Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Goodenough, James Graham

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GOODENOUGH, JAMES GRAHAM (1830–1875), commodore, son of Edmund Goodenough [q. v.], dean of Wells, and grandson of Samuel Goodenough [q. v.], bishop of Carlisle, was born on 3 Dec. 1830, at Stoke Hill, near Guildford, Surrey. The close connection of his godfather, Sir James Graham, with the admiralty had fixed his profession from the beginning, and after three years at school at Westminster, he entered the navy in May 1844 on board the Collingwood, commanded by Captain Robert Smart, and carrying the flag of Rear-admiral Sir George Francis Seymour [q. v.] as commander-in-chief in the Pacific. On the Collingwood's paying off, in the summer of 1848, Goodenough was appointed to the Cyclops on the coast of Africa, from which, towards the end of 1849, he was permitted to return home in order to pass his examination and compete for the lieutenant's commission in a special course at the college at Portsmouth. This commission he obtained in July 1861, and in September was appointed to the Centaur, carrying Rear-admiral Henderson's flag on the east coast of South America. On the near prospect of war with Russia the Centaur was recalled to England in February 1854, and Goodenough, after a few months in the Calcutta guardship at Plymouth, was appointed to the Royal William, which took a body of fifteen hundred French soldiers up the Baltic for the siege of Bomarsund, and after the reduction of the fortress returned to England with twelve hundred Russian prisoners. After a few weeks on board the Excellent, Goodenough was next appointed gunnery lieutenant of the Hastings, in which he served through the Baltic campaign of 1855, and was present at the bombardment of Sveaborg on 20 Aug. During the early part of 1856 he commanded the Goshawk gunboat, one of the flotilla reviewed at Spithead on 23 April, and on 4 Aug. was appointed first lieutenant of the Raleigh, a 50-gun frigate, commissioned for the broad pennant of Commodore the Hon. Henry Keppel, as second in command on the China station. After an extraordinarily rapid passage, on 15 March 1857 the Raleigh, when within a hundred miles of Hongkong, struck on a rock till then unknown, stove in her bows, and was run ashore near Macao as the only chance of saving her. The men and most of the stores were got safely ashore, but the ship, sinking gradually in the fetid mud, was lost. The Raleigh's crew was kept together for some months, during which time Goodenough commanded the hired steamer Hongkong, and in her took part in the engagement in Fatchan Creek on 1 June. He was afterwards appointed to the Calcutta, the flagship of Sir Michael Seymour (1802–1887) [q. v.], and commanded her field-pieces at the capture of Canton on 28–9 Dec. 1857. He was immediately afterwards promoted to be commander of the Calcutta, in which capacity he took part in the capture of the Taku forts on 20 May 1858. The Calcutta was paid off at Plymouth early in August 1859, and a few weeks later, on the news of Sir James Hope's [q. v.] bloody repulse from the Taku forts, Goodenough was again sent out to China in command of the Renard sloop. In her he took part in the second capture of the Taku forts in June 1860, and in the following operations in the Peiho, his ship being kept at Tien-tsin till November. He was afterwards senior officer at Shanghai and in the Yang-tse-kiang, till, in November 1861, his health having suffered from his long service in China, he obtained leave to return to England.

In July 1862, at the request of Rear-admiral Smart, then in command of the Channel fleet, Goodenough was appointed commander of his flagship, the Revenge, in which in the following spring Smart went out to assume command of the Mediterranean station. On 9 May Goodenough was promoted to the rank of captain, and returning to England was within a few months sent out to North America on a special mission, ‘to obtain what information he could with regard to the ships and guns there in use.’ It was known that the civil war was causing a marked development of naval armaments, and Goodenough's reputation as a scientific gunnery officer stood high. He returned to England in May 1864, and was shortly afterwards appointed to the Victoria, fitting for the flag of Admiral Smart in the Mediterranean. In May 1866 Smart, and with him his flag-captain, were relieved, but shortly afterwards Goodenough was invited by Rear-admiral Warden to go as his flag-captain in the Minotaur in the Channel squadron. From 1867 to 1870, first with Warden and then with Sir Thomas Symonds, Goodenough continued in the Minotaur, and on his being relieved from the command in October 1870, he offered his services on the French Peasant Relief Fund, which had been started by the ‘Daily News.’ After working for a month in the neighbourhood of Sedan, he was afterwards, in February 1871, sent to Dieppe to superintend the transmission to Paris of a quantity of relief stores. He was at this time also appointed a member of the admiralty committee on designs for ships of war, on which he served till July, and in August he was appointed naval attaché to the several embassies in Europe, on which duty he continued for a twelvemonth, his brother, Colonel Goodenough of the Royal Artillery, being at the same time military attaché at Vienna. In May 1873 he was appointed commodore of the Australian station and captain of the Pearl, which sailed from Spithead in the following month. After a busy two years, visiting many of the islands on his wide extended station, he was on 12 Aug. 1875 at Santa Cruz, where, going on shore with a few men, and engaged in what seemed friendly intercourse with the natives, he was treacherously shot in the side by an arrow. A flight of arrows followed: six men in all were wounded. They hastily got into the boats and pulled off to the ship, and understanding that, with the possibility of the arrows having been poisoned, it was advisable to get into a cooler climate, Goodenough gave orders to shape a course for Sydney. The wounds in themselves were slight, but in a few days Goodenough and two of the other men showed symptoms of tetanus, which in all three cases proved fatal. Goodenough died on the evening of 20 Aug., about five hundred miles from Sydney, where he was buried on the 24th. He left a widow and two sons, one of whom is now a lieutenant in the navy. A subscription bust, an excellent likeness, by Prince Victor of Hohenlohe, himself a former messmate of Goodenough in the Raleigh, has been placed in the Painted Hall at Greenwich.

Goodenough, in his rare moments of leisure, acquired varied accomplishments. He was a skilful and elegant swordsman; he could read and enjoy the Latin poets; and his knowledge of modern languages was remarkable. He is said to have been able to converse fluently in seven. All the theoretical parts of his profession were familiar to him. Reserved and grave in manner, even as a young man, he inspired all with whom he served with confidence and esteem.

[Journal (1873–5), edited, with a memoir, by his widow; In Memoriam James Graham Goodenough, by the Hon. and Rev. Algernon Stanley; personal knowledge.]

J. K. L.