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RIGHT HON. VISCOUNT EXMOUTH.


Baron Exmouth; a Baronet; Admiral of the White; Knight Grand Cross of the most Honourable Military Order of the Bath; Knight of the Spanish Order of King Charles III.; Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St. Ferdinand, and of Merit, of Naples; and of the Order of Wilhelm, of the Netherlands; Knight of the Royal Sardinian Military Order of St. Maurica, and St. Lazarus; and Knight of the Sardinian Order of Annunciation; Doctor of the Civil Law; President of the Liverpool Seaman’s Friend Society, and Bethel Union; a Vice-President of the Naval Charitable, and of the Naval and Military Bible Societies.

The immediate ancestor of this nobleman was George Pellew, of Flushing, near Falmouth, Esq. who married Judith Shannon, by whom he had three sons; viz. first, John; second, Israel, who married Gertrude Trefusis, the descendant of a very ancient family in Cornwall, and a relative of Lord Clinton; and third, Samuel, who married Constance Longford, by whom he had issue, first, Samuel Humphrey; second, Edward, the subject of this memoir; third, Israel, a Vice-Admiral of the White; fourth, John, an officer in the army, who was killed at Saratoga; and fifth, Catharine, wife of the son of the Vice-Admiral of Sweden.

Mr. Edward Pellew was born, if we mistake not, at Dover, April 19, 1757, and received the first rudiments of his education at that place, from whence he was placed under the care of a respectable tutor at Truro, in Cornwall. He entered the naval service at an early age, and in the spring of 1771; accompanied Captain Stott in the Juno frigate, to the Falkland Islands[1]. He afterwards went with the same officer in the Alarm frigate, to the Mediterranean; where some misunderstanding arising between Captain Stott, himself, and another Midshipman, the two latter were cruelly sent on shore at Marseilles, and obliged to return to England by land.

At the commencement of the war with our American colonies, Mr. Pellew joined the Blonde frigate, commanded by Captain Philomen Pownall[2], with whom he sailed to the relief of Quebec. He was afterwards removed into the Carleton schooner, and distinguished himself by his conduct in the battle fought on Lake Champlain, Oct. 11, 1776[3] Our officer then went with General Burgoyne’s army across the lakes, to effect a junction with the King’s forces at New York; and was, consequently, present at the Convention of Saratoga, Oct. 17, 1777, when the British troops, reduced by the losses sustained in two bloody engagements, and hemmed in on all sides by the enemy, were under the humiliating necessity of surrendering to the rebel General Gates.

Mr. Pellew returned to England by the way of Quebec, and on his arrival was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant. After serving some time in the Licorne, Captain Bellew, he joined the Apollo frigate, commanded by his old patron Captain Pownall, who was soon after killed in action with an enemy’s vessel on the Flemish coast[4]; on which occasion our officer was made Commander, in the Hazard sloop stationed in the North Sea. His Post commission bears date May 31, 1782. At the peace in 1783, Captain Pellew is said to have commanded the Dictator, of 64 guns, in the river Medway; and, during the Spanish and Russian armaments, the Salisbury, of 50 guns; bearing the flag of Vice-Admiral Milbanke, on the Newfoundland station, where he twice saved the life of a fellow creature, by jumping overboard, whilst his ship was at sea; and in one of these instances his conduct appears the more praiseworthy, as he was still labouring under the effects of a severe illness.

The war with revolutionary France, afforded an admirable opportunity for able officers to exhibit their talents. Nor was it allowed to slip away by the subject of this memoir, who omitted no occasion for the display of his zeal and energy.

Having, early in the year 1793, obtained the command of the Nymphe, of 40 guns and 240 men, he cruised in the Channel until the 18th June; early on the morning of which day, being off the Start Point, he fell in with the French frigate Cleopatra, and bore up for her immediately. All was silent until the ships came within hail; Captain Pellew then ordered his crew to man the shrouds and give three cheers, with “Long live King George the Third!” The French Captain ordered his rigging, in the same manner, to be manned; and, coming forward on the gangway, waved his hat, exclaiming “Vive la Nation!” which his crew accompanied with three cheers. Captain Pellew’s putting on his hat was the signal for the Nymphe to begin the action. One more desperate was never fought; they were engaged, throughout, yard-arm and yard-arm. The sails and rigging were so much intermixed during the engagement, that the crew of the Nymphe actually went from their own yards to those of the Cleopatra, and cut the men from their quarters. At length a shot from the British frigate carried away the enemy’s mizen-mast, and another her wheel; so that she became ungovernable, and fell on board her opponent.

Captain Pellew, from the cloud of smoke in which both ships were enveloped, not knowing the real cause, concluded his adversary intended to board him, and prepared for his reception; but finding the Republicans did not advance, he immediately gave orders to board the Cleopatra, which were executed with great bravery from the quarter deck, and the French colours hauled down.

The Cleopatra mounted the same number of guns as the Nymphe, and was manned with 320 men; of whom 63 were either killed or wounded, including among the former her commander, Citizen Muller, whose remains were interred at Portsmouth, five days after the action, attended by his officers. The Nymphe had 23 killed, and 27 wounded.

On the 29th of the same month, his late Majesty conferred the honour of knighthood on Captain Pellew, for his distinguished gallantry; and graciously commanded his brother Israel, who had served as a volunteer on the occasion, to be promoted to the rank of Post-Captain.

{{anchor|v1p1_p213c}Soon after this, Sir Edward Pellew was appointed to the command of the Arethusa, a fine frigate, of 44 guns, with a complement of 277 men, attached to the squadron under the command of Sir John B. Warren. In this ship he was present at a number of encounters, both with batteries on shore, and the enemy’s vessels at sea.

Early on the 23d April, 1794, while cruizing off Guernsey, in company with the Flora, Melampus, la Nymphe, and la Concorde, four sail were discovered standing out to sea; and, as day broke, they were clearly perceived to be French. The wind, by fortunately changing two points, enabled the British to gain the weather-gage, and bring them to close action, while it, at the same time, precluded the possibility of gaining their own shore.

The battle was maintained on both sides with great resolution for three hours, when two of the enemy’s ships, la Pomone of 44 guns and 341 men, and la Babet, of 22 guns and 178 men, struck to the Flora and Arethusa. Meanwhile, the other English frigates pursued the remainder of the French squadron, and at length succeeded in capturing l’Engageante, of 38 guns and 300 men[5]. In this action the Arethusa had 3 men killed, and 5 wounded.

On the 23d Aug., the squadron, under the command of Sir John B. Warren, cruizing off Brest, fell in with, and drove on shore near the Penmark Rocks, la Felicité French frigate of 40 guns, 18 pounders, and 350 men; and soon after two corvettes, l’Espion and Alert, mounting 18 guns, 9 pounders, and 200 men each. They at first took shelter under cover of three batteries in Hodierne Bay; but being hard pressed, cut their cables and ran ashore. The boats of the squadron were ordered under Sir Edward Pellew to destroy them; on boarding the corvettes, he found that many of their people were so dangerously wounded, that they could not be removed to the frigates without risk of their perishing; he therefore, for the sake of humanity, let them remain, to be relieved by their friends on shore. The corvettes were bilged and scuttled.

In Oct. following, we find Sir Edward Pellew cruizing off Ushant, with a small squadron under his own command, consisting of the Arethusa, Artois, Diamond, and Galatea frigates. On the 21st of that month, he discovered a large French frigate, and immediately gave orders for a chace. The enemy being to leeward was cut off from the land, and after sustaining an action of 40 minutes with the Artois, obliged to surrender[6].

At the commencement of 1795, our officer again served under Sir John B. Warren; whose squadron, on the 18th Feb., fell in with, off the isle of Oleron, a French frigate and twenty sail of vessels under her convoy; which were pursued half way up the Pertius d’Antioche, in sight of the isle of Aix. The tide of flood then setting strong up, and the wind being right in, the British ships were obliged to haul off; notwithstanding which they captured a national schooner of 8 brass guns, and seven merchantmen; and destroyed eleven others. These vessels were chiefly laden with provisions and cloathing for the French fleet and army. The frigate under whose escort they were, was la Nereide, of 36 guns. In the ensuing month, Sir Edward again commanded a squadron, and took and destroyed fifteen out of a fleet of twenty-five sail of coasters; the remainder he obliged to seek refuge among the rocks near the Penmarks.

A circumstance occurred, at the beginning of the year 1796, which displayed the bravery and humanity of the subject of this memoir, in the most interesting light. On the 26th Jan., the Dutton East Indiaman, was driven by stress of weather into Plymouth. The gale continuing with increased fury, it was deemed advisable, for greater safety, to make for Catwater; but the buoy placed as a mark upon the reef off Mount Batten, having been sunk or broken adrift by the late storms, of which the Plymouth pilots were not aware, the ship touched on the tail of the shoal, and lost her rudder. Thus disabled and ungovernable, she fell off, and grounded under the citadel, near the Barbican; the sea continually breaking over her, which occasioned her to roll so prodigiously, that at one jerk all her masts went by the board, and fell towards the shore, the ship heeling off with her side to seaward.

As many as were active and able got safe on shore, with the captain and officers; but there still remained a considerable number of seamen, soldiers, and their wives on board. Captain Pellew observing that the gale rather increased than abated, and knowing that a single rope from the ship to the shore was all the communication they could have with it, and that the flood tide would make a complete wreck of the vessel, earnestly entreated some of the numerous spectators to accompany him, by means of this rope, on board, that he might rescue its crew from the inevitable fate that impended. The shore was crowded with people of all descriptions, amongst whom were pilots, and other sea-faring men, to whom Captain Pellew offered any money, if a single individual would follow his directions. The scene was tremendous; the gale every moment increased, and one and all were appalled; when at length, Mr. Edsell, the Port-Admiral’s Signal Midshipman, came forward and nobly volunteered his services; they were accordingly fastened to the rope, and hauled on board. As they had not dared to make it completely fast on shore, lest the rolling and jerking of the ship should break it, it may easily be conceived, that by the rising and falling of the rope, these brave adventurers were at times high above, and at others under the water. Being at length got on board, they sent a hawser to the shore, to which travellers and hawling lines were affixed, and by this means the whole of the crew were saved. Sir Edward and Mr. Edsell were the last who left the ship, which soon afterwards went to pieces.

For the manly conduct displayed by Sir Edward on this occasion, the Corporation of Plymouth presented him with the freedom of that borough. On the 5th March, in the same year, he was advanced to the dignity of a Baronet of the United Kingdom, as Sir Edward Pellew, of Treverry, in Cornwall; and about the same time he proceeded on a cruize in the Indefatigable, a cut-down 64, mounting 46 guns, with four frigates under his command.

On the 9th April, Sir Edward’s squadron fell in with, and captured a fleet of French merchantmen, and drove la Volage, of 26 guns, on shore. Four days after, l’Unité, of 38 guns and 255 men, was taken. On board her were Madame le Large, wife to the governor of Rochefort, with the whole of her family and domestics; her son, an ensign of the frigate, Sir Edward, with great feeling and politeness, suffered to return to France in a neutral vessel, taking the parole of the young man not to serve until exchanged.

On the morning of the 20th, whilst the squadron was lying to under the Lizard, waiting till the prize had got safe into Falmouth, a large ship was observed standing in for the land, which, when the private signal was made, tacked, and stood off. Sir Edward Pellew, certain of its being an enemy’s frigate, immediately gave chace, in company with the Amazon and Concorde. About midnight, after a chace of fifteen hours, and having run one hundred and sixty eight miles, the Indefatigable, by her superior sailing, got alongside of the enemy, and brought her to close action, which continued without intermission, under a croud of sail, for one hour and forty-five minutes. At this time the enemy’s ship, whose commander defended her with great bravery, had her mizen mast and main top mast shot away. In this situation the Indefatigable unavoidably shot a-head; her mizen top-mast and gaff being gone, and the main topsail rendered useless, with her running rigging cut to pieces, she had no sail to back, until new braces could be rove; neither did Sir Edward Pellew think it prudent to throw his ship in the wind, lest he should be exposed to a raking fire; he therefore remained at a proper distance a-head of the enemy, until he might be enabled to renew the attack. Just at this moment the Concorde ranged up under the enemy’s stern, and Captain Hunt was preparing to rake her, when she fired a gun to leeward, and surrendered. She proved to be the French national frigate, la Virginie, of 44 guns, 18 pounders on the main deck, and nines on the quarter deck and forecastle, manned with 340 men, and commanded by M. Bergeret, Capitaine de Vaisseau, from Brest, bound on a cruize off the Lizard. When taken possession of, her hull was a complete sieve, and four feet water in her hold.

It is remarkable, that in this action the Indefatigable had not a man hurt. La Virginie, on the contrary, had 15 killed and 27 wounded, 10 of them badly.

The year 1797 afforded fresh proofs of the vigour and enterprise of Sir Edward Pellew. On the 13th January, while cruizing to the S.W. of Ushant, in company with the Amazon frigate, commanded by Captain Reynolds, he perceived a large ship in the N.W. quarter, steering under an easy sail towards the coast of France. At this time the wind blew hard at west, with thick hazy weather. Chace was instantly given. At four P.M. the Indefatigable had gained sufficiently upon the strange ship for Sir Edward to distinguish very clearly, that she had two tier of guns with her lower deck ports shut, and that she had no poop.

At a quarter before six he brought the enemy to close action, which continued to be well supported on both sides near an hour, when the Indefatigable unavoidably shot a-head; at this moment the Amazon appeared astern, and gallantly supplied her place; but the eagerness of Captain Reynolds to second his friend, had brought him up under a press of sail, and after a well supported and close fire for a little time, he also unavoidably ran a-head. The enemy made an ineffectual attempt to board the Indefatigable, and kept up a constant and heavy fire of musketry till the end of the action, frequently engaging both sides of the ship at the same time. As soon as Sir Edward Pellew had replaced some of the disabled rigging, and brought his ship under a proper sail, and the Amazon reduced hers, they commenced a second attack, placing themselves, after some raking broadsides, upon each quarter, often within pistol shot. This attack lasted without intermission for five hours; when the Indefatigable was obliged to sheer off to secure her masts.

About twenty minutes past four in the morning, the moon opening rather brighter than before, shewed to Lieutenant Bell, who was watchfully looking out on the forecastle, a glimpse of the land, which he had scarcely reported to Sir Edward Pellew, before the breakers were seen. At this time the Indefatigable was close under the enemy’s starboard bow, and the Amazon as near her on the larboard; not an instant could be lost every life depended upon the prompt execution of orders; nothing could equal the activity of her brave crew, who, with incredible alacrity, hauled the tacks on board and made sail to the southward. Before day-light they again saw breakers upon the lee bow, and wore to the northward. Not knowing exactly on what part of the coast they were embayed, the lingering approach of day-light was most anxiously looked for; and soon after it opened; the land was seen very close a-head; the ship was again wore in twenty fathoms water, and stood to the southward. A few minutes after the Indefatigable discovered and passed within a mile of the enemy who had so bravely defended himself; the ship was lying on her broadside, and a tremendous surf beating over her. The miserable fate of her brave crew was perhaps the more sincerely lamented by those of the Indefatigable, from the apprehension of their suffering a similar misfortune, having at that time four feet water in the hold, a great sea, and the wind dead on the shore.

Sir Edward Pellew was now able to ascertain his situation to be that of Hodierne Bay, and that their fate depended upon the possible chance of weathering the Penmark Rocks, which, by the uncommon exertions of her fatigued and exhausted crew, in making all the sail they could set, was happily accomplished at eleven o’clock, passing about a mile to windward of them.

The fate of the Amazon was not so fortunate; when the Indefatigable had hauled her wind to the southward, she had hauled hers to the northward; Captain Reynolds, notwithstanding every effort, found his masts, yards, rigging, and sails so miserably cut and shattered, with three feet water in his hold, that it was impossible to work off the shore; in this condition, a little after five in the morning, the Amazon struck the ground; and almost at the same moment the enemy shared a similar fate. The crew (excepting six, who stole away the cutter and were drowned) saved themselves by making rafts, and upon their landing were made prisoners.

In this gallant action, which commenced at a quarter before six P.M. and lasted (excepting at short intervals,) until half past four A.M. the sea was so high, that the people in both ships were up to their middles in water on the main deck. Some of the guns on board the Indefatigable broke their breechings four times over; others drew the ring bolts from the sides; and many, from getting wet, were repeatedly drawn immediately after loading. The loss sustained was only 19 wounded on board the Indefatigable; among the number Mr. Thompson, the first Lieutenant.

The Amazon had 3 men killed, and 15 badly wounded.

The enemy’s ship proved to be les Droits des Hommes, of 80 guns, commanded by Captain ci-devant Baron Le Cross, and had on board 1750 men, including soldiers, 1350 of whom perished.

Sir Edward Pellew remained in the Indefatigable until the spring of 1799, when he was appointed to the Impetueux, of 78 guns[7]; but he does not appear to have been engaged in any other affair of moment previous to the summer of 1800, at which period he was sent, by Earl St. Vincent, with a squadron consisting of seven ships of the line, one of 50 guns, nine frigates, a sloop of war and a cutter, having on board a detachment of troops, under the command of Major-General Maitland, to co-operate with the French Royalists, and Chouans, in Quiberon Bay and the Morbihan. But the issue of this enterprize, though not so disastrous and fatal as that which formerly took place under Sir John B. Warren[8], was not attended with any important or permanent success; this was owing entirely to the circumstance of the Royalists being much less formidable than they had represented themselves to be. The forts on the south west end of Quiberon were silenced and destroyed; several vessels were cut out and captured; but this is nearly the sum total of the result of this expedition.

As so little could be effected at Quiberon, Sir Edward Pellew and General Maitland resolved to make an attack on Belleisle. If this had been done, as soon as the plan was matured, it probably would have succeeded; but some delay took place from unforeseen circumstances; the enemy were alarmed and prepared; and on the morning of the 19th June, General Maitland received information that seven thousand troops were assembled on the island. Nothing now could be attempted against Belleisle; the small island of Houat was, indeed, taken possession of for a short tune; but this also was abandoned, and the Major-General proceeded for the Mediterranean, where, it was thought, his force might be more beneficially employed.

After the close of this expedition, Sir Edward Pellew was employed with his squadron, in the blockade of Port Louis, on which station one of his Lieutenants, the present Captain Coghlan, performed a most gallant exploit in capturing le Cérbere, French brig of war, the particulars of which will be given in our memoir of that gentleman.

In the ensuing autumn, our officer, still in the Impetueux, was again attached to the squadron of his old commander, Sir J. B. Warren, in an expedition against Ferrol[9], and was subsequently placed under the orders of Admiral Cornwallis. The Impetueux was put off commission, April 14, 1802, about which time Captain Pellew was nominated a Colonel of Marines.

At the general election in the same year, our officer had the satisfaction of being returned to parliament, as one of the members for Barnstaple, co. Devon. On leaving the hustings, he was conducted to a barge fixed upon wheels, ornamented with laurel, and adorned with colours. This vehicle, manned with a number of prime seamen, in white shirts, with oars in their hands, and steered by a Lieutenant of the navy, in full uniform, then got under weigh, amidst the cheers of the populace[10]. Sir Edward does not appear to have taken any very great interest in the affairs of the House; but, on the 15th March, 1804, when an inquiry was moved for, respecting the naval defence of the country, with the view of censuring the administration of Earl St. Vincent; he, instead of contenting himself with a silent vote, delivered his opinion at considerable length, in favour of that nobleman. He rose in the debate immediately after the Hon. Admiral Berkeley, who had accused the Admiralty of negligence, and compared the armed vessels, which had been sent to the coast of France, to so many cockle-shells. The manner in which he treated the subject, rivetted the attention of the House, and drew forth the particular praise of Mr. Wilberforce, who followed him.

On the 23rd of the succeeding month, Sir Edward Pellew, who, on the renewal of the war, had been appointed to the Tonnant[11], of 80 guns, was promoted to the rank of Rear-Admiral of the White; and the important office of Commander-in-Chief in India happening to be vacant, he had the good fortune to be nominated as the successor of Admiral Rainier upon that station. He accordingly hoisted his flag in the Culloden, of 74 guns, and sailed thither in the course of the ensuing summer.

Nothing of consequence occurred within the limits of the Rear-Admiral’s command until Nov. 1806, about the middle of which month, he proceeded towards Batavia, in search of a French squadron which he expected to meet with; and, on the 27th, arrived in the Roads, with a squadron consisting of four sail of the line, two frigates, and a brig.

Having previously captured the Dutch East India Company’s armed vessel, Maria Wilhelmina, the Terpsichore frigate, preceded by the Sea-Flower brig, led through the very intricate navigation of those parts. On discovering the approach of the British force, the Dutch national frigate Phoenix, two armed ships, and four brigs, followed by the merchantmen, immediately ran on shore, the William corvette having first struck to the Terpsichore, on passing Onrust. The shoal water preventing Sir Edward’s ships from anchoring sufficiently near to fire with effect upon the batteries, or on the ships on shore, the boats of the squadron assembled alongside of the Terpsichore, which, with another frigate, had been placed as near as possible to cover them, and were led in to destroy the enemy’s vessels, by Captain Fleetwood Pellew, the Rear-Admiral’s son, under a heavy fire from them and the batteries. The crew of the Phoenix immediately abandoned her; and, on boarding, she was found to have been scuttled. Her guns, however, were instantly turned on the other ships, whilst the boats were destroying the remainder; after which, she also was set on fire and burnt. Two line-of-battle ships had quitted the anchorage, or they must inevitably have shared the same fate. The whole of the vessels destroyed and taken in Batavia Roads upon this occasion, including the merchantmen, amounted to about thirty; and, what was more highly gratifying, the loss of men on the part of the British, though exposed to the continued fire of the enemy, was only one killed, and four wounded.

The next event of which we find official notice took place at Griessee, Dec. 11, 1807, on which day the whole of the men of war remaining to the power of Holland in the East Indies, were destroyed[12]. On the 28th April, 1808, Sir Edward was advanced to the rank of Vice-Admiral of the Blue; and he retained the command in that quarter until about the commencement of the following year. Previous to his departure for England he received an address from the merchants, ship-owners, and underwriters of Bombay, expressive of their acknowledgments for the protection he had afforded to the trade of that port.

We next find our officer, with his flag on board the Christian VII., during the summer of 1810, employed in the blockade of Flushing. He was afterwards appointed to succeed Sir Charles Cotton, as Commander-in-Chief of the Mediterranean fleet, and proceeded to that station in the Caledonia of 120 guns, which ship bore his flag during the remainder of the war[13].

On the 14th May, 1814, Sir Edward Pellew, as a reward for his eminent and long services, was raised to the dignity of the peerage by the title of Baron Exmouth, of Canonteign, in the county of Devon; and on the 4th of the following month he became an Admiral of the Blue. He was nominated a K.C.B. Jan. 2, 1815.

The resumption of the sovereign authority in France by the exile of Elba, having again disturbed the repose of Europe, a squadron was immediately sent to the Mediterranean, under the orders of Lord Exmouth, whose flag was in the Boyne, of 98 guns. Having had the pleasure of contributing, in conjunction with an Austrian army, to the restoration of the legitimate King of Naples, his Lordship proceeded to Marseilles, where he co-operated with Major-General Sir Hudson Lowe, and the Marquis de Riviere, Lieutenant to Louis XVIII. for Provence and the neighbouring departments, in reducing the rebellious Toulonese, headed by Marshal Brune, to submission.

After the second abdication and final overthrow of Buonaparte, the English squadron was employed in no service of importance until the month of March, 1816, when Lord Exmouth sailed for Algiers, where, after some hesitation on the part of the Dey, a treaty was concluded, relative to the abolition of Christian slavery. His Lordship then sailed for Tunis and Tripoli, at which places he negotiated matters with similar success.

Having thus fulfilled the objects of his mission, the noble Admiral returned to England in the month of June 1816, and found, on his arrival, that in consequence of renewed aggressions on the part of the Algerines, subsequent to his departure from their coast, government had determined to inflict a signal chastisement on that regency; for which purpose they had selected him as commander of the expedition.

His Lordship embarked on board the Queen Charlotte, of 108 guns, at Portsmouth, on the 20th July; but from the continuance of adverse winds and calms, the land to the westward of Algiers was not made before the 26th August. The next morning at day-break the British fleet, and six Dutch frigates by which it was accompanied, were advanced in sight of the city, though not so near as was intended. As the ships were becalmed, Lord Exmouth despatched a boat under cover of the Severn, with a flag of truce, and the demands he had to make, in the name of the Prince Regent, on the Dey of Algiers.

After a delay of three hours, during which the sea-breeze had enabled the fleet to reach the bay, the boat was seen returning with a signal flying, that no answer had been received. The Commander-in-Chief instantly made the signal to know if the ships were all ready, which being answered in the affirmative, the Queen Charlotte bore up, followed by the fleet, for their appointed stations; the flag, leading in the prescribed order, was anchored at the entrance of the Mole, at about fifty yards distance, and the other ships took their stations with admirable precision.

The battle commenced at a quarter before three P.M., by a shot fired from the shore at the Queen Charlotte, who was then lashing to the main-mast of a brig, fast to the shore in the mouth of the Mole, and two at the ships to the northward then following, which were promptly returned, and a fire as animated and well supported as was ever witnessed kept up until nine o’clock, without intermission, and which did not cease altogether until half past eleven; when many of the barbarians’ ships being in flames, and certain of the destruction of the whole, Lord Exmouth considered he had executed the most important part of his instructions, and made preparations for withdrawing the ships. After much warping and towing, by the help of a light air of wind, the whole came to an anchor out of reach of shells, about two in the morning, after twelve hours incessant labour.

The flotilla of mortar, gun, and rocket-boats, shared to the full extent of their power in the honours of this day, and performed good service; it was by their fire all the ships in the port (with the exception of the outer frigate) were in flames, which extended rapidly over the whole arsenal, &c. exhibiting a spectacle of awful grandeur and interest, no pen can describe.

The sloops of war which had been appropriated to aid and assist the ships of the line, and prepare for their retreat, performed not only that duty well, but embraced every opportunity of firing through the intervals, and were constantly in motion.

The shells from the bombs were admirably well thrown by the Royal Marine Artillery; and although crossing over the large ships, not an accident occurred. The Dutch Admiral Van Capellan, with his frigates, covered the British ships from the enemy’s flanking batteries, on which he kept up a good fire.

The result of this dreadful conflict was; The abolition, for ever, of Christian slavery. The liberation of all slaves in the territory of Algiers. Reparation to the British Consul for all losses sustained by him in consequence of his confinement. A public apology made by the. Dey to the same gentleman. The recovery of 382,500 dollars for Naples and Sardinia. The destruction of four large frigates, of 44 guns each; five large corvettes, from 24 to 30 guns each; thirty gun and mortar-boats; several merchant brigs and schooners; a number of small vessels of various descriptions; all the pontoons, lighters, &c.; and a great many gun-carriages, mortar-beds, casks, and ships’ stores of all descriptions; besides the store-houses and arsenal, with all the timber and various marine articles, destroyed in part, and between 6 and 7000 Algerines killed and wounded.

The total loss in the combined squadrons[14] amounted to 141 killed, and 742 wounded; which, according to the number of men employed, exceeds the proportion in any of our former victories.

For this splendid achievement Lord Exmouth was raised to the dignity of a Viscount, and received the thanks of both Houses of Parliament. He was also presented by the city of London with a sword, accompanied by an appropriate speech from the Lord Mayor; and partook of a banquet prepared for him by the Ironmonger’s Company, who are the trustees of an estate of 2,000l. per annum, bequeathed many years ago by one of their members, a Mr. Betton, who had had the misfortune to fall into the hands of the pirates, for the ransom of British captives who may chance to be enslaved by any of the Barbary States. It is here necessary to remark, that the Company have religiously obeyed the injunctions of the humane testator, and commissioned a regular agent at Mogadore for the purpose.

In addition to these public marks of approbation, the officers employed under his orders at Algiers presented his Lordship with a piece of plate, of massy size and elegant workmanship, as a mark of their admiration of his conduct. It was made by Rundell and Co., London, and cost 1,400 guineas. The residue of the sum subscribed to purchase it, was handed over to that excellent, though by no means duly appreciated institution, the Naval Charitable Society. Lord Exmouth had before received from the Flag-Officers and Captains who served with him in the Mediterranean during the late war, a handsome table ornament, of the value of 500 guineas, which they requested him to accept as a token of their respect and regard.

On the demise of Sir John Thomas Duckworth, in the autumn of 1817, his Lordship was appointed to the chief command at Plymouth, where he continued with his flag in the Impregnable, of 104 guns, until Feb. 1, 1821. He was nominated a G.C.B. previous to the Algerine expedition.

Lord Exmouth married, about the year 1783, Susan, daughter of James Frowde, of Knowle, in Wiltshire, Esq. Two of his sons are Captains in the R.N.; a third is a Prebendary of Canterbury, and has lately been united to a daughter of Viscount Sidmouth. One of the noble Admiral’s daughters is the lady of Vice-Admiral Sir L. W. Halsted; and another of Captain Richard Harward, R.N.

A portrait of his Lordship by W. Owen, was exhibited at the Royal Academy, in 1819.



  1. The Juno was sent with two other vessels, the Hound and Florida, to take possession of the Falkland Islands, which had been discovered by the Hon. Captain Byron, Jan. 14, 1765.
  2. When Captain Pownall commanded a repeating frigate on the American station, his anticipation of the services to be performed was so very correct, that the Captains of the fleet complained to Lord Howe “that Pownall’s repeating signals were frequently at the top-mast cross-trees before the Admiral’s signal was at the mast-head,” whereas his duty was “to repeat the signal after an interval of half an hour, in the event of its not being answered in that time.”
  3. See Admiral John Schanck.
  4. The following is an account of the Apollo’s action, as given by Beatson, in his Naval and Military Memoirs:– “The Apollo, being on a cruise in the North Sea, with some other frigates, at half-past seven in the morning of the 15th June, gave chace to a cutter in the S.W. quarter, in obedience to a signal from the Cleopatra, Captain Murray, the senior officer. Captain Pownall continued in chace of the cutter until half-past ten, when being nearly within gun-shot of her, a large sail was perceived, to all appearance a cruiser, standing towards the Apollo, whose Captain made for her; and having fetched within three miles, she hauled her wind, and crossed his ship, standing to the northward, the steeple of Ostend then in sight. At eleven o’clock she tacked, and stood to the southward. The Apollo did the same, until she brought the chace abaft the weather quarter; and tacked at 12 o’clock. At half-past 12, the Apollo passed her close to leeward, received and returned her fire, tacked immediately, in a few minutes got close along side, and engaged her with all sail set, she standing in for Ostend, and continuing a running fight. When the action had lasted upwards of an hour, Captain Pownall was unfortunately killed by a ball which went through his body. The command devolved on Lieutenant Edward Pellew, who, following his brave Captain’s example, maintained a well-directed fire for more than an hour longer; when finding his ship in only three fathoms and a half water, and but two or three miles from the shore, a little to the westward of Ostend, he judged it prudent, with the advice of the officers of the ship, to wear, and bring to, with her head to the northward. He intended to renew the action, as soon as the sails could be taken in, which, from the situation of the ship in chace, and action, were all set, much torn, and only one brace left. In a few minutes after this, the enemy’s foremast and main-top-mast fell by the board, with the main-top and main-yard; and the ship was to all appearance aground, as she heeled very much, did not bring up to the wind, and was in a very shattered condition. Ostend at this time bore S.S.E. distant from the shore about two miles. While the officers were perusing the strict orders they had against violating the coasts of neutral powers, the enemy’s ship fired a gun to leeward, seemingly with a design to claim protection. This was answered by two or three guns from the garrison. On this, Mr. Pellew desisted from his intention of renewing the action, and drew off; the Apollo’s masts being much wounded in several places, her rigging greatly damaged, and three feet water in her hold, occasioned by several shot which she had received between wind and water. The officers and crew of the Apollo behaved with the greatest bravery and good conduct. Besides the gallant Captain Pownall, 4 seamen and 1 marine were killed in the action, and 16 seamen and 4 marines wounded. The enemy’s ship was the Stanislaus, a merchant frigate, pierced for 32 guns, but had only 26 twelve-pounders mounted. By assistance from the shore, she was got off and carried into Ostend, where she was soon after brought to a sale, bought by the British government, and added to the royal navy by the name of the Proselyte; where she did excellent service, and was esteemed a remarkably quick sailing vessel.
  5. See Admiral Sir R. J. Strachan.
  6. See Admiral Sir Edmund Nagle.
  7. In addition to the captures already mentioned to have been made by Sir Edward Pellew and his squadron, sixteen armed vessels and privateers, mounting 238 guns, appear to have been taken, up to Dec. 31, 1798.
  8. See p. 169.
  9. The force employed in the expedition against Ferrol, consisted of seven sail of the line, five frigates, and a sloop, together with a large body of troops, under the command of Sir James Pulteney.

    The armament arrived off the Bay of Playa de Dominos, on the 25th Aug.; and the General having desired that the troops might be disembarked, Sir John Warren directed Sir Edward Pellew to superintend that service, which was ably performed on the same night, in the above-mentioned Bay, after a fort of eight 24 pounders had been silenced by the fire of the Impetueux, Brilliant, Cynthia, and St. Vincent gun boat; the whole army were landed without the lois of a man, together with sixteen field pieces, attended by seamen from the men of war, to carry scaling ladders, and to get the guns to the heights above Ferrol. Immediately the troops quitted the boats, they ascended a ridge of hills adjoining to the Bay. Just as they had gained the summit, the rifle corps commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Stewart, fell in with a part of the enemy, which they drove back.

    At day-break on the morning of the 26th, a considerable body of the enemy was repulsed by the brigade under the command of Major-General the Earl of Cavan, supported by some other troops; this advantage gave the British the complete and undisturbed possession of the heights which overlooked the town and harbour of Ferrol; but not without some loss, chiefly owing to the steep and rocky ground the troops had to march over. Sixteen were killed. Lieutenant Colonel Stewart; Captain Hamilton, of the 27th; Captain Trevors, of the 79th; Lieutenant Edmonstone, of the 2d battalion of the Royals; and Captain Torrens, of the 1st battalion of the 52d (who died of his wounds), and 63 rank and file wounded. On the same evening the General informed Sir J. Warren, that from the strength of the country, and the enemy’s works, no further operations could be carried on, and that it was his intention to re-embark the troops; which service was accomplished with great order and regularity before daybreak on the 27th, when the squadron proceeded to sea, and the next day arrived off Vigo, from whence they went to the southward as far as Lisbon, and then returned to Plymouth.

    On the 12th October, Sir John B. Warren addressed the following grateful acknowledgment from on board the Renown, in Cawsand Bay, to the respective Captains under his orders:

    “The Commander-in-Chief, having expressed to me his entire approbation of your conduct, and the officers, seamen, and marines of H.M.S. under your command, upon every occasion that presented itself during the late expedition, has desired me to return his thanks for the zeal which was manifested, and the exertion made by them upon that service; which I request you will communicate to them, in as public a manner as you think proper to adopt, and to accept my thanks also, and present the same to the officers and men, for their meritorious behaviour.

    “I have the honour to be, &c.
    J. B. Warren.

  10. Mr. Wilson, a former member, and one of the unsuccessful candidates, petitioned the House of Commons against Sir Edward’s return, alleging a breach of the treating act. Some actual payments, of three or four guineas a man, were proved; but as those appeared to have been made to non-resident voters, for the purpose of defraying their travelling expences, the committee, which had been appointed to try the merits of the election, determined that the sitting member had been duly elected.
  11. In March 1803, when appointed to the Tonnant, Sir Edward Pellew advertised for a schoolmaster to instruct the young gentlemen of that ship; and as an inducement to a person of respectability to apply for the situation, offered to pay out of his own purse a yearly stipend of 50l. in addition to the salary allowed by government. It is the Compiler’s most anxious wish to avoid the imputation of adulation on this, as on every other occasion; but he cannot refrain from giving publicity to the following act of generosity on the part of Sir Edward Pellew, which was noticed in the ephemeral publications at the period when it occurred:– the wife of Rovere one of the French deputies banished to Cayenne, was taken on her passage by our officer. She had sold all her property in France for the purpose of joining her unhappy husband, and had with her 3000l. sterling. Sir Edward restored it to her, and paid his crew their share out of his own pocket.
  12. See Captain Hon. F. B. R. Pellew, in our next volume.
  13. The transactions of the various detachments from Sir Edward’s fleet are fully detailed in the memoirs of Sir Josias Rowley, Sir Benjamin Hallowell, Sir Edward Codrington, Sir William Hoste, and numerous other officers, who commanded squadrons and single ships employed on the coasts of the different kingdoms washed by the Mediterranean Sea.
  14. The following is a list of the ships and vessels employed under the orders of Lord Exmouth, in the attack upon Algiers, Aug. 27, 1816, exclusive of the mortar-boats, &c.
    Guns. Killed. Wounded.
    Queen Charlotte 108 Admiral Lord Exmouth, K.C.B.
    Captain James Brisbane.
    8 131
    Impregnable 104 Rear-Admiral David Milne.
    Captain Edward Brace.
    50 160
    Superb 78 Captain Charles Ekins. 8 84
    Minden 74 Captain William Paterson. 7 37
    Albion 74 Captain John Coode. 3 15
    Leander 60 Captain Edward Chetham. 17 118
    Severn 50 Captain Hon. T. W. Aylmer. 3 34
    Glasgow 50 Captain Hon. Anthony Maitland. 10 37
    Granicus 42 Captain William Furlong Wise. 16 42
    Hebrus 42 Captain Edmund Palmer. 4 16
    Heron 18 18 Captain George Bentham.
    Mutine 18 Captain James Mould.
    Prometheus 22 Captain Wm. Bateman Dashwood.
    Cordelia 10 Captain William Sargent.
    Britsmart 10 Captain Robert Riddell.
    Beelzebub Bombs Captain William Kempthorne.
    Infernal Captain Hon. G. J. Perceval. 2 17
    Hecla Captain William Popham.
    Fury Captain C. R. Moorsom.

    Total loss sustained by the British

    128 690
    Dutch Squadron. Commanded by Vice-Admiral Baron Van Capellen.
    Melampus 3 15
    Frederica 5
    Dageraad 4
    Diana 6 22
    Amstee 4 6
    Eendracht

    Grand Total

    141 742