Royal Naval Biography/Love, William
WILLIAM LOVE, Esq.
Youngest son of the late Mr. Thomas Love, R.N. by Sarah, sister to Lovell Pennell, Esq. the paternal grandfather of Mrs. John Wilson Croker.
This officer was born at Topsham, co. Devon, in April 1764; and entered the navy in Mar. 1778, as midshipman on board the Hyaena frigate. Captain (afterwards Commodore) Edward Thompson; in which ship he visited the coast of Africa; witnessed the close of the battle between Vice-Admiral Byron and the Count D’Estaing, off Grenada, July 6th, 1779; accompanied the fleet under Sir George B. Rodney, to the relief of Gibraltar, in Jan. 1780; and was consequently present at the capture of the Carracas convoy, and the subsequent defeat of Don Juan de Langara. He afterwards joined the Cumberland 74, Captain Joseph Peyton; and in Mar. 1781, again sailed for Gibraltar, with the fleet under Vice-Admiral Darby. On his return home he joined the Prothée 64, Captain Charles Buckner, of which ship, then about to accompany Rodney to the West Indies, his father was serving as master.
On the glorious 12th of April, 1782, the Prothée had five men killed and twenty-five wounded. Almost the first shot that struck her, dismounted one of the quarter-deck guns, the splinters of which shattered Mr. Love’s leg and thigh, and slightly wounded his son in the knee: the former, after undergoing amputation close to the hip joint, was ordered a passage home in the Russell 74, Captain (now Lord De) Saumarez; and the latter received Sir George B. Rodney’s permission to accompany him thither, but was nearly prevented from doing so, through the unfeeling conduct of Captain Anthony Wilkinson, who shortly afterwards perished in the Ville de Paris.
The removals consequent upon the glorious victory over De Grasse had placed Captain Buckner in the Royal Oak 71; and Captain Wilkinson succeeded him in the command of the Prothée. On the arrival of the fleet and prizes at Port Royal, it was found difficult to obtain a lodging for Mr. Love; but his son at length succeeded in finding one, and remained (longer than he had obtained permission to do) in attendance upon him. A few hours previous to the Russell’s departure for England, the youth was desired by Captain Buckner to apply for his discharge into her, and at the same time to request that one of the Prothée’s boats might be sent to remove his wounded parent from the shore; instead, however, of obtaining either the one or the other, he received a severe reprimand for being so long absent; the unfeeling officer at the same time saying, “because a man is wounded, it is no reason that others should run from ship to ship!”
Under such distressing circumstances, Mr. William Love took French leave, got back to his anxious father the same evening, hired a canoe, and brought him alongside the Russell just before she got under way. On his being hoisted in, some one observed; “what is the use of bringing a dying man here?” to which the wounded officer himself replied, “worth a hundred dead men yet.”
On being told of the clandestine manner in which Mr. William Love, prompted by filial affection, had quitted the Prothée, Captain Saumarez desired him not to be uneasy, as he should rate him midshipman, and assign him no other duty than that of attending upon his father. The benevolent captain then enquired what Mr. Love usually had for his dinner, and ordered his steward to take care that he was furnished with the same daily. Through the kindness of that most amiable officer, and the care and attention of others on board the Russell, Mr. Love was able to appear with crutches before he reached England, although obliged to undergo a second amputation. Both he and his wife died at Chertsey, co. Surrey, the former aged 84, and the latter 83 years: he was the last survivor of the officers wounded on the memorable 12th of April, who were granted pensions; and, at the time of his death, the senior master in the navy.
In Sept. 1782, the Russell, being in a defective state, was put out of commission, and Mr. William Love transferred, pro tempore, to the Prince Edward 60, bearing the flag of Vice-Admiral Roddam, commander-in-chief at the Nore. He subsequently joined the Salisbury 50, fitting out for the broad pendant of Sir John Jervis, from which ship he was paid off soon after the termination of hostilities, in 1783. During the Dutch armament in 1787, he served on board the Conqueror 74, bearing the flag of Admiral Edwards; and subsequently in the Arrogant of similar force, commanded by Captain John Harvey. At the commencement of the French revolutionary war, we find him again joining the Russell, then under the command of Captain John Willet Payne. His promotion to the rank of lieutenant took place in April 1794; and on that occasion he was appointed to the Falcon sloop, a vessel bearing no other officer of the same rank, commanded by Captain James Bissett, and most actively employed on the Coast of Flanders.
In Oct. 1794, after the expulsion of the British army from Holland, the Falcon was placed under the orders of Rear-Admiral Henry Harvey; and she appears to have been the only vessel out of eleven sail (including eight frigates) which kept company with the flag-ship during a most tempestuous three months’ cruise, on the coast of Norway. At the commencement of this cruise, she was short of provisions and stores, particularly of slops and fuel; she had not been long at sea before her guns were obliged to be thrown overboard, and her pumps kept constantly at work. On her return to port, after contending for so considerable a time against heavy seas and violent gales, she had but a single boat left; and on being docked at Sheerness, she was found in such a state that her preservation appeared truly miraculous: we need scarcely add, that the sufferings of her officers and crew were extreme, both from cold and privation, the winter of 1794 having set in early, and proved uncommonly severe.
Lieutenant Love’s next appointment was to the Helena sloop, Captain (now Sir John) Talbot, which vessel, when proceeding to America, encountered the same tempestuous weather which proved so fatal to the fleet under Rear-Admiral Christian, in Nov. 1795; in consequence thereof she was obliged to return to Plymouth, after throwing overboard all her guns, and every thing on the main deck.
In April 1796, Lieutenant Love was appointed to the Formidable 98, Captain the Hon. George C. Berkeley; and during the mutiny at Spithead we find him left commanding officer on board that ship. Previous to its termination, the Intrepid 64, then recently commissioned, and under sailing orders, came out of harbour, anchored near the Formidable, and soon evinced the usual symptoms of disaffection. Observing her crew reeve yard-ropes, &c. instead of weighing anchor, when they had been paid their two months wages in advance. Lieutenant Love sent an officer and a few trusty men to remonstrate with them, and soon had the satisfaction of finding that this measure, adopted with the concurrence of their captain (the present Sir William Hargood), had produced the desired effect.
In June, 1797, the Formidable and six other ships of the line were ordered to join Admiral Duncan, in the North Sea. On this occasion. Lieutenant Love observed that the Caesar 80 was very tardy in her movements; and the same men whom he had before sent to the Intrepid, were immediately despatched to reason with her crew, which proved equally successful.
The Formidable was subsequently fitted for the reception of Admiral Duncan, and she sailed through the Downs to join him on the very day that he gained his most brilliant victory off Camperdown. On her return to Portsmouth she was selected for the flag of Sir Charles Thompson, by one of whose followers Lieutenant Love was superseded in Nov. 1797. He afterwards served under Captain (now Admiral) Lawford, in the Romney 50, stationed off Dunkirk; and assisted in detaining a Swedish convoy, of which mention has been made in p. 497 et seq. of Vol. I. Part II. In Jan, 1799, he obtained the command of the Alert cutter; and in March following, we find him appointed first lieutenant of the Mars 74, flag-ship of the Hon. Rear-Admiral Berkeley, under whom he continued to serve, off Brest and Rochefort, until that officer was compelled by severe indisposition to resign his command. As the war was then evidently drawing to a close, the following could not do otherwise than inspire him with sanguine hopes of speedy promotion:
Admiralty, 1st August, 1801.
“My dear Admiral, – * * * * I told you distinctly, that no promotion would be made before a peace took place, and that, if I was then at this board, Lieutenant Love should be included in it. * * * *.
“The Hon. Rear-Admiral Berkeley.”
Lieutenant Love was first of his old ship the Formidable) during the mutiny at Bantry Bay, and was charged with the unpleasant duty of seeing the fatal sentence of a court martial partly carried into effect; one of the ringleaders having been sent for execution on board the Formidable, during the absence of Captain Richard Grindall, who had obtained leave to reside on shore until the trials were over. After the performance of this melancholy duty, the signal was made for the squadron under Rear-Admiral Campbell to weigh, and the Formidable was the first ship that anchored at St. Helen’s. She subsequently accompanied that officer to the West Indies, and returned with him from thence in Sept. 1802. During her absence from England the expected grand promotion took place, and Mr. Love had the mortification to find that, notwithstanding Earl St. Vincent’s promise, and although his messmate, the third lieutenant, was made a commander, he himself was not included. After the renewal of hostilities, he was the bearer of the following letter from Rear-Admiral Berkeley to the Chairman of the Transport Board:
“Wood End, Sept. 30th, 1803.
“Dear Sir,– The officer who will deliver this is Mr. William Love, who served with me during the late war, until I hauled my flag down, when he was my first lieutenant, and was actually promised promotion by Lord St. Vincent: I believe he is not the only instance where disappointment has followed the most sanguine hopes; and as I cannot assign any reason for it, any more than his lordship, I must endeavour to provide for a most deserving officer in any way which will gain him employment, and bread for his numerous family. My own opinion of him is such, that if I were employed, Mr. Love would certainly be my first lieutenant, and I should spare no means to promote him; but as that is not likely to happen, I should really esteem it a favor if he could be employed in the transport service. I believe there are such things as resident agents, which, perhaps, may suit his convenience as well as my own; but as possibly no vacancy of this sort may at present occur, I shall equally be bound to you, to put him in any situation for which his zeal, talents, and honorable character may fit him. I remain, &c.
“To Sir Rupert George, Bart.”
In consequence of this recommendation, Lieutenant Love was appointed principal agent for transports at Beer Haven in Ireland, with a division of victuallers under his pendant, to attend the western squadron. In 1804, on Rear-Admiral Berkeley being appointed to command the whole of the English Sea-Fencibles, he was selected by him to serve as his aide-de-camp and secretary. During the two years that he was thus employed, the whole coast between the river Thames and Bristol was visited, and the state and efficiency of the amphibious corps minutely inspected and reported on. In the spring of 1806, we find him proceeding to the North American station, as flag-lieutenant to his friend, then Vice-Admiral Berkeley, by whom he was, immediately on their arrival at Halifax, appointed acting commander of a sloop not yet launched; and soon afterwards to act as captain of the Cleopatra frigate, then heaving down, and ordered to be re-equipped with the utmost expedition, for the purpose of convoying two ships, laden with masts, to the West Indies. On the third day after this appointment he made the signal for his charge to weigh. After touching at Barbadoes, Antigua, and Jamaica, the Cleopatra returned to Bermuda, where Commander Love, whose promotion to that rank was confirmed by the Admiralty on the 13th Feb. 1807, exchanged ships with Captain Robert Simpson, of the Driver; in which sloop we next find him cruising on the coast of South Carolina, in search of a piratical schooner.
The Driver, it should be observed, was in company with the Leander 50, Captain Henry Whitby, when that meritorious officer rendered himself so obnoxious to the American Government, by his activity and perseverance in detecting the deceits and frauds practised by sea-faring Jonathan, as to induce Mr. Jefferson, President of the United States, to issue an edict, by which the Leander and her consorts were for ever prohibited from receiving any aid or supplies. In consequence thereof, the following letter was addressed to Commander Love, on his anchoring in Charlestown harbour:
“Fort Johnson, 4 P.M. of May 2d, 1807.
“Sir,– The President of the United States of America having, by proclamation bearing date 3d May, 1806, for ever interdicted H.B.M. sloop of war Driver from entering any port or harbour of the United States, and the said vessel having entered this port, in contempt of the said proclamation, my duty compels me to demand that the Driver sloop of war do depart from this harbour within twenty-four hours from the date hereof. Need I add, Sir, how repugnant it would be to my feelings should ony blood be spilt, which must inevitably be the case if this communication be not complied with. Lieutenant Windlyun, of the artillery, is charged with the delivery of this: he will receive your reply.
(Signed)“Michael Kalteisen, Captain commanding.”
In answer to this, Commander Love wrote as follows:–
“H.M. S. Driver, Rebellion Harbour, Charlestown, May 3d, 1807.
“Sir,– I received your letter; but having some doubts as to the authority by which it was written, I thought proper to satisfy myself on that head before I should reply. By the threat it contains, you appear, like your Government, to have something to learn, * * * * * * * * *. However, as my proceeding to sea comes within the limit of my intentions, according to the orders I am under (which orders have for their view the advantage of the American flag, as well us the protection of the British), I shall do so whenever the pilot thinks proper. But I must observe, that the. difficulty I have experienced in obtaining a sufficient quantity of water, for the purpose I wish, obliges me to have recourse to such methods as are completely within my power, which I otherwise should not have thought of. In the mean time, it is necessary to inform you, that his Majesty’s ship under my command is at all times ready to resist, and punish, any insult that may be offered to the flag she has the honor to bear, to the last drop of blood that shall remain of the dutiful and loyal subjects of a beloved Sovereign, and an exalted country.
On the 12th June, 1807, Commander Love fell in with the pirate he was in search of, and succeeded in decoying him under the Driver’s lee-bow; the following is a copy of his official letter on this subject:–
“Sir,– By the capture of the Spanish packet Ranger, on the 20th of April last, I obtained information of a schooner having been purchased at Charlestown, and fitted as a privateer at St. Augustine, to intercept which vessel has occupied much of my attention; and I have great satisfaction in acquainting you that she was captured this day by H.M. ship under my command. She proves to be El Boladora, armed with one 6-pounder, and having on board twenty-five men, amongst whom are several Americans, commanded by Robert Ross, a man notorious on many occasions, but particularly at the massacre of the crew of the Esther, of Liverpool, off Charlestown. E1 Boladora had been at Norfolk, and sailed from thence on the 6th instant, in company with the British brig Ceres, James Nevin, master, bound to Liverpool, with logwood, which vessel she boarded, captured, and sent for St. Augustine, at 2 p.m. the same day, being at the time within eight miles of Cape Henry light-house; she had not made any other capture, but had committed various depredations on American vessels. I have the honor to be, &c.
“To the Hon. Vice-Admiral Berkeley.”
Respecting this capture, the following was addressed to Commander Love:–
“London, 25th July, 1807.
“Sir,– We have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 21st ultimo, and are very happy to observe that you have at length succeeded in capturing the privateer commanded by Robert Ross. We lost no time in stating the fact, and other particulars of the case, to the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty, and we have the pleasure to annex the copy of a letter from their lordships, by which you will observe that Ross is ordered to be sent to this country, to be dealt with according to justice.
“We are not aware that any reward has been offered for the capture of Ross, either in this country or in America: there may have been one in Charlestown, but certainly none here. We shall feel much pleasure in lending our aid to obtain for you some remuneration for the services you have done to both countries on this occasion. It will give us great satisfaction to lay a statement of your very persevering, and at length fortunate, exertions for the general good, before the merchants and others interested in the trade, as well as before the Committee of the Patriotic Fund, to whose notice we consider you to possess a considerable claim. We have the honor to be very respectfully, yours, &c.
(Signed)“Caldcleugh, Boyd, and Reid.”
Robert Ross was born in Scotland; but as that fact could not be proved on his examination, he escaped the punishment his monstrous crimes deserved.
In Oct. I8O7, the Driver sailed from Halifax, accompanied by the Mullet schooner and thirteen sail of merchantmen, bound to the West Indies. In crossing the Gulph Stream, the wind then blowing violently from N.W., she was struck by a most tremendous sea, which stove in the two foremost ports on the starboard side, and cleared her deck of boats, booms, &c. Whilst lying on her beam-ends, in the trough of the sea, it was proposed to cut away the lower masts; but this her commander would not assent to: instead thereof, the cables being still bent, a bower anchor was let go, by which, and cutting away the topmasts, a service voluntarily undertaken by Lieutenants Stanly and Sandford, the ship was brought nearly head to wind, and enabled to weather the storm. The Mullet was never afterwards heard of.
In Sept. 1809, Commander Love was appointed to the Tisiphone sloop, stationed off Lymington, to guard the Needles Passage; and on the 22d June, 1811, his tender captured le Hazard, French privateer. In April, 1813, he was superseded, the Admiralty having resolved that in future no officer should hold a stationary appointment upwards of three years. The following testimonials were granted to him by the successive commanders-in-chief at Portsmouth:
“Dec. 31st, 1810.
“Dear Love, – I have not heard a word about any ship being in preparation to take the place of the Tisiphone; and as I am bound to say you have conducted the business of your station with great propriety, I should certainly be very glad if you were to continue in it. If any change takes place, and an opportunity should offer for my saying a word in your favor, I will certainly avail myself of it. Believe me very sincerely yours.
“April 16th, 1813.
“Dear Sir,– * * * I shall always be ready to bear testimony to the propriety of your conduct in the station assigned to you when serving under my command. Believe me yours very faithfully,
Commander Love’s next appointment was, through the recommendation of Viscount Fitzharris, Governor of the Isle of Wight, to the Medina yacht, an establishment which had existed upwards of a century, but which was done away with in the year 1817. He obtained the out-pension of Greenwich Hospital in Feb. 1830.
This zealous officer married Harriet, youngest daughter of Gabriel Acworth, Esq. Purveyor of the Navy, nephew to Sir Jacob Acworth, Surveyor of the Navy, who was grandfather of the late Sir Jacob Wheate.
One of Commander Love’s sons, Henry Ommanney, is a commander[errata 1] in the royal navy. His eldest brother, Thomas, served as master’s-mate of the Berwick 74, Captain the Hon. Keith Stewart, in Keppel’s action with D’Orvilliers; and as master of the Alfred, Captain John Bazely, at the glorious battle of June 1st, 1794: he died at Great Marlow. His other brother, Richard, after acquiring the professional knowledge requisite to qualify him for receiving a lieutenant’s commission, accepted a command in the Russian marine; incurred the displeasure of Prince Potemkin, by whom he was imprisoned; suffered shipwreck on his return to England from the Black Sea; was subsequently invested with authority by the Grand Seignor and the Nabob of Arcot, and died at Joppa in command of a country vessel.
WILLIAM LOVE, Esq.
(See p. 362.)
On the 14th Dec. 1831, this most respectable officer addressed the following letter to the Lord Mayor of London:
“My Lord, – I beg to apologise for a trespass on your Lordship’s time, but I rely with confidence on your Lordship’s indulgence, when I state that my only object is that those who apply and exert their minds for the benefit of the public, should enjoy that creditable reward which is most justly their due, and which they are at all times sure of receiving from the chief magistrate of the city of London.
“Having just read in the Albion newspaper, of the 12th instant, a statement of a Mr. Steevens having presented to your Lordship a model of paddles to he used, instead of wheels, by steam-vessels, it becomes my duty, in justice to my son, Captain Henry Ommanney Love, of H.M.S. Columbine, now on the Jamaica station, to inform your Lordship, that I have every reason to believe, that the invention and application of paddles to steam-vessels rests entirely with him, and was submitted to persons of distinction, and in high official situations, as far back as Christmas last; and that a model was transmitted accordingly to a Lord of the Admiralty. I have the honor to be, &c.
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