Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Harland, Robert

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HARLAND, Sir ROBERT (1715?–1784), admiral, son of Captain Robert Harland of the royal navy, entered the service on 10 Feb. 1728-9 on board the Falkland of 50 guns, with Captain Samuel Atkins; and, after serving six years, in the Dreadnought with Captain Geddes, the Hector with Captain Ogilvy, and other ships on the home, Lisbon, and Mediterranean stations, passed his examination on 11 July 1735, when he was described as 'upwards of 20.' In February 1741-2 he was promoted to be lieutenant of the Weymouth; from her he was appointed to the Princessa, in which he was present in the action off Toulon on 11 Feb. 1743-4; and a few days afterwards was moved into the Namur. In January 1744-5 he was promoted to the command of the Scipio fireship; and on 19 March 1745-6 was posted to the Tilbury, in which he took part in Hawke's engagement with L'Etenduere on 14 Oct. 1747. He was then appointed to the Nottingham of 60 guns, in succession to Captain Philip Saumarez, who was killed in the action; and on 31 Jan. 1747-8, being in company with the Portland of 50 guns, commanded by Captain Charles Steevens [q. v.], had a prominent share in capturing the Magnanime, a remarkably fine French ship of 74 guns. After the peace he commanded the Monarch guardship at Portsmouth, and in 1755-6 the Essex, cruising in the Channel and the Bay of Biscay under the orders of Sir Edward Hawke or Vice-admiral Knowles. In May 1758 he was appointed to the Conqueror, one of the ships sent into the Mediterranean with Boscawen, but while at Gibraltar exchanged into the Princess Louisa on 15 Aug., a few days before the defeat and destruction of the French squadron off Lagos. On 18 Oct. 1770 he was promoted to be rear-admiral of the blue, and in 1778 was vice-admiral of the red, when he hoisted his flag-on board the Queen as commander of the Channel fleet in the second post, under Admiral Keppel [see Keppel, Augustus, Viscount], and held this command through the year, in the battle of Ushant on 27 July, and in the October cruise. Consequent on the courts-martial on Keppel and Palliser he resigned his command on 10 May 1779, being, he wrote, 'convinced it cannot be for the public service nor my own safety to serve with or to command men high in rank who differ so much in opinion with me on the great points of naval discipline, which I have been taught to look upon as unalterable and the security of all subordination.' He had no further command under Lord Sandwich's administration, but on the change of ministry was appointed on 30 March 1782 a member of the board of admiralty under Keppel. On 8 April he became admiral of the blue. He quitted the admiralty, with Keppel, on 28 Jan. 1783, and died on 21 Feb. 1784.

Harland married a daughter of Colonel Rowland Reynold, by whom he had issue three daughters and one son, Robert, born in 1765, who succeeded to the baronetcy, and died in 1848, without issue, when the title became extinct.

[Charnock's Biog. Nav. v. 454; Gent. Mag. 1 784, vol. liv. pt. i. p. 154, and new ser. viii. 531: Burke's Baronetage (previous to 1849); official letters in the Public Record Office.]

J. K. L.