Daily entries from the 17th century London diary
from L&M CompanionThe one-eyed sailing master (iv.133). Pepys had known him in the 'Royal Charles' in 1660, and in July 1662 met him again when paying off the 'Royal James', on which he had served as master's mate. Then unemployed, he was taken on by Pepys to teach him mathematics and other lore of his trade. His payment,it seems, took the form of promotion: in Aug. 1662 he was made, at Pepys's request, master of the 'Reserve' in which Robert Holmes flew his flag on a voyage to the Mediterranean. They quarrelled--Holmes was not invariably an easy man and Cooper was not invariably sober--and their dispute came before the Navy Board. Pepys at first resisted Holmes's demand for Cooper's discharge, but gave way to dark threats of a duel. But almost immediately afterwards--it is easy to guess at whose suggestion--Cooper was made master of Sandwich's flagship the 'Prince'. Sandwich's journal records his observations of two meteors.
In the final phase of the Four-Days-Battle of 1666, the ROYAL PRINCE, flagship of the White, ran aground on the Galloper sand and could be got off neither by her crew nor by the Dutch, who captured and burnt her. The Admiral of the White, Sir George Ayscue, earned the questionable distinction of being the only commanding admiral in British history to ever be captured by the enemy. The ROYAL PRINCE's master was that self-same Richard Cooper (Compare Ollard, Pepys, p. 126).
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