A Biographical Memoir of Sir Cloudesly Shovel.
Originally printed in the March, 1815, issue of The Naval Chronicle. The portrait was engraved by one "Blood" but no artist credit was given.
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(I have followed the spellings and usages of the original text in this transcription, which may be different from the spelling used in the rest of the site, and from modern spellings and usages).
A braver chief, to distant lands
Ne`er guided his victorious bands;
Ne`er beheld a chief more brave
His ships of battle plough the wave,
His heart impell`d by conscious might,
With eager transport sought the fight.
The lapse of a century and more since the reigns of Charles the Second, James the Second, William and Anne, has so reduced the prominency of the transactions of their respective reigns, that, as matters of interest to the reader of the present day, some doubt may be reasonably entertained of their eligibility. Yet, as necessary links in the concatenation of our Naval History (which, though not historically digested, the Biography of the NAVAL CHRONICLE is intended to supply materials for), they will be found consistent with our plan, although we shall always give a preference to communications of more recent date.
The period of Sir Cloudesley Shovel`s birth is not precisely ascertained, Campbell says about the year 1650; that his parents were but in middling circumstances, and that the name of Cloudesley was given him with a view to conciliate the notice of a relation, who had the ability to befriend him: it does not appear, however, that he derived from it any more than a nominal advantage; he was destined to be the fabricator of his own fortune, and to be enriched by means more honourable to himself.
Campbell also says that he was apprenticed to a mean trade, he thinks that of a shoe-maker, and to which he applied himself for some years; but afterwards betook himself to sea, as a cabin-boy, under the protection of Sir John Narborough. If we may be allowed to suppose that he was of the usual age of fourteen when he entered his apprenticeship, and was attached to his trade some years, he must have been most rapidly advanced in the naval service, or we must place some years back the period of his birth, for we find him, in 1675, lieutenant in the Henrietta, flag-ship of Sir John Narborough. That he merited such promotion there is every reason to believe, as he applied himself with such diligence and success to the studies of his profession, as soon to become an accomplished seaman.
The service that first distinguished him, was in an expedition to Tripoli, the corsairs of which had very much annoyed our traders in the Mediterranean. The squadron appeared before Tripoli on the 14th January, in the year 1676. The enemy were, however, fully prepared; and Sir John Narborough, who had the command, determined to try, previously, the effect of negotiation, confining his demands on the Dey to satisfaction for the past, and security for the future, and appointed Mr. Shovel to negotiate the terms. But though he delivered his message with great spirit and propriety, his youth was despised, and he was sent hack with an indefinite answer.
The answer was not the sole result of his embassy; Mr. Shovel had made some important observations, and reported them also to Sir John Narborough, who sent him with a second message, and with directions for farther inquiry and observation. Mr. Shovel only experienced fresh insolence on the part of the Dey; and on his return to the Admiral, assured him, that, notwithstanding their lines and forts, they might burn the ships in the harbour: he was of course appointed to make good his assertion; and in the night of the 4th of March, with all the boats of the squadron, filled with combustible matter, he entered the harbour. The night was extremely dark, and Lieutenant Shovel, having first seized the guard-boat, proceeded to the destruction of the ships, viz. The White Eagle Crowned, of 50 guns; the Looking- Glass, of 36 guns; the Santa Clara, of 34 guns, and a French vessel, of 20; the object was completely effected, and he returned to the squadron without the loss of a single man.
The Tripolines, amazed by the boldness and success of this enterprise, immediately sued for peace; but still refusing to make good the losses sustained by the English, they brought on themselves an increased degree of punishment - the town was cannonaded - but they were still obstinate - a body of men was landed in a distant part, who burned a large magazine of timber, stored for the building of ships; they were still inflexible, and Sir John Narborough sailed to Malta; thence having suddenly returned, he distressed them to that degree, that they were glad to submit to the terms enjoined. This peace was of short duration - some Corsairs returning into port, flushed with the profits of their piracy, deposed the Dey for making it, and resumed their depredations on the English trade. Sir John Narborongh, who had not quitted the Mediterranean, having notice of these events, suddenly appeared with eight frigates before Tripoli, and began to batter the place with a violence so evident of intended destruction,that the inhabitants were again compelled to peace, and to deliver up to condign punishment the men who had caused the violation of it. The official reports of Sir John Narborough relative to the proceedings of the squadron, had contained such an honourable representation of Lieutenant Shovel`s zeal and exertions, that he was the next year appointed to command the Sapphire, a fifth rate, and soon after removed into the James, a fourth rate, in which he remained till the death of King Charles II. who had always looked upon him with kindness. On the accession of James, though there was but little friendship between them, he continued to be employed, and was removed to the command of the Dover, of equal rate. He was thus employed when the revolution was effected in favour of William, who in Captain Shovel had a zealous partizan, and he rewarded his zeal by a rapid and distinguished promotion.
On the 12th of December, 1688, King James II abdicated the throne, and withdrew to France. On the 7th of March in the following year, having obtained the assistance of Louis XIV he embarked at Brest to oppose William in Ireland; but was detained by contrary winds till the 17th, when he set sail, escorted by a fleet of twenty-four ships of the line, and on the 22d landed at Kinsale.
On the 22d of February, in consequence of James`s proceedings, thirty ships of war were put in commission, under the command of Admiral Herbert, to intercept him in his passage; but, as is too commonly the case, the disputes in council, and other impediments, retarded the final preparation of the armament till the beginning of April, and then it was so incomplete, that the Admiral was obliged to sail with but a part of his force, consisting of twelve ships of war, one fire-ship, two yachts, and two smacks: of this fleet Captain Shovel commanded the Edgar, a third rate. The admiral first sailed for Corke, where he was informed that King James had landed at Kinsale about two months before. His thoughts were then directed to the best means of cutting off the convoy that had sailed with him from France, and he sailed for Brest, off which port he cruised for some time ; but hearing nothing from the advice-boats, of the French men of war, he again steered his course for the Irish coast, having increased his force to nineteen sail, and appeared off Kinsale the latter end of April.
On the 29th of that month he perceived a fleet of forty-four sail, which he supposed going into Kinsale, and endeavoured to prevent it. The next day he was informed that the enemy were gone into Baltimore, but arriving there, he found his information false. He then stood for Cape Clear, and in the evening discovered them standing into Bantry Bay.
Admiral Herbert was prepared to attack them next morning. The French had in the meantime shipped on board six fire-ships a considerable sum of money from on board the men of war, which, with four merchant ships laden with arms, bridles, saddles, powder and ball, for the use of King James's army, they sent away, with orders to land their supplies at a distant part of the bay, while they engaged the English fleet. At ten in the morning of the 1st of May, the French fleet, of twenty- four sail of the line, bore down upon the English, in three divisions the foremost consisted of eight ships, under the command of M. Caheret; the second, of the like force, commanded by Admiral Chateau Renault; the third consisted of the remaining eight ships, commanded by M. Forant. For the first two hours the action was maintained with equal valour on both sides, but the English fleet was considerably damaged by the superior fire of the enemy. The endeavours of the English Admiral were strenuously exerted to obtain the weather-gage, but the French Admiral, Chateau Renault, with equal skill and perseverance, kept his wind. Admiral Herbert perceiving it useless to contend against a force so superior, stood off to sea, maintaining a running fight till five in the afternoon, when the French Admiral tacked about, and returned into the bay.
In the expectation of a reinforcement, Admiral Herbert retired to the Isles of Scilly. His expectations were disappointed, and he returned to Portsmouth - himself greatly chagrined, and such a general spirit of dissatisfaction pervading the fleet, that King William, in order to appease their discontent, made an excursion to Portsmouth, where he dined with the Admiral on hoard the Elizabeth, declared his intention of creating him an Earl, conferred the honour of Knighthood on the Captains Ashby and Shovel, and bestowed a donation of ten shillings on every private sailor. The loss on the part of the English in this action was one captain (Ailmer), one lieutenant, and ninety-four men, the wounded were about three hundred. The King made a provision for Mrs. Ailmer, and the other widows of those who had been killed in the action. King William having resolved to prosecute the war in person, on the 11th of June he embarked his forces on hoard two hundred and eighty transports, escorted by a squadron of six men of war, the command of which was given to Sir Cloudesley Shovel, and so satisfied was the King with his diligence and dexterity, that he not only appointed him rear- admiral of the blue, but with his own hands delivered him his commission.
Information having been received, that the enemy intended to send upwards of twenty small frigates into St. George`s Channel, for the purpose of burning the transport ships, Sir Cloudesley was ordered to cruise off Scilly, or such other station as might appear to him most eligible for preventing the enemy`s design, and to despatch frigates to the eastward and westward, to watch for the appearance of the body of the Freneh fleet, that he might secure his own safety, and on meeting with Vice admiral Killigrew on his return from the Straits, to apprize him of the state of things, in order to prevent his being intercepted. In pursuance of these directions, Sir Cloudesley cruised on the appointed station, and on the 21st of July, the Dover and Experiment joined him from the coast of Ireland, with a ketch, having on board several gentlemen following King James to France, for the purpose of joining him in his intended expedition to England. From these gentlemen Sir Cloudesley learned that King James had embarked at Duncannon for Kinsale, where, having remained for about two hours, he sailed for France with two Spanish frigates, that had awaited him there some time.
This cruise of observation, though diligently performed, had not effected much; but in the attack of Waterford by General Kirke, Sir Cloudesley`s zeal and diligence were more effectively beneficial.- General Kirke presented himself before the strong town of Waterford with a small body of troops, and no cannon; the besieged general, Bourke, supported by a numerous garrison in Duncannon Castle, and conscious of the weakness of his enemy magnanimously declared his resolution to defend the town and fort, while one stone remained on another. Sir Cloudesley rightly guessing the basis of this boast, sent word to General Kirke that he was ready to assist him with guns, boats, and men; the general accepted the proposal - the prudence of General Bourke took place of his valour, and before one stone was dislodged from another, the place was surrendered.
In the month of January, 1691, Sir Cloudesley was ordered to join Sir George Rook`s squadron, to escort the King to Holland. On the 13th of April the King returned to England, when having transacted some business relative to the fleet and other affairs of importance, he embarked again for Holland on the 1st of May, and on the 18th of October following, returned in the Mary yacht to England, attended by a squadron of men of war under command of Sir Cloudesley. He had now obtained the full confidence, both of the King and people, and previously to the King`s departure for Holland, in the spring of the year 1692, his Majesty declared Sir Cloudesley Rear-admiral of the red, and at the same time commander of the squadron that was to convoy him thither. On his return, he joined the grand fleet under Admiral Russel, who had succeeded the Earl of Torrington in that command, and was cruising in the Soundings for the protection of the trade, and in search of the fleet of France, which had sailed from Brest, under the command of the Count de Tourville.
The partizans of King James had been sufficiently industrious in procuring and transmitting intelligence to him, of the strength both of his friends and enemies. They had sent him a list of the ships composing the English fleet, and urged him to obtain the French King`s order to the Count de Tourville to attack it before it should be joined by the Dutch squadron. Tourville had accordingly received orders to engage the English fleet, without waiting even for the junction of the Toulon squadron, commanded by the Marquis D`Etres. The activity and Vigilance of William were, however, of that constant nature, and the fidelity of his friends so steady in its principle, and zealous in its co-operation, to detect and frustrate the plots and plans of his enemies, that King James was almost invariably either prevented in his designs, or ultimately baffled in the execution of them: William in this instance so urged the equipment of the Dutch squadron, that the junction was effected before Tourville could make his attack. On the 11th of May, Admiral Russel sailed from Rye to St. Helens, Admiral Carter having been previously ordered to cruise along the French coast, with eighteen sail, to watch the motions of the enemy. At St. Helen`s he was joined by the squadrons of Delaval and Carter. And there he received a letter from the Earl of Nottingham, intimating, that a report having been spread that the Queen suspected the fidelity of the sea-officers, her Majesty had ordered a declaration to be made in her name, that she reposed in them the utmost confidence, and believed the report to have been raised by the enemies of the government. In answer to this declaration, a respectful and loyal addrcss was drawn up by the flag-officers and captains, and was graciously received by the Queen, and published for the satisfaction of the nation. Much certainly depended on the event of the action, and a solemn and formal profession of the attachment of the fleet to the cause of William, might be desirable, as a means of fixing the less steady among his partizans. The Dutch squadrons, commanded by Allemonde, Callemberg, and Vandergoes, having joined, Admiral Russel sailed for the coast of France on the l8th of May, with a fleet of ninety-nine ships of the line, besides frigates and fire-ships.
About three o`clock in the morning of the next day, the enemy was discovered - the signal for the line-of-battle was made, and by eight o`clock the whole was formed in good order, the Dutch in the van, the blue squadrou in the rear, and the red in the centre. The French force was considerably inferior, not consisting of more than sixty-three ships of the line - they were to windward, and Tourville might have avoided the engagement; but the positive orders he had received, and his ignorance, till too late, of the junction of the Dutch with the English fleet, may account for his commencing an action, otherwise of inexcusable temerity, it appeared the French King had been apprised of the junction, and had despatched, by two several vessels, a countermanding order; but one of these vessels was captured by the English, and the other did not arrive till the day after the action. At 10 o`clock, Tourville bore down upon Russel`s own ship, and at eleven this memorable battle commenced. The action between the ships of the Admirals Russel and Tourville was maintained with great fury, and at short distance, till one o`clock, when the rigging and sails of the French Admiral`s ship, the Royal Sun, carrying one hundred and four guns, were so damaged, that she was towed out of the line. The general engagement was continued till three, when the fleets were parted by a thick fog. On the fog clearing up, the enemy was discerned steering to the northward, in a disordered and scattered state. Admiral Russel then made the signal for a general chase, but the fog coming on still thicker, he was obliged to anchor. The chase was again renewed on the weather clearing up, and about eight in the evening the fleet got up with the enemy, and renewed the action for about half an hour, when having lost four of their ships in this day's action, they bore away for Conquet Road. In this part of the engagement Admiral Carter was killed.
About eight in the morning of the next day, they were discovered crowding away to the westward, and were chased by the combined fleets with all the sail they could carry, until Rssssel`s fore-top-mast came by the board. The Admiral was retarded by the accident, but the fleet continued the chase till near Cape La Hogue, where they anchored. On the 22d, about seven in the morning, part of the French fleet was perceived near the Race of Alderney. Admiral Russel and the ships near him, slipped their cables and chased. The Royal Sun ran ashore near Cherbourg, having lost her masts, where she was burned by Sir Ralph Delaval, together with the Admirable, another first rate, and the Conquerant, of eighty guns. Sir George Rooke pursued eighteen other ships of the fleet into La Hogue, attacked and destroyed them, with a great number of transports, laden with ammunition, in the midst of an incessant fire from the enemy. The rest of the French fleet were pursued by Sir John Ashby, and some Dutch ships, but they escaped through the Race of Alderney by such a dangerous passage, that the English, without the most imminent hazard, could not venture to follow them.
During the action between the two admirals in the commencement of the engagement, the brave Sir Cloudesley had, with extraordinary exertion, weathered the French admiral`s own squadron, and got between it and their admiral of the blue, but after firing upon them a considerable time, the two French admirals came to an anchor with some of the ships of their division, the fog being so dense that they could not discern each other. It was about this time that Captain Hastings, in the Sandwich, driving through the enemy`s ships, his anchors not being clear, was killed.
The result of this battle occasioned infinite mortification to the French King, and the utmost degree of despondency to King James. But though James and his ally were thus sensible of the consequences of their defeat, there were some among the writers of that day who were not equally sensible of, or satisfied with, the advantages of our victory; the destruction of the enemy`s force had not, in their opinion, been followed up to its possible extent. The following letters of Sir Ralph Delaval, and Admiral Russel, to the Earl of Nottingham, may be sufficient to show that there was no want of zeal and exertion in the officers of the fleet to perform their duty to the utmost of their power.
SIR RALPH DELEVAL`S LETTER TO THE EARL OF NOTTINGHAM,
[From on board the Royal Sovereign]
"I believe it my duty to acquaint you, that, on the 21st instant Admiral Russel having made the signal for the fleet to cut their cables, I observed the French to be forced from the Race of Alderney, were they anchored, to the eastward; and, finding that some of them endeavonred for the bay of Cherburgh, I stood in for that place, where I found three three-decked ships of time enemy, but so close to the shore, and within some rocks, that It was not safe for me to attempt them till I had informed myself of the road, they being hauled into shoal water. I immediately took my boats, and sounded within gun-shot of them, which they endeavoured to prevent by firing at us. And, that no time might be lost, I went immediately on board the St. Alban`s, where, for the encouragement of the seamen, I hoisted my flag, and, having ordered the Ruby, with two fire-ships, to attend me, I stood in with them, leaving the great ships without, as drawing too much water. But, coming very near, they galled so extremely, and finding time five ships could not get in, that I judged it best to retreat without shot, and there anchored, and immediately called all the captains, when it was resolved to attack them in the morning with all the third and fourth rates, and fire-ships. But, after having drawn them into four fathoms and a half of water, I found we could not do our business, the water being shoal, Upon which I ordered three fire-ships to prepare themselves to attempt the burning of them, going myself with all the barges and tenders to take them up, if by the enemy`s shot they should miscarry.
Indeed, I may say, and I hope without vanity, the service was warm, yet, God be praised, so effectually performed, that, notwithstanding all their shot both from their ships and fort, two of our fire-shipshad good success by burning two of them; the other, by an unfortunate shot, was set on fire, being just going on board the enemy. Indeed, so brave was the attempt, that I think they can hardly be sufficiently rewarded, and doubt not but their Majesties will do them right. The third French ship being run a-shore, and observing the people on hoard to go a-shore by boats-full, I ordered the St. Alban's, the Reserve, and others, to fire upon her, judging it night cause them to quit her. And, after having battered her some time, I observed she made no resistance, I took all the boats armed, and went on board her.
I found abundance of men on board, and several wounded, but no officers; and having caused all the people, as well those that were wounded, as others, to be taken out, I set her on fire, and had I not had notice by my scouts, that thirty ships were standing with me, had sent all the French on shore, who are now very troublesome to me. The ships we saw proved to be Sir John Ashby and the Dutch, coming from the westward. We are proceeding together to the eastward to La Hogue, where I am informed three or four of the enemy`s ships are; and, if so, I hope God will give us good success. I expect to find the admiral to-morrow, where I hope to hear he has destroyed some of time enemy`s ships, having left him in chase of them last night, standing to the eastward, and pretty near them, as I judged. My Lord, I hope you will excuse me, if I presume to pray you will use your interest with the Queen, that a reward may be given to the three captains of the fire- ships, and several of the others; for greater zeal and greater bravery I never saw. I pray you, excuse for being thus tedious, and thus particular. Pray God preserve their Majesties; and that their arms may be ever crowned with success by sea and land, shall be the prayers and endeavours of, &c.
"Cherburgh, May, 22, 1692."
P.S. Captain Heath burnt Tourville`s ship, the Royal Sun, which was the most difficult; Captain Greenway burnt the other, called the Conquerant. The Admirable was burnt by our boats. Captain Fowlis attempted the Royal Sun, but was set on fire by the enemy`s shot, yet deserves as well as the others.
ADMIRAL RUSSEL`S LETTER.
"MY LORD, Portsmouth, June 2, 1692.
Since your Lordship seems to think, that an account in general of the fleet`s good success, is not so satisfactory as one setting forth the particulars, I here send it with as much brevity as the matter will admit of. I must confess I was not much inclined to trouble you in this nature, not being ambitious to see my name in print on any occasion; but since it is your Lordship`s command, I am the more inclined to give you the best information I am able of the action, having seem several printed relations not very sincere,
Wednesday in the evening, being the 18th of May, standing over for Cape La Hogue, I ordered Captain Gillam, in the Chester, and the Charles Galley, to lie at such a distance to the westward of the fleet, that they might discover any signals made from me.
Thursday the 19th, standing with a small gale S.S.W. the wind at W. and W. by S. hazy weather, Cape Barfleur bearing then S.W. and by S. from me, distant about seven leagues. Between three and four in the morning, we heard several guns to the westward, and in a short time I saw the two frigates making the signal of seeing the enemy, with their heads lying to the northward, which gave me reason to think that the enemy lay with their heads that way. Upon which, I ordered the signal to be made for the fleet`s drawing into a line of battle; after which, I made the signal for the rear of the fleet to tack, that, if the enemy stood to the northward, we might the sooner come to engage. But soon after four o`clock, the sun had a little cleared the weather, and I saw the French fleet standing to the southward, forming their line on the same tack that I was upon. I then ordered the signal for the rear to tack, to be taken in, and at time same time bore away with my own ship so far to leeward, as I judged each ship in the fleet might fetch my wake or grain; then brought-to again, lying hy with my fore-top-sail to the mast, to give time ships in the fleet the better opportunity of placing themselves as they had been before directed. By eight o`c1ock we had formed an indifferent line, stretching from the S.S.W to the N.N.E. the Dutch in the van, the red in the centre, and the blue in the rear.
By nine o`clock the enemy`s van-guard had stretched almost as far to the southward as ours, their admiral and rear-adnnral of the blue, that were in the rear, closing the line, and their vice-adiumiral of the same division stretching to the rear of our fleet, but never coming within gun-shot of them. About ten they bore down upon us, I still lying with my fore-top-sail to the mast. I then observed Monsieur Tourville, the French admiral, put out his signal for battle. I gave orders that mine should not be hoisted till the fleets began to engage, that he might have the first opportunity of coming as near me as he thought convenient; and, at the same time, I sent orders to Admiral Allemonde, that, as soon as any of his squadron could weather the enemy`s fleet, they should tack and get to the westward of them, as also to the blue to make sail and close the line, they being at some distance a-stern; but, as soon as the fleet began to engage, it fell calm, which prevented their so doing. About half an hour after eleven, Monsieur Tourville, in the Royal Sun, being within three quarters musket-shot, brought-to, lying by me at that distance about an hour and a half, plying his guns very warmly, though I must observe to you, that our men fired their guns faster. After which time I did not find his guns were fired with that vlgour as before, and I could see him in great disorder, his rigging, sails, and top-sail yards being shot, and nobody endeavouring to make them serviceable, and his boats towing of him to windward, gave me reason to think he was much galled. About two the wind shifted to the N.W,, and by W. and some little time after that, five fresh ships of the enemy`s blue squadron came and posted themselves three ahead of Monsieur Tourville, and two a-stern of him, and fired with great fury, which continued till after three. About four in the evening there came so thick a fog, that we could not see a ship of the enemy`s, which occasioned our leaving off firing for a long time; and then it cleared up, and we could see Monsieur Tourville towing away with his boats to the northward from us. Upon which I did the same, and ordered all my division to do the like; and, about half an hour after five, we had a small breeze of wind easterly. I then made the signal for the fleet to chase, sending notice to all the ships about me that the enemy were running. About this time I heard several broadsides to the westward; and, though I could not see the ships that fired, I concluded them to be our blue, that, by the shift of the wind, had weathered the enemy; but it proved to be the rear-admiral of the red, who had weathered Tourville`s squadron, and got between them and their admiral of the blue, where they lay firing some time; and then Tourville anchored with some ships of his own division, as also the rear admiral of the red, with some of his. This was the time that Captain Hastings, in the Sandwich, was killed, he driving through those ships, by reason of his anchors not being clear. I could not see this part, because of the great smoke and fog, but have received this information from Sir Cloudesley Shovel since.
I sent to all the ships that I could think were near me, to chase to the westward all night, telling them I designed to follow the enemy to Brest, and sometimes we could see a French ship, two or three, standing away with all the sail they could make to the westward. About eight I heard firing to the westward, which lasted about half an hour, it being some of our blue fallen in with some of the enemy in the fog. It was foggy, and very little wind all night.
Friday the 20th, it was so thick in the morning that T could see none of the enemy`s ships, and but very few of our own. About eight it began to clear up: the Dutch, who were to the southward of me, made the signal of seeing the enemy; and, as it cleared, I saw about thirty-two or thirty-four sail, distant from us between two and three leagues, the wind at E.N.E. and they bearing from us W.S.W our fleet chasing with all the sail they could make, having taking in the signal for the line of battle, that each ship might make the best of her way after the enemy. Between eleven and twelve the wind came to the S.W. The French plied to the westward with all the sail they could, and we after them. About four, the tide of ebb being done, the French anchored, as also we in forty-three fathom water, Cape Barfleur bearing S. and by W. About ten in the evening we weighed with the tide of ebb, the wind at S. W. and plied to the westward. About twelve my fore-top-mast came by the board, having received several shot.
Saturday the 21st, we continued still plying after the enemy till four in the morning. The tide of ebb being done, I anchored in forty-six fathom water, Cape La Hogue bearing S. and by W. and the island of Alderney S.S.W. By my top-mast`s going away, the Dutch squadron, and the admiral of the blue, with several of his squadron, had got a great way to windward of me. About seven in the morning, several of the enemy`s ships being far advanced towards the race, I perceived them driving to the eastward with the tide of flood. Between eight and nine, when they were driven so far to the eastward that I could fetch them, I made the signal for the fleet to cut and follow the enemy, vhich they all did, except the afore-mentioned weathermost ships, which rid fast to observe the motion of the rest of the enemy`s ships that continued in the race of Aiderney. About eleven, I saw three great ships fair under the shore, tack and stand to the westward; but, after making two or three short boards, the biggest of them ran ashore, who presently cut his masts away; the other two, betting to leeward of him, plied up to him. The reason, as I judge, of their doing this, was, that they could not weather our sternmost ships to the westward, nor get out ahead of us to the eastward.
Observing that many of our ships hovered about those, I sent to Sir Ralph Delaval, vice-admiral of the red, who was in the rear of our fleet, to keep such a number of ships and fire-ships with him, as might be sufficient to destroy those of the enemy, and to order the others to follow me, I being then in pursuit of the rest of the enemy: an account of the performing that service I do not trouble your Lordship with, he having given it you already. About four in time afternoom, eighteen sail of time enemy`s ships got to the eastward of Cape Barfleur, after which I observed they hauled in for La Hogue: the rear-admiral of the red, vice-admiral of the blue, and some other ships, went a-head of me. About ten at night I anchored ni the bay of La Hogue, and lay till four the next morning, being Sunday the 22d and then I weighed and stood in near the land of La Hogue; but, when we found the flood came, we anchored in a good sandy ground. At two in the afternoon we weighed ngain, and plied close in with La Hogue, where we saw thirteen sail of the enemy`s men of war hauled chose in with the shore. The rear-admiral of the red tells me, that, the night before, he saw the other five, a which made up the eighteen I first chased, stand to the eastward.
Monday the 22d, I sent in Vice-admiral Rooke, with several men of war and fire-ships, and also the boats of the fleet, to destroy those ships but the enemy had gotten them so near the shore, that not any of our men of war, except the small frigates, could do any service; but that might Vice-admiral Rooke, with the boats, burnt six of them.
Tuesday the 24th, about eight in the morning, he went in again with the boats, and burnt the other seven, together with several transport ships, and some vessels with ammunition, the names of which ships I am not yet able to give your Lordship any other account of than what I formerly sent you, which are as follow:-
Ships. Guns. Commanders. Soleil Royal 104 Count De Tourville. L`Ambitieux 104 Chevalier De La Villette, vice- admiral of the blue. L`Admirable 90 Monsieur Beaujeau La Magnifique 76 Monsieur Cottologon, rear- admiral of the blue. Le St. Philip 76 Monsieur Infreville. Le Conquerant 76 Du Magnon. Le Triumphant 74 Monsieur Bellemont. L`Etonant 80 Monsieur de Septime. Le Terrible 80 Monsieur Septvilla. L`Aimable 68 Monsieur de Raal. Le Fier 68 Monsieur Larsethoir. Le Glorieux 60 Le C. Chateaumoorant. Le Serieux 60 Monsieur Bernier. Le Trident 56 Monsieur Monteaud.
All the prisoners report a three-deck ship burnt by accident, and the following sunk, how true I do not know
Le Prince 60 Momsieur Bagneuz. Le Sanspareil 60 Monsieur Fcrille.
Though these be all the names that I have been able to learn, yet I am sure there are sixteen ships of consequence burnt.
Wednesday the 25th, I sailed from La Hogue, ordering the admiral of the blue, with a squadron of English and Dutch ships under his command, to run along the enemy`s coast, as far as Havre de Grace, in hopes that some of the before-mentioned five ships, that stood to the eastward, might have been got thither, but he informs me that, upon his appearing before that place, he could perceive but one or two small vessels. The number of tine enemy`s ships did not exceed fifty men of war, by the best information, from fifty-six to one hundred and four guns; and, though it must be confessed, that our number was superior to theirs, which probably, at first, might startle them, yet, by their coming down with that resolution, I cannot think it had any great effect upon them: and this I may affirm for a truth, not with any intention to value our own action, or to lessen the bravery of the enemy, that they were beaten by a number considerably less than theirs, the calmness and thickness of the weather giving very few of the Dutch or the Blue the opportunity of engaging, which I am sure they look upon as a great misfortune; and, had the weather proved otherwise do not see how it was possible for any of them to have escaped us,
This is the exactest account that I am able to give you, which I hope will prove to your Lordship`s satisfaction. Vice-admiral Rooke has given me a very good character of several men employed in the boats, and I have ordered him to give me a list of the names of such persons whose behaviour was remarkable, in order to their reward. I am, my Lord, Your Lordship's most faithful, humble servant,
Yet, whatever credit may be given to the honourable conduct of the officers of the fleet, in the action above related, the distinctions of Whig and Tory did certainly exist among them, and no doubt their respective principles occasionally operated in a degree more or less favourable to the cause of William, as either partizan had command. In the following year the fleet was put under the joint command of Sir Cloudesley Shovel, and Admirals Killegrew and Delaval, the two latter of which were tories - Sir Cloudesley a staunch whig. To repair the loss sustained by the defeat at La Hogue, Tourville was despatched to the Mediterranean, with a fleet of seventy-one ships of war, besides smaller vessels, to intercept our Smyrna fleet: this fleet had been left to the care of Sir George Rooke, with the Strait`s squadron, to protect it. In the meanwhile, the Lords of the Admiralty having been apprized of Tourville`s arrival in Lagos bay, the government was alarmed, and notice was immediately sent to the fleet, consisting of sixty-nine ships of the line. A council of war was held at Torbay, and it was resolved to sail for Lisbon directly, if they could be properly victualled. Despatches were, however, sent to Sir George Rooke, and on the 1st of July, in another council of war, notwithstanding the Queen`s order was produced for executing the resolutions they had made, they resolved, on tine contrary, to submit it to her Majesty, whether, if the French fleet should sail north about, the coasts of England might not be in danger of insult in their absence. The result was, the capture and destruction of a part of the Smyrna fleet, to the amount in value of a million sterling.
The affair was brought before Parliament, and Sir Cloudeslcy defended himself and his colleagues; but whether correctly or not, the Dutch bad a different idea of the matter; for, in a picture, they represented the capture of the Smyrna fleet at a distance, and Sir Cloudesley Shovel on board his own ship, with his hands tied behind him, one end of the cord being held by each of his colleagues; intimating, that he would have prevented the misfortune, if the Admirals Kiliegrew and Delaval had not hindered him.
In the year 1694, Sir Cloudesley commanded as vice.admiral of the red, under Lord Berkeley, admiral of the blue, in the expedition to Camaret bay ; in which expedition, though not of a nature to call into action any extraordinary powers, he acquitted himself with his usual credit. He was afterwards sent with the fleet for the bombardment of Dieppe and other places of the French coast.
Lord Berkeley having quitted the fleet and returned to London, Sir Cioudesley assumed the command, and received his Majesty`s orders to bombard Dunkirk, Accordingly, on the 7th of September, he set sail, and was joined in the Downs by M. Meesters, inventor of certain machines, called infernals,* intended as the chief implements of the destined bombardment. Several Dutch pilots, well acquainted with the coast, were engaged, and on the 12th the fleet, consisting of thirteen English and six Dutch frigates, two bomb-vessels, and seventeen infernals, &c. appeared before Dunkirk.
* Fire-ships contrived to operate when moored close to the walls of a town. At the bottom of the hold were a hundred barrels of powder; these were covered with pitch, sulphur, rosin, tow, straw, and faggots, over which lay beams bored through, to give air to the fire, and upon these lay three hundred carcasses filled with granadoes, chain-shot, iron bullets, pistols loaded, and wrapt in linen pitched, broken iron bars, amid the bottoms of glass bottles. There were six holes or mouths, to let out the flames, which were so vehement, as to commsumne the hardest substances, and could be checked by nothing, bat the pouring in of hot water. The French report, that the engineer who contrived this vessel, was blown up in her, because they found the body of a man well dressed upon the shore, and in his pocket-book a journal of the expedition, alluding to the destruction of the bridge over the Scheldt, when the Prince of Parma besieged Antwerp in the year 1585 when it was supposed these machines were first used.
The bombardment commenced under the directions of Captain Benbow, and M. Meesters. Two of the infernals were sent in, but they were set on fire without taking effect. And on Sir Cloudesley proceeding with a boat within the enemy`s works, he found that the French had secured themselves from that kind of attack, by driving piles, and sinking vessels before and at the back of the Mole Head. The failure of this attempt did but increase the ardour of Sir Cloudesley, to effect whatever might be possible for the service of his country; he sailed directly for Calais, and on his way demolished the town of Gravelines. On the 7th, he begun the bombardment of Calais, and destroyed several houses; but the wind blowing hard, with a great swell, he was induced to return to the Downs.
On the 1st of August, 1695, a second attempt was made on Dunkirk with the infernals, but with similar success. Calais was again bombarded with considerable effect ; and in April, 1696, Sir Cloudesley destroyed a great part of the town of Calais, and most of the shipping.
The public services of Sir Cloudesley during the remainder of the war (which was terminated by the Treaty of Ryswich, 10th September, 1797,) were chiefly those of observation and blockade, but in which he invariably gave satisfaction to his King and Country, and was promoted to the rank of admiral of the white.
On the 8th of March, 1702, King William died ; and on the 4th of May, Queen Anne declared war against France. The first Instance of public service performed by Sir Cloudesley under the Queen (with whom, or her Court, he was not in equal favour), was his presiding at a court martial held on the conduct of Sir John Munden, whose character had been aspersed, as it appeared, unjustly.
The command of the grand fleet was given to Sir George Rooke, with directions to carry into effect an expedition planned previously to the death of the late King, to get possession of Cadiz for the Archduke Charles.
On the 30th of May, the admiral hoisted the union flag on board the Royal Sovereign, the Dutch fleet joined, and on the 10th of June the armament sailed from St. Helen`s, consisting of thirty English and twenty Dutch ships of the line, with 13,800 troops. On the 12th of August they anchored before the harbour of Cadiz. The governor was, the next day, summoned by the Duke of Ormond to surrender. The governor, consistently with his loyalty, refused; and on the 15th the Duke of Ormond landed with the troops, and in a short time got possession of the forts of St. Katherine and St. Mary; but here their progress was stopped, and the troops were re-embarked to return home.
In the meanwhile Captain Hardy, in the Pembroke, having been sent to Lagos bay to water, received intelligence from Mr. Methuen, at Lisbon, that the galleons from the West Indies had put into Vigo, under convoy of a French squadron. Captain Hardy (knighted for this service) lost no time in communicating this intelligence to the admiral, and Sir George Rooke called a council of war, in which it was determined to attack the enemy in the port of Vigo. On the 11th of October they reached the part, the condition of which presented many difficulties. The passage into the harbour was extremely narrow - both sides well defended by batteries - a strong boom, composed of ship`s yards and top-masts, fastened together with 3-inch rope, and underneath with hawsers and cables, laid across the entrance, at each end of which was moored, with chains, a seventy-four gun ship, and within it five ships from seventy to sixty guns, with their broadsides to the sea. The depth of water not admitting the ships of first and second rates, Sir George and the other admirals shifted their flags into smaller ones. Fifteen sail of English, and ten Dutch ships of wary with all the frigates, bomb-vessels, and fire-ships, were ordered in readiness to force the passage into the harbour, as soon as the troops landed under the Duke of Ormond and Lord Shannon should be in possession of the batteries, which was effected much sooner than the means of the enemy to prevent it gave them any reason to expect; for Lord Shannon having, at the head of five hundred men, possessed himself of a platform of 40 pieces of cannon, the French governor, Mon. Sozel, ordered the gates to be thrown open for the purpose of forcing his way through the English troops, and the English grenadiers entered and made the whole garrison prisoners of war.
No sooner was the English flag seen flying, than the ships advanced, and Vice-admiral Hopson, in the Torbay, crowding all the sail he could, broke the boom, and the Kent and the rest of the squadron entered the harbour. The enemy fought bravely. One of their fire-ships laid the Torbay on board, and would have destroyed her, but for a quantity of snuff which she had on board, and which extinguished the flames when she came to blow up. The fore-top-mast was shot by the board, most of the sails scorched or burnt, the fore-yard consumed to a coal, the larboard shrouds fore and aft burnt at the dead eyes, several ports blown off the hinges, her larboard side entirely scorched, and one hundred and fifteen men killed and wounded. The vice-admiral shifted his flag to the Monmouth. The result of the enterprise will appear in the following statement
|Ships burnt||No. of guns.|
|Le Favori, a fire-ship.|
|Eight advice boats.|
|Total, Ships, 21.||guns, 96O.|
In his passage thence to England, the weather was so boisterous, that one of the galleons struck on a rock and foundered. The Nassau took a rich prize coming from Morlaix, which also foundered, and ultimately every ship of the squadron was separated, though all in a shattered condition afterwards reached home. The Court were so satisfied with the conduct of Sir Cloudesley, that it was determined to employ him henceforth in affairs of the greatest consequence. Whether this determination was formed in the spirit of friendship toward that gentleman or not, it is sufficiently evident, that in the first instance of their good will, they left him ample room to evince his skill and capacity.
On the temporary resignation of Sir George Rooke the following year, he was appointed in command the grand fleet up the Straits, with instructions to annoy the enemy, assist the allies, and protect the trade; and his time was limited to the end of September. His force consisted of twenty-seven ships of the line, having under him Rear-admiral Byng and Sir Stafford Fairborne; he was afterwards reinforced by Vice-admiral Leake with eight ships more; and was then to wait the junction of the Dutch with twelve ships of the line; these joined him by the middle of June, when, had the equipment of the fleet been sufficient, the time was evidently too short to execute the business assigned him. This he respectfully represented, but was ordered to obey ; he had under convoy a fleet of upwards of two hundred and thirty merchantmen, and it was the middle of July before he could get clear of the land.
Sir Cloudesley arrived off the rock of Lisbon on the twenty. fourth, and he]d a council of war in Altea bay; he secured the Turkey fleet, and wishing to pursue his instructions to the utmost of his power, had intended to remain some time on the coast of Italy, but was informed by the Dutch admiral, that the state of his victualling required that he should think of home, and could scarcely be prevailed on by Sir Cloudesley to go to Leghorn. his instructions to succour the Cevennois, in arms against the French King, were found utterly impracticable with a fleet, and all that he could do was to send the Tartar and Pembroke upon that coast, who also found it impossible to effect any thing in their favour. Thus embarrassed by instructions, without the means of executing them, he detached Captain Swanton to Tunis and Tripoli and sent Rear-admiral Byng to Algiers, to renew the peace with them, and on the twenty-second of September reached Altea, and proceeded, after a short stay, direct for England.
As an instance of his zeal for the interests of his country (never so apparent as in acts that may be omitted without any direct impeachment of duty), on the twenty-seventh, in the mouth of the Straits, he fell in with an Algerine man of war becalmed, and immediately took her under his protection, till the Dutch ships were passed, thereby maintaining the reputation of the English flag, and counteracting the insidious influence of the French on those piratical states, exerted to the disadvantage of his country.
Intelligence being received that a fleet of merchantmen waited for convoy at Lisbon, he sent Sir Andrew Leake with a small squadron, by which they were escorted home. The combined fleets arrived off the Isle of Wight on the 16th of November, when the Dutch bore away to their own ports, and Sir Cloudesley steered for the Downs.
The fleet had effected little in this expedition, and the murmurs of the nation were general, but the circumstances under which Sir Cloudesley had executed his orders, divested him of all blame in the eyes of the people. Bishop Barnet gives the following account of it:- "It was resolved to send a strong fleet into the Mediterranean: it was near the end of June before they were ready to sail; and they had orders to come out of the Straits by the end of September. Everything was so ill-laid in this expedition, as if it had been intended, that nothing should be done by it, besides the convoying our merchant ships, which did not require the fourth part of such a force. Shovel was sent to command; when he saw his instructions, he represented to the ministry, that nothing could be expected from this voyage: he was ordered to go, and he obeyed his orders. He got to Leghorn by the beginning of September. His arrival seemed to be of great consequence, and the allies began to take courage from it; but they were soon disappointed of their hopes, when they understood that, by his orders, he could only stay a few days there. Nor was it easy to imagine what the design of so great an expedition could be, or why so much money was thrown away on such a project, which, made us despised by our enemies, while it provoked our friends, who might justly think they could not depend upon such an ally, who managed so great a force with so poor a conduct, as neither to hurt their enemies, nor protect their friends by it"
In the month of October, of the same year, Sir George Rooke had been sent to Holland to escort Charles, Duke of Austria, to Lisbon, who had been declared by his father King of Spain, and who had been acknowledged such by the allies. On the 26th of December, his Catholic Majesty arrived at Spithead.
This year is memorable for the destructive storm that began on the 26th of November, about eleven in the evening, the wind being W.S.W and continued, with dreadful flashes of lightning, till about seven the next morning. The water flowed to a great height in Westminster Hall and London Bridge was, in a manner, stopt up with wrecks. The mischief done in London was computed at not less than a million, and the city of Bristol suffered damage to upwards of oue hundred and fifty thousand pounds. But the greatest loss fell upon our navy, of which there perished no less than thirteen ships and upwards of fifteen hundred seamen were drowned; as will appear by the following statement:-
- The Reserve, a fourth rate, Captain John Anderson, commander, lost at Yarmouth. The captain, the surgeon, the clerk, and 44 men saved; the rest of the crew drowned, being 175.
- The Vanguard, a second rate, sunk in Chatham harbour, with neither, men nor guns in her.
- The Northumberland, a third rate, Captain Greenway, lost on the Goodwin Sands; all her company was lost, being 220 men, including twenty-four marines.
- The Sterling Castle, a third rate, Captain Johnson, on the Goodwin sands, 70 men, of which four marine officers were saved, the rest were drowned, being 206.
- The Mary, a fourth rate, Rear-admiral Beaumont, Captain Edward Hopson, on the Goodwin Sands, the captain and purser ashore; one man, whose name was Thomas Atkins, saved; the rest, to the number of 269 with the rear-admiral, drowned. The escape of this Atkins was very remarkable - He saw the rear-admiral, when the ship was breaking, get upon a piece of her quarter-deck, from which he was soon washed off; and about the same time, Atkins was tossed by a wave into the Sterling Castle, which sinking soon after, he was thrown the third man into her boat, by a wave that washed him from the wreck.
- The York, a fourth rate, Captain Smith, lost at Harwich ; all her men saved except four.
- The Mortar-bomb, a fifth rate, Captain Raymond, on the Goodwin Sands; all her company lost, being 65.
- The Eagle advice boat, a sixth rate, Captain Bostock, ]ost on the Coast of Sussex; all her company, being 45, saved.
- The Resolution, a third rate, Captain Lisle, on the coast of Sussex; all her company, being 221, saved.
- The Litchfield prize, a fifth rate, Captain Chamberlain, on time coast of Sussex; all her company, being 108, saved.
- The Newcastle, a fourth rate, Captain Carter, lost at Spithead. the carpenter and 39 men were saved, and the rest, being 193, drowned.
- The Vesuvius fire-ship, a fiftb rate, Captain Paddon, at Spithead; all her company, being 48, saved.
- The Restoration, a third rate, Captain Emms, 387 menu, on the Goodwin Sands; not one saved.
Sir Cloudesley Shovel was then in the Downs with several great ships, which were all in the utmost danger; he cut his main-mast by the board, which saved the ship from running upon the Galloper of the beach of which she was then in view. Sir Stafford Fairborne had his flag, as vice-admiral of the red, flying in the Association, in which he was driven first to Gottenburgh, and then to Copenhagen, from whence he did not get home till the next year. The Revenge was forced from her anchors, and with much ado, after driving some time on the coast of Holland, got into the river Medway ; the Russel, Captain Townsend, was forced over to Holland; and the Dorset, Captain Edward Whitaker, after striking thrice on the Galloper. drove a fortnight at sea, and then got safe to the Nore.
On the 12th of February, 1704, every thing being prepared for the expedition, Sir George sailed, and arrived at Lisbon on the 15th, where his Catholic Majesty was received by the King of Portugal and the royal family.After the departure of Sir George Rooke, intelligence was received by the Court, that the French were equipping with all possible haste a squadron at Brest. The design was unknown but it was determined to fit out a fleet, the command of which should be given to Sir Cloudesley Shovel. This was accordingly done, and the admiral was instructed to look into Brest, and if he found the enemy still there, to send off the trade, store-ships, victuallers, &c. under proper convoy to Lisbon, and to block up the enemy`s ships, or to burn and destroy them. If they had sailed; to hold a council to determine on the strength necessary to be sent to Sir George Rooke, and if it amounted to twenty-two ships, to sail with them himself. Sir Cloudesley followed these directions and the result was, his sailing to the Mediterranean about the latter end of May.
On the 16th of June, Sir Cloudesley joined Sir George Rooke, and a council of war was called to determine what service they should proceed on. A second attack on Cadiz was proposed, but there was too great a deficiency of land forces; and it was at the same time declared by Sir George, that his instructions forbade him to attempt anything without the consent of the Kings of Spain and Portugal; and as these princes seldom thought one way, there was little effected.
The English admiral, however, sensible of the great force he had with him, and that the nation would naturally expect something for the money expended in its equipment, called another council on the 17th of July, in which, after long debate, it was resolved to attack Gibraltar. The garrison was weak, and it was thought the possession of it might be important during the war. It has been since held in much higher estimation.
The fleet arrived in the bay, on the 21st of July, and eighteen hundred marines, English and Dutch, were landed, under the command of the Prince of Hesse, on the Isthmus, to cut off the communication between the town and the continent. On the governor`s refusal to surrender, the town was, at day-break of the 22d, cannonaded, with such vigour, that fifteen thousand shot were spent in five hours; when the enemy being driven from their fortifications at the South Mole Head, the pinnaces were manned, and the fortifications soon seized, by Captains Hicks and Jumper. A mine was sprung by the Spaniards, and two lieutenants and forty men were killed, and about sixty wounded; they, however, held possession of the great platform, till supported by Captain Whitaker and the seamen under his command, who, having made himself master of a redoubt between the mole and the town, the governor, in answer to a letter from the admiral, on the 24th capitulated, and the Prince of Hesse took possession of the place.
Having secured this important capture, by leaving a sufficient garrison with the Prince, the fleet returned to Tetuan to take in wood and water. On the 9th of August, the French fleet was seen, but they endeavoured to avoid an action. All sail was immediately made in chase, and on the thirteenth they were within three leagues of them. The French, perceiving an action unavoidable, brought to with their heads to the southward, the wind easterly, and forming a line, awaited the attack off Malaga. Their fleet consisted of fifty-two ships, and twenty-four gallies, the greater part of which was attached to the van and rear, as being comparatively weak to the centre, in which was Count Thoulouse, high admiral of France, with the white squadron, in the van the white and blue flag, and in the rear the blue. Our fleet was in number fifty- three ships, four of which, with two fire-ships, were ordered to windward, to afford a diversion, in case the van of the enemy should push through our line.
The action commenced about ten in the morning, when within half-gun shot of the enemy, which was maintained with equal vigour till two in the afternoon, when the van of the enemy gave way. The contest continued, notwithstanding, till night, and then, by the help of their gallies, they bore away to leeward. The wind shifting in the night to the northward, and in the morning to the westward, gave the enemy the weather-gage, and consequently the power of renewing the action, hut for two successive days they continued to decline it, and ultimately disappeared.
This defeat, by a force considerably inferior, was rendered doubly disgraceful hy the means resorted to by the French Court to hide it. Te Deum was ordered to be sung as for a victory, and the following account published, replete with the most impudent falsehoods:-
"That, before the fight, the admiral ordered all the ships to make ready; but the sea being calm, he gave directions for the gallies. to prepare to tow the men of war off to sea. But at day-break the whole fleet weighed, by favour of a breeze that blew gently from the land, and made towards the enemy, whom the currents had carried out to sea. The twenty-fourth, their fleet, in a line of battle, came up with the enemy the Marquis De Vilette, lieutenant-general, commanded the vauguard, having behind him in a second line the Duke of Tursis, with his own squadron of seven gallies, and five of Spain. the Count De Thoulouse commanded the centre, having behind him the Marquis De Royes, witb four gallies, and the Marquis De Langeron had the command of the rear-guard, with eight French gallies, under command of the Count De Tourville. The enemy's van-guard was commanded by Sir Cloudesley Shovel; the centre by Sir George Rooke; and the rear-guard were the Dutch ships, commanded by Vice-admiral Callemberg. They had sixty ships of the line, many frigates almost as large, and bomb-vessels that did them good service. Sir Cloudesley Shovel advanced before the wind, separating himself from the centre ; but observing that the Marquis de Vilette endeavoured to surround him, he kept to the wind, and Sir George Rooke, seeing the danger he was in, bore upon the king`s fleet. The fight began about ten o`clock, north and south off Malaga, ten or eleven leagues from shore, and lasted till night. The fire was extraordinary on both sides, and notwithstanding the enemy had the advantage of the wind, which blew the smoke upon the French fleet, they always kept as near the wind as they could, while the Count de Thoulouse made all possible efforts to approach them. The Marquis De Vilette had so roughly used the van of the enemy, having obliged five of their ships to quit their line, that he would have entirely put the same into disorder, had not a bomb fallen upon his stern, and set it on fire; which obliged him to quit the line,and extinguish the fire. Another bomb fell on the ship of the Sieurs De Belleisle, who quitted the line to refit, as did likewise the Sieur De Grancy, Osmont, Rouvroy, Pontac, amid Roche Allard. The latter fought the ship of Sir Cloudesley Shovel, of ninety guns, though. he had but sixty. The Sieur Chammeslin boarded three times a ship of the enemy, but quitted the same, seeing she was on fire in several places, but because of the smoke, could not see whether sunk. The bailiff of Lorrain was killed with a cannon- shot, and the Sieur De Relingue had a leg shot off. They were the Count De Thoulouse`s two seconds, and distinguished themselves very much, following the example of their general. The enemy continuing to sheer off, the fight with the van ended about five, with the centre about seven, and with the rear towards night. The French fleet pursued with all their lights out; whereas the enemy, their flag-ships excepted, had none. The 25th, the wind blowing again from the west, the enemy sailed towards the coast of Barbary, so that they lost sight of them at night. The twenty-sixth, in the morning, they were seen again about four leagues distance, the wind having again shifted to the east, which gave them a fair opportunity to renew the fight, but they did not think fit to approach. They were not heard of afterwards; whereupon it was judged they had re-passed the Straits, and this obliged the Count De Thoulouse to return the twenty-seventh to Malaga, with the gallies. We had about fifteen hundred men killed or wounded. But we do not know true loss of the enemy, which must be very great; and several persons said, that two of their ships sunk."
In addition to this, the French Academy caused a medal to be struck, of the following description Spain is represented sitting, and her arm leaning on a pillar, with victory over her head; the legend thus: Ora Hispanica Securitas; i e. The security of the Spanish coasts. To show how this was attained, we read in the exergue, Anglorum et Batavorum classe fugata ad Malagum, xxiv Augusti, M, DDC, IV i.e. The English and Dutch fleet beat at Malaga, 24th of August, 1704. - Gerard Vanloom, Histoire Mtalique des bays, tome iv."
In this action, Sir Choudesley Shovel and Sir John Leake led the van. The division commanded by Sir Cloudesley consisted of the Barfleur, Eagle, Orford, Assurance, Warspite, Swiftsure, Nottingham, Tilbury, and Lenox. He had but one officer killed; viz, the first lieutenant of the Lenox, and seven wounded; one hundred and five private men killed, and three hundred and three wounded. At the beginning of the battle, Sir Cloudesley was indebted to Sir George Rooke for assistance which prevented his being surrounded by the enemy, and which assistance he as handsomely returned in the latter part of the action, when several ships being forced out of the line for want of ammunition, Sir Cloudesley came instantly to his aid, and drew the enemy from the centre, who very soon sheered off from the heat of his fire. The loss of the English was 691 men killed, including 2 captains and 2 lieutenants; 5 captains, 13 lieutenants, and 1,618 men wounded. The Dutch had 400 killed and wounded. The French lost 1 rear-admiral, 5 captains, 6 lieutenants, 5 ensigns, and 3,048 men. Count Thoulouse was wounded in the forehead, shoulder, and thigh, and many of his officers.
Sir Cioudesley, on his return to England, was presented to the Queen, by Prince George, and had the honour of kissing her Majesty`s hand.
Sir George Rooke was unfortunately of Tory principles - the Whigs were in power and there were among them a party who meanly endeavoured to blast the laurels on his brow; but they had been nobly won, under circumstances too evident to be easily discredited by the nation, the House of Lords, at the meeting of Parliament, in their address to the Queen, on the success of her arms, never mentioned either the capture of Gibraltar, or the victory of Malaga. An attempt was made to induce in the public mind a confidence in the French account of the battle, but there was one part of it too glaringly false not to render the whole unworthy of belief. They asserted the annoyance by which they were prevented from rendering their success more complete from the bombs of the English, when in fact there was not a bomb-vessel in the whole fleet.
The rage of party at that time was so violent, that it has been said to have shortened the Queen`s days. Sir George received the honours paid him, but declined any further command, wishing rather that the Queen should be made easy, and the nation satisfied, than that opportunities might be afforded him of adding either to his reputation or estate.
On the resignation of Sir George Rooke, Sir Cloudesley was made Rear- admiral of England, and appointed admiral and commander of the fleet. Sir Cloudesley was a Whig, but he had never omitted on all occasions to assert the high merit of Sir George Rookc, and to assist in maintaining against his adversaries the reputation he had so honourably and deservedly acquired.
The recapture of Gibraltar was ineffectually attempted by Philip King of Spain; and in the meanwhile the interests of Charles Duke of Austria, was promoted, by an expedition to the Mediterranean. The grand fleet, under the joint command of Sir Cloudesley Shovel, and the Earl of Peterborough, was ordered thither. its force amounted to twenty-nine sail of line-of-battle ships, besides frigates, fire-ships, bombs, &c. They arrived in the river of Lisbon on the 11th of June, and there found Sir John Leake, in great need of supplies, which were afforded him by Sir Cloudesley ; and on the 15th a council of war was held, to determine their future proceedings, in which it was resolved to put to sea, their force now amounting to forty-eight ships of the line, English and Dutch, and to place them in station between Cape Spartel and the bay of Cadiz, as was most likely to promote a junction between the Toulon and Brest squadrons. This arrangement being effected, Sir Cloudesley returned to Lisbon.
The Prince of Hesse-Darmstadt, having successfully repulsed the operations of Philip King of Spain, for the recapture of Gibraltar, arrived in Portugal, and informed Charles, that the whole province of Catalonia, and the kingdom of Valencia, were attached to his interest. In consequence of this information, he urged the Earl of Peterborough to make another attempt on the city of Barcelona. The proposal was acceded to, but under very unfavourable auspices. The land officers were divided in their opinions; the troops were little more than equal to the garrison within the town; and the two chiefs, the Prince of Hesse, and the Earl of Peterborough, were not even on speaking terms; in short, Sir Cloudesley may be said to have been the sole foundation of whatever hopes could be entertained ; his diligence in contriving from scanty sources the necessary supplies, and his sagacity and address in reconciling the differences of the chiefs, and advising the best measures for the prosecution of the siege, the promptitude of his assistance, and the confidence induced by the punctual performance of all his promises, tended most immediately to the successful result of the enterprise. Charles embarked on board the Ranelagh, amid the fleet sailed on the twenty-eighth of July.
A body of five thousand troops had embarked in the fleet at St. Helen`s; these were now reinforced by two regiments of English dragoons. At Gibraltar, they embarked the English guards, and three old regiments, leaving in lieu two new-raised battalions. On the 11th of August, the fleet anchored in Altea bay, and a manifesto was published by the Earl of Peterborough, in the Spanish language, the effect of which on the inhabitants of the towns and surrounding country, produced a general acknowledgement of Charles as their lawful Sovereign. The town of Denia was seized and garrisoned by four hundred men, under the command of Major-general Ramos.
On the 22d the fleet arrived in the bay of Barcelona. and troops were disembarked to the eastward of the city, and Charles landed, amidst the acclamations of multitudes, who threw themselves at his feet, and exclaimed, "Long live the King!" But though the dispositions of the inhabitants was thus favourable to the cause of Charles, there still remained a material obstacle to his progress, in a garrison of five thousand men, under the Duke de Popoli, Vilasco, and other officers in the interest of Philip. After much difference of opinion, however, the siege was resolved on, and the gallant Prince of Hesse evinced himself, both in name and action, a volunteer in the service. The city was invested on one side by two thousand men from the fleet, exclusive of the marines, having been landed in addition to the regular land force, as also were six hundred Dutch, conditionally, that on the best intelligence of the French fleet being at sea, both seamen and marines should be re-embarked.
The fort at Montjuic being strongly situated on a hill that commanded the city, was necessarily the first object of attack. The outworks were taken by storm, in which the ardour and impetuosity of advance on the part of the Prince of Hesse cost him his life - he was shot through the body, and expired shortly after. The attack was renewed by the Earl of Peterborough - the fort was bombarded; and a shell falling into the magazine of powder, the whole was blown up, with the governor and chief officers. The garrison was panic-struck, and the surrender of the fort followed. The removal of this impediment left the way to the city clear and on the 9th of September, 1705, the trenches were opened, and batteries raised for fifty guns and twenty mortars; and after some reluctance evinced by King Charles, four hundred and twelve shells were thrown into the town by our bomb vessels - eight English and Dutch ships, commanded by Sir Stafford Fairborne, cannonaded it by sea - while the cannon from the fort and batteries did the like on shore. On the 23d, the viceroy desired to capitulate - the capitulation was signed on the twenty-eighth - the gate and bastion of St. Angelo were delivered up the same day, and the whole city in a few days after; and this was followed by the submission of the whole principality of Catalonia to King Charles. The following extract from a letter written by Sir Cloudesley to Prince George of Denmark, lord high admiral, will show how much the success of this expedition depended on the exertions of the fleet:-
"The 17th, our battery of thirty guns was opened, and fourteen of them began to play, with very great execution, upon that part of the wall where the breach was designed; the Earl of Peterborough came aboard, and represented to us the great necessity he laboured under for want of money for subsisting the army, and carrying on the siege of Barcelona, and the services in Catalonia, and, in very pressing circumstances, desired the assistance of the fleet; upon which our flag-officers came to the enclosed resolution: To lend the Earl of Peterborough forty thousand dollars, out of the contingent and short allowance-money of the fleet. The 19th, we came to these resolutions; viz. To remain longer before Barcelona than was agreed on at first; to give all the assistance in our power, and to lay a fire-ship a-shore with two hundred barrels of powder; and a further demand being made for guns for the batteries, we lauded fourteen more, which made up in all seventy-two guns, whereof thirty were twenty-four-pounders that we landed here, with their utensils and ammunition. We continue to bombard the town from the sea, as our small store of shells and the weather will permit. The 20th, a demand was made for more shot, and we called together the English flag-officers, and came to a resolution to supply all the batteries with all the twenty-four and twenty-eight pound shot, except a very small quality. which was accordingly done.
The 22d, the Prince of Lichtenstein and the Earl of Peterborough having desired, at the request of his Catholic Majesty, that the town of Lerida might, for Its security, be furnished with about fifty barrels of powder, and a further supply of shot being demanded for the hatteries a-shore, it was considered at a council of war, and we came to the enclosed resolutions; viz, to furnish fifty barrels of powder for Lerida, and to send so many more twenty-four and eighteen-pound shot a-shore, as would reduce the English to thirty rounds, as likewise to be farther assistant upon timely notice.
The 23d, at night, our breach being made, and all things prepared for an attack, the town was again summoned, and they desired to capitulate, and hostages were exchanged; on our side, Brigadier Stanhope, and on the enemy's, the Marquis de Rivera; and all hostilities ceased."
It having been resolved in a council of war, that Sir Cloudesley should proceed to England, he, on the 16th of October, passed the Straits with nineteen sail of the line, and arrived at Spithead on the 26th of November.
In the middle of the year 1706, a descent on the French coast was projected, in consequence of a representation made by the Marquis de Guiscard, a disgusted Frenchman; and a land force of ten thousand men was embarked on board the fleet commanded by Sir Cloudesley, and sailed from St. Helen`s on the 10th of August ; but the project failed, owing to the delay of the Dutch, as it is said, though it was sufficiently evident, when immediate operations were concerted, that the plan of the Marquis was too chimerical to proceed on. Information to that effect was accordingly transmitted home. In the meantime, letters had been received from the Earl of Galway, who, with twenty thousand men, had undertaken with success the siege of Alcantara, and had prosecuted the interests of Charles with such promptitude and ability, that he had gotten possession of Madrid; but the inactivity of Charles, and disgust among the chiefs, prevented his holding it, and he was now soliciting succours from home with the most earnest importunity. Thus, though the year was so far advanced, Sir Cloudesley was ordered to postpone his operations upon the coast of France, and immediately to proceed with his force to Lisbon, and there to regulate his proceedings by the urgency of affairs in Spain.
Sir Cloudesley, having set Guiscard and his officers on shore, sailed with the first fair wind, and towards the latter end of October reached Lisbon, after encountering much bad weather, with only four men of war and fifty transports, the rest of his fleet having been scattered, though fortunately recollected and at their place of destination before him.
On his arrival, Sir Cloudesley found the affairs of King Charles in such imminent jeopardy, from the want of concert among the chiefs who had the conduct of them, that he wa sat a loss how to proceed. The Portuguese ministry had given sufficient ground to doubt the sincerity of their friendship, and he resolved to send to tine King himself, to know in what manner he could best serve him. In the absence of this envoy, the King of Portugal died, and his successor, only eighteen years of age, was still more open to the influence of a ministry known to be privately in connection with the Court of Versailles. The English fleet was insulted in the Tagus, and Sir Cloudesley was induced to assure the ministry, who had made a flimsy excuse, that if the insult should he repeated, he would not wait orders from home, but take satisfaction from the mouth of his cannon.
Colonel Worsley, who had been sent by Sir Cloudesley to the King, returned with letters, by which the admiral was informed, that unless he could bring the land forces to the assistance of the King and the Earl of Galway, every thing must fall into confusion, and the advantages gained at the expense of so much blood and treasure, must inevitably be lost.
The shattered state of the fleet required time for repair, and the land forces were reduced from ten to scarcely six thousand effective men ; the admiral, however, immediately took measures to afford the assistance required, and on the 28th of January, 1707, he arrived off Alicant. The Earl of Rivers, under whose command the land forces had embarked, proceeded immediately to Valencia, to assist at a general council of war, in which the opening rations of the ensuing campaign having been resolved on, and the army joined by the troops from England, Earl Rivers, disliking the country, returned with the admiral to Lisbon.
Sir Cloudesley arrived off Lisbon the 11th of March, and there received orders to prepare for an expedition against Toulon. Pursuant to his instructions, Sir Cloudesley sailed on the 10th of May for Alicant, where he joined Sir George Byng, who had been sent thither by Sir Cloudesley to aid the retreat of the English army under Lord Galway, the proceedings of that force having totally failed of success. He then sailed to the coast of Italy, and in the latter end of the month of June came to anchor between Nice and Antibes.
On the 29th he received the Duke of Savoy and Prince Eugene on board the Association, where he sumptuously entertained them. Sir Cloudesley Shovel, though he was not one of the politest officers we ever had, showed a great deal of prudence and addressing the magnificent entertainment he made upon this occasion. The duke, when he came on board the Association, found a guard of halberdiers, in new liveries, at the great cabin door. At the upper end of the table was set an armed chair, with a crimson velvet canopy. The table consisted of sixty covers, and everything was so well managed, that his royal highness could not forbear saying to the admiral at dinner, "If your excellency had paid me a visit at Turin, I could scarcely have treated you so well."
The enemy were strongly entrenched on the River Var, and their entrenchments were defended by eight hundred horse, and six battalions of foot; but Sir Cloudesley having observed it practicable to cannonade a part of the French lines, obtained the Duke`s consent to undertake that service.
On the 1st of July, Sir Cloudesiey ordered four English, and one Dutch man of war to enter the mouth of the Var, and commence the cannonade, while six hundred seamen were landed in open boats, under Sir John Norris, followed by the admiral himself. This unexpected attack put the enemy to flight, their arms were thrown down and the works abandoned.The story is told in the London Gazette, No. 4352, dated Confederate Camp, July 14, N.S.
"The admiral himself followed Sir John Norris to the place of action, and observing the disorder of the enemy, commanded him to put to land, and flank them in their entrenchments. His men advanced in so undaunted a manner, that the enemy, fearing to be surrounded, marched out of their works, and retired with great precipitation. his royal Highness having received from the admiral an account, that we were in possession of the enemy`s works, ordered his troops to pass the river, which they did with so great eagerness, that above a hundred men were driven down by the violence of the stream, and ten of them drowned; which was all the loss we sustained, in forcing a pass, where we expected the most vigorous opposition."
Thus we see this whole affair was effected by English sailors.
On the 14th a council of war was held on board the Association, when it was resolved to proceed direct to Toulon. The Duke engaged to reach that place in six days, and the admiral having left ten or twelve frigates to interrupt the correspondence of the enemy with Italy, sailed with the fleet to the islands of Hieres.
But as in most instances of confederate war, so in this, the allies had separate interests to prosecute. The Duke of Savoy was full twelve days, instead of six, before the place was attacked, the blame he attributed to Prince Eugene, who commanded the Emperor's forces, and being directed by the Duke to possess himself of Mount St. Ann, refused, asserting that he was ordered not to expose them. Even the conduct of Sir Cloudesley did not escape the slur of his enemies (and what public character is without them?) but he had only to appeal to facts for his justification. It is said, that when Sir Cloudesley went first to compliment the Duke upon his safe arrival, and to receive his commands respecting the landing of artillery and ammunition, his royal Highness told him he was glad to see him at last, for the maritime powers had made him wait a long while; to which, Sir Cloudesley answered, that he had not delayed a moment since it was in his power to wait upon his royal highness. "I did not say you," he replied, smiling, "but the maritime powers have made me wait; for this expedition I concerted so long ago as 1693, and fourteen years is a long time to wait, Sir Cloudesley."
On the l5th of July the siege was formed, and in a council of war held on the 17th, Sir Cloudesley engaged to produce whatever assistance the fleet could afford. In pursuance of this engagement, Sir Cloudesley landed one hundred pieces of cannon from the fleet for the batteries, seamen to serve as gunners on shore, and every other requisite to the full extent of his power. The siege was carried on with the most flattering prospect of success, till the 4th of August, when a sally by the enemy forced the confederate troops from their works, and killed and wounded above eight hundred men. The enemy increased in numbers, and the superiority was found too great to be opposed with any chance of success.
On the 6th of August, the admiral was desired to embark the sick and wounded, and withdraw the cannon. On the 13th the Duke decamped; and in the meanwhile the town and harbour were bombarded, eight ships of the line were burnt and destroyed, several magazines blown up, and one hundred and sixty houses burned, in Toulon.
Such was the damage done the enemy; the allies were, however, compelled to raise the siege, and various reasons have been assigned as the cause; among which the following are stated as the most probable - the delay of its commencement, occasioned Bishop Burnet says, by an apprehension in the Duke of arriving at Toulon before the fleet, and thus suffering a want of provisions, though the gazettes of that time say, that had he arrived in time, he must have taken the place, and all the French magazines: the want of twelve thousand Imperialists, who had been sent to Naples; the disagreement between the Duke of Savoy and Prince Eugene: and the treacherous correspondence held by the Countess of Soissons, sister-in-law to the Prince, and a near relation of the Duke.
The failure of this expedition was a source of great mortification to Sir Cloudesley, who had entertained the most sanguine hopes of success, and had made the most strenuous exertions to insure it. But the period was now fast approaching, that was to relieve him from this and all his other cares. Finding that he could do no farther service, he left Sir Thomas Dukes, with thirteen sail of the line, and with the remainder of the fleet sailed from Gibraltar. On the 23d of October, he brought the fleet to in ninety fathom water. At six in the evening he sailed again, and soon after, with several other ships, made signals of distress; Sir George Byng, in the Royal Anne, was within less than half a mile to windward of him, and saw the breaches of the sea, and soon after the rocks called the Bishop and his Clerks, off Scilly, upon which the admiral struck, and in two minutes there was nothing seen of him or the ship. There were with him on board the Association, his sons-in-law, Sir John Narborough and James, his brother, Mr. Trelawney, eldest son to the Bishop of Winchester, and several other young gentlemen of quality.
The next day the body of Sir Cloudesley was thrown ashore upon the island of Scilly, and was found by some fishermen, who having taken a valuable emerald ring from his finger, stripped him and buried him in the sand. The ring being handed about, and becoming a subject of conversation on the island, was heard of by Mr. Paxton, purser of the Arundel, who having sought out the men, and desired a sight of the ring, declared it to be Sir Cloudesley Shovel's, and obliged them to show where they had deposited the body. The place having been pointed out, the body was taken up and conveyed on board the Arundel, in which it was brought to Plymouth, and from thence to the admiral`s house in Soho. square. It was afterwards buried with great solemnity in Westminster Abbey.
At the time of his death, he was rear-admiral of England, admiral of the white, and commander-in-chief of her Majesty`s fleet, one of the council to Prince George of Denmark, as Lord High Admiral of England, Elder Brother of the Trinity House, and one of the Governors of Greenwich Hospital.
In his public character he was zealous for the honour of his Sovereign, and the good of his country. As a private gentleman, his demeanour was affable to all; in his family he was affectionate, as the husband and the parent; as the master, mild and benevolent. And when Sir John Leake was made Rear-admiral of England as his successor, the Queen told him, she knew no man so fit to repair the loss of the ablest seaman in her service.
Sir Cloudesley married the widow of his friend and patron, Sir John Narborough, who was the daughter of Captain Hill, by whom he left two daughters, co-heiresses: Elizabeth, the eldest, who was espoused to Robert Lord Romney, and afterwards to John Lord Carmichael, Earl of Hyndeford, and died at the Hague, in 1750; and Anne, who became the wife of the Honourahle Robert Mansel, and after his death, married Robert Blackwood, Esq. of London, merchant. Lady Shovel had by her first husband, John, created a baronet while a child, and James Narhorough, Esq. who, as we have already stated, were lost with Sir Cloudesley in the Association. She had also a daughter married to Sir Thomas D`Aeth, of Knowlton, in the county of Kent, baronet, who died in 1721. Lady Shovel survived Sir Cloudesley twenty- five years, and died at her house in Frith-street, Soho, the 15th of March, 1732, at a very advanced age.
A marble monument was erected in Westminster Abbey, by order of Queen Anne, to the memory of this distinguished commander, with the following inscription:-
"Sir Cloudesley Shovel, Knt. rear-admiral of Great Britain; admiral and commander-in-chief of the fleet; the just rewards of long and faithful services: he was deservedly beloved of his country, and esteemed, though dreaded, by the enemy who had often experienced his conduct and courage.
Being shipwrecked on the rocks of Scilly, in his voyage from Toulon, the 22d of October, 1707, at night, in the fifty-seventh year of his age. His fate was lamented by all; but especially the seafaring part of the nation, to whom he was a worthy example. His body was flung on the shore, and buried with others in the sands; but being soon after taken up, was placed under this monument, which his royal mistress has caused to be erected, to commemorate his steady loyalty, and extraordinary virtues."
Last updatedJanuary 9, 2014 .