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Royal Naval Biography/Paulet, Henry

Vice-Admiral of the Blue, and Knight Commander of the most honorable Military Order of the Bath.

This officer is the youngest son of George, twelfth Marquis of Winchester, whose ancestor Hercules, lord of Tournon, in Picardy, came to England in the reign of Henry I. and settling in the lordship of Paulet, co. Hants, assumed the name of the place of his residence, as was universally the custom at that period.

We find no mention of Lord Henry Paulet prior to the commencement of hostilities against the French republic, when he commanded the Nautilus sloop, which vessel formed part of the squadron under Vice-Admiral Laforey, at the capture of the island of Tobago[1]. On the 9th Jan., 1794, he was promoted to the rank of Post-Captain, and in the same year commanded the Vengeance, of 74 guns, bearing the broad pendant of Commodore C. Thompson, at the reduction of Martinique[2].

Lord Henry’s next appointment appears to have been to the Astrea, of 32 guns and 212 men, stationed in the Channel. On the 10th April, 1795, his lordship captured, after a close action of 58 minutes, la Gloire, of 42 guns and 275 men, of whom 40, including the French Captain, were killed and wounded. The Astrea had only 8 men wounded. Soon after this event our officer removed into the Thalia, of 36 guns, attached to Lord Bridport’s fleet, and was present at the action off l’Orient, on the 23d June in the same year[3].

The Thalia remained on Channel service until Jan., 1797, when she accompanied the squadron under Rear-Admiral Parker, sent to reinforce Sir John Jervis, with whom a junction was happily effected on the 6th Feb., just eight days previous to the memorable encounter with the Spanish fleet, off Cape St. Vincent[4].

From this period until June 12th, 1798, Lord Henry Paulet was employed on the Mediterranean station, where he captured l’Espoir corvette, of 16 guns, and several French and Spanish privateers, he was subsequently appointed to the Defence, of 74 guns, in which ship he continued, serving successively with the Channel fleet, in the Baltic, and on the coast of Spain, until the peace of Amiens, in 1801.

On the renewal of the war, his lordship obtained the command of the Terrible, of 74 guns, employed in the blockade of the enemy’s ports. At the general promotion, Aug. 1st, 1811, he was nominated a Colonel of Royal Marines; and on the 12th Aug. in the following year, advanced to the rank of Rear-Admiral. In the spring of 1813, he was called upon to take a seat at the Admiralty, which he was obliged to resign through ill health in 1816.

At the extension of the most honourable Order of the Bath into three classes, Jan. 2, 1815, the insignia of a Knight Commander was conferred upon Lord Henry Paulet, and on the 12th August, 1819, he became a Vice-Admiral.

His lordship married, Oct. 27, 1813, Maria, youngest daughter of E. Ravenscroft, of Portland Place, Esq.

Residence.– West Hill Lodge, Titchfield, Hants.

  1. Sir John Laforey, in conjunction with Major-General Cuyler, took the island of Tobago on the 15th April, 1793. The French commandant having refused to surrender, the works were stormed and carried, against a strong resistance, with some loss.
  2. See p. 19.
  3. See p. 246.
  4. See p. 21, et seq.