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 Quarantine 
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In one of Collingwood's letters, he mentions being "released from quarantine." (I am assuming that he is referring to general quarantine...not for a specific outbreak of disease.) I've seen it mentioned in other books as well. Does anyone know what the procedure was and how long ships had to remain under quarantine?

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susan


Sat Oct 01, 2005 9:48 pm
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Dudley Pope in Life in Nelson's Navy (p.207) has this to say;

" ... When any of the King's ships was at sea in wartime it was always on the look-out for other vessels, and once one was sighted there was a sequence of questions to be asked and answered, ranging from 'friend or foe' to 'where from'.

The 'where from' was very important and every captain laid down strict instructions about what was to be done when meeting another ship at sea — or in a foreign port. No officer or petty officer, Captain Keats laid down, was to go alongside any other ship 'before he had informed himself from whence the vessel is and on no account to board her if from Gibraltar, Cadiz, Malaga, Alicant [sic], Cathagena [Spain], or any places where the contagious fever is or has been'.

The reason was quarantine: any ship from those places (and anyone 'having held communication' with them) had to be quarantined, a process involving at least fifteen days at anchor in isolated splendour at the quarantine anchorage at the Motherbank for Portsmouth, at Falmouth for Plymouth, or Stangate Creek for London providing the ship has a clean bill of health. On meeting other ships at sea, ships liable to quarantine were supposed to fly 'a large yellow flag of six breadths of bunting' from the maintopmasthead if free of disease but a similar yellow flag with a black circular mark or ball 'equal to two breadths of bunting' in the middle if there was illness on board. .."

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Sun Oct 02, 2005 10:02 am
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I came across the following entry in THE TIMES of June 23, 1787.


“ … Yesterday an order of Council was issued, for enforcing strictly the regulation respecting the observance of quarantine for forty days, on all ships and vessels coming from or through the Mediterranean, except those from Spain or Minorca. This order is issued, in consequence of the advices lately received of the plague raging with great violence at Algiers….”


On making a search in The Times, I have found hundreds of citations for this subject, but was interested in the above for the mention of a 40 day period. I wonder if this was longer than usual of the "regular quarantine" - the length of which I am still investigating - in view of the severity of the outbreak.

Can you imagine, in sight of shore, and stuck aboard for so long?!!

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Sun Oct 02, 2005 8:27 pm
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Mil,

Thanks for finding that. The bit from Pope says at least 15 days. Even that would be frustrating.

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Mon Oct 03, 2005 5:14 am
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Further on the case of quarantine, and a contradiction to Pope, from THE TIMES of November 7, 1793:

" ... The yellow fever, which rages at Philadephia, is of that malignant nature, that ships sailing from thence to other parts of America are obliged to perform a regular quarantine of six days, the same as ships are obliged to do coming from the Mediterranean to this country...."


Interesting ....

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Mon Oct 03, 2005 5:22 pm
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...and from THE TIMES of November 18, 1788:


" ... Orders are sent down from the Secretary of State's Office, to every sea-port in England, not to suffer any ships from Seville, Malaga, Alicant, or any part of the Levant, to come into port, or land any part of their cargo, without performing a regular quarantine, which is forty days...."

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Mon Oct 03, 2005 5:52 pm
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From the October 1837 USJ:

"Her Majesty's ship Caledonia, 120, Capt. G. Martin, C.B., with the flag of Admiral Sir Josias Rowley, Bart., having been relieved in the Mediterranean command by Admiral the Hon. Sir Robert Stopford, G.C.B., at Mahon, arrived at Spithead on the 24th ult. [August] in quarantine, and, in consequence of having a few slight cases of cholera on board, and one man dying near Gibraltar, the custom-house officials did not feel authorised to give her pratique for two days."

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Tue Jan 10, 2006 8:41 pm
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From Chronicles of Portsmouth (1828) by Henry Slight and Julian Slight:

"The usual anchoring-place is three miles from Portsmouth, and will readily accomodate one thousand sail of King's and other ships, which ride here in perfect safety. Far to the westward is the Motherbank, between Stoke's Bay and the Isle of Wight, the usual anchorage for merchantmen, and where (marked out by a space enclosed by yellow buoys, in which no vessel dares enter under the severest penalties) ships arriving from suspected ports perform quarantine."

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Sun Feb 19, 2006 8:28 am
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I was reading in Downer's Nelson's Purse that Nelson arriving at Portsmouth in 1805 spent one day in quarantine which is a lot less than we previously found in our quest for minutia of AoS, so I made a search in The Times which confirmed it.

" ....August 20 1805....

Lord Nelson arrived at his seat at Merton, in Surry, [sic] yesterday, and will most probably attend at the Admiralty this day. The Victory having communicated with the garrison of Gibraltar, became, of course, subject to the quarantine regulations and his Lordship, as one of the crew, was consequently prohibited from immediately coming on shore...."


Perhaps the authorities became more informed as the years went by, or possibly, the contagion was less rife?

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Mon Jun 19, 2006 2:23 pm
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Ships Under Quarantine - Malta

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Sun Sep 24, 2006 11:35 am
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I was amused to read the following from The Times of December 4th, 1794 regarding news from Falmouth, dated November 29th:

" .....a singular affair happened in this harbour. On 27th arrived the Princess Royal packet, from the West Indies. The Arethusa frigate's (Sir E Pellew) boat would not believe her to be a packet coming into the harbour, and boarded her to press the men...they soon found their mistake, and went on board the frigate. The packet being immediately ordered to perform quarantine, some Gentlemen, passengers, insisted on the frigate being put in the same situation, which has actually been done....they are both riding quarantine, and no person suffered to pass or repass from either....."

I wonder what Pellew thought about that.... :lol:

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Mon Sep 24, 2007 11:00 am
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.....likely referring to merchant shipping, but nevertheless: from The Times, June 10, 1788:

" .... yesterday morning orders were sent down to all the sea ports in England, for all ships that may arrive at any of those ports from Alicant, Malaga, or any parts of the Levant, not to be allowed to unload any of their cargoes, before they have perfomed a proper quarantine ..."




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Wed Jan 23, 2008 11:39 am
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The Times, September 30, 1805:

" ... A neutral brig, laden with wool, detained by the Steady gun-vessel, Lieut. Stow, under suspicion that the wool is a Spanish cargo, arrived on Friday at Portsmouth. In coming into the harbour the Ferret Custom-house cutter, as it is usual, boarded her, and a boat belonging to the Agamemnon having been alongside her, a person from it went on board. It being soon afterwards discovered that the was from the Mediterranean, and therefore subject to the quarantine laws, search was made for the people had had communication with her, and they were all put on board the brig, and she and the Ferret cutter were ordered out of the harbour to perform quarantine, at the Motherbank, where, it is very likely they will remain forty days. ....."


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Thu Dec 11, 2008 11:26 am
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I might be wandering off subject, but I wonder how carefully the quarantine rules were respected when pressing men at sea in home bound ships.

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Thu Dec 11, 2008 3:20 pm
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Badger wrote:
I might be wandering off subject, but I wonder how carefully the quarantine rules were respected when pressing men at sea in home bound ships.




....yes, that's an interesting point, Jim. Does anyone know the answer?


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