Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Wishart, James

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WISHART, Sir JAMES (d. 1729), admiral, is first mentioned on 4 July 1689 as appointed captain of the Pearl. In 1690–1 he commanded the Mary galley, employed in convoying the trade to and from the Baltic; and in 1692 the 50-gun ship Oxford at the battle of Barfleur. In 1695 he was first captain to Sir George Rooke [q. v.] in the Queen; and in 1696–7 commanded the Dorsetshire of eighty guns, one of the grand fleet under John, lord Berkeley of Stratton (1663–1697) [q. v.], and, after his death, under Rooke. In 1699 he was captain of the Mary, in 1700 of the Windsor, in 1701 of the Expedition, and later in the year of the Dartmouth. These seem all to have been guardships during the peace; in 1702 he commanded the Eagle in the fleet off Cadiz and at Vigo under Rooke; in 1703 he was again Rooke's first captain in the Channel fleet. In the following January, when Captain William Whetstone [q. v.], who was a few days junior to Wishart on the post list, was promoted to be rear-admiral of the blue, Rooke took the matter up very warmly as an injustice to Wishart and a reflection on himself (Charnock, ii. 301–3; Journal of Sir George Rooke, pp. 258–62), and practically compelled Prince George, the lord high admiral, to promote Wishart, antedating his commission to 8 Jan., so as to restore his seniority; at the same time Wishart was knighted, apparently out of compliment to Rooke, with whom he continued through 1704 as first captain or, as it is now called, captain of the fleet. On 20 June 1708 Wishart was appointed one of the prince's council, an office which came to an end on the prince's death on 28 Oct.

On 20 Dec. 1708 he was promoted to be admiral of the blue. This revived the old question of his relative seniority, and Sir John Jennings [q. v.] and Sir John Norris (1660?–1749) [q. v.], who were both senior to him on the post list, and John Baker (1661–1716) [q. v.] and Sir Edward Whitaker [q. v.], who, though junior, had hoisted their flags as vice-admirals, were antedated to 17, 18, and 20 Dec., with special minutes that they took post before Wishart. By an order from the queen signified by Lord Bolingbroke on 8 Dec. 1713, these minutes were carefully obliterated, and can now only be read with great difficulty. On 20 Dec. 1710 Wishart, who had identified himself with the tories, was appointed one of the lords of the admiralty, and in February 1711–12 he was sent to Holland as commissioner to regulate the relative strength of the Dutch contingent of the fleet. On 8 Dec. 1713, the date of the obliterations, he was promoted to be admiral of the white squadron, and appointed commander-in-chief in the Mediterranean. He was M.P. for Portsmouth 1711 to 1715. On the accession of George I, however, he paid the penalty for dabbling in politics. He was summarily superseded from his command and had no further employment. His later years seem to have been passed at an estate which he had purchased with his own and his wife's money, near Bedale in Yorkshire, and there he died in 1729.

[Charnock's Biogr. Nav. ii. 299; Official letters and commission and warrant books in the Public Record Office.]

J. K. L.

Dictionary of National Biography, Errata (1904), p.283
N.B.— f.e. stands for from end and l.l. for last line

Page Col. Line  
253 ii 36 Wishart, Sir James: before On the accession insert He was M.P. for Portsmouth 1711-15.
18-17 f.e. for and there he died in 1729. read He died on 31 May 1723 (Boyer, Political State of Great Britain, May 1723, p. 571)

Dictionary of National Biography, Errata (1904), p.282
N.B.— f.e. stands for from end and l.l. for last line

Page Col. Line  
253 i 33 Wishart, Sir James: for (d. 1729) read (d. 1723)