Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

his seat, Batsford Park, near Moreton in the Marsh, Gloucestershire, on the 16th of January, 1830.

Lord Redesdale married, June the 6th, 1803, Lady Frances Perceval, seventh daughter of John second Earl of Egmont, and sister to the Right Honourable Spencer Perceval and to the present Lord Arden. The marriage was solemnised by the Honourable Dr. Barrington, Bishop of Durham, at St. George's, Hanover Square. Lady Redesdale, who died August the 22d, 1817, gave birth to one son and two daughters :- 1. the Honourable Frances Elizabeth Mitford; 2. the Right Honourable John Thomas now Lord Redesdale; and 3. the Honourable Catharine, who died in 1811.

The will of Lord Redesdale has been proved at Doctors' Commons. His Lordship bequeaths the whole of his real and personal estate to his son the present Lord, subject to a legacy of 20,0001. and an annuity of 4001. to his daughter. The personal property was sworn under 60,0001.

The “ Public Characters,” and “ The Parliamentary Debates," are the chief sources from which the foregoing Memoir has been derived.

206

No. VI.

SIR CHARLES BRISBANE,

REAR-ADMIRAL OF THE RED;. KNIGHT-COMMANDER OF THE

MOST HONOURABLE MILITARY ORDER OF THE BATH; GOVERNOR, CAPTAIN-GENERAL, AND VICE-ADMIRAL OF THE ISLAND OF ST. VINCENT, AND ITS DEPENDENCIES.

This distinguished naval officer was a descendant of Allans de Brysbane, who obtained a grant of the lands of Mucherach, in Stirling, from Donald Earl of Lennox, who lived in the time of King David Bruce, anno 1329.

He was the fourth, but eldest surviving, son of the late Admiral John Brisbane *; and entered the naval service about the year 1779, on board the Alcide, of 74 guns, under the auspices of his father, whom he afterwards accompanied into the Hercules, another third-rate.

On leaving the Hercules, Captain Brisbane confided his son Charles, then about nine years of age, to the care of her first-lieutenant, the late Vice-Admiral Nowell; whose brother officers, as a mark of the respect and esteem they had for their late commander, agreed that he should mess in the ward-room. The Hercules formed part of Sir George B. Rodney's fleet in the memorable battle of April 12. 1782. On that occasion, Lieutenant Nowell appointed Charles his little aide-de-camp; but as he could not bring himself to acquiesce in the youngster's wishes so far as to assign him a station on the quarter-deck, he placed him with the officer who commanded on the lower-deck. During the engagement with the French fleet under Count de Grasse, a shot came

• Admiral John Brisbane died at Southampton, Dec. 10. 1807.

through the Hercules's counter, and carried away the rudder case, one of the boards of which knocked Charles down. A seaman took him

up in his arms, and carried him in a state of insensibility to the cockpit. He soon afterwards came to himself; and on the surgeon asking him where he was hurt, he pointed to his breast, but said he was well enough to return to his quarters. The wound, however, proved of a very serious nature, and kept him in a crippled state, bent almost double, for nine months.

Having served as a Midshipman in various ships, Mr. Charles Brisbane was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant in 1790, and soon after appointed to the Spitfire fire-ship, in which he remained till she was paid off. In 1793, he proceeded to the Mediterranean with Captain (now Sir Charles) Tyler, in the Meleager frigate; and, from the arrival of Lord Hood at Toulon, to the period of its evacuation, and subsequently, during the whole of the operations against the French in Corsica, he was very actively employed, as will appear by the following outline of his services in that quarter.

At midnight, on the 27th of August, when Captain Elphinstone (the late Viscount Keith) had been authorised by the Commander-in-Chief to take the command at Fort la Malgue, Lieutenant Brisbane assisted at the disembarkation of the troops; and in the succeeding month, when it was found necessary to erect a battery upon the Hauteur de Grasse, for the better protection of the outer road and naval hospital, it was owing, in part, to his active zeal and great exertion, that three 24-pounders were expeditiously dragged up a very steep ascent.

Lieutenant Brisbane's conduct on these and other occasions of a similar nature attracted the notice of Lord Hood, by whom he was shortly afterwards appointed to the command of Fort Pomet; one of the most dangerous out-posts in the neighbourhood of Toulon, about five miles from the city.

This was an appointment extremely suitable to the display of his talents. He assisted in repulsing the French at Fort Mulgrave, in November; and, after several other skirmishes on the heights of Pharon, he remained at Fort Pomet, till it was found necessary to destroy the enemy's ships, and to evacuate the town and harbour of Toulon. He was then ordered to make the best retreat in his power from the post he commanded; but although the republican troops were pouring down in considerable force, and were within a very short distance, he stopped to set fire to a train, which communicated with five hundred barrels of gunpowder. The explosion blew the fort to atoms; and, from the situation of himself and his men, it was supposed, at a distance, that they had all perished. Amidst his ardour, however, Lieutenant Brisbane's judgment had not forsaken him: himself and his party were safe; and after surmounting many difficulties and dangers, they effected their retreat without loss.

Early in 1794, Lieutenant Brisbane proceeded to Corsica; and, with 100 men belonging to the Britannia under his command, effected a landing at St. Fiorenzo. A body of troops, commanded by Lieutenant-General Dundas, was disembarked about the same time; and on the night of the 17th of February, the heights of Fornelli were vigorously attacked, and carried by assault.

During the siege of Bastia, which was soon afterwards commenced, Lieutenant Brisbane had the honour of serving under the heroic Nelson, who commanded a brigade of seamen on shore; and of sharing in the extensive variety of services in which he was at that period engaged.

There was even a similarity in their fate; for, having been intrusted by Nelson with the command of a small battery, our officer was dangerously wounded in the head while at his gun, a circumstance which reduced him to the mortifying necessity of being taken on board the Alcide, one of the ships then lying off the town, Several pieces of iron were extracted from the wound, (which had been occasioned by the collision of one of the enemy's shot with Lieutenant Brisbane's gun,) and a cure was at length effected; but his left eye sustained nearly a total deprivation of sight.

Lord Hood, in his official letter, announcing the surrender

guns with

of Bastia, speaks very highly of the merits of Lieutenant Brisbane. “ The Lieutenants Gore, Hotham, Stiles, Andrews, and Brisbane,” says his Lordship, “ have an ample claim to my gratitude; as the seamen under their management worked the

great judgment and alacrity: never was a higher spirit or greater perseverance exhibited; and I am happy to say, that no other contention was at any time known, than who should be most forward and indefatigable in promoting his Majesty's service: for although the difficulties they had to struggle with were many and various, the perfect harmony and good humour that universally prevailed throughout the siege overcame them all.”

In the month of June following, Lieutenant Brisbane, then on board the Britannia, a first rate, bearing the flag of ViceAdmiral Hotham, proposed a plan for destroying a French squadron which had been chased into Gourjon Bay, and was there protected by several strong batteries. His scheme was immediately adopted by Lord Hood, who ordered the Tarleton and another vessel to be fitted as fire-ships, and intrusted him with the command of the former ; but on approaching the bay, our officer and his companion, Lieutenant R. W. Miller, found the enemy so well prepared, and so strongly posted, that the enterprise was abandoned as impracticable. Lord Hood, however, entertained so high an opinion of the merit of the plan, that he rewarded its projector by advancing him to the rank of Commander, in the same vessel to which he had already given him a temporary appointment.

Subsequently to the action with the French fleet, on the 14th of March, 1795, Captain Brisbane was removed into the Moselle sloop of war; and on the arrival of Sir John Jervis in the Mediterranean, in the ensuing autumn, he received orders to proceed to Gibraltar; whence he was sent by RearAdmiral Mann, to convoy two troop-ships to Barbadoes, On his passage thither he fell in with a Dutch squadron ; and conceiving it to be of more importance to watch their motions than to proceed on his original destination, he sent the transports forward, and followed the enemy, acting upon his own

VOL. XV.

P

« PoprzedniaDalej »