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Royal Naval Biography/Tucker, William (b)


WILLIAM TUCKER (a), Esq.
[Commander.]

Was made a lieutenant on the 26th Dec. 1822; and served with great credit under Commodore Bullen, on the African station, in 1824, 5, and 6.

On the 6th Sept. in the latter year, after capturing a beautiful Spanish schooner, the Nicanor, with 176 slaves on board. Lieutenant Tucker, then commanding the Maidstone’s tender, Hope, a schooner of five guns and twenty-six men, was ordered to scour the Bight of Benin, and examine more particularly Lago, Whydah, and Badagry. At Whydah there were no less than twelve vessels waiting for slaves; and one of these, a Brazilian brig of nine guns and seventy-six men, was taken by the Hope, after a gallant action of two hours and a half. A letter written by an officer of the squadron gives us the following particulars:–

“One of those vessels, a fine brig of 287 tons, had just come over from Rio Janeiro, with her water filled, slave-deck laid, and farina and yams on board. She was by her papers allowed to take 701 slaves. After examining her. Lieutenant Tucker was convinced she would be off in the course of a day or two; and, running out of sight, placed himself in a situation likely to intercept her. As he suspected, so it turned out, for the Hope was no sooner lost sight of, than the brig began to embark slaves, and in the course of three hours put to sea, with 587 men, women, and children on board. The next morning Tucker saw her, not far off, and, after a chase of twenty-eight hours, began an action with her, which was severely contested for two hours and a half, when, the Hope having two guns dismounted. Tucker made up his mind to board her, he being at this tune slightly wounded. Under a fine young man (Mr. Robert Lamport Pengelly) who headed the boarders, a sharp conflict took place, but the Brazilians at length laid down their arms and called for quarter. Pengelly was shot in the side in boarding, but went on. The brig had thirteen men killed and twelve wounded: the Hope not a man slain, and oidy three persons wounded: three of the poor Africans were killed and eleven wounded.

The commander of the Hope and his gallant assistant were both promoted on the 9th Dec. 1826. The former married, in Oct. 1827, Susannah Fortune, third daughter of Thomas Selby, Esq., of Otford Castle, Kent; the latter was lately serving as lieutenant of the Asia 84, on the Mediterranean station.