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been appointed by Commodore Holmes his captain in the Grafton, and being present in the action off Louisbourg, with a French squadron, he returned with him to England towards the close of the same year; and found, on his arrival, that he had been made post during his absence, in July 1756.
Captain Hood received the wished-for object of naval ambition at an age, which might induce him to contemplate with zealous hope the highest honours of his profession. During the probationary years of service he had been under the immediate eye of officers whose character stood high in the public opinion. Few men have had the advantage of forming themselves after such models as Captain Hood enjoyed. Under Admiral T. Smith, he had early opportunity of daily beholding a most ingenuous character, marked with a gallantry, and integrity, that could not be surpassed. The name of Watson brings to our recollection every thing that could adorn The Navy ; being in the confidence of such a man, must have early instilled those principles into the mind of our young officer, which he afterwards so rigidly adopted as the rule of his conduct towards others. Commodore Holmes had seen a variety of service, even prior to the period at which Captain Hood was under him, and had every thing in his character adapted to form an excellent officer. With these advantages, joined to an apt and ready observation, that suffered none of them to be lost, Mr. Samuel Hood passed through the first gradations of the profession, and now prepared to increase the honours of that rank to which he had been deservedly raised.
His first brilliant action was in the Antelope, 50 guns, to which he was appointed in April (1757) *. In this ship he engaged, drove on shore, and totally destroyed, in the Bay of Audierne, near Brest, a French ship of war of 50 guns, and 450 men. The enemy had thirty men killed during the
* In January 1757 Captain Hood had an order to command the Torbay, which was the first ship given him after being made Post, in the room of Lord Keppel, then a member of the court martial on Admiral Byng. In the March following he commanded the Tartar.
action, and twenty-five wounded. The Antelope had only three men killed, and thirteen wounded. From a mistake in the Naval History of that period, we have assigned this action to his brother Captain Alexander Hood; but with so many others to notice of equal estimation, the mistake may perhaps be pardoned. Captain S. Hood was appointed to the command of the Vestal frigate in (1758) 32 guns, and 220 men, built at Liverpool.
Rear Admiral Holmes having in (1759) been made third in command of the fleet destined to co-operate in the expedition against Quebec, previously sailed for New York with a convoy of sixty transports. In this squadron + was the Vestal, Captain S. Hood. Early on the 21st of February, Captain Hood being sent on the look out, made the signal for a strange sail, and soon afterwards that it was an enemy. About two the Vestal got close alongside, and began a most spirited a&tion, which continued without any cessation until six in the evening, when the Vestal took possession of her opponent. She proved to be the Bellona (32 guns, 220 men), commanded by the Comte de Beauhonnoir; who had escaped ont of Fort Royal Bay, Martinico, during the night of the 16th of January, in company with the Florissant, and a frigate of her own force. They were all chased by Commodore More's squadron, and had on board dispatches for France, that the English had landed on the island.
When the Vestal's lieutenant took possession of the prize, he found more than thirty dead upon the deck: out of 220, forty-two had been killed.
The French acknowledged at last, that they had thrown about twelve overboard. The Vestal had five killed, and twenty-two wounded. The Bellona was left with only her foremast standing, without either yard or topmast. When Captain Hood brought to,
For the particulars of this engagement we refer our readers to page 266 of the Naval Chronicle, vol. i.
+ Admiral Holmes sailed on the 14th of February with the Northumberland and Terrible, 74 guns; the Trident and intrepid, of 64; the Medway, bo; and the following frigates :-Maidstone, Adventure, Diana, Trent, Eujopa, Vestal, Eurus, Boreas, and Crescent.
all the topmasts of the Vestal fell over the side ; and her lower masts must have gone likewise, so completely was the rigging cut to pieces, had it not been for the great exertions of the captain, and his gallant ship's company; these were assisted by favourable weather, and on the 2d of March he arrived with his prize at Spithead. She was purchased by Government, and added to the Royal Navy by the name of the Repulse.
During the remainder of the year (1759) Captain Hood's ship was attached, with other frigates, to Rear Admiral Rodney's fleet, sent to bombard Havre de Grace. He was afterwards employed for two years on the coast of Ireland, and the remaining three years of the war he served in the Mediterranean under Sir Charles Saunders. After the peace of 1763, Captain Hood hoisted his broad Pendant in the Romney, as commander of his Majesty's ships and vessels 0:1 the Boston station, in the year (1768). His letters to the ministry at this period, some of which we may hereafter lay before our readers, are well worthy their attention. They were printed by Mr. Almon, and were much read, as displaying marks of an original and penetrating mind. This curious naval work now only exists in the selections of political men. It strikingly described the ferment and discontent that pervaded all ranks in North America, and in the clearest manner predicted what afterwards came to pass.
On the 25th of July (1776) Captain Hood was appointed to the command of the Courageux (74 guns), which had been taken from the French; and winat descrves notice, the four lieutenants serving under him in that ship have since arrived to the rank of rear admirals.
Captain Hood was appointed to succeed (Feb. 16, 1778) the late Admiral Gambier as Commissioner of Portsinoutlı Dock-yard ; on the 20th of April following, he was created a baronet; and in the month of September (1780) was advanced Rear Admiral of the Blue. Thus, after forty years of arduous and faithful service, did this distinguished officer at length attain the professional rank, in which an ampler
scope would be allowed for a display of that nautical skill, and experience, which he had derived from no common sources, and had gained with no inconsiderable share of peril and fatigue.
Towards the conclusion of the American war, in the winter of (1780) Rear Admiral Sir Samuel Hood first hoisted his flag on board the Barfleur, and soon sailed with a squadron to the West Indies. On the 3d of December, with all the outward-bound fleet under his convoy, he took his departure from the Edystone, with a fine breeze from the eastward. During his continuance on this station, he added considerably to a reputation already great, as the following correct details of his principal actions will prove.
In the month of April (1781), whilst Sir George Rodney, with his own ship the Sandwich of go guns, and the Triumph of 74 guns, was at St. Eustatius, Rear Admiral Hood, with seventeen sail of the line, was cruising off Fort Royal, Martinico, in the hope of intercepting Monsieur de Grasse's squadron and convoy; and thereby preventing, if possible, his junction with eight line of battle ships, and one of fifty, at Martinico and St. Domingo; which would give the enemy such a decided superiority in those seas, as must render the protection of our West India islands very precarious.
The course of the French fleet, from Europe to Fort Royal, lay through the channel of St. Lucia, which is about ten leagues over, and separates that island from Martinico. It has been asserted, that Sir Samuel Hood made some remonstrances against the squadron being stationed in the channel of Fort Royal Bay, as being continually liable to fall to leeward, and consequently of being rendered incapable of accomplishing the object in view : he therefore proposed that the squadron should cruise to windward off Point Salines; a situation which would render it impossible for any fleet to enter the channel, without coming to action. Subsequent events fully proved the justice of Admiral Hood's opinion, and yet Sir George Rodney might have
sufficient reason, which he kept to himself, for not following it. Men, who possess the energy of original genius, do not always think alike. The bird, that soars towards the Sun, is never seen in a flock.
Sir Samuel Hood, whilst lying off Port Royal, was distressed for want of frigates to cruise to windward of the islands, having only a single one to look out. In his letter to Sir George Rodney he dwells on this, and urges the necessiły of having more employed on so essential a service:
In one dated April 23, he says" I have detained the Lizard with me to fill the station of the Santa Monica, and I very
much want two or three more frigates to employ as look outs ; as I think it highly necessary I should keep every line of battle ship with me : for if the enemy were to appear round Point Salines, the ships of the line to the northward could be of no use ; and vice versa if the enemy approached the other way; which makes more frigates absolutely necessary."
Early on the morning of the 28th of April (1781), the frigate cruising to windward, off Point Salines, made the signal for discovering a large fleet. Sir Samuel instantly ordered a general chace to the S. E. in order to bring all the ships well up to windward ; and at ten (A. M.) formed the line of battle a-head, at two cables length asunder; the enemy then standing on a wind to the southward. About noon, a signal was made by the reconnoitring frigate, that the enemy was of superior force, and counted nineteen sail of the line, besides two supposed to be armed en flute, and a numerous convoy; the whole were standing to the northward. Notwithstandng this superiority of force, Sir Samuel Hood steadily continued the line of battle ahead, endeavour. ing by every exertion to get to windward, that he might be able to close in with Fort Royal at day-light, and thereby cut off the possibility of the eriemy's escape into that harbour. Accordingly at sun-set, the English squadron tacked all together, stood to the northward, and kept in with Fort Royal all night.