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Royal Naval Biography/Mangles, James

Fellow of the Royal Society, and a Member of the London Geographical Society.

This officer served the whole of his time as midshipman, under Captain (now Vice-Admiral) Donnelly, in the Maidstone and Narcissus frigates, of which latter ship he was appointed an acting lieutenant, at the Cape of Good Hope, in 1806. He had previously distinguished himself at the attack of some French vessels lying in Hieres Bay[1]; and he also participated in the subsequent operations in the Rio de la Plata. On his return home, he was confirmed by commission appointing him to the Penelope frigate, Captain W. R. Broughton, dated Sept. 21th, 1806. In this ship, latterly commanded by Captain John Dick, he served on the Halifax station; and at the reduction of Martinique, by the forces under Sir Alexander Cochrane and Lieutenant General Beckwith, Feb. 1809[2].

Lieutenant Mangles’ next appointment was to the Boyne 08, fitting out for the flag of Sir Harry Neale, whom he followed from that ship into the Ville de Paris 110, and served under as flag-lieutenant until after the grand naval review, by the allied sovereigns, at Portsmouth, in 1814. He then joined the Duncan 74, bearing the flag of Sir John P. Beresford, and served as first lieutenant of that ship until appointed by Sir Manley Dixon, acting commander of the Racoon sloop, at Rio Janeiro, in the beginning of 1815. On his return to Plymouth, after escorting part of the Brazilian trade to Bristol, he was superseded ; but soon afterwards promoted to the rank he now holds, by commission dated June 13th, 1815. He subsequently travelled upwards of four years, in company with Commander (now Captain) the Hon. Charles Leonard Irby; and, in Aug. 1823, jointly with that officer, produced a most interesting work, entitled “Travels in Egypt and Nubia, Syria and Asia Minor, printed for private distribution[3].” This production, not now within our reach, it having been lent to a friend of the parties just before his demise, was thus handsomely spoken of in the London Literary Gazette, Nov. 1st, 1823.

“The work of these two gallant officers is alike honorable to their spirit and talents. Imbued with a laudable thirst for knowledge, and inspired with a love of science, when their own noble profession no longer claimed their exertions, they adventured forth in search of information in lands where it is most difficult of attainment. They found, as every one will find who engages in literary and scientific pursuits, increase of appetite grow with what it fed on; and during four years and a half they devoted themselves to travel and inquiry, principally in the interesting regions to an account of which these pages are addressed. They saw much, and examined into many curious matters; and they have told what they saw, and described what they examined, in a way which would do credit to professed writers, and thus produced a book altogether of a very entertaining and intelligent character.”