Daily entries from the 17th century London diary
Posted by Jeannine for 23rd July 1664.
“Journal of the Earl of Sandwich” edited by R.C. Anderson (Appendix V)
JAMES, DUKE OF YORK, TO SANDWICH(Sandwich MSS., Letters from Ministers, etc. Vol. I, f. 31)
My Lord Sandwich. It is now more than a week since Captain Reynolds, Commander of his Majesty’s ship the Gift, bound for Guinea, did inform me that he had all his stores on board and was ready to sail, and that from myself by word of mouth and also by signification of my pleasure in writing from my secretary he had directions to carry the said ship into the Downs, and it is a full week since he had his last sailing orders, notwithstanding all which and that he hath not appeared to complain of any want or defect, yet I am informed that on Thursday night last the said ship was at Erith. The precedent of such a neglect is of such dangerous a consequence as that it ought not to be passed over silently, and therefore I desire you, so soon as Captain Reynolds shall arrive in the Downs, to examine the matter and if you find him faulty (as it is most probable you will, since the wind hath been fair during the whole time of the neglect), I desire you to remove Capt. Wilgresse (who formerly desired that voyage in the Company’s service) into that ship, directing him to execute the orders formerly given to Captain Reynolds, which you may demand of him, and upon notice of it I shall send you down another commander for the Hector, that so no time may be lost for the dispatch of the fleet to Guinea. *I am your very affectionate friend -James*
St. James’s, 23rd July 1664
[Note from Anderson: Words in ** are in autograph]
Also from the Journal of Edward Sandwich
26th July 1664…
In the afternoon I went to Dover to meet the Commissioners of the Peace and view the harbour at low water, and came aboard again at night, when the Gift, Captain Reynolds commander, arrived in the Downs, whose stay in the river so long I examined next morning.
27th July 1664.
My birthday. I sent off the packet with Captain Reynolds’ examination of the Duke. This was a stormy wet day at W.S.W.
2nd September 1664.
Last night a storm at S.W. and W.N.W. In the afternoon came in the Hampshire and the Hector who left Captain Reynolds in the Soundings 30 leagues S.W. from the Lizard.
April 1665 Fleet List.
5th Rate, Great Gift, 100 men, 30 guns, Captain Jacob Reynolds (GUINEA)
(The ship the Gift is also mentioned by Sandwich as being in the Downs on 22nd of January 1665 and the 1st February.)
English Captain: Jacob Reynolds
Jacob Reynolds served both the Parliamentarian and Commonwealth navies. In 1648, he commanded the Dove. In 1649, he commanded the Crescent. From 1651 to 1652, he commanded the Nightingale. He was present at the beginnings of the First Anglo-Dutch War, being in Anthony Young's squadron, off the Start, when they stopped Joris van der Zaan, Jacob Huyrluyt, and their the seven Straatsvaarders they were convoying. He had been relieved as captain of the Nightingale before the Battle of the Kentish Knock. In 1653, he commanded the 4th Rate Kentish (46 guns), and fought at the Battle of Portland. In April, he was with the Generals at Portsmouth, with the core of the main fleet. He was in John Lawson's division at the Battle of the Gabbard. John Lawson was Admiral of the Blue. Captain Reynolds also seems to have fought at the Battle of Scheveningen. He also served in the Restoration navy, starting in 1664 as a captain. In June 1665, he commanded the Great Gift, off the coast of Guinea. In June 1666, he was convoying merchant ships to Barbadoes. He commanded the 4th Rate Hope. In late July 1666, he was in Barbadoes, still in the Hope. He died in 1688.
Sources: 1. R. C. Anderson, “English Fleet-Lists in the First Dutch War,” The Mariner's Mirror, Vol.XXIV No.4, October 1938. 2. R. C. Anderson, List of English Naval Captains 1642-1660, 1964. 3. C.T. Atkinson, Ed., The First Dutch War, Vol.IV, 1910. 4. Michael Baumber, General-At-Sea, 1989. 5. Frank L. Fox, A Distant Storm: The Four Days' Battle of 1666 6. Dr. S.R. Gardiner, The First Dutch War, Vol.I, 1898. 7. David Syrett, R. L. DiNardo, The Commissioned Sea Officers of the Royal Navy 1660-1815, 1994.
The case for the defence of Jacob Reynolds against the charges made by Ford and Pepys on the 24th December 1664.
The letter from the Duke of York, dated the 23rd July 1664, sites Reynolds as the Captain of the Gift and asks Sandwich to examine the matter of the delay in sailing, and if found guilty he was to be replaced with the Captain of the Hector. Sandwich did this and sent his reply by packet on the 27th July.
On the 2nd of September Sandwich tells us that the Hector had left Reynolds in the Soundings 30 leagues from the Lizard. Therefore it looks that Reynolds was not replaced. The Duke wanted no time lost for the dispatch of the fleet to Guinea, suggesting that the Gift was part of the Prince Rupert command that never actually sailed for Guinea.
The Gift was mentioned by Sandwich as being with him in the Downs on the 22nd of January 1665, and Reynolds is mentioned as Captain of the Great Gift, location Guinea, in the list of April 1665. (Anderson the editor of the Journal indexes the Gift and Great Gift as separate ships, and the Dutch War blog says that in June 1665, Reynolds commanded the Great Gift, off the coast of Guinea.)
So did Reynolds sail back and forth to Guinea from September 2nd and January 22nd 1665? He had until the 14th of October, some 42 days, to reach Goree for the date of De Ruyter’s recapture. Holmes had taken 45 days to reach Plymouth from St Vincent Island at Cape Verde.
Would the highly vexed King and Duke allow him to be given command of another ship and sent back to Guinea?
REYNOLDS, Jacob,—was appointed captain of the Great Gift in 1664, and of the Hope prize in 1666.---Biographia Navalis. J. Charnock, 1794.
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