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Royal Naval Biography/Warren, Frederick

[Post-Captain of 1801.]

This officer is a son of the late Richard Warren, M.D.[1] by Elizabeth, daughter of Dr. Shaw, a celebrated physician. He was born in London, March 1775; and entered the naval service in March 1789. After serving for three years as a Midshipman on board the Adamant of 50 guns, bearing the flag of Sir Richard Hughes, on the Halifax station, he joined the Lion 64, commanded by Sir Erasmus Gower, by whom he was appointed to act as a Lieutenant of that ship, during Lord Macartney’s embassy to China in 1793.

The Lion returned to Spithead, Sept. 6, 1794; and towards the close of the same year, Mr. Warren received a commission from the Admiralty, appointing him second Lieutenant of the Jason frigate, commanded by Captain Charles Stirling; in which ship he was actively employed on the coast of France till 1797, when he removed into the Latona as first Lieutenant. Soon after this latter appointment he obtained the rank of Commander in the Shark sloop of war, on the Newfoundland station, where he continued till the latter end of 1798; when his vessel was ordered home and put out of commission.

Early in 1800, Captain Warren was appointed to the Fairy of 18 guns. After cruising for a short time in the Channel, he proceeded to the West Indies, and remained on that station, employed principally on the coasts of Surinam and Demerara, until advanced to post rank, May 12, 1801. About Oct. following he joined the Amphitrite frigate, lying as a guard-ship at the Needles; and on the renewal of the war in 1803, we find him commanding the Dundee district of Sea Fencibles. In 1806 he commissioned the Daedalus of 32 guns, convoyed a fleet of merchantmen to Jamaica, and made several captures on that station. In April 1808, he was appointed to the Meleager, rated at 36 guns; and on the 30th July following had the misfortune to be wrecked on Barebush Key, near Port Royal. A court-martial, as is usual in such cases, being afterwards assembled to enquire into his conduct on that occasion, he was fully acquitted of all blame on account of the loss of his ship, and complimented for his exertions after she had struck.

Captain Warren’s next appointment was, in May 1809, to command the Melpomene frigate on the Baltic station, during the absence of her proper Captain, the late Sir Peter Parker. Whilst at anchor in the Belt, about a mile from the shore, during a perfect calm, and very dark night, the Melpomene was attacked by twenty large Danish gun^boats, whose crews attempted to board her, but without success: the action lasted from 10h 30' P.M. till day-light on the following morning, when the enemy retreated to the shore, leaving the British frigate with several men killed and wounded, and her hull and rigging much damaged. For his gallantry on this critical occasion he received the public thanks of the commander-in-chief, who attributed the safety of more than a hundred sail of merchant vessels, then about six miles distant from the Melpomene, to the exertions made by that ship.

The Melpomene was subsequently employed under the orders of Captain T. Byam Martin in the Gulf of Finland, where her boats assisted at the capture and destruction of several Russian gun-boats and a number of merchant vessels, some of which were laden with naval stores. She returned to England at the end of the year; and Sir Peter Parker having resumed his command, Captain Warren was immediately appointed to the Argo 44, in which ship he soon after sailed for St. Helena, and from thence convoyed home a large fleet of East Indiamen.

On the 28th Nov. 1810, the subject of this memoir was tried by a court-martial at Portsmouth, for not proceeding to Quebec, in compliance with orders from the Admiralty, to escort the trade from thence to England. The court, after hearing the evidence adduced on the part of the prosecution, as also what Captain Warren had to allege in his defence, agreed that the reasons assigned by him for his conduct (arising from the lateness of the season and the bad state of the weather) were perfectly satisfactory, and did therefore adjudge him to be acquitted.

Early in 1811, the Argo was placed under the orders of Sir Joseph Sydney Yorke, then about to sail with a reinforcement of troops for the British army in Portugal[2]. She subsequently took out an Algerine ambassador, and conveyed Sir Robert Liston and suite to Constantinople. Captain Warren resigned the command of that ship in Oct. 1812; and from March till August 1814, commanded the Clarence of 74 guns, attached to the Channel fleet.

He married in 1804, Mary, only daughter of the late Rear-Admiral Laird, by whom he has two sons and one daughter. His eldest son is a student at the Royal Naval College[3]. Captain Warren has four brothers now living, viz. 1, Charles, Chief Justice of Chester; 2, John, Dean of Bangor; 3, Henry, Rector of Farnham, and Prebendary of Bangor; and 4, Pelham, a Physician in London. His late uncle was Bishop of Bangor.

Agent.– Harry Cook, Esq.

  1. Dr. Warren was Physician to his late Majesty, and our present Monarch when Prince of Wales.
  2. See vol. I. p. 439.
  3. Rear-Admiral Laird of Strathmartine House, near Dundee, died in Sept. 1812.