Beauclerk, Amelius (DNB00)

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BEAUCLERK, Lord AMELIUS (1771–1846), admiral, third son of Aubrey, fifth duke of St. Albans, was entered on the books of the Jackal cutter in 1782, and in 1783 was appointed to the Salisbury, bearing the flag of Vice-admiral John Campbell on the Newfoundland station. Afterwards he served in the West Indies under Commodore Gardner, and returned to England in 1789 as acting lieutenant of the Europa, in which rank, however, he was not confirmed till the Spanish armament of the following year. In 1792 he went to the Mediterranean as lieutenant of the Druid frigate, and on 16 Sept. 1793 was posted by Lord Hood and appointed to the command of the Nemesis of 28 guns. In March 1794 he was transferred to the Juno of 32 guns, and attached to the squadron employed, under Admiral Hotham, in the blockade of Toulon. The Juno was also in company with the fleet in the action of 14 March 1795, which resulted in the capture of the Ça ira and Censeur, and was one of the squadron, under Commodore Taylor, which convoyed the homeward trade in the following autumn, and when the Censeur was recaptured by the French off Cape St. Vincent (7 Oct.) On his return to England Lord Amelius was appointed to the Dryad frigate, of 44 guns and 251 men, and on the coast of Ireland, on 13 June 1796, captured the Proserpine, of 42 guns and 348 men, after a brilliant and well-managed action, in which the Dryad lost only 2 killed and 7 wounded, whilst the loss of the Proserpine amounted to 30 killed and 45 wounded (James's Naval History (ed. 1860), i. 304, 369). He captured also several of the enemy's privateers, and in 1800 was appointed to the Fortunée, 40 guns, employed in the Channel and in attendance on the king at Weymouth. During the next ten years he commanded different ships—the Majestic, Saturn, and Royal Oak, all 74's—in the Channel, and in 1810 had charge of the debarkation of Lord Chatham's army at Walcheren, and continued, during the operations on that coast, as second in command under Sir Richard Strachan. On 1 Aug. 1811 he became a rear-admiral, but during that and the two following years he continued in the North Sea, stretching in 1813 as far as the North Cape in command of a small squadron on the look-out for the American Commodore Rogers, who was reported to be in that locality. In the following year he commanded in Basque Roads, and conducted the negotiations for the local suspension of hostilities. In August 1819 he was advanced to be a vice-admiral, and from 1824 to 1827 commanded in chief at Lisbon and on the coast of Portugal. He became a full admiral on 22 July 1830, and ended his active service as commander-in-chief at Plymouth, 1836–9. Croker, writing to Lord Hertford, describes a ludicrous scene which took place on New Year's eve 1833, at the Brighton Pavilion, when the king (William IV) danced a country dance with Lord Amelius as his partner. ‘I am told,’ says Croker, ‘by one who saw it, that the sight of the king and the old admiral going down the middle hand-in-hand was the most royally extravagant farce that ever was seen’ (Croker Papers, 1884, ii. 200). Beauclerk was a fellow of the Royal Society, was made K.C.B. on 2 Jan. 1815, G.C.H. on 29 March 1831, G.C.B. on 4 Aug. 1835, and principal naval aide-de-camp on 4 Aug. 1839. He died on 10 Dec. 1846. His portrait, bequeathed by himself, is in the Painted Hall at Greenwich.

[Marshall's Royal Nav. Biog. ii. (vol. i., part ii.), 484; O'Byrne's Dict. of Nav. Biog.; Gent. Mag. Feb. 1847, p. 201.]

J. K. L.