Admiral Sir Erasmus Gower (1742-1814)

Associated People G - H

Listed alphabetically by Surname

Gibbs, Sophia (1779-1847?).

Significant beneficiary of Gower's will. See Bates, Champion of the Quarterdeck: Admiral Sir Erasmus Gower (1742-1814), Appendix A - Associated People.

Graves, Rear-admiral Samuel RN (c.1741-c.1802).

Made post captain 15th September 1777 into HMS Deal Castle. Captain of Sceptre, (64) in 1781-3 and served with distinction under Sir Richard Bickerton (qv) and Vice-admiral Edward Hughes (qv) in East Indies. (See chapter - India & respect). Despite recommendations from his three naval captain brothers and admiral Hughes, Graves was then superannuated and had no further service.

Hale, Rear-admiral John RN (? - 1791).

Commander 27th May 1747. Commanded HM sloop Badger between 1750-54. Made post captain into HMS Winchelsea on 7th October 1755. Winchelsea was captured by a French man of war in 1758 but was later re-captured by a Bristol privateer. Captain Hale was tried and acquitted. Captain of HMS Winchester, (50), 1761-2 with Erasmus Gower as midshipman. Captain Hale provided testimony at Gower’s passing for lieutenant. Described by the lieutenant-governor of New York as 'a very humane Gentleman', in 1762 he commissioned HMS Intrepid, (60), and conveyed a fleet of reinforcement troops from North America to Havana in July, having been attacked by a large French force and losing 500 men from the convoy. Nothing else is known of further service, if any, until his retirement as a superannuated rear-admiral in 1779. He spent most of his retirement at his estate at Chudleagh, Devonshire and died at Bath in late 1791. Probate of his will is dated 24 January 1792.

Hartwell, Sir Francis John Baronet RN (1757-1831).

A close friend. ODNB. See also Bates, Champion of the Quarterdeck: Admiral Sir Erasmus Gower (1742-1814), Appendix A - Associated People.

Herbert, Honourable Captain Charles RN.(1774-1808).

Second son of Henry Herbert 1st Earl of Carnarvon - [also known as Baron Porchester] and Lady Elizabeth Alicia Maria Wyndham, was born on 5th July 1774. A certificate purporting to be an extract from the Highclere baptism register was presented for his Lieutenant’s passing certificate in 1791, stating he was born on 2 June 1770 and baptised on 4th July 1770 1 TNA - ADM 107/15. This was a falsified certificate to allow him to appear 'more than 21 years of age'.

First taken into the books of the guard ship Elizabeth, (74), (Captain Robert Kingsmill [qv]) on 12th October 1784 aged ten, and first went to sea on 4th May 1786 aged twelve as captain’s servant to Gower in Newfoundland (Gower as flag captain to Governor John Elliot [qv]). He was rated able seaman in March 1788 and went to Scipio, (64) guardship at Chatham under Captain Pasley [qv] in January 1789. Promoted to midshipman in April he returned to HMS Salisbury in August 1789, then to Valiant (74), (Rear-admiral the Duke of Clarence) 2 Prince William Henry (later King William). , Queen Charlotte and back to Salisbury until passing for lieutenant in July 1791, when he was actually only 17. His referees included HRH The Duke of Clarence, and captains Lutwidge [qv], Dommet, Christian and Pellew.

Promoted to commander 1794 and post captain in 1795, aged 21. Appointed to Amphitrite, (28), in January 1796 and, soon after, captured a valuable Spanish ship, prize money of which was still disputed in 1799. Appointed to HMS Amelia, (44), in 1797 3 The French frigate La Proserpine, captured by Lord Amelius Beauclerk in HMS Dryad (36) on 13th June 1796 and commissioned as HMS Amelia. and in February 1798 Captain Herbert, reported to Lord Bridport that he had captured, near Ushant, the French brigs La Branche d’Olive (170 tons) and le Cultivateur de Rochelle (140 tons). He had seven of his own men in irons, and had to write to the newspapers seeking a retraction of their printed story; that he had stared down an attempted mutiny when he, firstly, threatened to shoot any marine who did not support him, then threatened to use the marines to fire onto the ship’s complement if they did not give up the ringleaders of mutineers. Captain Herbert maintained that he had not faced a mutiny and that he arrested the seven men as a precaution against their mutinous grumbling affecting the remainder of the ship’s complement. Under Sir John Borlase Warren, HMS Canada, (74), Captain Herbert (in HMS Amelia) was part of the squadron which defeated M Bompart during an attempted invasion fleet off Donegal Ireland on 12th October 1798. Some reports state that Herbert passed right through the French squadron unobserved during the preceding night. HMS Amelia in 1799, with HMS San Fiorenzo, fought off a vastly superior French squadron off Belle-Isle. In late 1796 the French ship, La Malouine, 90 ton brig, was sold at auction, the prize of Herbert in HMS Amelia.

Charles married in 1800, Honourable Bridget Augusta Forrest Byng, daughter of John Byng, 5th Viscount Torrington. He served under Admiral William Cornwallis [qv] in the channel fleet and on 10th May 1801 (still in Amelia) captured the French brig Heureaux privateer (14). Shown in Steel’s list in August 1800 as captain of captured Dutch ship HMS Wilhelmina (30) at Chatham. In July 1801 his agent auctioned a 74 ft long Spanish schooner, La Carolina, another prize of Herbert in Amelia. Soon after he also auctioned three prize brigs and a sloop, captured by Herbert. In 1805 in HMS Urania (44) Captain Herbert captured a Spanish prize Neustra Senora Del Rosaio, off Portugal - valued at £70,000 4 Naval Chronicle 1805, 329. . Captain Herbert drowned in the Spanish harbour of Gijon on 12 September 1808 while attempting to go ashore from the Swallow, (18), brig. He had travelled to Spain as a private passenger on the brig which was there to purchase merino sheep. His body was returned to England and interred in the family vault at the parish church of Burghclere, Hampshire. His widow died in 1876. Their only child, Augusta Elizabeth, married Sir Francis Vincent (Baronet) in 1824.

Herbert dedicated a book of poems to Sir Erasmus Gower. (See chapter - Sunset). In view of his statement that Sir Erasmus Gower had shown him 'almost paternal kindness to me since my childhood' I think it must go without saying that Gower was on close personal terms with Charles Herbert’s father, Colonel Henry Herbert, baron Porchester (later 1st Earl of Carnarvon), member for the borough of Wilton, Wiltshire, and whose seat was at Highclere, northern Hampshire 5 Highclere is the mansion used for the TV drama series Downton Abbey. . Captain Hon Charles Herbert’s will was dated 15th August 1808, less than a month before he died, and he left all to his wife and (in trust to) his daughter. His executors were his uncle, Charles Herbert and his brother, Henry, Lord Porchester. His mansion, Watchfield House, near Shrivenham in Berkshire and many valuable effects were sold at auction on 8th December 1808. His extensive wine collection was sold separately at Oxford.

Heywood, Captain Edmund RN (?-1822).

Was one of Gower’s servants (midshipmen) in HMS Lion. Third lieutenant in HMS Phoebe, (44), under Captain Barlow when she captured Africaine off Port Mahon in 1801. Made commander in 1802, post captain 22nd January 1806 (the same day as Philip Carteret junior - qv).

In August 1804 his was the first ship (HMS Harpy) to attack a large body of brigs and sloops in Boulogne road during a gale. Many French ships were destroyed and over 400 French sailors and soldiers lost their lives. Napoleon was a spectator to this defeat of part of his gathering of ships for an invasion of England. Heywood was with Gower in Newfoundland in Harpy later in the year.

On 15th August 1807 in HMS Comus, (22), Captain Heywood captured the Danish frigate Frederickscoarn, (32), after a long chase and a bitter battle lasting 45 minutes at close range. The Danes lost 12 men killed and 20 wounded, while Comus had only one man wounded. As war had not been declared between the two nations at the time that Heywood was ordered to pursue the Danish ship, little was made of the capture at the time. However, in 1847, the survivors of the officers and crew of HMS Comus were awarded the Navy Medal for this action.

In 1808, in HMS Astrea, (32), Captain Heywood, having escorted a mail packet ship past the danger of Caribbean privateers and thinking that Anegada was Puerto Rico, came upon the deadly horseshoe reef. All but four of the crew were saved. Captain Heywood faced a court martial, held on HMS Ramillies in Carlisle Bay, Barbados on 11th June, 1808. The court held that the ship foundered due to an 'extraordinary weather current,' and Captain Heywood was exonerated, ' blame is attributable to Captain Heywood, his officers, and ships company'.

In 1811 he commanded HMS Ethalion, (36), off Lisbon and in the Baltic. Heywood was made a Companion of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath (CB) on 4 Jun 1815. His daughter, Anna Maria, married Sir Thomas Mathew Charles Symonds, Vice-Admiral. GCB. KCB, in 1845. Captain Edmund Heywood died at Milford, Hampshire, in 1822.

Hickey, Captain Frederick RN (1775-1840).

Entered the navy as a midshipman in HMS Porcupine, (24), in 1787 and served in her until 1792, when he was selected by Gower into HMS Lion. After Lion reached Batavia, Hickey was employed in the Jackal and Clarence tenders, under Gower’s command. On his return from China, Hickey was promoted to lieutenant and served in HMS Hind, (28), Captains Lee and Bazeley, with the latter of whom he was turned out of the ship during the Spithead mutiny in 1797. It is said that the crew of HMS Hind did not intend to mutiny but that they expelled their officers under threat from two nearby line of battle ships. Unemployed, Lieutenant Hickey volunteered his services in suppressing the Nore mutiny and was soon after appointed lieutenant of Gower’s flag ship, HMS Neptune, (98). He remained in Neptune until late 1799 and in 1800 was appointed lieutenant of HMS Waakzaamheid, (26), David Atkins, (qv) with whom he again joined Sir Erasmus Gower, now a rear-admiral, in 1801, in HMS Princess Royal, (98). Passed over for promotion to commander in 1802 he was again disappointed by being offered first lieutenant of HMS Brittania, (100), only to have that position, too, given to another. He was then, in 1803, invited to join his friend Lord Mark Robert Kerr (qv) in HMS Fisgard, (44) 6 The French ship Résistance, captured in 1797 and named after Fisgard in Pembrokeshire, where the last French invasion on English soil was defeated. See Bates, Champion of the Quarterdeck: Admiral Sir Erasmus Gower (1742-1814), Chapter The Channel Fleet. . He faced a court martial for un-officer-like conduct, brought against him by McCarthy, the surgeon of Fisgard. The charges were found to be baseless and McCarthy faced a court martial on 22nd June 1804, presided over by Gower, for bringing his superior officer to trial on a groundless charge, was reprimanded and dismissed his ship. Hickey was then invited to join Gower again, this time as lieutenant of HMS Isis, (50). He remained with Gower on the Newfoundland station until he was, belatedly, promoted to commander in January 1806. After holding some temporary commands he commissioned a new Bermudian sloop, Atalante, in 1807 and continued in command of her for some years. Said by Gower to Philip Carteret junior in 1812 to have been: ' Love with a Welch Lady of Fortune who is now on a visit to some friends on the Isle of White [sic]' 7 NMM - CAR/111 NRA 30121. - Gower to Carteret junior 18th October [1812]. . As Hickey later lived in a mansion near Swansea it appears his wooing of the Welsh lady might have been successful.

Hickey was successful in capturing several valuable prizes in 1812 and 1813 until, in November of that year, when approaching Halifax with dispatches, a thick fog descended and despite the ship being under easy sail and with lookouts posted, and hearing answering guns fired from what was believed to be the lighthouse, Atalante grounded in the breakers and immediately lost her rudder and part of her keel. The subsequent court martial absolved commander Hickey of all blame, concluding that guns fired from another ship (Barrosa frigate) had been mistaken for fog guns from the land. A civilian witness who had been aboard Atalante wrote that the ship broke up in twelve minutes and that : 'To the honour of Captain Hickey, he was the last who left the wreck; his calmness, his humanity, and his courage during the entire of this awful scene, was superior to man: every thing is lost but our lives'. Not quite all, as it turned out. Captain Hickey, dressed in only his drawers, hat and shirt, managed to save his dispatches and was able to deliver them in person to the commander-in-chief once he had rafted ashore with his men.

Hickey was made post captain in February 1814 (Gower was aware of the fact, despite his terminal illness) and appointed flag captain to HMS Prince Regent, (56) and HMS St Lawrence, (112), (Commodore Sir James Yeo) on Lake Ontario 8 Probably the only British ship of the line to be launched and to sail exclusively in fresh water. 2,305 tons burthen, with a crew of 700. , until the end of the war with America, then the Blossom, (24) in South America.

In 1815 Hickey was apprehended in America while returning from Canada, charged with having over-run a schooner in Atalante in 1810. Threatened with a compensation demand of $40000, he was bailed by an American lawyer and the trial was held in 1820. He was sentenced to pay $38000, but an embarrassed plaintiff immediately agreed to settle for $20000. By the time Hickey’s bills reached London the Admiralty had arranged for Treasury to pay the amount in full on his behalf 9 Summary from: Marshall, Royal Naval Biography...Supplement III (1829). . Captain Hickey occupied the castellated mansion, Park Wern, in Sketty, Swansea, Wales, from 1817 to 1840. He died at Bath on 18th May 1840, aged 64 10 Gentleman’s Magazine Vol. XIV, 1840. 208-9. . His eldest son, lieutenant Frederick William Charles Hickey, (RN), died in Jamaica in 1843, aged 28 11 Ibid. Vol. XIX, 1843. - 110. .

Holloway, Admiral John RN (1744-1826).

Born in Wells, Somerset, son of Robert Holloway; married c. 1781, in the West Indies, Miss Waldron (Walrond) of Antigua, and they had three daughters who reached adulthood. Holloway entered the Royal Navy in 1760 aboard the Antelope, and the next year made his first trip to Newfoundland with the newly appointed governor, Captain Thomas Graves [qv]. He became a lieutenant on 19th January 1771 and post captain in January 1780. During the American Revolution and the long wars with France and Spain, he served with distinction. Nelson, a friend, called him 'an honest, good man.' On 14th February 1799 Holloway was raised to rear-admiral, and on 25th October 1804 to vice-admiral. In 1807 he was appointed governor of Newfoundland, immediately following Sir Erasmus Gower.

In his administration Holloway broke with the policy developed by his immediate predecessors, Gambier and Gower, which recognized the fact of permanent settlement on the island. Instead, he returned to the restrictive views of Governors Palliser and Milbanke. He refused the use of land for cultivation and enforced rigid regulations designed to retain the shore for the transient fishing fleets from England. The times, however, were not with Holloway. An American embargo on the export of foodstuffs and some particularly severe winters made land cultivation important.

Holloway’s views on the freedom of the press were similarly restrictive. The first publication of the St John’s Royal Gazette and Newfoundland Advertiser, on 27th August 1807, brought a severe caution to publisher John Ryan, forbidding the printing of 'anything inflammatory against the Government of Great Britain or its dependencies' and warning him 'never to give or suffer any opinion to be given upon the policy of other nations but to confine the paper solely for what was to the benefit of commerce, and the inhabitants of this Government and others trading with it'.

Although the Royal Navy was the island’s first line of defence, the inhabitants had a role to play. Holloway was not impressed with the potential value of the militia, officially named the Loyal Volunteers, which had been established in 1805 by Gower; nevertheless, he encouraged the force’s maintenance. Command of the Loyal Volunteers changed in October 1808, going to James MacBraire. Holloway, modestly pleased, reported that MacBraire was 'using every economy, at the same time preserving the utility and respectability of the Corps'.

Holloway was distressed by the inhuman treatment of the Beothuks at the hands of fur traders and fishermen. He issued a proclamation on 30th July 1807 against it and also tried to stop the influx of Nova Scotia Micmacs, who were moving into the Beothuks’ hunting-grounds. Holloway twice sent one of his officers to the Bay of Exploits and other parts of the island to communicate with the Beothuks, without success. Then he dispatched an expedition under William Cull. It, too, was a failure, and the ugly process of extermination continued.

During Holloway’s tenure, in March 1809, the imperial government finally gave the courts of judicature in Newfoundland their permanence, a step which, if not by intent, at least in fact foreshadowed the granting of colonial status in 1832. The same act of 1809 also re-annexed the Labrador coast to Newfoundland’s jurisdiction from that of Lower Canada.

Holloway left the island in October 1809 and the same month was promoted admiral of the blue. On 31st July 1810 he was made admiral of the white. He died in his 80th year. Contemporary observers remarked on his 'rigid honesty' and 'blunt sincerity,' and found him 'brave without ostentation, independent without being assuming . . . a deserving naval commander.' 12 Summary from an article by Frederic F. Thompson in Dictionary of Canadian Biography. Gower, however, had a lesser opinion of him, accusing him, correctly, of claiming prize money which was rightfully Gower’s. In private correspondence with Philip Carteret junior Gower intimated that his former clerk, Trounsell, (qv) shared the same view. Gower also seems to have felt, also rightly I believe, that Holloway had undermined much of the progressive work done in Newfoundland by himself and Admiral Gambier.

Humphries, Schoolmaster Thomas (c.1758-?).

Had served, at Gower’s request, in HMS Salisbury in Newfoundland when Gower was flag captain to Governor Elliot. Gower actively sought to have him transferred to HMS Lion in July 1792. With so many young gentlemen on board, education was, in Gower’s view, critical. Nothing else has been discovered about Mr Humphries after the Lion was paid off in 1794.

Hunter, Rear-admiral Lauchlan RN (1732-1830)

Born in Argyle, Hunter joined HMS Swallow in 1766 as master's mate. After the master Simpson died, Hunter would have had increased responsibilty and would have been trained by Gower in navigation to reduce Gower and Carteret's workload.Served as masters mate again with Gower in HMS Swift when that ship was wrecked in Patagonia. Promoted to lieutenant in 1777 and as such under Rodney in 1782 at the Battle of the Saintes, made commander in 1782, [HMS Tickler ,(12) and Swan ,(14)] and post captain in 1790. Employed in the Impress Service at Yarmouth until super-annuated. Said to have been grazed by a cannon ball some time prior to being placed on the list of superannuated rear admirals in 1808 and to have suffered bouts of mental derangement in later life. Following his death in 1830 aged 98, a lengthy testamentary case was contested in Chancery by his widow and neice against his navy agent and solicitor. 13 Reports of Cases argued and determined in the High Court of Chancery Vol. 10, 1855. pp 112-153.