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GRAVES, SAMUEL (1713–1787), admiral, fourth son of Samuel Graves, was first cousin of Thomas, first lord Graves [q. v.], and uncle of Sir Thomas Graves, K.B. [q. v.] He was born on 17 April 1713, was made a lieutenant in 1739, and served in the expedition to Cartagena in 1741 on board the Norfolk, commanded by his uncle, Captain Thomas Graves (d. 1755). He was promoted in 1743 by Sir Chaloner Ogle to the command of the Bonetta sloop at Jamaica; and in 1744 was posted to the Ripon's Prize, which he commanded in the West Indies till 1747, when he was moved into the Enterprise. In 1756 he was appointed to the Duke, from which he was moved into the St. Albans, then into the Princess Amelia, and afterwards into the Barfleur; this last he commanded in the expedition to Basque Roads, under Hawke, in the summer of 1757, and in the grand fleet, under Anson, in the summer of 1758. In 1759 he was again in the Duke, and in her, on 20 Nov., took part in the battle of Quiberon Bay. He continued to command the Duke till his promotion to be rear-admiral in October 1762. In October 1770 he was advanced to be vice-admiral and in 1774 was appointed commander-in-chief on the North American station. In July he arrived at Boston to perform perhaps the most ungracious duty that has ever fallen to the lot of a naval officer, embarrassed, besides, by the want of exact instructions and of adequate force. The only addition to his instructions beyond those usual in time of peace was an order to carry out the ‘Boston Port Bill,’ and his ships were all manned on the lowest peace establishment. To carry out the rigour of the ‘Boston Port Bill’ without a due number of small craft, well manned and armed, was impossible; but of such there were none on the station. The sloops of war were most inefficient, and the country vessels that were taken up by the admiral were able to irritate but not to coerce. It is thus not to be wondered at that during the period of Graves's command the insurrection continued to gather strength, or that an incapable government at home should gladly make Graves responsible for the hopeless state of affairs. No charge was made against him, nor was he directly blamed; but he was guilty of not succeeding under circumstances amid which success was impossible, and on 27 Jan. 1776 he was superseded from his command. He had no further service, for though in September 1777 he was offered the command at Plymouth, he angrily declined it, at the same time signifying his readiness to accept any active employment. On 29 Jan. 1778 he was advanced to be admiral of the blue, became admiral of the white on 8 April 1782, and died at his seat at Hembury Fort, near Honiton, on 8 March 1787.

[Charnock's Biog. Nav. v. 301; Addit. MSS. 14038–9; official correspondence in the Public Record Office.]

J. K. L.