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Royal Naval Biography/Clay, Edward Sneyd

[Post-Captain of 1802.]

In Sept. 1793 we find this officer serving on board the Alcide, a third rate, forming part of the squadron under Commodore Linzee, employed in co-operation with the Corsican General Paoli[1]. He was a Lieutenant of the Venerable, and received a severe wound, in the battle off Camperdown, Oct. 11, 1797[2]; after which he removed with Lord Duncan into the Kent, a new 74-gun ship, in which he continued till Aug. 1799, when he was selected by that nobleman to carry home his despatches announcing the fall of the Helder, and the consequent opening of the Texel to the British fleet[3]. Lord Duncan, on that occasion, adverting to his want of time to give a more detailed account of the proceedings of the expedition sent against Holland, referred the Board of Admiralty to Lieutenant Clay for further particulars, and described him as “an intelligent and deserving officer.”

Lieutenant Clay was promoted to the command of the Zebra bomb, Dec. 3, 1799; and in the following year he accompanied Vice-Admiral Dickson to Elsineur, on a service already noticed at p. 348 et seq. of our first volume. He also served during the expedition against Copenhagen in the spring of 1801[4]. His post commission bears date April 29, 1802.

From this period we find no particular mention of Captain Clay till Dec. 18, 1810, when he had the misfortune to be wrecked in the Nymphe frigate, under his command, at the entrance of the Frith of Forth; a disaster occasioned by his pilot mistaking a lime kiln, burning at Broxmouth, for the May light, and the latter for the Bell rock, in which opinion the Master of the Nymphe unfortunately coincided.

Agent.– Messrs. Cooke, Halford, and Son.