HMS Raisonable

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HMS Raisonable was a 64-gun ship of the third rate, designed by Thomas Slade (who also designed HMS Victory) and completed in 1771. Her name, sometimes given in the more authentically French spelling Raisonnable, derives from a French ship of the same capacity captured in 1762 and wrecked two years later. She was 160ft 1in long on the gundeck, with a beam of 44ft 6in and tonnage reckoned at just over 1385. Her first captain was Maurice Suckling, uncle of Nelson. She served in the war of American independence, at the relief of Gibraltar (1782) and as Commodore Josias Rowley's flagship in the historical Mauritius campaign of 1808-09. On returning from this commission she was withdrawn from active service, to function as a receiving ship (for accommodation of newly-pressed men) until she was broken up in 1815. Her armaments consisted principally of 24-pounder guns on the lower deck, 18-poounders on the upper and 9-pounders on the quarterdeck.

SPOILER WARNING:  Plot or ending details for "The Mauritius Command"  follow.

In the Canon

In The Mauritius Command, Jack Aubrey takes possession of the Raisonable as his flagship for the campaign to capture Mauritius and Réunion; in this he occupies the place of the historical commander of this campaign, Josias Rowley, although in fact Rowley had had the ship as post-captain since 1805. Raisonable is described as an old ship in poor condition and unable to sustain a full broadside; this is in accord with the historical fact that she had not been refitted since 1802 and had had no major repair since 1786. Eventually Jack transfers his flag to the frigate HMS Boadicea.


Winfield, R., British Warships in the Age of Sail 1714-1792 (Seaforth Publishing, 2007), p.100

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