PEPYS, Samuel (1633-1703). Diarist.
Document Signed, addressed at the foot to the Clerk of the cheque and stores at Chatham, 1 page folio, with endorsement, 15 April 1672. A warrant to issue the stores and supplies necessary for fitting a ship (the ?Hardeween) out as a fire ship.
Fire ships were generally old or inexpensive vessels, which had been filled with combustible materials. Although they were generally drifted on the wind into the enemy's formation with the intention of causing havoc and great damage, they were sometimes sailed by a skeleton crew who were expected to escape in the ship's boat at the last minute.
The document is countersigned by William, second Viscount Brouncker, a Navy Commissioner and assistant to the Comptroller Admiralty (described thus by Pepys: a 'modest civil person ... wholly ignorant in the business of the Navy as possible, but I hope to make a friend of him, being a worthy man' [Diary 5.341]), Sir Jeremiah Smyth, commissioner for victualling accounts ('a silly, prating, talking man', and 'but very moderately qualified' [ibid 9.382]), and Sir John Tippetts, surveyor to the navy board (a man of 'vigour and method' [ibid 10.446]).
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