Nelson & His World

Discussion on the life and times of Admiral Lord Nelson
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 Post subject: Prize money left to reduce national debt
PostPosted: Sun Aug 18, 2013 7:27 am 
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Many of us will have read of the recent bequest of £500,000 by a Miss Edwards to the government of the day at the time of her death for them 'to use as they think fit'. Having first decided to put the money into party funds, the coalition parties were finally shamed into sending it to the Treasury to reduce the National Debt.

The Times had a report the other day about an 18th century admiral who also left a huge portion of his prize money, which he said was far greater than he deserved or merited, to reduce the National Debt. I have mislaid the cutting, and the Times has a paywall, so I can't give further details, but I would love to be reminded of the altruistic admiral's name.

Did anyone else catch sight of this news item?

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 Post subject: Re: Prize money left to reduce national debt
PostPosted: Sun Aug 18, 2013 10:29 am 
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Anna,

No, sorry – but I'm now just wondering who I should leave my millions to!

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 Post subject: Re: Prize money left to reduce national debt
PostPosted: Tue Aug 20, 2013 2:41 am 
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Peter Rainier.

From his formal portraits (in which he wears a pair of Coke-bottle-bottom spectacles) I always thought of him as a man untroubled by vanity.

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 Post subject: Rainier's monument (Re: Prize money left to reduce national
PostPosted: Tue Aug 20, 2013 4:40 am 
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"... The weather was serene and pleasant, and the country continued to exhibit, between us and the eastern snowy range, the same luxuriant appearance. At its northern extremity, Mount Baker bore by compass N. 22 E.; the round snowy mountain, now forming its southern extremity, and which, after my friend Rear Admiral Rainier, I distinguished by the name of MOUNT RAINIER, bore N. [S.] 42 E. ... "
- Captain George Vancouver, May 8, 1792 - surveying the Pacific coast of North America in consequence of the Nootka Crisis.

A spectacular 14,000-foot active volcano, the 21st most prominent mountain in the world... not a bad monument.
http://www.picomazing.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/Mount-rainier-1.jpg

There's been pressure now and then to officially restore the mountain's aboriginal name, Tacoma or Tahoma. So far Rainier has stuck. (Some suggest "Mount Rainy" for the local climate...)

From where I sit, Rainier is below the horizon, but if I walked down the block I could easily see its volcanic little brother Mount Baker (a mere 10,000 feet) looming 60 miles away.

And for whom did Vancouver name Mount Baker? First Lt. Joseph Baker, who spotted it!

More details of the British naming(s), with an engraving of Mount Rainier " from a sketch taken on the spot by J. Sykes, 1792":
http://vulcan.wr.usgs.gov/LivingWith/Historical/volcanoes_george_vancouver.html

Of course the Spanish were hard at work mapping the same coast at the same time, led by Dionisio Alcala Galiano, who was to die at Trafalgar in command of the Bahama... but I am getting far afield from Peter Rainier and his bequest to the nation.

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 Post subject: Re: Prize money left to reduce national debt
PostPosted: Tue Aug 20, 2013 7:14 am 
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Many thanks indeed for that name, and the rest of your interesting post, Galiano. How very nice to hear from you again!

A quick google has revealed a great deal of fascinating information about this admirable admiral of whom I now want to know more. This link alone, which contains references, in his own words, to his principles of leadership and man management, reveals a man of humanity and good judgement.

http://tinyurl.com/l964gjt

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 Post subject: Re: Prize money left to reduce national debt
PostPosted: Tue Aug 20, 2013 7:25 pm 
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It's nice to be back.
I hope it is all right to quote Rainier's management principles at length from the book you pointed to.
(maybe this belongs on the open board?)
Like you, after reading this I want to know more about him.

Naval Leadership and Management, 1650-1950
Richard Harding, ‎Helen Doe - 2012
pp 33-34:

"Rainier's Subordinates — Command and Control

All good managers have strong values with which they motivate, teach and protect those for whom they are responsible. Fortunately Rainier's letter to his nephew has survived, which gives the newly promoted frigate captain advice on how to be a successful commander.* From it a clear picture of the admiral's values can be seen, relating both to the treatment of his men and to the importance of administration:
1. Muster the crew frequently to become familiar with their tempers, manners and dispositions ... from your own knowledge [not that] of your officers, many of whom are not liberal in their ideas or are too influenced by their prejudices and private animosities and resentments.
2. Consider yourself at all times their advocate when any complaint is brought against them and never proceed to punishment but on the fullest conviction of proper evidence.
3. Be attentive to all their complaints and relieve their little wants when it is in your power.
4. Abstain from reviling them with foul or abusive language or suffer your officers to do so.
5. Few are their rights but never suffer them to be infringed by yourself or those under you.
6. Never punish with too much severity ... let them see the object is the Vice not the Man.
7. Monitor the Ship's Books, audit the Warrant Officers' Accounts to the Victualling Office. Thoroughly understand the business of the Captain's Clerk ... it requires but a very small portion of your leisure time to become perfect in it.
8. Comply with Admiralty and Naval instruction of every kind.
9. When you receive orders do not be content with a single perusal but look at them every now and then that you may not mistake their meaning.
These values, from a man born in 1741, indicate the kind of manager Rainier was. His concern for his men is demonstrated by his insistence on the best possible victuals. He even wrote that he was buying cocoa for his sick crewmen, although it was twice the cost in the West Indies. He opened the first naval hospital in Madras, and his standing orders demanded that the captains and surgeons visited their sick in hospital each Monday. The 1797 naval mutinies spread eastwards, being manifested by the crew of the Trident, but this was quelled by its captain reminding his men of all that their admiral had done for them. Several sailors were condemned to death but were pardoned by Rainier and returned to their ships on the receipt of the news of Duncan's victory at Camperdown.
* National Maritime Museum (NMM): RAI/201/8, Admiral Peter Rainier to Captain Peter Rainier, 2 April 1805"

Page 33:
"In his will Rainier stated that the money he had acquired was more than his needs or his talents merited. He would therefore give 10 per cent of his estate to the government to help reduce the National Debt."


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 Post subject: Re: Prize money left to reduce national debt
PostPosted: Tue Aug 20, 2013 7:53 pm 
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Yes: I think Rainier's principles of management and indeed all this interesting material belongs on the open forum but I'm not sure how to move it! Tony is very pressed at the moment but once he's free I'll ask him to make the shift. In the meantime, if anyone has anything to add to this thread please do so here and we'll transfer the lot in due course.

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