5 Annotations

First Reading

Michael Robinson  •  Link

Per L&M Companion:

Harman, Sir John, kt. 1665 (d. 1673). One of the most experienced of contemporary seamen, he served in all three Dutch wars; in the last two as a flag-officer. A parliamentary inquiry exonerated him for his failure to pursue the enemy after the Battle of Lowestoft (1665). A John Harman lived in New Palace Yard in 1658 and 1661.

Portrait with more biographical information:

Second Reading

Bill  •  Link

HARMAN, Sir John.—This brave, and justly renowned commander was appointed captain of the Gloucester, of fifty-eight guns, in 1664; and, in the following spring, served as lieutenant of the Royal Charles. The office he bore is not, however, to be taken according to' the present meaning affixed to the term. He was, in fact, captain of the ship, as sir William Penn, who was on board the Royal Charles with him, was captain of the fleet. The enemies of the duke of York have taken some pains to asperse the character of sir John Harman, as having been concerned in the business with Brounker. The rage of party can reconcile the greatest absurdities and persuade the most sensible men of the propriety of its dictates: but certainly no man can stand clearer of all blame than he does. The story, as related by unbiassed persons, is simply this. After the action, in which it is admitted, on all hands, the Royal Charles bore so distinguished a part, the duke having retired to his cabin for repose, Brounker, who was one of the gentlemen of his bed-chamber, came to sir John, who was then standing near the helm, and pressed him much to shorten sail, urging as a reason, the risk the duke ran if his ship, the headmost of the fleet, should fall in singly with the enemy upon their own coasts. Sir John ever attentive to, and intelligent in his duty as an officer, answered, "he could do nothing without orders." Brounker accordingly went back into the cabin, and brought him orders, as from the duke, to shorten sail. Sir John obeyed. It must be apparent to any person who will be at the pains of considering the foregoing statement, that, let the blame (if any) lay where it will, not a shadow of it is imputable to sir John, whose subsequent conduct through life proved him one of the last men in the world, who could with justice be charged either with treachery or want of spirit. As a convincing proof no such opinion was entertained of him by government, he received the honour of knighthood, and is said in the navy list to have been appointed, immediately after the action, rear-admiral of the white, and that he hoisted his flag on board the Resolution. This we apprehend to be a mistake, as we find him both in the navy list, and every other document, serving, when the fleet put next to sea under the command of the earl of Sandwich, as rear admiral of the blue on board the Revenge, an highly merited, though very rapid promotion, when we consider scarcely twelve months had elapsed since he first became a commander.
---Biographia Navalis. J. Charnock, 1794.

Bill  •  Link

In the month of November following he was detached, by the earl of Sandwich, with eighteen ships, to bring home the fleet from Gottenburgh. On his return he shifted his flag into the Henry, and distinguished himself too remarkably, in the long action between the duke of Albemarle and the Dutch, to be passed over in general or common terms of approbation. Leading the van of the English fleet, he soon got into the center of the Zealand squadron; and being in a short time completely disabled, one of the enemy's fireships grappled him on the starboard quarter: he was, however, soon freed by the almost incredible exertions of his boatswain, (as it is asserted by all historians, but according to the navy list it appears he was his lieutenant) who having in the midst of the flames loosed the grappling-irons, swung back on board his own ship unhurt. The Dutch bent on the destruction of this unfortunate ship, and seeing the ill-success of the first, sent a second, who grappled her on the larboard side, and with much greater success than the former, for the sails instantly taking fire, the crew were so terrified that near fifty of them, among whom the chaplain is said to have been one, jumped overboard. Sir John seeing this confusion ran instantly, with his sword drawn, among those who remained, and threatened, with instant death, the first man who should attempt to quit the ship, or should not exert himself in quenching the flames. This spirited conduct had the desired effect the crew returning to their duty soon got the fire under: but the rigging being a good deal of it burnt, one of the top-sail yards fell and broke sir John's leg. In the midst of this accumulated distress a third fireship prepared to grapple him; but ere she could effect her purpose, four shot from the Henry's lower-deck guns sunk her. Evertzen, the Dutch vice-admiral now bore up to him, and calling on him to surrender, offered him quarter. Sir John answered him bluntly, "It was not come to that yet," and giving him a broadside killed the Dutch commander, which so intimidated the rest of his adversaries, that they declined all farther contest. The Henry, shattered as she was, her Commander disabled, and great part of her crew killed or wounded was, nevertheless, carried safely into Harwich, whence, sir John having the next day refitted her, as well as the time and circumstances would permit him, and hoping to share in the honour of the last day's engagement, put to sea (notwithstanding his broken leg) but unfortunately, as sir John thought, the action was over ere he reached the fleet.
---Biographia Navalis. J. Charnock, 1794.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Admiral Sir John Harman was a handsome young man. He served in the second and third Anglo-Dutch Wars.
He was captain of James, Duke of York's, flagship at the Battle of Lowestoft in 1665, the first major action of the Second Dutch War, where James was in overall command.
His defense of the 'Henry', 80 guns, when he was Rear-Admiral of the White squadron on the first day of the Four Days' Fight in 1666 is one of the epics of naval warfare.
In 1667, as commander-in-chief in the West Indies, he (and Balty) sailed into Martinique, silenced the forts and destroyed 20 of the 24 French ships there, including the flagship.
He also captured Surinam from the Dutch.
In the Third Dutch War he fought as a flag officer in Sandwich's squadron at Solebay in 1672 and Prince Rupert's at the Texel in 1673, shortly before his death.

The was a "Flagman of Lowestoft", and his portrait is on display at Greenwich:
Pepys saw this painting, either begun or finished, in Peter Lely's studio on 18 April, 1666.

Check out the long coat that is a version of the Persian vest introduced into the English court in 1666 by Charles II. It is heavily barred with gold and silver braiding and he also wears a loosely knotted linen cravat and a heavy leather sword belt.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Reading Sir John Harman's wikipedia page, he's not that young (c. 1625 - 1673), so he's 41 in the painting, and suffering from gout. And I note he also served in the first Anglo-Dutch war.

Yesterday I pieced together what I know of the 1667-68 expedition to the West Indies: https://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/…

I pick up the narrative from there, now I know more:

Sir John Harman left Nevis when the fleet was repaired, and sailed to South America. On 15 September, 1667 they captured Cayenne.
His fleet destroyed Fort Cépérou and the French colonial settlement of Cayenne.
The French governor, Cyprien Lefebvre de Lézy, fled the colony on 23 September 1667.

Harman arrived at the mouth of the Suriname River on 3 October 1667.
The next morning he entered the river on the Bonaventure accompanied by the Assurance and Norwich, the Portsmouth and Roe ketches under lieutenant-general Henry Willoughby and a sloop. Willoughby sent a messenger demanding that the Dutch surrender.
The troops were landed on 5 October and advanced to the fort, which was well-built with walls about 18 feet (5.5 m) high.

On 8 October 1667 Harman captured Fort Zeelandia.

Harman returned to Barbados on 10 November 1667, and since peace had been concluded he sailed for England, arriving in the Downs on 7 April 1668.

I'm guessing they stayed in Barbados for Christmas, New Years and a refit, and then sailed north to catch the trade winds.

According to 18th century sailing times, the New York to Liverpool crossing can take 21 days (fastest) and 29 days (slowest). Harman's ships would not be so efficient, so let's stay it took about 40 days.

So I modify my question: I wonder where they stopped for water and fresh food in March 1668 before crossing the Atlantic?
Yes, there's no hint of capturing prize ships or taking bounty. But they had lots of opportunity to find some, off the record, during this voyage, and I note Balty's post-voyage finances were much improved. ... So I still ask, was Oak Island, Nova Scotia on their itinerary, with or without the Stuart Bros. authorization? https://www.pepysdiary.com/encycl…

Some minutes of meetings and abstracts of correspondence about this trip is at https://www.british-history.ac.uk…

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Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.