Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 50.djvu/420

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furnaces and provide the utensils for the new brassfoundry at the Warren (afterwards the Arsenal), Woolwich. Up to that time it had been used as a depôt for stores, and cannon had been proved there, but not manufactured. The only place for casting brass ordnance in England was Bayley's private foundry in Moorfields, where Whitefield's tabernacle afterwards stood. A number of people assembled there on 10 May 1716 to see some of the French guns taken by Marlborough recast as English pieces, and an explosion occurred by which seventeen persons were killed and others injured. It was in consequence of this disastrous accident that a government foundry was decided on. The story has often been repeated that Schalch, a young and unknown man, predicted this explosion, having noticed the dampness of the moulds; that after it had taken place he was advertised for, and that the selection of a site for the new foundry was left to him. He has therefore been reckoned the father of the Arsenal. But the story is unauthenticated. No such advertisement has been traced. On the contrary, one has been found (10 July 1716) inviting competent men to offer themselves, after the site had been chosen and the building begun. A good report of Schalch's capacity having been obtained through the British minister at Brussels, his appointment to Woolwich was confirmed in October. His pay was fixed at 5l. a day. A warrant of the Duke of Marlborough as master-general of the ordnance formally nominated Schalch master-founder of his majesty's brass foundry 16 May 1718.

He remained master-founder for nearly sixty years, acquiring wealth and reputation. In Flemming's ‘Soldat Allemand’ (1726) the excellence of the British brass pieces is specially mentioned. Schalch never suffered the furnaces to be opened till workmen and spectators had joined him in prayer.

He died at the age of eighty-four, and was buried in Woolwich churchyard. The ‘Gentleman's Magazine’ records his death as Andrew Schutch (sic), esq., at Greenwich on 5 Feb. 1776. His two daughters married respectively Colonel Belson, R.A., and Colonel Williamson, R.A.; each was commandant at Woolwich. Four of Schalch's grandsons, also in the royal artillery, were commemorated with him in 1864 by a window in St. George's (garrison) Church at Woolwich.

[Proceedings of the R. A. Institution, vi. 235; Vincent's Records of the Woolwich District; Scott's British Army, iii. 324.]

E. M. L.

SCHANCK, JOHN (1740–1823), admiral, born in 1740, son of Alexander Schanck of Castlereg, Fifeshire, first went to sea in the merchant service, and entered the navy in 1758 on board the Duke, from which after a few weeks he was transferred to the Shrewsbury, and served in her for nearly four years as an able seaman. He was then rated by Captain (afterwards Sir) Hugh Palliser [q. v.] as a midshipman for six months. Afterwards he was a midshipman and master's mate in the Tweed, and on 10 Jan. 1766 passed his examination, being then ‘more than 25.’ After spending some time in the Emerald with Captain Charles Douglas [q. v.], in the Princess Amelia, flagship of Sir George Rodney in the West Indies in 1771, and in the Asia, with Captain George Vandeput [q. v.], on the North American station, he was promoted in June 1776 to be lieutenant, and put in command of the Canso, a small vessel employed in the St. Lawrence. He was already known as a man of considerable mechanical ingenuity, and especially as the constructor of a cot fitted with pulleys so that it could be raised or lowered by the person lying in it, which had obtained for him the nickname of ‘Old Purchase.’ He was now recommended by Vandeput as a proper person to superintend the fitting out of a flotilla on the lakes, and he was accordingly placed in charge of the naval establishment at St. John in Canada. He brought thither the frame of a ship of 300 tons, previously put together at Quebec, and in less than a month had this vessel afloat on Lake Champlain, where she largely contributed to the defeat of the American flotilla on 11 and 13 Oct. During the following months he fitted out several vessels on the other lakes, and had the control of the establishments at Quebec and Detroit, as well as of that at St. John. In the autumn of 1777 he was attached to the army with General Burgoyne, and constructed several floating bridges, some of which were brought from a distance of seventy miles. When the army was compelled to surrender, these bridges fell into the hands of the enemy. On 15 Aug. 1783 he was promoted to the rank of captain. As early as 1774 he had built a private boat at Boston with a sliding keel. He now took up the idea again, and brought it before the admiralty, who, on a favourable report from the navy board, ordered two vessels of 13 tons to be built on the same lines, one with, the other without, a sliding keel. On the complete success of the vessel on Schanck's plan, other larger vessels were built, including the Cynthia, sloop of war; but the most celebrated of them was the Lady Nelson, in which many of the earlier surveys of Southern Australia were carried out (James Grant, Voyage of Discovery in the Lady