Open main menu

Royal Naval Biography/Pechell, Samuel John Brooke


SIR SAMUEL JOHN BROOKE-PECHELL, Bart.
A Companion of the Most Honorable Military Order of the Bath.
[Post-Captain of 1808.]

The Pechells were, for a series of generations, established at Montauban, in the province of Languedoc. Their ancestor, Jean Horace Pechel, appears to have been appointed Conseiller à la Chambre de l’Edit, and Maitre des Requestes ordinaires du Roi en son Hotel, by a patent, still extant dated July 6, 1579, and signed by Henri IV.

Samuel, great grandson of Jean Horace Pechel, found an asylum in Ireland, after the revocation of the edict of Nantz, and obtained a pension from King William, together with a commission in the regiment commanded by Marshal Schomberg[1].

The subject of this memoir is the eldest surviving son of the late Major-General Sir Thomas Brooke-Pechell, Bart., M.P. for Downton, in Wiltshire, and a Gentleman of the Privy Chamber to her late Majesty, Queen Charlotte (great grandson of Mons. Samuel Pechel); by Charlotte, second daughter of Lieutenant-General Sir John Clavering, K.B., Commander-in-chief in India[2]; mid grand-daughter of John, first Earl of Delawarr[3].

Mr. Samuel John Pechell was born Sept. 1, 1785. He entered the royal navy under the protection of his maternal uncle, the late gallant and worthy Admiral Sir John Borlase Warren, Bart. G.C.B.[4], with whom he served in la Pomone frigate, from July 19, 1790, till Aug. 1797; at which latter period he was removed to the Phoebe 44, commanded by Captain (now Sir Robert) Barlow, whom he afterwards accompanied into the Triumph 74, and continued with until appointed a Lieutenant of the Active frigate, Feb. 28, 1803. This appointment was confirmed by the Admiralty, on the first of April following.

Whilst in la Pomone, Mr. Pechell saw much active service on the enemy’s coast; and in the Phoebe he assisted at the capture of two French frigates (la Nereide and l’Africaine), one large corvette, three privateers, and a letter of marque; carrying altogether 170 guns and 1780 men[5].

In 1800, Lieutenant Pechell left the Active to join his uncle’s flag-ship, the Foudroyant 80, in which he was present at the capture of Rear-Admiral Linois, an event noticed at p. 130 of our first volume. His advancement to the rank of Commander took place about Mar. 1807, and on that occasion he was appointed to the Ferret sloop of war, on the Jamaica station. From thence he proceeded to Halifax, where he was promoted by Sir J. B. Warren into the Cleopatra frigate, mounting 26 long 12-pounders, 2 nines, and 10 twenty-four-pounder carronades, with a complement of 202 men.

Captain Pechell’s post commission bears date June 16, 1808. We next find him employed blockading Basse Terre, Guadaloupe; and, on the 23d Jan. 1809, displaying very great gallantry in an action with a French frigate of the largest class, which had anchored under the protection of a battery to the southward of Point Noire, where she was secured with springs on her cable, and hawsers made fast to the shore.

The action commenced within half-musket shot, and continued for 40 minutes before the Cleopatra’s consorts (the Jason frigate, and Hazard sloop) could arrive to her assistance, when the enemy immediately surrendered, and proved to be the Topaze of 48 guns (long 18-pounders on the main-deck) and 330 men; having on board 1100 barrels of flour, and 100 troops originally intended as a reinforcement for the garrison of Cayenne.

The loss sustained by the Cleopatra was only 2 killed and 1 wounded, whereas the Topaze had 12 slain and 14 wounded. Many Frenchmen likewise lost their lives after the action, one-third of them having jumped overboard the moment her colours were hauled down; but the exact number that perished when attempting to reach the shore could not be ascertained. The following is an extract of Sir Alexander Cochrane’s official letter to the Admiralty, reporting the capture of that frigate:

“Captain Pechell placed his ship in a situation to attack with advantage and in such a manner as did credit to his intrepidity and judgment; it evinced also the high state of discipline and steadiness of his crew.”

In addition to this public testimony. Sir Alexander Cochrane offered Captain Pechell the command of the prize, as a token of his approbation; saying to him at the same time, “As you have won her, you shall wear her.” The high opinion entertained by the Admiralty of the Cleopatra’s action was marked by the subsequent promotion of her first Lieutenant, Mr. William Simpson.

A few days after this exploit, Captain Pechell, although still belonging to the Halifax squadron, joined the expedition then proceeding against Martinique, during the siege of which island he again distinguished himself by working into Fort Royal bay, previous to the surrender of Pigeon island; thereby cutting off the retreat of the enemy, and compelling them to destroy all the shipping at that anchorage; among which was the Amphitrite, another frigate of the largest class[6].

His next appointment was about Oct. 1810, to the Guerriere of 48 guns, on the Halifax station; from which ship he returned to the Cleopatra, in July 1811 . He was subsequently employed off Cherbourgh, in the North Sea, and at Gibraltar. During his continuance on the latter station, he made an exact survey of the harbour of Ceuta, and drew up a plan of the fortifications, together with remarks on the navigation of the Gut.

In Dec. 1812, Captain Pechell was appointed to the St. Domingo 74, then bearing the flag of his uncle, on the North American station. A brilliant exploit performed by the boats of that ship and her consorts, in the Rappahannock river, April 3, 1813, is thus described by his first Lieutenant, who had followed him from the Cleopatra:

“Sir,– In pursuance of orders to proceed with the boats of the squadron you did me the honor to place under my command, and attack the enemy’s vessels at the mouth of the Rappahannock, I have to inform you, that, after rowing 15 miles, I found they were four armed schooners drawn up in a line a-head, apparently determined to give us a warm reception. Notwithstanding their formidable appearance, and the advantage they would necessarily derive from mutual support, I determined to attack them; the issue of which is such as might have been expected from the brave men you allowed me the honor to command, viz.

“The Arab, of 7 guns and 46 men, run on shore and hoarded by two boats of the Marlborough, under Lieutenants (George C.) Urmston and (James) Scott.

“Lynx, 6 guns and 40 men, hauled her colours down on my going alongside in the St. Domingo’s pinnace.

“Racer, 6 guns and 36 men, boarded and carried, after a sharp resistance, by the St. Domingo’s pinnace.

“Dolphin, 12 guns and 98 men. The guns of the Racer were turned upon her, and she was then gallantly boarded by Lieutenant Bishop, in the Statira’s large cutter, and Lieutenant (Matthew) Liddon, in the Maidstone’s launch.

“It would be an act of injustice to all those officers and men, were I not to bear testimony to their gallant and intrepid conduct; it was such as to merit the highest encomium. I herewith enclose a list of the killed and wounded[7], and have the honor to be, &c.

(Signed)James Polkinghorne.”

The Right Hon. Sir John B. Warren,
Bart. K.B. &c. &c.

The prizes were very fine vessels, and of large dimensions for schooners, each measuring from 200 to 225 tons. The Racer and Lynx, under the names of Shelburne and Musquedobit, wero afterwards 14-gun schooners in the British service. It is almost needless to say that Captain Pechell’s first Lieutenant was subsequently made a Commander for his very dashing conduct.

In the same year we find Captain Pechell very actively employed under the immediate orders of Rear-Admiral Cockburn, particularly at the attack on Craney Island, and the destruction of the enemy’s camp at Hampton; on which latter occasion he commanded the boats and tenders detached to cover the landing of the troops under Sir Sydney Beckwith[8]. The St. Domingo returned to England in June 1814.

Captain Pechell was nominated a C.B., June 4, 1815, as a reward for his meritorious services; and appointed to the Sybille frigate, fitting for the Mediterranean, July 1, 1823. In Oct. following he proceeded thither, and was most actively employed in the suppression of piracy, and protecting the Ionian islands, for a period of three years, during which his boats were frequently in action. The following are copies of his official letters to Vice-Admiral Sir Harry Neale, Bart., G.C.B., reporting the capture and destruction of several daring marauders:

H.M.S. Sybille, Gulf of Napoli de Romania, 5 Oct. 1824.

“Sir,– I have the honor to inform you, that I received directions from their lordships to seize and detain all armed vessels sailing under the Greek flag, and to conform myself in all particulars relative to the naval service contained in the enclosed despatch from Earl Bathurst to the Lord High Commissioner.

“His Excellency was of opinion, that in consequence of the recall of the proclamation of the 27th May, by the provisional government of Greece, extremities might yet be avoided, and requested me first to be the bearer of a letter, in which he pointed out the necessity of making reparation on the points contained therein; and having delivered his Excellency’s letter, together with one from myself recapitulating the points upon which they had the alternative of making reparation to his Majesty, or of the seizure and detention of all armed vessels under the Greek flag, and finding my efforts were of no avail, I directed Lieutenant (Edward) Gordon to proceed with the boats of this ship, and capture the armed schooners which were then moored under the batteries of that fortress; and when I consider the strength of this important place, and the state of preparation it is constantly kept in, being the seat of the provisional government of Greece, and the reef of rocks behind which these vessels were lying, protected and flanked by numerous batteries on the line walls and the island, which were all manned, too much praise cannot be given to Lieutenant Gordon, and those under his command, for the very prompt and decided manner, by which he succeeded in boarding the three schooners named in the margin[9], and bringing them out under the guns of the Sybille; and I therefore trust you will recommend Lieutenant Gordon to the favorable consideration of their lordships. The schooners were full of armed men; but I am happy to say, that owing to the judicious arrangements made by Lieutenant Gordon, no accident occurred on our side, though many lives were lost on the other; the schooners are now on their way to Zante, for the disposal of his Excellency the Lord High Commissioner, and I shall return to Corfu to land the prisoners.”

H.M.S. Sybille, Catacolo, west const of Morea, 9 Oct. 1825.

“Sir,– I have the honor to inform you, that upon receiving intelligence from the resident of H.E. the Lord High Commissioner, at Zante, that a pirate mistico under Greek colours had been committing depredations upon Ionian vessels, and had captured two, one of which was rescued by the crew and brought to that place, I proceeded in H.M. ship under my command, with the Medina, in quest of her, and found her at anchor with her prize in the cove of Catacolo. I immediately anchored the Sybille in such a position as would afford protection to the boats, and directed Captain (Timothy) Curtis, in the Medina, to anchor so as to prevent the possibility of her escape into either of the rivers; the boats of the two ships then advanced to attack her, but found her moored in such a position as to prevent their approach except by a very circuitous, narrow, and intricate channel; and as the hills which surrounded and commanded the cove were covered with armed men, I hesitated for some time before could make up my mind to allow their going on: but nothing could resist the gallantry and order with which the boats approached and boarded her; and such was the rapidity with which this service was executed, that notwithstanding the formidable position of these desperate men, we have been fortunate in not sustaining any loss; but from the confusion which ensued I should imagine they must have suffered greatly, as only one of her crew was afterwards forthcoming.

“I had upon a former occasion to report to you the gallantry with which Lieutenant Gordon captured the three Greek schooners at Napoli de Romania, and his subsequent conduct enables me to repeat all I then said of him: the judgement he shewed, and the celerity with which he boarded and carried this vessel, were such as to excite universal admiration: he speaks in the highest terms of the support he received from Mr. James Inglis, Admiralty Mate, in the launch (who has served nearly 16 years), as well as of all the officers and men under his command.

“The capture of this vessel is a source of infinite gratification to me, as she had hitherto eluded all our endeavours to catch her, belonging chiefly to persons upon the coast, who having in these times no means of subsisting, club together for the equipment of vessels of this description, and live by the plunder they obtain, always ready to afford each other protection; and as the coast is so difficult of access, particularly the entrance of rivers in which these vessels are harboured, it is quite impossible to get at them without landing an armed force in the midst of a hostile population, united in their mutual defence. I have given up the Ionian vessel, her prize, to the civil authorities at Zante, and have sent the mistico to Corfu.”

H.M.S. Sybille, off Gozo di Candia, 19 June, 1826.

“I have the honor to inform you, that I proceeded to Alexandria, in pursuance of your directions, where I learnt from Mr. Salt, H.M. consul general, that a most atrocious piracy had been committed off the island of Gozo di Candia, upon two brigs bound to Alexandria, one a Maltese, the other a Sardinian, the cargoes of which belonged to British merchants: there were also circumstances attending this piracy of such enormity, that I conceived no time should be lost in proceeding to that place, although the sloop you intended to send had not joined me.

“I arrived off Gozo on the 17th inst., and ascertained that the misticoes were no longer there, or any armed vessel, but we saw two or three caicques hauled up on the beach, which I thought should be destroyed, as there was too much reason to believe the inhabitants had largely participated in the piracy. The boats were sent from the ship under the command of Lieutenant Gordon with orders to burn them; but the wind became so strong as to prevent the possibility of their pulling to windward, and I did not consider the destruction of those unarmed vessels of sufficient consequence to risk the safety of the ship, as a very extensive reef runs off the N.W. point upon which they were hauled up: I therefore recalled the boats.

“It however occured to me that as Gozo possessed no harbour capable of concealing the pirates, it was probable they had availed themselves of some inlet on the coast of Candia in that neighbourhood, which determined me to run close along shore in the day time and examine it; accordingly, the following morning (rounding Cape Metalla) two misticoes were observed under sail standing towards us; we hauled up in chase, when one of them ran behind a point, which proved to be an island; the other, finding she could not gain the anchorage without risk of capture, bore up and run to leeward.

As we approached I made out at least two hundred armed persons on the island where I supposed was a populous village, but ascertained from the mate of a Greek schooner which came out, that the armed persons we saw were the crews of four misticoes, who were committing depredations upon the Turkish villages on the coast of Candia, and were not provided with commissions from the Greek government: he described their position as too strong to be attacked with boats unsupported by the ship, and their determination to defend the vessels to the last extremity; considering therefore how important it was to destroy such an organized band of pirates, who professedly subsisted by plunder, I sent the master, with the first lieutenant, in the barge, to sound and ascertain if it was possible for me to place the ship so as to attack them; and by his report I found there was sufficient depth of water, though not room to swing in the event of a change of wind, or to get out again without warping; but as the weather was particularly fine, and the breeze along shore, I conceived something might be done by risking a little; and feeling anxious to put a stop to their piratical depredations upon our merchant vessels, and that I could not with propriety leave them in quiet possession of such a port, where it would be impossible to watch or blockade them, I decided upon taking the ship in, and she was rounded to inside the eastern point of the island, and to windward of the round rock which lies a cable’s length from it, the anchor let go in 16 fathoms, with a spring on the cable. It was hardly down when we observed that one of the misticoes intended to escape by the weather channel; and Lieutenant Gordon in the barge gallantly dashed forward to board her, followed by Lieutenant (Elisha William) Tupper in the launch, and Mr. John Pyne (Admiralty Mate) in the yawl, supported by the two cutters and jolly boat, commanded by Messrs. Forbes, Knox[10], and Hamilton, (Midshipmen,) Lieutenant Brown, R.M., was in one of the former, on his way from the Greek schooner which he had had charge of, to join Lieutenant Gordon in the barge: the mistico could not contend against such determined gallantry, and Lieutenant Gordon succeeded in boarding, and carried her, in the execution of which he received three very severe wounds; but so destructive was the fire from behind the stone walls which the pirates had thrown up for their protection, that only one man in the barge escaped, so that it was quite impossible to keep possession of her. Lieutenant Tupper was also very severely wounded[11] at the same time, and the boats suffered so materially as to oblige them to retreat under cover of our guns, which kept up a heavy and well-directed fire on the island and misticoes. Having dislodged a strong party of the pirates who had taken a position behind the rocks and stone breast-works on the island, from whence for a little time they kept up a brisk fire of musketry upon the ship, having also sunk two of the misticoes, and effectually crippled and disabled the others in their masts and yards (their hulls being protected by a projecting rocky point), and perceiving that the effect of our fire had been so destructive to the pirates, whose dead bodies aud muskets were every where strewed among the rocks, I conceived that nothing more could be done; we therefore weighed and made sail, having previously saved a marine (who had been left in the abandoned mistico) by means of the Greek schooner’s boat, which I had detained on board during the action.

“I regret that in the execution of this service our loss has been so severe; but the discovery and destruction of these freebooters, who appear (from the strong works they had thrown up) to have been long established upon the island, has for some time at least made the navigation of this part of the Mediterranean safe; and though I lament the loss of so many brave men, I should not have felt that I had done my duty if an attempt had not been made to destroy them.

“It is utterly impossible to express my admiration of the gallantry and determined bravery evinced by Lieutenant Gordon and the officers and men placed under his command; and as I have upon two other occasions where that officer has rendered important services to his country, recommended him to your protection, I trust that his conduct upon this, as well as the severe wounds he has received, will induce their Lordships to consider him deserving of promotion; as also Mr. John Pyne, Admiralty Mate, who commanded the yawl, and has passed nine years. I subjoin a list of killed and wounded[12], and a copy of the depositions I received from the consul-general at Alexandria. I am. Sir, your obedient servant,

(Signed)S. J. Pechell.”

To Sir Harry Neale, Bart. G.C.B. &c. &c.


We should here observe, that in consequence of Captain Pechell’s former recommendation, Lieutenant Gordon was promoted by the Admiralty fifteen days previous to the sanguinary affair at Candia, on which occasion he appears to have been most desperately wounded, two balls having passed through, and a third lodged in his body.

The Sybille subsequently visited Rhodes, the S.W. part of the coast of Caramania, Cyprus, Alexandria, and the coast of Syria; after which she returned along the southern part of the Archipelago to Malta. Whilst on the Mediterranean station, Captain Pechell received several highly gratifying letters, of which the following are copies:

Revenge, Naples, 5th Nov. 1824.

“Sir,– I have received by the Otranto mail the duplicates of your despatches informing me of the Lord High Commissioner having requested you to abstain from farther hostilities against the Greek flag, in consequence of his having obtained from the Greek government the satisfaction which was demanded on the three subjects of complaint specifically stated in the instructions from Lord Bathurst, of which you received a copy.

“I congratulate you on a result which is to be attributed to your judicious exertions.

“I am also sensible of the gallant conduct of Lieutenant Gordon, and the officers and men employed in the capture of the three schooners; and I have recommended Lieutenant Gordon in a particular manner to the notice of the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty. I am, &c.

(Signed)H. Neale, Vice-Admiral.”

To Captain Pechell, C.B.

Revenge, Malta, 3d March, 1825.

“Sir,– I have great pleasure in communicating to you a copy of a letter which I have received from the Secretary of the Admiralty, enclosing a copy of one from Mr. Wilmot Horton, expressive of the sense entertained by Earl Bathurst of the judgment, firmness, and promptitude with which you discharged the delicate and important duties entrusted to you in the late discussions with the Greek Government; the Secretary of the Admiralty expressing, at the same time, their Lordships’ concurrence in the sentiments of Earl Bathurst. I am, &c.

(Signed)H. Neale, Vice-Admiral.”

To Captain Pechell, C.B., Sybille.

Admiralty-Office, 8th January, 1825.

“Sir,– Having laid before my Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty a letter from Mr. Wilmot Horton, expressing the sense which Earl Bathurst entertains of the judgment, firmness, and promptitude with which Captain Pechell, of his Majesty’s ship Sybille, has discharged ,the delicate atul important duty confided to him in regard to the late discussions with the Greek government; I am commanded by my Lords to transmit to you a copy of the said letter; and I am, at the same time, to express their Lordships’ concurrence in the opinion of his Majesty’s Secretary of State. I am, &c.

(Signed)J. W. Croker.”

Vice-Admiral Sir Harry Neale, Bart. G.C.B.

Downing-Street, 31st Dec. 1824.

“Sir,– Having laid before the Earl Bathurst your letter of the 27th instant, enclosing copies of a despatch and its enclosures from Vice-Admiral Sir Harry Neale, containing an account of the adjustment of the points which were in discussion with the Greek government, and reporting the consequent release of the Greek vessels detained by his Majesty’s ship Sybille; I am directed by his Lordship to request that you will express to the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty the sense which his Lordship entertains of the judgment, firmness, and promptitude with which Captain Pechell has discharged the delicate and important duty confided to him. I have the honor to be, &c.

(Signed)R. W. Horton.”

J. W. Croker Esq.

Revenge, Malta, 3d Aug. 1826.

“Sir,– The Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty having ordered your immediate return to England, I shall no longer have the advantage of being seconded by your zealous and able services, which have on every occasion afforded me the utmost satisfaction, and I cannot help expressing my concern at your departure.

“It is also my wish to use the strongest terms in assuring you of the satisfaction with which I have observed the high state of discipline and remarkable efficiency of the Sybille, in all respects, but very particularly in that of the gunnery, to the perfecting of which your exertions have been so successfully applied.

“The state of the Sybille has, therefore, reflected great honor upon yourself and your officers and ship’s company, and has afforded an excellent example to the whole squadron. I am, &c.

(Signed)H. Neale, Vice-Admiral.”

To Captain Sir S. John Pechell, Bart., C.B.

On the demise of Sir T. Brooke Pechell, June 17, 1826, the subject of this memoir took the additional surname of Brooke, in conformity to the will of his grandmother, Mary, only daughter and heiress of Thomas Brooke, of Pagglesham, Co. Essex, Esq. Sir S. John Brooke-Pechell is the author of two very useful little pamphlets, entitled “Observations upon the Fitting of Guns on board his Majesty’s Ships;” from one of which we extract the following copy of a letter addressed to the commander-in-chief at Portsmouth, June 10, 1814:

“Sir,– Having witnessed the practice of the San Domingo’s crew at their guns, and their general dexterity at hitting marks, from the guidance and instructions so ably exhibited by Captain S. J. Pechell in his theoretical aud practical remarks (founded principally on those of Sir P. V. Broke), we are of opinion, that Captain Pechell’s plan of exercise, so as to resemble the roll of a ship by means of a spar in the muzzle of the gun, is excellent, by keeping a regular motion until the man aiming has the object exactly on; and with such accuracy were two shots fired by the captains of the guns from a 12-pounder on the after part of the quarter-deck, that a stave, the size of a spunge-head, fixed on a staff from the fore-rigging, was struck off both times. Captain Pechell has also great merit in having accomplished the depressing the guns and carronades, as much as the ports will admit, by means of chocks, described in this book. And also by ascertaining, with the greatest precision, the elevation and depression necessary; having the segment of a circle in front of the wheel with a plumb-line, each gun being previously laid by a spirit level, and having its scale of degrees.

“The sights fitted on the guns are as accurate as simple, and most convenient from being constructed so as to lay flat, and out of the way of the ropes when not actually in use. The disparting the carronades, as described in Captain Pechell’s plan (which is entirely his own) appears to be the only accurate method. Our zeal for the public service will, we are confident, sufficiently apologize for addressing you on this subject, and we have the honor to be, &c.

“Signed by E. J. Foote, Rear-Admiral of the White,
W. T. Lake, Capt. H.M.S. Magnificent,
John Halliday, Tigre,
B. W. Page, Puissant,
G. Fowke Price.”

To Admiral Sir R. Bickerton, Bart., &c. &c. &c.

On the 28th of the same month, Captain Pechell had the gratification of receiving a letter from Sir Richard Bickerton, worded as follows:

“Sir,– Having transmitted to the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty a letter addressed to me by Rear-Admiral Foote, and the Captains Lake, Halliday, Page, and Fowke, reporting their favorable opinion of the method adopted by you in training the crew of the St. Domingo at the exercise of the great guns, by means of which the seamen appear to have attained a very unusual degree of proficiency and dexterity in firing at a mark, their Lordships have been pleased to direct mc to express to you their approbation of your attention to this important object, and have, at the same time, transmitted to me for your information copies of reports from the Ordnance, to whom your plan was referred relative thereto. I am, &c.

(Signed)R. Bickerton.”

Captain Pechell, St Domingo.

The subjoined paragraph on the same important subject, is taken from the “Hampshire Telegraph.”

“In announcing the arrival of H.M.S. Sybille, Captain Sir S. John Pechell, Bart, from the Mediterranean, we have much satisfaction in alluding to the high state of perfection to which naval gunnery has been carried, both in that ship and in his Majesty’s ship Naiad, Capt. the Hon. R. C. Spencer, lately from the same station, between which two vessels there has always existed an honorable rivalry, highly creditable to the officers of both ships; and it is with great satisfaction we learn, that during the trials of skill which they have had together, under very competent judges, no artillery on shore could exceed their accuracy and precision. It must be gratifying to the lovers of our country and of our country’s bulwarks to know, that in these ‘piping times of peace,’ zealous and scientific officers are found, who, during a short period of command, and with scarcely the possibility of ever bringing their superior gunnery into play against an enemy, or of its ever being known beyond the limits of their ships, spare no pains nor exertions to excel in a department of such vital importance, which has hitherto been much neglected, and which still appears to many in command, not worth the trouble, if it could be attained, during a triennial service. Probably we may be permitted to recommend young officers to make themselves familiar with the detail of discipline and internal economy, as well as gunnery, of these two well-organized ships, which we can safely say, from every thing that has come to our knowledge, have never been exceeded in the best periods of our naval annals; and this too has been attained by a system of leniency and indulgence to the men, which is usually considered incompatible with the high condition in which those best acquainted with their order allow them to excel.”

Previous to the Sybille being paid off, in Nov. 1826, she was inspected by Sir George Martin, then commander-in-chief at Portsmouth, attended by several officers; and her men were practised at firing with shot, at a target placed 350 yards from the ship, of the size of 8 feet by 6 feet; when, of 28 long guns, 7 shot went through the mark, and of 19 carronades, 6 of them struck; all the other shot were quite close, and must have hit the hull of a ship. The elevation of the long guns was one degree, and of the carronades 1¼ degrees. We mention this in proof of the perfection in naval gunnery which the crew of the Sybille had attained by the system of training adopted by their skilful captain.

Captain George Richard Pechell, brother to the subject of this memoir, obtained post rank in Dec. 1822.

Agent.– Sir Francis M. Ommanney.



  1. A detail of the sufferings endured by Mons. Peclhel, previous to his reaching Ireland, will be found in l’Histoire de la Revocation de l’Edict de Nantes
  2. Sir Clavering, K.B., was sent out to India during the government of Mr. Warren Hastings. He died at Calcutta.
  3. In 1609, Thomas West, Lord Delawarr, was constituted Captain-General of all the colonies then planted or about to be established in Virginia, which province, at that period, contained a much larger tract of country than at present. He went thither the same year, and soon after laid the foundation of Charlestown. His lordship afterwards published “A short relation touching his unexpected return home,” which is still to be found in the British Museum.

    John West, second Earl Delawarr, a Lieutenant-General in the army, and sometime Master of the Horse to Queen Charlotte, when about to quit the royal household, wrote a poetical farewell to the maids of honor, of which the following is the first stanza:

    “Ye maids, who Britain’s court bedeck,
    “Miss Wrottesley, Tyron, Beauclerc, Keck,
    “Miss Meadows and Boscawen|
    “A dismal tale I have to tell,
    “This is to bid you all farewell,–
    “Farewell, for I am going.”

    N.B. The river Delaware, in North America, derives its appellation from the above Thomas, Lord Delawarr, who fell a martyr to his noble undertakings.

  4. The important services rendered to his country by Sir John B.Warren, are too well known to require repetition. He possessed the sincerity of a seaman, without any of the roughness of the old school; and dislayed the elegance of a man of fashion, without dissipation or duplicity. To strangers he had sometimes the appearance of a distant reserve; to his friends his manner was open and impressive. He felt the honest ambition that impels the brave, without the parade or boast of vanity: he commanded without asperity; and gained obedience and respect, without the appearance of terror: his courage proceeded from an improved mind, and was consequently uniform; his principles were founded on the basis of Christian faith, and were therefore stedfast. He died, whilst on a visit to Sir Richard G. Keats, at the Royal Hospital, Greenwich, Feb. 27, 1822. A memoir of this excellent offcer appeared in the “Annual Biography and Obituary for 1823.”
  5. See Vol. II. Part I. p. 46 et seq.
  6. A description of Pigeon island will be found in Vol I. p 710.
  7. 2 killed and 11 wounded: the enemy had 5 slain and 11 wounded, one of whom mortally.
  8. See Vol. I. p. 524.
  9. Polyxenes of 8 guns, pierced for 12, with a crew of 69 men; San Nicolo, 10 guns, pierced for 14, and 73 men; and Bella Poula, of 8 guns and 37 men.
  10. Mr. James Maxwell Knox was killed.
  11. Lieutenant Tupper died of his wounds.
  12. Total – 12 killed, 6 mortally, 15 (including Messrs. William Edmonstone and Robert Shaw Lees, midshipmen) severely, and 9 slightly wounded.