Royal Naval Biography/Lowe, Abraham


ABRAHAM LOWE, Esq.
[Post-Captain of 1814.]

Was born in the county of Kent, in July, 1771. He entered the navy under the auspices of the late Sir Erasmus Gower, and served his time, as midshipman and master’s-mate, in the London 98, Edgar 74, and Lion 64; which latter ship, it will be remembered, was attached to Lord Macartney’s embassy, between Sept. 1792 and Sept. 1794.[1] During part of the time that she was in the China Seas, Mr. Lowe was entrusted with the charge of the Jackall tender. His first commission bears date Nov. 24, 1794, at which period he was appointed to the Triumph, a third rate, commanded by his early patron.

The Triumph formed part of the small squadron under Vice-Admiral Cornwallis, when that officer made his masterly retreat in June 1795[2]: and her behaviour on that trying occasion was thus noticed by the gallant chief:–

“The Mars and Triumph, being the sternmost ships, were, of course, most exposed to the enemy’s fire. The Triumph has shifted and repaired some of her sails; but any damage she has received is so trifling, at least in her captain’s eye, that Sir Erasmus Gower has not thought it worth reporting; indeed, the cool and firm conduct of that ship was such, that it appeared to me the enemy dared not come near her.”

Lieutenant Lowe’s subsequent appointments were, in June 1797, to the Diamond 38, Captain Sir Richard J. Strachan; in Jan. following, to the Neptune 98, Sir Erasmus Gower; and, in Aug. 1800, to be first of the Thames 32, Captain William Lukin, under whom he assisted at the capture of the following armed vessels:–

Le Diable à Quatre, French ship privateer, of 16 guns and 150 men, Oct. 26, 1800; a letter of marque, name unknown, laden with coffee, on the 29th of the same month; l’Actif, brig privateer, of 16 guns and 137 men, 30th ditto; and l’Aurore, national corvette, of 16 guns, Jan. 18, 1801.

The Thames was with Sir James Saumarez when that officer sailed from Gibraltar to engage the combined squadrons under Mons. Linois, July 12, 1801[3]; and her captain[4], officers, and crew received great praise for their subsequent exertions in extricating the Venerable 74, from her perilous situation on the shoals of Conil[5].

We next find Lieutenant Lowe serving under Sir Erasmus Gower, in the Princess Royal 98, which ship was paid off in Feb. 1802. From that period he does not appear to have been again employed until Jan. 1804, when he obtained the command of the Conflict gun brig, but soon left her to join the Isis 50, fitting for the flag of Sir Erasmus, as Commander-in-chief at Newfoundland.

Early in 1806, the subject of this sketch succeeded Lieutenant Hickey as first of the Isis; and about the same period his patron honored him with a commission as Magistrate and Surrogate for the island, which he continued to hold until the arrival of the new Governor, Vice-Admiral Holloway, in April, 1807.

Shortly after his return borne. Lieutenant Lowe was appointed to the Prince of Wales 98, bearing the flag of Admiral Gambier, in which ship he served, as first, during the bombardment of Copenhagen. On the surrender of the Danish navy, he was promoted by that officer to the command of the Curlew sloop, and his commission appears to have been confirmed by the Admiralty, Oct. 13, 1807.

From this period we lose sight of Captain Lowe until the summer of 1809; when, being on half-pay, he volunteered his services in the expedition against Walcheren, and commanded a division of the light flotilla at the bombardment of Camvere, on which occasion, says Sir Richard J. Strachan, “the fire of the gun-boats was exceedingly well-directed, and did much damage to the town; the officers and crews engaged in that service had a great claim to my admiration for their conduct: three of our gun-boats were sunk.”

After the surrender of Camvere and the reduction of the fort of Rammekens, Captain Lowe was employed in cutting off the communication between Flushing and Cadsand: he subsequently proceeded up the West Scheldt, and assisted Sir Home Popham in sounding and buoying the channels of that river, to enable the line-of-battle ships and frigates to advance, for the purpose of putting into execution the ulterior objects of the expedition. This service was performed “with judgment and correctness.”

While employed in the Scheldt, Captain Lowe was appointed by Rear-Admiral W. A. Otway to the command of the Sabrina sloop; and on his return to England, in Jan. 1810, he was removed from her to the Diligence of 16 guns, in which vessel he served on the Baltic station, under the orders of Sir James Saumarez, until March 1812. He there captured three or four Danish privateers, and was engaged in every species of service incidental to naval warfare, except that of getting alongside of an enemy of either equal or superior force; and this, as already stated at p. 291, the station afforded no chance of.

Captain Lowe’s next appointment was, Aug. 12, 1812, to the Jalouse 18, in which sloop he served on the Irish and Jamaica stations, under Sir Edward Thornbrough and the late Rear-Admiral William Brown, until promoted to post rank, June 7, 1814. In the early part of 1815, we find him commanding the Larne 20, and cruising off the Western Islands in company with the Chatham and Bombay 74s. He was re-appointed to that ship Aug. 29, 1815, and finally put out of commission Jan. 19, 1819.

This officer married, in 1802, the daughter of R. Rogers, of Beaulieu, near Southampton, Esq. He has two sons, both of whom were educated at the Royal Naval College, and are now lieutenants.

Agent.– J. Hinxman, Esq.