Open main menu


THOMAS SOTHEBY, Esq
Admiral of the Blue.


This officer obtained post rank, June 11th, 1783; and at the commencement of the war with France, in 1793, commanded the Daphne, of 20 guns; from which vessel he was afterwards removed into the Andromeda frigate, stationed in the North Sea. On the 1st June, 1795, he was appointed to the Bombay Castle, of 74 guns, and had the misfortune to be wrecked in that ship at the mouth of the Tagus, towards the latter end of the following year.

In the spring of 1798, Captain Sotheby was appointed to the Namur of 90 guns, and subsequently to the Marlborough, 74; the command of which latter ship he retained until the 4th Nov., 1800, when she struck on a ledge of rocks near isle Gioúat, where she hung for several hours; but by great exertions, and throwing several of her guns and heavy stores overboard, was at length got off; the damage she had sustained, however, was so great, that even after the masts were cut away, and the remainder of the guns thrown overboard, the water increased so fast as to make it necessary to abandon her to her fate. The crew were saved by the Captain, 74, and a Danish vessel then in company, and the Marlborough soon after sunk at her anchors.

On the 2d Jan. 1801, the Court-Martial held to try Captain Sotheby, for the loss of the Marlborough, passed the following sentence:-

"That they were of opinion her loss was occasioned by her striking on the Bervadeux shoals, on the coast of France, which accident happened from the uncertain situation of the rocks; and Captain Sotheby's anxiety and zeal to carry his orders into execution, and being thereby so disabled as to render it impossible to save her; that no blame was imputable to Captain Sotheby, his Officers, or Ship's Company, for their conduct on that occasion; and that they afterwards did their utmost to preserve the ship and stores."

Our officer was next appointed to the Courageux, 74, and continued in that ship during the remainder of the war. His promotion to the rank of Rear-Admiral took place Nov. 9, 1805; he became a Vice-Admiral, July 31, 1810; and Admiral of the Blue, July 19, 1821. In the years 1808 and 1809, we finding him serving in the Channel fleet, with his flag in the Dreadnought of 98 guns.

Admiral Sotheby married the youngest daughter of Christopher Anstey, of Bath, Esq. That lady died at Clifton-Hill a near Bristol, in the month of April, 1802.