Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Drake, Francis Samuel

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DRAKE, Sir FRANCIS SAMUEL (d. 1789), rear-admiral, youngest brother of Sir Francis Henry Drake, the last baronet in the line of succession from Thomas, the brother and heir of Sir Francis Drake [q. v.], after serving as a lieutenant in the Torrington and the Windsor, was on 30 March 1756 promoted to the command of the Viper sloop, and on 15 Nov. was posted to the Bideford. On 11 March 1767 he was appointed, in succession to his second brother, Francis William, to the Falkland of 50 guns, which he commanded for the next five years; in the West Indies under Commodore Moore in 1757-8; at St. Helena for the protection of the homeward-bound trade in the spring of 1759, and in the autumn on the south coast of Bretagne, under Captain Robert Duff [q. v.], with whom he was present at the defeat of the French in Quiberon Bay ; in the St. Lawrence with Commodore Swanton in the summer of 1760; with Lord Colville on the coast of North America, and with Sir James Douglas at the Leeward Islands in 1761, continuing there under Sir George Rodney in 1762, when he was moved into the Rochester, which he commanded till the peace. In 1766 he commanded the Burford; 1772-5 the Torbay of 74 guns, guardship at Plymouth, and in the spring of 1778 was appointed to the Russell, one of the squadron which sailed for America under the command of Vice-admiral John Byron [q. v.] The Russell, having sustained great damage in the gale which scattered the squadron, was compelled to put back, and did not go to America till the spring of 1779. During that year and the early part of 1780, Drake continued under the command of Vice-admiral Marriot Arbuthnot [q. v.] He was then sent to join Rodney in the West Indies, and accompanied him to the coast of North America, and back again to the West Indies, where he received a commission as rear-admiral, dated 26 Sept. 1780. He then hoisted his flag in the Princessa of 70 guns; took part under Rodney in the operations against the Dutch Islands, and was detached under Sir Samuel Hood to blockade Martinique, where, with his flag in the Gibraltar, he was warmly engaged in the partial action with De Grasse on 29 April 1781 [see Hood, Samuel, Viscount]. In August, with his flag again in the Princessa, he accompanied Hood to North America, and commanded the van in the untoward action off the mouth of the Chesapeake on 5 Sept. [see Graves, Thomas, Lord], in which the Princessa received such damage that Drake was compelled to shift his flag temporarily to the Alcide. He afterwards returned with Hood to the West Indies, took part with him in the brilliant but unavailing defence of St. Christopher's in January 1782, and on 12 April, by the accident of position, had the distinguished honour of commanding the van of the fleet under Sir George Rodney in the battle of Dominica [see Rodney, George Brydges, Lord]. His conduct on this occasion deservedly won for him a baronetcy, 28 May 1782. He continued in the West Indies till the peace, after which he had no further service. In 1789 he was elected member of parliament for Plymouth, and on 12 Aug. was appointed a junior lord of the admiralty, but died shortly afterwards, 19 Oct. 1789. He was twice married, but left no issue, and the baronetcy became extinct. His elder brother, Francis William, a vice-admiral, with whom he is frequently confused, died about the same time, also without issue; and the eldest brother, Francis Henry, the hereditary baronet, dying also without issue this title too became extinct, though it was afterwards (1821) revived in the grandson of Anne Pollexfen, sister of these three brothers, and wife of George Augustus Eliott, lord Heathfield [q. v.]

[Charnock's Biog. Nav. vi. 60, 162; Beatson's Nav. and Mil. Memoirs—both these writers confuse the two younger brothers with each other and with a Captain William Drake (no relation) who commanded the Portsmouth store-ship in 1743–4; official documents in the Public Record Office; Wotton's Baronetage; Burke's Extinct and Dormant Baronetcies.]

J. K. L.