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The Gust, Willen van der Velde the Younger, 1663

She’s not O’Brian’s Waakzaamheid, but she might just as well be.  Beautiful maritime painting.  Go see a better clip at the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam to enjoy all the details he puts into the rigging.

Speaking of which, apparently there really was a Dutch warship named the Waakzaamheid during the period, although she was a 24-gun corvette, not a 74-gun ship of the line.  She and her consort were captured by the Royal Navy in 1798.  Here’s a description of the scene:

On the 24th of October, at 8 a.m., the Texel bearing south by east, distant 10 leagues, the British 18-pounder, 36-gun frigate, Sirius, Captain Richard King, while reconnoitring that port, fell in with two Dutch ships of war, one the 36-gun frigate, Furie, Captain Pletz, the other, the 24-gun corvette, Waakzaamheid, Captain Neirop; but the ships were not in a situation for mutual support, being about two miles apart. Passing within gun-shot of the former, which was the leewardmost, the Sirius stood on until she could nearly fetch the Waakzaamheid. At about 9 a.m., Captain King, having thus, as was his object, prevented the junction of the two ships, fired at and brought to the Waakzaamheid, who immediately discharged a lee gun, and hauled down her colours.

As soon as possession was taken of the Waakzaamheid, the prisoners removed, and a prize-crew put on board, the Sirius made sail after the Furie; who, the instant she had witnessed the bloodless surrender of her commodore (for Captain Neirop was the senior officer), bore up, and, by the time the Sirius was ready for pursuit, had nearly escaped out of sight. By 5 p.m., however, the Sirius had the good fortune to overtake the escaping ship. A running action now ensued, at times within musket shot distance, the Furie returning the heavy fire of the Sirius, with a smart but ill-directed discharge of cannon and musketry. This continued for about half an hour; when the Furie, having her hull, masts, rigging, and sails much cut up, surrendered. The damage done to the Sirius was but trifling, she having only received a shot through her bowsprit, had her rigging and sails a little injured, and one man wounded by a musket-ball.

And here’s a painting of the capture from 1816 by Thomas Witcombe.

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Not quite the same standard, but not bad.  And as long as we’re on the subject of Royal Navy art, here’s a painting of HMS Agamemnon cutting out French ships from the Bay of Atassie by the great Nicholas Pockock:

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(Images courtesy of the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich.  If any of Robbo’s family members are scratching their heads for a nice Christmas present, they wouldn’t go far wrong checking out the prints available here.)

Since this post seems to be fairly free-flowing anyway, I will just remark that Agamemnon was commanded at one point by Lord Nelson, who described her as his favorite ship.  She happens to be one of three warships of the period about which I own “biographies”, the other two being HMS Victory, of course, and HMS Bellerophon (known as the “Billy-Ruffian” by her crew).

Last evening, the youngest gel pointed out to me an ad for Dora’s Book of Manners on the back of one of her other books.

“Do you know why they want you to buy this book, Daddy?” she asked.

“Um… help teach young hooligans like you how to behave?” I suggested.

No!” she replied in scorn. “They want you to buy it so they can get your money! Then they want you to buy some more copies so they can get more of your money! Then they want you to buy all of their other books so they can get all of your money! And your house! And your car! And just everything you own so it can all be theirs!!!!”

So young and yet so cynical. Not that I’d want another Dora book in the house, of course. We’re well beyond that now. Although she’s only six, she can read an entire Berenstain Bears book to us, although I begin to wonder whether she hasn’t got a copy of Das Kapital stashed away in her room somewhere as well.

Remember Ann Holmes Redding? She was the Episcopal priestess from Seattle who caused a stir last year when she announced that she had also become Muslim.  Well, even TEC still will draw the line somewhere,  apparently, and her Bishop has now given her six months to shape up or ship out.

Of course, Rev. Redding is scratching her head and wondering why we can’t all just be friends:

Redding, who served as director of faith formation at Seattle’s St. Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral, said she has no plans to resign or to renounce Islam, any more than she would renounce Christianity. She does not believe she has abandoned the communion of the Episcopal Church.

“I’m saddened and disappointed that this could not be an opportunity” for the church to broaden its perspective and talk about what it means to adhere to more than one faith, Redding said.

“The automatic assumption is that if I’m one of ‘them,’ I can’t be one of ‘us’ anymore.” But “I’m still following Jesus in being a Muslim. I have not abandoned that.”

Redding has been a priest for nearly 25 years.

While she does not regret going public about her embrace of Islam, she does acknowledge being naive about the controversy her announcement would stir up.

“I can definitely be a Pollyanna,” she said. “It never occurred to me it was something to be in the closet about. I just thought it was great.”

Getting to know Islam was “like falling in love,” she said. “You want to share it, you want to get on a rooftop and start shouting.”

In June 2007, Redding announced publicly that, for more than a year, she had also been a Muslim drawn to the faith after an introduction to Muslim prayers moved her profoundly. She said she didn’t feel a need to reconcile all the differences between the two faiths, believing that at the most basic level they are compatible.

Many were perplexed by her announcement, saying it wasn’t possible to be both Christian and Muslim. A month after Redding’s disclosure, Wolf told her to take a year – later extended to 15 months – to reflect and not to function as a priest during that time.

The defrocking process essentially began with Wolf’s decision last week.

Redding says she understands why people might be upset that a priest would also profess another faith, given that a priest represents the church. But she firmly believes she did not break her ordination vows.

Following both faiths “is a gift,” she said. “I feel privileged to see God in more places, rather than fewer places.”

Practicing two faiths has enabled her to answer people’s questions from the perspective of someone inside each faith, she said. People who say they’re Christian and Buddhist or a mix of other faiths are relieved to be able to talk to her because “they feel illegitimate sometimes themselves, that what they believe is not proper.”

As a matter of fact, I feel somewhat sorry for Redding who, after all, is really only taking modern, “progressive” Episcopalianism – which emphasizes Inclusiveness above everything else – to its logical conclusion.   Even though the Church is now planning to chuck her out, in the end it’s responsible for how she got to this point to begin with.  As Jonathan Wynne-Jones puts it, “I’m just surprised they’re not going to make her a bishop.”


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October 2008