Shuldham, Molyneux (DNB00)

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SHULDHAM, MOLYNEUX, Lord Shuldham (1717?–1798), admiral, born about 1717, second son of the Rev. Samuel Shuldham, by his wife Elizabeth, daughter of Daniel Molyneux of Ballymulvy, co. Longford, entered the navy in 1732 as captain's servant on board the Cornwall, with Captain George Forbes (afterwards Earl of Granard and governor of co. Longford). He afterwards served in the Solebay with Captain Charles Fanshawe, and for upwards of four years in the Falkland with Fitzroy Henry Lee [q. v.] He passed his examination on 25 Jan. 1738–1739, being then described on his certificate as ‘near twenty-two.’ According to the statement in Charnock, he was not seventeen. On 31 Aug. 1739 he was promoted to be lieutenant of the Tilbury, one of the ships which went out to the West Indies with Sir Chaloner Ogle [q. v.], and took part in the unsuccessful attack on Cartagena in 1741. In 1742 he was first lieutenant of her when, on 21 Sept., she was set on fire in a drunken squabble between a marine and the purser's boy and burnt, with a large proportion of the ship's company. Shuldham, with the captain and other officers, was tried by court-martial on 15 Oct., but was acquitted of all blame. On 12 May 1746 he was promoted to be captain of the Sheerness frigate, then employed on the coast of Scotland; in December 1748 he was appointed to the Queenborough, and in March 1749 to the Unicorn. In October 1754 he was appointed to the Seaford, from which, in March 1755, he was moved to the Warwick of sixty guns, going out to the West Indies, where, near Martinique on 11 March 1756, she fell in with a French 74-gun ship and two frigates, which overpowered and captured her. War had not then been declared, but hostilities had been going on for several months, as Shuldham very well knew, and the story that he mistook the enemy's ships of war for merchantmen would be but little to his credit if there was any reason to suppose it true. he, with the crew of the Warwick, was sent to France, kept a prisoner at large at Poitiers for nearly two years, and returned to England in a cartel on 10 March 1758. A courtmartial acquitted him of all blame for the loss of the ship, and on 25 July 1758 he was appointed to the Panther, in which he joined Commodore Moore in the West Indies and took part in the reduction of Guadeloupe and its dependent islands, March to May 1750 [see Moore, Sir John, 1718-1779]. In July he was moved by Moore into the Raisonnable, which was lost on a reef of rocks at Fort Royal off Martinique as she was standing in to engage a battery on 8 Jan. 1762, when the island was attacked and reduced by Rear-admiral Rodney. In April Rodney appointed Shuldham to the Marlborough, from which a few days later he was moved by Sir George Pocock to the Rochester, and again by Rodney after a few weeks to the Foudroyant, in which he returned to England at the peace. In December 1766 he was appointed to the Cornwall guardship at Plymouth, and in November 1770 to the Royal Oak, then commissioned in consequence of the expected rupture with Spain. On 14 Feb. 1772 he was appointed commodore and commander-in-chief on the Newfoundland station, which office he held for three years, and on 31 March 1775 he was promoted to be rear-admiral of the white. At the general election in the following autumn he was returned to the House of Commons as member for Fowey, and on 29 Sept. was appointed commander-in-chief on the coast of North America from the river St. Lawrence to Cape Florida. He went out with his flag in the 50-gun ship Chatham, arriving at Boston on 30 Dec. after a passage of sixty-one days, having been promoted, on 7 Dec. while on the way out, to be vice-admiral of the blue. His work was limited to covering the operations of the troops, and preventing the colonial trade. In June 1776 he was superseded by Lord Howe, and on 31 July was created a peer of Ireland by the title of Baron Shuldham. Early in 1777 he returned to England, and from 1778 to 1783 was port-admiral at Plymouth. He was promoted on 24 Sept. 1787 to be admiral of the blue, and on 1 Feb. 1793 to be admiral of the white. He died at Lisbon in the autumn of 1798. He left no issue, and the title became extinct.

[Charnock's Biogr. Nav. v. 605; Naval Chronicle (with a portrait after Dance), xxiii. 441; Gent. Mag. 1798, ii. 909; Commission and Warrant Books and official letters in the Public Record Office,]

J. K. L.