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Royal Naval Biography/Onslow, John James


JOHN JAMES ONSLOW, Esq.
[Captain of 1834.]


A younger son of the late Admiral Sir Richard Onslow, Bart., G.C.B., Lieutenant-General of Marines (who so highly distinguished himself as second in command of the British fleet under Duncan at the memorable battle off Camperdown, Oct. 11th, 1797), by Anne, daughter of Commodore Matthew Mitchell[1].

This officer was made lieutenant on the 5th Sept. 1816; promoted to the rank of commander on the 23d April, 1822; and appointed to the Clio sloop, fitting out for the South American station, April 30th, 1830. During the ensuing two years, he was actively employed round Cape Horn, and visited all the principal ports in Chili, Peru, Panama, and the western coast, as far as Guagmas, in the Gulph of California, said to be one of the finest harbours in the world. On his return from the Pacific, he was sent by Rear-Admiral Sir Thomas Baker to reclaim possession of the Falkland Islands, which lapse of time had encouraged the Buenos Ayreans and other foreigners to consider as absolutely abandoned by the British. In Dec. 1832, he arrived at Port Egmont (West Falkland), exercised the rights of sovereignty, and employed his boats in examining Brett’s Harbour, Byron’s Sound, and other anchorages as far to the westward as Point Bay, a distance of sixty miles from where the Clio lay. He then proceeded to Berkeley Sound (East Falkland), anchored at Port Louis, and ejected a Buenos Ayrean force stationed there under the protection of a schooner of war. He arrived at Portsmouth on the 3d June 1833, from Rio Janeiro, bringing home upwards of 880,000 dollars on merchants’ account; and was put out of commission on the 17th of the same month. His advancement to the rank of captain took place on the 27th Aug. 1834.



  1. For a portrait and biographical memoir of Admiral Sir Richard Onslow, see Nav. Chron. xiii. 249–259.