Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Hardy, Thomas (1666-1732)

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HARDY, Sir THOMAS (1666–1732), vice-admiral, grandson of John Le Hardy (1606-1667), solicitor-general of Jersey, son of John Le Hardy (d. 1682), also solicitor-general of Jersey, and thus first cousin of Sir Charles Hardy the elder [q. v.], was born in Jersey on 13 Sept. 1666. He is said to have entered the navy under the patronage of Captain George Churchill [q. v.], and he certainly served with him as first lieutenant of the St. Andrew in the battle of Barfleur. Early in 1693 he was promoted to the command of the Charles fireship, from which he was speedily transferred to the Swallow Prize, stationed among the Channel islands for the protection of trade. In September 1695 he was appointed to the Pendennis of 48 guns, which he commanded till the peace. In May 1698 he was appointed to the Deal Castle, in April 1701 to the Coventry, and in January 1701-2 to the Pembroke, which formed part of the fleet on the coast of Spain under the command of Sir George Rooke [q. v.] After t he failure of the attempt on Cadiz the Pembroke was one of a small squadron under Captain James Wishart [q. v.] in the Eagle, which put into Lagos for water, and there the chaplain of the Pembroke, also a native of Jersey, and apparently passing on shore as a Frenchman, learned that the combined French-Spanish fleet from the West Indies had put into Vigo. The news was taken off" to Hardy, who at once communicated it to Wishart, and was sent on by him to carry it to Sir George Rooke. Acting on this intelligence, Rooke proceeded to Vigo,,and there, on 12 Oct. 1702, captured or destroyed the whole of the enemy s fleet. Hardy was sent home with the news, and,' in consideration of his good services,' was knighted by the qneen and presented with 1,000l. In the following January he was appointed to the Bedford of 70 guns, in which he served under Sir Clowdisley Shovell in the Mediterranean during the season of 1703, and with Sir George Rooke in 1704, taking part in the battle of Malaga, where the Bedford had a loss of seventy-four men, killed or wounded. On his return to England Hardy was appointed, 13 Dec. 1704, to the Kent, and during the following summer was again in the Mediterranean with Sir John Leake [q. v.] and Sir Clowdisley Shovell. In the summer of 1706 he was attached to the squadron under Sir Stafford Fairborne [q. v.] in the Bay of Biscay and at the reduction of Ostend; and in November was appointed to command a small squadron cruising in the Soundings for the protection of trade, a service which extended well into the summer of 1707. In July he was ordered to escort the outward-bound trade for Lisbon, about two hundred sail, clear of the Channel. Meeting with contrary winds they were only ninety-three leagues from the Lizard on 27 Aug. when they saw right in the wind's eye a squadron of six French ships. Finding it useless to chase these, Hardy contented himself with keeping his convoy well together, and escorting it to the prescribed distance of 120 leagues, after which the merchantmen proceeded on their way, and arrived safely at Lisbon. On his return to England Hardy was charged with neglect of duty in not having chased the French squadron; he was tried by court-martial at Portsmouth on 10 Oct., and fully acquitted, the court finding that he had ' complied with the lord high admiral's orders, both with regard to chasing the enemy and also the protecting the trade.' Sir John Leake, who was president of this court-martial, further showed his entire approval of Hardy's conduct by selecting him as first captain of the Albemarle, going ont to the Mediterranean as his flagship. He returned to England in October 1708, and in December was appointed to the Royal Sovereign, from which in the following May was transferred to the Russell, apparently on the home station. On 27 Jan. 1710-11 he was promoted to be rear-admiral of the blue, and during the following summer, with his flag in the Canterbury of 60 guns, commanded the small squadron off Dunkirk and in the North. Sea. In April 1711 he was returned to parliament as member for Weymouth, and on 6 Oct. he was appointed to the command-in-chief at the Nore and in the Thames and Medway, which he held throughout the winter. In the following summer he again commanded in the North Sea, and afterwards off Ushant, where in August he captured a convoy of five ships, which, however, the government thought it advisable to release, an almost nominal sum being paid as their ransom.

In the summer of 1715, with his flag in the Norfolk, Hardy was second in command of the fleet sent to the Baltic under Sir John Norris [q. v.] It was the last of his active service. It is said that on his return he was dismissed from the navy, and though this was certainly not for any naval offence nor by sentence of court-martial, it is quite possible that he may, like other naval officers, and notably Captain Francis Hosier [q. v.], have been dismissed on suspicion of Jacobitism. Some of these were afterwards reinstated, as, it is said, was Hardy, and promoted to be vice-admiral of the red. If so, it was on a reserved list, for his name does not appear in a list of flag-officers in 1727. He died on 16 Aug. 1732, and was buried in Westminster Abbey, where there is an ornate monument to his memory. He married Constance, daughter of Henry Hook, lieutenant-governor of Plymouth, who died 28 April 1720, and was buried in Westminster Abbey, in the grave in which her husband's body was afterwards laid. He left issue one son, Thomas (b. 1710), and two daughters. A portrait, attributed to Hogarth, is in the possession of Mr. W. J. Hardy; another, by Dahl, painted in 1714, was engraved by Faber; a third is spoken of as in the possession of Mr. J. Jervoise Le V. Collas.

[Charnock's Biog. Nav. iii. 17; Naval Chronicle, xix. 89; Lediard's Naval History; Calendar of Treasury Papers; official documents in the Public Record Office; Jersey Armorial, with manuscript notes by Sir T. Duffus Hardy, contributed by Mr. W. J. Hardy.]

J. K. L.