‘It will be a Charge to the King with No Effect’: the Failed Attempt to Burn the Algerine Fleet in 1679
In 1679, four escaped prisoners proposed a plan to burn the corsair fleet at anchor in Algiers harbour. Charles II agreed. Two men-of-war, a sloop and two fire barks sailed from Cadiz for Algiers, via Tangiers. At Tangiers, the ships’ companies fought the Moors. Then, off Algiers, attempts were made to bring the fire barks into the harbour. Lack of resolve in the undertakers, and weather, were blamed for the failure of the undertaking. No further attempts were made and a peace treaty eventually ended the corsairs’ depredations.