Peard, Shuldham (DNB00)

PEARD, SHULDHAM (1761–1832), vice-admiral, third son of Captain George Peard of the navy, was born at Penryn in 1761, and baptised at St. Gluvias on 29 Oct. At the age of ten he was entered on the books of the Fly, and afterwards on those of the Racehorse, as an ‘able seaman.’ He probably first went afloat in 1776, in the Worcester, with Captain Mark Robinson; he was afterwards in the Martin with Captain (afterwards Sir William) Parker, and in the Thetis with Captain John Gell on the Newfoundland station. In 1779, having been sent away in command of a prize, he was taken prisoner and carried into Cadiz. On his return to England he passed his examination on 6 April 1780, and on 26 April was promoted to the rank of lieutenant. In June 1780 he was appointed to the Edgar, one of the Channel fleet, and continued in her till February 1782, taking part in the relief of Gibraltar in April 1781. From 1785 to 1790 he was in the Carnatic guardship at Plymouth; in 1790–1, during the Spanish armament, he was in the Princess Royal, flagship of Rear-admiral Hotham, at Portsmouth, and was again in the Carnatic in 1791–2. In Jan. 1793 he went on the Britannia to the Mediterranean with the flag of Hotham, and on 30 Jan. 1795 was promoted to command the Flèche.

On 5 May he was posted to the Censeur, and in July was appointed to the Britannia as second captain. From her, in January 1796, he was moved into the St. George, which he still commanded on 18 Jan. 1797, when, as the fleet was leaving Lisbon, she got on shore, had to cut away her masts, and was left behind disabled, while the fleet went on to fight the battle of Cape St. Vincent. The ship afterwards rejoined the flag off Cadiz, and was still there in the beginning of July, when a violent mutiny broke out on board. Peard, with his own hands, assisted by the first lieutenant, seized two of the ringleaders, dragged them out of the crowd, and had them put in irons. His daring and resolute conduct struck terror into the rest, and they returned to their duty; but the two men were promptly tried, convicted, and hanged on 8–9 July [see Jervis, John, Earl of St. Vincent]. Of Peard's conduct on this occasion St. Vincent thought very highly, and many years afterwards wrote, ‘his merit in facing the mutiny on board the St. George ought never to be forgotten or unrewarded’ (Tucker, Memoirs of the Earl of St. Vincent, ii. 408).

In March 1799 Peard commissioned the Success frigate for the Mediterranean, and on his way out, when off Lisbon, fell in with and was chased by the Brest fleet. He, however, made good his escape, and joined Lord Keith off Cadiz on 3 May [see Elphinstone, George Keith, Viscount Keith], in time to warn him of the approaching danger. In the following February the Success formed part of the squadron employed in the blockade of Malta, and on the 18th had a large share in the capture of the Généreux, hampering her movements as she tried to escape, and raking her several times (Nicolas, Nelson Despatches, iv. 188–9). On 9 Feb. 1801 the Success was lying at Gibraltar, when a strong French squadron, under Rear-admiral Ganteaume, passed through the Straits. Peard conjectured—as was the fact—that they were bound for Egypt, and thinking that Keith ought to have warning of their presence in the Mediterranean, he immediately followed, hoping to pass them on the way. He fell in with them off Cape Gata, but was prevented by calms and variable winds from passing, and, after a chase of three days, was overtaken and captured. From the prisoners Ganteaume learned that the route to Egypt might be full of danger to himself, and turned aside to Toulon, whence Peard and his men were at once sent in a cartel to Port Mahon. On his return to England he was appointed in June to the Audacious, in which he joined the squadron at Gibraltar under Sir James Saumarez (afterwards Lord de Saumarez) [q. v.], and took part in the actions at Algeziras on 6 July, and in the Straits on the night of the 12th. The Audacious was afterwards sent to the West Indies, and was paid off in October 1802. In 1803 and during the war Peard commanded the sea-fencibles on the coast of Cornwall. On 5 July 1814 he was superannuated as a rear-admiral, but was restored to the active list on 5 July 1827, advanced to be vice-admiral on 22 July 1830, and died at Barton Place, near Exeter, on 27 Dec. 1832. He left two sons, of whom the elder, George, died, a captain in the navy, in 1837; the younger, John Whitehead, well known as ‘Garibaldi's Englishman,’ is separately noticed.

[Marshall's Roy. Nav. Biogr. iii. (vol. ii.) p. 23; Service-book, in the Public Record Office; Ann. Biogr. and Obit. for 1834; James's Naval Hist.; Boase and Courtney's Bibl. Cornub.]

J. K. L.