in the Thames; and on 1 Feb. 1796 was posted to the Champion, a small frigate employed on the coast of Ireland and afterwards in the North Sea. In January 1798 he assisted in the seizure of a Swedish convoy, which was brought into the Downs (Schomberg, Naval Chronology, iii. 264); and in the following May took part in the attempt to destroy the locks and sluice-gates of the Bruges-Ostend Canal [see Popham, Sir Home Riggs].
From January 1799 to September 1802 he commanded the Aimable in the West Indies (James, Nav. Hist. ii. 416). In 1810 he declined an offer of the rank of vice-admiral in the Portuguese service; and was in November appointed to the Mars, which he commanded till February 1813, on the Lisbon station and in the Baltic. Notwithstanding repeated applications he had no further employment; but was promoted in due course to be rear-admiral on 12 Aug. 1819, vice-admiral on 22 July 1830, and admiral on 23 Nov. 1841. He died in London on 5 April 1845, aged 78 (Gent. Mag.) He was the author of ‘A New System of Signals, by which Colours may be wholly dispensed with,’ 1828, 4to. He married, in 1798, Miss Craig, by whom he left issue. His eldest son, Henry, is separately noticed.
[O'Byrne's Nav. Biogr. Dict.; Marshall's Roy. Nav. Biogr. ii. (vol. i. pt. ii.) 714; Gent. Mag. 1845, i. 649; Service Book in the Public Record Office.]
RAPER, HENRY (1799–1859), lieutenant in the navy and writer on navigation, born in 1799, was eldest son of Admiral Henry Raper [q. v.] He entered the navy in November 1811 on board the Mars, then commanded by his father. When the Mars was paid off he was sent to the Royal Naval College at Portsmouth, whence he passed with distinction, obtaining the silver medal for proficiency in mathematics. After a short time in the Nymphen frigate he was appointed, in October 1815, to the Alceste with Captain Murray Maxwell [q. v.] In her he made the voyage to China, experienced shipwreck in Gaspar Straits, and took part in the encampment on the island of Pulo Leat. He was afterwards in the Tyne and the Seringapatam; and in January 1821, by his father's interest, joined the Adventure sloop with Commander William Henry Smyth [q. v.] With Smyth he served in the Mediterranean, was placed in charge of the chronometers, and had exceptional opportunities for the scientific study of navigation, nautical astronomy, and surveying. On 17 May 1823 he was promoted to the rank of lieutenant, and was appointed to the Euryalus, from which he was shortly after moved to the Dispatch brig. In January 1825, when Captain Frederick William Beechey [q. v.] commissioned the Blossom for a voyage round Cape Horn and to Behring Strait, he placed the filling up of three vacancies in the hands of Smyth, and on his nomination offered Raper the post of first lieutenant. Raper, however, imagined that his father had been undeservedly slighted by the admiralty, and declined Beechey's offer, thus virtually retiring from active service.
From that time he devoted himself to nautical science. He became a fellow of the Royal Geographical and Royal Astronomical Societies, repeatedly served on their councils, and was for many years secretary of the latter. In 1832 he was appointed by the admiralty on a committee to consider the method of measuring the tonnage of ships, and the report was drawn up principally by him. In 1840 he published his ‘Practice of Navigation,’ which was at once recognised as the best work on the subject, a position which it still holds in the opinion of practical navigators, although at the Royal Naval College the preference has always been given to the work of Dr. James Inman [q. v.] or later modifications of it. For this valuable work Raper was awarded the gold medal of the Royal Geographical Society; and in 1850 Smyth, then president of the society, called special attention to the third edition ‘as well, generally, for the useful additions engrafted on its pages, as, particularly, for its admirable and well-organised table of geographical positions,’ to the number of eight thousand eight hundred. Raper always intended to publish a second volume, treating of the theory of the practical rules contained in the first; but the work grew under his hands, and his failing health prevented his completing it. He died at Torquay on 6 Jan. 1859, leaving a widow.
[Journal of the Royal Geographical Society, vol. xxix. p. ccxxvi; Gent. Mag. 1859, i. 221.]
RAPIN, PAUL de (1661–1725), historian, generally styled ‘Rapin-Thoyras,’ was born at Castres on 25 March 1661. His father, Jacques de Rapin, seigneur de Thoyras, was an advocate practising in the chamber of the edict of Castres, one of the courts of judicature erected in pursuance of the edict of Nantes, for the benefit of the Huguenots. His mother, Jeanne de Pélisson, was daughter of a councillor in that court, and sister of Paul de Pélisson-Fontanier, the historian of the Académie Française (Cazenove, Rapin-Thoyras, pp. 85,