Pellew, Israel (DNB00)

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PELLEW, Sir ISRAEL (1758–1832), admiral, younger brother of Edward Pellew, viscount Exmouth [q. v.], was born on 25 Aug. 1758. He entered the navy in 1771, on board the Falcon sloop, in which he served for three years in the West Indies. He was afterwards for a short time in the Albion guardship, and for nearly three years in the Flora, which was sunk at Rhode Island in July 1778 to prevent her falling into the hands of the enemy. On 4 Feb. 1779 he passed his examination, and a few days later was promoted to be lieutenant of the Drake sloop in the West Indies. In 1781 he was lieutenant of the Apollo, and in 1782 commanded the armed cutter Resolution in the North Sea, where, on 20 Jan. 1783, he captured a dangerous Dutch privateer. As peace was already concluded when the action was fought, the admiralty declined to promote him, but he was continued in command of the cutter on the Irish station for the next four years. In 1787 he was appointed to the Salisbury, on the Newfoundland station, and from her was promoted to the rank of commander on 22 Nov. 1790. In the summer of 1798 he joined his brother Edward as a volunteer on board the Nymphe, and for his distinguished gallantry in the action with the Cléopâtre was advanced to post rank 25 June 1793, and appointed to the Squirrel, a small frigate, in the North Sea.

In April 1795 he was appointed to the Amphion of 32 guns, and, after some time on the Newfoundland and North Sea stations, was in September 1796 ordered to join the frigate squadron under his brother's command. On 19 Sept. he put into Plymouth for some repairs, and the next morning went into Hamoaze with all the ship's stores on board. On the 22nd the work was almost finished, and she was ordered to sail the next day. In the afternoon a great many visitors were on board, bidding farewell to their friends; and Pellew had invited Captain Swaffield, an old messmate, and the first lieutenant of the Amphion to dine with him. As they were at table a violent explosion of gunpowder destroyed the ship, killing about three hundred persons. Pellew was blown out of the port on to the deck of the adjoining hulk, but eventually recovered from his injuries. The lieutenant was comparatively unhurt. It appeared that the gunner had been fraudulently selling gunpowder; some seems to have been spilt, and in this way a train was laid to the fore magazine, which exploded and blew the fore-part of the ship to atoms; the afterpart, momentarily lifted, went to the bottom. It was afterwards raised and broken up.

In the following spring Pellew was appointed to the Greyhound, the crew of which joined the mutiny, and sent him on shore. He refused to rejoin her, and was appointed to the Cleopatra, which he commanded on the West Indies and North American station till the peace. In April 1804 he was appointed to the Conqueror, a 74-gun ship, one of the largest class and exceptionally well manned. She had been already a year in commission, and continued in the Channel until the following September, when she joined Nelson in the Mediterranean. In May 1805 she was one of the fleet that went with Nelson to the West Indies, and was again with him in the battle of Trafalgar, where she was the fourth ship in the weather line, and, following immediately after the Victory, Téméraire, and Neptune, completed in part the work which they had well begun. It was to the Conqueror that the Bucentaure, the French flagship, struck; and Captain Atcherley of the marines was sent to take possession. To him Villeneuve offered his sword; but Atcherley requested the admiral and the commandant of the soldiers to go in his boat on board the Conqueror, so as to surrender their swords to Pellew. The Conqueror, however, had made sail, and was then in close action with the Spanish four-decker, the Santísima Trinidad, so Atcherley took his prisoners on board the Mars, where they delivered their swords to the lieutenant in command. The swords were afterwards given to Collingwood, who kept them, much to the indignation of Pellew, who considered that they belonged by right to him, as, by the custom of the service, they did; but Pellew never claimed them, and Collingwood probably supposed that the French officers had surrendered to the Mars. The Conqueror continued on the Cadiz and Lisbon station till 1808, when she returned to England, and was paid off, Pellew being appointed to superintend the payment of the ships afloat at Chatham.

On 31 July 1810 he was promoted to the rank of rear-admiral, and in 1811 went out to the Mediterranean with his brother, as captain of the fleet. In January 1815 he was nominated a K.C.B., and in the spring returned to the Mediterranean with Lord Exmouth. But Exmouth refused to permit him to go with him to Algiers. He had thus no further service, but was advanced to be vice-admiral on 12 Aug. 1819, and admiral on 22 July 1830. He resided during his later years at Plymouth, and died there, after a lingering and painful illness, on 19 July 1832. He married, in 1792, Mary, daughter of George Gilmore, and had issue one son, Edward, a captain in the lifeguards, who was slain in a duel at Paris on 6 Oct. 1819.

[Osler's Life of Viscount Exmouth, Appendix A; Marshall's Roy. Nav. Biogr. ii. (vol. i. pt. ii.) 454; Ralfe's Nav. Biogr. iii. 55; Service-book, &c., in the Public Record Office; Gent. Mag. 1832, ii. 179.]

J. K. L.