« VorigeDoorgaan »
Jervis immediately conceived the idea of cutting them off. Accordingly, he formed his squadron in line of battle a-head and astern, and pushing through the enemy, completely attained his object. By this manœuvre, his immediate opponents were reduced to eighteen sail of the line. About noon, the Spanish admiral attempted to wear round, and join his ships to leeward, but being frustrated, he endeavoured to sheer off. His retreat was, however, effectually prevented by the tactics of Jervis, and the daring gallantry of his subordinates. The enemy being thus forced to a close action, suffered a signal defeat, losing four of their ships, and an immense number of their men.
By this defeat, the much-dreaded union of the French, Dutch, and Spanish fleets, which would have amounted to the appalling force of eighty sail of the line, was prevented. On his return to England, the victorious admiral received the thanks of both houses of parliament, as well as a gold medal from the king, the title of Earl St. Vincent, and a pension of £3,000 per annum.
He was subsequently employed in the blockade of Cadiz; but resigned his command, in consequence of ill health, and returned to Portsmouth, on the 18th of August, 1799. In 1800, he commanded the channel fleet; and, during the same year, received the appointment of lieutenant-general of marines. In 1801, he was placed at the head of the admiralty, from which he retired in 1804. In 1806, he resumed the command of the channel fleet, which he held until April, 1807. In 1814, he became a general of marines; and, in 1821, admiral of the fleet. He died without issue, on the 15th of March, 1823; and, three years after, a splendid monument was erected to his memory, in St. Paul's cathedral.
Earl St. Vincent was a man of whom this country is justly proud. He rose to the highest rank in his profession, by the most honourable means; and rivalled the greatest of his naval cotemporaries, in genius, enterprise, and intrepidity. Though a strict disciplinarian, he was much beloved by his subordinates, whose affections he gained without compromising his dignity. Endowed with the most daring courage himself, he never seems, for an instant, to have doubted that of his officers and men; and consequently encountered, without the least hesitation, difficulties and dangers which, to many others, would have appeared insurmountable. When the motion for a vote of thanks to this celebrated commander was brought forward in the house of lords, the Duke of Clarence said that, without meaning the slightest offence to any other person, he did not hesitate to declare that, in his opinion, Sir John Jervis was the best officer in his majesty's service.
His private life was characterised by strict integrity, and his political career by a zealous regard for the welfare of the community. While first lord of the admiralty, he rectified many abuses in the navy with regard to expenditure, as well as discipline. His habits were frugal, and, when in health, he is said to have regularly commenced the employments of the day about sunrise.
It is related of this admiral, that, while cruising in the Mediterranean, he had occasion, at one time, to hold out serious threats against the Emperor of Morocco, who, on inquiring what the British commander could do to injure him, was told that, at a certain expense, (the amount of which was mentioned,) he might destroy a number of forts on the coast. "Tell him, then," said the emperor, "that I will destroy them myself for one half the money.'
removed to the Biddeford, and from that vessel to the Dunkirk, which, in 1757, formed part of the unsuccessful expedition to the coast of France.
On his return to Portsmouth, he became an established lieutenant on board the Roman Emperor fire-ship; but, shortly after, he was transferred, at his own request, to the Hussar frigate, commanded by Captain Elliot, with whom he was subsequently removed to the Eolus, of thirty-six guns, in which he highly distinguished himself, during the battle with Thurot, off the coast of Ireland, in 1760.
Being promoted to the rank of commodore, he was appointed to the Albany, sloop-of-war, employed in convoying ships to and from the port of Milford. He afterwards sailed to the coast of Guinea, in his old sloop, the Weasel, from which he removed to the Pomona. In 1771, he was made post-captain, and appointed to the Seahorse, of twenty guns; in which, during the contest with the Caribs, he rendered essential service, it is said, in the West Indies. Returning to England in the ensuing year, he continued unemployed till 1776, when, in the Glasgow, he convoyed a valuable fleet of merchantmen to and from the West Indies.
ried into Havannah, by her own crew; who apprized the Spanish admiral of the fact, that the Jupiter had struck upon a shoal; and two ships, an eightyfour and a sixty-four, were immediately sent out to attack her. In the meantime Pasley had set the Jupiter afloat; but she had received so much injury, that he found it impossible to avoid a contest: he, therefore, brought to, and prepared for action. The Spaniards, however, were so intimidated by his resolution, that they hauled their wind, and sheered off.
His next service was in the Sybil, of twenty-eight guns, under Admiral Edwards, on the Newfoundland station. In 1780, he was promoted to the Jupiter, of fifty guns, and sailed with Commodore Johnstone, on a secret expedition, at the commencement of the ensuing year. In the attack made on the British squadron in Port Praya Road by the French, under M. de Suffrein, his ship, the Jupiter, was especially distinguished for the power and force of her fire. He had a share in the capture that followed, of the Dutch East India ships, surprised in Saldanha Bay; and in May, 1782, went out to the West Indies with Admiral Pigot, who had been appointed to supersede Lord Rodney.
Soon after his arrival, he had the good fortune to make five captures. One of his prizes was, however, re-taken, and car
Peace being soon after concluded, he returned to England, and passed the five following years in domestic retirement. In 1788, he was appointed to the chief command in the Medway; from which station, he was ordered to join the channel fleet, with the Bellerophon. After having commanded for three years at Chatham, he remained without employment until the commencement of the war with France, in 1793, when he hoisted his broad pendant on board the Bellerophon, as commodore, and joined the main fleet under Lord Howe. On the 12th of April, 1794, he became rear-admiral of the white; and, in the course of the same year, was created a baronet, and obtained a pension of £1,000 per annum, for his admirable conduct in the great battle fought on the 1st of June, in which he had the misfortune to lose one of his legs.
In 1793, he was appointed commander-in-chief in the Thames and Medway; and, in 1799, port-admiral at Portsmouth. At the termination of his command, he retired altogether from active life, and died, at his seat near Alton, Hants, on the 29th of November, 1808; leaving two daughters, by his wife, Mary, daughter of Thomas Haywood, Esq., chief justice of the Isle of Man. He appears to have possessed all the qualifications necessary for a naval commander; so that, had he enjoyed the same opportunities, it is far from rash to conclude that he would have acquired the same renown as his more fortunate cotemporaries.
SIR HYDE PARKER, THE YOUNGER.
HYDE PARKER, second son of the
unfortunate vice-admiral of the same name, was born in 1739, and went to sea, when a mere child, under his father, on board the Lively frigate. In 1757, he served, as midshipman, in the Squirrel; and, in 1758, he was appointed lieutenant of the Brilliant; from which, in 1760, he removed, with his father, to the Norfolk; and was present, in the Panther, at the successful attack on Manilla. Shortly after, he narrowly escaped being wrecked among the Naranjos, while in pursuit of a large Spanish vessel, which, on her capture, was found to have on board a cargo worth £500,000.
In 1763, he became a post-captain; and, in 1770, served in the Phoenix, a small two-decker, of forty-four guns, on the American station, where he distinguished himself in the attacks made on different posts and batteries, preparatory to the attempt on New York; and obtained the honour of knighthood, for the skill and courage which he displayed in forcing a passage above the enemy's works, at Jeffery's Hook, on York island.
On the 27th of November, 1778, he sailed from Sandy Hook with a squadron, carrying a small military force, against Savannah, which he reached on the 23rd of December, and its submission speedily ensued. The Phoenix being now much in want of repair, he returned with her to England; whence, in the same ship, which had in the interim been completely refitted, he sailed for Jamaica, at the latter part of the following year; and, some time afterwards, was wrecked, in a tremendous hurricane, about three leagues to the eastward of Vera Cruz. He succeeded, however, by his energy and prudence on this occasion, not only in saving nearly the whole of his crew, but also in getting on shore a quantity of stores, and four of the ship's guns. He then despatched his first-lieutenant in a boat, to Montego Bay, for relief;
prior to the arrival of which, being in an enemy's country, he had constructed sufficient defences to prevent a surprise.
Ón his return to England, he was appointed to the Latona frigate, and despatched to the Baltic. In August, 1781, he was present at the action with the Dutch, off the Dogger Bank; and, soon afterwards, obtained the command of the Goliath, a new ship of seventyfour guns, attached to the channel fleet. In 1782, he led the van division of the fleet sent out for the relief of Gibraltar, and bore a share in the action with the combined forces of France and Spain. After the termination of hostilities, the Goliath was retained in commission as a guard-ship, at Portsmouth. In 1787, Parker was removed to the Orion; and, in 1790, after a short retirement, became captain of the Brunswick. In February, 1793, he was promoted to the rank of rearadmiral of the white; and, soon after, having proceeded to the Mediterranean as first captain to Lord Howe, was present at the surrender of Toulon, and the reduction of Corsica: prior to which events, he had hoisted his flag on board the St. George, as vice-admiral of the blue.
In 1796, he took the command at Jamaica; in 1799, he was made admiral of the red; and, in 1800, became second in command of the channel fleet. In 1807, he commanded in chief at the memorable attack of Copenhagen; shortly after which, he retired from the service, and died, at his house in Great Cumberland-place, on the 16th of March, 1807. He was twice married; first, to Anne, daughter of J. P. Boteler, Esq. of Henley, by whom he had three sons; and, secondly, in December, 1801, to a daughter of Admiral Sir Richard Onslow. He appears to have been not only eminent as a commander, but decidedly estimable in all the relations of private life.
WILLIAM, fourth son of Charles, fifth Lord, and first Earl of Cornwallis, was born on the 20th of February, 1743-4, and appointed a lieutenant in the navy, in 1761. In 1762, he was made commander of the Swift, sloop-ofwar; in April, 1765, of the Prince Edward, of forty guns; and, in 1767, of the Guadaloupe, of thirty-two guns, in which he served for a period of three years in the Mediterranean. He was next appointed to the Pallas, of thirty-six guns, on the African station, where he continued until 1776, when he was commissioned to the Isis, of fifty guns, and proceeding to North America, signalised himself at the attack of Fort Island, on the river Delaware. In 1778, he sailed, in the Lion, of sixty-four guns, to the West Indies, and served with great credit under Vice-admiral Byron, in the action off Grenada; after which, the Lion being in a shattered state, he bore away for Jamaica.
In March, 1779, being then in command of the Lion, and two smaller ships of war, while cruising off Monte Christi, he gallantly engaged a superior French force, which, on the approach of some English frigates, sheered off and escaped. In the following June, when he appears to have had the command of five ships of the line, and a frigate, he fell in with a French fleet, bound to North America, under the convoy of ten or eleven two-deckers, three or four frigates, a cutter, and an armed brig. Both squadrons made preparations for an engagement, and some shots were fired; but, as the French admiral, De Ternay, stated, in his despatches, "knowing the magnitude of the expedition with which he was intrusted, and finding, from his conduct, that the officer who had the honour of commanding the British squadron was not to be trifled with, he (De Ternay) judged it most prudent to decline any action as much as possible." Accordingly, at the approach of night he proceeded on his course, and the next morning, not one of his ships was visible to the British squadron.
At the close of the year, Cornwallis returned to England; and, in the ensuing spring, served in the fleet sent out for the relief of Gibraltar, under Viceadmiral Darby; and subsequently, in the Canada, of seventy-four guns, he sailed to the West Indies, with Sir George Rodney. In the encounters of the latter with the Count De Guichen, on the 9th and 12th of April, 1782, Cornwallis singly engaged, and captured, a French seventy-four; and fought the Ville De Paris, while the fire of the latter was most violent.
In 1782, Cornwallis returned to England, his ship forming part of the convoy to the homeward-bound fleet. He subsequently, for a short period, commanded the king's yacht; and, in 1789, had the charge of a small squadron in the East Indies. On the 1st of February, 1793, he was made rearadmiral of the white; and, in the next year, after having blockaded Pondicherry, while it was besieged on the land side, by a force under Colonel Braithwaite, he once more returned to England.
On the 12th of April, 1794, he was raised to the rank of rear-admiral of the red; on the 4th of July following, to that of vice-admiral of the blue; and, on the 1st of June, 1795, to that of vice-admiral of the red. Six days after, being then on a cruise with a small squadron, he chased two frigates, and captured a large Dutch vessel, which they had in tow. In the afternoon of the same day, he took eight merchant ships, laden with wine, from Bourdeaux ; and, on the 17th of the month, after having gallantly sustained an attack from a very superior French force, off Brest, "he retreated with his ships," says the author of the Naval History, "in the form of a wedge, of which the Royal Sovereign (his own vessel) was the apex; and, whenever the enemy approached sufficiently near, they were soon taught to keep at a safer distance." For this masterly manœuvre, the British admiral obtained the thanks of both houses of parliament, and the admiration of the whole navy.
On the 10th of February, 1796, he was appointed to the command of a squadron and convoy, destined for the West Indies; but his ship, the Royal Sovereign, having, unfortunately, run foul of a large transport, he put back to refit; leaving Captain Louis, in the Minotaur, to proceed with the fleet to the place of its destination. The lords of the admiralty, on being informed of the accident, ordered him to shift his flag to the Astrea frigate; to which, however, he is said to have declined removing. He was shortly afterwards brought to a court-martial, by which he was censured for not having proceeded in another ship with the convoy, when his own was disabled, but acquitted of having refused to hoist his flag on
board the Astrea.
In March, 1796, he was made rearadmiral of Great Britain; in February, 1799, admiral of the blue; and, in February, 1801, commander-in-chief of the channel fleet.
In 1806, Earl St. Vincent, whom Cornwallis had succeeded, resumed his
post; and the latter, after having served, for a short time, as second in command,. was compelled, by bad health, to retire from the service. For a number of years, he represented the borough of Eye, in Suffolk; and, at one period, was member for Portsmouth. Three years before his death, which took place in 1819, he was created a knight commander of the Bath. He left no issue.
THIS officer, the fourth son of Sir James Calder, by a daughter of Rearadmiral Robert Hughes, was born on the 2nd of July, 1745; and, having entered the naval service in the year 1759, became, in 1766, lieutenant of the Essex. On the 27th of August, 1780, he was nominated post-captain; and, at the peace of 1783, commanded the Thalia frigate, of thirty-six guns, on the home station. In 1790, he was appointed to the Stately, of sixty-four guns; which, however, was soon afterwards paid off. In the following year, he served at Portsmouth, in the Duke, of ninety-eight guns, as captain to Vice-admiral Roddam; and in 1793, he was made commander of the Theseus, which formed part of Lord Howe's fleet, in 1794, but bore no part in the battle which took place on the 1st of June, in that year; having previously been despatched, with a convoy, under the orders of Rear-admiral Montagu.
Cornwallis was evidently a persevering, talented, and courageous officer. It is related of him, that, when in the Canada, his crew having declared, by a round-robbin, that they would not fire a gun until their wages, (payment of which had, by some accident, been delayed) were discharged, he restored complete subordination, by calmly addressing them in the following terms: "My lads, the money cannot be paid until we return to port; and as to your threat, I have only to say, that I shall put you alongside the first enemy's ship I fall in with, and I'm sure the devil himself cannot keep you from fighting her."
SIR ROBERT CALDER.
In 1796, Calder was made first captain to Sir John Jervis, and brought home the despatches announcing the battle off Cape St. Vincent, on the 14th of February, 1797, in which he bore so distinguished a part, that, in addition to one of the gold medals distributed among the principal officers in the victorious fleet, he received the honour of knighthood. On the 22nd of August, 1798, he was created a baronet; in February, 1799, he became rear-admiral of the blue; and in the ensuing year, hoisted his flag on board the Prince of Wales, of ninety-eight guns, one of the ships employed in the channel. In 1801, he was made rear-admiral of the white, and despatched to the West Indies, with a small squadron, in quest of Admiral Gantheaume, whom, however, he had not the good fortune to discover. In April, 1804, he was promoted to the rank of vice-admiral of the blue; and in the succeeding year, with a small force at his disposal, was