Posts Tagged ‘Admiral Lord Hugh Seymour’

Regency Personalities Series

In my attempts to provide us with the details of the Regency, today I continue with one of the many period notables.

Josceline Percy (Royal Navy Officer)
29 January 1784 – 19 October 1856

Josceline Percy was the fourth son of Algernon Percy, second Baron Lovaine of Alnwick and his wife Isabella Susannah Burrell.

Through his father he was the grandson of Hugh Percy, first duke of Northumberland, and through his mother the grandson of Peter Burrell of Beckenham, Kent. His maternal uncle was Peter, first Baron Gwydyr, and Henry Percy and William Henry Percy were his younger brothers.

Born with a twin brother Hugh, Percy’s first naval service began in February 1797, on Lord Hugh Seymour’s flagship HMS Sans Pareil. Next he served on HMS Amphion from 1801 to 1803 in the Mediterranean and – whilst in that theatre of war – transferred (with Nelson and Hardy) into HMS Victory. From there he was made HMS Medusa’s acting lieutenant (under Captain John Gore, who was later knighted) in August 1803, and his assistance in her capture of Spanish treasure ships on 5 October 1804 led to that commission being confirmed the following 30 April.

He moved to HMS Diadem sometime before 1806, for he was in that ship that year with Sir Home Riggs Popham during Cape Town’s capture and was promoted from it to his first independent command came on 13 January 1806, over the brig HMS Espoir. To reach that ship he was posted to the Dutch ship Bato, then thought to be in Simon’s Bay, but – finding the Bato destroyed and that the Espoir had already sailed back to England – he had no choice but to return to the Diadem. The French 46-gun frigate Volontaire arrived in Table Bay on 4 March (not knowing the British had captured the Cape), and was seized, commissioned into the Royal Navy, and put under Percy’s command, with orders to reach St Helena and head a convoy then returning to England. He also received confirmation of his two promotions of 1806, which were given the dates of 22 January and 25 September 1806 respectively. On arrival in England, he became the Tory Member of Parliament for Beer Alston, Devon (a ‘pocket borough’ of his father’s), a role he held until 1820.

He assisted at the occupation of Madeira by Sir Samuel Hood in 1807 (commanding the 22 gun HMS Comus). To meet the terms of the convention of Cintra, requiring all defeated French forces to be returned to France, he transported the French general Junot from Portugal to La Rochelle in 1808, during his captaincy of the 36 gun HMS Nymphe. He commanded the frigate HMS Hotspur along the coast of France (and later at Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires) from November 1810 to the end of 1815, when he sailed back to England.

Made a Companion of the Bath on 26 September 1831, on 23 November 1841 he was promoted to rear-admiral, acting as the Commander-in-Chief, Cape of Good Hope (November 1841-spring 1846) and Commander-in-Chief, Sheerness (June 1851-June 1854), having been promoted to vice admiral on 29 April 1851. He was appointed Commander-in-Chief, The Nore in 1851.

On 9 December 1820, he married Sophia Elizabeth Walhouse (died 13 December 1875), daughter of Moreton Walhouse of Hatherton, Staffordshire, and sister of Lord Hatherton. One son and three daughters were born of the marriage. The only son Alan (1825–1845) died young; of the daughters

  • Sophia Louisa Percy (24 December 1821 Hatherton – 7 November 1908), author of Links with the Past married 7 July 1846 Col. Charles Bagot.
  • Emily Percy (12 September 1826 – 17 December 1919) married 17 July 1852, Gen. Sir Charles Lawrence d’Aguilar, G.C.B.
  • Charlotte Alice Percy (17 July 1831 – 26 May 1916) who in 1858 married her first cousin Edward Percy Thompson.

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Regency Personalities Series
In my attempts to provide us with the details of the Regency, today I continue with one of the many period notables.

Rear Admiral Lord William FitzRoy
1 June 1782 – 13 May 1857

Rear Admiral Lord William FitzRoy was the third son of Augustus FitzRoy, 3rd Duke of Grafton, by his second wife, Elizabeth, the daughter of the Reverend Sir Richard Wrottesley, Bt.; he was also an uncle of Vice-Admiral Robert FitzRoy.

FitzRoy entered the Navy on 21 April 1794, on board the frigate Phaeton, firstly serving under Captain William Bentinck, and following the battle of the Glorious First of June, under Captain Robert Stopford. He then served abroad the 74-gun Leviathan, under Lord Hugh Seymour, following him into the 80-gun Sans Pareil, and seeing action at the Battle of Groix on 23 June 1795. After serving in the frigates Niger, Captain Edward Foote; Phoenix, Captain Lawrence Halsted; and Cambrian, Captain the Hon. Arthur Kaye Legge, in February 1798 he rejoined Captain Foote on board Seahorse, and was present at the action of 27 June 1798 when Seahorse captured the French frigate Sensible in the Strait of Sicily.

FitzRoy was promoted to lieutenant on 13 May 1800 into the frigate Penelope, Captain the Honourable Henry Blackwood, in which he witnessed the surrender of Malta in September, and took part in the Egyptian Campaign in mid-1801. On 31 October 1801, he was appointed acting-commander of the sloop Salamine, and after this was confirmed on 7 January 1802, commanded Mutine. He returned to England, and from 26 January 1803 commanded Fairy. FitzRoy was promoted to post-captain on 3 March 1804, taking command of the frigate Aeolus, and was present at the battle of Cape Ortegal on 4 November 1805, and at the invasion of Martinique in February 1809.

In June 1810 he commissioned the frigate Macedonian to serve on the Lisbon station. On 7 April 1811 FitzRoy was dismissed from the Navy after a court-martial found him guilty of “False Expense of Stores” and “Tyranny & Oppression”. FitzRoy was charged with falsifying the reports of the ships stores and selling the surplus for his own profit. He also sentenced a seaman to 48 lashes for drunkenness, four times the legal maximum. Furthermore, when challenged, FitzRoy accused the master of “contempt” and had him clapped in irons, also in breach of naval law. Despite being declared incapable of ever serving again as an officer, FitzRoy was restored to his former rank and seniority by the Prince Regent the following August, though he received no further employment in the Navy. Nevertheless, he was made a Companion of the Order of the Bath on 4 June 1815, promoted to rear admiral on 10 January 1837, and made a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath on 4 July 1840.

Fitzroy was still on active service in Aeolus when he was elected as Member of Parliament for the family seat of Thetford in the 1806 election, and so did not make first appearance in the house until 1810, as a supporter of the Whigs. He was replaced as MP by his brother Lord John FitzRoy at the 1812 election.

On 9 August 1816 he married Georgiana, the second daughter of Thomas Raikes, and had a son and three daughters. Admiral FitzRoy died at East Sheen, London, on 13 May 1857.

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Regency Personalities Series
In my attempts to provide us with the details of the Regency, today I continue with one of the many period notables.

Francis Seymour-Conway 1st Marquess of Hertford
5 July 1718 – 14 June 1794


Francis Seymour-Conway

Francis Seymour-Conway 1st Marquess of Hertford was born in Chelsea, London, the son of Francis Seymour-Conway, 1st Baron Conway and Charlotte Shorter, daughter of John Shorter of Bybrook. He was a descendant of Edward Seymour, 1st Duke of Somerset. He succeeded to the barony on the death of his father in 1732. The first few years after his father’s death were spent in Italy and Paris. On his return to England he took his seat, as 2nd Baron Conway, among the Peers in November 1739. Henry Seymour Conway, politician and soldier, was his younger brother.

In August 1750 he was created Viscount Beauchamp and Earl of Hertford. In 1755, according to Horace Walpole, 4th Earl of Orford, “The Earl of Hertford, a man of unblemished morals, but rather too gentle and cautious, to combat so presumptuous a court, was named Ambassador to Paris.” However, due to the demands of the French, the journey was suspended. From 1751 to 1766 he was Lord of the Bedchamber to George II and George III. In 1756 he was made a Knight of the Garter and, in 1757, Lord-Lieutenant and Guardian of the Rolls of the County of Warwick and City of Coventry.

In 1763 he became Privy Councillor and, from October 1763 to June 1765, was a successful ambassador in Paris. He witnessed the sad last months of Madame de Pompadour, whom he admired, and wrote a kindly epitaph for her. In the autumn of 1765 he became Viceroy of Ireland where, as an honest and religious man, he was well liked. An anonymous satirist in 1777 described him as “the worst man in His Majesty’s dominions”, and also emphasised Hertford’s greed and selfishness, adding “I cannot find any term for him but avaricious.” However, this anonymous attack does not seem to be justified.

In 1782, when she was only fifty-six, his wife died after having nursed their grandson at Forde’s Farm, Thames Ditton, where she caught a violent cold. According to Walpole, “Lord Hertford’s loss is beyond measure. She was not only the most affectionate wife, but the most useful one, and almost the only person I ever saw that never neglected or put off or forgot anything that was to be done. She was always proper, either in the highest life or in the most domestic.” (Walpole visited Forde’s Farm on several occasions from his residence at Strawberry Hill, Twickenham.) Within two years of the tragedy, Lord Hertford had sold Forde’s Farm to Mrs Charlotte Boyle Walsingham, and a further two years later, she had re-developed the estate, building a new mansion which she called Boyle Farm, a name still in use today.

In July 1793 he was created Marquess of Hertford, with the subsidiary title of Earl of Yarmouth. He enjoyed this elevation for almost a year until his death at the age of seventy-six, on 14 June 1794, at the house of his daughter, the Countess of Lincoln. He died as the result of an infection following a minor injury he received while riding. He was buried at Arrow, in Warwickshire.


Isabella, Countess of Hertford

Lord Hertford married Lady Isabella Fitzroy, daughter of Charles FitzRoy, 2nd Duke of Grafton, on 29 May 1741. They had thirteen children:

  • Francis Seymour-Conway, 2nd Marquess of Hertford (12 February 1743 – 28 June 1822)
  • Lady Anne Seymour-Conway (1 August 1744 – 4 November 1784), married Charles Moore, 1st Marquess of Drogheda.
  • Lord Henry Seymour-Conway (15 December 1746 – 5 February 1830)
  • Lady Sarah Frances Seymour-Conway (27 September 1747 – 20 July 1770), married Robert Stewart, 1st Marquess of Londonderry.
  • Lord Robert Seymour-Conway (20 January 1748 – 23 November 1831)
  • Lady Gertrude Seymour-Conway (9 October 1750 – 29 May 1782), married George Mason-Villiers, 2nd Earl Grandison.
  • Lady Frances Seymour-Conway (4 December 1751 – 11 November 1820), married Henry Fiennes Pelham-Clinton, Earl of Lincoln, a son of Henry Fiennes Pelham-Clinton, 2nd Duke of Newcastle.
  • Rev. Hon. Edward Seymour-Conway (1752–1785)
  • Lady Elizabeth Seymour-Conway (1754–1825) married Luiggi Giafferi, prime minister of Kingdom of Corsica (1736)
  • Lady Isabella Rachel Seymour-Conway (25 December 1755 – 1825), married George Hatton, a member of parliament.
  • Admiral Lord Hugh Seymour (29 April 1759 – 11 September 1801), married Lady Anne Horatia Waldegrave, a daughter of James Waldegrave, 2nd Earl Waldegrave
  • Lord William Seymour-Conway (29 April 1759 – 31 January 1837)
  • Lord George Seymour-Conway (21 July 1763 – 10 March 1848). He married Isabella Hamilton, granddaughter of James Hamilton, 7th Earl of Abercorn, and was the father of Sir George Hamilton Seymour, a British diplomatist.

He is not known to have suffered from any mental abnormality, but a noted strain of eccentricity appeared among his descendants: the debauched behaviour of his grandson, the 3rd Marquess, and the suicide of another grandson, Viscount Castlereagh, were both attributed to a strain of madness supposed to be hereditary in the Seymour Conway family.

Lord Hertford died in Surrey, England.

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Regency Personalities Series
In my attempts to provide us with the details of the Regency, today I continue with one of the many period notables.

Sir George Seymour
17 September 1787 – 20 January 1870


George Seymour

Sir George Seymour was the eldest son of Vice-Admiral Lord Hugh Seymour (himself a son of Francis Seymour-Conway, 1st Marquess of Hertford) and Anna Horatia Waldegrave (a daughter of James Waldegrave, 2nd Earl Waldegrave) and entered the Royal Navy in 1797.

In 1806, he took command of Kingfisher and sailed her back to Britain. Promoted to Captain later that year, he was given command of HMS Aurora.

He captained HMS Pallas during the Battle of Basque Roads and HMS Fortunée and HMS Leonidas during the War of 1812. For his part in the latter war, he was appointed a CB in 1815 (alongside many other Captains) and a KCH in 1831 (and later a GCH in 1834). In 1841 he was appointed Third Naval Lord.

He was appointed Commander-in-Chief Pacific Station in 1844, Commander-in-Chief North America and West Indies Station in 1851 and Commander-in-Chief, Portsmouth in 1856.

He was appointed a GCB in 1860 and promoted to Admiral of the Fleet in 1866.

He died in January 1870, eight months before his first cousin once removed, the 4th Marquess of Hertford; had he survived him, he would have succeeded to the title. His son Francis succeeded as the 5th Marquess in August.

In 1811, Seymour had married Georgiana Mary Berkeley (a daughter of Sir George Berkeley) and they had eight children:

  • Francis George Hugh (1812–1884), succeeded cousin as Marquess of Hertford in 1870.
  • George Henry (1818–1869), Lord of the Admiralty.
  • Laura Williamina (1832–1912), married Queen Victoria’s nephew Prince Victor of Hohenlohe-Langenburg (eventually becoming known as Princess Victor of Hohenlohe-Langenburg).
  • William Frederick Ernest (1838–1915), General
  • Georgina Isabella (d. 1848), married Charles Corkran of Long Ditton.
  • Horatia Louisa (d. 1829), died unmarried.
  • Emily Charlotte (d. 1892), married William Ormsby-Gore, 2nd Baron Harlech.
  • Matilda Horatia (d. 1916), married Lt-Col Cecil Rice.

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Regency Personalities Series
In my attempts to provide us with the details of the Regency, today I continue with one of the many period notables.

Sir John Thomas Duckworth 1st Baronet
9 February 1748 – 31 August 1817


John Thomas Duckworth

Sir John Thomas Duckworth 1st Baronet was Born in Leatherhead, Surrey, England, Duckworth was one of five sons of Sarah Johnson and the vicar Henry Duckworth A.M. of Stoke Poges, County of Buckinghamshire. The Duckworths were descended from a landed family, with Henry later being installed as Canon of Windsor. John Duckworth went to Eton College, but began his naval career in 1759 at the suggestion of Edward Boscawen, when he entered the Royal Navy as a midshipman on HMS Namur. Namur later became part of the fleet under Sir Edward Hawke, and Duckworth was present at the Battle of Quiberon Bay on 20 November 1759. On 5 April 1764 he joined the 50-gun HMS Guernsey at Chatham, after leaving HMS Prince of Orange, to serve with Admiral Hugh Palliser, then Governor of Newfoundland. He served aboard HMS Princess Royal, on which he suffered a concussion when he was hit by the head of another sailor, decapitated by a cannonball. He spent some months as an acting lieutenant, and was confirmed in the rank on 14 November 1771. He then spent three years aboard the 74-gun HMS Kent, the Plymouth guardship, under Captain Charles Fielding. Fielding was given command of the frigate HMS Diamond in early 1776, and he took Duckworth with him as his first lieutenant. Duckworth married Anne Wallis in July 1776, with whom he had a son and a daughter.

After some time in North America, where Duckworth became involved in a court-martial after an accident at Rhode Island on 18 January 1777 left several men dead, the Diamond was sent to join Vice-Admiral John Byron’s fleet in the West Indies. Byron transferred him to his own ship, HMS Princess Royal, in March 1779, and Duckworth was present aboard her at the Battle of Grenada on 6 July 1779. Duckworth was promoted to commander ten days after this and given command of the sloop-of-war HMS Rover. After cruising off Martinique for a time, he was promoted to post captain on 16 June 1780 and given command of the 74-gun HMS Terrible. He returned to the Princess Royal as flag-captain to Rear-Admiral Sir Joshua Rowley, with whom he went to Jamaica. He was briefly in command of HMS Yarmouth, before moving into HMS Bristol in February 1781, and returned to England with a trade convoy. In the years of peace before the French Revolution he was a captain of the 74-gun HMS Bombay Castle, lying at Plymouth.

Fighting against France, Duckworth distinguished himself both in European waters and in the Caribbean. He was initially in command of the 74-gun HMS Orion from 1793 and served in the Channel Fleet under Admiral Lord Howe. He was in action at the Glorious First of June. Duckworth was one of few commanders specifically mentioned by Howe for their good conduct, and one of eighteen commanders honoured with the Naval Gold Medal, and the thanks of both Houses of Parliament. He was appointed to command the 74-gun HMS Leviathan in early 1794, and went out to the West Indies where he served under Rear-Admiral Sir William Parker. He was appointed commodore at Santo Domingo in August 1796. In 1798 Duckworth was in command of a small squadron of four vessels. He sailed for Minorca on 19 October 1798, where he was a joint commander with Sir Charles Stuart, initially landing his 800 troops in the bay of Addaya, and later landing sailors and marines from his ships, which included the frigates HMS Cormorant and HMS Aurora, to support the Army. He was promoted to rear-admiral of the white on 14 February 1799 following Minorca’s capture, and “Minorca” was later inscribed on his coat of arms. In June his squadron of four ships captured Courageux.

In April 1800 was in command of the blockading squadron off Cadiz, and intercepted a large and rich Spanish convoy from Lima off Cadiz, consisting of two frigates (both taken as prizes) and eleven merchant vessels, with his share of the prize money estimated at £75,000. In June 1800 he sailed to take up his post as the newly appointed Commander-in-Chief at Barbados and Leeward Islands, succeeding Lord Hugh Seymour.

Duckworth was nominated a Knight Companion of the most Honourable Military Order of the Bath in 1801 (and installed in 1803), for the capture of the islands of St. Bartholomew, St. Martin, St. Thomas, St. John and St. Croix and defeat of the Swedish and Danish forces stationed there on 20 March 1801. Lieutenant-General Thomas Trigge commanded the ground troops, which consisted of two brigades under Brigadier-Generals Fuller and Frederick Maitland, of 1,500 and 1,800 troops respectively. These included the 64th Regiment of Foot (Lieutenant-Colonel Edward Pakenham), and the 2nd and 8th West Indies Regiments, two detachments of Royal Artillery, and two companies of sailors, each of about 100 men. The ships involved, in addition to Leviathan, included HMS Andromeda, HMS Unite, HMS Coromandel, HMS Proselyte, HMS Amphitrite, HMS Hornet, the brig HMS Drake, armed brig HMS Fanny, schooner HMS Eclair, and tender HMS Alexandria. Aside from the territory and prisoners taken during the operation, Duckworth’s force took two Swedish merchantmen, a Danish ship (in ballast), three small French vessels, one privateer brig (12-guns), one captured English ship, a merchant-brig, four small schooners, and a sloop.

From 1803 until 1805, Duckworth assumed command as the commander-in-chief of the Jamaica Station, during which time he directed the operations which led to the surrender of General Rochambeau and the French army, following the successful Blockade of Saint-Domingue. Duckworth was promoted to vice-admiral of the blue on 23 April 1804, and he was appointed a Colonel of Marines. He succeeded in capturing numerous enemy vessels and 5,512 French prisoners of war. In recognition of his service, the Legislative Assembly of Jamaica presented Duckworth with a ceremonial sword and a gold scabbard, inscribed with a message of thanks. The merchants of Kingston provided a second gift, an ornamental tea kettle signifying Duckworth’s defence of sugar and tea exports Both sword and kettle were subsequently gifted to the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich.

Duckworth remained in Jamaica until 1805, returning to England that April aboard HMS Acasta. On his return to England again, he was called to face court-martial charges brought by Captain James Athol Wood of HMS Acasta, who claimed that Duckworth had transgressed the 18th Article of War; “Taking goods onboard other than for the use of the vessel, except gold & etc.” Duckworth had apparently acquired some goods, and in wishing to transport them home in person reassigned Captain Wood to another vessel on Jamaica station knowing that the vessel was soon to be take under command by another flag officer. Consequently Duckworth was able to take the goods to England as personal luggage, and Wood was forced to sail back as a passenger on his own ship. The court-martial was held on board HMS Gladiator in Portsmouth on 25 April 1805, but the charge was dropped on 7 June 1805.

In 1805 the Admiralty decided that Duckworth should raise his flag aboard HMS Royal George and sail to join Vice-Admiral Horatio Nelson off Cadiz. However, the Plymouth Dockyards could not make Royal George ready to sail in time, and Duckworth was directed to raise his flag in HMS Superb, with Captain Richard Keats as his flag-captain. By the time of his arrival on 15 November, the Battle of Trafalgar had been fought. Duckworth was ordered to take command of the West Indies squadron involved in the blockade of Cadiz, with seven sail of the line, consisting of five 74-gun ships, the 80-gun HMS Canopus and the 64-gun HMS Agamemnon, and two frigates.

Although known for a cautious character, he abandoned the blockade and sailed in search of a French squadron under Admiral Zacharie Allemand, which had been reported by a frigate off Madeira on 30 November, on his own initiative. While searching for the French, which eventually eluded him, he came across another French squadron on 25 December, consisting of six sail of the line and a frigate. This was the squadron under Contre-Admiral Jean-Baptiste Willaumez, heading for the Cape of Good Hope, and pursued by Rear-Admiral Sir Richard Strachan. Duckworth gave chase, but with his squadron scattered, decided not to risk engaging with his one ship, and gave it up.

Duckworth then set sail for the Leeward Islands to take on water, dispatching the 74-gun HMS Powerful to reinforce the East Indies squadron. There, at Saint Kitts, he was joined on 21 January 1806 by the 74-gun ships HMS Northumberland and HMS Atlas commanded by Sir Alexander Cochrane, and on 1 February a brig Kingfisher commanded by Nathaniel Day Cochrane, which brought news of French at San Domingo. The French had a squadron of five ships: the 120-gun Imperial, two 84-gun and two 74-gun ships and two frigates, under the command of Vice-Admiral Corentin Urbain Leissègues which escaped from Brest and sought to reinforce the French forces at San Domingo with about 1,000 troops. Arriving at San Domingo on 6 February 1806, Duckworth found the French squadron with its transports anchored in the Occa bay. The French commander immediately hurried to sea, forming a line of battle as they went. Duckworth gave the signal to form two columns of four and three ships of the line.

In the Battle of San Domingo, Duckworth’s squadron defeated the squadron of French when
Duckworth at once made the signal to attack and “with a portrait of Nelson suspended from the mizzen stay of the Superb with the band playing ‘God Save the King’ and ‘Nelson of the Nile’, bore down on the leading French ship Alexandre of 84 guns and engaged her at close quarters. After a severe action of two hours, two of the French ships were driven ashore and burnt with three others captured. Only the French frigates escaped.

Despite this, it is thought that Duckworth used his own ship cautiously, and the credit for the victory was due more to the initiative of the individual British captains. Duckworth nearly grounded his own ship as he attempted to board Impérial.

His victory over the French Admiral Leissègues off the coast of Hispaniola on 6 February together with Admiral Alexander Cochrane’s squadron was a fatal blow to French strategy in the Caribbean region, and played a major part in Napoleon’s eventual sale of Louisiana, and withdrawal from the Caribbean. It was judged sufficiently important to have the Tower of London guns fire a salute. San Domingo was added to Duckworth’s coat of arms as words; a British sailor was added to the supporters of the Arms in 1814.
A promotion to vice-admiral of the white in April 1806 followed, along with the presentation of a sword of honour by the House of Assembly of Jamaica, while his naval feats were acknowledged with several honours, including a sword of honour by the corporation of the City of London. A great dinner was also held in his honour as the Mansion House. On his return to England, Duckworth was granted a substantial pension of £1,000 from the House of Commons, and the freedom of the city of London.

Santo Domingo was the last significant fleet action of the Napoleonic Wars which, despite negative claims made about his personality, displayed Duckworth’s understanding of the role of naval strategy in the overall war by securing for Britain mastery of the sea, and thus having sea-oriented mentality having placed a British fleet in the right strategic position. Duckworth also displayed the willingness of accept changing tactics employed by Nelson, and maintained the superiority of British naval gunnery in battle.

Duckworth was appointed second in command of the Mediterranean Fleet in 1805 primarily on consideration by the Admiralty of having a senior officer in the forthcoming operations with the Imperial Russian Navy. Sailing in the 100-gun first-rate HMS Royal George with eight ships of the line and four smaller vessels, he arrived at the island of Tenedos with orders to take possession of the Ottoman fleet at Constantinople, thus supporting Dmitry Senyavin’s fleet in the Dardanelles Operation. Accompanying him were some of the ablest Royal Navy officers such as Sidney Smith, Richard Dacres and Henry Blackwood but he was in doubt of having the capability to breach the shore batteries and reach the anchored Ottoman fleet. Aware of Turkish efforts to reinforce the shore artillery, he nevertheless took no action until 11 February 1807 and spent some time in the strait waiting for a favourable wind. In the evening of the same day Blackwood’s ship, HMS Ajax accidentally caught fire while at anchor off Tenedos, and was destroyed, although her captain and most of the crew were saved and redistributed among the fleet. Finally on 19 February at the Action at Point Pisquies (Nagara Burun), a part of the British force encountered the Ottoman fleet which engaged first. One 64-gun ship of the line, four 36-gun frigates, five 12-gun corvettes, one 8-gun brig, and a gunboat were forced ashore and burnt by the part of the British fleet.

The British fleet consisted of HMS Standard, under Captain Thomas Harvey, HMS Thunderer, under Captain John Talbot, HMS Pompee, under flag captain Richard Dacres, and HMS Repulse, under Captain Arthur Kaye Legge, as well as the frigate HMS Active, under Captain Richard Hussey Mowbray, under the command of Rear-Admiral Sir Sidney Smith, commanding the rear division. They took one corvette and one gunboat, and the flags of the Turkish Vice-Admiral and Captain Pasha in the process, with adjacent fortifications destroyed by landing parties from HMS Thunderer, HMS Pompée, and HMS Repulse, while its 31 guns were spiked by the marines. The marines were commanded by Captain Nicholls of HMS Standard who had also boarded the Turkish ship of the line. There were eight 32 lb and 24 lb brass guns and the rest firing marble shot weighing upwards of 200 pounds. On 20 February the British squadron under Duckworth, having joined Smith with the second division of ships under command of Rear-Admiral Sir Thomas Louis, reached the Ottoman capital, but had to engage in fruitless negotiations with the Sultan’s representatives, advised by Napoleon’s ambassador Sébastiani, and with the accompanying British ambassador Charles Arbuthnot and Russian plenipotentiary Andrey Italinski, the latter being carried aboard on HMS Endymion, under the command of Captain Thomas Bladen Capel, due to the secret instructions that were issued as part of his orders for the mission, and therefore losing more time as the Turks played for time to complete their shore batteries in the hope of trapping the British squadron.

Smith was joined a week later by Duckworth, who observed the four bays of the Dardanelles lined with five hundred cannon and one hundred mortars as his ships passed towards Constantinople. There he found the rest of the Turkish fleet of twelve ships of the line and nine frigates, all apparently ready for action in Constantinople harbour. Exasperated by Turkish intransigence, and not having a significant force to land on the shore, Duckworth decided to withdraw on 1 March after declining to take Smith’s advice to bombard the Turkish Arsenal and gunpowder manufacturing works. The British fleet was subjected to shore artillery fire all the way to the open sea, and sustaining casualties and damage to ships from 26-inch calibre (650 mm) guns firing 300-800 pound marble shot.

Though blamed for indecisiveness, notably by Thomas Grenville, the First Lord of the Admiralty, Duckworth announced that

I must, as an officer, declare to be my decided opinion that, without the cooperation of a body of land forces, it would be a wanton sacrifice of the squadrons to attempt to force the passage

After his departure from Constantinople, he commanded the squadron protecting transports of the Alexandria expedition of 1807, but that was forced to withdraw after five months due to lack of supplies. Duckworth summed up this expedition, in reflection on the service of the year by commenting that

Instead of acting vigorously in either one or the other direction, our cabinet comes to the miserable determination of sending five or six men-of-war, without soldiers, to the Dardanelles, and 5000 soldiers, without a fleet, to Alexandria.

Soon after, he married again, on 14 May 1808 to Susannah Catherine Buller, a daughter of William Buller, the Bishop of Exeter. They had two sons together before his death, she survived him, dying on 27 April 1840.

Duckworth’s career however did not suffer greatly, and in 1808 and 1810 he went on to sail in HMS San Josef and HMS Hibernia, some of the largest first-rates in the Royal Navy, as commander of the Channel Fleet, One of the least pleasant duties in his life was his participation in the court-martial of Admiral Lord Gambier, after the Battle of the Basque Roads.

Probably because he was thought of as irresolute and unimaginative, on 26 March 1810 Duckworth was appointed Governor of Newfoundland and Commander-in-Chief of the Canadian squadron’s three frigates and eight smaller vessels. Although this was a minor command in a remote station spanning from Davis Strait to the Gulf of St Lawrence, he also received a promotion to admiral of the blue, flying his flag aboard the 50-gun HMS Antelope.

While serving as Governor he was attacked for his arbitrary powers over the territory, and retaliated against the pamphleteer by disallowing his reappointment as surgeon of the local militia unit, the Loyal Volunteers of St John, which Duckworth renamed the St John’s Volunteer Rangers, and enlarged to 500 officers and militiamen for the War of 1812 with the United States.

Duckworth also took an interest in bettering relationship with the local Beothuk Indians, and sponsored Lieutenant David Buchan’s expedition up the Exploits River in 1810 to explore the region of the Beothuk settlements.

As the governor and station naval commander, Duckworth had to contend with American concerns over the issues of “Free Trade and Sailor’s Rights.” His orders and instructions to captains under his command were therefore directly concerned with fishing rights of US vessels on the Grand Banks, the prohibition of United States trade with British colonials, the searching of ships under US flag for contraband, and the impressment of seamen for service on British vessels. He returned to Portsmouth on 28 November in HMS Antelope after escorting transports from Newfoundland.

On 2 December 1812, soon after arriving in Devon, Duckworth resigned as governor after being offered a parliamentary seat for New Romney on the coast of Kent. At about this time he found out that his oldest son George Henry had been killed in action while serving in the rank of a Colonel with the Duke of Wellington, during the Peninsular War. George Henry had been killed at the Battle of Albuera at the head of the 48th (Northamptonshire) Regiment of Foot. Sir John was created a baronet on 2 November 1813, adopting a motto Disciplina, fide, perseverantia (Discipline, fidelity, perseverance), and in January 1815 was appointed Commander-in-Chief, Plymouth 45 miles from his home; a post considered one of semi-retirement by his successor, Lord Exmouth. However, on 26 June that year it became a centre of attention due to the visit by HMS Bellerophon bearing Napoleon to his final exile, with Duckworth being the last senior British officer to speak with him before his departure on board HMS Northumberland.

Duckworth died at his post on the base in 1817 at 1 o’clock, after several months of illness; after a long and distinguished service with the Royal Navy. He was buried on 9 September at the church in Topsham, where he was laid to rest in the family vault, with his coffin covered with crimson velvet studded with 2,500 silvered nails to resemble a ship’s planking.

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Regency Personalities Series
In my attempts to provide us with the details of the Regency, today I continue with one of the many period notables.

Captain John (Jack) Willett Payne
23 April 1752 – 17 November 1803


John (Jack) Willett Payne

Payne was born in 1752, son of Ralph Payne, Chief Justice of St Kitts and his wife Margaret née Gallaway. His elder brother Ralph Payne would later become Baron Lavington. Payne was educated at Dr. Bracken’s Academy in Greenwich and later attended the Royal Naval Academy at Portsmouth to train as an officer. During this time he became friends with Hugh Seymour Conway, with whom he had a lifelong friendship and close naval partnership. In 1769 he left the academy to join HMS Quebec.

Quebec served in the West Indies but after only a few months Payne moved to the ship of the line HMS Montagu before returning to Britain in 1773 aboard the sloop HMS Falcon. Payne briefly joined HMS Egmont but soon was attached to the large frigate HMS Rainbow for a cruise to the Guinea Coast. In 1775 he was back in England, where he passed for lieutenant aboard Egmont.

With the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War in 1775, Payne joined HMS Bristol and participated in the Battle of Sullivan’s Island under the command of Sir Peter Parker. Shortly afterward, Payne joined HMS Eagle in New York to serve as Lord Howe’s aide-de-camp. In 1777, Payne joined HMS Brune and the following year transferred to HMS Phoenix in which he participated in numerous coastal operations on the Eastern Seaboard.

Payne returned to Britain aboard HMS Roebuck and in Britain served aboard HMS Romney. He impressed Commodore George Johnstone in this duty and in 1779 was made commander of the sloop HMS Cormorant. The following year, Payne was promoted to post captain and took over the prize frigate HMS Artois which he commanded in European waters. He was also embroiled in a scandal when he was accused of impressing Portuguese citizens out of merchant ships in the Tagus.

In 1781, Payne sailed to the Jamaica station in HMS Enterprize and the following year took over HMS Leander. In Leander, Payne fought a duel with a much larger enemy ship in which both vessels were severely damaged. The identity of the other ship was never established, but Payne was given the 80-gun HMS Princess Amelia as a reward. At the war’s conclusion, Payne returned to Europe and Princess Amelia was paid off.

During the early 1780s, Payne had formed a friendship with the rakish heir to the throne, George, Prince of Wales. After acting as companion to Lord Northington on a Grand Tour of Europe in 1785, Payne returned to the service of the Prince as his private secretary and Keeper of the Privy Seal. Payne also ran the Prince’s household and lent money to Lord Sandwich, who was obliged to obtain for Payne the parliamentary seat of Huntingdon, which he held from 1787 to 1796. During this period he was appointed captain of HMS Phoenix but never served at sea, drawing the pay whilst pursuing his other duties.

Following the succession crisis of 1788 when King George III was struck down by porphyria, Payne was an active supporter of the Prince of Wales’s regency. Payne corresponded closely with other supporters but also participated in the Prince’s frequent and extravagant masques and entertainments. He also helped conspire in the Prince’s illegal marriage to Maria Fitzherbert and was once rebuked by the Duchess of Gordon in the terms “You little, insignificant, good-for-nothing, upstart, pert chattering puppy” after being overheard making insulting comments about the Queen, Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz.

The King’s recovery, combined with the outbreak of the French Revolutionary Wars, called Payne to see once more. Taking command of HMS Russell in 1793, Payne joined the Channel Fleet under Lord Howe and the following year participated in the Atlantic campaign of May 1794. Howe was attempting to chase down a French fleet guarding a grain convoy in the mid-Atlantic and after a month of sparring, caught the French on 28 May. Payne’s ship was with the flying squadron under Thomas Pasley sent to engage the French and Russell fought well in this action and the following day. In the culminating engagement, the Glorious First of June, Payne’s ship was heavily engaged and fought a succession of French ships, inflicting severe damage and making a great contribution to the eventual victory.

In the aftermath of the action, Payne was rewarded with a gold medal and in 1795 was tasked with escorting the Prince of Wales’s official wife, Caroline of Brunswick to Britain. Payne became friends with Caroline, and the bitter marriage between her and the Prince angered Payne. In addition, Payne had earned the enmity of Frances Villiers, Countess of Jersey and these factors combined to alienate him from the Prince, who dismissed Payne from all his offices in 1796.

The same year, Payne took command of HMS Impetueux, one of the ships he had captured at the Glorious First of June two years before. In her Payne led a squadron the blockade of Brest until 1799, seeing no significant action and suffering from increasing ill-health as a result of the arduous service. In January 1799, Payne retired ashore and was reconciled with the Prince, who described their relationship as “an old and steady friendship of upwards of twenty years standing”. In February Payne was made rear-admiral, but it was becoming clear that he was no longer fit for sea service.

Retiring to the prestige post of treasurer of the Royal Naval Hospital at Greewich, Payne was actually a patient at the hospital for his last years, and plans for him to move into one of the Prince’s residences at Carlton House came to nothing. Payne died in 1803 at the hospital from the strain of his long-service, and was buried at the Church of St. Margaret, Westminster. He never married and had no children, however had been one of the lovers of Emma Lyons who later became Lady Hamilton.

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Regency Personalities Series
In my attempts to provide us with the details of the Regency, today I continue with one of the many period notables.

Francis Ingram-Seymour-Conway 2nd Marquess of Hertford
12 February 1743 – 28 June 1822


Francis Ingram-Seymour-Conway 2nd Marquess of Hertford

The Honourable Francis Seymour-Conway until 1750, Viscount Beauchamp between 1750 and 1793, and Earl of Yarmouth between 1793 and 1794, was a British peer and politician. He held seats in the parliaments of both Ireland and Great Britain, and served as Chief Secretary for Ireland under his father. He subsequently held positions in the Royal Household, including serving as Lord Chamberlain between 1812 and 1822.

A member of the Seymour family headed by the Duke of Somerset, Hertford was the eldest son of Francis Seymour-Conway, 1st Marquess of Hertford, and Lady Isabella Fitzroy, daughter of Charles FitzRoy, 2nd Duke of Grafton, born on 12 January 1743 in London. He was the elder brother of Lord Robert Seymour and Lord Hugh Seymour. He was educated at Eton and Christ Church, Oxford.

In 1760, Hertford entered the Irish House of Commons for Lisburn, and later represented Antrim County between 1768 and 1776. He was sworn of the Irish Privy Council in 1775 and served as Chief Secretary for Ireland between 1765 and 1766 to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, his father. In 1766 he entered the British House of Commons as Member of Parliament for Lostwithiel, changing in 1768 to represent Orford until he succeeded his father in 1794.

Hertford served under Lord North, firstly as a Lord of the Treasury from 1774, and then from 1780 as Cofferer of the Household, a post he held until its abolishment in 1782. In 1780 he was also sworn of the British Privy Council. He remained out of office until 1804, when he was made Master of the Horse by William Pitt the Younger. He continued in this position until Pitt’s death in 1806 and later served under Spencer Perceval and Lord Liverpool as Lord Chamberlain of the Household between 1812 and 1821.

Apart from his political career Hertford was also Lord Lieutenant of Warwickshire between 1816 and 1822 and Governor of County Antrim. In 1807 he was appointed a Knight of the Garter. Shortly before his death, he was refused a dukedom by Lord Liverpool.

Isabella, née Ingram, Hertford’s second wife, c. 1800

Lord Hertford married, firstly, the Hon. Alice Elizabeth Windsor, daughter of Herbert Windsor, 2nd Viscount Windsor, on 4 February 1768. After her death in 1772 he married, secondly, the Hon. Isabella Anne Ingram, daughter of Charles Ingram, 9th Viscount of Irvine and Frances Shepherd, on 20 May 1776. She was a mistress of George IV. On the death of his mother-in-law in 1807, he and his wife added the surname Ingram to their own, due to the fortune they received. Lord Hertford died in London in June 1822, aged 79, and was succeeded by his son from his second marriage, Francis. The Marchioness of Hertford died in April 1836.

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