Monday, November 20

Lt. Arthur Farquhar

Today continues the weekly series wherein we introduce to you some of the REAL Acastas, the men who served aboard at some point between the period from her launch in 1797 to her final year in service to the Crown in 1815. Stop back every Monday to meet an all-new and REAL Acasta!

Arthur Farquhar, Esq.
Acasta Lieutenant under Capt. Lane, c. 1798, aged approx. 26 years.

A Companion of the Most Honourable Military Order of the Bath; Knight of the Royal Hanoverian Guelphic Order; and Knight of the Swedish Order of the Sword.

This officer is the sixth son of the late Robert Farquhar, of Kincardineshire, N. B. Esq.-by Agnes, daughter of James Morison, of Elsich, Esq. who was Provost of Aberdeen in the memorable year 1745, and who particularly distinguished himself at that trying period, by his firm attachment to the illustrious House of Brunswick.

Mr. Arthur Farquhar was born at Newhall, a small paternal estate in the above county, and educated there under a private family tutor. He commenced his naval career in Oct. 1787, and served his time as a Midshipman on board the Lowestoffe frigate, Hyeana of 24 guns, and Alcide 74; the two former employed as cruisers on the Channel, Mediterranean, Milford, and Irish stations ; the latter a guard-ship at Portsmouth, commanded by his earliest and principal professional patron, the late Sir Andrew Snape Douglas.

After passing the usual examination for a Lieutenant, Mr. Farquhar was induced to quit the royal navy, and proceed to the East Indies as a free mariner; but he had scarcely arrived there when a war broke out between Great Britain and the French Republic, which caused him to change his plans, and seek an opportunity of returning to the King’s service : it was some time, however, before he succeeded in accomplishing his intention.

The first man of war which Mr. Farquhar joined in India was the Hobart, a ship-sloop, commanded by Captain B. W. Page; from which he was soon removed into the Suffolk 74, bearing the flag of Rear-Admiral Rainier, commander-in-chief on that station. in the early part of 1796, we find him assisting at the capture of the Harlingen, Dutch national brig, of 14 guns and 45 men; also at the reduction of Amboyna and Banda, on which latter service he held the rank of Lieutenant, in a Dutch armed vessel under his command.

Mr. Farquhar subsequently served as a supernumerary Lieutenant on board the above mentioned brig, which had been purchased for government, named the Amboyna, and commissioned by Lieutenant Dobbie. His good conduct a commanding officer of that vessel, when attacked by a large party of Ladrones, near Macao, will be noticed in the memoir already referred to. He was afterwards appointed in succession to the Swift sloop of war, and Carysfort and Heroine frigates, in which latter ship he returned home, as first Lieutenant, under the command of the Hon. John Murray, in July 1798.

From this period, Lieutenant Farquhar appears to have been actively employed in the Superb 74, Aeolus 32, and Acasta 40, on the Channel, Mediterranean, Baltic, and North Sea stations, until advanced to the rank of Commander, April 29, 1802.

Captain Farquhar’s first appointment after this promotion was, Jan. 16, 1804, to the Acheron bomb, in which vessel he made a most heroic defence against an enemy of overwhelming superiority, on the 4th Feb. 1805, as will be seen by reference to our memoir of his gallant colleague, Captain Richard Budd Vincent…

Source: "Royal Naval Biography; Or, Memoirs of the Services of All the Flag-officers, Superannuated Rear-admirals, Retired-captains, Post-captains, and Commanders, Whose Names Appeared on the Admiralty List of Sea Officers at the Commencement of the Present Year, Or who Have Since Been Promoted; Illustrated by a Series of Historical and Explanatory Notes"
by John Marshall
Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, and Brown, 1825

Friday, November 17

A Recipe for Chicken Pye

A reply to a mail packet letter received by HMS ACASTA while pressing hands at the Fair at New Boston. By the ship's cook to Widow Smith of the Penny Whistel Tavern. (A letter that was forwarded to the new ship's cook when it was found to be undeliverable to the ship's Steward in last year's mail packet)
M. Schwendau, Ship's Cook

Widow Smith
Penny Whistel Tavern

Good Widow Smith,

I received your letter while ashore at New Boston and was delighted in having your recipe for Chicken Pye. I recall the Captain’s fondness of the dish and hearten that your shared such a prize fare with me. I will have to indulge in making it soon for the Captain's table after we are stowed a sail. It will be a grand addition to table for the officers. Such a noble pye will be an honor at the table. I truly give you thanks for the kind offer of your dish to entrust to my recipe book. 

While ashore I messed the Captain on a very fine Virginia ham. It reminded me of the hams from the Lancaster area. They are peculiar in the making of them here in the America’s, they have the luxury of using sugar in the cure. Much like the Gloster hams that are cured in molasses. It was truly a fine ham, so much so in size. The Captain shared it with the hands ashore on the press. We also enjoyed melons and the first harvest of apples. I do believe the men were much impressed with fare, as it was not just iron rations. Unfortunately the green's grociers offerings were sparse in their offer. Only offering carrots and onions at this time. 

I look forward to seeing you in the Penny Whistel again and telling of the new foods I have discovered here in the Americas. 

Your Most Humble Servant,

Michael Schwendau

Thursday, November 16

How to Press a Cook

As written by the Acasta's cook (and real life 5-Star chef), Mr. M. Schwendau

July 18, '15

I must recount the experience today of preparing a grand meal for Captain Fryman, the officers and a few sailors of HMS ACASTA. They came ashore to celebrate wonderful news from the Admiralty they have been ordered home after this terrible war with those Yankee’s in America. Oh, how the spirits were high, the cheer in which they roamed with. Shortly after the bakers boy dropped off the day’s peel. I was asked by the Captain his self to prepare the best of foods we had in the larder, spare no expenses and no holding a quarter back! he said. At the time we had a few scrawny hens, a freshly butchered hog, and odd bits from the garden. With cheer my response was gracious and eager. I told him, he and his crew would feel no pains or have want when they were done, or else you can put me into a brine barrel. He bellowed with a deep laugh and sortied off from my kitchen at the house. As these men were full of cheer, I had to prepare something grand as I could so I laid in my larders stocks and put to it. The master of the house did tell me the Captain was his guest and to fill any orders he gave as if his own words, by his own mouth.

I first mixed a Lemon Corn meal pudding and slowly steamed it for a pudding, when done off the coals, I would give it hearty doses of brandy and serve it with strawberries from the milking pasture. Next, I dash and cleaned the hens. They were past laying and other than being a nuisance to me, I was glad to rid them to these fine men of the crew. I dressed them and even took time to candle off the bits of feather that didn’t come with the plucking. I would rub these down with herbs from the cutting garden and baste them with butter and their own juices. I then cut the loins out of the hog’s saddle and rubbed them heartily with a simple mix of salt, pepper, and ginger root and put them into irons. Shortly after gathering carrots, I happened upon some bleached flour. What a fine sight that was. I had forgotten about it in the back of the cupboard. I checked and sifted it for stones and weevils, and then mixed in a hand full or two of sweet suet, some of the sugar cone, cranberries from the winter drying room, and spices. This was put into my pudding cloth and set to steam away the afternoon and sing to me as it cooked. What a wonderful thing a pudding is, such an entertaining dish to the ears as well as the appetite. I stole out to the spring house and snatched up some cheese we hand hanging and found a couple of Country Pates from the last dance had here at the house and gathered the top cream from the milk pail to make custard. I went on with the other odds and ends of the meal, the side dishes were humble enough. But handled with care and given great attention to my knife work.

The day drove on and the heat of the hearth and the weather nearly had me. As my stockings were soaked as if I stood in the brook the whole day. Shortly after the night watch began to tinder and tinker with the lamps, I was done. I sent word to Captain his table was ready. The Officers and men, had on their best dunnage. What an honor for me to prepare for them. All of these men seem weathered and hard bitten by wind and wave, but warm and cheered as if already home. 

A few of the hands gave me help in carrying the repast out to the porch. They spoke a few words and like a mighty broadside, there went in with all hands, as if boarding a ship. The meal was not hardly started, when I was summed by the Captain his self. Huzzah to the cook he said, and the crew replied back, Huzzah. It warmed me through and through. Then before all, the sailor called Apple asked the Captain, if they should press me for crew? Then before all he laid the press of a shilling before me. I gladly accepted. For I hope to get home to the mountains in Austria and to be with my family. This was by far not my finest of meals, but one of the finest of times.

Monday, November 13

Meet Mr. Brigstocke

Today begins a prolong'd weekly series wherein we introduce to you some of the REAL Acastas, the men who served aboard at some point between the period from her launch in 1797 to her final year in service to the Crown in 1815. Stop back every Monday to meet an all-new and REAL Acasta!

Acasta Midshipman under Captain Kerr, May 1811

Thomas Robert Brigstocke entered the Navy, 8 Oct. 1807, as Fst.-cl. Vol., on board the Marlborough 74, Capt. Graham Moore, in which ship, after escorting the Royal family of Portugal to the Brazils, he attended, as Midshipman, the expedition to Flushing, and was employed, on the evacuation of Walcheren, in destroying the basin, arsenal, and seadefences. He removed, in May, 1811, to the Acasta 40, Capt. Alex. Robt. Kerr, employed in the Bay of Biscay, Channel, and off St. Helena; rejoined Capt. Moore in the Chatham 74, on the North Sea station, in June, 1812...