Imágenes de páginas

Robust had also suffered severely in her close conflict; yet, crippled as she was, her signal was made to take the Hoche in tow. The order was obeyed with the zeal which ever distinguished Captain Thornborough, and away he steered for Lough Swilly; but on the afternoon of the 13th a squall carried away the masts of the prize, and in the evening, the tow-rope stranding, she broke adrift. A stormy night followed, and but for the French prisoners joining their utmost exertions to those of the English, as a common cause of danger, she must inevitably have been lost. On the 15th, the Doris frigate, Captain Lord Ranelagh, fortunately joined the disabled ships, took the Hoche in tow, and at length anchored her in safety. To the ability and gallantry of Captain Thornborough was attributed the success of the day; and the Admiralty, who had already promoted the Commodore's Lieutenant, soon afterwards presented Mr. Colby, first of the Robust, who lost his arm in the action, with a commander's commission.

A squadron of four French frigates, under M. Savary, followed Bompart's expedition, which arrived in the vicinity of Killala Bay, on the 27th of October, where he learned the results which sealed the fate of the French arms; and, apprehensive of being caught also, he steered home again with the melancholy tidings. The coast of Ireland being thus free, the Robust again joined the Channel fleet, under Lord Bridport, who expressed himself particularly pleased at her return. At the flag promotion which took place on the 14th of February, 1799, Captain Thornborough was nominated a Colonel of Marines, and shifted his pendant from the Robust to the Formidable, of 98 guns. In this ship he served under Admiral Sir A. Gardner, Earl St. Vincent, Sir C. Cotton, Lord Keith, and Lord Bridport, on the Channel and Mediterranean stations, till the 1st of January, 1801, when the promotion consequent on establishing the Union between Great Britain and Ireland taking place, he was advanced to the rank of Rear-Admiral of the Blue, and hoisted his flag on board the Mars, 74, Captain R.

Lloyd, and during the remainder of the war he was employed in the arduous but monotonous duty of watching Brest.

The Admiral rejoined his family and friends on the peace taking place, but was not long to enjoy repose, for the renewal of hostilities recalled him; and after commanding in the Downs, he was appointed to a division of the North Sea fleet, under Lord Keith, with his flag hoisted on board the Defence, 74. The blockade of the Texel was now managed with success, on a system at once economical of anxiety and labour. The ports of Holland admit of the ingress and egress of large ships only during the spring tides; two days before which, Thornborough's squadron regularly took its station off the Texel, and remained as many days after the full and change of the moon, so that the Dutch lost all the advantages of the high tides, their heavy ships being effectually detained within their harbours.

In April, 1804, the Atalante, a Dutch brig of war, was gallantly cut out of Vlie Passage by the boats of the Scorpion and Beaver, after being bravely defended. Her Commander, A. Von Karpe, who refused quarter, being slain, was buried by Captain Hardinge, the conqueror, with every honour he could bestow, even to hauling down the English colours, hoisting Dutch, and liberating the prisoners during the interment. This incident afforded the Admiral an opportunity of displaying that generous humanity for which he was ever remarkable, and gave a proper finish to the honourable affair. After recommending Captains Hardinge and Pelly, and Lieutenant Bluett, for promotion, he sent a flag of truce to Kilkert, the Batavian Admiral, with the purser and pilot of the Atalante, and the deceased Captain's servant, with the whole of his late master's private property, in order that it might be delivered to his relations.

Early in 1805 Admiral Thornborough assumed the important station of Captain of the Channel fleet, under Lord Gardner. In June he was promoted to the rank of ViceAdmiral, hoisted his flag in the Kent, and was nominated to command a squadron of fast-sailing line-of-battle ships, des

tined to reinforce Lord Nelson, but which, from the battle of Trafalgar occurring, did not take place. In the following year he commanded in the Pertuis d'Antioche, with his flag on board the Prince of Wales, of 98 guns, and maintained the blockade of Rochefort, until he was relieved by Sir Samuel Hood. In February, 1807, he removed into the Royal Sovereign, of 100 guns, and proceeded to the Mediterranean, where he remained executing various services until the end of 1809. In October of the next year he was appointed Commander-in-Chief on the Irish station, where he continued until he attained the rank of Admiral, in December, 1813. He afterwards held the office of Commander-in-Chief at Portsmouth, from 1815 till May 1818, and with that appointment closed his public services, though he was subsequently raised to the commission of Vice-Admiral of the United Kingdom. On the extension of the Order of the Bath, in January, 1815, Admiral Thornborough was made a Knight Commander, and in January, 1825, raised to a Grand Cross. He was twice married, and died a widower, on the 3d of April, 1834, at his seat, Bishopsteignton Lodge, in Devonshire, at the age of 80. By his first wife, who died at Exeter in 1801, he had several children, of whom one, Edward Le Cras Thornborough, is now a Captain in the Royal Navy.

Abridged from a Memoir in the United Service Journal.


No. VI.




[ocr errors]

THIS distinguished statesman was born on the 25th of October, 1759, the third son of the Right Hon. George Grenville, Prime Minister of England in 1763-1765, and of Elizabeth, daughter of Sir William Wyndham, Bart. by Lady Catherine Seymour, and sister to Charles first Earl of Egremont.

He received his early education at Eton, where he was concerned in the grand rebellion under Foster, when all the boys left the school, threw their books into the Thames, and marched to Salt Hill. He was, however, persuaded by his father to return for a few weeks; and then removed to Christ Church, Oxford, where in 1779 he gained the Chancellor's prize for a composition in Latin verse, the subject being Vis Electrica. He took the degree of B.A.; and then entered one of the inns of court, with the view of qualifying for the bar. His attention, however, was quickly diverted to the business of politics. In Feb. 1782 he was returned to Parliament on a vacancy for Buckingham; and in Sept. following, when his brother Earl Temple (the late Marquis of Buckingham) was

for the first time sent to Ireland as Lord Lieutenant, Mr. W. Grenville accompanied him as Private Secretary, and he was sworn a Privy Councillor of that kingdom. The period of Earl Temple's vice-reign terminated in the June of the following year; in December following Mr. Grenville accepted office at home, being appointed to succeed Mr. Burke as Paymaster of the Army. His active senatorial career now commenced, and his industry and acquirements, added to strong natural talents, soon made him of consequence in the House of Commons. He was the able coadjutor of the youthful minister, his cousin-german, who was only a few months his senior; firm to his post, and in full possession of all his faculties. If he wanted the brilliant eloquence of his relation, he possessed more minuteness of knowledge and accuracy of detail. The routine of office was almost hereditary in him. He seemed to have imbibed all the ideas and habits of his father, even though he was a child at the death of that persevering statesman.

At the general election of 1784 he was chosen one of the county members for Buckinghamshire, after one of the most vigorous contests ever known. He was re-elected in 1790, but before the close of that year had been removed to the House of Lords.

He had not completed his thirtieth year when he was chosen to preside over the House of Commons, being elected speaker Jan. 5. 1789, on the death of the Rt. Hon. Charles Wolfran Cornwall.

Before four months, however, had elapsed, he was summoned from that station to the still more responsible if not more arduous one, of Secretary of State of the Home Department. He was moved to the House of Lords by a patent of peerage dated Nov. 25. 1790, and thenceforward became the representative and echo of Mr. Pitt in the Upper House. In the following May he exchanged the seals of Home Secretary for those of the Foreign Department: the latter he retained until the resignation of Mr. Pitt, in Feb. 1801. In 1791 he was appointed ranger of St. James's and Hyde

« AnteriorContinuar »