Diligence

It is important to do what is right, not what is easy or convenient.

“‘What will people say?’ is pretty nearly always a very shabby question, but one which too many public men ask themselves when hesitating as to how they shall act, forgetting that the only questions ought to be, ‘What is really and truly right? what will men of experience and virtue think? or, what shall I have eventually to say to my own conscience on the subject?'”—Captain Basil Hall, RN from Fragments of Voyages and Travels (Volume II, Series II)

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Book about Basil Hall

Oo! Someone has finally written a book about my favorite Royal Navy officer, Basil Hall! I must have a copy!

That Curious Fellow: Captain Basil Hall, RN by James McCarthy.

I have been studying his life for a number of years now. He was an interesting man and a wonderful writer.

I have a small collection of his books and a few letters. My prize possession is his calling card.

Captain Basil Hall, R.N.

A toast to Basil Hall, who was born on this day (31 Dec) in 1788!

“A captain ought to do what is right and kind, simply because it is right and kind; and his conduct in this respect should not be influenced by the manner in which it is received…”—Fragments of Voyages and Travels (Volume I, Series II)

Happy Holidays!

xmas pudding

“Christmas Pudding for the Lighthouse” by W.H. Overend
The Illustrated London News (1891).

***
Christmas Fare on Board Lyra
Captain Basil Hall, R.N.

“When I was fitting out his Majesty’s sloop Lyra at Deptford, in 1815, to accompany the embassy to China, under Lord Amherst, it occurred to me one cold morning, the 24th of December, that it might not have a bad effect on the good name of my pretty little craft, if I gave the ship’s company a regular blow-out the next day. I communicated this idea to the first lieutenant, who, seeing no objection, sent for some of the leading men, and said each mess was to have a goose and a turkey for their Christmas dinner. My steward was then told to arrange the details; and presently he came to report that the men had taken it into their heads, that, as the best poultry was to be procured in London, they should like exceedingly to be allowed to despatch an embassy to Leadenhall Market for that purpose; the first lieutenant agreed also to this, and two seamen and one marine were forthwith landed at Deptford to execute the mission. A cart being hired, off they set, returning before sunset, with as noisy a cargo as ever I saw packed together. It so happened, that while we lay on one side of the hulk, I forget her name, another ship was lashed on the opposite side for some temporary purpose. The crew of our neighbour dined on Christmas-day on soup and beef as usual, and remained contented enough till some of our fellows, waddling under the effects of double allowance of solids, and perhaps with a trifle too much of fluids, came singing and capering along the deck of their hulk. In the most good-humoured way possible, they asked their neighbours how many geese and turkeys they had discussed that day. The meagre answer called forth shouts of merriment, and the poor fellows belonging to the other ship were rather unhandsomely taunted with the scantiness of their Christmas fare. ‘Look at that and weep, you hungry-faced rascals!’ exclaimed one of our jolly blades, holding up the drumstick of a goose in one hand and that of a turkey in the other. He was answered by the practical joke of having the two bones twisted from his hands and shyed in his face, according to the most approved tarpaulin manners. This was the signal for a general mélée, and the officers had enough to do to separate the contending hosts.” — Fragments of Voyages and Travels (Volume 3, Series III)

Captain Basil Hall, R.N.

A toast to Basil Hall, who was born on this day (31 Dec) in 1788!

“We do truly make the ship our home; we have no other thoughts of professional duty or happiness but what are connected with the vessel in which we swim; we take a pride in her very looks, as we might in those of a daughter; and bring up her crew to honourable deeds, as we should wish to instruct our sons.” — Fragments of Voyages and Travels (Volume I, Series I)