, a brave naval officer, was born in Kent, 1650, of an ancient and
, a brave naval officer, was born in Kent, 1650, of an ancient and honourable family. His father, sir William Rooke, knight, qualified him by a proper education for a liberal profession but was at last obliged to give way to his inclination to the navy. His first station was that of a volunteer, from which his merit raised him by regular steps to be vice-admiral, and one of the council to prince George of Denmark, lord high admiral. He had the command of several expeditions in the reigns of William and Anne, in which his conduct and courage were eminently displayed. The former appeared in his behaviour on the Irish station, when he was sent as commodore with a squadron to assist in the reduction of that kingdom; in his wise and prudent management when he preserved so great a part of the Smyrna fleet, which fortune had put into the hands of the French, who suffered themselves to be deprived of an immense booty by the superior skill of this admiral; but more particularly in the taking of Gibraltar, which was a project conceived and executed in less than a week, though it has since endured sieges of not only months but years, and more than once baffled the united forces of France and Spain. Of his courage he gave abundant testimonies, but especially in burning the French ships at La Hogue, and in the battle of Malaga, where he behaved with all the resolution of a British admiral; and, as he was first in command, was first also in danger; and all times must preserve the memory of his glorious action at Vigo.
, a brave naval officer in the seventeenth century, was commander
, a brave naval officer in the seventeenth century, was commander of a ship of war during
the protectorate of Cromwell, and distinguished himself by
some actions of singular gallantry. In 1G56, having three
frigates under his command, he fell in with the Spanish
flota, consisting of eight sail; notwithstanding the disproportion of numbers, he attacked them, and with such success, that in the space of a few hours he burnt one, sunk
a second, captured two, and drove two others on shore.
The treasure on board of his prizes amounted to 600,000l.
sterling. The next year, in company with admiral Blake,
who had the chief command, he attacked and destroyed
the Spanish flota in the bay of Santa Cruz; “
an act so
miraculous,” says Clarendon, “
that all who knew the place
wondered how any men, with what courage soever endued,
could have undertaken it; indeed, they could hardly persuade themselves to believe what they had done; whilst
the Spaniards comforted themselves with the belief that
they were devils, and not men, who had destroyed their
ships.” For his share in this gallant exploit, captain
Stainer was knighted by Cromwell at Whitehall, June 11,
1657; and soon afterwards made a vice-admiral. Sir
Richard Stainer was one of the commanders who went with
admiral Montague to bring over Charles II. He was
knighted by the king, and made rear-admiral of the fleet,
but did not long enjoy his honours, as his death took place
in Nov. 1662. He was buried at Greenwich, where his
lady died the preceding year. Leaving no issue, he bequeathed his large property to his brother, who, by involving himself in a law suit with the salt-company at Droitwich, lost the greater part of his fortune, and grew distressed. His son, the nephew and representative of the
gallant sir Richard Stainer, was a few years ago in a workhouse at Birmingham.