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Posts Tagged ‘George IV’

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.

King’s College London
1829-

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King’s College London

King’s College London is a public research university located in London, United Kingdom, and a founding constituent college of the federal University of London. King’s was founded in 1829 by King George IV and the Duke of Wellington and received its royal charter in the same year. In 1836, King’s became one of the two founding colleges of the University of London. King’s is regarded as one of the world’s leading multidisciplinary research universities, ranked 21st in the world by the 2016/17 QS World University Rankings.

King’s College London, so named to indicate the patronage of King George IV, was founded in 1829 in response to the theological controversy surrounding the founding of “London University” (which later became University College London) in 1826. London University was founded, with the backing of Utilitarians, Jews and non-Anglican Christians, as a secular institution, intended to educate “the youth of our middling rich people between the ages of 15 or 16 and 20 or later” giving its nickname, “the godless college in Gower Street”.

The need for such an institution was a result of the religious and social nature of the universities of Oxford and Cambridge, which then educated solely the sons of wealthy Anglicans. The secular nature of London University was disapproved by The Establishment, indeed, “the storms of opposition which raged around it threatened to crush every spark of vital energy which remained”. Thus, the creation of a rival institution represented a Tory response to reassert the educational values of The Establishment. More widely, King’s was one of the first of a series of institutions which came about in the early nineteenth century as a result of the Industrial Revolution and great social changes in England following the Napoleonic Wars. By virtue of its foundation King’s has enjoyed the patronage of the monarch, the Archbishop of Canterbury as its visitor and during the nineteenth century counted among its official governors the Lord Chancellor, Speaker of the House of Commons and the Lord Mayor of London.

The simultaneous support of the Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington (who was also UK’s Prime Minister then), for an Anglican King’s College London and the Roman Catholic Relief Act, which was to lead to the granting of almost full civil rights to Catholics, was challenged by George Finch-Hatton, 10th Earl of Winchilsea, in early 1829. Winchilsea and his supporters wished for King’s to be subject to the Test Acts, like the universities of Oxford, where only members of the Church of England could matriculate, and Cambridge, where non-Anglicans could matriculate but not graduate, but this was not Wellington’s intent.

Winchilsea and about 150 other contributors withdrew their support of King’s College London in response to Wellington’s support of Catholic emancipation. In a letter to Wellington he accused the Duke to have in mind “insidious designs for the infringement of our liberty and the introduction of Popery into every department of the State”. The letter provoked a furious exchange of correspondence and Wellington accused Winchilsea of imputing him with “disgraceful and criminal motives” in setting up King’s College London. When Winchilsea refused to retract the remarks, Wellington – by his own admission, “no advocate of duelling” and a virgin duellist – demanded satisfaction in a contest of arms: “I now call upon your lordship to give me that satisfaction for your conduct which a gentleman has a right to require, and which a gentleman never refuses to give.”

The result was a duel in Battersea Fields on 21 March 1829. Winchilsea did not fire, a plan he and his second almost certainly decided upon before the duel; Wellington took aim and fired wide to the right. Accounts differ as to whether Wellington missed on purpose. Wellington, noted for his poor aim, claimed he did, other reports more sympathetic to Winchilsea claimed he had aimed to kill. Honour was saved and Winchilsea wrote Wellington an apology. “Duel Day” is still celebrated on the first Thursday after 21 March every year, marked by various events throughout King’s, including reenactments.

King’s opened in October 1831 with the cleric William Otter appointed as first principal and lecturer in divinity. The Archbishop of Canterbury presided over the opening ceremony, in which a sermon was given in the chapel by Charles Blomfield, the Bishop of London, on the subject of combining religious instruction with intellectual culture. Despite the attempts to make King’s Anglican-only, the initial prospectus permitted, “nonconformists of all sorts to enter the college freely”. William Howley: the governors and the professors, except the linguists, had to be members of the Church of England but the students did not, though attendance at chapel was compulsory.

King’s was divided into a senior department and a junior department, also known as King’s College School, which was originally situated in the basement of the Strand Campus. The Junior department started with 85 pupils and only three teachers, but quickly grew to 500 by 1841.

Within the Senior department teaching was divided into three courses: a general course comprised divinity, classical languages, mathematics, English literature and history; a medical course; and miscellaneous subjects, such as law, political economy and modern languages, which were not related to any systematic course of study at the time and depended for their continuance on the supply of occasional students. In 1833 the general course was reorganised leading to the award of the Associate of King’s College (AKC), the first qualification issued by King’s. The course, which concerns questions of ethics and theology, is still awarded today to students and staff who take an optional three-year course alongside their studies.

The river frontage was completed in April 1835 at a cost of £7,100, its completion a condition of King’s College London securing the site from the Crown. Unlike those in the school, student numbers in the Senior department remained almost stationary during King’s first five years of existence. During this time the medical school was blighted by inefficiency and the divided loyalties of the staff leading to a steady decline in attendance. One of the most important appointments was that of Charles Wheatstone as professor of Experimental Philosophy.

At this time neither King’s, “London University”, nor the medical schools at the London hospitals could confer degrees. In 1835 the government announced that it would establish an examining board to grant degrees, with “London University” and King’s both becoming affiliated colleges. This became the University of London in 1836, the former “London University” becoming University College, London (UCL).

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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.

Thomas Stothard
17 August 1755 – 27 April 1834

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Thomas Stothard

Thomas Stothard was born in London, the son of a well-to-do innkeeper in Long Acre A delicate child, he was sent at the age of five to a relative in Yorkshire, and attended school at Acomb, and afterwards at Tadcaster and at Ilford, Essex. Showing talent for drawing, he was apprenticed to a draughtsman of patterns for brocaded silks in Spitalfields. In his spare time, he attempted illustrations for the works of his favourite poets. Some of these drawings were praised by Harrison, the editor of the Novelist’s Magazine. Stothard’s master having died, he resolved to devote himself to art.

In 1778 he became a student of the Royal Academy, of which he was elected associate in 1792 and full academician in 1794. In 1812 he was appointed librarian to the Academy after serving as assistant for two years. Among his earliest book illustrations are plates engraved for Ossian and for Bell’s Poets. In 1780, he became a regular contributor to the Novelist’s Magazine, for which he produced 148 designs, including his eleven illustrations to The Adventures of Peregrine Pickle (by Tobias Smollett) and his graceful subjects from Clarissa and The History of Sir Charles Grandison (both by Samuel Richardson).

From 1786, Thomas Fielding, a friend of Stothard’s and engraver, produced engravings using designs by Stothard, Angelica Kauffman, and of his own. Arcadian scenes were especially esteemed. Fielding realized these in colour, using copper engraving, and achieved excellent quality. Stothard’s designs had an exceptional aesthetic appeal.

He designed plates for pocket-books, tickets for concerts, illustrations to almanacs, and portraits of popular actors. These are popular with collectors for their grace and distinction. His more important works include illustrations for:

  • Two sets for Robinson Crusoe, one for the New Magazine and one for Stockdale’s edition
  • The Pilgrim’s Progress (1788)
  • Harding’s edition of Goldsmith’s Vicar of Wakefield (1792)
  • The Rape of the Lock (1798)
  • The works of Solomon Gessner (1802)
  • William Cowper’s Poems (1825)
  • The Decameron

His figure-subjects in Samuel Rogers’s Italy (1830) and Poems (1834) demonstrate that even in old age, his imagination remained fertile and his hand firm.

Art historian Ralph Nicholson Wornum estimated that Stothard’s designs number five thousand and, of these, about three thousand were engraved. His oil pictures are usually small. His colouring is often rich and glowing in the style of Rubens, who Stothard admired. The Vintage, perhaps his most important oil painting, is in the National Gallery. He contributed to John Boydell’s Shakespeare Gallery, but his best-known painting is the Procession of the Canterbury Pilgrims, in Tate Britain, the engraving from which, begun by Luigi and continued by Niccolo Schiavonetti and finished by James Heath, was immensely popular. The commission for this picture was given to Stothard by Robert Hartley Cromek, and was the cause of a quarrel with his friend William Blake. It was followed by a companion work, the Flitch of Bacon, which was drawn in sepia for the engraver but was never carried out in colour.

In addition to his easel pictures, Stothard decorated the grand staircase of Burghley House, near Stamford in Lincolnshire, with subjects of War, Intemperance, and the Descent of Orpheus in Hell (1799–1803); the library of Colonel Johnes’ mansion of Hafod, in North Wales, with a series of scenes from Froissart and Monstrelet painted in imitation of relief (1810); and the cupola of the upper hall of the Advocates’ Library, Edinburgh (later occupied by the Signet Library), with Apollo and the Muses, and figures of poets, orators, etc. (1822). He prepared designs for a frieze and other sculptural decorations for Buckingham Palace, which were not executed, owing to the death of George IV. He also designed a shield presented to the Duke of Wellington by the merchants of London, and executed a series of eight etchings from the various subjects that adorned it.

He married Rebecca Watkins in 1783. They had eleven children, six of whom – five sons and one daughter – survived infancy. They lived in Henrietta Street, Covent Garden, until 1794, when they moved to a house at 28 Newman Street, of which Stothard had bought the freehold. His wife died in 1825. His sons included Thomas, accidentally shot dead in about 1801; the antiquarian illustratorCharles Alfred Stothard, who also predeceased his father; and Alfred Joseph Stothard, medallist to George IV.

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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.

Lady Mary Fox
19 December 1798 – 13 July 1864

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Mary Fox

Lady Mary Fox was born in Bushy House as the fourth child and second daughter of the then Prince William, Duke of Clarence, and his companion Dorothea Jordan. She was “a fine looking, brown girl with a pleasant countenance and manners”. In 1820, her younger sister Elizabeth was courted by Charles Richard Fox, the eldest but illegitimate son of Lord and Lady Holland. His parents did not consent to the match, but four years later approved of his relationship with Mary.

The couple married on 19 June 1824 in St George’s, Hanover Square, London. Lady Holland worried that she might be “a sickly subject” and wished that the “roturier blood of the mother might have mitigated the royal constitutions”. Her mother-in-law wrote on 31 August that her son, “though fond of her, he only considers her as an auxiliary to his medals and other possessions, not as a principal”, but concluded that “it will all do well; as she is very winning, and very firm, and sincerely fond of him.” The pair established their household in Little Holland House by 1827. They moved to Canada in September 1829 when Charles resumed active army service.

Mary Fox received from her father the second part of the Anthony Roll, which had been in the possession of the royal family since the reign of King Henry VIII of England, though she was probably not interested in the history of the Royal Navy. The death of her uncle, King George IV, in 1830 led to her father’s accession to the thrones of the United Kingdom and Hanover. The new king was anxious to see his daughter return home and had her husband transferred. He granted her the rank of a marquess’ daughter on 24 May 1831.

King William IV died in January 1837 and Lady Mary’s cousin, Princess Alexandrina Victoria, ascended the throne. Later that year, Lady Mary published a utopian feminist Gothic fiction narrative titled An Account of an Expedition to the Interior of New Holland. Lady Mary’s treatise is the most representative example of the portrayal of New Holland (Australia) as a mysterious and “unreal” place. In January 1857, Sir Frederic Madden, custodian of the manuscripts at the British Museum, learned that Lady Mary wished to sell the roll she was given by her father in order to raise funds for building a church “or something of that kind”.

For a large part of her later life, Lady Mary served as housekeeper at Windsor Castle. She died childless on 13 July 1864. She is buried with her husband at Kensal Green Cemetery.

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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 Richard Westmacott
15 July 1775 – 1 September 1856

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Richard Westmacott

Sir Richard Westmacott studied with his father, also named Richard Westmacott, at his studio in Mount Street, Grosvenor Square in London before going to Rome in 1793 to study under Antonio Canova. On returning to England in 1797, he set up a studio, where John Edward Carew and Musgrave Watson gained experience.

Westmacott had his own foundry at Pimlico, in London, where he cast both his own works, and those of other sculptors, including John Flaxman’s statue of Sir John Moore (1810–18) for Glasgow. Late in life he was asked by the Office of Works for advice on the casting of the reliefs for Nelson’s Column. He also had an arrangement with the Trustees of the British Museum, which allowed him to make moulds and supply plaster casts of classical sculpture in the museum’s collection to country house owners, academies and other institutions.

He exhibited at the Royal Academy between 1797 and 1839. His name is given in the catalogues as “R. Westmacott, Junr.” until 1807, when the “Junr.” was dropped. He was elected an associate of the Royal Academy in 1805, and a full academician in 1811; his diploma work, a marble relief of Jupiter and Ganymede, is still in the academy’s collection. He was professor of sculpture at the academy from 1827 until his death. He received his knighthood on 19 July 1837.

Among his works are the reliefs for the north side of Marble Arch, the sculptures of figures representing The Rise of Civilisation on the pediment of the British Museum, and the Waterloo Vase now in Buckingham Palace Gardens. This enormous urn was sculpted from chunks of marble earmarked by Napoleon for a trophy commemorating his anticipated victory in the Napoleonic Wars and then given to George IV as a gift from the Grand Duke of Tuscany.

His statue of Horatio Nelson, Birmingham was the first statue of Nelson in Britain. There are other monuments to the admiral by Westmacott at Bull Ring, Birmingham, and Barbados, while that at Liverpool was modelled and cast by Westmacott, to a design by Matthew Cotes Wyatt. In Liverpool there is also an equestrian statue of King George III sculpted by Westmacott, which was unveiled in 1822. He was responsible for the statue of the agriculturalist and developer Francis Russell, 5th Duke of Bedford in Russell Square, and the one of the Duke of York on top of the column in Waterloo place. His Achilles in Hyde Park, a bronze copy of an antique sculpture from Monte Cavallo in Rome, is a tribute to the Duke of Wellington, paid for by £10,000 raised by female subscribers.

His sculptures of poetical subjects were in a style similar to those of the contemporary Italian school: his works of this type included Psyche and Cupid for the Duke of Bedford; Euphrosyne for the Duke of Newcastle; A Nymph Unclasping her Zone; The Distressed Mother and The Houseless Traveller.

Westmacott also sculpted the memorials to Pitt the Younger, Spencer Perceval, Charles James Fox and Joseph Addison in Westminster Abbey; and those to Sir Ralph Abercromby, Lord Collingwood and Generals Pakenham and Gibbs in St Paul’s Cathedral.

His other sepulchural monuments include those to Lt. General Christopher Jeaffreson (d.1824) in St.Mary’s Church in Dullingham; to Commander Charles Cotton’ (d.1828) at St. Mary’s Church in Madingley; to William Pemberton (d.1828) at St Margaret’s Church in Newton, South Cambridgeshire; to Sir George Warren (d.1801) at St. Mary’s Church, Stockport, Greater Manchester, depicting a standing female figure by an urn on a pillar; and to Rev. Charles Prescott (d.1820), in St. Mary’s Church, Stockport, showing a seated effigy.

Westmacott lived and died at 14 South Audley Street, Mayfair, London where he is commemorated by a blue plaque. His son, also called Richard Westmacott, followed closely in his footsteps also becoming a notable sculptor, a Royal Academician and professor of sculpture at the academy.

Westmacott is buried in a tomb at St Mary’s Church at Chastleton, Oxfordshire, where his third son Horatio was rector in 1878.

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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 James Bland Lamb 1st Baronet
8 June 1752 – 13 October 1824

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James Bland Lamb

Sir James Lamb 1st Baronet was born James Burges and known as Sir James Burges and born at Gibraltar. He was the only son of George Burges and Anne Whichnour Somerville. His mother was the daughter of James Somerville, 13th Lord Somerville. His father had distinguished himself at the Battle of Culloden by capturing the standard of Charles Edward Stewart and was later deputy paymaster in Gibraltar.

He went to Westminster School and then entered University College, Oxford in 1770 before studying law at Lincoln’s Inn in 1773.

Burges first served in Parliament as Member of Parliament for Helston from 1787 to 1790). He then served as Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs between 1789 and 1795 before becoming a Baronet and Knight Marshal of his majesty’s household (1795) where he played an important role in the coronation of George IV.

Burges was an ambitious and productive writer. He was well established; being a friend of William Cumberland and John Graves Simcoe; and a patron of Thomas Dermody. He was connected by marriage to Lord Byron. He wrote music for Ode to the Passions by William Collins and wrote the prologue to Vortigern and Rowena (1796).

He exchanged poetry with royalty and wrote long poems. The Birth and Triumph of Love was published in 1796 and the 16,000 line poem was very poorly received. It was quoted as a project that was known for its lack of success. Despite the ignominy Burges still had a prestige and funds available where he could indulge his literary interests. He wrote an introduction for William Henry Ireland Shakespearian forgery and Thomas Dermody stole money from him. Burges continued to publish poetry and he had a play in Drury Lane. Despite being championed by Lord Byron, no other plays followed.

He wrote an introduction to a later edition of the Pilgrim’s Progress sequel, Progress of the Pilgrim Good-Intent in Jacobinical Times. In this introduction he revealed that the true author of the work was his gifted sister Mary Ann Burges.

Lamb married three times; his first marriage to Elizabeth Noel, second daughter of Edward Noel, 1st Viscount Wentworth in 1777 produced no children. His second marriage to Anne, third daughter of Lieutenant-colonel Montolieu, Baron of St. Hypolite produced the following children.

  • Charles Montolieu (1785–1864), 2nd Baronet.
  • Wentworth-Noel (b. 30 December 1792), an ensign in the Coldstream Guards, he was killed at the 1812 Siege of Burgos during the Peninsular War.
  • Somerville-Waldemar (b. 7 March 1794), an ensign in the 1st Foot Guards, lost a leg at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. In 1821 he married Mademoiselle Melanie-Marianne Meray, daughter of Capt. Meray, of the French Army.
  • Clara-Maria (d. 4 February 1821).
  • Emilia-Charlotte, who married Major-General Sir Hugh Halkett on 25 May 1810.
  • Caroline-Eliza-Anne (d. 20 November l863).
  • Sophia-Anne (d.11 October 1858), who married Warburton Davies on 21 December 1821.
  • Julia-Octavia (d. 28 October 1826).

In 1812, Lamb married for the third time to Lady Margaret Fordyce, widow of Alexander Fordyce and daughter of James Lindsay, 5th Earl of Balcarres. The couple had no children.

  • Heroic epistle from Serjeant Bradshaw to John Dunning. 1780.
  • Considerations on the law of insolvency. 1783.
  • A letter to the Earl of Effingham. 1783.
  • Address to the country gentlemen of England. 1789.
  • Letters on the Spanish aggression at Nootka. 1790.
  • Narrative of the negotiation between France and Spain in 1790. 1790.
  • Alfred’s letters: a review of the political state of Europe. 1792.
  • The birth and triumph of love. 1796.
  • Richard the first: a poem in eighteen books. 2 vols, 1801.
  • The exodiad [with Richard Cumberland]. 1807, 1808.
  • Riches, or the wife and brother: a play. 1810.
  • Songs, duets, etc. in Tricks upon travellers, a comic opera. 1810.
  • Dramas. 2 vols, 1817.
  • The dragon knight: a poem in twelve cantos. 1818.
  • Reasons in favour of a new translation of the holy scriptures. 1819.
  • An inquiry into the procrastination attributed to the House of Lords. 1824.
  • Selections from the letters and correspondence, ed. Hutton. 1885.

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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.

Isabella Ingram-Seymour-Conway Marchioness of Hertford
1759 – 12 April 1834

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Isabella Ingram-Seymour-Conway

Isabella Ingram-Seymour-Conway Marchioness of Hertford was an English courtier and mistress of King George IV when he was Prince of Wales. She was a daughter of Charles Ingram, 9th Viscount of Irvine, and married Francis Seymour-Conway, the second Marquess of Hertford in 1776, at age sixteen.

Tall, handsome and elegant, she soon caught the attention of the Prince of Wales. His attentions were not welcomed by her husband, who took her to Ireland to keep her from the Prince. However, this only increased his passion for Lady Hertford, and she became George’s mistress in 1807. As a result, the Prince was a regular guest at Hertford House, Hertford’s London residence, and Ragley Hall in Warwickshire. A Tory herself, she was influential in turning the Prince toward the Tories, and used her London residence as the headquarters for Tory sympathizers.

On the death of her mother in 1807, she inherited Temple Newsam in West Yorkshire, where the Prince of Wales had paid her a visit. She and her husband added the name of Ingram to their surname due to the fortune they received.

Lady Hertford’s relationship with the Prince, now Prince Regent, ended in 1819, when he turned his attentions to Elizabeth Conyngham, Marchioness Conyngham. According to Greville’s diary for 9 June 1820:

“Somebody asked Lady Hertford if she had been aware of the King’s admiration for Lady Conyngham, and ‘whether he had ever talked to her about Lady C’. She replied that ‘intimately as she had known the King, and openly as he had always talked to her upon every subject, he had never ventured to speak to her upon that of his mistresses’.”

Lady Hertford died in 1834.

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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 Charles Henry Knowles
24 August 1754 – 28 November 1831

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Charles Henry Knowles

Sir Charles Henry Knowles was born at Kingston, Jamaica on 24 August 1754, the second son of the Governor of Jamaica Admiral Sir Charles Knowles and his wife Maria Magdalena Theresa de Bouget. He received his initial education at Eton College circa 1764–6, and then subsequently at Glasgow and Edinburgh. He joined in navy in 1768 as a midshipman aboard the 36-gun frigate HMS Venus, which was then serving in the English Channel under the command of Captain Samuel Barrington. He was then aboard the Spithead guard ship the 74-gun HMS Lenox under Captain Robert Roddam, before joining the 32-gun HMS Southampton under Captain John MacBride, where he served at Plymouth and in the Channel.

Knowles was appointed as acting-lieutenant without pay aboard the sloop HMS Diligence by Sir George Brydges Rodney in 1773, and Knowles went on to serve in this capacity aboard HMS Princess Amelia, HMS Portland and HMS Guadeloupe under Captain William Cornwallis at Pensacola and from Jamaica. He then moved aboard Captain Collins’s 20-gun HMS Seaford where he served off Cap Francois and Santo Domingo. His next appointment was aboard Rear-Admiral Clark Gayton’s flagship, the 50-gun HMS Antelope at Port Royal from 1774 to May 1776, from which he moved aboard the 20-gun HMS Squirrel under Captain Stair Douglas. Under Douglas Knowles served at Jamaica, the Mosquito Shore and the Bay of Honduras.

Knowles’s commission was confirmed on 28 May 1776 and he was appointed as second lieutenant of the 28-gun HMS Boreas, then under the command of Captain Charles Thompson. He served aboard the Boreas at Port Royal, and later on the North American Station at New York after the Battle of Bunker Hill. He was promoted to first lieutenant and in 1776 moved aboard the 50-gun HMS Chatham, which was at that time the flagship of Vice-Admiral Molyneux Shuldham. He went on to see service on the flat boats at New York and Rhode Island.

Knowles returned to Britain aboard HMS Asia in January 1777 to see his father, who was in declining health. Whilst at home he took the opportunity to prepare his first signal book, A Set of Signals for a Fleet on a Plan Entirely New, for publication, before returning to the Americas in summer 1777. The book, published that year, proposed innovative new ways of flying numbered signals, and the development of tactics whereby the traditional line of battle would be abandoned once the battle began. Knowles claimed to have communicated the work to Lord Howe, and that Howe’s tactics at the Glorious First of June reflected Knowles’s theories on effective naval tactics. The death of his father on 9 December that year and his succession as the second baronet caused Knowles to return to England again.

He returned to active service again during the summer of 1778, and was present with Barrington’s fleet at the Battle of St. Lucia on 15 December 1778, serving aboard Commander James Richard Dacres’s 18-gun HMS Ceres. Two days later the Ceres was chased and captured by a squadron under the comte d’Estaing. He was exchanged and appointed to serve as lieutenant aboard Vice-Admiral Barrington’s flagship, the 74-gun HMS Prince of Wales. In May 1779 he was briefly ordered to be master and commander of the storeship HMS Supply, but had returned to the Prince of Wales by 6 July, when he took part and was wounded in the Battle of Grenada. Knowles returned to England with Barrington in October 1779, and by December had joined Admiral Sir George Rodney’s flagship, the 90-gun HMS Sandwich, as a volunteer for the Relief of Gibraltar.

Rodney appointed him to command the 18-gun xebec HMS Minorca on 26 January 1780, quickly following this with a promotion to post-captain and an appointment to the 24-gun HMS Porcupine on 2 February. Knowles went on to serve in a highly active role in the defence of British trade in the Mediterranean, engaging privateers and escorting convoys. At one point he was briefly blockaded in Minorca, where he fell ill. He was eventually able to escape to sea in January 1781, and was based out of Gibraltar until his return to England in April 1782. On his arrival he was accused of piracy and murder, but was able to clear his name, returning to Gibraltar aboard HMS Britannia to resume command of the Porcupine. He became senior naval officer there on the departure of Sir Roger Curtis, until returning to England once more in command of the 74-gun Spanish prize HMS San Miguel.

The end of the war allowed Knowles to continue with his studies, and he made a tour of France in 1788. The outbreak of the French Revolutionary Wars in 1793 led to Knowles returning to active service in command of the 32-gun frigate HMS Daedalus. He was ordered to Halifax, but given permission to move to the Chesapeake, where a French convoy was planning to sail from. Problems with manning his ship meant that Knowles sailed from Portsmouth with a largely inexperienced crew, but Knowles was able to have them fully trained by the time of their arrival at Hampton Roads. Shortly after his arrival, the French escort arrived, and the convoy sailed shortly afterwards, observed by Knowles on the Daedalus. Knowles passed this latest information on to Lord Howe, who moved his Channel fleet to intercept it, setting in motion the events that would lead to the Glorious First of June. Having fulfilled his objective Knowles sailed to Halifax, and from there returned to England. He was appointed to the 74-gun HMS Edgar and served in the North Sea. Once again Knowles was beset by difficulties in manning his ship, the Edgar put to sea from the Nore manned by soldiers from 23 different regiments, and commanded by officers from still other regiments. Typhus and ‘the itch’ were rampant, on the ship’s return to port she had to be scrubbed with lime water and fumigated with vinegar, while 100 men were discharged to the hospital. Knowles suffered a further mishap when the Edgar was dismasted in a storm off the Texel, and had to be towed back to the Nore.

Knowles transferred to the 74-gun HMS Goliath in late 1795, serving under Sir John Jervis at Lisbon. While serving there he ran foul of Jervis, who had him court-martialled in 1796 on a charge of disobeying a verbal order. At the trial Jervis’s captain of the fleet Robert Calder swore that no order had been given, and the lieutenant who was supposed to have transmitted it swore he had not received one. The charge was therefore dismissed, but this appears to have been the start of a personal enmity of Jervis against Knowles.

Knowles was still in Jervis’s fleet in command of Goliath when the Battle of Cape St Vincent was fought on 14 February 1797. During the engagement Jervis ordered his ships to tack in succession whilst in close action with the enemy. Knowles did so, coming under heavy fire and was forced to temporarily drop out of the action while the Goliath‘ knotted and spliced their rigging. On his return to the battle, Knowles observed an opportunity to pass to windward of the Santísima Trinidad and so becalm her. Jervis however signalled Goliath and ordered Knowles to stop the manoeuvre. The following morning both Knowles on the Goliath, and James Whitshed on HMS Namur had observed the vulnerable situation that the Santísima Trinidad was in, and attempted to signal this to Jervis. They received no reply.

The fleet anchored in Lagos Bay the following day, with Knowles placing the Goliath where she could provide flanking cover for the line. On going aboard Jervis’s flagship HMS Victory he was however told by Jervis that the Goliath was vulnerable where she lay. Knowles replied that the Spanish were hardly likely to attack given their condition. While Knowles was dining with Vice-Admiral William Waldegrave that evening, Jervis sent the Victory‘s master to move Goliath, a great insult to Knowles. Jervis also ordered him to swap ships with Thomas Foley and take over HMS Britannia. Knowles soon returned to England after this, citing poor health.

Knowles attended the service of thanksgiving at St Paul’s Cathedral on 19 December 1797 for the victories at St Vincent and Camperdown, receiving a Naval Gold Medal, and then largely retired from public life. He spent the rest of his life in study, producing seven books of professional studies and a new code of signals in 1798, based on his 1777 work and incorporating revisions he had made in 1780, 1787 and 1794. He was promoted to Rear-Admiral on 14 February 1799, two years to the day after the Battle of Cape St Vincent, a Vice-Admiral on 24 April 1804 and a full Admiral on 31 July 1810. He suggested using balloons to observe the French invasion forces at Brest in 1803, and in 1830 he published his largely autobiographical work Observations on Naval Tactics.

He had married Charlotte Johnstone on 10 September 1800, the couple eventually having three sons and four daughters. He was nominated a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath on 16 May 1820 at the accession of King George IV. Admiral Charles Henry Knowles died on 28 November 1831 at the age of 77. He was succeeded as baronet by his son Francis Charles Knowles.

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