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The Story Of Admiral Benbow
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Defeat Of The Spanish Fleet In The Faro Off Messina
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The Destruction Of The Algerine Navy
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A Saxon Chronicle
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The Story Of Captain Hornby And The French Privateer
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The Loss Of Hms Namur
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The Story Of Sir John Berry
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The Story Of Admiral The Honourable John Byng
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The Loss Of The Royal George
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The Story Of Sir Francis Drake
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The Mutiny Of 1797

The Story Of Lord Exmouth
(SIR EDWARD PELLEW). Edward Pellew, afterwards Viscount ...

Off Cape Finisterre
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The Victory Of La Hogue
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The Story Of The Battle Of The Nile
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The Story Of Lord Exmouth


Edward Pellew, afterwards Viscount Exmouth, was born at Dover in 1757.
At thirteen years of age he went to sea on board the Juno frigate as
midshipman, and later served in the Blonde frigate on Lake Champlain
during the American War. While here, in command of the Pelican in
1782, he defeated three French privateers. Attracting the attention of
his superiors by his cool and intrepid daring, he was sent home with
despatches and strongly recommended for promotion.

On the outbreak of war with France in 1793 he was made captain of the
Nymph, a thirty-six gun frigate, which he manned chiefly with Cornish
miners, signalising his appointment by capturing the Cleopatra of
forty guns--"a crack ship of France"--after a brief and brilliant
encounter on the morning of June 18th. The captain of the French frigate
was killed and three lieutenants wounded, besides which she lost sixty
of her men, one hundred and fifty being taken prisoners. Captain Pellew
lost twenty-three men killed and twenty-seven wounded. This being the
first capture after the outbreak of the war, Captain Pellew received the
honour of knighthood. His next appointment was to the Arethusa, of
forty-four guns, in which he distinguished himself on many occasions
while serving in the Channel with Sir J. B. Warren's squadron. Sir
Edward Pellew was, however, distinguished not only for his military
skill and prowess but for his heroic humanity. The story of the
shipwreck of the Dutton and of Sir Edward Pellew's gallant rescue of
her crew and passengers has been often told, and we are glad to be able
to quote the description given by his biographer.

In January, 1796, Sir Edward's ship the Indefatigable was refitting in
Plymouth Harbour, and on the 26th Sir Edward and Lady Pellew were
driving to a dinner party when they learned that there was a wreck off
the shore, upon which Sir Edward left the carriage and proceeded to the

"Arrived at the beach, he saw at once that the loss of nearly all on
board, between five hundred and six hundred, was inevitable, without
some one to direct them. The principal officers of the ship had
abandoned their charge and got on shore just as he arrived on the beach.
Having urged them, but without success, to return to their duty, and
vainly offered rewards to pilots and others belonging to the port to
board the wreck--for all thought it too hazardous to be attempted--he
exclaimed, 'Then I will go myself!' A single rope, by which the
officers and a few others had landed, formed the only communication
with the ship, and by this he was hauled on board through the surf. The
danger was greatly increased by the wreck of the masts which had fallen
towards the shore, and he received an injury in the back which confined
him to his bed for a week, in consequence of being dragged under the
main mast. But, disregarding this at the time, he reached the deck,
declared himself and assumed the command. He assured the people that
every one would be saved if they quietly obeyed his orders; that he
himself would be the last to quit the wreck, but that he would run any
one through who disobeyed him. His well-known name, with the calmness
and energy he displayed, gave confidence to the despairing multitude. He
was received with three hearty cheers, which were echoed by the
multitude on shore, and his promptitude and resource soon enabled him to
find and apply the means by which all might be safely landed. His
officers, in the meantime, though not knowing that he was on board, were
exerting themselves to bring assistance from the Indefatigable. Mr.
Pellowe, first lieutenant, left the ship in the barge, and Mr. Thomson,
acting master, in the launch; but the boats could not be brought
alongside the wreck and were obliged to run for the Barbican. A small
boat belonging to a merchant vessel was more fortunate. Mr. Esdell,
signal midshipman to the port admiral, and Mr. Coghlan, mate of the
(merchant) vessel, succeeded, at the risk of their lives, in bringing
her alongside. The ends of two additional hawsers were got on shore, and
Sir Edward contrived cradles, to be slung upon them, with travelling
ropes to pass forward and backward between the ship and the beach. Each
hawser was held on shore by a number of men, who watched the rolling of
the wreck, and kept the ropes tight and steady. Meantime a cutter had
with great difficulty worked out of Plymouth Pool, and two large boats
arrived from the dockyard, under the directions of Mr. Hemmings, the
master-attendant, by whose caution and judgment they were enabled to
approach the wreck, and received the more helpless of the passengers who
were carried to the cutter. Sir Edward, with his sword drawn, directed
the proceedings and preserved order, a task the more difficult as the
soldiers had got at the spirits before he came on board and many were
drunk. The children, the women and the sick were the first landed. One
of them was only three weeks old, and nothing in the whole transaction
impressed Sir Edward more strongly than the struggle of the mother's
feelings before she would entrust her infant to his care, or afforded
him more pleasure than the success of his attempt to save it. Next, the
soldiers were got on shore, then the ship's company, and finally Sir
Edward himself, who was one of the last to leave her. Every one was
saved, and presently afterwards the wreck went to pieces."

"Nothing," says Mr. Giffard in his "Deeds of Naval Daring," "could equal
the lustre of such an action, except the modesty of him who was the hero
of it. Indeed, upon all occasions, forward as he was to eulogise the
merits of his followers, Sir Edward was reserved, almost to a fault,
upon everything connected with his own services. The only notice taken
of the Dutton in the journal of the Indefatigable, is the short
sentence, 'Sent two boats to the assistance of a ship on shore in the
Sound;' and in his letter to Vice-admiral Onslow, who had hoisted his
flag at Plymouth a day or two before, he throws himself almost out of
sight and ascribes the chief merit to the officer who directed the

"'DEAR SIR,--I hope it happened to me this afternoon to be
serviceable to the unhappy sufferers on board the Dutton; and
I have much satisfaction in saying that every soul in her was
taken out before I left her, except the first mate, boatswain
and third mate, who attended the hauling of ropes to the shore,
and they eased me on shore by the hawsers. It is not possible to
refrain speaking in raptures of the handsome conduct of Mr.
Hemmings, the master-attendant, who, at the imminent risk of his
life, saved hundreds. If I had not hurt my leg and been
otherwise much bruised, I would have waited on you; but hope
this will be a passable excuse.--I am, with respect, sir, your
most obedient humble servant,


Services performed in the sight of thousands could not thus be
concealed. Praise was lavished upon him from every quarter. The
corporation of Plymouth voted him the freedom of the town. The merchants
of Liverpool presented him with a valuable service of plate. On the 5th
of March following he was created a baronet as Sir Edward Pellew, of
Ireverry, and received for an honourable augmentation of his arms a
civic wreath, a stranded ship for a crest, and the motto "Deo adjuvante
Fortuna sequatur." This motto, so modest, and not less expressive of his
own habitual feeling, was chosen by himself, in preference to one
proposed which was more personally complimentary.

In 1799 he removed into L'Impetueux, of seventy-four guns, and later
to Le Tonnant, of eighty guns, soon after being raised to the rank of
rear-admiral and placed in command of the fleet in the East Indies,
where he exterminated the French cruisers and remained until 1809. After
this he served in the North Sea and then in the Mediterranean. His
services were rewarded with a peerage, to which he was raised as Baron
Exmouth, and a pension of L2,000 a year. In 1816 he proceeded to the
Barbary States on a mission to liberate the Christian slaves; but
finding on his return that his treaties were disregarded, he returned to
Algiers and bombarded the town, reducing the enemy to submission, for
which service he was made a viscount. In 1817 he was appointed to the
chief command at Plymouth, and in 1821 he returned from active service,
but was made Vice-admiral of England in 1832. "Few men," says a
biographer, "in the naval service of this country--eminently
distinguished as many have been--ever bore so prominent a part, or
evinced more determined courage and coolness in the discharge of their
arduous duties than did this gallant, humane and active officer. He
seemed to be a very beau ideal of a British sailor; his undaunted
courage and enterprise was strikingly shown in his manly aspect, and
though a perfect disciplinarian, his hearty and encouraging words
produced a magic effect on his officers and men, while they always felt
the fullest confidence in his skill and intrepidity. He died in January

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