Moore, John (1718-1779) (DNB00)

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MOORE, Sir JOHN (1718–1779), admiral, grandson of Henry, third earl of Drogheda, and third son of Henry Moore, D.D., rector of Milpas in Cheshire, 'by Catherine, daughter of Sir Thomas Knatchbull, bart., and widow of Sir George Rooke [q. v.], was born on 24 March 1718. He received his early education at the grammar school of Whitchurch in Shropshire, and in 1729 was entered on the books of the Lion, going out to the West Indies with the flag of his kinsman, Rear-admiral Charles Stewart [q. v.] It may be doubted whether his service in the Lion was more than nominal. Before | the ship sailed he was transferred to the Rupert, and afterwards to the Diamond, commanded in 1731 by George (afterwards Lord) Anson [q. v.] It was probably at this time that Moore's actual service began. After twelve months in the Diamond he was for a short time in the Princess Amelia, with Captain Edward Reddish, and then for three years and a half in the Squirrel, with Anson, on the coast of Carolina. He was afterwards for some months in the Edinburgh, carrying Vice-admiral Stewart's flag in the Channel, and then in the Torrington, with Captain William Parry. He passed his examination on 6 April 1738, and was promoted to be lieutenant of the Lancaster, one of the fleet off Cadiz or in the Mediterranean, with Rear-admiral Nicholas Haddock [q. v.] When Vice-admiral Mathews [q. v.] succeeded to the command, he moved Moore into the Namur, his flagship, but presently sent him to England in the Lennox, to be promoted by his kinsman, the Earl of Winchelsea, then first lord of the admiralty. On 24 Dec. 1743 Moore was accordingly posted to the Diamond frigate, one of the squadron which sailed for the East Indies in May 1744, with Commodore Curtis Barnett [q. v.] On leaving Madagascar the Diamond, with the Medway, under the command of Captain Edward Peyton [q. v.], was detached to the Straits of Malacca, where they captured a rich French ship from Manila, and a large privateer, which had been fitted out from Pondicherry, and was now brought into the English service as the Medway prize. In March 1745 Moore was moved into the Deptford, Barnett's flagship, in which, after Barnett's death, he was sent to England.

In 1747 he was appointed to the Devonshire, the ship in which Rear-admiral Hawke hoisted his flag for his autumn cruise in the Bay of Biscay, and in the action with L'Etenduere on 14 Oct. [see Hawke, Edward, Lord], after which he was sent home with the despatches. 'I have sent this express,' Hawke wrote, 'by Captain Moore of the Devonshire … It would be doing great injustice to merit not to say that he signalized himself greatly in the action.' During the peace Moore commanded the William and Mary yacht, and in April 1756 was again appointed to the Devonshire. In the following January he was a member of the court-martial on Admiral Byng, and was afterwards one of those who petitioned to be re leased from the oath of secrecy. It is said that he was 'on intimate terms with Byng's family' (Keppel, Life of Viscount Keppel, i. 248). He was shortly afterwards moved into the Cambridge, and appointed commodore and commander-in-chief on the Leeward Islands station.

In January 1759, with a force of eleven ships of the line, besides frigates and small craft, he convoyed the expeditionary army under General Hopson, from Barbados to Martinique, reduced Fort Negro, and covered the landing of the troops in Fort Royal Bay. Hopson, however, worn with age and infirmities, seems to have been unequal to the exigencies of his position; and on intelligence from a deserter that the ground in front of the town was mined, he promptly abandoned the undertaking (Gent. Mag. 1759, 286-7). He proposed to attack St. Pierre, but on Moore's pointing out that after taking St. Pierre it would still be necessary to take Fort Royal before they could be masters of the island, it was resolved rather to attempt the reduction of Guadeloupe. On 22 Jan. the fleet was off Basseterre. During the early morning of the 23rd the ships took up their assigned positions, and at seven o'clock opened fire on the sea defences. Moore hoisted his broad pennant on board the Woolwich frigate, the better to see what was going on, and to consult with Hopson, who was also on board the Woolwich. For several hours the fire was extremely heavy on both sides, but before night the batteries were silenced, and the town, with its warehouses of rum and sugar, was in flames. The next day the troops were landed, and occupied the ruins. The French maintained their ground in the hill country, where they were secretly supplied with provisions by the Dutch. On 11 March, on intelligence that a strong French fleet had arrived at Martinique, Moore took up his post in Prince Rupert's Bay in Dominica, the better to flank any attempt that might be made to relieve Guadeloupe, and also for the health of his men, who were falling sick. On 1 May Guadeloupe capitulated, and with it the small islands adjacent, the Saintes and Deseada. In the following year Moore returned to England.

On 21 Oct. 1762 he was promoted to be rear-admiral, and for the rest of the war was commander-in-chief in the Downs. He was afterwards commander-in-chief at Portsmouth for three years. On 4 March 1766 he was created a baronet, was made vice-admiral on 18 Oct. 1770, K.B. in 1772, and admiral on 29 Jan. 1778. His health had for some time been failing; during 1777 he had suffered from violent attacks of gout. His last public duty was, in December 1778, to sign the protest against the holding a court-martial on Admiral Keppel, his signature coming second, immediately below Hawke's. He died on 2 Feb. 1779.

Moore married, about 1756, Penelope, daughter of General Matthews, and by her had issue a son, who died young, and four daughters, of whom the eldest, Catherine, married Sir Charles Warwick Bamfylde, bart., and the second, Penelope, married the Rev. Ralph Sneyd (see Burke, Peerage, s.n. 'Poltimore'). His portrait, by Gainsborough, is at Poltimore Park (information from Lord Poltimore).

[Charnock's Biog. Navalis, v. 250; Naval Chronicle, iii. 421; Gardiner's Account of the Expedition to the West Indies; Beatson's Naval and Military Memoirs; official letters and other documents in the Public Record Office.]

J. K. L.