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.

, lord viscount Torrington, an eminent naval officer, was descended from a family long seated

, lord viscount Torrington, an eminent naval officer, was descended from a family long seated in Kent, his direct ancestor Robert Byng, of Wrotham, inthat county, being high sheriff of it in the 34th year of queen Elizabeth; and he was the eldest son of John Byng, esq. by Philadelphia, daughter of Mr. Johnson, of Loans, Surrey. He was born in 1663, and went a Volunteer to sea in 1678, at the age of fifteen, with the king’s letter given him on the recommendation of the duke of York. In 1681 he quitted the sea-service upon the invitation of general Kirk, governor of Tangier, and served as a cadet in the grenadiers of that garrison; until on a vacancy, which soon happened, the general made him ensign of his own company; and soon after a lieutenant. In 1684, after the demolition of Tangier, lord Dartmouth, general of the sea and land forces, appointed him lieutenant of the Oxford; from which time he constantly kept to the sea-service, remaining likewise an officer in the army several years after. In 1685 he went lieutenant of his majesty’s ship the Phoenix to the East Indies where, engaging and boarding a Zinganian pirate, who maintained a desperate fight, most of those who entered with him were killed, himself much wounded, and the pirate sinking, he was taken out of the sea with scarce any remains of life. In 1688, being first lieutenant to sir John Ashby, in the fleet commanded by lord Dartmouth, fitted out to oppose the designs of the prince of Orange, he was in a particular manner intrusted and employed in the measures then carrying on amongst the most considerable officers of the fleet in favour of that prince; and was the person confided in by them to carry their secret assurances of obedience to his highness, to whom he was privately introduced, at Sherburn, by admiral Russel, afterwards earl of Orford. After his return to the fleet, lord Dartmouth sent him with capt. Aylmer, and capt. Flastings, to carry a message of submission to the prince at Windsor; and made him captain of the Constant Warwick, a ship of the fourth rate. In 1690 he commanded the Hope, a third rate, and was second to sir George Rooke, in the battle off Beachy head. In the years 1691 and 1692, he was captain of the Royal Oak, and served under admiral Russel, who commanded in chief their Majesty’s fleet. In F693, that great officer distinguished him in a particular manner, by promoting him to the rank of his first captain; in which station he served in 1694 and 1695 in the Mediterranean, where the designs of the French against Barcelona were prevented: and also the next year, 1696, in the Channel, to oppose the intended invasion of king James with a French army from the coast of France; which, upon the appearance of the fleet, was laid aside. In 1702, upon the breaking out of the war, he accepted of the command of the Nassau, a third rate, and was at the taking and burning of the French and Spanish fleets at Vigo. The year following he was made rearadmiral of the red, and served in the fleet commanded by *ir Cloudesley Shovel, in the Mediterranean; who detached him with a squadron to Algiers, where he renewed and improved our treaties with that government. In 1704 he served in the grand fleet in the Mediterranean, and commanded the squadron that attacked and cannonaded Gibraltar; and, by landing the seamen, whose valour was very remarkably displayed on this occasion, the town was taken. He was in the battle of Malaga, which followed soon after, and, for his behaviour in that action, had the honour of knighthood conferred on him by his Majesty. In the winter of this year he was sent oat with a squadron to cruise against the French, which he^ did with great success, taking about twenty of their largest privateers in about two months time, with the Thetis, a French man of war of fifty guns. In 1705 he was made vice-admiral of the blue: and upon the election of a new parliament, was returned burgess for Plymouth, which place he represented in every succeeding parliament to the year 1721, when he was advanced to the peerage.

an eminent naval officer, was the son of Edward Hawke, esq. barrister

, 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.