Greenville, Sir Richard

, a gallant naval officer, was the son of sir Roger, of an ancient family, in the west of England, and was born about 1540. At the age of sixteen, by the permission of queen Elizabeth, he served in the imperial army in Hungary, against the Turks. Upon his return, he engaged with the troops employed for the reduction of Ireland, and obtained so much reputation as to be appointed sheriff of the city of Cork, and in 1571, he represented the county of Cornwall in parliament. He was afterwards high sheriff of the county, and received the honour of knighthood; but the bias of his mind was chiefly fixed upon plans of foreign discovery and settlement, proposed by his relation sir Walter Raleigh, and when the patents were made out, he obtained the command of a squadron fitted out for the purpose, consisting of seven small vessels. With these he sailed in the spring of 1585, and reaching the coast of Florida in June, he left there a colony of one hundred men, and then sailed homewards. He made other voyages, and on occasion of the Spanish invasion, was appointed one of a council of war, to concert means of defence, and received the queen’s commands not to quit the county of Cornwall. In 1591 he was appointed vice-admiral of a squadron, fitted out for the purpose of intercepting a rich Spanish fleet from the West Indies. This fleet, when it appeared, was convoyed by a very superior force, and Greenville was urged to tack about; but he preferred, and no doubt his sailors agreed with him, taking chance of breaking through the enemy’s fleet, which almost immediately surrounded him. The Spanish admiral, with four other ships, began a clos? attack at three in the afternoon the engagement lasted till break of day next morning, during which the Spaniards, notwithstanding their vast superiority, were driven off | fifteen times. At length the greater part of the English crew being either killed or wounded, and the ship reduced to a wreck, no hope of escape remained. The brave commander had been wounded at the beginning of the action, but he caused his wounds to be dressed on deck, and refused to go down into the hold, and in that state he was shot through the body. He was now taken to the cabin, and while in the act of being dressed, the surgeon was killed by his side. The admiral still determined to hold out, wishing rather to sink the ship than surrender, but the offers of quarter from the Spaniards induced the men to yield. Sir Richard was taken on board the Spanish ship, and honourably treated, but died of his wounds in about three days. He has sometimes been blamed for rashness, but of this his censurers appear to be very imperfect judges. 1

1 Biog, Brit.