Young, George (1732-1810) (DNB00)

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search

YOUNG, Sir GEORGE (1732–1810), admiral, eldest son of the Rev. George Young of Bere Regis in Dorset (one of a family claiming descent from John Yong of Buckhorn Weston, sheriff of Dorset in 1570), by his wife Eleanor, daughter of Joseph Knowles, was born on 17 June 1732. It is said (Naval Chronicle) that he went to sea in the Namur with Edward Boscawen [q. v.] in 1746, in which case it would seem that he went out to the East Indies with Boscawen in 1747, quitted the service there, and joined that of the East India Company. On 20 Dec. 1757 he was discharged with credit as a midshipman from the Prince of Wales, East Indiaman, and immediately entered on board the York as able seaman with Captain Hugh Pigot (1721?–1792) [q. v.], and after six weeks was rated midshipman. In this capacity he served at the reduction of Louisbourg in 1758, where he commanded a boat at the cutting out of the Bienfaisant 64 guns, and the destruction of the Prudent 74 guns, which was followed next day by the surrender of the place. An oil picture by Francis Swaine [q. v.] of this night engagement, now at Formosa Place, which has been engraved, was painted from Young's sketch. In 1759 he was, again with Pigot, in the Royal William at the capture of Quebec. His passing certificate, 3 Sept. 1760, mentions only the York and Royal William, in addition to his certified service under the East India Company. On 16 Nov. 1761 he was promoted to be lieutenant of the Orford, with Captain Marriot Arbuthnot, which in February 1762 went out to the Leeward Islands in charge of convoy, took part in the reduction of Havana under Sir George Pocock [q. v.], and continued on the Jamaica station till the peace. He was promoted to be commander on 29 Sept. 1768, served for some time on the West African station, where he was one of the explorers of the ancient burying-places on the Peak of Teneriffe, and brought thence the mummy now in the library of Trinity College, Cambridge, described in Gough's ‘Sepulchral Monuments,’ I. i. lxxx. In 1776 he went out to the East Indies in command of the Cormorant, from which, on 7 Nov. 1777, he was posted to the Ripon as flag-captain to Sir Edward Vernon [q. v.], with whom he was in the skirmish off Pondicherry on 10 Aug. 1778. Young was then sent home with despatches, received the usual compliment of 500l. to buy a sword (Beatson, Nav. and Mil. Memoirs, iv. 410), and was appointed in March 1779 to the William and Mary yacht; in her he took the Prince of Wales to the Nore when the king visited the fleet under Sir Hyde Parker (1714–1782) [q. v.] after the action on the Doggerbank on 5 Aug. 1781. He was knighted on 24 Aug. 1781. Afterwards he was moved into the Catherine yacht, and during the Russian armament of 1791 to the Zealous. On 4 July 1794 he became a rear-admiral, vice-admiral on 14 Feb. 1799, and admiral on 23 April 1804, but had no service.

In 1784 Young took up actively, in conjunction with Lord Mansfield, Sir Joseph Banks (see Britton, pp. 3, 10), Thomas Rowcroft, and others, the proposal of Jean Maria Matra for the establishment of a colony in New South Wales, and wrote a paper containing a plan for this purpose, which was on 13 Jan. 1785 communicated to Lord Sydney [see Townshend, Thomas] by Sir R. Pepper Arden, the attorney-general, and became, with that of Matra, the basis of the official scheme on which the expedition of Governor Arthur Phillip [q. v.] was started. The value of Young's paper consists in its practical details; his two principal suggestions of an original nature—one for making the settlement a port of call for the China ships, the other for the cultivation there, in the interest of the navy, of the New Zealand flax-plant (Phormium tenax)—remained without fruit. It is a reprint of this paper, in a much shortened form, which is given in Britton, and was in 1888 reproduced in facsimile at Sydney. In 1788 Young, together with his connection John Call, applied to the colonial office for a grant of Norfolk Island, which had, however, been just taken up for settlement; and in 1791 he was a promoter and one of the first proprietors of the Sierra Leone Company (31 Geo. III, c. 55, preamble). In 1792 he was examined before the bar of the House of Commons on the African slave trade, and gave evidence of its evils, not less valuable because temperately worded. He filled for the first ten years of its existence (1786–1796) the post of treasurer to the board of commissioners of the Thames navigation.

Young died at his seat, Formosa Place, Berkshire, on 28 June 1810. He was a F.R.S. (elected 15 Feb. 1781) and F.S.A., a fine vocalist, and an amateur musician. Mrs. Bray tells some good stories of his manners and accomplishments, and describes him as remarkably handsome—a description which his portraits confirm. The best is a miniature by John Smart [q. v.], engraved in the ‘Naval Chronicle.’ He married, first, Elizabeth, daughter of Samuel Bradshaw of Great Marlow, and had issue by her two daughters and two sons, the elder of whom, Samuel, was created a baronet in November 1813. His second wife was Anne, daughter of Dr. William Battie [q. v.] of Bloomsbury.

[Naval Chronicle (with portrait), xxxi. 177; passing certificate, ships' pay-books and listbooks in the Public Record Office; Britton's Historical Records of New South Wales (by authority), vol. i. pt. ii. pp. xxvi, 10, 141; Autobiography of Anna Eliza Bray, p. 72; family papers in possession of Sir G. Young, bart.]

J. K. L.