Stewart, Houston (DNB00)

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STEWART, Sir HOUSTON (1791–1875), admiral of the fleet, third son of Sir Michael Shaw Stewart of Ardgowan, sixth baronet, by his cousin Catharine, youngest daughter of Sir William Maxwell, bart., was born on 2 Aug. 1791. He entered the navy in February 1805 on board the Medusa with Sir John Gore [q. v.], and in her went out to Calcutta. On his return he followed Gore to the Revenge, and in October 1806 was moved to the Impérieuse, then commanded by Lord Cochrane [see Cochrane, Thomas, tenth Earl of Dundonald], under whom he shared in the many incidents of that remarkable commission, including the defence of Rosas, till in December 1808 he was put in command of an armed xebec, which he himself had assisted in cutting out from under the batteries of Port Vendres, and was sent on an independent cruise in the Mediterranean. He did not return to Gibraltar till the Impérieuse had sailed for England, and was unable to join her till after the affair in Basque roads. He was, however, in her in the expedition to Walcheren, after which he was borne, during the winter, on the books of the flagship at Leith. Through the summer of 1810 he was in the Hussar in the Baltic, and during the following year was again in the Leith flagship, till promoted to be lieutenant on 1 Aug. 1811.

On 16 Aug. he was appointed to the Tigre, 74, in which ship, under Captain John Halliday, he served off Rochefort, and in the two following years he was Keith's signal lieutenant in the Channel, at first in the San Josef and afterwards in the Queen Charlotte. On 3 March 1814 he was appointed acting captain of the Clarence, of 74 guns, off Brest, but returned to the Queen Charlotte in the end of April. On 9 June he was appointed commander of the Podargus, 14, and was confirmed in the rank on 13 Aug. During the next three years he commanded various sloops on the Jamaica station; in March 1817 he was acting captain of the Pique, and in May of the Salisbury, to which he was confirmed on 10 June 1817, and remained in her as flag-captain to Rear-admiral John Erskine Douglas till April 1818.

From October 1823 to December 1826 he commanded the Menai, frigate, on the North American station, and for two winters had charge of Halifax dockyard. In 1839 he went to the Mediterranean in the Benbow, which in the following year he commanded on the coast of Syria and at the reduction of St. Jean d'Acre, under Admiral Sir Robert Stopford [q. v.] For his services in this campaign he was nominated a C.B. on 18 Dec. 1840. In 1846 he was for a few months superintendent of Woolwich dockyard, and in November was appointed controller-general of the coastguard. This post he held till 1850, when he was appointed a lord of the admiralty. From February 1850 to December 1852 he continued at the admiralty, and during the latter part of the time was M.P. for Greenwich. On 16 June 1851 he was promoted to the rank of rear-admiral, and in the spring of 1853 went out to the Mediterranean as third in command and superintendent of Malta dockyard, where he remained till January 1855, when he became second in command in the Black Sea under Sir Edmund (afterwards Lord) Lyons [q. v.], and commanded the squadron at the reduction of Kinburn. He was nominated a K.C.B. on 5 July 1855; he also received the grand cross of the legion of honour, and the first class of the Medjidie. For some months in 1856 he was superintendent of Devonshire dockyard; and from November 1856 to January 1860 was commander-in-chief on the North American station. He became a vice-admiral on 30 July 1857. From October 1860 to October 1863 he was commander-in-chief at Devonport; became admiral on 10 Nov. 1862; G.C.B. on 28 March 1865; and admiral of the fleet on 20 Oct. 1872. He died on 10 Dec. 1875. He married, in 1819, Martha, youngest daughter of Lord Glenlee, and had three sons, the eldest of whom was Admiral Sir William Houston Stewart, G.C.B. (1822–1901).

[O'Byrne's Nav. Biogr. Dict.; Navy Lists; information from Sir W. Houston Stewart.]

J. K. L.