1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Cockburn, Sir George

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COCKBURN, SIR GEORGE, Bart. (1772–1853), British admiral, second son of Sir James Cockburn, Bart., and uncle of Lord Chief Justice Cockburn, was born in London. He entered the navy in his ninth year. After serving on the home station, and in the East Indies and the Mediterranean, he assisted, as captain of the “Minerve” (38) at the blockade of Leghorn in 1796, and fought a gallant action with the Spanish frigate “Sabina” (40) which he took. He was present at the battle of Cape St Vincent. In 1809, in command of the naval force on shore, he contributed greatly to the reduction of Martinique, and signed the capitulation by which that island was handed over to the English; for his services on this occasion he received the thanks of the House of Commons. After service in the Scheldt and at the defence of Cadiz he was sent in 1811 on an unsuccessful mission for the reconciliation of Spain and her American colonies. He was made rear-admiral in 1812, and in 1813–14, as second in command to Warren, he took a prominent part in the American War, especially in the capture of Washington. Early in 1815 he received the order of the Bath, and in the autumn of the same year he carried out, in the “Northumberland” (74), the sentence of deportation to St Helena which had been passed upon Bonaparte. In 1818 he received the Grand Cross of his order, and was made a lord of the admiralty; and the same year he was returned to parliament for Portsmouth. He was promoted to the rank of vice-admiral in 1819, and to that of admiral in 1837; he became senior naval lord in 1841, and held office in that capacity till 1846. From 1827 he was a privy councillor. In 1851 he was made admiral of the fleet, and in 1852, a year before his death, inherited the family baronetcy from his elder brother, being himself succeeded by his brother William, dean of York, who died in 1858.

See O’Byrne, Naval Biography; W. James, Naval History; Gentleman’s Magazine for 1853.