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Royal Naval Biography/Barker, James


JAMES BARKER, Esq.
[Post-Captain of 1812.]

Son of Mr. James Barker, ship-owner, who perished at sea in 1778; and brother to the late Edward Barker, Esq. Commander R.N.

This officer was born at Rotherhithe, co. Surrey, Mar. 2, 1772; and his name appears on the books of the Beaver sloop so early as June 13, 1780. He belonged to the Solebay 28, Captain Charles Holmes Everitt, when that frigate was wrecked, in an action, at the Leeward Islands; and we afterwards find him on board the Prudent 64, Captain Andrew Barclay, which ship formed part of the fleet under Sir Samuel Hood, and sustained a loss of 18 killed and 36 wounded in the different affairs with Count de Grasse, Jan. 25 and 26, 1782[1].

At the commencement of the French revolutionary war, Mr. Barker was received on board the Russell 74, of which ship his uncle was then serving as master; and in her he assisted at the defeat of the republican fleet under Mons. Villaret de Joyeuse, on the glorious 1st of June, 1794[2]. He was subsequently lent to the Jupiter 50, bearing the broad pendant of Commodore J. W. Payne, and placed by that officer in the yacht fitted for the reception of H.S.H. the Princess Caroline of Brunswick, whom he accompanied from Cuxhaven to the Thames, in the spring of 1796: his promotion to the rank of lieutenant took place a few days after her arrival in England[3].

From that period. Lieutenant Barker served under Sir James Saumarez, in the Orion 74, till he was made a commander, Oct. 8, 1798: he consequently assisted at the capture of three French two-deckers, by Lord Bridport’s fleet, off l’Orient, June 23, 1795; at the defeat of the Spaniards, by Sir John Jervis, off Cape St, Vincent, Feb. 14, 1797; and at the ever memorable battle of the Nile, under Nelson, in Aug. 1798[4]

Captain Barker subsequently commanded the Moriston, hired armed ship; and was promoted to post rank Aug. 12, 1812. He married Miss Ann Emery, of Coggeshall, co. Essex, by whom he has had a very large family: his eldest son died Dec. 24, 1824, aged 19 years.

Agent.– J. Copland, Esq.