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Royal Naval Biography/Robinson, Hercules


HERCULES ROBINSON, Esq.
[Post-Captain of 1814.]

Was made lieutenant April 25, 1807; and promoted to the command of the Prometheus sloop Aug. 30, 1809. In that vessel he captured two Danish privateers, and destroyed la Messilina French schooner of 6 guns and 38 men, on the Baltic station. May 24 and Aug. 2, 1810.

The following is a copy of an official letter from Captain Robinson to the senior officer at Jamaica, dated off Balize, in the bay of Honduras, Feb. 3, 1812:

“Sir,– I beg leave to acquaint you, that having, on the 10th ultimo, received information of an enemy’s privateer being within the reefs, off Cape Catouche, I immediately proceeded thither, in H.M. sloop under my command; but, being aware of the impracticability of approaching sufficiently close in the ship, I procured a small merchant schooner, which, having armed with a carronade and manned with 17 men, under the direction of Lieutenant Ramsay, from whose zeal and ability I had very much to expect, I despatched a short distance a-head of the ship, with directions to proceed through one passage within the reefs; while our boats joining her through the outer passage, with the ship on the outside, I hoped would prevent the possibility of any thing escaping.

“Lieutenant Ramsay reached within Mohair Kay, at day-light, and discovered, in the spot expected, a large schooner privateer; and though unfortunately a most sudden and violent gale at N.W. had driven the Prometheus off the land, the confidence of the officers and men under his command induced Lieutenant Ramsay (who waited till the following day, in hopes of the ship being able to beat up), to attempt, unassisted, the capture of the privateer. I very deeply regret, that the state of preparation that vessel had been enabled to assume, and her being of the largest class, armed with 12 guns, and having 88 men, prevented the merited success attending the great bravery of Lieutenant Ramsay, Lieutenant Kemp, of the 65th

regiment, who had handsomely volunteered his services, Mr. John Winnard, clerk, Mr. T. L. Roberts, midshipman, and our handful of brave men. After a most obstinate contest, in which Lieutenant Ramsay was cut to pieces, with 4 of his small party, and Mr. Winnard and 4 others were severely wounded, the gallant survivors were overpowered by numbers, and the unequal contest concluded by the capture of their vessel; but not without so serious a slaughter on the part of their antagonist, and her masts and rigging being so much cut up, as must prevent the continuance of her cruise. I apprehend she has endeavoured to effect her escape to New Orleans, where, I have understood, she fitted out, some months past. During her cruise she has made several valuable captures, with the plunder of which she was filled. I have the honor to be, &c.

(Signed)H. Robinson.”

To James G. Vashon, Esq. Commodore, &c. Jamaica.

On the 8th May, 1814, Captain Robinson captured the Lizard American schooner privateer, of 2 long guns and 34 men. His promotion to post rank took place June 7 following. Since the peace he has commanded the Favorite 26, successively employed at St. Helena, in the Rio de la Plata, and on the Newfoundland station; from whence he returned, touching at Gibraltar and Cadiz on his way home, Dec. 21, 1820.

Captain Robinson married, June 17, 1822, Frances Elizabeth, only child of Henry W, Wood, of Rosmead, co. Westmeath, Ireland, Esq.

Agents.– Messrs. Goode and Clarke.