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Royal Naval Biography/Scott, Matthew Henry


MATTHEW HENRY SCOTT, Esq
Vice-Admiral of the Blue.


This officer is the son of an opulent Jamaica planter, of which island he is a native. He entered the naval service at an early age; and in 1793, we find him serving as Lieutenant on board the Boyne, of 98 guns, bearing the flag of Sir John Jervis, then about to proceed on an expedition against the French colonies in the West Indies.

On the 24th Nov. 1793, the day on which the armament left Spithead, an unfortunate accident befel Lieutenant Scott, whose arm was broken by a block giving way in the fore part of the ship, where he was stationed; but happily, by the care and skill of the surgeon, he was nearly recovered by the time he reached Barbadoes.

Soon after his arrival at that island our officer was promoted to the command of the Rattlesnake, in which sloop he served at the reduction of Martinique and St. Lucia[1]. On the 4th April, 1794, the day on which the latter colony submitted to the British arms, he was posted into the Rose, of 28 guns, and in that frigate assisted at the subjugation of Guadaloupe. He afterwards accompanied a small squadron under Captain Rogers, sent to take possession of the Isles des Saintes, a service which was effected without loss, on the 10th of the same month. In the following summer the Rose was wrecked on Rocky Point, Jamaica; but fortunately the whole of her crew escaped.

Captain Scott’s next appointment was to the Hebe, of 38 guns, in which ship we find him serving at the re-conquest of St. Lucia, by the naval and military forces under Sir Hugh C. Christian and Sir Ralph Abercromby[2]. The expedition sailed from Marin Bay, Martinique, on the 26th April, 1796; and the disposition for landing the troops having been previously arranged, the debarkation of two divisions was speedily effected under cover of the ships of war. In the execution of this service the Hebe led the first division into Ance la Cap, and Captain Scott, with great spirit and judgment, took a position opposite a 5-gun battery, placed on the low point of Pigeon Island, which he kept in check, and thereby enabled the troops to land without opposition.

After the surrender of St. Lucia, the Hebe was sent under the orders of Captain Wolley, of the Arethusa, to co-operate with Sir Ralph Abercromby in quelling the insurrections, which raged with great violence and animosity in the islands of St. Vincent and Grenada. The insurgents, after an obstinate resistance, laid down their arms, and surrendered by capitulation.

In the spring of 1798, Captain Scott obtained the command of the Niger frigate; and on the 11th Dec. following, whilst lying at Spithead, had the gratification of contributing by his humane exertions, to the preservation of three men belonging to the Atlas 98 who had been upset in one of her boats near the Niger. He subsequently removed into the Indefatigable, of 46 guns.

Soon after the renewal of hostilities, in 1803, our officer was appointed to la Diana[3], in which frigate he continued until the close of 1805. During the ensuing three years he commanded the Dragon, of 74 guns. His promotion to the rank of Rear -Admiral took place Aug. 12, 1812; and from that period until the conclusion of the war, we find his flag flying on board the Chatham, a third rate, in the North Sea fleet. At the commencement of 1814, he commanded the British and Russian seamen and marines landed on the island of South Beveland; and in the ensuing year the naval force stationed in the Downs. His commission as Vice-Admiral bears date Aug. 12, 1819.

The subject of this sketch married, June 4, 1799, the eldest daughter of James Pinnock, of Westbury House, co, Hants, Esq., and by that lady has had several children.

Residence.– Southampton.


Addenda

VICE-ADMIRAL SCOTT, (p. 539.) Served at the reduction of Trinidad, in 1 797; see p. 859.


  1. See p. 19.
  2. See p. 134.
  3. La Diana was afterwards named the Niobe.