Edward Pellew, 1st Viscount Exmouth

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The 1st Viscount Exmouth
Edward Pellew, 1st Viscount Exmouth by James Northcote.jpg
Edward Pellew, 1st Viscount Exmouth
Born(1757-04-19)19 April 1757
Dover, England
Died23 January 1833(1833-01-23) (aged 75)
Teignmouth, Devon, England
AllegianceFlag of the United Kingdom.svg  United Kingdom
Service/branchNaval Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg  Royal Navy
Years of service1770–1820
RankAdmiral
Commands held East Indies Station
Mediterranean Fleet
Plymouth Command
Battles/wars American War of Independence
French Revolutionary Wars
Napoleonic Wars
Second Barbary War
Awards Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath
Relations Israel Pellew (brother)
Sir Edward Pellew by Sir Thomas Lawrence (detail) Sir Edward Pellew by Sir Thomas Lawrence (detail).jpg
Sir Edward Pellew by Sir Thomas Lawrence (detail)
Sir Edward Pellew by Patrick MacDowell, 1846, Greenwich Maritime Museum, London (close-up) Sir Edward Pellew by Patrick MacDowell, 1846, Greenwich Maritime Museum, London.jpg
Sir Edward Pellew by Patrick MacDowell, 1846, Greenwich Maritime Museum, London (close-up)

Admiral Edward Pellew, 1st Viscount Exmouth, GCB (19 April 1757 – 23 January 1833) was a British naval officer. He fought during the American War of Independence, the French Revolutionary Wars, and the Napoleonic Wars. His younger brother Israel Pellew also pursued a naval career.

Order of the Bath series of awards of an order of chivalry of the United Kingdom

The Most Honourable Order of the Bath is a British order of chivalry founded by George I on 18 May 1725. The name derives from the elaborate medieval ceremony for appointing a knight, which involved bathing as one of its elements. The knights so created were known as "Knights of the Bath". George I "erected the Knights of the Bath into a regular Military Order". He did not revive the Order of the Bath, since it had never previously existed as an Order, in the sense of a body of knights who were governed by a set of statutes and whose numbers were replenished when vacancies occurred.

French Revolutionary Wars series of conflicts fought between the French Republic and several European monarchies from 1792 to 1802

The French Revolutionary Wars were a series of sweeping military conflicts lasting from 1792 until 1802 and resulting from the French Revolution. They pitted France against Great Britain, Austria, Prussia, Russia and several other monarchies. They are divided in two periods: the War of the First Coalition (1792–97) and the War of the Second Coalition (1798–1802). Initially confined to Europe, the fighting gradually assumed a global dimension. After a decade of constant warfare and aggressive diplomacy, France had conquered a wide array of territories, from the Italian Peninsula and the Low Countries in Europe to the Louisiana Territory in North America. French success in these conflicts ensured the spread of revolutionary principles over much of Europe.

Napoleonic Wars Series of early 19th century European wars

The Napoleonic Wars (1803–1815) were a series of major conflicts pitting the French Empire and its allies, led by Napoleon I, against a fluctuating array of European powers formed into various coalitions, financed and usually led by the United Kingdom. The wars stemmed from the unresolved disputes associated with the French Revolution and its resultant conflict. The wars are often categorised into five conflicts, each termed after the coalition that fought Napoleon: the Third Coalition (1805), the Fourth (1806–07), the Fifth (1809), the Sixth (1813), and the Seventh (1815).

Contents

Childhood

Pellew was born at Dover, the second son of Samuel Pellew (1712–1764), commander of a Dover packet. [1] The family was Cornish, descended from a family that came originally from Normandy, but had for many centuries been settled in the west of Cornwall. Edward's grandfather, Humphrey Pellew (1650–1721), a merchant and ship owner, son of a naval officer, resided at Flushing manor-house in the parish of Mylor. Part of the town of Flushing was built by Samuel Trefusis, MP for Penryn; the other part was built by Humphrey Pellew, who was buried there. He also had a property and a tobacco plantation in Maryland. Part of the town of Annapolis stands on what was, before the revolt of the colonies, the estate of the Pellews. On the death of Edward's father in 1764 the family removed to Penzance, and Pellew was educated for some years at Truro Grammar School. [1] [2] He was a pugnacious youth, which did not endear him to his headmaster. He ran away to sea at the age of 14, but soon deserted because of unfair treatment to another midshipman.

Dover town and major ferry port in Kent, South East England

Dover is a major ferry port in Kent, South East England. It faces France across the Strait of Dover, the narrowest part of the English Channel, and lies south-east of Canterbury and east of Maidstone. The town is the administrative centre of the Dover District and home of the Dover Calais ferry through the Port of Dover. The surrounding chalk cliffs are known as the White Cliffs of Dover.

Packet boat small boat designed for domestic mail, passenger, and freight transportation

Packet boats were medium-sized boats designed for domestic mail, passenger, and freight transportation in European countries and their colonies, including North American rivers and canals. They were used extensively during the 18th and 19th centuries and featured regularly scheduled service.

Cornish people ethnic group

The Cornish people or Cornish are a Celtic ethnic group native to, or associated with Cornwall and a recognised national minority in the United Kingdom, which can trace its roots to the ancient Britons who inhabited southern and central Great Britain before the Roman conquest. Many in Cornwall today continue to assert a distinct identity separate from or in addition to English or British identities. Cornish identity has been adopted by migrants into Cornwall, as well as by emigrant and descendant communities from Cornwall, the latter sometimes referred to as the Cornish diaspora. Although not included as an explicit option in the UK census, the numbers of those claiming Cornish ethnic and national identity are officially recognised and recorded.

Early career

1770s

In 1770, Pellew entered the Royal Navy on board HMS Juno [1] with Captain John Stott, and made a voyage to the Falkland Islands. In 1772, he followed Stott to the Alarm, and in her was in the Mediterranean for three years. In consequence of a high-spirited quarrel with his captain, he was put on shore at Marseilles where he found an old friend of his father's in command of a merchant ship. He was able to get a passage to Lisbon and so home. He afterwards was in the Blonde which took General John Burgoyne to America in the spring of 1776 under the command of Captain Philemon Pownoll. In October, Pellew and midshipman Brown were detached for service in the Carleton tender on Lake Champlain under Lieutenant Dacres. During the Battle of Valcour Island on 11 October, Dacres and Brown were both severely wounded, and the command devolved on Pellew. Pellew extricated the vessel from a position of great danger by his personal gallantry. As a reward for his service, he was immediately appointed to command the Carleton. In December, Lord Howe promised him a commission as lieutenant when he could reach New York, and in the following January Lord Sandwich wrote promising to promote him when he came to England. In the summer of 1777, Pellew and a small party of seamen were attached to the army under Burgoyne, and he was present in the fighting at Saratoga, [1] where his youngest brother John was killed. He and the rest of the force were taken prisoner. After the surrender of Burgoyne at Saratoga, he was repatriated.

Royal Navy Maritime warfare branch of the United Kingdoms military

The Royal Navy (RN) is the United Kingdom's naval warfare force. Although warships were used by the English kings from the early medieval period, the first major maritime engagements were fought in the Hundred Years War against the Kingdom of France. The modern Royal Navy traces its origins to the early 16th century; the oldest of the UK's armed services, it is known as the Senior Service.

HMS <i>Juno</i> (1757)

HMS Juno was a 32-gun Richmond-class fifth-rate frigate of the Royal Navy. She was launched in 1757 and served throughout the American Revolutionary War until scuttled in 1778 to avoid capture.

Falkland Islands archipelago in the South Atlantic Ocean

The Falkland Islands is an archipelago in the South Atlantic Ocean on the Patagonian Shelf. The principal islands are about 300 miles east of South America's southern Patagonian coast, and about 752 miles from the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula, at a latitude of about 52°S. The archipelago, with an area of 4,700 square miles, comprises East Falkland, West Falkland and 776 smaller islands. As a British overseas territory, the Falklands have internal self-governance, and the United Kingdom takes responsibility for their defence and foreign affairs. The Falkland Islands' capital is Stanley on East Falkland.

He returned to England and was promoted on 9 January 1778 to be lieutenant of the Princess Amelia guardship at Portsmouth. He wanted to be appointed to a seagoing ship, but Lord Sandwich considered that he was bound by the terms of the surrender at Saratoga not to undertake any active service. Towards the end of the year, he was appointed to the Licorne which went out to Newfoundland in the spring of 1779, returning in the winter, when Pellew was moved into the Apollo with his old captain Pownoll. On 15 June 1780, the Apollo engaged a large French privateer, the Stanislaus, off Ostend. Pownoll was killed by a musket-shot, but Pellew continued the action and dismasted the Stanislaus, driving her on shore where she was protected by the neutrality of the coast. On the 18th, Lord Sandwich wrote to him: "I will not delay informing you that I mean to give you immediate promotion as a reward for your gallant and officer-like conduct." On 1 July, he was accordingly promoted to the command of the Hazard sloop, which was employed for the next six months on the east coast of Scotland and was then paid off.

Portsmouth City & unitary authority area in England

Portsmouth is a port city in Hampshire, England, with a total population of 205,400 residents. The city of Portsmouth is nicknamed Pompey and is mainly built on Portsea Island, a flat, low-lying island measuring 24 square kilometres in area, just off the south-east coast of Hampshire. Portsmouth is the only island city in the United Kingdom, and is the only city whose population density exceeds that of London.

Newfoundland (island) Island portion of Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada

Newfoundland is a large Canadian island off the east coast of the North American mainland, and the most populous part of the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador. It has 29 percent of the province's land area. The island is separated from the Labrador Peninsula by the Strait of Belle Isle and from Cape Breton Island by the Cabot Strait. It blocks the mouth of the Saint Lawrence River, creating the Gulf of Saint Lawrence, the world's largest estuary. Newfoundland's nearest neighbour is the French overseas community of Saint-Pierre and Miquelon.

The Action of 15 June 1780 was a minor naval engagement took place during the American War of Independence between a French privateer frigate and a Royal Navy 32-gun fifth-rate HMS Apollo off the coast near Ostend.

Peacetime service

In March 1782, Pellew was appointed to the Pelican, [1] a small French prize, so small indeed that he used to say "his servant could dress his hair from the deck while he sat in the cabin."[ citation needed ] On 28 April while cruising on the coast of Brittany, he engaged three privateers and drove them on shore. In special reward for this service, he was promoted to post rank on 25 May [1] and, ten days later, was appointed to the temporary command of the Artois, [1] in which he captured a large frigate-built privateer on 1 July.

Brittany Historical province in France

Brittany is a cultural region in the west of France, covering the western part of what was known as Armorica during the period of Roman occupation. It became an independent kingdom and then a duchy before being united with the Kingdom of France in 1532 as a province governed as if it were a separate nation under the crown.

Privateer private person or ship authorized by a government to attack foreign shipping

A privateer is a private person or ship that engages in maritime warfare under a commission of war. The commission, also known as a letter of marque, empowers the person to carry on all forms of hostility permissible at sea by the usages of war, including attacking foreign vessels during wartime and taking them as prizes. Historically, captured ships were subject to condemnation and sale under prize law, with the proceeds divided between the privateer sponsors, shipowners, captains and crew. A percentage share usually went to the issuer of the commission. Since robbery under arms was once common to seaborne trade, all merchant ships were already armed. During war, naval resources were auxiliary to operations on land so privateering was a way of subsidizing state power by mobilizing armed ships and sailors.

From 1786 to 1789, he commanded the Winchelsea frigate on the Newfoundland station, [1] returning home each winter by Cadiz and Lisbon. Afterwards, he commanded the Salisbury on the same station as flag-captain to Vice-admiral Milbanke. In 1791, he was placed on half-pay and tried his hand at farming on Treverry Farm near Helston, a property owned by his brother who was a senior customs officer of Flushing. This met with indifferent success, during which time he attempted to sell a bull, only to find that it was in the ownership of a neighbouring farmer.

HMS Winchelsea was a 32-gun fifth-rate Niger-class frigate of the Royal Navy, and was the sixth Royal Navy ship to bear this name. She was ordered during the Seven Years' War, but completed too late for that conflict. She cost £11,515-18-0d to build.

Lisbon Capital city in Lisbon Metropolitan Area, Portugal

Lisbon is the capital and the largest city of Portugal. With an estimated population of 505,526 within its administrative limits in an area of 100.05 km2, Lisbon's urban area extends beyond the city's administrative limits with a population of around 2.8 million people, being the 11th-most populous urban area in the European Union. About 3 million people live in the Lisbon Metropolitan Area, including the Portuguese Riviera,. It is mainland Europe's westernmost capital city and the only one along the Atlantic coast. Lisbon lies in the western Iberian Peninsula on the Atlantic Ocean and the River Tagus. The westernmost portions of its metro area form the westernmost point of Continental Europe, which is known as Cabo da Roca, located in the Sintra Mountains.

Admiral Mark Milbanke was a British naval officer and colonial governor.

The Russians offered him a command in the Russian navy but Pellew declined the offer. He was still struggling with the difficulties of his farm when the revolutionary government of France declared war on Great Britain on 1 February 1793.

Wartime service

Pellew immediately applied for a ship and was appointed to the Nymphe , a 36-gun frigate which he fitted out in a remarkably short time. He had expected a good deal of difficulty in manning her and had enlisted some 80 Cornish miners who were sent round to the ship at Spithead. He put to sea with these and about a dozen seamen, plus officers who were obliged to help in the work aloft. He filled his complement of crew by pressing from the merchant ships in the Channel, but with very few seasoned navy men. On 18 June, Nymphe sailed from Falmouth on the news that two French frigates had been seen in the Channel.

At the Action of 18 June 1793, Nymphe fell in with the Cléopâtre , also of 36 guns and commanded by Captain Jean Mullon, one of the few officers of the ancien régime who still remained in the French navy. After a short but very sharp action, Cléopâtre's mizenmast and wheel were shot away, making the ship unmanageable, and it fell foul of the Nymphe. Pellew's crew boarded her in a fierce rush and captured her. Mullon was mortally wounded, and died trying to swallow his commission which he had mistaken for the code of secret signals in his dying agony. The code thus fell intact into Pellew's hands, who sent them to the admiralty. Cléopâtre was the first frigate taken in the war and was brought to Portsmouth. Earl of Chatham presented Pellew to the king on 29 June, and the king knighted him. [1]

Pellew transferred to HMS Arethusa in December 1793. In 1794, Arethusa was part of the western squadron of frigates based at Falmouth under Sir John Borlase Warren. On 23 April, the squadron engaged one of these[ clarification needed ] to the southwest of Guernsey, the stronger British force quickly overpowering their opponents in an action where Arethusa played the primary role in fighting the Pomone, at the time the largest frigate in service. Pomone surrendered after an engagement that lasted less than half an hour. The French had suffered between 80 and 100 casualties; Arethusa had only three dead and five wounded. Warren's squadron went on to destroy one frigate and capture another. They also drove ashore the corvettes Alerte and Espion , both of which had been Royal Navy sloops. Pellew refused to burn either ship, as they contained wounded men, and the French later refloated Espion. The squadron also captured many vessels from French coastal convoys.

Service in the French Revolutionary War

Edward Pellew in uniform Sir Edward Pellew.JPG
Edward Pellew in uniform

By 1794, he was Commodore of the Western Frigate Squadron. In 1795, he took command of HMS Indefatigable, the ship with which he is most closely associated. The squadron also comprised the frigates HMS Argo, Concord, Révolutionnaire, and Amazon. [3]

He was a good swimmer and noted for saving the lives of several seamen who had fallen overboard. The most striking life-saving event was on 26 January 1796 when the East Indiaman Dutton was carrying more than four hundred troops, together with many women and children, when it ran aground under Plymouth Hoe. Due to the heavy seas, the crew and soldiers aboard were unable to get to shore. Pellew swam out to the wreck with a line and, with help from young Irishman Jeremiah Coghlan, helped rig a lifeline that saved almost all aboard. For this feat he was created a baronet on 18 March 1796. [4]

On 13 April 1796, off the coasts of Ireland, his squadron captured the French frigate Unité, and the Virginie nine days later.

His most noted action was the Action of 13 January 1797, cruising in company with HMS Amazon, when the British sighted the French 74-gun ship of the line Droits de l'Homme. Normally, a ship of the line would over-match two frigates, but by skillful sailing in the stormy conditions, the frigates avoided bearing the brunt of the superior firepower of the French. In the early morning of 14 January, the three ships were embayed on a lee shore in Audierne Bay. Both the Droits de l'Homme and Amazon ran aground, but Indefatigable managed to claw her way off the lee shore to safety. [1]

Pellew was also responsible for pressing young violinist and composer Joseph Antonio Emidy who had been playing in the Lisbon Opera orchestra.

Admiralcy and peerage

Edward Pellew, Lord Exmouth EdwardPellew.jpg
Edward Pellew, Lord Exmouth

Pellew was promoted to Rear Admiral in 1804. He was appointed Commander-in-Chief of the East Indies Station. It took six months to sail out to Penang, so he took up the appointment in 1805. Following his return from the east in 1809, he was appointed to the position of Commander-in-Chief, North Sea from 1810 to 1811 [5] and Commander-in-Chief, Mediterranean Fleet, from 1811 to 1814, [1] and again from 1815 to 1816. [6]

Painting of the Bombardment of Algiers by George Chambers Sr. Bombardment of Algiers 1816 by Chambers.jpg
Painting of the Bombardment of Algiers by George Chambers Sr.

In 1814, he was made Baron Exmouth of Canonteign. In 1816, he led an Anglo-Dutch fleet against the Barbary states. Victory at the Bombardment of Algiers secured the release of the 1,200 Christian slaves in the city. [1] For this action, he was created 1st Viscount Exmouth on 10 December 1816. [1] Following his return to England, he became Commander-in-Chief, Plymouth from 1817 to 1821, [7] when he effectively retired from active service. He continued to attend and speak in the House of Lords. In 1832, he was appointed Vice-Admiral of the United Kingdom and Admiral of the Red Squadron of His Majesty's Fleet, Knight Grand Cross of the Most Honourable Military Order of the Bath, also of the Royal and distinguished Order of Charles the Third of Spain, of the Military Order of William of the Netherlands, of the Royal Sicilian Order of St. Ferdinand and Merit, of the Military Order of St. Maurice and St. Lazare of Sardinia, Knight of the Most Honourable and Most Ancient Order of the Annunciation of the Royal House of Savoy, High Steward of Great Yarmouth, and one of the Elder Brethren of the Hon. Corporation of the Trinity House.

He bought Bitton House in Teignmouth in 1812 and it was his home until his death in 1833. He was buried in Christow on the eastern edge of Dartmoor on 30 Jan 1833. A note on the parish burial record states, "No Singing, No Sermon". The museum in Teignmouth has a comprehensive collection of artefacts that belonged to him. [8]

Marriage and family

On 28 May 1783, Pellew married Susan Frowde. [1] They had four sons and two daughters. These children were: [9]

Geographical namesakes

The Sir Edward Pellew Group of Islands situated in the Gulf of Carpentaria were named after Pellew by Matthew Flinders, who visited them in 1802. Other Australian geographical features include Cape Pellew (adjacent to the islands) and Exmouth Gulf.

Point Pellew, Alaska was named after Pellew by Captain George Vancouver during his expedition in 1794. [10]

Palau (formerly the Pellew or Pelew Islands), east of the Philippines, is often said to be named for Edward Pellew, but it was called that by Captain Henry Wilson in 1783 which was well before Pellew came to prominence. It appears to be an anglicization of the indigenous name Belau.

There is also a building named after him in HMS Raleigh, where Naval basic training is conducted, that is used as sleeping quarters for new recruits. Additionally, a Sea Cadet Unit in Truro is called T.S. Pellew.

A building at Wyvern Barracks in Exeter, Devon is used as a temporary billet and a training facility for the Army Cadet force as well as other units. It was handed over to the army from the navy. However, it retains the name Pellew House in memory of Sir Edward Pellew, 1st Viscount Exmouth.

Fictional appearances

Pellew is featured as the Captain of Indefatigable in some of C. S. Forester's fictional Horatio Hornblower novels. In the television adaptations, he is portrayed by Robert Lindsay and given a more prominent role. He appears as a midshipman in the novel Jack Absolute by Chris Humphreys. Pellew is the name of a minor character in several of Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey-Maturin novels, including The Reverse of the Medal and The Surgeon's Mate . He has a small role as a captain in the American Revolution in Rabble in Arms , a historical novel by Kenneth Roberts. He appears in Alexander Kent's Adam Bolitho novel Relentless Pursuit , which partially relates to Pellew's expedition against the Barbary States.

Notes

  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 "Edward Pellew at Oxford Dictionary of National Biography". Oxforddnb.com. Retrieved 3 April 2011.
  2. Nicholas Carlisle, A concise description of the endowed grammar schools in England, vol. 1 (1818), p. 151
  3. Campagnes, thriomphes, revers, désastres et guerres civiles des Français de 1792 à la paix de 1856, F. Ladimir et E. Moreau. Librairie Populaire des Villes et des Campagnes, 1856 Tome 5, pp.42-43
  4. Moseley, Brian (11 January 2011). "The "Dutton" and Captain Edward Pellew". The Encyclopaedia of Plymouth History. Archived from the original on 28 September 2013. Retrieved 12 February 2015.
  5. A New Biographical Dictionary, of 3000 Cotemporary Public Characters, British and Foreign, of All Ranks and Professions. G. B. Whittaker. 1835. p. 36.
  6. Parkinson, pp. 417, 470.
  7. "Dix Noonan Webb". Dnw.co.uk. 12 June 1991. Retrieved 3 April 2011.
  8. "Teignmouth & Shaldon Museum". Devonmuseums.net. 2006. Archived from the original on 2 May 2008. Retrieved 2 December 2007.
  9. Lodge, Edmund (1844). The Peerage of the British Empire as at Present Existing. London: Saunders and Otley. p. 216.
    and Burke's Peerage (99th ed.). 1949. p. 732., for dates of death that occurred after Lodge was published.
  10. Orth, Donald J., "Dictionary of Alaska Place Names", page 747, U.S. Government Printing Office, 1967.

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References

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
John Clevland
Richard Wilson
Member of Parliament for Barnstaple
1802–1804
With: William Devaynes
Succeeded by
William Devaynes
Viscount Ebrington
Military offices
Preceded by
Peter Rainier
Commander-in-Chief, East Indies Station
(jointly with Thomas Troubridge)

1804–1809
Succeeded by
William O'Bryen Drury
Preceded by
Sir Richard Strachan
Commander-in-Chief, North Sea
1810–1811
Succeeded by
Sir William Young
Preceded by
Sir Charles Cotton
Commander-in-Chief, Mediterranean Fleet
1811–1814
Succeeded by
Sir Charles Penrose
Preceded by
Sir Charles Penrose
Commander-in-Chief, Mediterranean Fleet
1815–1816
Succeeded by
Sir Charles Penrose
Preceded by
Sir John Duckworth
Commander-in-Chief, Plymouth
1817–1821
Succeeded by
Sir Alexander Cochrane
Honorary titles
Preceded by
The Lord de Saumarez
Vice-Admiral of the United Kingdom
1832–1833
Succeeded by
Sir Edward Thornbrough
Peerage of the United Kingdom
New creation Viscount Exmouth
1816–1833
Succeeded by
Pownoll Pellew
Baron Exmouth
1814–1833
Baronetage of Great Britain
New creation Baronet
(of Treverry)
1796–1833
Succeeded by
Pownoll Pellew