Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Deane, Richard

DEANE, RICHARD (1610–1653), admiral and general at sea, one of the regicides, a younger son of Edward Deane of Temple Guiting in Gloucestershire, was born in 1610 and baptised on 8 July in the parish church of Guiting Power. Of his early life we have absolutely no knowledge; for the stories of Bate, Heath, Winstanley, and other scurrilous writers of the Restoration may be dismissed as silly libels, the falsity of which is proved, wherever proof of any kind is possible. It is probable that he entered on a mercantile career in London, under the patronage of his uncle or great uncle, Sir Richard Deane, lord mayor in 1628–9; that he made some trading voyages, and acquired some practical knowledge of seamanship. It is not improbable that he was a shipowner, and he may, perhaps, be identified with the Richard Deane who, in August 1637, is mentioned as having bought a French prize at Plymouth (Cal. S. P. Dom. p. 488; cf. Cal. 13 June 1653, p. 478, where there is an order from the council of state for sundry wines, sugar, and tobacco belonging to the late Major-general Deane to be allowed to be imported customs free). It is not impossible that he served for some time in a ship of war, perhaps as a boatswain, as stated by Bate; perhaps, rather, as a gunner. But of all this there is no direct evidence. We know nothing with certainty previous to the outbreak of the civil war. On the mother's side, and possibly also on the father's, he was related to Cromwell, Hampden, and the other Buckinghamshire leaders of the revolt. Sir Richard Deane, too, was early known as a puritan; and the husbands of Sir Richard's daughters, Rolfe, Mildmay, and Goodwin, were all members of distinguished puritan families. Independently, therefore, of any strong political bias, Deane was closely bound by family ties to the revolutionary party, and seems to have joined the artillery companies of the parliament at the very outset, serving, apparently as a volunteer, under the immediate command of Captain Willoughby, with whom, in August 1642, he was in garrison at Gravesend.

He was probably at Edgehill on 23 Oct. 1642, possibly at the first battle of Newbury on 27 Sept. 1643. By August 1644 he was holding an important command in the artillery with Essex in Cornwall, waiting on and giving advice to his general, who speaks of him as ‘an honest, judicious, and stout man.’ When Essex abruptly quitted the army, leaving it to Major-general Skippon to get out of the difficulty the best way he could, Skippon called a council of war, which negatived his proposal to cut their way through the enemy, and determined rather to treat. The negotiation ended in the army, to the number of six thousand men, laying down their arms and surrendering their guns, of which there were forty-nine, all of brass. Deane, who seems to have been left, by the desertion of his seniors, in actual command of the artillery, was one of the twenty officers who formed this council and signed the ‘attestation’ or published report of its proceedings. Of these twenty, seven only held commissions in the ‘New Model,’ and all in higher grades; it would seem probable that these seven had supported Skippon's proposal. Deane was appointed comptroller of the ordnance, and commanded the artillery at Naseby (14 June 1645), where his steady fire broke the force of Rupert's headlong charge. At the reduction of Bristol (11 Sept.) his ‘dexterity, industry, and resolution’ were specially commended. He continued with Fairfax in his conquering march into the west country; a march of sieges and fortified positions, in which the work of the artillery was necessarily important. He was one of the commissioners to arrange the terms of Hopton's surrender at Truro (14 March 1645–6); and afterwards took part in the siege of Oxford, which surrendered, by the king's orders, on 20 June.

The royal party being crushed, mutual jealousy speedily arose between the army and the parliament; and on 28 May 1647 the parliament appointed Cromwell to be lord-general of the forces in Ireland, and Deane to be with him as lieutenant of the artillery. Their scarcely veiled object was to get Cromwell out of the way; and the associating Deane with him seems to show that Deane was by this time recognised as a prominent member of the Cromwellian party. Cromwell declined the appointment, choosing to remain in England; and Deane, throwing in his lot with his kinsman, decided in the same way. The quarrel was, in fact, rapidly coming to a head. On 4 June the control of the king's person was assumed by Joyce, who brought him to the army. At Newmarket he was waited on by many of the superior officers, Deane among them, who kissed the king's hand. It was apparently their wish to win the king over to their party as against the parliament, and though continuing to detain him, they affected to deplore the violence to which he had been subjected. Joyce asserted that what he had done was by Cromwell's order; but this Cromwell denied in the most positive and violent manner, and is said on one occasion to have been prevented from doing Joyce ‘some mischief’ only by the interposition of Deane and others (Harl. Misc. viii. 304).

Through all this period Deane appears to have been acting as Cromwell's trusted partisan; and when the royalist uprising in 1648 called the army again to the field, Deane, in command of a regiment, accompanied Cromwell, first into Wales, where he was actively engaged in the reduction of Pembroke Castle, and afterwards to the north, where in the battle of Preston (17 Aug.) the movement of the right wing under Deane's command had a determining influence on the fortune of the day. The contribution of Deane's regiment to the ‘Remonstrance of the Army’ (20 Nov. 1648) was presumably drawn up by Deane himself, or at any rate in strict accordance with his views; and its most important clauses are:—

‘That the parliament be desired to take a review of their late declaration and charge against the king, as also to consider his own act in taking the guilt of bloodshed upon himself; and accordingly to proceed against him as an enemy to the kingdom.’

‘That strict inquiry be made after the chief fomenters, actors, and abettors of the late war, especially those who were the chief encouragers and inviters of the Scotch army; and that exemplary justice may be accordingly executed, to the terror of evil-doers and the rejoicing of all honest men.’

In addition to which, among other matters of detail, was the very practical demand that ‘speedy supplies should be sent to the army,’ so as to put an end to ‘that which is so insufferable for us to take and so intolerable for the people to bear, namely, free quarters.’ This demand, in the first instance, was not attended to. The army marched on London, and while Colonel Pride was told off to ‘purge’ the House of Commons, Fairfax wrote (8 Dec.) to the lord mayor and corporation that as the arrears of the assessment due to the army had not been paid as demanded, he had ordered ‘Colonel Deane and some others to seize the treasuries of Goldsmiths' Hall and Weavers' Hall.’ ‘Two regiments of foot and several troops of horse accordingly took up their quarters in Blackfriars and some at Ludgate and Paul's Church. They likewise secured the treasuries … and took away from Weavers' Hall above 20,000l.’ (Rushworth, ii. 1356). The proceeding, as Fairfax pointed out to the lord mayor, was the same as ‘our forces have been ordered to do by the parliament in the several counties of the kingdom where assessments have not been paid.’ And in carrying out his orders Deane exercised a stern control over his men; two, newly listed, being found by court-martial guilty of extortion on their own account, were sentenced to ‘ride the wooden horse for an hour,’ and ‘to run the gantelope through the regiment … for the example of others who, under colour of being soldiers, care not what knavery they act’ (ib. 1369).

For the events which followed in January 1648–9 Deane has a full measure of responsibility. He was truly ‘a forward busybody,’ as he is described by Bate. He was one of the commissioners for the trial of the king, and on 24 Jan. he was appointed one of the committee to examine the witnesses; on the 27th he stood up in approval of the judgment; on the 29th he was one of the committee of five to consider the time and place of execution; and he was the twenty-first out of the fifty-nine who signed the warrant. His signature is written in his usual firm bold hand, and his seal of arms is distinctly impressed, without the least sign of hurry or nervousness.

The council of state met for the first time on 17 Feb., and on the 20th resolved ‘that the commission making the Earl of Warwick lord high admiral be called in,’ and that the command at sea should be given to commissioners. On the 23rd they named Colonel Edward Popham, Colonel Robert Blake, and Colonel Richard Deane as the three commissioners ‘to go to sea this summer, to take the command of the fleet,’ and the formal commission was signed on the 27th. This appointment of trusted army officers was unquestionably made chiefly from political motives; but it appears probable that at least two of the commissioners had some previous familiarity with maritime affairs [see Blake, Robert]. Deane is said, by a number of vague reports, to have been, in early life, a seaman, a common sailor, a hoyman's servant, a boatswain; and though these are quite untrustworthy as to any detail, the general conclusion to which they all point may perhaps be accepted. Through the summer of 1649 the three commissioners, or, as they came to be officially styled, ‘generals at sea,’ were separated; Popham being stationed to the east of Portsmouth, Blake blockading Kinsale, and Deane ranging from Portsmouth westward to Milford Haven. In August he convoyed Cromwell's army from Milford Haven to Dublin; and there is reason to think that he landed and served with it for about two months, during which Drogheda and Wexford were taken by storm. In the later operations the army suffered much from sickness; and Deane, writing from Milford Haven on 8 Nov. 1649, says: ‘I have, ever since my coming out of Ireland, been troubled with the distemper of that country's disease, which brought me into a fever.’ The inference is supported by the doggerel statement of one of his posthumous panegyrists, who says:—

The Irishmen, or rather Roman frogs,
He made, for safety, leap into their bogs;

which he could scarcely be supposed to have done without going on shore (J. B. Deane, p. 407). He was still sick on 4 Dec., when orders were sent to Blake ‘to go towards Cadiz to seek out Prince Rupert’ (Cal. State Papers, Dom.; Penn, Life of Penn, i. 293).

In 1650 Deane extended his cruises as far as the Downs and into the North Sea in order to cut off the communication between Holland and King Charles in Scotland. After the battle of Dunbar he was at Edinburgh on 22 Sept., and in February 1651 was again ordered to take his squadron northward. On 29 March he arrived at Leith, bringing his own regiment and, among other supplies, a number of large flat-bottomed boats for the transport of the troops across the Firth. On 6 May he was ordered by Cromwell to take command on shore as major-general of the army, in which capacity he had a prominent part in the operations of the ensuing summer, the pursuit of the Scotch into England and the battle of Worcester (3 Sept. 1651). He was afterwards sent back to Scotland as one of the commissioners for the settlement of that country, and, on Lambert's being sent to Ireland as lord deputy, was appointed president of the commission as well as commander-in-chief of the army in Scotland. He thus during 1652 held the supreme command, both legal and executive, by land and sea, and in this capacity made an agreement with the Marquis of Argyll which led to the pacification of the highlands (Eg. MS. 2519, ff. 21, 23), reconciled Edinburgh and all the chief towns, reduced Arran, and captured the Bass Rock, which, in enemy's hands, commanded the navigation of the Forth and the sea approach to Edinburgh. Dunnottar Castle, where the regalia of Scotland had been lodged for security, surrendered to Colonel Morgan, one of Deane's officers, on honourable terms. One of the leading articles of the capitulation was that ‘the crown and sceptre of Scotland, together with all other ensigns of regalia, should be delivered to the English general, or a good account given thereof, for the use of the parliament.’ And it was agreed that ‘upon the true performance of the forementioned articles,’ the governor, Captain George Ogilvie, and all the garrison should march out with the honours of war. When the castle was taken possession of, the regalia were not to be found, and Ogilvie was accused of having made away with them; his denial of all knowledge of what had become of them was not accepted, and he, together with his wife, Mr. Granger, a neighbouring minister, and Mrs. Granger, was closely imprisoned, but not, so far as evidence shows, with any additional severity. The story, as accepted by Sir Walter Scott (Misc. Works, vii. 323–335), is that the jewels were entrusted by Mrs. Ogilvie to Mrs. Granger, and that she, under cover of a safe-conduct from Morgan, conveyed them away and handed them over to her husband, who buried them in the church. ‘This was done without the governor's knowledge, in order that, when obliged to surrender the castle, he might with truth declare he knew nothing of the time and manner of their removal.’ Deane's refusal to accept this subterfuge and his imprisonment of the Ogilvies and Grangers have furnished a theme for much popular indignation and exaggeration. It was said that Mrs. Ogilvie died of the hardships to which she was subjected, and that Granger and his wife were tortured with the boot (Lockhart, Life of Scott, v. 382). To apply the boot under such circumstances would not have been unusual in Scotland, but there is no evidence that Deane complied with the national custom in this respect. What is on evidence is that he gave great offence to the people, and especially to the ministers, by his resolute refusal to permit old women to be tortured or put to death as witches.

On 26 Nov. 1652 Deane's commission as general at sea was ordered to be renewed; so also was Blake's. Popham had died in August of the previous year, and the vacancy was now filled up by the appointment of Monck. The commission was a matter of routine, and there was probably no immediate intention of calling Deane away from Scotland, but on Blake's representation, after the untoward action off Dungeness on 30 Nov., both Deane and Monck were ordered to join the fleet as soon as possible (Minutes, C.O.S., 4 Dec. 1652). Deane received a grant of 400l. ‘for fitting him with necessary accommodation’ (3 Feb. 1652–3), and went on board the Triumph, in which Blake already had his flag. Thus closely associated with Blake, he took part in the battle off Portland, 18 Feb. 1652–1653, and in the subsequent pursuit of the Dutch fleet. In this obstinate battle the loss on both sides was very great. As Blake was incapacitated by his wound, the letter of 27 Feb., giving the official account of the battle, though signed by the three generals, was probably written by Deane. He and Monck were now left in command of the fleet, and hoisted their flag on board the Resolution.

To refit and prepare for new battles was the work of the next two months, and a great number of letters about this time, written by Deane, testify to the close attention he was paying to all the details which might insure efficiency; and, together with the correspondence of his earlier command, show the watchful care he had for the welfare and interests of those under his orders. ‘We want,’ he says, ‘an answer to the petition of the officers of the fleet and of the widows of the slain, as we are much importuned by them for some sort of subsistence, and can hardly put them off by telling them it is under consideration.’ Or again, that if possible ‘turning men over from one ship to another should be avoided, for it breedeth trouble and discontent;’ but that when necessary they should be paid their wages in money, for ‘a little bit of paper is soon lost’ (30 March 1653, Addit. MS. 22546, f. 103). Appeals of this kind were signed sometimes by Deane alone, sometimes by Popham and Deane, sometimes by Blake and Deane, sometimes by Deane and Monck, but always by Deane, so that we are permitted to believe that it was Deane who more especially provided for this part of the duty of commander-in-chief. And it is not only in these that we seem to trace Deane's hand. His signature is, in the same way, equally affixed to many rules and proposals for the better organisation of the naval service, then still in a very crude state. Lieutenants are to be capable seamen; none others will be appointed. Inducements must be offered to seamen; they should be entered for continuous service and kept on continuous pay, the same as soldiers (25 March 1653). A surgeon's mate should be borne in ships having complements of one hundred and fifty men or upwards; the care is too great for one man (30 March 1649). And these are only a few of the many points to which he and his ‘partners’ called attention. Other letters, referring to proposed changes in the victualling, in the ordnance stores, and to different matters of detail, with an exactness and intelligence widely different from mere routine, give force to the tradition that Deane had served at sea in his youth.

On 20 April 1653 Cromwell dissolved the parliament and usurped the supreme authority. It is a fair presumption that Deane was cognisant of the impending step, and that he assented to it, but the published ‘Declaration of the Generals at Sea and the Captains under their Command’ (Resolution, at Spithead, 22 April 1653), in the drawing up of which he had at least a large share, contains no word of approval or disapproval. ‘We have had,’ they say, ‘a very serious consideration of the great changes within this nation … and we find it set upon our spirits that we are called and entrusted by this nation for the defence of the same against the enemies thereof at sea … and we are resolved, in the strength of God, unanimously to prosecute the same according to the trust reposed in us.’

On 30 April the fleet put to sea, and, cruising to the northward, were off Aberdeen on 10 May. On the 14th they anchored in Bressa Sound, in Shetland, and after a council sailed again on the 17th. On the 24th they were off the mouth of the Scheldt, and they anchored in Solebay on the 31st. They had spent the month vainly looking for the Dutch fleet, but not till the morning of 1 June did they receive any certain intelligence of it. The fleet, increased by successive reinforcements to upwards of a hundred vessels, large and small, immediately put to sea, and sighted the enemy about four o'clock in the afternoon. The next day towards noon the fighting began. Many later attempts have been made to describe this battle and the tactical manœuvres by which victory was secured to the English; they are all unsatisfactory, because the original accounts are all utterly vague, and though some of them speak of the fleet being in line, it is nowhere said whether the line was line ahead or line abreast. All that we now have any authority for saying is that the English fleet in three squadrons, each in three divisions, under nine flag officers, was virtually formed in so many groups or clusters, which in different places broke through the Dutch line and occasionally cut off some of their ships; that after fighting till dark the two fleets lay by for the night, and renewed the battle the next morning, 3 June; that towards afternoon of the second day the Dutch were retiring, when Blake, coming up with a strong reinforcement fresh from the river, completed their rout and put them to the run. Deane, however, did not live to see this. At the very beginning of the battle a Dutch shot struck him full in the body, cutting it nearly in two. He fell where he stood, and Monck, fearing lest the sailors might be discouraged by the loss, threw a cloak over his mangled remains. The body was afterwards brought to Greenwich, where it seems to have lain in a sort of state. The highest honours the government could bestow were granted. A public funeral was ordered. On 10 June Cromwell went ‘with a minister or two’ to console the widow (Cal. of Clarendon State Papers, ii. 217). On 24 June the body was brought to Westminster with great pomp, and buried in the chapel of Henry VII. After the Restoration it, with several others, was ordered to be ‘taken up and buried in some place of the churchyard adjoining,’ but the taking up and the reburial were done without either ceremony or solemnity, and it is believed that the remains were thrown promiscuously into a common pit.

Deane married, in the Temple Church, on 21 May 1647, Mary, daughter of John Grymesditch of Knottingley in Yorkshire, the witnesses being Colonel Robert Lilburne, afterwards a fellow-regicide, and Colonel Rainborowe (Herald and Genealogist, vii. 61). A Grymesditch, promoted by Penn to be captain in 1651, was probably Mrs. Deane's brother; John Grymesditch, a captain of 1688 (the spelling of whose signature is here adopted), may have been her nephew. On Deane's death his widow was granted a pension of 600l. a year, secured on estates in Lancashire. On 2 Jan. 1654–5 she, being then thirty-two, contracted a second marriage with Colonel Edward Salmon. By her first husband she had two children, both girls, the first of whom, Hannah, married in 1674, as third wife, Goodwin Swift, and had issue; her eldest son, christened Deane, was first cousin of the celebrated ‘Dean’ Swift. The second daughter, Mary, died unmarried. Deane's sister Jane, the widow of Drue Sparrow, also married again and had issue. Her great-granddaughter married John, first earl Spencer, and was the mother of Georgiana, the ‘beautiful’ Duchess of Devonshire [see Cavendish, Georgiana]. The present ramifications of her family and that of her brother Joseph are very numerous, and widely spread through the peerage.

[The Life of Richard Deane, by John Bathurst Deane (8vo, 1870), traces Deane's origin, family, and career in an able though clumsy manner, but it is swollen to an inordinate size by much worthless padding; Herald and Genealogist, vii. 547; Calendars of State Papers, Domestic, 1637–1654. In these frequent mention is made of two other Richard Deanes, one secretary for the army (21 Sept. 1650, and Cal. State Papers, Colonial, America, and West Indies, 9 May 1656), the other a captain in the navy (21 June 1653). It was probably this last whom, in his will, Deane calls ‘my cousin, Captain Richard Deane,’ whom he left as one of his executors, and who was a trustee for the 1,000l. granted by the government to the widow and children of Captain John Mildmay (18 Nov., 9 Dec. 1653). There are also many scattered notices of Deane in Granville Penn's Memorials of the Life and Times of Sir William Penn.]

J. K. L.