1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Bridport, Alexander Hood, Viscount
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Bridport, Alexander Hood, Viscount
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BRIDPORT, ALEXANDER HOOD, VISCOUNT (1727-1814), British admiral, was the younger brother of Samuel, Lord Hood, and cousin of Sir Samuel and Captain Alexander Hood. Entering the navy in January 1741, he was appointed lieutenant of the "Bridgewater" six years later, and in that rank served for ten years in various ships. He was then posted to the "Prince," the flag-ship of Rear-Admiral Saunders (under whom Hood had served as a lieutenant) and in this command served in the Mediterranean for some time. Returning home, he was appointed to the "Minerva" frigate, in which he was present at Hawke's great victory in Quiberon Bay (20th November 1759). In 1761 the "Minerva" recaptured, after a long struggle, the "Warwick" of equal force, and later in the same year Captain Alexander Hood went in the "Africa" to the Mediterranean, where he served until the conclusion of peace. From this time forward he was in continuous employment afloat and ashore, and in the "Robust" was present at the battle of Ushant in 1778. Hood was involved in the court-martial on Admiral (afterwards Viscount) Keppel which followed this action, and although adverse popular feeling was aroused by the course which he took in Keppel's defence, his conduct does not seem to have injured his professional career. Two years later he was made rear-admiral of the white, and succeeded Kempenfeldt as one of Howe's flag-officers, and in the "Queen" (90) he was present at the relief of Gibraltar in 1782. For a time he sat in the House of Commons. Promoted vice-admiral in 1787, he became K.B. in the following year, and on the occasion of the Spanish armament in 1790 flew his flag again for a short time. On the outbreak of the war with France in 1793 Sir Alexander Hood once more went to sea, this time as Howe's second in command, and he had his share in the operations which culminated in the "Glorius First of June," and for his services was made Baron Bridport of Cricket St Thomas in Somerset in the Irish peerage. Henceforth Bridport was practically in independent command. In 1795 he fought the much-criticized partial action of the 23rd of June off Belle-Ile, which, however unfavourably it was regarded in some quarters, was counted as a great victory by the public. Bridport's peerage was made English, and he became vice-admiral of England. In 1796-1797 he practically directed the war from London, rarely hoisting his flag afloat save at such critical times as that of the Irish expedition in 1797. In the following year he was about to put to sea when the Spithead fleet mutinied. He succeeded at first in pacifying the crew of his flag-ship, who had no personal grudge against their admiral, but a few days later the mutiny broke out afresh, and this time was uncontrollable. For a whole week the mutineers were supreme, and it was only by the greatest exertions of the old Lord Howe that order was then restored and the men returned to duty. After the mutiny had been suppressed, Bridport took the fleet to sea as commander-in-chief in name as well as in fact, and from 1798 to 1800 personally directed the blockade of Brest, which grew stricter and stricter as time went on. In 1800 he was relieved by St Vincent, and retired from active duty after fifty-nine years' service. In reward for his fine record his peerage was made a viscounty. He spent the remaining years of his life in retirement. He died on the 2nd of May 1814. The viscounty in the English peerage died with him; the Irish barony passed to the younger branch of his brother's family, for whom the viscounty was recreated in 1868.
- Charnock, Biographia Navalis, vi. 153.
- Naval Chronicle, i. 265.
- Ralfe, Nav. Biog. i. 202.