked in a Barge, in which His Royal Standard was immediately hoisted.  The Earl of Sandwich, First Commissioner of the Admiralty; the Earl Delawar, Gold Stick; and Lord Robert Bertie, Lord of the Bed-Chamber in Waiting, embarked  in the same Boat with the King.

His Majesty then proceeded to Spithead, attended by the Barge of the Board of Admiralty, with the Flag of their office, the Three Admirals with their Flags, and all the Captains of the fleet with their pendants in their Barges.

As His Majesty passed the Garrison, he was saluted by a Royal Salute of Twenty-one Guns from Blockhouse Fort, Saluting Platform, and South-Sea Castle.

When the Royal Standard was seen from the fleet at Spithead, which consisted of Twenty Ships of the Line, Two Frigates, and Three Sloops, moored in two Lines abreast of each other, the Whole manned Ship, and saluted with Twenty-one Guns each.

The King went on Board the Barfleur to 90 Guns, were he was received by the Board of Admiralty, the Captain being at  the head of the Accommodation-Ladder, and the Side manned by the Lieutenants of the Ships.  As soon as His Majesty passed the Guard of Marines on the Quarter-Deck, the flag of the Lord High Admiral, which was then flying, was struck, and the Royal Standard hoisted at the Main-top-mast-head, the Lord High Admiral’s Flag on the Fore-top-mast-head, and the Union flag at the Mizen-top-mast-head: On Sight of which, all the Ships, except the Barfleur, saluted with Twenty-one Guns each.  The Ship being cleared the same as for Action, and the Officers and Men at their respective Quarters, His Majesty, after the Nobility who came off upon this Occasion, and the Flag-Officers, had paid their Duty to Him on the Quarter-Deck, walked fore and aft on the Lower Gun Deck, and took a View of the Whole.

At Half an Hour after Three o’Clock His Majesty sat down to a Table of Thirty Covers, at which many of the Nobility, and Persons of distinction, as well as Officers of the Navy and Army of the Rank of Colonel and upwards, were admitted to the Honor of dining.  After Dinner, the Queen’s Health being drank, the whole Fleet saluted with Twenty-One Guns; and upon His Majesty’s retiring from the Table, the King’s Health was likewise drank with the like Salute.  And the same was repeated every Day during His Majesty’s Continuance at Portsmouth.

At Six o’Clock His Majesty went into His Barge, attended by the board of Admiralty, the Flag-Officers and Captains, in the same Order in which the came, and passed along both the Lines of Ships, each Ship (being again manned) giving Three Cheers, and saluting separately with Twenty-one Guns, as the King passed by them.

His Majesty then went on board the Augusta Yacht, where he was again received by the Board of Admiralty.  The Royal Standard, with the Lord High Admiral’s Flag, and the Union Flag, were immediately hoisted, as they had been on board the Barfleur; and His Majesty sailed into the harbour, the Ships at Spithead and the Fortifications saluting as upon His Majesty’s coming out, and the Admirals and Captains attending Him to the Harbour’s Mouth; after which they returned to their respective Ships.  His Majesty landed at the Dock a Quarter before Nine o’Clock, and returned to the Commissioner’s House, where He resided the whole Time of His Stay at Portsmouth.

Wednesday, June 23.

AT Eight o’Clock this Morning His Majesty began to view the Dock-Yard, the ships building and repairing, and the Magazines.  At Eleven His Majesty went into His Barge, attended by the Commissioners of the Admiralty and Navy in their Barges, with the Flags of their respective Offices, and many of the Nobility in another Barge, and proceeded up the Harbour to view the Ships lying in Ordinary.  His Majesty went on board Three of those Ships, viz. the Britannia, a First Rate of 100 Guns; the Royal William, a Second Rate of Eighty-four Guns; and the Defiance, a Third Rate of Sixty-four Guns; and, at Half an Hour after Two, went off to Spithead to dine on  board the Barfleur, attended by the Commissioners of the Admiralty, the Flag Officers and Captains in  their Barges as before.

At Six o’Clock in the Afternoon His Majesty went from the Barfleur on board the Augusta Yacht, and sailed towards St. Helens ’till near Eight, and the stood in for the Harbour; but it falling calm, His Majesty left the Yacht, and was rowed to the Dock in His Barge, where He arrived at Half an Hour after Nine, the Ships and Fortifications saluting, and the Flag Officers and Captains attending him to the Mouth of the Harbour, as they had done the Day before.

Thursday, June 24.

HIS Majesty went to the Gun Wharf at Six o’Clock in the Morning, where He was received by the Master-General of the Ordnance, the Lieutenant-General and Principal Officers of that Department, and minutely viewed the Magazines, Artillery, and Stores.

His Majesty returned to the Dock-Yard at Seven, and viewed such parts of the Yard, Magazines, and Works carrying on, as He had not seen before.  At Half an Hour after Ten His Majesty, attended as before by the Nobility and Commissioners of the Admiralty and Navy, went in his Barge on board the Venus, a Frigate of Thirty-six Guns, lying in Ordinary, and from thence to Weovil, where he was received by Captain Pitt, One of the Commissioners of Victualling the Royal Navy, and the Officers of that Department, a Royal Salute of 21 Guns being given from the Lines at Gosport; and, having viewed the Brewery, Cooperage, and Magazines, returned to the Dock.

After His Majesty had changed his Dress, He went to the Governor’s House, and had another Public Levee.

At Two o’Clock His Majesty went off to Spithead, in the same State as on the preceding Days, to dine on board the Barfleur.

Vice-Admiral Pye, having, in Pursuance of the King’s Pleasure, been this Day promoted to the Rank of Admiral of the Blue, kissed His Majesty’s Hand on the Quarter-Deck, and, hoisting his Flag immediately on board the Royal Oak, was, by the King’s Permission, saluted by all the Ships present except the Barfleur.  The Admiral, in Acknowledgement of the Honor conferred upon him, saluted the Royal Standard with all the guns onboard the Royal Oak.  His Majesty was at the same Time  pleased to confer the Honor of Knighthood on Admiral Pye, as also upon Richard Spry, Esq; Rear-Admiral of the White; Captain Joseph Knight of the Ocean, Senior Captain in the Fleet at Spithead; Captain Edward Vernon of the Barfleur; and Captain Richard Bickerton of the Augusta Yacht; who had the Honor each Day to steer the King’s Barge; and they had severally the Honor to kiss His Majesty’s hand upon the Quarter-Deck, under the Royal Standard.

At half an Hour after Five o’Clock, His Majesty went from the Barfleur on board the Augusta yacht, attended as before, and, having sailed through Part of the Line of Ships, stood in to the harbour, and landed at the Dock at Half an Hour after Seven; the Flag Officers and Captains attending His Majesty in their Barges to the Mouth of the Harbour, and the Fortifications saluting as on the former Days.

Friday, June 25.

HIS Majesty went from the Dock-Yard at Half an Hour after Five this Morning, to view  the new Works and Fortifications of Portsmouth, beginning from the farthest Part of the Common, round to the Saluting Plat-form.

At Seven His Majesty returned to the Dock, embarked immediately on board the Augusta, Yacht, and sailed out of the Harbour, the Fortifications saluting as He passed.  When the Yacht arrived at Spithead, Lord Edgcumbe, Vice Admiral of the Blue, with his Division, got under Sail and followed His Majesty.  When the Yacht and Men of War had passed the Buoys, the Vice-Admiral came on Board, and having, by His Majesty’s Command, been promoted to be Vice-Admiral of the White, had the Honor to kiss His Majesty’s Hand under the Royal Standard; and then, shifting his Flag, was, by His Majesty’s Permission, saluted by all the Ships in his Division.

His Majesty proceeded as far as Sandown Bay, where the Standard was saluted by the Castle.

The Wind then freshening, and the Tide being spent, the Yacht, with the Vice-Admiral’s Division, returned to St. Helens and anchored.

At three Quarters after Four the Yacht got under weigh, and, the Wind still blowing fresh, worked up to Spithead, leaving the Vice-Admiral and his Division to proceed to Plymouth according to the Orders he had received.  After the King had sailed along the Line of Ships remaining at Spithead, He stood towards the Harbour, and came to Anchor about Half a Mile within South Sea Castle, where his Majesty was attended by the Admiral, the Rear Admiral, and all the Captains and Lieutenants of the Fleet at Spithead, who had severally the Honor of Kissing His Majesty’s Hand.  While the Yacht was at Anchor, the Ramparts of the Town being lined with Land Forces and Marines, fired a Feu de Joye at Ten o’Clock, by a triple Discharge of Cannon and Musquetry all round the Works; immediately after which the Yacht weighed, proceeded into the Harbour, and landed His Majesty at the dock at Half an Hour after Ten o’Clock.

The King was this Day pleased to grant the Dignity of a Baronet of Great Britain unto Hugh Pallisser, Esq; Comptroller of His Majesty’s Navy, and unto Richard Hughes, Esq; Commissioner of His Majesty’s Navy residing at Portsmouth; and also to direct, that the Commanders of the Wasp, Speedwell, and Hazard Sloops, at Spithead, be promoted to the Rank of Post-Captains of His Majesty’s Fleet; the Lieutenants commanding the Greyhound and Anson Cutters in Portsmouth Harbour, the First-Lieutenants of the Barfleur, and the Lieutenant of the Augusta Yacht, where the Royal Standard had  been hoisted, and the First-Lieutenants of the Flag  Officers Ships, viz. the Royal Oak, Dublin, and Ocean, to be promoted  to the Rank of Commanders; and two Midshipmen from each of those Ships and Yacht to be made Lieutenants.2

In all the Processions before mentioned, both to Spithead and back again, a very great Number of Yachts and other sailing Vessels and Boats, many of them full of Nobility and Gentry, accompanied the Barges, as well as the Augusta Yacht, while the King was on Board: The Shores, both on the Portsmouth and Gosport side, were lined with an incredible Multitude of People, who all expressed their Loyalty and Duty as His Majesty passed along, by saluting with Guns, Acclamations, and other Demonstrations of Joy.  And the Houses, both in the Town of Portsmouth and on the Common, as well as at Gosport, were illuminated every Evening during His Majesty’s Stay.

His Majesty was pleased to express the highest Approbation of the good Order and Discipline of His Fleet, the excellent Condition of the Dock Yard, Arsenals, and Garrison; and the Regularity with which every Thing was conducted; and shew the utmost Satisfaction at the Demonstrations of Loyalty and Affection with which He was received by all Ranks of People.

Saturday, June 26.

HIS Majesty from the Commissioner’s House, on His Return to Kew, at Three Quarters after Six o’Clock, having been graciously pleased to order the following Sums to be distributed, viz.

To the Artificers, Workmen, and Labourers of the Dock-Yard, Victualling-Office, and Gun-Wharf,

  ......................................................................................................£1500

To the Companies of the Barfleur and Augusta Yacht, and the Crew of His Majesty’s Barge,   ...............................................................................................................350

To the Poor of Portsmouth, Portsea, and Gosport,   ........................................................250

His Majesty was also pleased to make some other smaller Gratuities; and to release all the Prisoners confined in Portsmouth Goal for Debt.

His Majesty was saluted by a triple Discharge of all the Cannon round the Fortifications, as well as those of South-Sea Castle and block-House-Fort, and by a salute of Twenty-one Guns on passing Portsea Bridge.  Many Thousands of People attended the Chaise, with the loudest Acclamations, to the End of the Mayor’s Jurisdiction; and at every place, through which His Majesty passed, there were the strongest Demonstrations of Joy.  At Godalming a Band of Music accompanied by the Voices of all the Inhabitants, sung, GOD SAVE THE KING, the whole way through the town.  At Guilford the Street were lined with the Inhabitants: The Gentry, who were assembled at one of the Public Houses, saluted His Majesty as He passed with the Colours of the Town.

Throughout the Whole of His Majesty’s Journey there were numerous Assemblies of People in every Place where His Majesty passed, expressing, in the warmest Manner, their Duty and Affection, and their Joy at seeing their Sovereign amongst them.

At Two o’Clock in the Afternoon the King arrived in perfect Health at Kew.



 

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1

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The London Gazette, Numb. 11365, 26-29 June 1773, pp. 1-3.

2

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Three Commanders posted Captain with date of rank of 25 June 1773 included: St. John Chinnery (Wasp, Sloop), Richard Pearson (Speedwell, Sloop), and John Ford (Hazard, Sloop). All continued in command of their respective Sloops as post Captains.

Six [should be seven] Lieutenants commissioned Commanders with date of rank of 25 June 1773 included: Roger Wills, James Reid, William Anthony Halsted, Joseph Tathwell, Samuel Warren, and William Parker. The missing seventh officer may have been George Robinson Walters promoted 02 Sep 1773 as flag Captain, HMS Salisbury, Commodore Sir Edward Hughes’ flagship which sailed for the East Indies on 19 Nov 1773.

Ten Midshipmen commissioned Lieutenants with date of rank of 25 June 1773 included: Edward Collingwood, Thomas Byard, John Douglas (2), Charles Chamberlayne, Nathaniel Sayer, William Carlyon, Gabriel Bray, David Ramsay, Edward Garner, and George Dunn.


Revised 6 August 2014 © awiatsea.com