WOBO: Search for words and phrases in the texts here...

Enter either the ID of an entry, or one or more words to find. The first match in each paragraph is shown; click on the line of text to see the full paragraph.

Currently only Chalmers’ Biographical Dictionary is indexed, terms are not stemmed, and diacritical marks are retained.

a celebrated naval commander, was the second son of Henry Rodney,

, a celebrated naval commander, was the second son of Henry Rodney, esq. of Walton on Thames, and Mary, eldest daughter and coheir to sir Henry Newton, knight, envoy- extraordinary to Genoa, LL. D. judge of the high-court of admiralty, and chancellor of the diocese of London. His father, as a naval officer, commanded the yacht in which king George I. attended by the duke of Chandos, used to embark in going to or coming from Hanover, and in consequence, asked leave that his son might be called George Brydges. He was born in Dec. 1717. At the desire, or by the command, of his royal and noble god-fathers, he entered early into the navy, and in 1742 he was lieutenant in the Namur, commanded by admiral Matthews. In November of the same year, he was promoted by the admiral to the command of ili Plymouth, of shrty gtttts; on returning home he was removed into the Sheerness, a small frigate; and in 174i he was npp.iinied to the command of the Lucliowcastle, of furty-iour guns. In this ship he does not appear to have continued long, for in May 1746, he was captain of the Eagle, a new ship of sixty guns, then employed as a cruiser on the Irish station. While here he captured two large privateers. He continued in the Eagle during the remainder of the war, and was one of the commanders under the orders of rear-admiral Hawke, when in 1747 he defeated L'Etendiere’s squadron. On this occasion capt. Rodney behaved with much spirit, and may be said to have then laid the foundation of that popularity he afterwards in so high a degree possessed. On the conclusion of the war he was, in March 1749, appointed to the Rainbow, a fourth rate, and in May following was nominated governor and commander-in-chief in and over the island of Newfoundland. Immediately afterwards he proceeded thither with the small squadron annually sent there in time of peace, for the protection of the fishery. Some time after his return in 1753 he married Miss Compton, daughter of Charles Compton, esq. and sister to Spencer, then earl of Northampton. In 1757 he was engaged, under the command of admirals Hawke and Boscawen, to attempt a descent on the coast of France, near Rochefort; and in 1759 he was advanced rear-admiral of the blue. In this same year he was sent to bombard Havre de Grace, where a large force was collected for the purpose of attempting an invasion of this country. He executed the trust committed to him so completely, that the town itself was several times on fire, and the magazines of stores and ammunition burnt with fury upwards of six hours, notwithstanding the exertions used to extinguish it. Thus had admiral Rodney the happiness of totally frustrating the design of the French court; and so completely did he destroy their preparations, that the fort itself, as a naval arsenal, was no longer during the war in a state to annoy Great Britain. In 1761 admiral Rodney was very instrumental in the capture of the islands of St Pierre, Granada, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent, when the whole Caribbees came into the possession of the English. For his skill and bravery in the war, he was, after the conclusion of it, raised to the dignity of a baronet. In 1768, after an expensive, and to sir George Rodney a ruinous, contest with Mr. Howe, he was elected member of parliament for Northampton. In the month of October 1770 he was progressively advanced to be vice-admiral of the white and red squadrons, and in the month of August 1771, to be rear-admiral of Great Britain. In the very arly part of this year he resigned the mastership of Greenwich hospital, to which he had been appointed in 1765, and was immediately after made commander-in-chief on the Jamaica station, whither he repaired, having his flag on board the Princess Amelia of 80 guns. The appointment of this ship to that service was intended as a particular and pointed compliment, it being extremely unusual to send a three-decked ship on that station, except in time of actual war. It is said the command in India was offered to him, which he declined, entertaining hopes of being appointed governor of Jamaica in case of the death of sir William Trelawney; but in this he was disappointed. After his return to England at the expiration of the time allotted for the continuance of his command, he retired to France, where he lived some years in obscurity, hoping to retrieve the losses he had suffered at the Northampton election. It is said that the French king wished to take advantage of his pecuniary embarrassments, and through the duke de Biron made him the most unbounded offers if he would quit the English for the French service. In reply to this proposal he said,“My distresses, sir, it is true, have driven me from the bosom of my country, but no temptation can estrange me from her service. Had this offer been voluntary on your part, I should have deemed it an insult, but I am glad to learn it proceeds from a source that can do no wrong.” The duke was so struck with the patriotism of the admiral, that he became attached to him as a friend, and is said to have advanced him a sum of money to revisit England, and solicit a command.