Blankett, John (DNB00)
|←Blaneforde, Henry||Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 05
BLANKETT, JOHN (d. 1801), admiral, served as volunteer and midshipman in the Somerset with Captain (afterwards Sir Edward) Hughes, and was present in her at the reduction of Louisbourg, 1758, and of Quebec, 1759. He was thus led to consider the possible existence of a north-west passage, concerning which, on his return to England, he presented a report to the admiralty. In 1701 he was made lieutenant, and after the peace in 1763 obtained leave to go to Russia in quest of exact information concerning the then recent discoveries on the east coast of Asia. In 1770 he was lieutenant of the Albion, with Captain Barrington, and in 1778 was first lieutenant of the Victory, then carrying the flag of Admiral Keppel, and was made commander 30 Jan. 1779. He was then appointed to the Nymph sloop, and sent out to the East Indies to join Sir Edward Hughes, by whom he was posted into the Ripon on 23 Jan. 1780. The ship was shortly afterwards ordered home, and Blankett held no further appointment during that war. After the peace of 1783 he commanded the Thetis frigate in the Mediterranean, where he was specially noticed by the King of Naples, who at different times accompanied him on a cruise, and presented him with his portrait set in diamonds. In July 1790 he sailed for China in the Leopard in command of convoy, and on his return was appointed to the America as commodore of a small squadron sent to the Cape of Good Hope. There, in August 1795, he was Joined by the squadron under Sir George Elphinstone (afterwards Lord Keith), under wnom he served at the reduction of that settlement (James, Naval History (ed. 1860), i. 333-6). In June 1798 he was appointed to the Leopard, with orders to proceed to India. On his arrival on the station he was sent as senior officer to the Red Sea, where he commanded during the subsequent operations in Egypt. He became rear-admiral in Feb. 1799. In August 1800 he went for a short time to Bombay, and had the good fortune on the passage to pick up the Clarisse, a very active French privateer, which, a few months before, under the command of Robert Surcouf, had been the terror of the commerce of the Indian seas. By January he was back in the Red Sea, and in the Gulf of Suez from April to June. His constitution had been already severely tried, and the terrible heat of the Red Sea sunmer proved fatal to him. He died on board the Leopard near Mocha on 14 July 1801. He is described as an unusually good linguist, having a perfect mastery of French, Italian, and Portuguese ; and as being universally esteemed, not only as a good officer, but as an accomplished and amiable gentleman, notwithstanding a certain irritability induced by gout.
[Gent. Mag. (1802), Ixxii. i. 25 (the writer of this notice claims to have known Blankett for more than thirty years, but he is very confused in his dates and inaccurate in his details) ; official letters, &c. in the Record Office.]
BLANTYRE, Lords. [See Stuart.]