Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Austen, Francis William

AUSTEN, Sir FRANCIS WILLIAM (1774–1865), admiral of the fleet, son of the Rev. George Austen, rector of Steventon, in Hampshire, and brother of Jane Austen, was born on 23 April 1774. In April 1786 he entered the Royal Naval Academy, and in December 1788 joined the Perseverance frigate, and served in her in the East Indies. In December 1792 he was made a lieutenant, and after six years of active service was, on 3 Feb. 1799, made a commander. In 1801 he was posted, and in 1805 was flag-captain to Rear-Admiral Louis on board the Canopus, in the fleet under Sir John Duckworth, and at the battle of St. Domingo, 6 Feb. 1806. From 1807 to 1809, he commanded the St. Albans, of 64 guns, and in her made at least two voyages to the East Indies in charge of convoy; in the last of which, in 1809, his success in arranging a dispute with the Chinese was honoured with the approval of the admiralty, and substantially recognised by the East India Company with a present of 1,000l. In December 1810 he became for some months flagcaptain to Lord Gambier, then commanding the home fleet, and was afterwards, 1811-14, in the Elephant, in the North Sea and Baltic. He attained the rank of rear-admiral in July 1830; vice-admiral, June 1838; admiral, August 1848; and admiral of the fleet, 27 April 1863. From December 1844 to June 1848, he was commander-in-chief in the West Indies. In February 1837 he was made K.C.B.; G.C.B. in May 1860; rear-admiral of the United Kingdom, 5 June 1862; vice-admiral of the United Kingdom, 11 Dec. 1862; and, full of years and honours, he died on 10 Aug. 1865.

[O'Byrne's Naval Biographical Dictionary; Gent. Mag. 1865, ii. 510.]

J. K. L.