Product images of Lieutenant William Pringle Green (1783-1846)
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Lieutenant William Pringle Green (1783-1846)
An oval miniature in watercolour with gum arabic on ivory, in an oval gilt metal suspension frame, of which the glazed back contains opal. The sitter is shown bust-length, turned to his left but looking out to the viewer. He wears the lieutenant's undress uniform of 1787-1812, with a deep black stock over his shirt, has brown eyes and brown hair worn short in Regency style. Green was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, the third son of Benjamin Green, treasurer of that Canadian province. He entered the Navy in 1797 and served as a midshipman and master's mate until the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805, at which he was the latter in the 'Conqueror' and played a part in capturing the French 'Bucentaure', flagship of combined Franco-Spanish fleet. Promoted lieutenant in January 1806 he was later first lieutenant of the 'Eurydice' on the American station where, under Sir John Borlase Warren, he proposed methods to bring British firepower up to that of the American frigates that were to prove a bane in the War of 1812. His improvements in training were satisfactorily tested in his command of the brig 'Resolute' in 1811-1815. Green thereafter went ashore and devoted time to his inventions until appointed to a Falmouth packet, 1829-1832, after which he was on half pay until reappointed a lieutenant in 'Victory' at Portsmouth in 1842, though leaving because of financial difficulties a year later. Green had great mechanical ingenuity. in 1798. Despite many discouragements, he devoted his life to improvements in rigging, steering, gunnery and mechanical handling of heavy objects, many adopted by the Navy. He was twice awarded a Silver Medal by the Society of Arts, took out two patents and in 1833 began publishing, (in parts), a book of 'Fragments .... on electricity, magnetism' and other phenomena. Only the first part, comprising twenty-four pages and two plates, (of a proposed ten listed in the full intended contents), seems to have appeared. The lack of further parts, the tone of Green's introduction and its claim that he had five other unpublished works ready for the press, smack of difficult personal circumstances. His death at Portsmouth, in 1846, left his widow and ten children living on a pension of only
- Image reference: F9520
- National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London, Caird Collection