Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Making a database, early 19th Century British Navy

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From The Hundred Days, by Patrick O’Brian, Vol. 19 in the series, page 47, where Jack Aubrey, still post-captain but named commodore in charge of a six-ship squadron given a specific mission in the Mediterranean following Napoleon’s escape from Elba:

There were no more than six ships or vessels in the squadron, but their books and papers already overflowed the Commodore’s desk: not much more than a thousand men were concerned, but all those of real importance in the running of the squadron had to be entered on separate slips together with what comments he had so far been able to make on their abilities; and to house these slips he had called upon his joiner to make temporary tray-like wings to his desk, so that eventually he should have all the elements at his disposal laid out, to be re-arranged according to the tasks the squadron might be called to undertake. In these quite exceptional circumstances, with no settled ships’ companies apart from those in Surprise and to some extent Briseis, he would have an equally exceptional free hand.

Very interesting description of how a practicing database worked back in that day. O’Brian does a lot of research, assiduously reading old logs and reports, so I would be his description is accurate. I’m trying to think what database I would use for this. Lotus Agenda comes to mind, for example.

Written by LeisureGuy

26 September 2015 at 1:25 pm

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