Moriarty, Henry Augustus (DNB12)

MORIARTY, HENRY AUGUSTUS (1815–1906), captain in the navy, the second son of Commander James Moriarty, R.N., by his wife Catherine Webb, was born on 19 May 1815 in the signal tower on Dursey Island, Co. Cork. He was educated at Portsmouth, and entered the navy on 18 Dec. 1829 on board the North Star, frigate. In 1837 he was promoted to second master and appointed to the Caledonia, flagship, in the Mediterranean, and during the war on the coast of Syria in 1840 served on board the Ganges, of 84 guns, receiving the English and Turkish medals. He was promoted to master in June 1844, and in 1848, while master of the Penelope, flagship on the west coast of Africa, had command of a paddlebox boat in an expedition to destroy the slave barracoons on the river Ganges. In the Russian war he was master of the Duke of Wellington, flagship of Sir Charles Napier [q. v.], in the Baltic; he was mentioned in despatches for surveying work done under fire, and was employed under Captain Sulivan [see Sulivan, Sir Bartholomew J.] in placing the mortar vessels preparatory to the bombardment of Sveaborg on 9 Aug. 1855. In 1857 and in 1858 Moriarty was appointed to navigate the line-of-battle ship Agamemnon, lent by the admiralty to lay the first Atlantic telegraph cable. In June 1863 he was promoted to stall commander, and in August was appointed to the Marlborough, of 121 guns, flagship in the Mediterranean. He navigated the Great Eastern in 1865 and 1866 when she was employed in laying the second and third Transatlantic cables; and, when the cable broke in mid ocean in 1865, he fixed the position so accurately as to ensure the subsequent recovery of the broken end. When the Great Eastern had hooked the lost cable and was heaving it up to her bows, the mark-buoy placed by Moriarty was bumping against the ship's side. He was in 1866 awarded the C.B. for this success, and received a valuable testimonial from his brother officers. In Dec. 1867 he reached the rank of staff-captain, and was appointed to Portsmouth dockyard as assistant master attendant, becoming master attendant and Queen's harbour-master in Nov. 1869. Moriarty held this post until 3 Dec. 1874, when he was placed on the retired list with the rank of captain. After his retirement he was occasionally employed as nautical assessor to the judicial committee of the privy council, and frequently as nautical expert before parliamentary committees, among which those on Barry Docks, the Tay Bridge, the Forth Bridge, and the Tower Bridge may be mentioned. His chief publications were four volumes of sailing directions (1887-93), compiled for the admiralty, and the articles on 'Log,' 'Navigation,' and 'Seamanship' in the 'Encyclopædia Britannica' (9th edit.) Moriarty died at Lee, Kent, on 18 Aug. 1906, and was buried in the cemetery there. Moriarty married (1) on 30 July 1852 Lavinia Charlotte (d. Sept. 1874), daughter of William Page Foster, by whom he had two sons and two daughters; (2) in 1875 Harriet Elizabeth, daughter of Robert Avent of St. Budeaux, Devonshire; she died without issue in March 1892.

[The Times, 20 Aug. 1906; information from the family.]

L. G. C. L.