Schomberg, Alexander (1720-1804) (DNB00)

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SCHOMBERG, Sir ALEXANDER (1720–1804), captain in the navy, born in 1720, was a younger son of Meyer Löw Schomberg [q. v.] Isaac Schomberg (1714–1780) [q. v.] and Raphael or Ralph Schomberg [q. v.] were his brothers. He entered the navy in November 1743 on board the Suffolk, with Captain Pratten, served in her for four years, and passed his examination on 3 Dec. 1747. On 11 Dec. 1747 he was promoted to be lieutenant of the Hornet, employed on convoy and packet service; and in the spring of 1750, being then in the West Indies, he exchanged into the Speedwell, which returned to England, and was paid off in the following July. He was then placed on half pay, and so remained till February 1755, when he was appointed to the Medway, with Captain Peter Denis [q. v.], one of the fleet on the home station and in the Bay of Biscay. In June 1756 he was again placed on half pay, but in October was appointed to the Intrépide, again with Pratten. On 5 April 1757 he was promoted to be captain of the Richmond, from which towards the end of the year he was moved into the Diana frigate, attached in the following year to the fleet under Admiral Edward Boscawen [q. v.] at the reduction of Louisbourg. Before the troops were landed Boscawen, with the other admirals and generals, went in the Diana to examine the coast. The Diana was afterwards one of the frigates employed in covering the landing, and when a party of four hundred seamen was landed for the batteries, Schomberg was placed in command. A gold medal, commemorative of the capture, is now in the possession of his great-grandson, Colonel Herbert St. George Schomberg of the royal marines. In 1759 the Diana was attached to the fleet under Sir Charles Saunders [q. v.] at the reduction of Quebec, where Schomberg was closely associated with General Wolfe, some of whose notes in Schomberg's pocket-book are still preserved. In the following year the Diana was one of the squadron which, under Lord Colville, repulsed an attempt of the French to regain Quebec, and was afterwards sent home with the news. Schomberg was then appointed to the Essex of 64 guns, and in 1761 took part in the reduction of Belle-isle, under the command of Commodore Keppel. He retained command of the Essex in the fleet off Brest and in the Bay of Biscay till the peace in 1763.

At the end of 1770 Schomberg was appointed to the Prudent, one of the ships commissioned on account of the dispute with Spain about the Falkland Islands [see Farmer, George]; she was paid off when the dispute was settled. Towards the close of 1771 he was appointed to the command of the Dorset, the yacht attached to the lord-lieutenant of Ireland, in spite of the angry protest of Lord Sandwich, who seems to have wanted to appoint a creature of his own. He told Schomberg that it must be considered as retirement from the line of active service; and when Schomberg quoted precedents to the contrary, replied: ‘I was not then at the admiralty.’ As, however, Schomberg persisted in his right to accept the appointment of the lord-lieutenant, Sandwich could only write that ‘he is either extremely indigent, extremely infatuated, or may think my situation here [at the admiralty] not permanent’ (Hist. MSS. Comm. 11th Rep. pt. iv. pp. 410–12). Unfortunately for Schomberg, Sandwich remained at the admiralty long enough to prevent his having any active service, or getting his flag during the American war. He continued therefore in command of the Dorset, was knighted by the lord-lieutenant in 1777, and died in Dublin on 19 March 1804, having for many years headed the list of captains. He was buried in the churchyard of St. Peter's, Dublin. A good portrait, by Hogarth, is in the possession of the family. He was the author of ‘A Sea Manual recommended to the Young Officers of the Royal Navy as a Companion to the Signal-book’ (London, 8vo, 1789), a book now extremely rare. He married, in August 1763, Arabella Susanna, only child of the Rev. James Chalmers, by Arabella, sister and heiress of Sir Edmond Alleyne, last baronet of Hatfield Peveril, and had issue. His youngest son, Sir Charles Marsh Schomberg, is separately noticed.

His second son, Alexander Wilmot Schomberg (1774–1850), born 24 Feb. 1774, having served for some time in the Dorset, and afterwards in the Porcupine, Lowestoft, Impregnable, and Trusty, was promoted to be lieutenant on 26 July 1793. In that rank he served at the reduction of Martinique and the defence of Guadeloupe, and in the Boyne with Sir John Jervis [q. v.], in the Glatton with Sir Henry Trollope [q. v.], and was promoted to the rank of commander on 2 April 1798. On 1 Jan. 1801 he was advanced to post rank, and continued actively serving during the war, holding several important commands, and among others that of the Loire frigate, 1807–12. He became a rear-admiral in 1830, vice-admiral in 1841, admiral in 1849, and died in 1850. Some ‘Naval Suggestions’ by him were privately printed in 1818, and he published at Chichester in 1832 some ‘Practical Remarks on the Building, Rigging, and Equipping of Warships.’ He was twice married, and left issue (by the first wife) Herbert, who died a retired rear-admiral in 1867; and (by the second wife) Charles Frederick, who died a retired vice-admiral in 1874, and General Sir George Augustus Schomberg, K.C.B.

[Charnock's Biogr. Nav. vi. 272; official letters, journals, logs, &c., in the Publ. Rec. Office; information from Sir George Schomberg.]

J. K. L.