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Royal Naval Biography/Cook, Samuel Edward

Knight of the Royal Portuguese Order of the Tower and Sword.

Only son of the Rev. James Cook, of Newton Hall, Northumberland.

This officer was made a lieutenant on the 10th June, 1809. We first find him serving on board the Swallow sloop. Captain Edward Reynolds Sibly, and commanding her boats at the capture of a French armed brig, on the Mediterranean station. The following is a copy of the official letter written on that occasion:–

H. M. sloop Swallow, at sea, Sept. 16th, 1813.

“Sir,– Being well in-shore, at day-light this morning, between the Tiber and D’Anzo, a brig and xebec were discovered between us and the latter harbour. Having light baffling winds at the time from the eastward, I thought the boats would have a chance of reaching them before they got into port, and three were accordingly despatched, under the direction of Lieutenant Samuel Edward Cook (first of the Swallow), assisted by Mr. Thomas Cole, mate, and Mr. Henry Thomas, midshipman, and, after a row of two hours, they came up with and brought out, from close under D’Anzo, (from whence numerous boats, besides two gun-vessels, had been sent to her assistance, and kept her in tow till the moment of our boats boarding) the French brig Guerriere, of four guns, with sixty stand of small arms. There could not have been more steady cool bravery displayed than on this occasion. Lieutenant Cook speaks in the highest terms of every person with him. I am sorry to say his loss has been severe, having had two seamen killed and four severely wounded in his boat. The enemy escaped over the bow as our men were boarding on the quarter, therefore I have not been enabled to ascertain the number that defended her, or their loss. The xebec, which also mounted four guns, succeeded in getting into D’Anzo. I have the honor to be, &c.

(Signed)E. R. Sibly, Commander.”

Hon. Captain Duncan, H.M.S. Imperieuse.

Lieutenant Cook subsequently served as first of the Niemen 28, Captain Sibly, and Windsor Castle 74, Captain (now Sir Charles) Dashwood, to which latter ship he was re-appointed on the 4th Jan. 1822. His promotion to the rank of commander took place June 3d, 1824, at the earnest request of King John of Portugal, by whom he had just before been presented with the above-mentioned order, with the insignia set in diamonds, on his resumption of the regal authority at Lisbon, after a temporary sojourn on board the Windsor Castle.

Commander Cook is the author of “Sketches in Spain, during the years 1829 – 32.” This work appears to be valuable for its historical details, and is thus noticed in the Naval and Military Gazette:–

“These sketches are the result of a three years’ residence in Spain, during which the author visited some of the most interesting portions of that country, and indeed places but little noticed by other travellers. The subjects to which he appears to have directed attention are, the government of Spain; the military and civil branches of administration; the ecclesiastical establishment; the manners of the people; the fine arts, and natural history. These are treated with much good sense; and though the language is not the most correct or polished, still the descriptions are full of interest, and we have no doubt that they are authentic.”

This officer married, in 1832, Dorothy, youngest daughter of the late Alexander Davison, Esq., of Swarland Park, co. Northumberland.