Who such admiral Benbou? You Remember
where R. Stephenson`s novel “Treasure island“ begins? In the neighborhood of the English port of Bristol, in a small tavern “Admiral Benbou“. When I read to
this book for the first time, at all did not pay attention to the name of a tavern. Name and name. Admiral and admiral. Perhaps there was also never in life of such admiral, maybe, mythical he the personality like the tsar Gorokh from the Russian folklore?
It appears, there was such admiral in pack of the British old salts. The admiral John Benbou (John Benbow) (1653-1702) nicely was at war at the seas and oceans and for the desperate bravery became the hero of the English sailor`s songs. The old pirate Billey Bons, choosing the place for a billeting, quite perhaps, and on the name of a tavern oriented too. Perhaps, in some “Blue canary“ it did not begin to stop. But “Admiral Benbou“ is quite another matter!
John Benbou was born in a family of the tanner, but wanted to become the seaman and became him. In 25 years it, the sailor of the British royal fleet, was at war in the Mediterranean Sea at coast of Algeria with berber pirates.
Just at this time the English king James II, the last English king - the Catholic, began to see off as would tell in 20 - m a century, “creeping Catholic counterrevolution“. The officer case of army and fleet began to be updated at the expense of Catholics. Protestants were dismissed from service. Uvolili and Jonah Benbou. It passed to merchant marine fleet and drove vessels from London to Spain, Italy and Lebanon. Fighting experience was useful to it and here. When its ship was attacked by pirates, Benbou organized defense and, eventually, boarded the piracy ship, and interrupted attackers. Interrupted, cut off them the heads, salted that did not spoil, and in a bag brought to Cadiz port where showed to ranks of the Spanish administration, having demanded a payment for destruction of the piracy ship.
In 1688 in England there was a so-called “nice revolution“ as a result of which the king James II was overthrown. Wilhelm III Oranski (1650-1702) ruling as well Holland became the king of England. It, however, did not mean English - the Dutch union. But, the most important, a patronage to Catholics stopped, and John Benbou returned on royal fleet.
Just at this time Nine years` war began (1688-1697). In this war the coalition of the European countries tried to subdue territorial claims of France. France was the strongest country of the European continent by then. And here at the sea she should have been afraid of much more skilled seamen of England and Holland.
Nine years - big term. During this time John Benbou served by the different ships the officer and became the captain. He was at war also at the French coast, and against pirates on the Mediterranean Sea. In 1693 its ship took part in a siege of the French port of Sep - A little and in battles by the French privateers in La - Manshe. In March, 1695 John Beynbou received the admiral`s rank.
Upon termination of Benbou`s war appointed to direct docks in Deptford. Now Deptford - the region of Greater London, but at that time it was the certain town to Hugo - the East from the capital. To the new admiral rented the spacious house of a certain John Evelyn under housing. This house was absolutely near docks. So nearby that by order of Benbou in a fencing cut through a gate that the new chief could visit the docks entrusted to him, even without going outside.
Only the admiral located in the deptfordsky house as he had to leave the dwelling for three months. In 1698 in January to England there arrived from Russia the Great embassy which was headed by the tsar Peter I. The Russian tsar is decided to be placed in the best house of the city. The house of John Evelyn which was rented by the admiral Benbou was this house. To the tsar who lodged here seeking to comprehend all cunnings of shipbuilding behind secrets to go was nearby.
By the way, coming back to nowadays actual subject in Russia about smoking. In Derpforde Peter I granted to the English marquis to Carmarthen the right of exclusive trade in tobacco in Russia. Carmarthen paid for this privilege one-time 20 thousand pounds sterling (or at a course of 48 thousand of that time of rubles). The privilege allowed Carmarthen to sell 3 thousand barrels to tobacco a year. And the tsar permitted to the citizens “nikotsian to smoke and use, despite all former opposite decrees and the rights“ .
In three months the Great embassy left England, burdened with knowledge and other poleznost. The admiral Benbou came back to the house, and there was nearly enough gallant seaman blow. The house was soiled from the cellar on the attic! And this house was others, and under the terms of a sjem the admiral Benbou had to keep it clean and an order. It was necessary only to complain in Parliament and to ask “to examine the house and so forth for reduction in popularity of the loss caused to it and that remuneration could be given it and it was not forced to suffer damage for the favor done them“ .
The parliament charged to examine the dirtied and damaged house to the famous architect Christopher Wren. K. Wren directed restoration of London after a heavy fire of 1666 and constructed St. Paul`s Cathedral. Wren estimated J. Benbou`s losses as tenant of the house, at the fair sum - 350 pounds sterling.
John Benbou lived some more years in Derpforde, supervising behind construction of the new ships. In the same years under its management the important military facility was constructed: beacon on Edistonsky rocks (Eddystone Lighthouse). These rocks are in the passage of La - Mansh in 14 kilometers to the South from the cape Reym (Rame Head).
But nevertheless main (and the last) the feat in his life was still ahead. In September, 1701 the squadron under command vice-the admiral J. Benbou goes to Vest - India. War with France continued. However, it was already other war which current historians call “war for the Spanish inheritance“. To the admiral charged to cut maritime routes on which to France from South America delivered silver.
On August 9, 1702 in the Caribbean Sea near the city Santa - Marta John Benbou`s squadron started fight with the French squadron which was ordered by Jean - Baptiste Ducass. British had 7 linear ships, French have 4 linear ships and one frigate. But commanders of 4 linear ships in a squadron of the admiral Benbou did not engage, despite the order. Thus, J. Benbou accepted battle in obvious minority. Fight lasted 5 days. On August 24 in the morning the flagship of British was surrounded with the ships of French. Benbou a kernel shattered a leg, but he continued to direct sea battle. Having beaten off the opponent, he gave command for prosecution of the enemy. Any of his captains did not execute this order. The Council of War on which all captains refused to chase the French ships was called. Benbou ordered to go to Jamaica, to Kingston.
The captains who disobeyed the order of the admiral were punished for cowardice. Two of them were shot, and one was dismissed from fleet and put in prison.
Benbou died on November 4, 1702. Such outcome was inevitable. Several days with the shattered leg enough in order that gangrene began. And though Benbou amputated a leg, but it did not rescue it from blood poisoning.
The tomb of the brave admiral is far from lovely England, in Jamaica. It is quite possible that River. Stephenson specially called a tavern in which action of its novel, begins a name of the nice admiral. As if hinting that the main events will be developed under the tropical sun on one of the Caribbean islands.