Granger sat at his dining room table, reading the latest newspapers that Cheevers had efficiently acquired for him before he’d even woken up. He shook his head at the nightmare that Spencer and the Admiralty had created. After Granger had left, Spencer had persisted with his belief that the seamen weren’t united in their cause, and he’d tried to negotiate with the delegates, but they were having none of it. Admiral Gardner had gone out to meet with them, and when the men demanded a royal pardon, he’d called them a bunch of cowards who were unwilling to face the French in battle. Most of the delegates had fought at Howe’s victory at the Glorious First of June, and to have their manhood challenged like that was beyond the pale. They’d hustled Gardner and his officers off the ship most unceremoniously, and they’d stood firm against their Lordships of the Admiralty.
Spencer had finally seemed to grasp the situation, and all but surrendered to their demands. He’d come bustling back to London on the 22nd of April and presented his case to the Privy Council, and acquired a Royal Pardon from the King. One would think that would have been sufficient, but the wheels of government moved more slowly than the seamen were used to. The bill to address their grievances was set to go before Parliament tomorrow, only 19 days after Spencer’s agreement with the delegates. Evidently the delegates didn’t realize that was remarkably fast action on the part of the government, and instead they’d determined that it reflected a lack of effort on the part of the Admiralty in getting this deal finished off. To them, it was a sign of bad faith.
As if madness had possessed him, Spencer had issued orders on May 1st to the various captains at Spithead. The order accused the captains of expropriating the provisions and supplies due the sailors and thereby placed the blame for setting off the mutiny on them. It also directed that they take the heretofore unprecedented step of keeping the marine detachments under arms in harbor as well as when at sea. Finally, it decreed that officers must use the most vigorous means to suppress any hint of mutiny and to bring the ringleaders to justice. The captains were outraged at the suggestion that the mutiny was their fault, and the sailors were even more outraged at what this implied. With armed troops on board even in port and an order to stamp out mutiny in any form, it was clear to them that the Admiralty was planning to use force to end the crisis, or to renege on their promises.
Then a newspaper had published an article claiming that the “Seaman’s Bill”, as it was known, was sure to be defeated in Parliament. That had caused the men to react badly, and they’d sent some 100 officers ashore. Some of them had been treated with respect, others had not. But the worst news of all was that blood had been shed. When the delegates had approached the London, Colpoys’ flagship, they’d been warned off. The officers had battened down the hatches and armed themselves, locking the men below. When the crew had reacted to that, and one of the men had challenged the officers, the London’s first lieutenant had shot him. Lieutenant Bover had previously been a popular man, but now it was quite likely that the crew would execute him, and possibly Admiral Colpoys, as retribution.
Granger read on even as he ate his breakfast, marveling at what a colossal mess it was. He’d had his own carriage pelted for advising a path that the Admiralty was now embracing, but that unpleasantness had only lasted for a day. Now the situation had changed, and the public support had shifted firmly behind the mutineers. Now the mob cheered him again when he went out. Granger decided that his mistrust of mobs was quite valid, and determined to avoid them as much as possible.
“My lord,” Cheevers said, interrupting Granger’s stream of thoughts. “A messenger has arrived and brought you this.”
He handed Granger a letter on the familiar Admiralty stationary. “Thank you Cheevers.” Granger opened then scanned the letter, an order for him to appear at the Admiralty as soon as possible. “I’ll need the carriage brought around.”
“Yes, my lord,” Cheevers said. Granger had planned to be aboard the Bacchante all day, so he had on his work clothes. He grudgingly ascended the stairs and found Winkler waiting to help him into his best uniform. Now properly attired, he went back down to find the carriage waiting for him.
“Admiralty,” Granger said to the coachman, and hopped in before he could respond. It was a rainy day, the kind that one might expect in London in May, but one that just seemed to add to Granger’s overall malaise. He was making great progress in preparing Bacchante for sea, but it wasn’t fast enough, at least in his mind. He wanted to be away from England, with its politics, mutinies, and entanglements. He wanted to be at sea, to feel the crisp winds, to see how his new ship would handle, and to be once again the master of his own universe.
The carriage jolted to a halt, Granger’s signal to disembark. He strode through the cheering crowds, pausing to remove his hat to them even as he clenched his teeth, and entered the Admiralty, which seemed remarkably calm after that, despite the crowd of officers in the waiting room. He signed in with the secretary and prepared to go find a seat when the secretary halted him. “His Lordship will see you now, my lord.”
Granger hid his surprise, then his nervousness. Whatever Spencer wanted, it must be important. He followed one of the aides back to Spencer’s office. “Ah Granger, how good to see you again!” Spencer said warmly. Granger hid his surprise at Spencer’s demeanor, a considerable change from the way he’d been dismissed in Portsmouth.
“Thank you, sir. It is good to see you as well,” Granger said, forcing himself to mirror Spencer’s attitude.
“I saw the press articles after you came back to London. Damnable affair. Those scoundrels are no gentlemen. I hope you bear me no ill will for their depredations?”
“None at all, sir,” Granger said, and that was true. Quite frankly, he was more than happy to be done with this whole affair, and he was also aware that it was bad politics to be on the wrong side of the First Lord.
“Excellent,” Spencer said affably, and poured them both a glass of wine. Granger found himself getting more and more nervous because of Spencer’s pleasant manner. “Is Bacchante ready for sea?”
“No, sir,” Granger said. It pained him to say that, even though it was unreasonable to think he would have achieved that objective so soon. “We should be ready for sea by the middle of the month.”
“That is good work,” Spencer said, then got to the point. “You have not yet been presented in the Lords.”
“No, sir,” Granger said. He would have to take his seat, and would be expected to make a maiden speech. “My robes are ready for it, even if I am not.” The beautiful ermine robes had been completed and delivered last week.
“I plan to change all that.”
“Sir?” Granger asked curiously.
“The Seaman’s Bill goes to Parliament tomorrow morning. It will pass the Commons in the morning, and then go to the Lords in the afternoon. I would like you to present it.”
Granger stared at Spencer, stunned at his request. It was the custom for a new peer to make his speech about something non-controversial, that way he would not be drawn into a debate in an arena that was foreign to him. This bill was probably going to be controversial. “I am not sure that I could do it justice, sir.”
“Nonsense,” Spencer said dismissively. “You have but to present it, and make your case for it. You’ve already done that twice in my presence. After that, you can expect others to chime in and help defend it.”
Granger eyed Spencer carefully, wondering if the First Lord was setting him up again. Prior to the meeting in Portsmouth, he’d felt as if Spencer was watching out for him, more or less. Now he wasn’t so sure. Despite his misgivings, Granger knew that he really had little choice but to agree, assuming he wanted to stay in the First Lord’s good graces. “I will be happy to try, sir.”
“That’s splendid!” Spencer said, and then appeared to be more businesslike. “I understand you are still short a lieutenant?”
“Yes, sir,” Granger said cautiously. Whom was Spencer going to foist off on him now?
“Well, there are about 100 of them sitting ashore in Portsmouth as we speak,” he growled. “But I have found a man for you. I think you will find him amenable. You must humor me on this one.”
Granger was tempted to remind Spencer that he had promised Granger that he could chose his own officers and his own men, but this seemed like a poor time to argue about things. Besides, he reasoned, if the man was truly reprehensible, he could plead with Spencer to have the annoying lieutenant reassigned. “I will of course trust your lordship.”
“I think you will not be disappointed. I am going to have Cavendish come over and brief you on the bill later on today, when I can spare him. He will acquaint you with all you need to know.”
“Thank you, sir,” Granger said. Recognizing that he’d been dismissed, he stood up and bowed courteously, then left the Admiralty, braving the throngs to get to his carriage. He was quite relieved to find himself back at his home in Portland Place. The first thing he did was dispatch a messenger to let Caroline know what was going on. He noted that if she felt so inclined, she would be welcome to return to London, but asked that she leave the children at Brentwood. Things were stable, but that could change at any moment, and Granger was unwilling to trust the fate of his children to the whims of mercurial mobs.
Granger could think back to times when lucky coincidences happened to him; when events came together perfectly to solve a particularly disturbing dilemma, but he had never expected that to happen to him on this day, which had begun so badly. He’d started his morning reading about the abysmal state of the Channel Fleet, had an interview with Spencer that would necessitate him making a speech in the Lords tomorrow, and he’d had to deal with the cheering throngs of the mob. He started this more fortuitous chain of events, appropriately enough, by taking a bath. He wallowed around in the pool, letting the water explore his body, savoring its feel as it penetrated every external crevice, and allowing it to fuel his libido. He was hoping that Cavendish would arrive soon, and lay back smiling, thinking about how good sex with that amazing young man would be.
His daydream was interrupted when the doors opened and Cheevers appeared. Granger was glad that he was underwater; otherwise, his erection would be quite apparent. “My lord, I am sorry to trouble you, but a messenger has arrived from your ship.”
“Show him back,” Granger instructed. Cheevers had anticipated his command, and had but to move aside to allow Holmquist into the room. “That will be all.”
“Yes, my lord,” Cheevers said.
Granger eyed the hulking Swedish seaman with ill-concealed lust, a look that was returned just as fervently by Holmquist. “You have a message for me?”
“Yes, my lord,” Holmquist said, forcing his eyes away from Granger’s body. “Mr. Robey asked me to let you know that he has sent a party west of the City to fill the water tanks. He said the water is fresher there.”
“That is excellent,” Granger noted. Finding fresh water in London was not an easy task. Robey’s message required no action on his part; it was just a notification to keep him informed. “Were you tasked to return to the ship immediately, or can you join me?”
“I am at your lordship’s disposal,” Holmquist said. He walked into one of the dressing rooms and must have stripped off his clothes with indecent haste, since he returned quite quickly. Granger admired his body, with its massive muscles, but as was usual with Holmquist, his eyes migrated toward the man’s huge penis. Holmquist had the largest dick Granger knew of, barring that of Major Jardines. The thought of that man, and what he’d done to Travers, threatened to destroy Granger’s lustfully good mood, but he repressed it in time.
Holmquist descended into the water and moved over to Granger, taking him into his arms and kissing him passionately. Granger let the Swede lift him up and wrapped his legs around him, so that his ass was sitting on top of Holmquist’s erect cock. They kissed like that, enjoying the contact, for a few minutes, but they were too aroused to last longer than that. They got out of the bathing pool and went into the soaping pool, with its warmer water that was slick from the soap. They reconnected, and the soap lubricated their movements, letting them slide erotically against each other. Granger was just about to line Holmquist’s massive cock up with his hole when a loud knock at the door interrupted them.
They broke apart from each other quickly, so they were well separated before the doors opened. Granger could hear arguing beyond the door, and wondered who would have the temerity to barge into his home, and who would be influential enough to bully his way past Cheevers. Cheevers poked his head in nervously. “My lord, Sir Arthur Teasdale is here, and is most insistent that he be allowed to see you.”
Granger hid his shock. Arthur had barely uttered two civilized sentences to him since he’d been back in town, and when Granger had tried to rekindle their friendship with physical love, Arthur had fled from him as if he had the pox. Yet here he was, in Granger’s own house, demanding to see Granger when he was in the middle of bathing? Granger was of a mind to have him ejected, but then he remembered how fragile and unstable Arthur was. And how influential he could be when he was in his right mind. “You may show him back.”
“Yes, my lord,” Cheevers said, barely able to hide his irritation as he opened the doors and let Arthur in.
“And Cheevers, I will tolerate no further interruptions. Is that not what footmen are for?”
“Yes, my lord,” Cheevers said, and this time he was completely unable to hide how annoyed he was.
Arthur dashed past him and rushed over to the soaping pool. “George!” he cried, clearly upset. He caught sight of Holmquist and froze. “I am so sorry. I did not realize you were not bathing alone.”
“I can go, my lord,” Holmquist offered.
Granger was undecided for only a moment. “No, I think it would be better if Arthur joined us.” He turned to Arthur. “You may use one of the dressing rooms to change.”
“I wouldn’t want to interrupt,” Arthur said nervously. Granger’s mind flashed back to his encounter with Arthur and Jardines, when they were together, all three of them. Jardines had tied Arthur up and taken control, ordering Arthur around, and Arthur had seemed to thoroughly enjoy that.
“I told you to take off your clothes and get in this pool. Now!” Granger snapped, assuming his quarterdeck posture.
Arthur looked fearful. “Yes, my lord,” he said, and dashed off to do what Granger ordered.
“He is a good friend of mine, but he has been troubled lately. I think we can help him, if you are willing,” Granger told Holmquist. Holmquist nodded.
“He likes being ordered around, my lord?” Holmquist asked. He seemed to like that idea.
“It would seem so,” Granger said.
Arthur came out of the dressing rooms almost as quickly as Holmquist had, and hurried over to the soaping pool. “Get in,” Holmquist ordered.
“And you are?” Arthur asked imperiously.
Holmquist stood up, rising from the bath as if he were Poseidon. Arthur’s eyes feasted on his bulging pectoral muscles, then on his firm abdominals, and then finally on his huge dick, which stuck out in front of Holmquist like a big club. “I said get in,” Holmquist ordered. Arthur’s own small penis had gotten fully erect as Holmquist said that.
“Yes, sir,” Arthur agreed, and all but jumped into the pool. Holmquist pulled Arthur to him, so he was facing away from him with his back pressed against Holmquist’s chest, and wrapped his arms around Arthur, totally immobilizing him. Granger knew that Holmquist’s huge cock must have been probing the entrance to Arthur’s hole, even as he held Arthur stationary.
Granger moved up to Arthur and kissed him passionately, and Arthur seemed to let go of his tension and his anguish and yield to Granger’s oral advances. He whimpered and moaned as Granger kissed him, and Granger knew that Holmquist was slowly forcing his massive dick up Arthur’s ass, even as they kissed. “What is bothering you, Arthur?” Granger asked.
“Nothing,” Arthur said, more of a moan. “Ahhh!”
“You moan when I tell you to moan,” Holmquist ordered, even as he thrust forcefully into Arthur. Arthur obediently bit back the moan he wanted to utter.
Granger stood up and aimed his soapy dick at Arthur’s mouth, then pulled his head forward, making him take Granger’s length. He gagged at the soapy water, but Granger didn’t care. He thrust into Arthur’s mouth while Holmquist slowly fucked Arthur, until the stimulation was too much for Granger. He pulled out of Arthur’s mouth and started stroking his cock, bringing forth his own orgasm. As he came, he blasted his load all over Arthur’s face.
Granger winked at Holmquist, then hastily rinsed off in the bathing pool. He returned to the edge of the soaping pool; where Holmquist had continued to slowly fuck Arthur, even as he wiped Granger’s cum off Arthur’s face and made him eat it. “You two are to remain here for the next two hours. Is that clear?” Granger ordered.
“Yes, my lord,” they both said, almost in unison. Granger put on his bathrobe and went upstairs to change back into his uniform. Maybe that’s what Arthur needed: someone with a big dick to take charge and fuck him senseless. He noted the time, and then retired to his study to begin working on his notes for his big address the next day. He’d been at it for over an hour when Cavendish arrived.
They embraced passionately, but put their libidos on hold. “I understand you are here to coach me through this speech I must make tomorrow.”
“You almost sound as if you are looking forward to it,” Cavendish said, being cheeky.
“I am looking forward to spending time with you. The speech: not as much.”
Cavendish laughed. “You will find it to be largely painless. There is only one man who may cause you some anguish: Lord Cleveland. He is a friend of Fox and Sheridan, and they are committed to making an issue out of this.”
“Can’t they see the risk this puts the nation in?” Granger asked.
“You are thinking logically, while they are thinking politically. They want the war to end, and having the fleet rebel is a way to make that happen.”
“They want the war to end with a French conquest of Britain?” Granger thought that was treasonous.
“No, they want the government weakened enough that it must seek peace with France,” Cavendish corrected. “Before we go over the specifics, we have another problem.”
“You have grown tired of me?” Granger teased.
“That’s hardly it. Rather, Sir Phillip has grown tired of Arthur. He left him last night and returned to his estate in Cumbria.” That was quite far, almost to Scotland.
“And when did you learn of this?”
“Sir Phillip had the courtesy to send me a note, informing me that he had left,” Cavendish spat. “I went to Arthur’s home and he was gone. I am worried at what he will do.”
“Do you know where he is?” Granger asked, stringing Cavendish along.
“I do not. I am praying that he came here, but he did not do that.”
“I would not be so quick to jump to conclusions,” Granger said, smiling. “Your prayers have been answered.”
“He is here?” Cavendish asked, now totally shocked.
“He is.” Cavendish eyed him, his playful mood over. “He came to see me and I was taking a bath with one of the men.”
“A seaman?” Cavendish asked, noting that Granger was involved with someone significantly beneath him socially.
“Do you remember Holmquist?”
“The Swede?” Cavendish asked. Granger nodded. “He’s the big one, and quite handsome as I recall.”
“You recall correctly. But he has a special feature that I think Arthur will appreciate.”
“Unless he is hung like a horse, Arthur will have little use for him.”
“And once again, you have surmised correctly,” Granger said, grinning. “I left them in the baths, and ordered them to remain there for two hours. As the time is almost up, I should go check on them.”
“You ordered Arthur to remain there?” Cavendish asked. “And he listened to you?”
“Most men do,” Granger joked, flirting.
“This one does,” Cavendish said, flirting back.
“Arthur seems to like that, being dominated in the bedroom.”
“I was not aware of that,” Cavendish said thoughtfully. Granger grinned, and led Cavendish down to the baths. He opened the door quietly, and only a crack and they both peered into the room.
Holmquist and Arthur were in the bathing pool, with Holmquist bent over the edge. Arthur’s face was buried in his ass, and he appeared to be licking furiously. “That’s it. Lick your own seed out of my hole,” Holmquist ordered.
“Yes, sir,” Arthur murmured, even as he dove back in. Granger shut the door and waited for several seconds, then knocked loudly. He waited for a bit, and then he and Cavendish entered.
“Your two hours are up,” Granger noted. “We’ll see you in the drawing room shortly.”
“Yes, my lord,” Holmquist said. Arthur said nothing. Granger and Cavendish returned to the drawing room.
“He is quite handsome,” Cavendish allowed, and they giggled with each other. They joked at their friend’s expense, until Arthur and Holmquist appeared in the drawing room.
“Arthur! It is good to see you here!” Cavendish said effusively.
“It is good to see you as well, Cavendish,” Arthur said formally. “George, if you have no objection, Holmquist is going to come home with me.”
Granger and Cavendish were thankfully able to hide their surprised expressions. This Arthur, the one they were talking to, was the Arthur they had both known in the past. This Arthur was cool and composed, and completely in control. This Arthur was far different from the basket case they’d been dealing with lately. “Certainly, Arthur,” Granger said. “I assume that is alright with you?” he asked Holmquist.
“That’s fine with me, my lord,” Holmquist said respectfully.
“Then I will bid you gentlemen a good day,” Granger said, even as he showed them out.
“Who was that?” Cavendish asked, stunned.
“Holmquist. I told you who he was,” Granger insisted.
“No, I meant the man with him.”
“That is Sir Arthur Teasdale,” Granger noted. They spent the rest of the evening gossiping about Arthur, preparing Granger’s speech, and satisfying their own carnal needs. A day that had begun with little promise had ended up being a good day, after all.
May 8, 1797
Granger studied his own reflection in the mirror, admiring the ermine robes and how noble they made him look. They were quite warm, and that made him glad he was doing this now as opposed to wearing them in July or August.
“You look so handsome, dear,” Caroline said, as she stood next to him. She’d arrived late last night, and had only missed running into Cavendish by a matter of minutes. Granger noted that in addition to his brief encounter with Holmquist and Arthur, he’d experienced a sexual extravaganza first with Cavendish, and then with his wife. He was thoroughly drained.
“I am almost worthy of you,” Granger said, blasting her with his best smile.
“Your parents are expecting us downstairs,” she reminded him. They descended the stairs to the drawing room to find the Earl and Countess of Bridgemont waiting for them. After he greeted his parents and modeled his robes, he shed the garments and led them into the dining room for a late breakfast.
“Thank you again for those robes,” Granger said. “They fit perfectly.”
“They make you look so handsome,” his mother said.
“I am a bit nervous about this speech,” Granger said, letting his guard down in front of these people, the people he trusted the most. “After my experience last month, I worry that Spencer is setting me up.”
“I think that he used you as a whipping boy to arouse the opinions of the others at that meeting,” Caroline said. “I do not think he meant for it to be filtered to the press.”
“That is my read on it as well,” the earl said. “Spencer didn’t expect his own officers to leak something like that.”
“It was a most ignoble thing to do,” the countess echoed. “Leaking things like that to those people.”
“Well, in the end I was able to recruit a full complement of sailors for Bacchante, in exchange for an unpleasant encounter with the mob and the expense of repairing our carriage,” Granger said, lightening up the mood. “I think it was a good bargain in the end.” They gave him some final pointers on his talk, and then it was time to go. They entered the carriage for the brief ride to the Palace of Westminster. Once they were there, the Earl of Bridgemont went to take his own seat in the House of Lords, while the Countess and Caroline went to find a spot to watch the event.
Granger was led by an usher to an anteroom, where he socialized with his two supporting peers. When a peer was introduced into the House of Lords, two supporting peers of similar rank formed part of the procession. For Granger, both of the peers that he chose were almost pre-ordained. Granger’s senior supporting peer was Lord Heathford, his father-in-law. Granger glanced at the man and decided that it was probably inevitable that a man would not like his father-in-law all that much. For his junior supporting peer, there had really been only one choice, but at least that decision was fully his. Lord Hood had been advanced in the peerage last year and was now a viscount. As a man who had done so much to promote Granger’s career, Granger felt it was appropriate that Hood be here with him at this important ceremony.
“I cannot remember when we last introduced such a young peer,” Heathford said. His voice did not seem to contain the pride that one would have expected, considering that this youthful peer in question was his daughter’s husband.
“Barely out of swaddling,” groused Hood, teasing Granger.
“Yet still quite handsome, don’t you think?” Granger joked back, making Hood laugh, and Heathford grin slightly. “I cannot thank you both enough for supporting me.”
“It is a pleasure to see you take this step,” Heathford said stiffly.
“And you,” Granger said, turning to Hood. “You have mentored and guided me since I was a young lieutenant. All of my professional successes I owe to your inspiration.”
Granger watched Hood go all aback at his emotional words. “There is nothing so rewarding as spotting a talented young man and then getting the opportunity to help him use his natural strengths to achieve astounding success. That is the true gift of senior command. It is not about what you achieve, but about who you promote to follow in your footsteps.”
The door to their antechamber opened, breaking their maudlin moment, and they were beckoned out into the lobby. There, they formed their procession, and began to file into the Chamber. Leading the way was Black Rod, Sir Francis Molyneux. Granger almost giggled when he thought about how he’d told Wilcox that he’d have to come back with Black Rod to arrest him. Sir Francis was a bit frail, and almost 60 years old. Next in the procession was the Garter Principal King of Arms, an impressive title for Sir Isaac Heard, who was 67 years old. Lord Heathford followed him, and then Granger strode slowly behind him, feeling suddenly self-conscious in his ermine robes. He could sense Hood plodding behind him, and found comfort in his presence. He thought about Hood’s words, and pondered that Jervis did the same thing. He’d guided and supported Nelson, fostering him along because he’d seen the true genius and leadership abilities of the man. Then at St. Vincent, that faith had been vindicated.
The procession approached the woolsack, on which sat the Earl of Rosslyn, the Lord Chancellor. Lord Rosslyn, who was the same age as Sir Francis Molyneux, sat there impassively, as if there weren’t five splendidly attired men approaching him, and as if the Chamber weren’t filled with people. Granger’s eyes took in the gold chandeliers and the large windows, and then scanned the crowd. Sir Isaac handed Granger’s letters patent to Lord Rosslyn, along with the writ of summons issued by the King, commanding Granger to appear in Parliament.
The House of Lords
Lord Rosslyn passed these items to the Reading Clerk of the House of Lords, who then proceeded to read them aloud to the entire Chamber. Granger heard the same words repeated, the words he’d first heard when the Privy Council had given him his peerage. His eyes glanced around the room, observing these, the most powerful men in the realm. His father sat there with the other earls, including Fitzwilliam and Howe. Next to them was Spencer, who seemed to look on proudly as the words echoed through the chamber. Granger saw the Marquess of Hartford, Clifton’s father, and further toward the front sat the Duke of Portland. Granger caught his eye and the Duke gave him the slightest wink, which almost made Granger smile, if such an expression was consistent with the dignity of such an occasion.
When those documents were finally read, Granger moved forward, as he’d been coached, and swore the Oath of Allegiance. Once that was completed, he signed the Test Roll, attesting that he had taken Holy Communion in the Church of England. This last thing was done to make sure that he wasn’t a Papist. Granger smiled to himself, thinking that his less than devout views on religion would, if they were known, make him unwelcome in virtually any Christian church. Granger thought that the whole affair was not too dissimilar to the manner in which he’d read himself in as captain of the ships he’d commanded. Finally, with these formalities complete, Sir Isaac led Granger, Hood, and Heathford to the bench where the other viscounts sat and motioned for him to take his seat. They sat, then stood and bowed to Lord Rosslyn a total of three times, and then the ceremony was concluded.
As he was instructed, Granger stood again, the gesture being his assertion that he wanted to speak. In a less structured situation, it may be that multiple men would stand at the same time, but this time, it was expected that he would say something, so no one else stood. “My lords,” Granger began, “I must thank you for welcoming me into this Chamber. My business today is to introduce the Seaman’s Bill, to improve the conditions for the men of His Majesty’s Navy, and to end the current crisis with the Channel Fleet at Spithead.” Granger had spoken these first words clearly, but perhaps nervously, only now it was as if his oratory skills had been jump-started. He talked of the sailors’ demands, of a pay increase that had not been granted in over 150 years, for reasonable rations, and addressed all the other items in the bill. He talked of the miniscule expense to grant these demands, and compared that to the security that the Navy provided, and the millions that were made in trade based on keeping the sea-lanes open. He talked of the threat of French invasion, and how rejection of this bill could possibly lead to just that event, and in that case, could lead to the downfall of the entire nation. He questioned how responsible guardians of the realm could refuse such a small expense, such a small item, to ensure Britain’s supremacy of the seas.
Granger knew that when the bill had been introduced in the Commons, Fox and Sheridan had ranted against the government, so he had prepared himself for a similar performance. In fact, nothing of the kind happened. The bill passed smoothly, and the deed was done.
On his way out of the Chamber, Granger, Heathford, and Hood stopped to shake hands with Lord Rosslyn. When he exited the Chamber, he found Spencer waiting for him. “That was well done. I need to see you in my office tomorrow morning at 9am.” Granger was left to wonder what new challenge Spencer had dreamed up for him.