Royal Naval Biography/Quilliam, John
JOHN QUILLIAM, Esq.
[Post-Captain of 1805.]
This officer may be truly styled a favorite of Fortune. He is a native of the Isle of Man, and was impressed into the navy, but at what period we have not been informed. As a commissioned officer we first find him serving as third Lieutenant of the Ethalion frigate, commanded by Captain James Young, who bore official testimony to his good conduct at the capture of a Spanish treasure ship, Oct. 17, 1799. Mr. Quilliam’s share of prize-money on that occasion exceeded 5000l.
The Ethalion was soon after doomed to experience a sad reverse, she being wrecked on the coast of France in little more than two months after the above capture. A narrative of her loss is given at full length in Schomberg’s Naval Chronology, vol. iii. p. 219 et seq. After that disaster, we lose sight of Mr. Quilliam until the glorious 21st Oct. 1805, on which day he served as first Lieutenant of Nelson’s flagship, the Victory of 100 guns, – a circumstance which secured his promotion to post rank, without ever having been a Commander; and at the same time produced much mortification to those of Nelson’s followers who were senior to himself, and whom the hero had ordered to perform the duties of junior Lieutenants, for no other reason than that of avoiding a constant succession of executive officers – the whole of them being before Mr. Quilliam on his Lordship’s list for promotion. We state this on the credit of a Post-Captain, who, when mentioning the subject, evinced not the slightest disposition to detract from his former messmate’s merits.
Captain Quilliam’s post commission bears date Dec. 24, 1805; but being put in charge of the Ildefonso, a Spanish 74, and having to refit her at Gibraltar, he did not arrive in England till May 16th in the following year. He subsequently commanded the Alexandria, Inconstant, and Crescent frigates; the latter employed on the Newfoundland station, where he captured an American privateer, pierced for 14 guns, with a complement of 66 men, Sept. 16, 1813.
Agents.– Messrs. Barnett and King.