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Leake
Leake
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intelligence of the strength of the French fleet, and were led to suppose that it was numerically superior, it was further resolved to wait till the following noon for Sir George Byng, who was expected from Lisbon with a strong reinforcement. The next day came news of Byng having been seen off Cape Gata, and on the forenoon of the 20th he joined the fleet, which immediately made sail for Barcelona. Unfortunately, they were now met by a fresh northerly wind, and after three days beating to windward, they were still off Altea on the 23rd, when they were joined by a further reinforcement under Captain (afterwards Sir Hovenden) Walker. The wind then came fair, and at daybreak on the 27th they were within a few leagues of Barcelona. Leake was now apprehensive that, on sight of the fleet, then numbering fifty-three sail of the line besides frigates, on the one hand, the Count of Toulouse would effect a hasty retreat, and on the other the enemy on land might deliver an assault and capture the place even then, before he could relieve it. A fast sailing squadron under Byng was therefore sent on in advance, to engage and detain the French fleet. The Count of Toulouse had, however, retired the day before, on the news of Leake's approach, And Byng, without opposition, landed a large body of troops, who marched at once to defend the breach.

At ten o'clock in the forenoon the Earl of Peterborough joined the fleet in a country boat, accompanied by other boats carrying some 1,400 soldiers. He went on board the Prince George and hoisted the union flag at the main, as commander-in-chief, Leslie's flag, as vice-admiral, remaining at the fore. But the relief of Barcelona had been already achieved. At two o'clock the fleet came into the roadstead ; Peterborough struck his flag and went ashore ; the troops were landed, and three days later the French raised the siege. From first to last, the relief was Leake's doing, not only without, but in defiance of Peterborough's orders. That Peterborough, at the time, admitted this is clear from the fact that no official reprimand for disobedience was given, no charge preferred, no order for' a court-martial issued; but many years afterwards he seems to have persuaded himself that it was he, Peterborough, who relieved Barcelona, in spite of the dilatory proceedings of Leake.

Towards the end of May, Leake, with the fleet, sailed from Barcelona, received the submission of Cartagena, and, in co-operation with the land forces, took the city of Alicante by storm and reduced the citadel, July and August. Majorca and Iviza surrendered in September, and on the 23rd Leake sailed for England, arriving at Portsmouth on 17 Oct. Both publicly and officially his reception was very flattering ; the queen made him a present of 1,000l., and the prince gave him a gold-hilted sword and a diamond ring valued at 400l. During 1707 he is said to have commanded in the Channel, but it does not appear that he was at sea ; the French fitted out no fleet, and were carrying on the war with predatory squadrons [cf. Acton, Edward; Balchen, Sir John]. Consequent on the death of Sir Clowdisley Shovell, Leake was promoted, on 8 Jan. 1707-8, to be admiral of the white, and on 15 Jan. to be admiral and commander-in-chief in the Mediterranean, with the union flag at the main. On the passage out he fell in with and captured a large fleet of the enemy's victuallers, which he took to Barcelona, then threatened with famine as a result of the French victory at Almanza. When Leake landed to pay his respects to the king, he was received with almost royal honours. He then, at the kind's request, went to Vado and brought back the newly married queen and a large reinforcement of troops. On landing at Barcelona, the queen presented Leake with a diamond ring of the value of 300l. The fleet afterwards co-operated with the troops in the reduction of Sardinia and Minorca, and in the end of October Leake returned to England. On 25 Dec. 1708 he received a new commission as admiral and commander-in-chief from the Earl of Pembroke, and on 20 May 1709 was appointed by patent rear-admiral of Great Britain. No fleet worthy of his rank was, however, fitted out ; and after one or two suggested expeditions had been given up, Leake was sent to cruise in the Channel, in command of a squadron of only five ships. It is said that on his return he complained of this as derogatory to his rank ; and that, in consequence, the Earl of Pembroke was removed from the post of lord high admiral. But there is no real reason for supposing that a trivial mistake of this kind had anything to do with Pembroke's retirement [see Herbert, Thomas, Earl of Pembroke]; on which, in November 1709, Leake was appointed one of the lords of the admiralty. On the resignation of the Earl of Orford in the following vear, the queen nominated Leake to succeed him as first lord; Leake, however, declined the appointment, but accepted the extraordinary and, till then, unknown one of chairman of the board. In September 1712 the Earl of Strafford was appointed first lord of the admiralty, but the change was merely nominal, for Strafford was detained abroad as pleni-