PRIDE OF DUTY (Book 2 in the Men of the Squadron Series) More Regency Navy Seals!

Napoleon After Waterloo

Andrea K. Stein

Bellerophon was a famous Greek hero, mostly known for defeating Chimera, a fire-breathing, mythical monster. By some quirk of fate and history, the H.M.S. Bellerophon was also the name of the ship where the monster Napoleon, who bloodied two continents in his obsession to rule the world, turned himself over to the Royal Navy after his defeat at Waterloo.

The Bellerophon (center 74-gun ship) surrounded by sight-seers in Plymouth Sound
Painting by John James Chalon

Stories surrounding the final, decisive battle of Waterloo abound, but have you ever heard an account of what happened to the little megalomaniac emperor in the days following his massive defeat? He somehow thought after all the horrors he’d wrought, everyone would overlook his misdeeds. He variously dreamed of living the life of a country gentleman in England or managing an escape to America.

Napoleon fled to Paris after the June 18, 1815, battle, arriving there on June 21. When he tried to rally what troops he had left, his friends and commanders either abandoned him or turned against him. He had to abdicate two days later. He then fled to Rochefort in the coastal area known as Basque Roads. He’d hoped for a French frigate to take him to asylum in America, but the Royal Navy blockade of the area was too tight for French ships to evade. With French Royalists hot on his heels, he ran out of options, and on July 15, he surrendered to Captain Frederick Lewis Maitland on the Bellerophon.

Captain Frederick Lewis Maitland

With its famous prisoner aboard, the Bellerophon, heavily guarded by other Royal Navy warships, made its way to Brixham in Devon, arriving the morning of July 24. John Smart, a schoolboy who later wrote a memoir of the day, described rowing out to the 74-gun ship with a baker from the town to sell loaves of bread. They were warned away, but he claimed a sailor aboard the ship secretly threw a corked bottle overboard with a small piece of paper inside rolled up with the message, “We have got Bonaparte on board.” Smart recalled, “in five minutes after we reached shore, there was not a soul in Brixham, except babies, ignorant of the news.”

Ultimately, the allies decided to send him to remote St. Helena, a rocky island about halfway between Africa and South America, owned by the East India Company. Why didn’t they simply execute him? Perhaps this quote from Wellington might shed some light:

The Duke of Wellington to Sir Charles Stuart, Orvillé

28 June 1815—

“I send you my dispatches, which will make you acquainted with the state of affairs. You may show them to Talleyrand if you choose. 

General ——— has been here this day to negotiate for Napoleon’s passing to America, to which proposition I have answered that I have no authority. The Prussians think the Jacobins wish to give him over to me, believing that I will save his life. Blücher wishes to kill him; but I have told him that I shall remonstrate, and shall insist upon his being disposed of by common accord. I have likewise said that, as a private friend, I advised him to have nothing to do with so foul a transaction; that he and I had acted too distinguished parts in these transactions to become executioners; and that I was determined that if the sovereigns wished to put him to death they should appoint an executioner, which should not be me.”

Napoleon’s charisma, and his effect on the people around him, is legendary, not to mention somewhat hard to fathom. Captain Maitland of the Bellerophon, to whom Napoleon surrendered, wrote this in his memoir of the event:

“It may appear surprising, that a possibility could exist of a British officer, being prejudiced in favour of one who had caused do many calamities to his country; but to such an extent did he possess the power of pleasing, that there are few people who could have sat at the same table with him for nearly a month, as I did, without feeling a sensation of pity, allied perhaps to regret, that a man possessed of so many fascinating qualities, and who had held so high a station in life, should be reduced to the situation in which I saw him.”

Probably the most accurate portrait of Napoleon at his surrender – the Plymouth artist Sir Charles Lock Eastlake was taken to the ship to create this shortly after the ship’s arrival


Captain Maitland was not alone in his apparent fascination. The former French emperor so charmed the ship’s Irish surgeon, Barry Edward O’Meara, that he accompanied Napoleon to St. Helena and became his physician there. After Napoleon’s death in 1821, O’Meara wrote Napoleon in Exile, or A voice from St. Helena in 1822. His allegations of mistreatment of the former emperor by his gaoler, Governor Hudson Lowe, caused a small sensation back in England as well as the rest of Europe.


Letters leaked to newspapers while Napoleon was still alive, about alleged deprivations such as insufficient firewood, caused an uproar among the very people who suffered throughout the Napoleonic Wars. The imprisoned dictator who’d wanted to conquer the world seemed to evoke romantic notions once he’d been exiled.

However, there were also many Britons who voiced strong opposing opinions, as evidenced by this letter published by The Times on July 26:

“What is to be done with him? Is he after all his crimes to be suffered to go unpunished; or in what way is he to be brought to justice?… He has, for a long succession of years, deluged Europe in blood, to gratify his own mad vanity, his insatiable and furious ambition. It is calculated, that every minute he has reigned, has cost the life of a human being…”

A lieutenant taking dispatches to London from Brixham spread the news while changing horses in Exeter. By the next day, the Bellerophon was surrounded by all manner of craft from local ports, and even further away, hired by people trying to catch a glimpse of Napoleon.

Officers going ashore from the ships were treated like celebrities. One Midshipman Home recalled he was asked questions like “Was he really a man? Were his hands and clothes all over blood when he came aboard. Was his voice like thunder? Could I possibly get them a sight of the monster?” The former emperor had been portrayed as the devil incarnate in stories and caricatures in the English papers for years.

Another probably fairly accurate portrayal of him on his evening walk on deck with his loyal officers who followed him into exile – depicts Napoleon watching French shoreline recede – By Sir William Quiller Orchardson

The Admiralty decided the Bellerophon should be moved to Plymouth for extra security against any rescue attempt. On July 31, a letter arrived with the official decision of the British government – exile to St. Helena. The former emperor was to be transferred to the Northumberland, a ship the Admiralty deemed more sea-worthy for the long voyage. On August 4, the Bellerophon set sail from Plymouth along the south coast of Devon where it met the Northumberland off Start Point on August 6 for transfer of Napoleon and his entourage. The next day, he sailed toward his last exile.

After his final imprisonment, there was one cork-brained plan to smuggle him to Chile from St. Helena to try to re-conquer the world from there. That plan never materialized, due to Napoleon’s deteriorating health. An attempt to spirit him off the remote island by submarine was also cut off when British agents seized the invention whilst being tested in the Thames. The submarine, manufactured by Tom Johnson, the smuggler, was ostensibly to be towed all the way to St. Helena by a larger ship.


“The War for all the Oceans” by Roy and Lesley Adkins

“Commander” by Stephen Taylor, a biography of Captain Edward Pellew

“Cochrane – Britannia’s Sea Wolf” by Donald Thomas

“The Command of the Ocean” by N.A.M. Rodger

“Narrative of the Surrender of Buonaparte and of his residence on Baord H.M.S. Bellerophon” by Captain F.L. Maitland, C.B.



Andrea K. Stein is the daughter of a trucker and an artist. She grew up a scribbler. The stories just spilled out.

After writing and editing at newspapers for twenty-five years and then a short, boring stint as a consultant to commercial printers, she ran away to sea for three years to deliver yachts up and down the Caribbean.

She earned her USCG offshore captain’s license, but perversely, now writes romance set at sea while wrapped in sweaters and PJs in her writing room in Canon City, CO.

She has multiple published romance novels available on Amazon. Three of those titles have been honored with awards. “Secret Harbor” earned a first place in the Pikes Peak Writers Fiction Contest in the romance category; “Fortune’s Horizon” finaled in the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers Romance category; and the latest novel, “Pride of Honor,” finaled in the national 2018 Beau Monde Royal Ascot Contest.


Book Three in The Men of the Squadron Series – PRIDE OF VALORDebuted on February 23, 2021. Visit your favorite purveyors of fine books and spend some time with the Men of the Squadron!

London’s Bookshops – A Mecca for Bibliophiles

by Louisa Cornell

Anyone who knows me surely knows that London is one of my favorite places in the world. It is one of my happy places – the kind of place one might explore for years and never, ever grow tired. Another thing most people know about me is I have a penchant for collecting books. Should one wish to park me in a location, go about doing as one wishes, and be assured of finding me in that same location at the end of the day, a bookshop is that location.

Old books, antique books, are my guilty pleasure. A bookshop full of antique books is my idea of heaven. And I daresay when it comes to bookshops, London is home to some of the quirkiest, most specialized, oldest, and most fascinating bookshops in the world. If you share my love of booksellers and London this post is must reading for you.

Allow me to introduce you to some of London’s most interesting bookshops!

Atlantis Bookshop

49 A Museum Street

Atlantis Bookshop

Bloomsbury, London

A family-run bookshop for nearly 100 years and the living history of magic. London’s oldest independent occult bookshop. The Atlantis Bookshop was established in 1922 by magicians, for magicians. It is the birth-place of modern witchcraft, with Gerald Gardner holding regular coven meetings in the basement of the Shop. The Atlantis Bookshop is owned by Bali and Geraldine Beskin, a mother and daughter partnership. They are proud to be 3rd and 4th generation practitioners and multi-generation booksellers. All of the famous but now long-dead magicians – Aleister Crowley, Dion Fortune, W.B Yeats, Israel Regardie and Gerald Gardner to name a few – have passed through the sacred portal that is the front door to Atlantis.

Collinge and Clark Bookshop

13 Leigh Street, London

Collinge and Clark

Collinge & Clark was founded in 1989 and is situated between Russell Square Tube station and the British Library. Originally a partnership between Michael Collinge and Oliver Clark, the former retired in 2005. The shop has a medium-sized stock, ground-floor and basement, and specialises in Private Press books, Typography and the art of the book since William Morris. One large catalogue is issued a year and various occasional lists.

The Museum Bookshop Ltd

36 Great Russell Street, London

British Museum Bookshop

New and out of print books, specializing in Archaeology, Egyptology, Classics, Middle East, Musicology & Conservation, Prehistoric and Roman Britain, Medieval. As well as selling 350 British Museum titles, the shop sells 1,000 titles from other publishers.


Skoob Books Ltd.

66, The Brunswick

Skoob Books Ltd.

off Marchmont St, London

London’s broadest selection of second-hand academic books, including large collections of used books in Philosophy, Psychology, Modern Literature, Art, History, Politics, Economics, Classics, Science and Technology. A 2000 square foot shop (186 m2) that is crammed with over 55,000 different titles, and at the moment they’re replacing over 5,000 every month.


Jarndyce Antiquarian Booksellers

46, Great Russell Street – (opp. British Museum)

Jarndyce Antiquarian Booksellers

Jarndyce’s is the leading specialist in 18th and, particularly, 19th century English Literature & History books. They publish up to eight catalogues a year covering a wide variety of subjects.  Recent catalogues have included:  Dickens, 17th & 18th Century Books & Pamphlets, London, Women Writers, Language and Education, Economic, Social & Political History (including Philosophy), Books in Translation, Bloods and Penny Dreadfuls, Chapbooks & Broadsides, Yellowback novels, Plays & Theatre, and Newspapers.

The building in which it is housed was built in 1735 and has been a bookshop for over a hundred years. The ground floor was recently renovated to recreate a 19th century bookshop within an 18th century building, incorporating paneling, a working fireplace and original wooden floor. Number 46 Great Russell Street is reputed to be haunted; one sighting was of a Scotsman in a kilt, reading a book; others have felt a presence in the basement. So far the ghosts appear to be fairly benevolent. Readers are not, in general, a violent lot so long as the books and tea are in plentiful supply.

Hatchards (Picadilly)

187 Piccadilly, London

Hatchards Bookshop

Hatchards is London’s oldest bookshop. It was established in 1797 by John Hatchard and has occupied the same location on Piccadilly for over 200 years. Its place in the lore of Regency romance has made it an icon and a place of pilgrimage for readers and writers of the genre. It has served eight generations of customers from all over the world – from humble romance writers to the royalty of Europe. In fact, Hatchards currently holds three royal warrants.

These are just a few of London’s fascinating bookshops. Look for future posts for portraits of more unique and amazing booksellers in the city no bibliophile should miss.

I have included websites for these shops because all of them ship abroad, and in our current crisis many of these shops are in desperate need of business. Each of these shops employs knowledgeable people who will make it their top priority to discover that hard to find research book or old favorite novel for you. If you are in search of a particular quarantine read or simply wish to browse, these bookshops are an excellent way to wile away an afternoon. Tea, scones, and a comfy chair optional.


PRIDE OF HONOR – The Men of the African Squadron

Guest Post


Imagine a small crew of men rowing up a mosquito-infested jungle estuary in the darkness of night, silently gliding through lands dominated by warring tribal chiefs. Their mission? Stop trafficking in human slavery. Does this sound like the plot for a movie based on a special forces or Navy SEALS op?

Actually, the year is 1820, and the men are ordinary Royal Navy sailors and marines. They don’t have the luxury of night-vision goggles, high-tech weaponry, or medical access to a cure for the dreaded jungle fevers. They’re the men of the African, or Preventative, Squadron, as they were more commonly known in the 19th century. The place is the Rio Pongas estuary on West Africa.

Between 1807 and 1860, the West Africa Squadron seized approximately 1,600 ships involved in the slave trade and freed 150,000 Africans who were aboard those vessels.

WANDERER Squadron ship taken from Americans

Those numbers are staggering, considering what the squadron had to work with, but perhaps it makes more sense to look at this accomplishment in the context of the life of one of those slaves.

Samuel Ajayi Crowther was kidnapped at 12 or 13 into slavery in 1821 by a neighboring tribe and sold to Portuguese slavers who placed him on a slave vessel for transport. The African Squadron’s “HMS Myrmidon,” under the command of Sir Henry Leeke, detained Adjai’s ship before it could leave port.

Ajayi and the others were rescued and taken to Freetown, a settlement for liberated Africans in Sierra Leone. Educated in a missionary school in Freetown for the next few years, he was baptized on December 11, 1825, and took the name Samuel Crowther.

Crowther excelled in languages, including English, Greek, Latin, and Temne. In 1826 he attended Islington Parish School in England, returning a year later to study as a teacher at Fourah Bay. In time, he became a teacher there himself. In 1841 he became a missionary on the Niger. After this, he was recalled to England where he trained as a minister and was ordained by the Bishop of London in 1843.

Bishop Samuel Ajayi Crowther (c. 1809–31 December 1891)

 In the same year, he returned to Africa and opened a mission of his own in Abeokuta, Nigeria. He translated the Bible into Yoruba, wrote a Yoruba dictionary and published several books of his own on African languages. In 1864, he became the first African Bishop ordained in the Anglican Church.

When I began thinking about a group of heroes for my latest series of historical romances, my research and the workings of my quirky mind led me to the men of the African Squadron. Some historians believe these men took on this work only for the prize money. Depending on the mood of the prize court in Freetown, and the politics back in London, the crew could benefit from the seizure of each ship and each slave freed. However, on the slaver side of the ledger, some very powerful forces were still at work, both inside and outside of England, and often, the captains and crews were denied any payment by the courts.

The mortality rate among the men of the squadron was staggering. On some expeditions, an estimated one-third to one-half of all sailors died aboard individual ships. The marine surgeons who sailed with the West African Squadron are credited with finally linking the mosquito to the spread of fever and finding treatments. It’s difficult to imagine men would work under these conditions only for the money. They had to be courageous, fearless, and believers in the cause.

Although Parliament had passed a law outlawing slavery in 1807, the act was not fully operational until January 1808. However, at that time, England was fighting France in the Atlantic, the Mediterranean, and the Indian Ocean. There were approximately 795 Royal Navy ships in commission and they were very thinly spread.

By November 19, 1819, the war with France had been over for four years, and the Royal Navy at last had ships to spare. By this time the squadron was led by Cmdr. Sir George Collier who fought under Nelson at the Battle of the Nile. He was given six ships to cover a coast of about 2,500 miles, an area equivalent to the U.S. East Coast, from Maine all the way around Florida to New Orleans.

The Squadron’s lives in letters, portraits, diaries, and ships’ logs are part of a wonderful exhibit at the National Museum of the Royal Navy in Portsmouth, England.  Fortunately, most of the items have been digitized and are available online.


National Museum of the Royal Navy

The Royal Navy and the Slavers by W.E.F. Ward

Enforcing Abolition at Sea 1808-1898 by Bernard Edwards

Sweet Water and Bitter by Sian Rees


The first in the Men of the Squadron series, “Pride of Honor,” is up for pre-order on Amazon.


What if two people determined to marry anyone

but each other end up falling in love?

A hatpin-wielding, parasol-armed poet with a maddening Royal Navy officer in tow races against time to attract the marital attentions of the perfect “gentleman of the ton.”

Sophia Brancellli, the orphaned, illegitimate child of a duke’s daughter and an Italian poet, is on a mission. She must ensure her marriage to a “suitable gentleman of the ton” before her twenty-first birthday or she’ll be destitute, per the terms of her ducal grandmother’s will. Close to having her own poems published, Sophia has her hopes dashed each time by someone revealing her secrets. That same someone so desperately wants her to fail the terms of the will, they’re willing to commit violent acts to ruin her reputation.

Captain Arnaud Bellingham has ascended the ranks of the Royal Navy in spite of his half-French heritage by proving himself at the Battle of Algiers and with the West African Squadron. He seeks a simple marriage of convenience to a mature woman, a widow who has been his sometime mistress the last several years. The very thing he does not want, an exotic Italian innocent, literally falls into his life when he rescues her from kidnappers, although she disputes she needed saving. And now, honor and duty dictate he has to waste the rest of his leave guarding her through the mad whirl of the Season.



Sophie lost her balance and sat down with a thump at the edge of the street. Shaking, she sank her elbows to her knees and rested her head in her hands. Her parasol had rolled to the edge of the walkway. At a sharp cramp in her hand, she realized she still clutched her trusty hatpin. After a restorative breath, she looked up into the deeply tanned face of a Royal Navy officer in full uniform.

He knelt in front of her, asking question after question. “Are you hurt? Who did this to you? Are you with a chaperone?”

Blood dribbled from his wrist, staining his white glove. Zeus! The hatpin. She knew she should provide him with some answers, but couldn’t. She could barely breathe properly, so shaken was she by the encounter with the unknown men who’d tried to drag her toward a waiting hack carriage.

He grasped her by the shoulders. The warmth of his touch seeped through the thin muslin of her dress, and his solid competence fortified her courage. The runaway terrors slowed, allowing her to breathe normally again.

The first thought to pop into her head once she’d settled a bit was: Respectable women of the ton did not find themselves in situations like this. This was the sort of turmoil that might befall the actresses who had kept company with her late father.

“Are you hurt?” The naval officer shed his gloves and ran his hands down her arms as if seeking injuries. “By Jupiter! Is this your weapon?” The hatpin rolled into his hand from her slackened grasp, and he tucked it safely within a pocket. His frown softened a bit, he shook his head, and gave a low chuckle.

He clasped her hands as if he feared she might break and smoothed his thumbs over the soft pads beneath her thumbs. If the stranger continued his exploration for injuries, Sophie feared she might expire from pleasure. If only he knew the ink-stained fingers her white gloves hid.

More about Andrea

Andrea K. Stein is the daughter of a trucker and an artist. She grew up a scribbler. The stories just spilled out.

After writing and editing at newspapers for twenty-five years and then a short, boring stint as a consultant to commercial printers, she ran away to sea for three years to deliver yachts up and down the Caribbean.

She earned her USCG offshore captain’s license, but perversely, now writes romance set at sea while wrapped in sweaters and PJs in her writing room in Canon City, CO.

She has eight published romance novels available on Amazon. Three of those titles have been honored with awards. “Secret Harbor” earned a first place in the Pikes Peak Writers Fiction Contest in the romance category; “Fortune’s Horizon” finaled in the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers Romance category; and the latest novel, “Pride of Honor,” finaled in the national 2018 Beau Monde Royal Ascot Contest.

Join Andrea on Facebook and come find Andrea along with the Squadron officers and get advance, exclusive news of the adventures to come on Facebook in her private group, Men of the Squadron.

For more high seas excitement, content available nowhere else, and occasional fun rewards, sign up for Andrea’s newsletter. Don’t forget to visit Andrea’s website or her Pinterest page!

Coming Soon – Other Titles in the Men of the Squadron Series

Pride of Honor – February 2020

Pride of Duty – May 2020

Pride of Country – August 2020

Pride of Service – November 2020


Louisa Cornell

Sir Gilbert Blane

At the end of the Napoleonic Wars, Sir Gilbert Blane (1749–1843), Physician of the Fleet, argued that the incidence of insanity in the Royal Navy, which he estimated at one in a thousand, was seven times that of the general population. To explain this striking disparity, he identified head injuries, sometimes the result of black powder intoxication in the close confines of warships, together with the shock and blast experienced by gun crews. It was observed that the majority of inmates of a London asylum were seamen who had been sent there after the Battle of the Glorious First of June in 1794. It was theorized that mental illness amongst sailors exposed to combat was possibly related to the phenomenon of wind contusions or tingling, twitching, and even partial paralysis diagnosed in soldiers who had been close to the passage of a projectile or its explosion but had not actually suffered a physical wound.

Click here for a link to the firing of a rolling broadside by the HMS Victory, Nelson’s flagship. The video lasts less than a minute. Imagine hours of this from the inside of a ship. Or imagine seeing this coming at you from another ship in the heat of battle.

During the nineteenth century naval doctors acting as advocates for their patients used mental illness as a criminal defense. Captain G. Scott of the Stately wrote to Nelson on the recommendation of Dr John Snipe to request that the application for a court martial for John Burn, a royal marine, who had struck an officer, be withdrawn on the grounds that the offence was occasioned by insanity. Implicit in this defense was the idea that sailors who had experienced the effects of brutal battles could have their reason disturbed and hence not be fully responsible for their actions.

In 1808, the navy’s lack of provision for clothes for sailors confined in places like Bethlem meant some had only a blanket to wear. Monies had to be dedicated specifically to the care of specific sailors. Situations such as this, once reported to the admiralty, were part of the impetus to establish facilities under the control of the navy and dedicated to the care of those sailors suffering from wounds that could not be seen.

James Norris, American seaman, chained to the wall at Bethlem Hospital for over ten years.

The number of sailors suffering from mental illness was sufficient for the Royal Navy to make special provision for their treatment. Between 1794 and 1818, for example, 1083 officers and ratings were admitted to Hoxton House Asylum, which had been founded in 1695 with Chatham Chest funds to treat naval and government cases. Most of these admissions were then transferred to the Bethlem Hospital at Moorfields for further care, though 364 were regarded as cured. As a Crown institution, Bethlem was obliged to admit patients referred by the Sick and Wounded Seamen’s Office and the War Office.

However, from its opening in 1753,the Royal Hospital at Haslar had admitted psychiatric patients and subsequently Rear Admiral Garrett was reported as saying that a seaman who has lost his reason in the service of the Crown should receive the love and attention on a scale not less than a seaman who has lost a limb in the same cause. In August, 1818 the navy opened a Lunatic Asylum at Haslar. In 1819, wards for soldiers were established at the asylum at Chatham. By the 1820s the emphasis was on moral treatments and patients were encouraged to work in the gardens, take exercise, and undertake tasks in the hospital. Case notes showed that most of those admitted were either psychotic or severely depressed, rather than troubled by the acute effects of battle; most were regarded as incurable.

The naval hospital at Great Yarmouth had been constructed between 1809 and 1811 to treat the sick and wounded of the North Sea Fleet. The Royal Naval Hospital in Yarmouth was also a major hospital for naval lunatics. Taken over by the army in 1844, it housed a Military Lunatic Asylum until the outbreak of the Crimean War when the Admiralty re-acquired the building.

The advantage to facilities established and run by the military were:

  1. Patients were afforded the same sort of organized and regimented life they had whilst serving. Consistency was a great help in the treatment of those admitted to these facilities.
  2. Many of the physicians and mad doctors running these facilities were former navy, army, or cavalry surgeons, apothecaries, and physicians. They served on some of the same battlefields as the men they treated and therefore had a better understanding of the trauma these men had suffered.
  3. These facilities were usually under the charge of military officers and as such, these officers were able to cut through the paperwork needed to requisition the necessary supplies to provide the patients with more basic comforts than those afforded in public asylums.
  4. These facilities afforded a place for many displaced soldiers and sailors to recover. Soldiers and sailors without physical wounds were often consigned to wander the countryside in search of employment, housing, and some place to recover from mental disturbances they often did not understand.

Some things to remember:

  1. Warfare is warfare. However, warfare during the Regency Era was quite different from warfare today. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder manifests out of the experiences of the soldier or sailor at war. Equating the trauma of those who fought in the Peninsular Wars or with Nelson at sea with the trauma suffered by military men today does a disservice to both.
  2. British sensibilities when it came to the behavior of men were very rigid, very stoic, and very regimented. The idea of the stiff upper lip is not a myth. My father was the son of first-generation Americans. His grandparents were all born in Britain, three in Wales and one in England. My father served in combat in Korea and in Vietnam. He saw horrific things. Yet, his attitude and demeanor about those things was always one of stoic detachment. No matter how horrific the trauma, it was war and one did not complain. One did his duty. This would have been the attitude of military men in the Regency Era. They would have difficulty admitting to trauma and shame at asking for help for it.
  3. Attitudes about those sailors and soldiers who had to be confined in asylums to deal with the trauma of serving in combat would be as varied as those about any other lunatics. Some would be sympathetic. Some would be concerned about lunatics who had grown accustomed to the violence necessary to go to war and survive. Some would ascribe their mental illness to malingering.
  4. Treatment offered at military lunatic asylums would be more likely to help those soldiers and sailors confined therein. Studies of the records of both public facilities and military facilities confirm this.
  5. Sons of the aristocracy who went to war and returned with PTSD in any form would be treated the same way they might be treated if they suffered from a mental illness not associated with their military service. They would be more likely to be taken care of at home than in either a public facility or a military facility. Unfortunately, families of the aristocracy were more mindful of the way things might appear. A son who came home from war traumatized or displaying behavior which might be seen as unstable of as a form of lunacy was a son who might bring shame to the family. Sad and unfair, but as cruel as it might appear, true.
  6. The best way to discover the source of a Regency era military man’s PTSD is to read first-hand accounts of battles, the aftermath of battles, and military life on campaign. Never presume to know the source of someone’s nightmares without doing the best you can to submerse yourself in the same.

For records and more insight into the admission of soldiers and sailors into military lunatic asylums check out the section on naval asylums at the British National Archives.



The Fighting Temeraire (1839)

Joseph Mallord William Turner was born on 23 April 1775 at 21 Maiden Lane, Covent Garden, London, the son of William Turner (1745–1829), a barber and wig-maker, and his wife Mary, née Marshall (1739–1804).

Joseph Mallord William Turner Self-Portrait c.1799

From these humble beginnings, one of the greatest artists of the early nineteenth century rose to straddle the art world of Regency England like a Colossus. From his earliest watercolors and sketches to perhaps his most lauded painting, The Fighting Temeraire, his work was admired for his incredible use of color and technique to evoke the sense of movement and realism touched by the shimmer of magic few artists before him had managed.

View in the Avon Gorge 1791

At the age of fourteen he entered the Royal Academy. In addition to his studies, he worked with architects and architectural draughtsmen and even painted scenery for the London stage. The latter probably accounted for his lifelong love of opera and the theatre. By the time he was fifteen he was funding his education selling prints and watercolors of his work. The rest, as they say, is history. Again and again he stunned and delighted the artistic world and the Royal Academy with signature works of art. And with a rather rough, sometimes caustic personality.

Turner remained a Londoner and kept a Cockney accent all his life, avoiding the veneer of social polish acquired by many artists of the time as they climbed the professional ladder. It did not matter. His work was sought out by the highest ranks of the aristocracy and the wealthiest of the nouveau riche.

By the time he reached the age of 70 it was assumed his style was established and people knew exactly what to expect from his work. Until the Royal Academy exhibition of 1845 when two of the six canvases he exhibited stunned visitors and caused quite a stir in the art community. These two paintings, both titled Whalers, would join two more paintings, Hurrah! for the Whaler Erebus! Another Fish! and Whalers (Boiling Blubber) Entangled in Flaw Ice, Endeavouring to Extricate Themselves in 1846 to form a quartet of paintings one might never attribute to Turner if one did not know they were indeed his work.

Whalers 1845

I had long been a fan of his work, what Regency romance writer isn’t, but I must confess I had neither seen nor heard of these late works. It took a trip to New York and at visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art for me to come face to face with these amazing and forward thinking examples of Turner’s artistic talent and vision. Three of the four Whaling paintings are part of the Turner Bequest to the Tate in London. The third is part of the Wolfe Collection at the Met. Fortunately, during the time I was in New York the four paintings were reunited in an exhibit at the Met through a generous temporary loan by the Tate.

Whalers 1845

I cannot begin to explain the striking allure of these paintings simply walking into the same room with them evokes. The color palette and the motion in each of them immediately plunges the viewer into a world of feeling the ocean, the energy of the waves, the salty spray, the depth and breadth of the ships and the courage and smallness of the men. There is both mystery and clarity in each painting. The struggle between man and beast and the forces of nature come together on the canvas in a form never seen before this.

Whalers (Boiling Blubber) : Entangled in Flow Ice, Endeavouring to Extricate Themselves 1846

I sat for a long time before each of the paintings, studying them, and pondering the forward progression, the provocative and new ideas of an artist nearing the end of his life. Turner blazed across the artistic world of England, and as a result the world, from the humblest of beginnings to the pinnacle of artistic fame and never stopped learning, never stopped pushing the boundaries. This old artist taught the artistic world some new tricks that hinted at the world of Impressionism, but maintained always the mark of the brilliant young artist from the poor side of London.


Hurrah! for the Whaler Erebus! Another Fish! 1846