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Royal Naval Biography/Coffin, John Townsend


JOHN TOWNSEND COFFIN, Esq.
[Post-Captain of 1822.]

Third son of Major-General John Coffin (who distinguished himself during the war between Great Britain and her colonies, in many severe conflicts with the republican troops), by Anne, daughter of William Matthews, of St. John’s Islands, in South Carolina, Esq.; and nephew to Admiral Sir Isaac Coffin, Bart.

We first find this officer a midshipman on board the Blenheim 74, bearing the flag of the gallant, but ill-fated Sir Thomas Troubridge, whose son, the present baronet, makes especial mention of his good conduct, while serving in the Harrier brig, at the capture of the Dutch frigate Pallas and two large armed ships, near Java, July 25, 1806[1].

Although Mr. Coffin had then served the time necessary to qualify him for a commission (as appears by the official despatch just referred to), he did not obtain the rank of lieutenant till April 11, 1808. On the 21st Feb. 1812, being then in the Victorious 74, Captain (now Sir John) Talbot, he assisted at the capture of the Rivoli French two-decker, in the Gulf of Venice[2]. We subsequently find him in the Ocean 98, Captain (now Rear-Admiral) Plampin; and Rainbow 26, Captain Gawen William Hamilton; from which latter ship he was promoted to the command of the Shearwater brig, on the Mediterranean station, July I, 1814. His last appointment was, Aug. 12, 1819, to the Fly of 18 guns, in which sloop he cruised with considerable success against the American smugglers on the Irish coast. He also picked up a vessel from Miramichi, laden with timber, totally dismasted, without her rudder, and deserted by her crew. The Fly was paid off, at Portsmouth, Dec. 7, 1821; and Captain Coffin advanced to post rank, Dec. 26, 1822.

Agents.– Messrs. Stilwell.