Hotham, Henry (DNB00)
HOTHAM, Sir HENRY (1777–1833), vice-admiral, youngest son of Beaumont Hotham, second baron Hotham [q. v.], was born on 19 Feb. 1777, and, after passing through the Royal Naval Academy at Portsmouth, entered the navy in 1790 on board the Princess Royal, then carrying his uncle's flag. He afterwards served in the Lizard in the Channel, and the Lapwing in the Mediterranean; in 1793 he was moved into the Victory, Lord Hood's flagship, and in her was present at the occupation of Toulon and the operations in Corsica. After the reduction of Bastia, May 1794, he was promoted to be lieutenant of the Aigle, with Captain Samuel Hood. After the capture of Calvi he was moved again into the Victory, and, when Lord Hood went home, into the Britannia, the flagship of his uncle, who became commander-in-chief, and speedily promoted his nephew to the command of the sloop La Flêche, which had been taken at Bastia. On 13 Jan. 1795 Hotham was posted to the Mignonne, a 32-gun frigate, taken at Calvi; but the Mignonne not being fit for service, he was permitted to join the Egmont as a volunteer, and in her was present in the action of 13 July. In September he was appointed to the Dido of 28 guns, in which and afterwards in the Blanche he continued attached to the Mediterranean fleet till towards the end of 1798, when he was sent home in charge of convoy. From 1799 to 1801 he commanded the Immortalité frigate, and cruised with distinguished success in the Bay of Biscay, gaining at the same time a familiar knowledge of the enemy's coast. On the renewal of the war in 1803 he was appointed to the Impérieuse, and in the following March was turned over to the Révolutionnaire. In her he was employed during the year on the coast of North America, but in 1805 was again on the home station, and on 4 Nov. was with Sir Richard Strachan when he captured the small French squadron which had escaped from Trafalgar. In March 1806 Hotham was appointed to the Defiance, a small 74-gun ship, and for many months commanded the squadron blockading Lorient; in 1808 he had command of the squadron employed on the north coast of Spain, and on 24 Feb. 1809 was with Rear-admiral Stopford in the Bay of Biscay when he drove ashore three French frigates from the roadstead of Les Sables d'Olonne. The Defiance, being smaller and drawing less water than the other ships, ran closer in and bore the brunt of the action, till the falling tide put an end to it. Two of the French frigates afterwards got afloat and went into the harbour, but the third was destroyed. During the rest of the year and the early part of 1810 Hotham continued in the Defiance, employed in the Bay of Biscay and on the coast of Spain. In August 1810 he was moved into the Northumberland, and again employed off Brest, Lorient, and Rochefort. It was during this long service that he and Mr. Stewart, the master of the Northumberland, acquired an intimate knowledge of the French coast, which proved all-important when in May 1812 he was specially detached from the fleet to look out for two frigates and a brig, which had been for several months the scourge of English commerce in the Atlantic, especially off the Azores. On 22 May they were sighted by the Northumberland some ten miles to the southward of Isle Groix, standing for the port of Lorient. Hotham, by a piece of brilliant seamanship, aided by his knowledge of the pilotage, not only prevented their gaining the port, but drove them on shore, and, anchoring near them, succeeded in destroying the two frigates; the brig was afterwards floated off and taken into the harbour. It was a service described by Lord Keith as ‘reflecting the highest honour upon the courage, skill, and extraordinary management of all concerned.’ In 1813 Hotham was appointed captain of the fleet on the North American and West Indian station, with Sir John Warren, and afterwards with Sir Alexander Cochrane; towards the end of the year he hoisted a broad pen nant on board the Superb as second in command on the station. On 4 June 1814 he was advanced to flag rank, and on 2 Jan. 1815 was nominated a K.C.B. On his return to England, just as the war with Bonaparte again broke out, he was appointed to command a squadron in the Bay of Biscay, and it was mainly through his knowledge of the station that Bonaparte's idea of escaping to America was rendered impossible. The Bellerophon, which received the surrender of the fugitive, was acting under his orders. On 31 Aug. 1815 he struck his flag. From 1818 to 1822, and again from 1828 to 1830, he was a lord of the admiralty. He became a vice-admiral in May 1825, and in January 1831 was appointed commander-in-chief in the Mediterranean. After a two days' illness, he died at Malta 19 April 1833. A monument to his memory was erected on the baracca by a subscription among the officers on the station. Hotham married in 1816 the Lady Frances Anne Juliana, eldest daughter of the first Earl of Stradbroke, and left issue three sons and a daughter.
[Ralfe's Naval Biography, iii. 240; Marshall's Royal Naval Biography, i. (vol. i. pt. ii.) 615; United Service Journal, 1834, pt. iii. p. 369; James's Naval History (edit. of 1860), iv. 393, v. 320; Chevalier's Hist. de la Marine française sous le Consulat et l'Empire, pp. 320, 394; Foster's Peerage, s.n. ‘Hotham.’]