Kent, William (1751-1812) (DNB00)

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KENT, WILLIAM (1751–1812), captain in the navy, born in 1751, son of Henry Kent of Newcastle-on-Tyne, and of his wife Mary, sister of Vice-admiral John Hunter [q. v.], was promoted to the rank of lieutenant in 1781, and after continuous service in the Channel and North Sea was appointed in 1795 to the command of the Supply, in which, on 16 Feb., he sailed for New South Wales, in company with his uncle, Captain Hunter, in the Reliance. The ships arrived at Sydney on 7 Sept., and for the next five years Kent was employed in the service of the colony, making several voyages to Norfolk Island and the Cape of Good Hope, and surveying parts of the coast of New South Wales, In October 1800 he sailed for England in command of the Buffalo, and on his arrival was reappointed to her, June 1801, for the return voyage to Sydney, where, in October 1802, he was promoted by the governor, Captain King, to the rank of commander. In the following April he was ordered to go to Norfolk Island with stores, and thence through the islands examining their capabilities as to the supply of cattle and forage. He was afterwards to go to Calcutta and bring back as many cows as possible of the best breed. On 19 May he made the south-west coast of New Caledonia, and discovered a 'beautiful and extensive harbour,' which he named Port St. Vincent, where he remained for several weeks (Kent, Journal, quoted in 'Quarterly Review,' iii. 33). In January 1804 he was at Calcutta (Addit. MS. 1375S, f. 96), and returned to Port Jackson in June, bringing back a supply of cattle and other stores. He was afterwards moved into the Investigator, which had undergone a thorough repair [cf. Flinders, Matthew], and in 1805 was sent home with important information about the state of Peru. The Investigator was paid off at Plymouth on 22 Dec. 1805, and on 22 Jan. 1806 Kent was advanced to post rank. In November 1808 he was appointed to the Agincourt, and from her was moved to the Union of 98 guns, in command of which, off Toulon, he died 29 Aug. 1812.

In 1791 Kent married his cousin Eliza, daughter of William Kent of Newcastle-on-Tyne, and left issue one son, born at Sydney in 1799. A portrait of Kent in pastel is in the possession of his grandson Mr. Charles Kent.

[Information from Mr. Charles Kent; Gent. Mag. 1810 pt. i. p. 288, 1812 pt. ii. p. 400; O'Byrne's Naval Biog. Dict. s.n. 'Kent, William George Carlile;' Collin's Account of the English Colony in New South Wales, ii. 306; Flinders's Voyage to Terra Australis; official letters, &c., in the Public Record Office.]

J. K. L.