Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/Arbuthnot, Marriot

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ARBUTHNOT, Marriot, British admiral, b. in 1711; d. in London, 31 Jan., 1794. He was a nephew of Dr. John Arbuthnot, the poet. He became post-captain in 1747, and in 1775 was made naval commissioner at Halifax, where he resided until 1778. He returned to England a rear admiral, and in 1779 was made vice admiral, and commander-in-chief on the American station. Soon after arriving at his destination he was blockaded in New York harbor by the French fleet under D'Estaing. In December, 1779, he conveyed the troops of Sir Henry Clinton to Charleston, and coöperated with him in laying siege to that city. The fleet appeared off the harbor on 9 March, 1780, and entered it on 9 April. After a short siege the city surrendered on 12 May, and was given up to pillage. For this success Arbuthnot received the thanks of parliament. On 16 March, 1781, Arbuthnot obtained some advantage over the French fleet in an engagement off the capes of Virginia. In 1793 he was made admiral of the blue. At the time of his service in America, Arbuthnot was old and inefficient, and Sir Henry Clinton complained bitterly to the home government of his incapacity.