PHILIP BROKE autograph Letter Signed
Admiral Sir Philip Bowes Vere Broke. British Royal Navy officer. Hero of the Shannon vs Chesepeake.
ALS. 4pp bifolium. Broke Hall. May 11th, 1829. To My dear Admiral [Benjamin Page].
"I am sorry you should be in quarantine for a sore throat, but the east winds are very dangerous for such ailments though the weather looks so temptingly fine in May. Thanks for your interesting papers. I wish much that our friend Cunningham may be as honourably placed in retirement as General Butler to keep the united services on fair footing! I am sure the Royal Duke must have been much pleased with the ancient liveries of King James's Post Captains but I hope if we should be ordered to wear such grand liveries that due warrant will be issued to the Lords of the Wardrobe to supply us with new coats every Easter! I am very glad to hear so happy an account of our late Lord High Admiral's health. My poor Lady is improving in actual health but so weak and helpless that I doubt if this year will give her strength even to sit up in the society of our friends! It is above 14 months since she was able to sit up and take any meal with us, even in her own room! But we shall carry her about in the air now to refresh her and hope it may strengthen. She and my daughter unite in regards to you and Mrs Page with yours sincerely, P.B. Broke. Sir Charles is gone to town today taking my little boy with him to school".
8vo. Approx 7.5 x 4.5 inches. Creases. Some fold separation and some mounting damage to margin of last leaf. VG.
Philip Broke joined the Royal Navy in 1788. He served as 3rd Lieutenant on HMS Southampton during the Battle of Cape St Vincent (1797). Thereafter, he was promoted Commander (1799) and Captain (1801). As Captain Philip Broke he distinguished himself in the celebrated action between HMS Shannon and USS Chesepeake in the war with America of 1813. After challenging the Captain of the Shannon to a single ship combat, Philip Broke led the boarding party which followed a ferocious engagement between the two ships. Philip Broke sustained serious head injury in the hand to hand fighting which took place on board Chesepeake. The engagement created a sensation, both in Britain and America and Broke became a national hero. He was created a Baronet, made a Knight of the Bath and awarded the Naval Gold Medal (one of only 8 awarded for single ship actions between 1794 and 1816). In fiction, the affair of Shannon vs Chesepeake is featured in two of the novels of Patrick O'Brian, in which Philip Broke is portrayed as a cousin to the protagonist, Jack Aubrey.