Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Pasley, Thomas (1734-1808)

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PASLEY, Sir THOMAS (1734–1808), admiral, fifth son of James Pasley of Craig, Dumfriesshire, by Magdalen, daughter of Robert Elliot, elder brother of Sir Gilbert Elliot, the first baronet, was born at Craig on 2 March 1734. He entered the navy in 1751, on board the Garland. In 1753 he went out to the West Indies in the Weasel sloop, and in her and afterwards in the Dreadnought he remained on the Jamaica station for four years, coming home in the Bideford frigate, and passing his examination on 1 Aug. 1757 (Passing Certificate). He was then promoted to be lieutenant of the Dunkirk, one of the fleet under Hawke in the abortive expedition against Rochefort. He was afterwards moved into the Roman Emperor fireship, and again to the Hussar with Captain John Elliot [q. v.] whom he followed to the Æolus, and took part in the capture of the Mignonne on 19 March 1759, and of Thurot's squadron on 28 Feb. 1760. In 1762 Pasley was promoted to command the Albany sloop employed in the protection of the coasting trade. From her he was moved to the Weasel and sent out to the coast of Guinea, where a deadly sickness so reduced his ship's company that he was obliged, though in time of peace, to press men from the merchantmen on the coast, in order to take the ship to England. He was sent out again with a new crew and better fortune. On his return he was appointed to the Pomona and sent to the Clyde to raise men, consequent on the dispute with Spain about the Falkland Islands. In 1771 he was posted to the Seahorse in the West Indies. In 1776 he commanded the Glasgow, again in the West Indies, and afterwards the Sibyl on the Newfoundland and Lisbon stations. In 1780 he commissioned the Jupiter, one of the squadron under the command of Commodore George Johnstone [q. v.] in 1781, taking part in the action in Port Praya on 16 April, and the burning of the Dutch East Indiamen in Saldanha Bay. In the following year he took Admiral Hugh Pigot [q. v.] out to the West Indies, remaining under his command till the peace. In 1788 he was commander-in-chief in the Medway with a broad pennant in the Vengeance, then in the Scipio, and afterwards in the Bellerophon, in which he joined the Channel fleet during the Spanish armament of 1790. In 1793 he was again in the Bellerophon, with a broad pennant, in the Channel fleet under Lord Howe. Being promoted to the rank of rear-admiral on 12 April 1794, he continued with his flag in the Bellerophon, and in her bore a very distinguished part in the battle of 1 June 1794, when he lost a leg, in consideration of which he was granted a pension of 1,000l., and on 26 July 1794 was created a baronet. On 1 June 1795 he was advanced to be vice-admiral of the white. In 1798 he was commander-in-chief at the Nore, and in 1799 at Plymouth. On 1 Jan. 1801 he became admiral; but he had no further service, and died on 29 Nov. 1808. His portrait, by Sir W. Beechey, has been engraved. He married Mary, daughter of Thomas Heywood, deemster of the Isle of Man, and had issue two daughters, of whom the elder, Maria, married Captain John Sabine of the guards; to their son Thomas Sabine Pasley [q. v.] the baronetcy descended by special provision.

[Naval Chronicle, with a portrait after Abbot, iv. 349; Ralfe's Naval Biogr. i. 425.]

J. K. L.