Barlow, Robert (DNB01)

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BARLOW, Sir ROBERT (1757–1843), admiral, eldest son of William Barlow of Bath, by Hilare, daughter of Robert Butcher of Walthamstow, and brother of Sir George Hilaro Barlow [q. v.], was born in London on 25 Dec. 1757. On 6 Nov. 1778 he was promoted to be lieutenant of the Courageux with Lord Mulgrave [see Phipps, Constantine John, second Baron Mulgrave], and continued in her in the grand fleet till the peace in 1783, taking part in the capture of La Minerve on 4 Jan. 1781, and the relief of Gibraltar in October 1782. From 1786 to 1789 he commanded the Barracouta revenue cutter, and on 22 Nov. 1790 was promoted to command the Childers brig employed on the same service on the coast of Cornwall during 1791-2. On 2 Jan. 1793 he was sent to look into Brest and see what was doing. This the French would not allow, and fired on the brig. As the countries were still at peace. Barlow hoisted his colours, on which all the batteries within range opened on him; but the brig succeeded in getting out, one shot only — of 48lbs. — striking, but without doing any particular damage. War was declared on 2 Feb., and on the 15th, Barlow, still in the Childers, being oft Gravelines, captured Le Patriote, privateer, the first armed vessel taken in that war. He was promoted to be captain on 24 May, and in the following year commanded the Pegasus frigate which was attached to the fleet under Lord Howe, and took part in the action of 1 June. He afterwards commanded the Aquilon, and in December 1795 was appointed to the Phoebe, a 44-gun frigate, in which, on 21 Dec. 1797, he captured the Néréide of 36 guns; and on 19 Feb. 1801 the Africaine, a 44-gun frigate, but lumbered up by military stores and four hundred soldiers, in addition to her complement of 315 men. Among such a crowd the slaughter was terrible; her loss was returned as two hundred killed and 143 wounded, that of the Phoebe as one killed and twelve wounded. The numbers were certified by the captain of the Africaine; but it was believed that they fell short of the truth (James, iii. 128; Chevalier, iii. 48; Troude, iii. 251. These latter, with no means of arriving at the exact numbers, give the loss of the Africaine as 127 killed and 176 wounded).

On 16 June 1801 Barlow was knighted, and was shortly afterwards appointed to the 74-gun ship Triumph, in the Mediterranean, which he brought to England, and paid off in the end of 1804. In 1805-6 he was flag-captain to Lord Keith, then commanding-in-chief in the Downs [see Elphinstone, George Keith, Viscount Keith], and in the summer of 1806 he was appointed deputy-comptroller of the navy, from which office he was moved in September 1808 to that of commissioner of Chatham dockyard. On 20 May 1820 he was nominated a K.C.B., and on his retirement on 24 Jan. 1823 he was put on the superannuated list with the rank of rear-admiral. On 12 Nov. 1840, at the age of eighty-three, he was restored to the active list with the rank of admiral of the white, and on 23 Feb. 1842 he was made a G.C.B. He died at the archbishop's palace at Canterbury on 11 May 1843. He married in 1785 Elizabeth, daughter of William Garrett of Worting in Hampshire, and by her, who died in 1817, had a large family. One of his daughters married George, sixth viscount Torrington; another married William, first earl Nelson [q. v.]

[Marshall's Roy. Nav. Biogr. iii. (vol. ii.) 44; Gent. Mag. (for the most part copied from Marshall), 1843, ii. 202; Navy Lists; James's Naval Hist. (cr. 8vo); Troude's Batailles navales de la France; Chevalier's Hist. de la Marine française.]

J. K. L.