Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Lee, Fitzroy Henry

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1423188Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 32 — Lee, Fitzroy Henry1892John Knox Laughton

LEE, FITZROY HENRY (1699–1760), vice-admiral, eighth son of Edward Henry Lee, first earl of Lichfield of that creation, and of his wife, Lady Charlotte Fitzroy, natural daughter of Charles II and the Duchess of Cleveland, was born 2 Jan. 1698-1699 (Collins, Peerage, 1768, iii. 484). He entered the navy in 1717, and, after serving in the Launceston and Guernsey, passed his examination on 22 July 1720. In 1721 he was promoted to the rank of lieutenant, and on 26 Oct. 1728 to be captain of the Looe. In 1731 he commanded the Pearl, the Falkland in 1734, and from 1786 to 1738 was governor of Newfoundland. From 1738 to 1742 he commanded the Pembroke on the Mediterranean station, under Haddock and Mathews. In March 1746 he went out as commodore and commander-in-chief on the Leeward Islands station, with a broad pennant in the Suffolk. In this capacity he made himself very unpopular, not only among those under his command, but among the merchants and residents in the West Indies. Many complaints against him were sent home. He was accused of incivility, drunkenness, and neglect of duty, and on 4 Dec. 1746 Commodore Edward Legge [q. v.] was sent out to relieve him and try him by court-martial. Apparently the complaints could not be substantiated; for Lee was not tried, and on his arrival in England, in October 1747, his promotion to be rear-admiral, which had been suspended, was dated back to 15 July. On 12 May 1748 he was advanced to be vice-admiral of the white, but he had no further service, and died suddenly on 14 April 1750. 'Within a few hours of his death he had jocosely mentioned making his addresses to the relict of Sir Chaloner Ogle,' who died three days before him (Gent. Mag. xx. 188). He is described by Charnock as a 'free liver,' and was popularly spoken of as a man of debauched habits and foul tongue. It has been said, with some show of probability, that he was the original of Smollett's Commodore Trunnion. A portrait belongs to Viscount Billon.

[Charnock's Biog. Nav. iv. 195; commission warrant books in the Public Record Office; Correspondence of the Duke of Bedford, i. 270.]

J. K. L.