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Royal Naval Biography/Paget, Charles


HON. SIR CHARLES PAGET, Knt.

Rear-admiral of the Blue; a Knight of the Royal Hanoverian Guelphic Order; a Groom of His Majesty’s Bedchamber; and Member of Parliament for Carnarvon.

This officer, the fifth son of Henry, the late Earl of Uxbridge, by Jane, eldest daughter of Arthur Champagné, Dean of Clonmacnoise, and a brother of the present Marquis of Anglesey, was born Oct. 7, 1778; entered the naval service at an early age, and commanded the Martin sloop of war, attached to Admiral Duncan’s fleet, in the memorable battle off Camperdown, Oct. 11, 1797[1]. He was advanced to the rank of Post-Captain on the 17th of the same month; and in the following year appointed to the Brilliant, a small frigate, in which he captured le Dragon, of 14 guns, laden with cocoa, cotton, coffee, and indigo, from Guadaloupe bound to l’Orient; and the St. Iago, a Spanish privateer of 10 guns and 60 men. The Brilliant formed part of the armament sent against Ferrol, under the orders of Sir John B. Warren, in the autumn of 1800[2]. On the 20th March following, she experienced a very heavy gale of wind in the Channel, during which she strained so much as to render it necessary for 14 of her guns to be thrown overboard. She arrived at Plymouth in a very leaky state, on the 6th April, 1801. Some time previous to the gale, Captain Paget had been chased by a French squadron commanded by M. Nielly, but fortunately escaped under cover of the night.

His next appointment was to the Hydra, of 38 guns, in which ship he proceeded to the Mediterranean, where he remained about twelve months. On the 6th April, 1803, he commissioned the Endymion, a frigate of the largest class; and in the course of the ensuing summer, captured la Bacchante, a French corvette, of 18 guns, pierced for 22, and 200 men, from St. Domingo bound to Brest; l’Adour store-ship, pierced for 20 guns, from Martinique to Rochefort; and le General Moreau, schooner privateer, of 16 guns and 85 men. The former vessel persisted in her endeavours to escape till she had sustained a loss of 8 men (including her second Captain) killed and 9 wounded by the Endymion’s bow-chasers.

Captain Paget subsequently intercepted several richly-laden Spanish merchantmen coming from South America; but is said to have realized nearly 50,000l. less than he otherwise would have done, in consequence of an agreement he had entered into with Captain Thomas Elphinstone, of the Diamond, that they should share with each other whatever prizes were made during their continuance on the same station; an engagement which Captain Paget most strictly fulfilled. The Endymion also captured la Colombe, French corvette, of 16 guns, off Ushant, June 18, 1805.

In the night of March 8, 1806, the boats of the Egyptienne, into which ship Captain Paget had recently removed, made a most gallant attack upon l’Alcide, a large French privateer, frigate built, and pierced for 34 guns, which they succeeded in cutting out from under the protection of two batteries in Muros harbour. This exploit was performed under the directions of Captain Handfield, late first Lieutenant of the Egyptienne, who was serving as a volunteer on board her, in consequence of his promotion not having been officially communicated to him.

From this period we lose sight of Captain Paget till the summer of 1808, when he obtained the command of the Revenge, of 74 guns. In 1810 he was employed in the blockade of Cherbourgh; and whilst on that service, captured le Vengeur, a French lugger, of 16 guns and 78 men. He was subsequently appointed to the Superb, another third rate, belong ing to the Channel fleet; and during a cruise in the Bay of Biscay, he took several prizes; among others the Star, an American brig, of 6 guns and 35 men, and Viper letter of marque, of the same force. In 1814, we find him employed on the coast of North America, under the orders of Sir Alexander Cochrane, by whom he was entrusted with the command of a squadron stationed off New London; and during his continuance there, he appears by his zeal and activity to have given the enemy great annoyance, particularly in an attack upon Wareham, at which place upwards of 2,500 tons of shipping, together with a valuable cotton mill belonging to a company of merchants at Boston, were destroyed by the boats of the Superb and Nimrod, under the directions of his first Lieutenant, the present Captain James Garland, in the face of a numerous militia, and without the loss of a man.

Captain Paget was appointed to the command of the Prince Regent yacht, Jan. 1, 1819, and afterwards to the Royal George. It is almost superfluous to add, that since that period he has attended the King in all his marine excursions – a convincing proof of the estimation in which his professional abilities are held by his royal master, from whom he received the honor of knighthood at the Pavilion, Brighton, Oct. 19, 1819, on the occasion of his being nominated a K.H.G.

Sir Charles succeeded his brother, Lieutenant-General Sir Edward Paget, as a Groom of his Majesty’s Bedchamber, Jan. 30, 1822; hoisted the superior broad pendant of a Commodore on board the last named yacht, on the 26th July following; and was advanced to the rank of Rear-Admiral, April 9, 1823. He was first returned to Parliament as Member for Milbourne Port, in 1804; and has represented the borough of Carnarvon ever since 1806.

He married, in March 1805, Elizabeth Araminta, second daughter of Henry (and Lady Elizabeth) Monck, Esq. by whom he has a large family.

Residence.– Fair Oak Lodge, near Rogate, Sussex.