Part 1: 1673 to 1678
Date: 11 October, 1673, am
Soldiers and sailors disembark at the port of Harwich at the end of the fighting season in the Third Anglo-Dutch War of 1672 to 1674. Retiring from service are John Barker, captain of the Wasp and a bachelor, and Jeremy Runacles, captain of the Trident and a widower.
They hear of the reported death of Roderick Salt and the widowhood of Margaret Salt, daughter of Sir Jabez Tellworthy. As Margaret Tellworthy had previously rejected the advances of both in favour of Roderick Salt, they grasp the opportunity of winning her hand at a second attempt.
Date: 11 October, 1673, 4 pm
Location: The Tellworthy residence in Harwich
Dr. Beckerleg informs the captains of the death in childbirth of Margaret Salt neé Tellworthy. As Jeremy Runacles already has a daughter, Sophia, John Barker decides to adopt Tristram Salt. Runacles disputes the adoption in vain.
Date: October 1673 to April 1678
Location: 1 & 2 The Blue Pavilions at Harwich
The upbringing and education of Tristram Salt (b.1673).
The upbringing and education of Sophia Runacles (b.1670).
The captains compete for the most educated child.
Date: May 1678
Location: 1 & 2 The Blue Pavilions at Harwich
Tristram and Sophia become friends to the displeasure of the captains.
Josias Finch of Boston, New England, attorney-at-law, arrives at 2 The Blue Pavilions with information regarding the will of the late Silvanus Tellworthy, uncle of Tristram Salt.
(i) Silvanus Tellworthy has died in Boston leaving his fortune to Tristram Salt, with Roderick Salt and Jeremy Runacles as co-trustees.
(ii)At the time Silvanus Tellworthy became acquainted with Roderick Salt’s true character, he also received information of his death in the Low Countries and assumed Runacles to be the sole trustee.
(iii) News of Salt’s escape from death had recently reached Josias Finch. Apparently, Salt was in the service of William of Orange and had been seen at The Hague and in Cuxhaven.
(iv) Josias Finch agrees to ignore the sightings and regard Runacles as sole trustee. He returns to Boston through Bristol.
At 1 The Blue Pavilions Jeremy Runacles informs John Barker of Finch’s information but agrees to leave Tristram in Barker’s care. This results in a partial reconciliation.
Part 2: 1691
Date: 1 May 1691, Friday am
Location: The London to Harwich road by The Blue Pavilions
King William III, Prince of Orange, and the Earl of Marlborough travel past The Blue Pavilions on their way to board ship in Harwich for the 1691 campaign against the French. Barker and Runacles receive an invitation from William to return to the navy but openly declare their support for the Stuarts and their opposition to the Dutch. In revenge, William has Tristram Salt placed under the Earl of Marlborough. The Earl immediately suspects a connection between Tristram Salt and Roderick Salt that he can use to his advantage. Tristram Salt is sent aboard the Good Intent to join the Coldstream Guards.
Date: 1 May 1691, Friday evening
Location: The Blue Pavilions
8 pm: With King William’s arrival at Harwich, the Earl of Marlborough returns to The Blue Pavilions. He declares himself a true supporter of James Stuart, produces a letter of pardon and invite the two captains to return to the service so as to assist in a mutiny against the Dutch.
Plan: Rear-Admiral Rooke’s squadron is to sail to the Maese/Meuse on Saturday morning with King William. On Sunday evening the Dutch naval commanders are to be replaced by Stuart sympathisers. The fleet is to sail to Calais. At Calais the English and French fleets are to unite and carry English regiments stationed in Flanders to London so as to replace William with James.
Captains Barker and Runacles refuse Marlborough’s offer. Marlborough responds with threats against Tristram Salt.
Before leaving The Blue Pavilions Marlborough establishes the nature of the relationship between Tristram and Roderick Salt so as to blackmail the captains by threatening to bring father and son together on the Good Intent. The captains still refuse.
10 pm: Aboard the Foresight Marlborough and Roderick Salt plan a mutiny which will placate James Stuart, reveal the depth of disaffection towards the Dutch, enable Marlborough to carry a motion in the House of Lords against the Dutch dominance and possibly gain the throne for the Anglican Princess Anne.
Marlborough blackmails Roderick Salt into going to James at St. Germain with a letter. He then informs Roderick of the presence of Tristram aboard the Good Intent.
Date: 2 May 1691, Saturday
Location:The Blue Pavilions
Sophia confesses to her father that she is in love with Tristram. Runacles and Barker decide to fall in with William’s wishes and join up so as to save Tristram. As they leave they are detained by soldiers of the Earl of Marlborough. A fight ensues in which Barker is seriously injured in the head. At this point they hear sounds of the fleet leaving Harwich. (Barker is confined to bed for ten weeks).
Date:1 May 1691, Friday
Time: Prior to the visit of the Earl of Marlborough to The Blue Pavilions at 8 p.m. and after his return at 10 p.m.
Tristram is attached to the Coldstream Guards. Sergeant Klomp has Tristram put in irons for indiscipline.
Tristram is visited by Roderick Salt who promises to get him released once the Good Intent has reached Maese on Sunday.
Date: 2 May, Saturday am
The Good Intent leaves Harwich with the Rear-Admiral Rooke’s squadron.
The journey to the Maese takes about 24 hours.
Date: 3 May, Sunday
Tristram disembarks with the Coldstream Guards but is taken by Roderick Salt to King William’s headquarters at The Four Seasons inn. At the inn King William and the Earl of Marlborough are given a list of the mutineers by Roderick Salt.
King William gives Roderick Salt permission to return with Tristram to Harwich but Roderick is prevented by the Earl of Marlborough who wants him to go to James at St. Germain with a letter.
Plan for the Mutiny which will fail:
(i) The fuses to be altered;
(ii) 8.50 pm The guns to fire as a signal for the beginning of the Mutiny;
(iii) 9.10 pm The time William expects the Mutiny to begin;
(iv) 9.30 pm The countermeasures to come into force to suppress the Mutiny.
(v) James to be stationed with the French fleet at Calais in expectation of the arrival of the English fleet commanded by sympathisers.
Before leaving The Four Seasons Roderick and Tristram Salt hear that Captain Van Adrienssen the story of Captain Barker and the ‘boot’ at Texel twenty years before.
Date: 3 to 5 May 1691
Location: The Netherlands to Flanders
Tristram and Roderick Salt leave The Four Seasons and travel by boat to the sounds of the abortive Mutiny. During the night they travel by horse and canal-boat. At sunset on the following day they see four horsemen – who have orders to arrest Roderick Salt.
On the morning of 5 May the boat is moored near to the White Lamb inn, which they enter. During the day the inn is under observation from the four horsemen.
6 pm Tristram disguises himself as Roderick, leaves the inn and is pursued by the four horsemen who try to arrest him.
Date: 5 May 1691
Tristram escapes arrest but is eventually caught. The horsemen realise their mistake just as Roderick Salt gallops past on their best horse. He is heading south for the French outposts.
Tristram is released and directed to Nieuport but is captured by French outposts who take him for a deserter.
Date: 6 May
Tristram and other prisoners are marched to Courtrai where they sleep in a barn.
Date: 7 May
The prisoners go from Courtrai to Lille and Tristram is imprisoned at St. Pierre.
Date: 8 May, evening
M. de Lambertie discovers that Tristram is English and not a French deserter so is directed to the galleys at Dunkirk.
Date: 9 May 1691
Journey: Ypres – Furnes – Dunkirk
At Dunkirk Tristram is put aboard L’Heureuse, the Commodore’s galley, commanded by Commodore de la Pailletine. It is the lead boat of a squadron of six galleys, accommodates 336 slaves and 150 others, has 56 oars and 6 slaves per oar, sports an iron prow and fires 4 guns. The day starts at 6 am for the crews.
Mid-June: Tristram Salt sees Roderick Salt with the commodore of L’Heureuse. Salt has a letter from King Louis giving him command of the squadron. This letter he obtained when he was at St. Germain.
On the eighth day after his arrival at Dunkirk a letter arrives for him from Marlborough conveyed aboard a fishing vessel. The letter gives detail of the Tellworthy inheritance but also says that Salt is suspected of treachery.
Six weeks later Salt claims that a letter has summoned him to Paris.
Date: 13 to 16 July 1691
Location: The Hague
Captain Barker, now recovered from his wounds, and Captain Runacles walk from Scheveningen to the ‘Promenade of Audience’ at the ‘House in the Wood’ in The Hague for an audience with King William. On the road they encounter Captain Cornelius van Adrienssen of the frigate Merry Maid, which is moored at Amsterdam. Adrienssen informs them of having seen Tristram and Roderick Salt at Vlaardingen. Then he raises the issue of the ‘boot’, an issue dating back to the Texel on 5 June, 1671, when he commanded the Zeelandshoop and Runacles commanded the Galloper. This ends as a fight in which Adrienssen is wounded.
Barker and Runacles meet William III and William Bentinck, Earl of Portland, who suspects the treachery of Marlborough and Roderick Salt, and offer their services in exchange for the return of Tristram. They are informed that Tristram has been placed in the care of his father and had been repatriated. They know this not to have happened.
With Adrienssen wounded, Barker is commissioned to captain the Merry Maid and lead a convoy of 36 merchantmen from Amsterdam to the Thames.
Date: 19 to 23 July 1691
At 4 pm Salt arrives from Paris with authorisation for a descent upon Harwich. The squadron of six galleys, supplemented by a draft of soldiers, is to leave Dunkirk at 6 am on the 23 August, with Salt in command.
A fishing smack arrives at Dunkirk for a letter from Salt to Marlborough and King William informing them of the impending raid – in the hope of clearing Salt’s name.
Date: 23 July
9 am The six galleys leave Dunkirk with Salt in charge of L’Heureuse. In the evening they observe the fleet commanded by Barker sailing for the Thames.
Date: 23 July 1691
Location: English Channel
I The Frigate
The Merry Maid and a fleet of thirty-six merchantmen leave the Texel for the Thames with Captain Barker in command and with Captain Runacles as his deputy. As they approach the English coast they observe six French galleys. Barker decides to save the fleet by sacrificing the frigate.
II The Galleys
Salt decides to keep his original plan and ignore the fleet but is deposed by M. de la Pailletine who orders an immediate attack upon the convoy. L’Heureuse closes with the Merry Maid.
III The Frigate
The Merry Maid hold its fire as L’Heureuse prepares to ram
IV The Galleys
Seeing the stern of the Merry Maid exposed, Pailletine believes it to be in flight and prepares to ram. The frigate swings its stern to larboard so that the starboard oars of L’Heureuse are disabled. The galley is boarded.
V The Galley
Tristram is knocked unconscious by an explosion which kills the rest of the slaves.
VI The Frigate
The other five galleys arrive and the Merry Maid is boarded and captured while the fleet escapes to the safety of the Thames.
VII The Galley
Barker and Salt meet in the presence of M. de la Pailletine and Salt is exposed as a traitor. An unexpected consequence of his letter to Marlborough is the arrival of six English frigates to the scene. Salt believes he will be vindicated by Marlborough.
VIII The Galley (in the hold)
Tristram is rescued severely injured from the hold.
10 am. Captains Barker and Runacles land at Sheerness. Roderick Salt appears to have been shot as a traitor. Unknown to the captains Tristram is carried to the hospital.
Date: August 1691
Tristram is discovered by the captains and moved to Harwich after four weeks.
September: Tristram and Sophia renew their love while Barker and Runacles are fully reconciled.