Daily entries from the 17th century London diary
Sir Robert Robinson, kt. 1675. Naval officer, holding 17 commands 1653-c. 82 and accounted 'stout and understanding' by Coventry. But never achieved flag rank. Pepys retained in his library Robinson's journals of two voyages in the *Assistance*, 1680-2. He is said to have been the son of a schoolmaster named Roberts but to have changed his name so that he could clain kinship with the Lieutenant of the Tower, and to have held dances on board ship when in harbour to prove his claim to be a gentleman-captain.
ROBINSON, Sir Robert,—was appointed commander of the Ruby in 1661 ; and in 1665 of the Elizabeth of forty guns. In the following year, 1666, having very much distinguished himself in the action between the duke of York and Opdam, he was promoted to the Warspight, a third rate of sixty-four guns, in which he also had an opportunity, which he did not neglect, of signalizing himself during the two actions, fought in that year, between the English and Dutch fleets. In December 1666, captain Robinson was sent commodore of a squadron of six sail, to convoy the fleet home from Gottenburgh. On the 25th they fell in with a squadron of five Dutch men of war, of which three, including the admiral, were, after a short action, taken. In 1668 he was removed into the Ruby; and, on the 21st of August, 1670, was appointed to the Greenwich, as commodore of a convoy bound to the Streights. Through his very extraordinary care a numerous fleet was conducted, in safety, through the most tempestuous weather and repeated storms. On his return from the Streights he was, in 1672, again appointed to the Warspight; early in the ensuing year to the Monmouth; and, on the 9th of February, 1673-4, to the Diamond. A little before this time he received the honour of knighthood, in consideration, as it is expressly said in the notification of it, of the many good services done by him. It is most probable, that from the time of his quitting the Warspight, he was employed in the Mediterranean service, where the peaceable disposition of the piratical states, at that time, has prevented any occurrence, worthy of notice, from being transmitted to us. This conjecture is founded on the circumstance, of no notice being taken, in such documents as we have been able to procure, either of himself, or the several ships it is known he commanded during the second Dutch war, and for some years afterwards. ---Biographia Navalis. J. Charnock, 1794.
In 1674 he was appointed to the Royal Oak; but still we continue in the dark as to the particular service in which he was engaged. On the 17th of April, 1676, he was appointed by Charles the Second, who, since the retirement of the duke of York, in 1673, had assumed to himself the management of the navy, to command the Assurance frigate, and sent on the Mediterranean service. Hostilities being commenced against the Algerines, he had the good fortune to fall in with, and capture one of their principal corsairs, mounting twenty-two guns, in the month of August, 1677. Returning from the Mediterranean at the end of the year, he was, on the 7th of January, 1677-8, removed into the Harwich; and, on the prospect of a rupture with France, was, in the summer following, sent commodore of a squadron, consisting of ten sail, to cruize at the entrance of the Channel, and watch the motions of the French fleet at Brest, as well as to restrain the probable depredations of the Algerines, who, at this time, rose into such insolence, as to send their corsairs even into the English Channel. On the 3d of January, 1679, he was appointed to the Foresight; and on the 15th of May, 1680, to the Assistance. He sailed on the 24th of June as commodore of a squadron bound to Newfoundland. This is the last service we find him engaged in.---Biographia Navalis. J. Charnock, 1794.
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