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Posts Tagged ‘Admiral Sir Francis William Austen’

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.

Martha Lloyd
1765 – 24 January 1843

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Martha Lloyd

Martha Lloyd was the eldest daughter of Rev. Noyes Lloyd of Bishopstone in (Wiltshire and his wife, Martha Craven. Her mother was second daughter of the Royal Governor of South Carolina, Charles Craven. She is believed to have met her future husband in Newbury, when she and her sister lived there with an aunt. Mrs Lloyd considered herself fortunate to have married “a beneficed clergyman of respectable character and good position.” The Lloyds settled down and had four children. Martha, the oldest daughter, was born in 1765 and her sister Mary in 1771. A few years later, a smallpox epidemic took the life of their brother and left the two older sisters scarred for life, though the youngest, Eliza, seems to have escaped relatively unharmed. When the Rev. Lloyd died in 1789, the Lloyd family lived for two or three years in the parsonage at Deane, a benefice held by Rev. George Austen. During this period, Martha Lloyd and her sister Mary became particular friends of Cassandra and Jane Austen, friendships that lasted as long as they lived.

The Lloyd family had much in common with the Austens and from an early time, visits between the two families were frequent. Though no one knows quite how they met, the Austens and Lloyds shared many mutual friends and when the Rev. Lloyd died in 1789, his widow and her two oldest, single daughters were happy to move into the unused Deane parsonage offered by Rev. Austen. Their time there, only a mile and a half from Steventon, must have been a delight for young Jane, for though she was ten years younger than the oldest Lloyd daughter, Martha, they were, as Jane’s cousin Eliza de Feuillide remarked, “very sensible and good-humored.”

Austen considered Martha to be a second sister, as her letter of 13 October 1808, written to Cassandra, shows: “With what true sympathy our feelings are shared by Martha, you need not be told;—she is the friend & Sister under every circumstance.”

Three years later, when Jane Austen’s brother, James, married and assumed the parish of Deane, it was necessary for the Lloyds to move, this time to a home in Hurstbourne, called Ibthorpe. Though only 15 miles (24 km) from Steventon, this separation must have seemed cruel to Jane, who had few friends nearby and no mode of transportation. It is clear from Jane Austen’s correspondence that her friend Martha was privy to her great secret—her writing. An early piece of Juvenilia, Frederick and Elfrida, is dedicated to her “As a small testimony of the gratitude I feel for your late generosity to me in finishing my muslin Cloak, I beg leave to offer you this little production of your sincere Friend” and later writings prove that she had been allowed to see the manuscripts for Love and Freindship [sic] and for First Impressions, an early version of Pride and Prejudice and an honor accorded to few.

In 1805 changes abounded for the Austen and Lloyd families. Many years had now passed since James Austen’s first wife had died and he had remarried again, choosing the younger Miss Mary Lloyd to be his second wife. With The Rev, George Austen’s retirement and his family’s to Bath in 1801, James had taken over both the Deane and Steventon, Hampshire holding and his growing family now lived in the Steventon parsonage.

It was while they were living in Bath, Somerset that Mr. Austen finally succumbed to his long illness and not too many months later that Mrs. Lloyd also died. The women, being in a delicate financial state, decided to combine housekeeping and all four (Mrs. Austen, Cassandra, Jane and Martha Lloyd) moved to Southampton to be with Jane’s younger brother Frank and his wife, Mary. As an officer in the Navy, Frank was often away from home and this joining of households not only helped him look after his widowed mother, but provided constant companionship for his soon pregnant wife. It seems to have been, by all accounts, an excellent arrangement.

On 7 July 1809, Jane Austen moved to a cottage in Chawton, together with her mother, her sister Cassandra, and their friend Martha Lloyd, at the invitation of her brother Edward Austen Knight, on whose estate it lay. Their new house was a late 17th Century brick building with two sitting rooms, five bedrooms, kitchens, garrets, outbuildings, and about 2 acres (8,100 m2) of grounds. It had once been an inn, and stood at the junction where the Gosport and Winchester roads met and became the main road to London.

The family remained at Chawton Cottage, even after Jane Austen’s death in 1817. Martha Lloyd took on many duties as housekeeper for the family, though the work was divided among the three surviving women. Unfortunately for Frank, by now Sir Francis Austen, his happy home was broken up upon the death of his wife in 1823 after the birth of their 11th child. In 1828 he remarried, completing the family circle by wedding Martha Lloyd. At sixty-two, Martha was at last a bride, and more than that, Lady Austen.

Martha Lloyd’s role as Jane Austen’s friend and confidante cannot be overvalued and her contribution to what we know of Austen’s life is significant. We have not only letters written by Jane to Martha, but Martha’s collection of recipes used at Chawton, which were later compiled into A Jane Austen Household Book by Peggy Hickman, David & Charles, Ltd. 1977, and in The Jane Austen Cookbook by Maggie Black and Deirdre Le Faye, British Museum Press, 1995 (ISBN 0-7141-2769-8). Martha Lloyd is also directly mentioned in Jane Austen’s poem, Oh! Mr. Best You’re Very Bad.

A single photograph (daguerreotype) exists of Martha, capturing her in old age accompanied by her dog. It must have been taken at some point after 1839 (when the daguerreotype was invented).

Martha Lloyd died in 1843.

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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 Charles John Austen
23 June 1779 – 7 October 1852

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Charles John Austen

Charles John Austen was born in 1779 as the sixth and youngest son of the Reverend George Austen. His elder brother, Sir Francis Austen also joined the navy and eventually rose to be Admiral of the Fleet. Their sister was the famous novelist Jane Austen. Charles joined the Royal Naval Academy in July 1791, and by September 1794 he had become midshipman aboard HMS Daedalus. He subsequently served aboard HMS Unicorn and HMS Endymion. While serving aboard the Unicorn Austen assisted in the capture of the 18-gun Dutch brig Comet, the 44-gun French frigate Tribune and the French transport ship Ville de l’Orient.

After transferring to the Endymion he helped in the driving into Hellevoetsluis of the Dutch ship of the line Brutus. As a result of the latter action Austen was promoted to lieutenant on 13 December 1797, and appointed to HMS Scorpion. He was aboard Scorpion long enough to be present at the capture of the Dutch brig Courier, after which he transferred to HMS Tamar. Aboard Tamar Austen was frequently involved in attacks and engagements with gunboats and privateers out of Algeciras. He returned to the Endymion in April 1800. On one occasion he set off in a small boat in a gale with only four other men, and succeeded in boarding and taking possession of the 18-gun Scipio, with 149 men aboard. He kept control of her until the following day when Endymion could complete the capture. After continued good service under Captain Charles Paget, the Admiralty promoted Austen to commander and he took command of the sloop HMS Indian on 10 October 1804.

Austen spent the next five years serving on the North American Station, before his promotion to captain on 10 May 1810 when he was given command of the 74-gun HMS Swiftsure, which was then the flagship of Sir John Borlase Warren. Austen moved again the following September, joining HMS Cleopatra. Between November 1811 and September 1814 Austen served as captain of HMS Namur, based at the Nore and flying the flag of Sir Thomas Williams. He was then given command of the 36-gun frigate HMS Phoenix and after the outbreak of hostilities with France Austen was dispatched in command of a squadron with HMS Undaunted and HMS Garland to hunt a Neapolitan squadron suspected to be at large in the Adriatic. After Naples had surrendered Austen was active in the blockade of Brindisi. Lord Exmouth then sent him on to search of a French squadron, but with the end of the war with France in the intervening period he briefly turned his attention to suppressing piracy in the region. He successfully captured two pirate vessels in the port of Pavos, but disaster struck when the Phoenix was wrecked off Smyrna on 20 February 1816, through the ignorance of her pilots.

Austen was appointed to the 46-gun HMS Aurora on 2 June 1826, and was sent to the Jamaica Station as the second in command. He was active in combating the slave trade and had considerable success, intercepting a number of slave ships. He commanded the Aurora for two and a half years, until she was paid off in December 1828. Sir Edward Griffith Colpoys nominated Austen to become his flag captain aboard HMS Winchester on the North American and West Indies Station. Austen remained here until being forced to be invalided home after a severe accident in December 1830. Austen recovered and returned to service, being appointed to HMS Bellerophon on 14 April 1838. He was awarded a pension on 28 August 1840. He sailed with the Bellerophon to the Mediterranean, and was active at the bombardment of Acre on 3 November 1840. As a result of his good service during the bombardment he was appointed a Companion of the Order of the Bath on 18 December 1840. Austen and the Bellerophon returned home, where the latter was paid off in June 1841.

Austen was advanced to rear-admiral on 9 November 1846, and was appointed commander-in-chief in the East Indies and China Station on 14 January 1850, hoisting his flag the following day. He commanded the British expedition during the Second Anglo-Burmese War but died of cholera at Prome on 7 October 1852, at the age of 73. On 30 April 1852 Austen had been thanked for his services in Burma by the Governor-General of India, The Marquess of Dalhousie, who subsequently also formally recorded his regret for Austen’s death. Austen is buried in Trincomalee.

Austen married Frances Palmer, the youngest daughter of the late Attorney-General of Bermuda, in 1807. The two had three children together. After the death of Frances in 1814, Charles married his late wife’s sister Harriet Palmer in 1820. The couple produced four children, two of them sons, and one of whom followed his father into the navy.

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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.

Admiral Sir Francis William Austen
23 April 1774 – 10 August 1865

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Francis William Austen

Admiral Sir Francis William Austen was a Royal Navy officer. As commanding officer of the sloop HMS Peterel, he captured some 40 ships, was present at the capture of a French squadron and led an operation when the French brig Ligurienne was captured and two others were driven ashore off Marseille during the French Revolutionary Wars.

On the outbreak of Napoleonic Wars Austen was appointed to raise and organise a corps of Sea Fencibles at Ramsgate to defend a strip of the Kentish coast. He went on to be commanding officer of the third-rate HMS Canopus, in which he took part in the pursuit of the French Fleet to the West Indies and back and then fought at the Battle of San Domingo, leading the lee line of ships into the battle. He later commanded the third-rate HMS St Albans and observed the Battle of Vimeiro from the deck of his ship before embarking British troops retreating after the Battle of Corunna. He went on to be commanding officer of the third-rate HMS Elephant and captured the United States privateer Swordfish during the War of 1812.

As a senior officer Austen served as Commander-in-Chief, North America and West Indies

Born the son of the Reverend George Austen and Cassandra Austen (the daughter of the Reverend Thomas Leigh), Austen joined the Royal Navy in April 1786. After graduating at the Royal Naval Academy at Portsmouth, he was appointed to the fifth-rate HMS Perseverance on the East Indies Station. Promoted to midshipman in December 1789, he joined the third-rate HMS Crown and then transferred to the fifth-rate HMS Minerva in November 1791. In HMS Minerva he took part in a blockade of the coast of Mysore.

Promoted to lieutenant on 28 December 1792, Austen transferred to the sloop HMS Despatch and then returned to England at the end of 1793. In March 1794 he joined the sloop Lark, a brig that was part of a fleet that evacuated British troops from Ostend and Nieuwpoort after the French captured the Netherlands during the French Revolutionary Wars. In March 1795 HMS Lark was part of a squadron that escorted Princess Caroline of Brunswickto England. Austen transferred to the fifth-rate HMS Andromeda in May 1795 and to the second-rate HMS Glory in Autumn 1795. In HMS Glory he escorted the troops of General Ralph Abercromby destined for the West Indies in December 1795. He moved to the fifth-rate HMS Shannon in early 1796, to the fifth-rate HMS Triton in September 1796 and to the fifth-rate HMS Seahorse in March 1797. He then joined the second-rate HMS London in February 1798 and took part in the blockade of Cádiz. After securing the patronage of Admiral Lord Gambier, he was promoted to commander on 3 January 1799 and became commanding officer of the sloop HMS Peterel in February 1799. In HMS Peterel he captured some 40 ships, was present at the capture of a French squadron in June 1799 and led an operation when the French brig Ligurienne was captured and two others were driven ashore off Marseille in March 1800. He also took part in the blockade of Genoa in May 1800 and, having been promoted to captain on 13 May 1800, was present at the blockade of Abu Qir in August 1800.

Austen became Flag Captain to Lord Gambier, in the second-rate HMS Neptune in August 1801 and earned a reputation for seeing to the welfare and health of his men. On the outbreak of Napoleonic Wars he was appointed to raise and organise a corps of Sea Fencibles at Ramsgate to defend a strip of the Kentish coast. He went on to be commanding officer of the fourth-rate HMS Leopard, flagship of Rear Admiral Sir Thomas Louis, in May 1804 and then took part in the blockade of Boulogne. He next became commanding officer of the third-rate HMS Canopus, a French ship of the line captured in the Battle of the Nile (as the Franklin), early in 1805. In HMS Canopus he took part in the pursuit of the French Fleet, under the command of Admiral Pierre-Charles Villeneuve, to the West Indies and back in Summer 1805.

Austen was temporarily detached from the fleet for convoy duty in the Mediterranean and missed the Battle of Trafalgar. However, he did command HMS Canopus at the Battle of San Domingo, leading the lee line of ships into the battle, in February 1806. He went on to be commanding officer of the third-rate HMS St Albans in March 1807. On 13 July 1808, the East India Company gave Austen £420 with which to buy a piece of plate: this was a substantial gift (perhaps the equivalent of a year’s salary) in thanks for his having safely convoyed to Britain from Saint Helena seven of their Indiamen, plus one extra (voyage chartered) ship. In HMS St Albans he observed the Battle of Vimeiro from the deck of his ship in August 1808 and then embarked British troops retreating after the Battle of Corunna in January 1809.

Austen became Flag Captain to Lord Gambier, Commander-in-Chief of the Channel Squadron, in the first-rate HMS Caledonia in September 1810. He went on to be commanding officer of the third-rate HMS Elephant in the North Sea in 1811 and took part in a blockade of the Scheldt. In HMS Elephant he captured the United States privateer Swordfish in December 1812 during the War of 1812. He was appointed a Companion of the Order of the Bath on 4 June 1815.

Promoted to rear admiral on 22 July 1830, Austen was advanced to Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath on 28 February 1837 and promoted to vice admiral on 28 June 1838. He became Commander-in-Chief, North America and West Indies Station, with his flag in the third-rate HMS Vindictive, in December 1844. His main role was to protect British commercial interests during the Mexican–American War, which broke out in 1846, and to disrupt the activities of slave traders. Promoted to full admiral on 1 August 1848, he was advanced to Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath on 18 May 1860 before being appointed Rear-Admiral of the United Kingdom on 5 June 1862 and then Vice-Admiral of the United Kingdom on 11 December 1862. He was promoted to Admiral of the Fleet on 27 April 1863.

Austen died at his home Portsdown Lodge at Widley in Hampshire on 10 August 1865 and was buried in the churchyard at St Peter and St Paul, Wymering, Portsmouth.

In July 1806 Austen married Mary Gibson (eldest daughter of John Gibson); they had eight children. Following the death of his first wife, he married Martha Lloyd (eldest daughter of the Reverend Noyes Lloyd) in July 1828; they had no children. Austen’s siblings included Jane Austen, the novelist, Cassandra Austen, the watercolor painter, and Charles Austen, a naval officer.

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