1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Saumarez, James Saumarez, Baron de

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search

SAUMAREZ, JAMES SAUMAREZ [or Sausmarez], Baron de (1757-1836), English admiral, was descended from an old family, and was born at St Peter Port, Guernsey, 11th of March 1757. Many of his ancestors had. distinguished themselves in the naval service, and he entered it as midshipman at the age of thirteen. For his bravery at the attack of Charleston in 1776 on board the “Bristol” he was raised to the rank of lieutenant, and he was promoted commander for his gallant services off the Dogger Bank, 5th of August 1781, when he was wounded. In command of the “Russell,” 70, he contributed to Rodney's victory over De Grasse (12th of April 1782). For the capture of “La Réunion,” a French frigate, in 1793, he was knighted. While in command of a small squadron he was on the 5th of June 1794 attacked by a superior French force on the way from Plymouth to Guernsey, but succeeded in gaining a safe anchorage in Guernsey harbour. After being promoted to the “Orion,” 74, in 1795, he took part in the defeat of the French lieet ofi Lorient, on the 22nd of June, distinguished himself in the battle of Cape St Vincent in February 1797, and was present at the blockade of Cadiz from February 1797 to April 1798, and at the battle of the Nile, where he was wounded. On his return from Egypt he received the command of the “Caesar,” 84, with orders to watch the French fleet ofi Brest during the winters of 1799 and ISOO. In 1801 he was raised to the rank of rear admiral of the blue, was created a baronet, and received the command of a small squadron which was destined to watch the movements of the Spanish fleet at Cadiz. Between the 6th and 12th of July he performed a brilliant piece of service, in which after a first repulse at Algeciras he routed a much superior combined force of French and Spanish ships. For his services Saumarez received the order of the Bath and the freedom of the city of London. In 1803 he received a pension of £1200 a year. On the outbreak of the war with Russia in 1809 he was given command of the Baltic fleet. He held it during the wars preceding the fall of Napoleon, and his tact was conspicuously shown towards the government of Sweden at the crisis of the invasion of Russia. Charles XIII. (Bernadotte) bestowed on him the grand cross of the military order of the Sword. At the peace of 1814 he attained the rank of admiral; and in 1819 he was made rear-admiral, in 1821 vice-admiral of Great Britain. He was raised to the peerage as Baron de Saumarez in 1831, and died at Guernsey on the 9th of October 1836.

See Memoirs of Admiral Lord de Saumarez, by Sir John Ross (2 vols., 1838).