A Naval Biographical Dictionary/Addendum: Seymour, George Francis

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SEYMOUR, Kt., G.C.H. (Rear-Admiral of the Red, 1841.)

Sir George Francis Seymour relieved Rear-Admiral Rich. Thomas in the chief command in the Pacific 13 Dec. 1844. In the early part of 1845 he exacted redress from the Peruvian government for injuries which had been inflicted on British subjects at Tacna and Arica, and, in concert with Mr. Adams, Charge d’Affaires, compelled the dismissal of the Prefect of the department. After visiting Tahiti with the French Rear-Admiral Hamelin for the purpose of ascertaining the amount of the indemnity due to Mr. Pritchard, H.B. Majesty’s Consul, for the losses sustained by that gentleman, he proceeded to the Sandwich Islands and took such steps as were advisable to strengthen the position of the Consul-General, Miller, and to afford protection to British subjects against the predominance assumed by foreigners in the native governments. In the month of Nov. he returned to Tahiti in order to inquire into the previous independence of the N.W. group of the Society Islands, and to prevent the French from extending the protectorate they had induced Queen Pomare to yield by treaty beyond the limits of her sovereignty. In reference to this question Sir George visited the islands of Huahine, Raiatea, and Bola-bola, and traversed a part of the Pacific that had not before been navigated by a ship-of-the-line. Ultimately he had the satisfaction of announcing to the chiefs of the three islands that their independence was recognised both by Great Britain and France. During the discussion with the United States relative to the Oregon territory, the Rear-Admiral went to the North Pacific and remained principally at the same ports as the American squadron until matters were adjusted between the two governments. In 1846, the points at issue between the British Agents and the Hawaian government having been submitted to his judgment, he disposed of them in such a manner as, in the opinion of H.M. Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, to impress the Hawaian government with reliance on the justice and the disinterested views of the British government. His proceedings at Peru and the Society Islands had procured him similar expressions of approval. In 1847, when a general blockade was imposed by the Americans on the coast of Mexico, Sir Geo. Seymour adopted measures that had the effect of protecting British commerce on the west coast from injury during the war. He subsequently received payment from the Republic of Lima of the sums, due to British merchants, which had been promised to his predecessors; and he succeeded in obtaining, for the ships under his orders, indemnities, before evaded, from the revolutionary governments of Central America. In the early part of 1848 he re-examined the coal-mines in the province of Conception, in Chili, as well as in Valdivia and the island of Chiloe. In April of the same year he transferred the command he had held to Rear-Admiral Hornby; and on leaving Valparaiso he had the gratification of receiving a flattering expression of respect and good will from the British merchants there resident. He arrived at Spithead on 10 July, having, since his departure thence, sailed 76,000 miles. On the following day he struck his flag; and on the 25th he received from the Board of Admiralty a letter conveying to him “its entire approbation of his conduct during a command their Lordships deemed to have been of unusual responsibility and anxiety.” It is worthy of remark, that, during the whole period of Sir G. F. Seymour’s command, not a single court-martial took place.

His eldest son, Fras. Geo. Hugh, is now a Lieut.Colonel in the Army and Equerry to Prince Albert; his eldest daughter married Chas. Corkran, Esq., of Long Ditton, co. Surrey, and not, as we have stated, a son of Sir T. J. Cochrane.

See main entry: Seymour, George Francis