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Royal Naval Biography/Harvey, Booty


BOOTY HARVEY, Esq.
A Companion of the Most Honourable Military Order of the Bath.
[Post-Captain of 1812.]

This officer is a son of the late Mr. Thomas Harvey, a respectable farmer of Wordwell, Suffolk, by Miss Pawsey, of Hawstead, in the same county. He was born at Wordwell, May 4, 1764; and entered the navy, under the auspices of his father’s landlord, Vice-Admiral the Earl of Bristol, as a midshipman on board the Arethusa frigate, commanded by Captain Digby Dent, with whom he sailed for St. Helena, in 1775. We subsequently find him joining the Montreal 32, Captain Stair Douglas, which frigate, after visiting Quebec, was captured by two French line-of-battle ships, on the Mediterranean station, in 1779.

After the demise of the Earl of Bristol, Mr. Harvey was patronised by his nephew, Lord Hervey, under whom he served in various ships until the conclusion of the American war[1]. During the ensuing peace, he was successively received on board the Zebra and Falcon sloops, Captains Edward Pakenham and V. C. Berkeley, stationed in the West Indies; Unicorn 20, Captain Charles Stirling, for a passage home, after suffering shipwreck in the Cyrus transport; Leviathan 74, Captain Lord Mulgrave, fitting in expectation of a war with Spain, in 1790; and Assurance 44, Captain John Shortland, employed in conveying stores to Halifax.

The latter ship being paid off in 1792, and his noble patron then abroad, Mr. Harvey next entered on board a West Indiaman, from which he was impressed by the Vanguard 74, Captain John Stanhope, at the commencement of hostilities against France, in 1793. Having then passed his examination about three years, he was immediately rated master’s mate of that ship; and shortly afterwards recommended to the notice of Sir John Jervis, from whom he received his first commission, at the Leeward Islands, in 1794.

On this occasion, Mr. Harvey, who had been removed from the Vanguard to the Boyne, on promotion, was appointed to the Ceres 32; but that frigate having sailed for England, he received an order to join the Vengeance 74, pro tempore; from which ship he was landed with a party of seamen to co-operate with the British army in Guadaloupe, after the recapture of that island by the French forces under Victor Hugues[2].

Previous to his return home (in the Boyne), Lieutenant Harvey suffered a most severe attack of yellow fever at Antigua, from the effects of which he did not recover for a very considerable period. His next appointment was to the Salisbury 50, Captain William Mitchell, and in that ship, after running along the coast of Guinea, he once more proceeded to the West Indies, where he again had the misfortune to be wrecked. May 13, 1796: this disaster occurred at the Isle of Vache, from whence he started in one of her boats, with the intelligence thereof, for Jamaica. On his way thither he was intercepted and disarmed by an enemy’s privateer, but allowed to proceed without any further molestation.

From Port Royal, Lieutenant Harvey was despatched by Captain Roddam Home, of the Africa 64, in a schooner, to join the commander-in-chief at Cape Nicola Mole, St. Domingo, where he received an appointment to the Canada, a third rate, in which he served under Captains George Bowen, Thomas Twysden, Sir John B. Warren, and the Hon. Michael De Courcy, until about Nov. 1800; when he followed the last named officer but one into the Renown 74.

The Canada bore Sir John B. Warren’s broad pendant in the action with Mons. Bompard, off the N.W. coast of Ireland, Oct. 12, 1798; and formed part of the expedition to Quiberon, in the summer of 1800[3]. The manner in which the Renown was employed, from the time Lieutenant Harvey joined her till towards the latter end of 1804, will be seen by reference to Vol. II. Part I. pp. 231–233: she returned to England, from the Mediterranean, under the command of Sir Richard J. Strachan, in the spring of 1805.

We next find the subject of this memoir serving in the Bellona 74, from which ship he was appointed first Lieutenant of the Foudroyant 80, bearing the flag of Sir John B. Warren, a short time previous to the capture of the Marengo and Belle Poule, by the squadron under that officer’s orders[4]. Having conducted the former prize safely into port, he was promoted to the rank of Commander, by commission dated May 20, 1806.

On the evening of Dec. 10, 1810, Captain Harvey, then commanding the Rosario a 10-gun brig, on the Dungeness station, fell in with two French lugger privateers, one of which came up close to leeward, hailed him in very opprobrious language, and threatened to sink him if he did not surrender. Suspecting that it was their intention to board, and knowing their superiority of sailing, he immediately put his helm up, ran right alongside the nearest, and soon obtained possession of her; but in doing so, carried away his jib-boom, which prevented him from capturing the other. The prize proved to be le Mamelouck, of 16 guns and 45 men; 7 of whom were wounded: 2 of the Rosario’s crew were severely, and 3 others slightly wounded.

A very spirited attack, made by Captain Harvey, on a division of the Boulogne flotilla, which ended in the capture of three brigs and driving two ashore, is thus described by him, in an official letter to Rear-Admiral Thomas Foley, dated Mar. 27, 1812:–

“At 8-30 A.M., Dieppe bearing S.W. 4 or 5 miles, we observed an enemy’s flotilla, consisting of twelve brigs and one lugger, standing along shore, and immediately made sail to cut off the leewardmost. The enemy, by signal from their commodore, formed into a line, and severally engaged us as we passed; but upon luffing up to cut off the sternmost, the whole bore up to support her, and endeavoured to close with us. Finding them thus determined to support each other, and the small force of the Rosario not admitting my running the risk of being laid on hoard by several at once, I bore up to a brig we observed in the offing, which proved to be the Griffon, and made the signal for an enemy. The moment she had answered, we hauled to the wind; and at 40 minutes P.M. began to harass the enemy’s rear, who were then endeavouring to get into Dieppe under all sail: tucked and wore occasionally to close, receiving and returning the fire of the whole line each time. At 1-30, being far enough to windward, ran into the midst of the enemy, and by cutting away the running rigging of the two nearest, drove them on board each other: backed the muin-top-sail, and engaged them within musket-shot till they were clear, then stood on and engaged another, whose main-mast and fore-top-mast soon went by the board, when she immediately anchored; passed her and drove the next in the line on shore: two more of their line yet remained to leeward; bore up and ran the nearest one on board (then not more than three-quarters of a mile from the shore).

“So far the Rosario had acted alone, as the Griffon had not yet arrived within gun-shot: bore away with prize beyond range of the batteries, and hailed the Griffon (then passing under a press of sail) to chase the remaining brig; which service she performed in a very handsome manner, by running her on shore near St. Aubin, under a very heavy fire from the land: seeing no probability of the Griffon being able to destroy the brig, made the signal to attack the enemy in the S.E., then anchoring close in shore. In the mean time we were getting the prisoners on board, and repairing the running rigging, which was much damaged. Captain Trollope, having closed with the enemy, ran the Griffon in shore of one at an anchor nearly in the centre, and in the most gallant manner laid her on board, cut her cables, and stood out, under the fire of the batteries, and the whole of the other brigs: upon passing the Griffon, I found her too much disabled immediately to make sail again to the attack; but being determined to have another (although we had nearly as many prisoners as our own sloop’s company), I ran the dismasted one on board, which we found the enemy had deserted, but this circumstance the darkness of the night prevented our being enabled previously to discover; at which time the remaining seven of the flotilla were under weigh, getting into Dieppe harbour. I must beg leave to mention the very able assistance I received from the exertions of my first lieutenant, Mr. James Shaw, in boarding the enemy, and during the whole of the day, in the arduous task of working the brig while engaging: and the conduct of the whole of the other officers and crew was such as to merit my warmest approbation. We have only one petty officer and four men wounded; the officer is Mr. Jonathan Widdicombe Dyer, midshipman, whose unremitted exertions during the action, and activity in boarding, together with his general good conduct, renders it my duty to recommend him.

“The flotilla we engaged is the 14th division, commanded by Mons. Saizieu, capitaine de vaisseau, and commandant de division; it sailed from Boulogne at 10 P.M. the 26th, and intended going to Cherbourgh: each brig has three long brass 24-pounders and an 8-inch brass howitzer, with a complement of 50 men. When I consider this flotilla, united to batteries keeping up a constant fire of both shot and shells, and the very small force we had, I trust the having taken three, run two on shore, and much damaged the others, will shew our zeal for the public service, and meet your approbation[5].”

On the 31st of the same month, Captain Harvey was rewarded with a post commission for his truly gallant conduct; and the midshipman of whom he makes such honorable mention, was also promoted[6].

From this period Captain Harvey remained unemployed till Sept. 21, 1814, when he received an appointment to the Porcupine 22, in which ship, however, he never went to sea. Soon after paying her off, he lost the use of his left side by a paralytic attack, and, if we mistake not, he still labours under that heavy affliction. He obtained the insignia of a C.B. Dec. 8, 1815; and the out pension of Greenwich Hospital, Dec. 8, 1823.

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



  1. The above mentioned Earl of Bristol succeeded to that title on the death of his brother, Mar. 20, 1775. He commanded a small squadron before Brest, in 1758; and greatly distinguished himself, as captain of the Dragon 74, at the reduction of Belleisle, Martinique, St. Lucia, Grenada, St. Vincent, and the Havannah, in 1761 and 1762. In 1767, he brought a bill into the House of Commons, for the augmentation of the pay of naval Lieutenants, which was accordingly increased one shilling per diem. He was appointed a colonel of marines in 1762, a lord of the admiralty in 1771, and a flag officer in 1775. His nephew. Lord Hervey, commanded the Raisonable 64, at the relief of Gibraltar, in 1782.
  2. See Vol. I. Part II. note at p. 841; and Vol. II. Part I. pp. 110–113.
  3. See Vol. I. Part I. p. 171 and 219, et seq.
  4. See Vol. I, Part II, p. 435 et seq.
  5. The Rosario mounted eight 18-pounder carronades and 2 long sixes; the Griffon, fourteen 24-pounder carronades and 2 sixes.
  6. Lieutenant J. W. Dyer was drowned in a boat race, off the Eddystone light-house, Jan. 2, 1818.

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