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a brave and successful English admiral, son of the preceding,

, a brave and successful English admiral, son of the preceding, was born in 1656, at Rotherhithe, in Surrey. His father instructed him both in mathematics and gunnery, with a view to the navy, and entered him early into that service as a midshipman; in which station he distinguished himself, under his father, at the above-mentioned engagement between sir Edward Spragge and Van Trump, in 1673, beingt'nen no more than seventeen years old. Upon the conclusion of that war soon after, hfc engaged in the merchants’ service, and had the command of a ship two or three voyages up the Mediterranean; but his inclination lying to the navy, he did not long remain unemployed in it. He had indeed refused a lieutenant’s commission; but this was done with a view to the place of master-gunner, which was then of much greater esteem than it is at present. When his father was advanced, not long after, to the command of a yacht, he gladly accepted the offer of succeeding him in the post of gunner to the Neptune, a second-rate man of war. This happened about 1675; and, the times being peaceable, he remained in this post without any promotion till 1688. James II. having then resolved to fit out a strong fleet, to prevent the invasion from Holland, Leake had the command of the Firedrake fireship, and distinguished himself by several important services; particularly, by the relief of Londonderry in Ireland, which was chiefly effected by his means. He was in the Firedrake in the fleet under lord Dartmouth, when the prince of Orange landed; after which he joined the rest of the protestant officers in an address to the prince. The importance of rescuing Londonderry from the hands of king James raised him in the navy; and, after some removes, he had the command given him of the Eagle, a third-rate of 70 guns. In 1692, the distinguished figure he made in the famous battle off La Hogue procured him the particular friendship of Mr. (afterwards admiral) Churchill, brother to the duke of Marlborough; and he continued to behave on all occasions with great reputation till the end of the war; when, upon concluding the peace of Ryswick, his ship was paid off, Dec. 5, 1697. In 1696, on the death of his father, his friends had procured for him his father’s places of mastergunner in England, and store- keeper of Woolwich, but these he declined, being ambitious of a commissioner’s place in the navy; and perhaps he might have obtained it, had not admiral Churchill prevailed with him not to think of quitting the sea, and procured him a commission for a third-rate of 70 guns in May 1699. Afterwards, upon the prospect of a new war, he was removed to the Britannia, the finest first-rate in the navy, of which he was appointed, Jan. 1701, first captain of three under the earl of Pembroke, newly made lord high admiral of England. This was the highest station he could have as a captain, and higher than any private captain ever obtained either before or since. But, upon the earl’s removal, to make way for prince George of Denmark, soon after queen Anne’s accession to the throne, Leake’s commission under him becoming void, May 27, 1702, he accepted of the Association, a second-rate, till an opportunity offered for his farther promotion. Accordingly, upon the declaration of war against France, he received a commission, June the 24th that year, from prince George, appointing him commander in chief of the ships designed against Newfoundland. He arrived there with his squadron in August, and, destroying the French trade and settlements, restored the English to the possession of the whole island. This gave him an opportunity of enriching himself by the sale of the captures, at the same time that it gained him the favour of the nation, by doing it a signal service, without any great danger of not succeeding; for, in truth, all the real fame he acquired on this occasion arose from his extraordinary dispatch and diligence in the execution.