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Royal Naval Biography/Cook, Hugh

[Post-Captain of 1806.]

Entered the naval service as a Midshipman on board the Pegase 74, commanded by Captain Sir Samuel Marshall, Knt. Oct. 22, 1784; and was made a Lieutenant into la Lutine sloop of war, on the Newfoundland station, Oct. 30, 1793.

Mr. Cook was subsequently appointed to the Prince 98, in which ship he witnessed the action off l’Orient, June 23, 1795[1]. We next find him proceeding to the West Indies, as first Lieutenant of the Brunswick 74, bearing the flag of his first and principal naval patron, the late Sir Richard Rodney Bligh, G.C.B., by whom he was honored with the command of a detachment landed from the British squadron to defend the fort of Irois, in Carcasse bay, St. Domingo, when besieged by a very numerous force, in 1797[2].

From Feb. 24, 1798, until Oct. 3, in the same year. Lieutenant Cook successively commanded the Drake and Lark, sloops of war, but had the mortification to be superseded in each of those vessels by an officer of Sir Hyde Parker’s selection. At the latter date, Rear-Admiral Bligh appointed him acting captain of the Brunswick, and he was allowed to continue as such until his patron removed into the Regulus frigate, for a passage to England, May 29, 1799; that excellent officer’s recent promotion to the rank of Vice-Admiral, rendering his longer continuance, as second in command, on the Jamaica station, incompatible with the then existing naval regulations.

Lieutenant Cook’s subsequent appointments were, May 29, 1799, to be first of the Regulus; Oct. 16, 1799, to command the Liberty brig, on the Jersey station; Oct. 28, 1803, to be Vice-Admiral Bligh’s flag-lieutenant, at Leith; and Aug. 1, 1804, to be first of the Agamemnon 64; in which ship he continued until his promotion to the rank of Post-Captain, July 31, 1806.

It will be seen by reference to pp. 614, 778, and 779, of our first volume, that the Agamemnon bore a part in Sir Robert Calder’s action, July 22, 1805; and that she was also engaged with the enemy off Trafalgar, and at St. Domingo, Oct. 21, 1805, and Feb. 6, 1806. We need not remind our readers that all the first Lieutenants of Nelson’s fleet were promoted on the 24th Dec. 1805; but it is necessary for us to state, that Captain Cook was not superseded previous to the battle off Hispaniola, and that he was therefore advanced to postrank as a reward for his services on the latter occasion.

In Mar. 1809, the subject of this sketch was selected by Rear-Admiral d’Auvergne (commonly called the Prince of Bouillon) to be his flag-captain, in the Diomede 50, on the Jersey station; and we have reason to believe that his gallant conduct in several skirmishes, when commanding the Liberty, under that officer’s orders, was the sole cause of his receiving this appointment, as flattering as it appears to have been unexpected. We subsequently find Captain Cook conveying Vice-Admiral W. O’Brien Drury to the East Indies; and, in Mar. 1811, escorting seven of the Hon. Company’s ships from Madras to St. Helena; where he received a very handsome letter from their commanders, thanking him in the warmest terms “for his great attention, and the skilful manner in which he conducted the convoy during an unusually tempestuous voyage.”

  1. See Vol. I. p. 100.
  2. See Nav. Chron. Vol. XX. pp. 5–7.