Original 1794 British Naval Captain of HMS Majestic Set of Testimonial, Telescope, Dirk

Item Description

Original Items: Only one Set Available. Obtained from a private English Naval collection of the Napoleonic era, originally obtained many years ago from the Tracey Family, is a hand written officer's testimonial written by Captain Charles Cotton of H.M.S. MAJESTIC a 74-gun ship of the line attesting to the abilities of one, MR. ANDREW TRACEY.

Andrew Tracey was ship's master from 16th March 1793 until the 16th March 1794. H.M.S. Majestic, a 3rd Rate Ship of the Line, was built in 1785 by Adams and Barnard of Depford, was 170' long with a 47' beam. She was broken up in 1816.

Together with this framed and glazed signed testimonial comes a brass mounted, wood covered Naval Officer’s telescope of the period, 20 inches in overall length when closed, and 35 inches in overall length when fully extended. The brass collar bears an inscription that reads "Mr. Andrew Tracey, R.N."

Also included is a seaman’s dirk measuring 11 ¾ inches in overall length with a 7 ¾ inch blade. The brass mounted, turned wood hilt has the carved initials "A.T." presumably for Andrew Tracey. The dirk was an easily concealed covert and deadly weapon.

Andrew Tracey is recorded in British Naval annals as a ship's master but little else can be found. However Captain Charles Cotton, the signer of the hand written testimonial had an illustrious career.

Born in 1753, third child of Sir John Hynde Cotton, joined the Royal Navy in 1772. He participated in the Boston Campaign in 1775 aboard H.M.S. Niger and the Long Island Campaign in 1776.

In 1777 he took command of a floating Battery H.M.S. Vigilant off the Chesapeake in 1777 and was promoted Lieutenant. In 1779 he was promoted Post Captain aboard H.M.S. Boyne.

In 1782 Cotton commanded H.M.S. Alarm at The Battle of the Saints against the French in the

Caribbean Sea. In 1795 while commanding H.M.S. Majestic having fought at "The Battle of the Glorious 1st of June" in 1794, Cotton inherited the Baronetcy from he deceased father. In 1797 he was promoted to Rear-Admiral, in 1802 to Vice-Admiral and after Trafalgar, in which he did not take part, he served in the Peninsula War off Portugal. In 1810 after Admiral Collingwood's untimely death Cotton was put in overall command of the Mediterranean Fleet and finally in 1811 he took command of the Channel Fleet. In 1812 he collapsed and died of apoplexy while inspecting winter berths in Plymouth. Apoplexy is what we now refer to as a Stroke.

Quite a Naval career!

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