No wonder they called her a crack frigate: her sailing qualities were quite out of the ordinary, and the smooth quiet discipline of her people was beyond anything he had seen. - Post Captain
1804 – 1805: Jack’s success in raiding the French port, despite the loss of the Polychrest, brings him promotion in Post Captain to the rank of, naturally, post captain and the temporary command of the 38-gun frigate HMS Lively. With the Lively Jack takes part in the interception of a Spanish treasure squadron in the Atlantic. After participating in blockade operations in the western Mediterranean in H.M.S. Surprise, Jack Aubrey relinquishes command of the frigate to her regular captain and returns home to England.
The Lively was a genuine Royal Navy ship. However, Patrick O’Brian did alter the ship’s history for purposes of his fiction. In Post Captain the frigate is described as having served for a considerable period in the East Indies when in fact the Lively was launched and commissioned in 1804, the same year when Jack Aubrey takes command. The Lively was lost in a wreck near Valletta while escorting a convoy to Malta in 1810.
Text and diagrams courtesy of Bruce Trinque. Paintings by Francis Sartorius and Nicholas Pocock.