The Keith Papers

Part I: Channel and North Sea, 1803-1807; 1. Operations; 21. Hotham to Keith

The Document

21. Hotham to Keith

H.M.S. Raisonnable, off Helvoet,
August 21, 1803.

My Lord, As I understand the Monarch is in the Downs, I take the liberty to trouble your Lordship with a line, though my public letter is written to Admiral Montagu.

The French are certainly increasing their force in Holland, and marching additional troops to the Helder and the Brick, as much from a distrust of the Dutch, and an apprehension of an attack from us, as from any intention of acting on the offensive themselves. Every report agrees in saying that the people of Holland feel too late all the horrors of Bonaparte’s despotism. At Amsterdam he is detested, and we have little, I imagine, to fear from Holland as an active or an enterprising enemy. From 40 to 45,000 or so is the French force in that country. We have been out some time, but are not in any great want if your Lordship wishes us to stay out, if we can get water from somebody else. But I much fear, especially as the season advances, that neither diligence nor care will prevent their frigates from coming out if they should be really inclined to do so, for they can go between the Banks where it would be out of our power to follow them.

I had hoped that Yarmouth would be our port, as refreshment for the people, and purser’s necessaries are much more easily and expeditiously obtained. We are sadly dependent on Dover for water, and the navigation from the Downs is infinitely more hazardous than that from Yarmouth. This last consideration, if the weather happens to be thick and the pilots not confident, is a material one for a line of battle ship. I speak of a ship which is to cruise in the North Sea, and as we have once been on shore, and twice or thrice very near it, my fears may induce me to take the liberty of mentioning the circumstances.

I have only been a fortnight here and have not had any intelligence worth transmitting to your Lordship. I hope my old and very valuable friend will be successful in his large frigate.


See Also

Books on the Napoleonic Wars | Subject Index: Napoleonic Wars | Napoleonic Homepage

How to cite this article

LLoyd, C . (eds.) (1955) The Keith Papers, vol III, 1803-1815. Navy Records Society, pp. 30-31

Web Page: Rickard, J (24 July 2006), Keith to Secretary of Admiralty,

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