Walton, George

, a gallant naval officer, memorable for the brevity of his dispatches, appears to have been of obscure origin, nor is any thing known of his history until his appointment, in 1692, to be first lieutenant of the Devonshire, an eighty- gun ship. From this time we have only accounts of his removals from one ship to another, without any opportunity of particularly displaying his courage, until 1718, when he commanded the Canterbury of sixty guns, and was sent under the command of sir George Byng to the Mediterranean. On the 1 Ith of August, the British fleet, then off Sicily, which had during the preceding day^ and night, been in pursuit of the Spaniards, having come up so close to them as to render an engagement unavoidable, the marquis de Mari, one of their rear admirals, separated from the body of the fleet, and ran in for the Sicilian shore, with six ships of war, and all the gallies, store-ships, bomb-ketcbes, and fire-ships. Captain Walton was immediately detached after them with six ships of the line, by the commanderiri-chief, who himself pursued the remainder, and soon Jbegan the attack, the issue of which was, that he captured four Spanish ships of war, one of them mounting sixty guns, commanded by rear admiral Mari himself, one of fifty-four, one of forty, and one of twenty-four guns, with a bomb-vessel and a ship laden with arms; and burnt one ship of war mounting fifty-four guns, two of forty, and one of thirty, a fire-ship, and a bomb-ketch. It may admit of some dispute, whether this brave officer derived a greater degree of popular favour from the gallantry of his conduct, or the very singular account he rendered of it to his commander-in-chief, and to the world. The whole of his dispatches were comprised in the following laconic note "Sir, Canterbury, off Syracuse, Aug. 16, 1718.

We have taken and destroyed all the Spanish ships and vessels that were upon the coast, the number as per margin. I am, &c. George Walton.

His behaviour on this occasion procured him the honour of knighthood immediately on his return. He afterwards rose by the usual gradations to the rank of admiral of the blue, and was employed in various expeditions, but | without having any opportunity of acquiring additional distinction. In 1735 he retired altogether from active service on a pension of 600l. a year, and died in 1740. 1

1 Campbell’s Lives of the Admirals. Charnock'8 Biog. Navalis.