Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Paget, Charles (1778-1839)

PAGET, Sir CHARLES (1778–1839), vice-admiral, born on 7 Oct. 1778, was fifth son of Henry Paget, earl of Uxbridge, who died in 1812 [see under Paget, Henry, first Earl of Uxbridge, ad fin.]. Henry William Paget, first marquis of Anglesey [q. v.], Sir Arthur Paget [q. v.], and Sir Edward Paget [q. v.], were elder brothers. He entered the navy in 1790 under the patronage of Sir Andrew Snape Douglas, and, having served in different ships in the North Sea and the Channel, was on 8 June 1797 promoted to be lieutenant of the Centaur guardship in the Thames. On 2 July 1797 he was promoted to the command of the Martin sloop in the North Sea, and on 18 Oct. 1797 was posted to the Penelope in the Channel. From October 1798 to April 1801 he commanded the Brilliant in the Channel, and afterwards the Hydra in the Channel and Mediterranean till November 1802. On 30 March 1803 he commissioned the Endymion frigate, and commanded her for the next two years in active cruising in the Channel, the Bay of Biscay, and on the coast of Spain or Portugal. He was superseded in April 1805. He afterwards commanded various frigates or ships of the line in the Channel, and from 1812 to 1814 the Superb in the Bay of Biscay and on the coast of North America. From 1817 to 1819 he was in command of one of the royal yachts in attendance on the prince regent; on 19 Oct. 1819 he was nominated a K.C.H.; on 30 Jan. 1822 he was appointed groom of the bedchamber; and on 9 April 1823 was promoted to the rank of rear-admiral. From 1828 to 1831 he was commander-in-chief at Cork, and was nominated a G.C.H. on 3 March 1832; on 10 Jan. 1837 he was made vice-admiral, and commanded on the North American and West Indian station till his death on 27 Jan. 1839. He married, in 1805, Elizabeth Araminta, daughter of Henry Monck of Foure, co. Westmeath, and by her had a large family.

In 1870 a picture, painted by Schetky, was presented to the United Service Club by Sir James Hope [q. v.], and by his authority appears to be certified as representing an incident in the career of Paget. The picture was lent to the Naval Exhibition of 1891, and, apart from its merit as a painting, excited a good deal of attention from the singularity of the subject, which was thus described: ‘Towards the close of the long French war, Captain the Hon. Sir Charles Paget, while cruising in the Endymion frigate on the coast of Spain, descried a French ship of the line in imminent danger, embayed among rocks upon a lee shore, bowsprit and foremast gone, and riding by a stream cable, her only remaining one. Though it was blowing a gale, Sir Charles bore down to the assistance of his enemy, dropped his sheet anchor on the Frenchman's bow, buoyed the cable, and veered it athwart his hawse. This the disabled ship succeeded in getting in, and thus seven hundred lives were rescued from destruction. After performing this chivalrous action, the Endymion, being herself in great peril, hauled to the wind, let go her bower anchor, club hauled, and stood off shore on the other tack.’ It is impossible to say from what source Schetky got his story, which is in itself most improbable; it may, however, be observed that Paget did not command the Endymion towards the close of the war, and that a careful examination of the Endymion's log during the time that Paget did command her shows that there was no incident resembling what has been described and painted.

[Marshall's Roy. Nav. Biogr. ii. 854; Official Documents in the Public Record Office; Foster's Peerage, s.n. ‘Anglesey.’]

J. K. L.