Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 03.djvu/32

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.
Balcarres
Balchen
26

drew up the statutes in 1627, and, it is universally conceded, discharged the weighty trust imposed on him with integrity and ability.

In 1638 he revisited his native country, as chaplain to the Marquis of Hamilton, the royal commissioner. Balcanquhall was accused of shiftiness and treachery in his conduct towards 'the people' who were contending earnestly for their religious rights. He was the undoubted author of an apologetical narrative of the court proceedings under the title of 'His Majestie's Large Declaration concerning the Late Tumults in Scotland' (1639). On 29 July 1641 he and others of kin with him were denounced by the Scottish parliament as 'incendiaries.' He was afterwards 'hardly entreated' by the dominant puritan party, and was one of the 'sufferers' celebrated by Walker in his 'Sufferings' He retreated to Oxford and shared the waning fortunes of the king. He died at Chirk Castle, Denbighshire, on Christmas day 1645, whilst the echoes of Naseby were in the air. Sir Thomas Middleton erected a 'splendid monument' to him in the parish church of Chirk.

[Dr. Stevens's History of George Heriot's Hospital; Wood's Athenæ (Bliss), iii. 180, 839; Walker's Sufferings, pt. ii. 19; Anderson's Scottish Nation; The two Sermons of 1634 on Psalm cxxvi. 5, and S. Matt. xxi. 13.]

A. B. G.

BALCARRES, Countess of. [See Campbell, Anna.]

BALCARRES, Earls of. [See Lindsay.]

BALCHEN, Sir JOHN (1670–1744), admiral, was born, according to local tradition and an anonymous inscription on his picture, 'of very obscure parentage, 4 Feb. 1669-70, at Godalming, in Surrey;' but he himself, in a memorial to the admiralty, dated 12 June 1699, related all that is really certain of his early history. 'I have served in the navy,' he said, 'for fourteen years past in several stations, and was lieutenant of the Dragon and Cambridge almost five years, then had the honour of a commission from Admiral Neville in the West Indies to command the Virgin's prize, which bears date from 25 July 1697, and was confirmed by my lords of the admiralty on our arrival in England. I continued in command of the Virgin till September 1698, then being paid off, and never at any time have committed any misdemeanour which might occasion my being called to a court martial, to be turned out or suspended.' He was asking for the command of one of the small ships employed on the coast of Ireland; but it was fully eighteen months before he was appointed to the Firebrand for the Irish station. In December 1701 he was turned over to the Vulcan fireship, was attached to the main fleet under Sir George Rooke on the coast of Spain, and was with it at the capture or burning of the French and Spanish ships at Vigo, 12 Oct. 1702. It is uncertain whether' the Vulcan took any active part in the burning, but Balchen brought home the Modéré prize of 56 guns. A few months later, February 1702-3, he was appointed to the Adventure, 44 guns, and continued in her for the next two years, cruising in the North Sea and in the Channel, and for the most part between Yarmouth and Portsmouth. On 19 March 1704-5 he was transferred to the Chester, and towards the end of the year was sent out to the Guinea coast. He returned home the following summer, and continued cruising in the Channel and on the Soundings, where, on 10 Oct. 1707, he was one of a small squadron which was captured or destroyed by a very superior French force under Forbin and Duguay-Trouin. The Chester was taken, and a year later, 27 Sept. 1708, when Balchen had returned to England on parole, he was tried by court-martial and fully acquitted; the decision of the court being that the Chester was in her station, and was engaged by three of the enemy, who laid her on board, entered many men, and so forcibly got possession of the ship. He was, however, not exchanged till the next year, when, in August 1709, he was appointed to the Gloucester, a new ship of 60 guns then fitting at Deptford. On 8 Oct. he had got her round to Spithead, and wrote that he would sail in a few days; but he had scarcely cleared the land before he again fell in with Duguay-Trouin (26 Oct., in lat. 50° 10' N.), and was again captured. He was therefore again tried by court-martial for the loss of his ship (14 Dec. 1709), when it appeared from the evidence that the Gloucester was engaged for above two hours with Duguay's own ship, the Lis, 74 guns, another firing at her at the same time, and three other ships very near and ready to board her. She had her fore-yard shot in two, so that her head-sails were rendered unserviceable, and had also received much damage in her other yards, masts, sails, and rigging. The court was therefore of opinion that Captain Balchen and the other officers and men had discharged their duties very well, and fully acquitted them. It may be added that the French sold the Gloucester to the Spaniards, and that for many years she was on the strength of the Spanish navy under the name of Conquistador.