Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Mordaunt, Henry (1681?-1710)

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search

MORDAUNT, HENRY (1681?–1710), captain in the navy, was the second son of Charles Mordaunt, third earl of Peterborough [q. v.], and nephew of Henry Mordaunt, member of parliament for Brackley from 1692 to 1701, with whom he has been strangely confused (Foster, Alumni Oxonienses ; Collins, Peerage, pp. 207, 213; Charnock, iii. 274). On 9 April 1703 he was promoted to be captain of the Mary galley. In 1705 he was returned to parliament for Malmesbury, and in 1706 was captain of the Resolution of 70 guns in the Mediterranean. On 13 March 1706-7, with the Enterprise and Milford frigates in company, he sailed from Barcelona for Genoa, carrying as passengers his father, the Earl of Peterborough, and an ambassador from the titular king of Spain to the Duke of Savoy. On the 19th he fell in with a French squadron of six ships of the line, newly out of Toulon, and which, with clean bottoms, came up fast with the English. The Earl of Peterborough and the ambassador went on board the Enterprise, which, with the Milford, effected her escape. By daybreak of the 20th the enemy's ships were well up with and engaged the Resolution, which defended herself stoutly. In the afternoon, when she was much shattered, Mordaunt ran her ashore near Ventimiglia. The French then sent in their boats to burn her, but these were beaten off. During the night an 80-gun ship succeeded in getting within gunshot, and as the Resolution was by this time full of water, and her magazine drowned, it was resolved to set her on fire and abandon her. This was done during the morning of the 21st; her men were all landed, and by eleven o'clock the ship was burnt to the water. Mordaunt was severely wounded in the leg, and obliged to return to England, which he did overland, through France, on a passport readily given on his father's request. On 25 Nov. 1709 he was tried by court-martial for the loss of his ship, and acquitted, the court resolving that he had behaved with 'great courage and conduct' (Minutes of the Court-martial}. Three months later, 24 Feb. 1709-10, he died at Bath, of small-pox. He was not married. His portrait, by Sir Godfrey Kneller, belongs to Sir Frederick Milner, bart.

[Charnock's Biog. Nav. iii. 274.]

J. K. L.