Sunday, August 29, 2010

Sinking of the Royal George

October 28 (1831).—But the wind is as unfavourable as ever and I take a hobbling morning walk upon the rampart, where I am edified by a good-natured officer who shows me the place, marked by a buoy, where the Royal George went down "with twice four hundred men." Its hull forms a shoal which is still in existence, a neglect scarcely reconcilable with the splendour of our proceedings where our navy is concerned. Saw a battle on the rampart between two sailor boys, who fought like game-cocks. Returned to "The Fountain," to a voluminous breakfast. Captain Pigot calls, with little hope of sailing to-day. I made my civil affidavit yesterday to a master extraordinary in Chancery, which I gave to Sophia last night.

The HMS Royal George, which Sir Walter Scott passes one October night, and records in his Journal, was the largest ship in the British Royal Navy when it was launched in 1756.  The Royal George sank not as a result of battle, but due to freak circumstances.  Royal George was readying to sail to Gibraltar, and was keeled slightly, undergoing repairs, when a supply vessel arrived to load provisions.  The added weight, combined with an untimely breeze, tipped the Royal George too far, and the sea rushed in.  The date was August 29, 1782.

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