Munden, John (DNB00)

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MUNDEN, Sir JOHN (d. 1719), rear-admiral, younger brother of Sir Richard Munden [q. v.], was with him in the Mediterranean, as a lieutenant of the St. David, from 1677 to 1680. He afterwards served in the Constant Warwick, the Mary Rose, and the Charles galley; and on 23 July 1688 was promoted to be commander of the Half Moon fireship. On 14 Dec. 1688 he was promoted by Lord Dartmouth to the Edgar, from which he took post. At the battle of Barfleur, 19 May 1692, he commanded the Lennox, in the van of the red squadron, under the immediate orders of Sir Ralph Delavall. In 1693 he commanded the St. Michael, in 1695 the Monmouth, in 1696 the Albemarle, in 1697 the London. In May 1699 he was appointed to the Ranelagh, but in July was moved into the Winchester, and sent in command of a small squadron to the Mediterranean, where he negotiated a treaty with the dey of Algiers for the regulation of ships' passes, and obtained the release of the English slaves (Playfair, Scourge of Christendom, p. 168). He returned to England in November 1700. On 14 April 1701 he was promoted to the rank of rear-admiral, and on 30 June was appointed commander of the squadron to escort the king to Holland. On the following day he was knighted by the king on board the yacht William and Mary, 'under the standard of England' (Le Neve, Pedigrees of the Knights, p. 477).

On 28 Jan. 1701-2, being then rear-admiral of the red, he was ordered to wear the union flag at the mizen, as commander of a strong squadron fitting out to intercept a French squadron expected to sail from Rochelle to Corunna, and from Corunna to the West Indies, with the new Spanish viceroy of Mexico. Munden sailed from St. Helen's on 10 May 1702, and coming off Corunna, on intelligence that the French ships were daily expected there, he cruised off Cape Prior, in hopes of intercepting them. On the morning of the 28th they were seen inshore, having slipped past him, to the eastward, during the night; and before he could come up with them they reached the harbour. Unable to follow them in, owing to the heavy batteries on shore, the narrowness of the entrance, and the impossibility of going in and out with the same wind, he cruised in the Soundings for the protection of trade till 20 June, when want of provisions compelled him to return to Portsmouth. On 13 July he was tried by court-martial at Spithead on a charge of negligence, but he was fully acquitted (Minutes of the Court-martial). Munden accordingly rehoisted his flag 21 July; but the government, yielding apparently to popular clamour, in the queen's name, by a singular and harsh exercise of the prerogative, ordered him to be 'discharged from his post and command in the royal navy.' He lived afterwards in retirement, at Chelsea, and died there on 13 March 1718-19.

[Charnock's Biog. Nav. ii. 179, and the references there given; commission and warrant books, &c., in the Public Record Office. Copies of the documents relating to his conduct in 1702 and of the minutes of the court-martial are in Home Office Records (Admiralty), vol. ii.]

J. K. L.