asked the First Lord of the Admiralty if the date for the coming naval mobilisation and review by His Majesty at Spithead is definitely fixed for 18th July; what is the number and description of each class of vessel which will be assembled there for review; if any provision is contemplated whereby Members of both Houses of Parliament can be present at this review as in former years; if he will place in the Tea Room a chart showing the position of the ships; if he will state if the regulations which yachts, passenger vessels, and other merchant ships will have to obey during the review have yet been issued; and, if not, how soon they will be available?
At this time, the attention of England, and indeed her enemies, was almost entirely fixed on the defence of Gibraltar by General Elliot, and the probable fate of that fortress, which though it had been besieged by both sea and land for more than three years, had never been so hardly pressed as now. Admiral Darby with a powerful fleet had relieved the garrison from the greatest possible distress the year before, but the supplies he then landed were now nearly exhausted, the garrison were again commencing to feel the pangs of hunger, and it was well known that the Spaniards had been for months making preparations for an attack of a new kind, and on a grand scale, which they trusted would compel the proud stronghold to lower its colours. The new feature in the attack was the construction often large floating batteries, so covered and protected as to be considered practically invulnerable; these were armed with 154 pieces of the heaviest ordnance, and backed up as they were by 48 French and Spanish sail of the line, and 40,000 troops, the expected assault was enough to make England tremble for the result. It was accordingly resolved to make a great effort to relieve Gibraltar, and in such a manner that it should be not only a temporary but a permanent relief and to this end a fleet of 36 sail of the line was got together, which was to convoy a large number of merchantmen, laden with every description of supplies, and carrying troops to reinforce the garrison.
History of HMS Victory – Part One
History of HMS Victory, Early Career – Part Two
History of HMS Victory, Siege of Gibraltar – Part Four
History of HMS Victory, Occupation of Toulon – Part Five
History of HMS Victory, Battle of Cape St. Vincent – Part Seven
History of HMS Victory, Blockade of Toulon – Part Eight
History of HMS Victory, Battle of Trafalgar – Part Ten
History of HMS Victory, Death of Nelson – Part Eleven
History of HMS Victory, Damage sustained by Victory – Part Twelve
History of HMS Victory, Victory again in Active Service – Part Thirteen