19 Annotations

First Reading

David Quidnunc  •  Link

Allin; his career to 1660

Allin (1612-1685) turned 48 years old in 1660. He was a consistant royalist and had quite a successful naval career.

In the 1640s, he was a merchant-shipowner in Lowestoft. In 1644 (the year he turned 32) he became a privateer for the King, serving under Rupert as a captain of a frigate.

Pepys says at one point in the diary that Allin loves money, and he died with quite a lot of it. His journals have been published.

-- L&M Companion volume

Mene Tekel  •  Link

He was also in some of the battles at the time.

Pedro  •  Link

Allin and The Nonsuch

It is clear that at this time there are two ships, the Nonsutch warship and the Nonsuch Ketch, and that one of them ran aground in Gibraltar Bay when in a fleet commanded by Allin.

Allin received his commission for the Plymouth in June of 1664, and presumably he is starting on his mission to conclude a peace treaty in Algiers. He sailed from the Thames in the company of the London, which was the flag ship of Sandwich, and mentions that he sailed with 11 men-of-war and a smack. A note is added to this saying the Nonsuch Ketch with Captain Country to follow us and a smack to sound before us. The 11 ships became part of Sandwich’s squadron, and Sandwich in his journal says on the 3rd of August says that Country’s ketch sailed for Holland with his letters. Also on the 13th September he records in his company the Nonsuch Ketch.

Allin made his way to meet Lawson in the Straights. He was at Plymouth on the night of the 22nd of August and I believe that he was accompanied by a number of merchantmen, among them the London Merchant and the Naples Merchant, and no warships are named on the journey.

On the 18th September he dined with Lawson, and on the 24th there is the first mention of the Nonsuch being under the command of Captain Parker. The Phoenix is mentioned on the 8th October under Chichley. These ships appear to have already been in the Straights under Lawson, who will now make his way back to England leaving the command to Allin.

After concluding the peace he patrolled the Straights, and on the 2nd of December gives a detailed description of events after a continual rainy night that he ever saw in his life. In the morning within musket shot were four of the fleet ashore. Allin managed to get off and also the Portsmouth, but the Nonsuch sunk and all masts by the board and the Phoenix by her sunk. All help was sent to preserve the Bonaventure.

They regrouped at Malaga on the 8th went back to Gibraltar by the 11th to speak with the men left aboard the Nonsuch and the Phoenix but the Governor would not let them cross the neck of land and had to go by sea to provide the seamen with enough money to last a month.

As there was another warship called the Nonsuch built in 1668, and from the information above, I believe that it was the warship that was sunk and not the Ketch.

(Information gained from the Allin and Sandwich Journals both edited by RC Anderson)

Michael Robinson  •  Link

Per L&M Companion:

1st. Bt. (1612 - 85). One of the most active and successful naval commanders of the Second Dutch War. A merchant-shipowner of Lowestoft, he turned to privateering on the King's side in 1644 and served as captain of a frigate under Rupert. It was his unprovoked attack on the Dutch Smyrna fleet of Cadiz in December 1664 which sparked of the war, during which he served with distinction as a flag-officer. His service afloat ended with two expeditions to the Mediterranean, 1668-9, in which he imposed terms upon the Barbary states. He had been at sea almost continuously for ten years, and had held eleven commissions as a captain since 1660.

On Mennes's death he was made Comptroller of the Navy (1671-80). In that capacity he came in for some criticism from Pepys for 'very unsteady measures' in paying for wages. But he was an experienced colleague and took part in the special conference which lead in 1677 to one of Pepys's most important reforms -- the establishment of examinations for lieutenants. He was Master of Trinity House, 1671-2, and was briefly Commander-in-Chief in the Channel in 1678. In 1680 he retired to his native Suffolk. The love of money, which Pepys remarks on, is witnessed by his will which shows him possessed of considerable landed wealth. The baronetcy died out with his son in 1696. His journals have been published.

Rex Gordon  •  Link

From C.S. Knighton, Pepys and the Navy, Sutton, 2003:

Allin had a distinguished career afloat, beginning as a royalist privateer captain operating out of his native Lowestoft at the start of the Civil War. After 1648 he had served in the official royalist fleet until he was sunk by Blake off Cartagena in 1650. He was court-martialled by his own side for cowardice, but escaped before sentence was passed. His loyalty was unshaken, and he was regarded as one of the most reliable officers by Charles II, from whom he received a succession of commands after the Restoration. He had enthusiastically carried out the secret orders to attack the Dutch Smyrna fleet in 1664, and had a fine record in the war which this action successfully provoked. Pepys ... encountered him in November 1665 and found him "very friendly ... a good man I think but one that professes he loves to get and to save." Interestingly, Allin records the same meeting in his official journal, but more prosaically ("dined with Squire Pepys and did some business with him").

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Sir Thomas Allin, 1st Baronet (1612–1685) was an officer of the Royal Navy who saw service in the English Civil War, and the Second and Third Anglo-Dutch Wars. A Royalist during the Civil War, he returned to service after the Restoration and eventually rose to the rank of Admiral after serving under some of the most distinguished military figures of the era, including Prince Rupert of the Rhine.


Second Reading

Bill  •  Link

ALLEN, Sir Thomas,—of Lowestoffe, in the county of Suffolk, having been always warmly attached to the cause of royalty, and served as commander of a ship in the part of the fleet which revolted to the prince of Wales, was appointed to command the Dover on the 24th of June, 1660, this being among the first ships commissioned by the duke of York. In 1661 he commanded, first, the Plymouth, and, secondly, the Foresight; the Lyon, in 1662, and the Rainbow in 1663. In the same year he was appointed commander in chief (as commodore only) of the ships and vessels in the Downs, and had, on this occasion, the singular privilege allowed him of wearing the union flag at his main top. He hoisted it on board the St. Andrew. In the following year (1664) he had the same command, with the same privilege attached to it, renewed. On the 11th of Aug. 1664, he was appointed commander in chief in the Mediterranean, to succeed sir John Lawson, who was ordered to return home. He sailed on this service in the Plymouth, in company with the Crown, which was put under his orders. Having arrived at Tangier, and communicated his instructions to sir John, he entered upon his command, hoisting his flag at the main-top-masthead, as his commission specially authorised him to do on the departure of his predecessor. Early in the ensuing spring, being then on a cruise with his squadron, consisting of eight or nine ships, off the Streights mouth, he had the good fortune to fall in with the Dutch Smyrna fleet, consisting of forty sail, under convoy of four men of war. Having just before received intelligence that war was declared, by England, against the States General, he hesitated not a moment to attack them. The Dutch having, according to their usual custom, drawn the stoutest of their merchant ships into the line to support, and assist their men of war, the contest was obstinate. But in the end Brackel, the Dutch commodore, being killed, their line broken, and several of their ships sunk, four of the richest were captured; one of which had received so much damage in the action, that she unfortunately foundered on her passage to England: the rest of the fleet took refuge in Cadiz, where they remained blocked up for a time, till the return of the admiral to England liberated them from their confinement. In the beginning of this year he had shifted his flag from the Plymouth to the Old James: and on his return to England, in the month of June following, just after the engagement with the Dutch, was promoted to the rank of admiral of the blue. He commanded that squadron during the remainder of the year, having his flag on board the (afterwards unfortunate) Royal James; but no farther general action took place.
---Biographia Navalis. J. Charnock, 1794.

Bill  •  Link

In 1666 he was appointed admiral of the white, and still continuing on board the Royal James, was detached, (in consequence of express orders from the king, to prince Rupert, who was himself on board the Royal James with sir Thomas,) with his squadron, to oppose the French, against whom war had just been declared, and whose fleet was reported to be then coming up the channel for the purpose of joining the Dutch. This intelligence proving false, prince Rupert, and sir Thomas Allen's division, returned just in time to turn the scale in favour of the English, and rescue the duke of Albemarle, who had been hard pressed by the superior numbers of the Dutch, during a fight of three days continuance. The English were not long ere they had complete satisfaction for this temporary apparent advantage. On the 25th of July the two fleets met a second time, and an action commenced about noon the same day, sir Thomas Allen who continued to command the van, or white squadron, making a most furious attack on the Dutch admiral, Evertzen. The Friezland and Zealand squadrons, which he had the chief command of, were totally defeated; he himself, together with his vice and rear admiral, killed; and the Tolen, commanded by Bankart, vice-admiral of Zealand, taken, and soon afterwards burnt, together with another large man of war. In fine, as no man was ever more deserving of success, so did no one ever obtain it more completely. Fortune still continuing to favour gallantry, sir Thomas captured, on the 18th of September, the Ruby, a French a French man of war mounting 54 brass guns, commanded by monsieur De la Roche. This ship, which was quite new, was esteemed one of the finest in the French navy. She had mistaken sir Thomas's squadron, which then lay off Dungeness, for her own, and, consequently, surrendered almost without resistance. In the year 1667, owing to the penury of Charles the second, and the duplicity of the Dutch, who had the art to deceive the British court into a belief that peace should take place early in the spring, we had no grand fleet at sea; but sir Thomas, who shifted his flag, on this occasion, into the Monmouth, had the command in chief of a small squadron sent to cruise to the westward; and of a second, in the same year, destined for a foreign expedition, but which, it is believed, never went to sea. Be that as it may, nothing worth recording took place in either service.
---Biographia Navalis. J. Charnock, 1794.

Bill  •  Link

In 1668, on information being received that the French fleet, under the duke of Beaufort, was at sea, sir Thomas was sent, with a discretionary power, to observe their motions; but nothing material took place during a long cruise at the entrance of the Channel. In the middle of August he sailed for the Streights; and having arrived off Algiers on the 8th of October, by his peremptory behaviour he quickly disposed the government to propose equitable terms of accommodation, which were immediately drawn up, and executed. Sir Thomas sailed from thence for Naples, where such honours were shewn him as proved so highly disagreeable to a Dutch squadron then lying there, that they left the place in the greatest disgust. The same respect was also shewn him at Leghorn. From thence he returned to Algiers, where, having received every assurance that the treaty of peace he had lately concluded with them would be faithfully observed, he returned to England in the month of April. No sooner, however, was he clear of the Streights, than the Algerines, highly elated at his absence, and conceiving it would be at least a day somewhat distant, ere vengeance could be taken of their perfidy, began to renew their depredations; so that having hoisted his flag on board the Resolution, he was a second time dispatched to Algiers to compel an observance of that peace we had vainly flattered ourselves with the hopes of enjoying from their justice. He sailed from Plymouth on the 22d of July, having under his command eighteen men of war, besides fireships and other vessels, making in all twenty-nine sail, and arrived on the 30th of the same month at Cadiz. On the 6th of August he appeared off Algiers, and a negotiation not taking place, he immediately prepared to inflict a proper chastisement, which he did by taking, or destroying a considerable number of their corsairs. This petty and inconsiderable warfare was continued for some time: and in the following year he was, at his own earnest request, recalled. He was succeeded in his command by sir Edward Spragge. Having arrived at St. Helen's on the 3d of November, 1670, he retired from command for some time; and was, on his arrival in England, probably as a reward for his former services, appointed comptroller of the navy. However, in March 1678, he was again appointed commander in chief of his majesty's fleet in the narrow seas, having hoisted his flag for that purpose on board the Royal James. This was occasioned by the probability of war with France; but that soon passing away, sir Thomas again returned to his former peaceable, and honourable retirement, a retirement highly necessary to the latter days of an officer who had served so honestly, and behaved so gallantly. The time and place of his death is not positively known.
---Biographia Navalis. J. Charnock, 1794.

Bill  •  Link

This brave and expert officer was the first that entered upon hostilities against the Dutch, in 1665, by attacking their Smyrna fleet. The squadron that he commanded consisted but of eight ships; but what he wanted in force, he supplied by courage and conduct. He killed their commodore Brackel, took four merchantmen richly laden, and drove the rest into the bay of Cadiz. On the 25th of July, 1666, he, at the head of the white squadron, fell upon the Dutch van, entirely defeated it, and killed the three admirals who commanded that division. The victory of this day, in which he had a principal hand, was indisputably on the side of the English. Then it was that De Ruyter exclaimed, "My God, what a wretch am I! among so many thousand bullets, is there not one to put me out of my pain?"
---A Biographical History of England. J. Granger, 1779.

Bill  •  Link

Thomas Allen (or Allin) of Blundeston, born 1612. He commanded a ship in the fleet that seceded to the Prince of Wales (Charles II.) in 1648. He was appointed to command the "Dover" in 1660, and successively commanded the "Plymouth," the "Foresight," the "Lion," and the " Rainbow." He succeeded Lawson in command of the Mediterranean squadron in 1664. Elder Brother of the Trinity House, 1666; Comptroller of the Navy, 1671. Created a baronet in 1673 in consideration of his gallant services; Commander-in-chief of the Channel Fleet, 1678. Died 1685.
---Wheatley, 1893.

Bill  •  Link

ALLIN, SIR THOMAS (1612-1685), naval commander; originally merchant and shipowner in Lowestoft; supported royalists during civil war; captain, 1660; commander-in-chief in the Downs, 1663; fought against Dutch in Mediterranean, 1664, and at Lowestoft, 1665; knighted and appointed admiral; defeated Dutch off Isle of Wight and French off Dungeness, 1666; engaged against Barbary pirates, 1668-70; comptroller of navy, 1670-8; commander-in-chief in the Narrow Seas against French, 1778.
---Dictionary of National Biography: Index and Epitome. S. Lee, 1906.

Bill  •  Link

Sir Thomas Allon, whose understanding is as great as his honesty, a close embracer of rogues, had a boon of 1000l.
---A Seasonable Argument ... for a New Parliament. Andrew Marvell, [1677] 1776.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

In 1668 Sir Thomas Allin was sent to the Mediterranean as Commander of a fleet. Charles II, as a courtesy, sent a letter of introduction to the Grand Master of the Knights of St. John on Malta.

In the 1660’s Malta, and the Knights of St. John, were bastions against the Turks and the Barbary Pirates. Two brothers were Grand Masters of the Order during those years, Raphael and Nicholas Cotoner. Some highlights from a paper about them:

The first printing press was introduced in 1644, but owing to a prolonged controversy between the Grand Masters, the Bishops and the Inquisitor over censorship nothing was printed in Malta between 1656 and 1755.

No wonder, then, that the people were illiterate and that even the rulers, despite their aristocratic origins, could make no claim to learning or culture; but thanks to the Order's diplomatic, political and commercial connections with Europe, the Maltese Islands was influenced by the intellectual ferment that was agitating the continent.

From this there emerged some creative trends in Malta’s national life by the mid-17th century. This was the situation when the Spanish Knight, Nicholas Cotoner, succeeded his brother Raphael to the Grand Mastership of the Order of St. John on 23 October, 1663.

In 1643 Nicholas Cotoner had had a short naval career as Captain of the galley San Lorenzo when he distinguished himself in an engagement with a Turkish galleon in the stretch of sea between Malta and Rhodes. Cotoner left the navy after two years [1645].

San Diego Sarah  •  Link


In 1660 Nicholas Cotoner was appointed Bailiff of Mallorca and President of the Congregazione Dei Poveri Mendicanti that had been set up in 1656 to provide financial relief for the indigent when the streets of Valletta were thronged with beggars.

As the Congregazione had no funds, President Cotoner succeeded in persuading the government to provide the necessary revenues from the imposition of a tax on tobacco as a luxury item.

Later, in 1666, when Nicholas Cotoner became Grand Master of the Order of St. John, he accommodated the beggars in a magazine "suitable for this purpose" to do away with the distressing sight which these men presented in the streets of Valletta.

Poverty was a European social problem at the time, so we can note that Grand Master Cotoner followed the solution adopted in Paris to solve their beggar problem, which was to keep the indigent in such institutions as the Hospital General created in 1656 by Louis XIV (really the Queen Regent, Anne of Austria and Cardinal Mazarin).

To protect Malta against a rumored invasion by the Turks after the loss of Crete by the Venetians in 1667, Cotoner erected fortifications, added new bulwarks to existing bastions and constructed Fort Ricasoli at the entrance of the Grand Harbor.

In 1666 Cotoner also completed the extension of the Old Ward of the Holy Infirmary of Valletta that had been started by his brother, Grand Master Raphael Cotoner, in 1662. The length of the original ward was extended to over 153 meters (500 feet) which thus became the longest hall in Europe.

To demonstrate the importance of Valletta's Holy Infirmary, in Grand Master Nicholas Cotoner's time its administration represented the most expensive item (over 29,000 scudi) in the Order of the Knights of St. John's budget after the navy (over 200,000 scudi), the money being spent on salaries, supplies of provisions and medications, and the maintenance of the buildings.

Until 1669 there was only one physician to care for the inmates of the Slaves Prison and of the patients at the Women's Hospital. Grand Master Nicholas Cotoner separated the two assignments, and created the post of physician to treat the female patients exclusively, thus improving their medical care.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link


As the Order of St. John was a Catholic institution, the care of the soul was as important as that of the body. Disease was still regarded as being the result of sin. Patients were therefore expected to confess and receive Communion before they were assigned a bed in hospital.

Because of this, a young English Protestant was expelled from Valletta's Holy Infirmary in October 1667 because he declined to confess. [I wonder if he was part of Allin's crew?] As soon as Grand Master Nicholas heard of this, he ordered the Hospitaller to re-admit the Englishman -- an order that was promptly carried out with an apology from the hospital authorities.

This decision involved the Grand Master in a conflict with the Inquisitor of Malta, Mgr. Angelo Ranucci, who reported the incident to Rome, but it shows Cotoner was an administrator who did not let religious discrimination to prejudice the treatment of a sick man.

The 60-year-old Grand Master was described in 1667 by the Inquisitor as a man intent on the good administration of the Order and the government of Malta.
He served the sick, gave generously to the poor, and attended to his religious obligations.
Although affable and courteous, he was touchy and fond of flattery, for example, he took offence when his portrait was not exhibited in churches on the occasion of religious feasts.
As an authoritarian, Cotoner was intolerant of opposition and prone to fits of rage when contradicted. However, he quickly acknowledging his quick temper, he made amends to those he had offended.
He kept informed on affairs of state and of the views of his subjects about their conditions.
He possessed a good grasp of the law and courts, but had low esteem for his legal advisers whom he regarded as being "mere clerks whose only use was to register his decrees and pronouncements".
He lived in an extravagant style, and his critics upbraided him for his wasteful expenditure on luxuries that should have been usefully spent for the benefit of the Order and of Malta.

A historian of the Order of St. John drew this profile of Cotoner's personality: "He owed his own advancement to his merits only. He had an excellent talent at negotiations; was bold in his enterprises and prudent in the choice of proper means to execute them; he had all his fellow knights for his friends; communicated his designs to very few among them, and never had a confidant".

To form a balanced view of Grand Master Cotoner's lifestyle, remember he lived in an age when heads of state were sensitive to prestige and their rank in the social hierarchy; when the pomp he displayed were rooted in the contemporary behavior of the European aristocracy, and the tinge of absolutism in his character reflected the expected role of the ruler.

For more about the Cotoner brothers' lives and Malta beyond the Diary years, see https://www.um.edu.mt/library/oar…

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Malta's relationship with England goes back hundreds of years, but Charles II was initially very careless about his relationship with the Island and the Catholic Knights of St. John. His father and his brother were more traditional about such things, but Charles didn't bother to read the memo, and really only interacted with the Knights to please cousin Louis XIV.

By the 1670's, had Pepys continued the Diary, we would have a section for Malta, because Charles tried to adopt the Genoa Galley ship design (with slaves rowing) to fight the Barbary Pirates, and Adm. Narborough needed to use their ports.

If you are intrigued by a much bigger picture, here's a chapter which will fill in the blanks:

Third Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

The Journals of Sir Thomas Allin, 1660-1678,
Volume II, 1660-1678
Vol 80 (1940), by R.C. Anderson

Thomas Allin was a Lowestoft ship owner who subsequently spent both Civil Wars and the Commonwealth period as a successful Royalist privateer and commander, leading a charmed life through to the Restoration.

After 1660, he commanded or flew his flag in 12 different ships and was extensively employed in peace and war, although his only participation in major fleet action was on the fourth day of the Four Days’ Battle.

He was an evident hypochondriac, a stickler for protocol and had his fair share of accidents at sea, including a fire and a major grounding, as well as the wreck of two ships of his group on the eastern side of Gibraltar.

Volume II deals with the period 1667-70, when Allin was mostly serving as an admiral in the Mediterranean, in operations against shipping operating out of Algiers and, on occasions, operating with the Dutch. He records plenty of topographical and weather detail, as well as giving insights into the daily problems of remaining on station and sufficiently supplied so far from home.

The volume also includes a short, incomplete account of daily routine off Portsmouth in 1678 and a useful collection of letters and orders that passed between politicians, officials (including Pepys) and commanders 1644-78.

To read the whole book please become a member of the Navy Records Society.

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