A Naval Biographical Dictionary/Morrison, Richard James

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MORRISON. (Lieut., 1815. f-p., 11; h-p., 30.)

Richard James Morrison, born 15 June, 1795, is son of the late Rich. Caleb Morrison, Esq., who for 27 years was a Gentleman Pensioner under King George III. His grandfather, Rich. Morrison, was a Captain in the Hon.E.I.Co.’s service.

This officer entered the Navy 30 Sept. 1806, as Fst.-cl. Vol., on board the Spartan of 46 guns and 258 men, Capts. Geo. Astle, Jahleel Brenton, and Edw. Pelham Brenton. Under Capt. Jah. Brenton, he saw much boat service in the Adriatic, participated as Midshipman in various attacks upon Pesaro and Ceseratico, and assisted at the capture of Lissa, Zante, Cephalonia, and Cerigo. He also, 3 May, 1810, shared in a brilliant and single-handed victory gained by the Spartan, in the Bay of Naples (after a contest of more than two hours, in which the British sustained a loss of 10 men killed and 22 wounded), over a Franco-Neapolitan squadron, carrying altogether 95 guns and about 1400 men. He continued in the same ship until Dec. 1810; and was subsequently, between Aug. 1811 and July, 1815, employed, part of the time as Master’s Mate, in the Elizabeth 74 and Myrtle 20, Capts. Fras. Wm. Austen and Arthur Batt Bingham, on the North Sea, Baltic, and Cork stations. In the latter vessel he appears to have likewise performed the duties of Lieutenant and Master. He took up, on leaving her, a commission bearing date 3 March, 1815. His last appointment was to the Coast Guard, in which he served from April, 1827, until Oct. 1829, when he was under the necessity of resigning from the effects of ill health, induced by the exposure he had suffered in rescuing 4 men and a boy from wreck in the month of Feb. 1828. His exertions on the occasion were acknowledged by a medal from the “Society for the Preservation of Life from Shipwreck.” We may add that his commission had been presented to him in less than six months after he had passed his examination, as a reward for the conduct he had exhibited during the action in the Bay of Naples.

On 22 April, 1824, Lieut. Morrison presented a plan to the Admiralty “for registering merchant seamen” – since adopted in principle. He also, 24 Jan. 1827, proposed another “for propelling ships of war in a calm;” and on 6 March, 1835, he further suggested to the Board “a plan for providing an ample supply of seamen for the fleet without impressment.” In reference to the latter scheme he received the thanks of their Lordships, and had the gratification of not only hearing his arguments immediately employed in the House of Commons by Sir Jas. Graham, then First Lord of the Admiralty, but of likewise seeing them partially enforced, by the addition of a thousand boys to the naval force of the country. He married, 23 Aug. 1827, Miss Sarah Mary Paul, of Waterford, and by that lady has issue nine children. Agents – Burnett and Holmes.