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Deane, Anthony (DNB00)

DEANE, Sir ANTHONY (1638?–1721), shipbuilder, was the eldest son of Anthony Deane, mariner, of Harwich, Essex, who died in 1659 (Will reg. in P. C. C. 227, Pell), and a relative of Admiral Richard Deane. At his second marriage in 1678 he is described in the license as aged about 40, which gives 1638 as the approximate date of his birth (Chester, London Marriage Licenses, 391). For a time he followed his father's calling, but soon after the Restoration he was holding an important post in Woolwich dockyard (Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1660–1, pp. 359, 469). Here his abilities attracted the notice of Pepys, to whose friendship Deane owed much. With Pepys's assistance he obtained on 15 Oct. 1664 the appointment of master shipwright at Harwich (ib. 1664–5, p. 311). A list of the men-of-war and other vessels, eight in number, built by Deane at Harwich from 1665 to 1674, is given in Lindsey's ‘Season at Harwich’ (pt. ii. p. 162); while his zeal in promoting the prosperity of his birthplace is commemorated by a contemporary, Silas Taylor (Hist. of Harwich, pp. 221–3, 238–9). He took up his freedom in 1673, was elected an alderman the following year, and mayor in 1676 and again in 1682. Meanwhile he had become master shipwright at Portsmouth in 1668, was commissioner of the navy 1672–5, comptroller of the victualling in November 1675, and of the storekeeper's accounts March–June 1680, and commissioner of the navy for general business 1686–8. On 24 Oct. 1678 he entered parliament as member for New Shoreham, Sussex, in place of Edward Blaker, deceased; in the following February he was returned for Harwich along with Pepys, and for the second time in April 1685, again with Pepys.

In August 1675 Deane was in France, having at Charles II's express commands built two yachts for Louis XIV. The boats were carried nine miles by land to the canal at Versailles. He was much noticed by Colbert and his eldest son, the Marquis de Seignelay; indeed his frequent intercourse with the latter was afterwards made the basis of an accusation against him (Life, Journals, and Correspondence of S. Pepys, i. 163–8). In return for his services Louis gave him six hundred pistoles and his picture set with diamonds. Success had made him many enemies. Reports of various irregularities in the dockyards having come to the knowledge of the House of Commons, a committee was appointed to inquire into the circumstances. Deane and Pepys were accused, on the evidence of Colonel John Scott, and other witnesses of equally infamous character, of carrying on a secret correspondence respecting the English navy with the French government, ‘in order to assist in the design of dethroning the king and extirpating the protestant religion.’ Having been heard in their defence on 20 May 1679, they were committed to the Tower, under the speaker's warrant, two days later (Grey, Debates, vii. 303–12, 315). On 2 June and on two subsequent occasions both prisoners were brought to the bar of the king's bench; they were finally allowed to find security, each in 30,000l. No trial ever took place, although they subsequently appeared in court four times more, and on 30 June 1680 they were discharged with the consent of the law officers of the crown (Luttrell, Relation of State Affairs, i. 50, 74). Deane shortly afterwards (5 Aug.) resigned his commissionership, in which he was succeeded by his rival, Sir Phineas Pett (ib. i. 53). He still continued to take the greatest interest in all that concerned the navy. He had been an eye-witness of the fearful havoc caused by Dutch fireships in battle, which he described in a conversation with Evelyn and Pepys on 7 March 1690 (Evelyn, Diary, 1850–2, ii. 304–5). His own fireships, Pepys tells us, were too often failures. Both Pepys and Evelyn bear testimony to the beauty of his draughtsmanship and modelling. In fact, Pepys is never weary of acknowledging his obligations to Deane for initiating him in the many mysteries of ‘shipwrightry.’ Of his inventions Pepys mentions his mode of foretelling a ship's draught (Diary, ed. Bright, iii. 447–8), and his cannon ‘which, from the shortness and bigness, they do call Punchinello’ (ib. vi. 59–60). Many of his manuscripts, including thirty-one letters to Pepys, are preserved in the Rawlinson collection in the Bodleian Library (Coxe, Catal. Codd. MSS. Bibl. Bodl., pars v. fasc. ii. pp. 671–2).

Deane died at his house in Charterhouse Square, London, in 1721, at a very advanced age. In his will, proved on 19 June in that year, he desires to be buried ‘in the vault where my family now lyeth in Crutchett Fryers, London’ (Reg. in P. C. C. 112, Buckingham). He married—the license is dated 22 July 1678—as his second wife, Christian, widow of Sir John Dawes, knt., of Bocking, Essex (Burke, Extinct Baronetage, p. 154, where the pedigree of Dawes is incorrect; Chester, Marriage Licenses, ed. Foster, 391; Administration Book, P. C. C. 1672, f. 8 b). One of his sons accompanied Peter the Great back to Moscow, where he died in 1699 (Luttrell, iv. 535). John Deane signed a single folio sheet published in London in 1699 under the title: ‘A Letter from Moscow to the Marquess of Carmarthen, relating to the Czar of Muscovy's forwardness in his Great Navy,’ dated from ‘Moscow, 8 March 1698–9. Deane was elected a fellow of the Royal Society in 1681, and often served on the council. A photograph of his portrait in the Pepysian Library faces p. 27 of vol. ii. of Bright's edition of Pepys's ‘Diary.’

[Deane's Life of R. Deane, pp. 56, 551–4; Pepys's Diary (Bright), passim; Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1660–7; Lindsey's Season at Harwich, pt. ii. pp. 25–7, 42, 44, 162; Duckett's Penal Laws and Test Act, appendix, pp. 74, 285; Official Return of Lists of Members of Parliament, pt. i. pp. 529, 535, 553; Life, Journals, and Correspondence of S. Pepys, ii. 291, 238; Morant's Essex, i. 399, 453, ii. 387, 397; Clutterbuck's Hertfordshire, i. 114, iii. 124, 419; Nichols's Collectanea, ii. 313; Alban Thomas's List of the Royal Society, 1718.]

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