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Posts Tagged ‘Richard Howe 1st Earl Howe’

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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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 of the Fleet James Gambier 1st Baron Gambier
13 October 1756 – 19 April 1833

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James Gambier

James Gambier 1st Baron Gambier was born the second son of John Gambier, the Lieutenant Governor of the Bahamas and Deborah Stiles, a Bermudian, Gambier was brought up in England by an aunt. He was a nephew of Vice-Admiral James Gambier and of Admiral Lord Barham and became an uncle of the novelist and travel writer Georgiana Chatterton.

Gambier entered the Navy in 1767 as a midshipman on board the third-rate HMS Yarmouth, commanded by his uncle, which was serving as a guardship in the Medway, and followed him to serve on board the 60-gun fourth-rate HMS Salisbury in 1769 where he served on the North American Station. He transferred to the 50-gun fourth-rate HMS Chatham under Rear Admiral Parry, in 1772, in the Leeward Islands. Gambier was placed on the sloop HMS Spy and was then posted to England to serve on the 74-gun third-rate HMS Royal Oak, a guardship at Spithead.

He was commissioned as a lieutenant on 12 February 1777, in which rank he served in a successively in the sloop Shark, the 24-gun frigate HMS Hind, the third-rate HMS Sultan under Vice-Admiral Lord Shuldham, and then in HMS Ardent under his uncle’s flag. Lord Howe promoted Gambier to commander on 9 March 1778 and gave him command of the bomb ship HMS Thunder, which was promptly dismasted and surrendered to the French. He was taken prisoner for a short period and, after having been exchanged, he was made a post captain on 9 October 1778 and appointed to the 32-gun fifth-rate HMS Raleigh and saw action at the capture of Charleston in May 1780 during the American Revolutionary War. He was appointed commander of fifth-rate HMS Endymion, cruising in British waters, later in the year. In 1783, at the end of the War, he was placed on half-pay.

In February 1793 following the start of the French Revolutionary Wars, Gambier was appointed to command the 74-gun third-rate HMS Defence under Lord Howe. By faith an evangelical, he was regarded as an intensely religious man, nicknamed Dismal Jimmy, by the men under his command. As captain of the Defence Gambier saw action at the battle of the Glorious First of June in 1794, gaining the distinction of commanding the first ship to break through the enemy line and subsequently receiving the Naval Gold Medal.

Gambier became a Lord Commissioner of the Admiralty on the Admiralty Board led by Earl Spencer in March 1795. Promoted to rear-admiral on 1 June 1795 and to vice-admiral on 14 February 1799, Gambier left the Admiralty after the fall of the First Pitt the Younger Ministry in February 1801 and became third-in-command of the Channel Fleet under Admiral William Cornwallis, with his flag in the 98-gun second-rate HMS Neptune. He went on to be governor and commander-in-chief of Newfoundland in March 1802. In that capacity he gave property rights over arable land to local people allowing them to graze sheep and cattle there and also ensured that vacant properties along the shore could be leased to local people. It was around that time that he also bought Iver Grove in Buckinghamshire.

Gambier then returned to the Admiralty as a Lord Commissioner of the Admiralty on the Admiralty Board led by Viscount Melville when the Second Pitt the Younger Ministry was formed in May 1804. Promoted to full admiral on 9 November 1805, Gambier left the Admiralty in February 1806. He returned briefly for a third tour on the Admiralty Board led by Lord Mulgrave when the Second Portland Ministry was formed in April 1807.

In May 1807 Gambier volunteered to command the naval forces, with his flag in the second-rate HMS Prince of Wales, sent as part of the campaign against Copenhagen during the Napoleonic Wars. Together with General Lord Cathcart, he oversaw the bombardment of Copenhagen from 2 September until the Danes capitulated after three days (an incident that brought Gambier some notoriety in that the assault included a bombardment of the civilian quarter). Prizes included eighteen ships of the line, twenty-one frigates and brigs and twenty-five gunboats together with a large quantity of naval stores for which he received official thanks from Parliament, and on 3 November 1807 a peerage, becoming Baron Gambier, of Iver in the County of Buckingham.

In 1808 Gambier was appointed to command the Channel Fleet. In April 1809 he chased a squadron of French ships that had escaped from Brest into the Basque Roads. He called a council of war in which Lord Cochrane was given command of the inshore squadron, and who subsequently led the attack. Gambier refused to commit the Channel Fleet after Cochrane’s attack, using explosion vessels that encouraged the French squadron to warp further into the shallows of the estuary. This action resulted in the majority of the French fleet running aground at Rochefort.

Gambier was content with the blockading role played by the offshore squadron. Admiral Sir Eliab Harvey, who had commanded “Fighting Temeraire” at the Battle of Trafalgar, believed they had missed an opportunity to inflict further damage upon the French fleet. He told Gambier “I never saw a man so unfit for the command of a fleet as Your Lordship.” Cochrane threatened to use his parliamentary vote against Gambier in retaliation for not committing the fleet to action. Gambier called for a court martial to examine his conduct. The court martial, on 26 July 1809 on Gladiator in Portsmouth, exonerated Gambier. Consequently, neither Harvey nor Cochrane were appointed by the Admiralty to command for the remainder of the war. The episode had political and personal overtones. Gambier was connected by family and politics to the Tory prime minister William Pitt. In Parliament, Cochrane represented the riding of Westminster, which tended to vote Radical. In the aftermath of Basque Roads, Cochrane and Gambier quarreled and Gambier resentfully excluded Cochrane from the battle dispatches. There is little wonder that Cochrane took the unusual move of standing in opposition to parliament’s pro forma vote of thanks to Gambier.

In 1813 Gambier was part of the team negotiating the Treaty of Ghent, ending the War of 1812 between Britain and the United States. He was appointed a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath on 7 June 1815. Promoted to Admiral of the Fleet on 22 July 1830, he died at his home, Ivor House in Iver, on 19 April 1833 and was buried at St. Peter’s churchyard in Iver.

Gambier was a founding benefactor of Kenyon College in the United States, and the town that was founded with it. Gambier, Ohio is named after him, as is Mount Gambier, the extinct volcano in South Australia, and Gambier Island in British Columbia.

In July 1788 Gambier married Louisa Matthew; they had no children.

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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 Arthur Kaye Legge
25 October 1766 – 12 May 1835

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Arthur Kaye Legge

Sir Arthur Kaye Legge was the sixth son of William Legge, 2nd Earl of Dartmouth and his wife Frances-Catherine. Among his siblings were George Legge, 3rd Earl of Dartmouth, Edward Legge, Bishop of Oxford and Lady Charlotte Feversham, the wife of Lord Feversham. Entering the Navy at a young age, Legge served aboard HMS Prince George with the young Prince William off the Eastern Seaboard of North America.

By 1791, Legge was a lieutenant and held an independent command in the Channel Fleet as captain of HMS Shark. The outbreak of the French Revolutionary Wars in 1793 saw Legge promoted, becoming a post captain in the frigate HMS Niger. In this vessel, Legge served in the fleet under Lord Howe that fought in the Atlantic campaign of May 1794 and the ensuing Glorious First of June. As a frigate captain, Legge was not actively engaged in the battle, but did perform numerous scouting missions during the campaign, relayed signals to the fleet during the battle and gave a tow to badly damaged ships in its aftermath.

In 1795, Legge took command of HMS Latona and formed part of the squadron that escorted Caroline of Brunswick to Britain before her marriage to Prince George. In 1797 he moved to HMS Cambrian and operated independently off the French Channel coast, sailing from Weymouth. During these services he frequently spent time with royalty visiting the port and captured a number of French prizes. Legge remained in command of Cambrian until the Peace of Amiens in 1802.

With the outbreak of the Napoleonic Wars in 1803, Legge was recalled to the Navy and took command of the ship of the line HMS Revenge. In 1805 Revenge was ordered to cruise off the Spanish coast and captured a valuable Spanish merchantship and also participated in the Battle of Cape Finisterre under Robert Calder against the combined Franco-Spanish fleet of Pierre-Charles Villeneuve. By 1807, Revenge was stationed with the Mediterranean Fleet and participated in the Dardanelles Operation under John Thomas Duckworth. During the attempt to reach Constantinople, Revenge suffered ten men killed and 14 wounded. Legge was later part of the naval contingent in the Walcheren Expedition and, with thousands of his men, contracted malaria and was evacuated home, severely ill.

In July 1810, Legge was promoted to rear-admiral and the following year was appointed to be commander at Cadiz in Revenge. The Spanish port was an important position as it was the seat of the Spanish government during the Peninsular War which was raging at that time. Legge performed well in this position and returned to Britain in September 1812 to become admiral in command of the River Thames. Legge held this command, from the frigate HMS Thisbe until the end of the war in 1815.

As a member of the aristocracy, Legge had numerous royal contacts, and became a Groom of the Bedchamber in 1801, a ceremonial position that he retained for the rest of his life. He later marched in the procession at George III’s funeral in 1820. By the time of his retirement, Legge had risen to vice-admiral and been made a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath. He later became a full admiral in 1830. Legge never married, and on his death in 1835, he was reported to have left over £3,000 to his butler, £1,000 each to his groom, footman, coachman and housekeeper and other substantial amounts to his other servants. He was buried in the family vault in Lewisham.

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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 Edward Rawdon-Hastings 1st Marquess of Hastings
9 December 1754 – 28 November 1826

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Francis Rawdon-Hastings

Francis Rawdon-Hastings 1st Marquess of Hastings was born at Moira, County Down, the son of John Rawdon, 1st Earl of Moira and Elizabeth Hastings, 13th Baroness Hastings. He grew up there and in Dublin, Ireland. He joined the British Army on 7 August 1771 as an ensign in the 15th Foot. (The going rate for purchasing a commission for this rank was 200.) He was at Harrow School and matriculated at University College, Oxford, but dropped out. He became friends there with Banastre Tarleton. With his uncle Lord Huntington, he went on the Grand Tour. On 20 October 1773, he was promoted to lieutenant in the 5th Foot. He returned to England to join his regiment, and sailed for America on 7 May 1774.

In May 1789 he acted as the Duke of York’s second in his duel with Lieut.-Colonel Lennox on Wimbledon Common.

Rawdon was posted at Boston as a Lieutenant in the 5th Regiment of Foot’s Grenadier company, which was then under the command of Captain Francis Marsden. He first saw action at the Battles of Lexington and Concord and the Battle of Bunker Hill. Serving with the grenadiers, he participated in the second assault against Breed’s Hill (which failed), and the third assault against the redoubt. As his superior, a Captain George Harris, was wounded beside him, he took command of his company, for the successful assault. John Burgoyne noted in dispatches: “Lord Rawdon has this day stamped his fame for life.” He also was wounded during the assault. He was promoted Captain, and given a company in the 63rd Foot. After having recognized him, it is said that it was Lieutenant Lord Rawdon killed the American general Joseph Warren. Lord Rawdon is depicted in John Trumbull’s famous painting, The Death of General Warren at the Battle of Bunker Hill. Rawdon is in the far background holding the British ensign.

During the Boston winter quarters, Rawdon made his stage debut, delivering a prologue for Aaron Hill’s tragedy, Zara, which had been written by John Burgoyne. He was appointed Aide-de-camp to General Sir Henry Clinton, and sailed with him on the expedition to Brunswick Town, North Carolina, on the Cape Fear River, and then to the repulse at Fort Moultrie, Charleston, South Carolina. He returned with him to New York. On 4 August, he dined with General Clinton, Admiral Lord Howe, Lord Cornwallis, General Vaughan, and others. During the Battle of Long Island, he was at headquarters with Clinton.

On 15 September, Rawdon led his men at Kip’s Bay, an amphibious landing on Manhattan island. The next day, he led his troops in support of the Light Infantry that attacked Harlem Heights until the Americans withdrew.

He participated at the landings at Pell’s Point. The British pressed the Americans to White Plains, where on 1 November the Americans withdrew from their entrenchments.

On 8 December Rawdon landed with Clinton at Rhode Island, securing the ports for the British Navy. On 13 January 1777, with Clinton, he departed for London, arriving 1 March. During a ball at Lord George Germain’s, he met Lafayette, who was visiting London.

Returning to America in July, while Howe went to his Philadelphia campaign, Rawdon went with Clinton to the New York headquarters. He participated in the battles of the New York Highlands, where on 7 October, Fort Constitution (opposite West Point) was captured. However, this was too late to link up with General Burgoyne at Albany.

Rawdon was sent to Philadelphia with dispatches and returned to New York for the winter, where he raised a regiment, called the Volunteers of Ireland, recruited from deserters and Irish Loyalists. Promoted colonel in command of this regiment, Rawdon went with Clinton to Philadelphia. starting out on 18 June 1778, he went with Clinton during the withdrawal from Philadelphia to New York, and saw action at the Battle of Monmouth. He was appointed adjutant general. Rawdon was sent to learn news of the Battle of Rhode Island.

At New York, on 3 September 1779, he quarreled with Clinton, and resigned his position as adjutant general. He served with the Volunteers of Ireland during the raid on Staten Island by Lord Stirling on 15 January 1780.

He went south to the Siege of Charleston with reinforcements. After the city fell to the British, Lord Cornwallis posted him at Camden (16 August 1780) as the British sought to occupy South Carolina. Rawdon commanded the British left wing at the Battle of Camden. When Cornwallis went into Virginia, he left Rawdon in effective command in the South.

Perhaps his most noted achievement was the victory in 1781 at the Battle of Hobkirk’s Hill, in which, in command of only a small force, he defeated by superior military skill and determination, a much larger body of Americans. Thinking (in error) that General Nathanael Greene had moved his artillery away, Rawdon attacked Greene’s left wing, forcing the Americans to retire.

However, Rawdon was forced to begin a gradual retreat to Charleston. He relieved the Siege of Ninety-Six, evacuating its small garrison and conducting a limited pursuit of American troops. He withdrew his forces to Charleston. In July 1781, in poor health, he gave up his command. On his return to Great Britain, he was captured at sea by François Joseph Paul de Grasse, but was exchanged. After Rawdon’s departure, the British evacuated Charleston as the war drew to a close. They took thousands of Loyalists and freed slaves with them, having promised freedom to slaves of rebels who joined their lines, resettling these groups in Nova Scotia and the Caribbean.

Rawdon became active in associations in London. He was F.R.S. (Fellow of the Royal Society ?) 1787 and F.S.A. (Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries ?) 1793. For 1806-8 he was Grand Master of the Free Masons.

Following the declaration of war in 1793 of France upon Great Britain, Rawdon-Hastings (as he was now known) was appointed major general, on 12 October 1793. Sent by the Pitt ministry, Rawdon-Hastings launched an expedition into Ostend, France, in 1794. He marched to join with the army of the Duke of York, at Alost. The French general Pichegru, with superior numbers, forced the British back toward their base at Antwerp. Rawdon-Hastings left the expedition, feeling Pitt had broken promises.

Rawdon sat for Randalstown in the Irish House of Commons from 1781 until 1783. That year he was created Baron Rawdon, of Rawdon, in the County of York. In 1787, he became friends with the Prince of Wales, and loaned him many thousands of pounds. In 1788 he became embroiled in the Regency Crisis.
In 1789, he took the surname Hastings in accordance with his uncle’s will. He succeeded his father as 2nd Earl of Moira on 20 June 1793, and thereafter served in the House of Lords for three decades.

In 1797 it was rumoured briefly that Rawdon (Moira) would replace Pitt as Prime Minister. There was some discontent with Pitt over his policies regarding the war with France. Additionally Pitt’s long tenure in office had given him ample opportunity to annoy various political grandees, including but not limited to Lords Leeds, Edward Thurlow and Lansdowne.

In mid-May a combination of these various figures, coupled with a handful of Members of Parliament, proposed to make Rawdon (Moira) the Prime Minister. Having fought in the American War and having led an expedition to Quiberon, he commanded widespread respect. His relationship to the Prince of Wales also established him as a potential rival to Pitt, who was supported strongly by King George III.

The prime motivation for the plan of having Rawdon (Moira) become Prime Minister was to secure peace with France, the plotters having come to believe (somewhat unfairly) that Pitt was an obstacle to this objective. But their plan collapsed barely a month later in mid-June because of a lack of support from the political establishment. Additionally when Rawdon (Moira) wrote to the King to propose the change of chief ministers, the monarch ignored him. Thus the proposal came to nothing.

He became Commander-in-Chief, Scotland with the rank of full general in September 1803.

Rawdon was a long-standing advocate of Irish issues, in particular Catholic Emancipation. At one point he was described by the Irish revolutionary Wolfe Tone as “The Irish Lafayette”.

Becoming a Whig in politics, he entered government as part of the Ministry of All the Talents in 1806 as Master-General of the Ordnance and Constable of the Tower, but resigned upon the fall of the ministry the next year. Being a close associate of the Prince-Regent, Moira was asked by him to form a Whig government after the assassination of Spencer Perceval in 1812 ended that ministry. Both of Moira’s attempts to create a governing coalition failed. The Tories returned to power under the Earl of Liverpool. On 6 December 1816, Moira was raised to the rank of Marquess of Hastings together with the subsidiary titles Viscount Loudoun and Earl of Rawdon.

He also became the patron of Thomas Moore, the Irish poet. Moore visited his patron’s new seat, Donington Hall, and wrote about his impressions of it. “I thought it all exceedingly fine and grand, but most uncomfortable.” Moore was later disappointed when Moira, having been appointed Governor General of India, did not offer to take him to India on his staff. The two men met but once again.

Through the influence of the Prince-Regent, Moira was appointed Governor-General of India in 11 November 1812. His tenure as Governor-General was a memorable one, overseeing the victory in the Gurkha War (1814–1816); the final conquest of the Marathas in 1818; and the purchase of the island of Singapore in 1819.

After delays clearing affairs, he reached Madras on 11 September 1813. In October, he settled in at Calcutta. British India then consisted of Madras, Bengal, and Bombay. He commanded an army of 15,000 British regulars, a Bengal army of 27 regiments of native infantry, and eight regiments of cavalry; a Madras army, led by General John Abercrombie of 24 regiments of native infantry, and eight regiments of native cavalry.

In May 1813, the Gurkhas declared war. Hastings sent four divisions in separate attacks led by General Bennet Marley with 8,000 men against Kathmandu, General John Sullivan Wood with 4,000 men against Butwal, General Sir David Ochterlony with 10,000 men against Amar Singh Thapa, and General Robert Rollo Gillespie, with 3,500 men against Nahan, Srinagar, and Garhwal. Only Ochterlony had some success; Gillespie was killed. After inconclusive negotiations, Hastings reinforced Ochterlony to 20,000 men, who then won the battle of Makwanpur on 28 February. The Gurkhas then sued for peace, under the Sugauli Treaty.

After raids by Pindaris in January 1817, Hastings led a force at Hindustan in the North; in the South, the Army of the Deccan, under the command of General Sir Thomas Hislop. The Peshwa was defeated by William Fullarton Elphinstone on the Poona. Appa Sahib was defeated at the battle of Nagpur. Hislop defeated Holkar at the Battle of Mahidpur.

Rawdon was active diplomatically, protecting weaker Indian states. His domestic policy in India was also largely successful, seeing the repair of the Mughul canal system in Delhi in 1820, as well as educational and administrative reforms. He confirmed the purchase of Singapore from the Sultan of Jahore, by Sir Stamford Raffles, in January 1819.

He became increasingly estranged from the East India Company’s Board of Control (see Company rule in India). He was appointed Governor of Malta in 1824. He died at sea off Naples two years later, aboard HMS Revenge. Following his directions, his right hand was cut off and preserved, to be buried with his wife when she died. This request was observed, and his hand was interred, clasped with hers in the family vault at Loudoun Kirk.

Inheriting Donington Hall from his uncle, Rawdon rebuilt it in Gothic style; Wilkins was the architect. He placed the estate at the disposal of the Bourbon Princes upon their exile in England following the French Revolution. He is said to have left a signed cheque-book in each bedroom for the occupant to use at pleasure.
He was awarded the freedom of the city of Dublin in recognition of his service in America.

Loyalists whom he rescued from the Siege of Ninety Six during the American Revolution were resettled by the Crown and granted land in Nova Scotia. They named their township Rawdon in his honor.

Hastings County, Ontario, and three of its early townships were named after him, by Loyalists who were resettled in Upper Canada after the American Revolution.

The HMS Moira was named in his honour in 1805, as was the Moira River in Ontario, Canada.

On 12 July 1804, at the age of 50, he married Flora Campbell, 6th Countess of Loudoun, daughter of Major-General James Mure-Campbell, 5th Earl of Loudoun and Lady Flora Macleod. They had six children:

  • Flora Elizabeth Rawdon-Hastings (11 February 1806 – 5 July 1839), died unmarried.
  • Hon. Francis George Augustus (1807–1807), died in infancy.
  • George Augustus Francis Rawdon-Hastings, 2nd Marquess of Hastings (4 February 1808 – 13 January 1844)
  • Sophia Frederica Christina Rawdon-Hastings (1 February 1809 – 28 December 1859), married John Crichton-Stuart, 2nd Marquess of Bute and had children.
  • Selina Constance Rawdon-Hastings (1810 – 8 November 1867), married Charles Henry and had children.
  • Adelaide Augusta Lavinia Rawdon-Hastings (25 February 1812 – 6 December 1860), married Sir William Murray, 7th Baronet of Octertyre.

The marquess also allegedly fathered an illegitimate son by Jemima French, whom she named George Hunn Nobbs. Some sources do not believe this claim by Nobbs.

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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 Joseph Sydney Yorke
6 June 1768 – 5 May 1831

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Joseph Sydney Yorke

Admiral Sir Joseph Sydney Yorke was born in Great Berkhampstead, Hertfordshire, on 6 June 1768, the second son, by his second marriage, of the politician Charles Yorke. He joined the navy at the age of 11, becoming a midshipman aboard HMS Duke, then under the command of Sir Charles Douglas, on 15 February 1780. He followed Douglas to his next command, HMS Formidable, which flew the flag of Admiral George Rodney. Yorke was then present at Rodney’s victory over François Joseph Paul de Grasse at the Battle of the Saintes from 9 April to 12 April 1782. The end of the American Revolutionary War led to the Formidable returning to Britain to be paid off. Yorke remained in employment however, transferring with Douglas to HMS Assistance, and then moving to HMS Salisbury, under the command of Sir Erasmus Gower, filling the post of master’s mate. Yorke spent three years in total serving on the Newfoundland Station.

Yorke was promoted to lieutenant on 16 June 1789, and moved aboard the 50-gun HMS Adamant to serve under Admiral Sir Richard Hughes. He later served as lieutenant aboard HMS Thisbe and HMS Victory and in February 1791 he was appointed master and commander of the sloop HMS Rattlesnake. He remained aboard her, carrying out cruises into the English Channel until the outbreak of war with France in 1793. He was promoted to Post-Captain on 4 February 1793 and given command of the frigate HMS Circe, then part of a squadron under Admiral Richard Howe. He patrolled off the French port of Brest, and captured the corvette L’Espiegle.

Yorke moved to HMS Stag in August 1794, and continued to serve in the Channel, occasionally ranging into the North Sea. On 22 August the Stag and a small British squadron chased two large ships and a cutter, eventually bringing the sternmost one to battle. An hour-long fight ensued, after which the enemy, subsequently found to be the Batavian frigate Alliance, was forced to surrender. Yorke moved to command the newly built HMS Jason in March 1800, and by 1801 was in command of the 74-gun third rate HMS Canada. He commanded her until the Treaty of Amiens in 1802 brought a period of temporary peace. On the resumption of the war in 1803 Yorke was appointed to the 98-gun HMS Prince George, followed by HMS Barfleur and then HMS Christian VII, an 80-gun former Danish ship captured at the Battle of Copenhagen in 1807.

Yorke was knighted during this period of service, on 21 April 1805, by King George III. On 23 April, Yorke was present at the installation of the Knights of the Garter, standing in for his brother, Philip Yorke, Earl of Hardwicke. Philip was at this time Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, and so was unable to be present in person. In 1810 Joseph Yorke’s brother, Charles Philip Yorke became First Lord of the Admiralty and Joseph was transferred from command of the Christian VII to take up a seat on the Admiralty board.

Joseph Yorke was promoted to Rear-Admiral of the Blue on 31 July 1810 and hoisted his flag in the 74-gun HMS Vengeance in January 1811. He sailed to the Tagus carrying reinforcements for Arthur Wellesley’s army, fighting in the Peninsular War. After carrying this out he escorted a fleet returning to Britain from the East Indies. Yorke was promoted to Rear-Admiral of the White on 12 August 1812, Rear-Admiral of the Red on 4 December 1813, Vice-Admiral of the Blue on 14 June 1814, and served on the Admiralty board until resigning in April 1818. He was appointed a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath (KCB) in the restructuring of that order in January 1815, promoted Vice-Admiral of the White on 12 August 1819, and promoted to Admiral of the Blue on 22 July 1830.

Yorke stood as a candidate for the constituency of Reigate in 1790, and was returned as its member. He represented the borough until 1806, when he was elected as member for St Germans. He stood aside, “taking the Chiltern Hundreds” in 1810 so that his brother, Charles Philip Yorke, could be elected. In the 1812 general election Joseph Yorke stood as a candidate for Sandwich and was returned as its member. He represented the borough until 1818 when he was re-elected to the Reigate constituency, which he represented until his death. Yorke’s business interests include the chairmanship of the Waterloo Bridge Company.

On 29 March 1798, Yorke married Elizabeth Weake Rattray, the daughter of James Rattray, in Ireland. The couple had a number of children before Elizabeth’s death on 20 January 1812. His eldest son, Charles Yorke also served in the navy, rising to the rank of Admiral, and on the death without heir of Joseph Yorke’s brother Philip, the 3rd Earl of Hardwicke in 1834, Charles became the 4th Earl. On 22 May 1813, Joseph married a second time, to Urania Anne, the Dowager Marchioness of Clanricarde, and daughter of George Paulet, 12th Marquess of Winchester, at St. Martin in the Fields, Westminster, London. The marriage did not produce any children.

On 5 May 1831 Yorke was returning from visiting Henry Hotham’s flagship, HMS St Vincent, then moored at Spithead. He was making his way back to shore aboard the yacht Catherine, in company with Captains Matthew Barton Bradby and Thomas Young, and a seaman named John Chandler, when the boat was struck by lightning in Stokes Bay, causing it to capsize. All aboard were drowned. The bodies were later recovered and an inquest returned a verdict of accidental death. Yorke was buried at the family tomb in the parish church at Wimpole, close to Wimpole Hall, the seat of the Earls of Hardwicke.

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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.

Andrew Snape Douglas
8 October 1761 – 4 June 1797

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Andrew Snape Douglas

Sir Andrew Snape Douglas was born in Edinburgh on 8 October 1761, the son of Dr. William Douglas, a medical doctor of Springfield, and Lydia Hamond, daughter of a London merchant and shipowner. William Douglas’s death in 1770 led Andrew to sign on that year aboard his maternal uncle, Sir Andrew Snape Hamond’s ship, the 32-gun frigate HMS Arethusa. The two sailed to North America, and after spending time along the coast, Douglas moved to the West Indies. With the outbreak of the American War of Independence in 1775 he returned to North America and rejoined his uncle, now commanding the 44-gun HMS Roebuck. He received his commission as a lieutenant on 23 April 1778, and was made master and commander on 16 February 1780. He was to have been appointed to the armed ship Germain, but instead took command of a floating battery, and was present at the Siege of Charleston. He was subsequently promoted to post-captain on 15 May 1780 and appointed to the command of the captured American frigate USS Providence. Instead he had in April 1780 become commander of the Roebuck, then serving as the flagship of Vice-Admiral Mariot Arbuthnot. He went on to capture the American ships USS Confederacy on 14 April 1781 and Protector on 5 May. He was succeeded in the command of the Roebuck by Captain John Orde in July 1781.

The Roebuck was ordered home in July 1781, but Douglas remained in American waters, having been given command of the 54-gun HMS Chatham. He was employed in a senior position in Admiral Thomas Graves’s fleet owing to his extensive knowledge of the American coasts. He was subsequently given command of a squadron of frigates and went on to enjoy considerable success in a number of cruises. Among his captures was the 32-gun French frigate Magicienne on 2 July 1781, an action that thwarted a planned French assault on British ships in the St John River.

Douglas returned to England after the end of the war, initially spending time at Chatham Dockyard studying naval architecture, before going to sea again, mostly serving in the Mediterranean and the English Channel. Douglas commanded the 74-gun third rate HMS Alcide from October 1787 during the period of the Spanish Armament. He was in command of the 32-gun HMS Southampton, which had been appointed the guard ship at Weymouth, when the town was visited by King George III. Douglas conducted the King on his first voyage aboard a warship, and on 13 September 1789 King George appointed Douglas a knight bachelor. Also in 1789 Douglas and his uncle Snape Hamond were members of the court for the court martial of the mutineers of the Bounty. Douglas was then in command of the 74-gun HMS Goliath from 1790.

The outbreak of the French Revolutionary Wars in February 1793 led to Douglas being appointed to command the 38-gun frigate HMS Phaeton. He went on to capture five enemy vessels that year, and was involved in the capture of a French privateer and her prize, the Spanish galleon St Jago. Lord Howe arranged for Douglas to be commodore in charge of the fleet’s frigates, occasionally sending him on detached cruises. He moved aboard Howe’s flagship, the 100-gun first rate HMS Queen Charlotte on 8 April 1794, apparently through the auspices of both his uncle and the First Lord of the Admiralty, John Pitt, 2nd Earl of Chatham. Now serving as Howe’s flag captain Douglas fought at the Glorious First of June, sustaining a severe wound to the head but refusing to leave the deck. He was appointed a Colonel of Marines on 1 June 1795 and remained as captain of the Queen Charlotte after Howe was succeeded by Lord Bridport. He commanded his ship at the Battle of Groix in 1795, earning private praise for his courage in leading his ship whilst heavily outnumbered, but little public reward.

Douglas had married Anne Burgess on 14 November 1781 in British-occupied New York City. They had one son and two daughters, Anne Hammond Douglas and Harriet Douglas. He had begun to suffer increasing ill health, complaining of persistent headaches, which eventually forced him to end his career at sea. He moved ashore but died on 4 June 1797. A subsequent autopsy revealed brain tumours, a likely result of his injury at the Glorious First of June some years before.

An engraving of Douglas is in the collection of the British National Portrait Gallery. There are several other images of Douglas; he appears in several paintings by Mather Brown and in a portrait by modern maritime artist Irwin Bevan. Douglas is primarily known today through his letters to his uncle.

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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 Edward Codrington
27 April 1770 – 28 April 1851

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Edward Codrington

Sir Edward Codrington was the youngest of three brothers born to an aristocratic, landowning family, Codrington was educated by an uncle named Mr Bethell. He was sent for a short time to Harrow, and entered the Royal Navy in July 1783. He served off the Eastern Seaboard of the United States, in the Mediterranean and in home waters, until he was promoted to lieutenant on 28 May 1793, when Lord Howe selected him to be signal lieutenant on the flagship of the Channel fleet at the beginning of the French Revolutionary Wars. In that capacity he served on the 100-gun HMS Queen Charlotte during the operations which culminated in the battle of the Glorious First of June.

As a reward for his actions at the battle, on 7 October 1794 he was promoted to commander, and on 6 April 1795 attained the rank of Post-Captain and the command of the 22-gun HMS Babet from which he observed the Battle of Groix. His next command was the frigate HMS Druid whom he commanded in the Channel and off the coast of Portugal, until she was paid off in 1797. Following this, Codrington spent a period largely on land and on half-pay for some years. In December 1802 he married Jane Hall, an English woman from Kingston, Jamaica, and remained without a ship until the Peace of Amiens came to a close in 1803.

On the renewal of hostilities with France he remained in frigates for some time before being given the ship of the line HMS Orion in the spring of 1805 which was attached to Admiral Nelson’s fleet off Cadiz in the blockade of the combined fleet. Codrington and Orion were engaged at the Battle of Trafalgar on 21 October 1805, where Orion was stationed to the rear of the northern division and therefore took two hours to reach battle. Once there, Codrington ignored all other ships and focused entirely on closing with a hitherto unengaged French ship, the Swiftsure, forcing her to surrender. He then attacked but failed to capture the Spanish flagship Principe de Asturias before moving on to the Intrepide, the only ship of the northern division to return. Orion, with other ships, dismasted and then sailed round her, firing continually until she surrendered.

For the next several years, Codrington fought alongside the Spanish against the French in the Mediterranean Sea, commanding a squadron that harried French shipping and made numerous coastal raids. During this time also participated in the disastrous Walcheren expedition in 1809.

The two months of May and June in 1811 were to prove his most testing time whilst stationed on Spain’s eastern seaboard. He went to great lengths to help the Spanish besieged at Tarragona by the French Army of Aragon under Louis Gabriel Suchet.

Convinced that Lieutenant General Juan Senen de Contreras, the Spanish general in charge of Tarragona, wasn’t up to the task, Codrington, who had a clearer understanding of the situation, helped the British military agent Charles William Doyle to contrive a plan of succour. Through his own personal efforts Codrington brought to Tarragona 6,300 Spanish infantry and 291 artillerymen as reinforcements. He spent many nights in the port area guiding cannon launches against the enemy. When the city fell, he rescued over 600 people from the beach in a Dunkirk-style operation under fire from enemy cannon and personally undertook to reunite mothers and babies who had been separated during the evacuation. Afterwards, he intervened on a political level to stop Captain General de Lacy disarming the local Catalan Somaténs (militias).

Codrington was promoted to the rank of rear admiral (of the Blue) on 4 June 1814, while he was serving off the coast of North America as captain of the fleet to Vice Admiral Sir Alexander Cochrane during the operations against Washington, Baltimore and New Orleans during the War of 1812. In recognition of this service, in 1815 he was made a Knight Commander of the Bath. He became a rear admiral of the Red on 12 August 1819, and then a vice admiral on 10 July 1821. He was also elected a fellow of the Royal Society in February 1822.

In December 1826 Codrington was appointed Commander-in-Chief, Mediterranean Fleet and sailed on 1 February 1827. From that date until his recall on 21 June 1828 he was engaged in the arduous duties imposed on him by the Greek War of Independence, which had led to anarchy in occupied Greece and surrounding areas. His orders were to enforce a peaceful solution on the situation in Greece, but Codrington was unfortunately not known for his diplomacy, and on 20 October 1827 he destroyed the Turkish and Egyptian fleet at the Battle of Navarino while in command of a combined British, French and Russian fleet.

After the battle Codrington went to Malta to refit his ships. He remained there till May 1828, when he sailed to join his French and Russian colleagues on the coast of the Morea. They endeavoured to enforce the evacuation of the peninsula by Ibrahim Pasha peacefully. The Pasha made diplomatic difficulties,which came in the form of continuous genocide against the Greeks of Morea who were to be replaced with Muslims from Africa and on 25 July the three admirals agreed that Codrington should go to Alexandria to obtain Ibrahims recall by his father Mehemet Ali. Codrington had heard on 22 June of his own supersession, but, as his successor had not arrived, he carried out the arrangement made on 25 July, and his presence at Alexandria led to the treaty of the 6 August 1828, by which the evacuation of the Morea was settled. His services were recognised by the grant of the Grand Cross of the Bath, but there is no doubt that the British government was embarrassed by his heavy-handed gunboat diplomacy and not too impressed by the further weakening of Russia’s main opponent, the Ottomans.

After his return home Codrington spent some time in defending himself, and then in leisure abroad. He commanded a training squadron in the Channel in 1831 and became a full admiral on 10 January 1837. He was elected Member of Parliament for Devonport in 1832, and sat for that constituency until he accepted the Chiltern Hundreds in 1839. From November 1839 to December 1842 he was Commander-in-Chief, Portsmouth. Codrington died in London on 28 April 1851. He left two sons, both of whom achieved distinction in the British armed forces. Sir William John Codrington (1804–1884) was a commander in the Crimean War. Sir Henry Codrington (1808–1877), a naval officer, became an Admiral of the Fleet.

A third son, Edward Codrington, was a midshipman aboard Cambrian when he died sometime in 1821 or 1822 in the Mediterranean. He had been taking a cutter to Hydra when a squall overturned the boat, drowning him, a merchant, and three crewmen.

Codrington was buried in St Peter’s Church, Eaton Square.

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