Hawke, Edward, Lord Hawke

, an eminent naval officer, was the son of Edward Hawke, esq. barrister at law, by Elizabeth, daughter of Nathaniel Bladen, esq. He was from his youth brought up to the sea, and passed through the inferior stations till, in 1713—4, he was appointed captain of the Wolf. His intrepidity and conduct were first of all distinguished in the memorable engagement with the combined fleets of France and Spain on Toulon, in 1744, when the English fleet was commanded by the admirals Matthews, Lestock, and Rowley. If all the English ships had done their duty on that day as well as the Berwick, which captain Hawke commanded, the honour and discipline of the navy would not have been so tarnished. He compelled the Pader, a Spanish vessel of 60 guns, to strike; and, to succour the Princessa and Somerset, broke the line without orders, for which act of bravery he lost his commission, but was honourably restored to his rank by the king. In 1747 he was appointed rear-admiral of the 'white; and on the 14th of October, in the same year, fell in with a large French fleet, bound to the West Indies, convoyed by nine men of war, of which he captured seven. This was a glorious day for England, and the event taught British commanders to despise the old prejudice of staying | for a line of battle. “Perceiving,” says the gallant admiral in his letters to the Admiralty, “that we lost time in forming our line, I made the signal for the whole squadron to chase, and when within a proper distance to engage.” On October the 31st, admiral Hawke arrived at Portsmouth with his prizes, and as a reward of his bravery, he was soon afterwards made knight of the bath. In 1748 he was made vice-admiral of the blue, and elected an elder brother of the Trinity-house; in 1755 he was appointed viceadmiral of the white, and in 1757 commanded the squadron which was sent to co-operate with sir John Mordaunt in the expedition against Rochfort. In 1759, sir Edward commanded the grand fleet opposed to that of the French equipped at Brest, and intended to invade these kingdoms. He accordingly sailed from Portsmouth, and, arriving off Brest, so stationed his ships that the French fleet did not dare to come out, and had the mortification of beholding their coast insulted, and their merchantmen taken. The admiral, however, being by a strong westerly wind blown from his station, the French seized this opportunity, and steered for Quiberon-bay, where a small English squadron lay under the command of commodore Duff. Sir Edward Hawke immediately went in pursuit of them, and on the 20th of November came up with them off Belleisle. The wind blew exceedingly hard at the time, nevertheless the French were engaged, and totally defeated, nor was the navy of France able to undertake any thing of consequence during the remainder of the war. This service, owing to the nature of the coast, was peculiarly hazardous; but when the pilot represented the danger, our gallant admiral only replied, “You have done your duty in pointing out the difficulties; you are now to comply with my order, and lay me along the Soleil Royal.” For these and similar services, the king settled a pension of 2000l. per annum on sif Edward and his two sons, or the survivor of them; he also received the thanks of the house of commons, and the freedom of the city of Cork in a gold box. In 1765 he was appointed vice-admiral of Great Britain, and first lord of the admiralty; and, in 1776, he was made a peer of England, under the title of Baron Hawke, of Towton, in the county of York. His lordship married Catharine the daughter of Walter Brooke, of Burton-hall, in Yorkshire, esq. by whom he had four children. He was one of the greatest characters that ever adorned the British navy; but | most of all remarkable for the daring courage which induced him on many occasions to disregard those forms of conducting or sustaining an attack, which the rules and ceremonies of service had before considered as indispensable. He died at his seat at Shepperton in Middlesex, October 14, 1781. 1


Collins’s Peerage by sir E. Brydges. Chaniock’s Biog. Navalis.