Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Neale, Harry Burrard

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NEALE, Sir HARRY BURRARD (1765–1840), admiral, born on 16 Sept. 1765, was the eldest son of Lieutenant-colonel William Burrard (1712–1780), governor of Yarmouth Castle in the Isle of Wight, whose elder brother, Harry Burrard (d. 1791), was created a baronet in 1769. He was first-cousin of General Sir Harry Burrard [q. v.] He entered the navy in 1778 on board the Roebuck with Sir Andrew Snape Hamond [q. v.], and in her was present at the reduction of Charlestown in April 1780. He was afterwards in the Chatham, with Captain Douglas, Hamond's nephew, and took part in the capture of the French frigate, Magicienne, off Boston, 2 Sept. 1781. In 1783 he returned to England, acting lieutenant of the Perseverance. He was afterwards with Sir John Hamilton in the Hector, and in 1785 was in the Europe in the West Indies, and was officially thanked for his conduct in saving five men from a wreck during a hurricane. On 29 Sept. 1787 he was promoted to be lieutenant of the Expedition. In 1790 he was in the Southampton with Keats, and afterwards in the Victory, Lord Hood's flagship. On 3 Nov. 1790 he was promoted to be commander of the Orestes, employed in the preventive service.

On the death of his uncle, Sir Harry Burrard, on 12 April 1791, he succeeded to the baronetcy, and on 1 Feb. 1793 he was advanced to post rank. He was then appointed to the Aimable frigate, in which he accompanied Lord Hood to the Mediterranean, where he was actively employed both in attendance on the fleet and in charge of convoys for the Levant. He returned to England towards the end of 1794, and by royal license, dated 8 April 1795, assumed the name and arms of Neale, on his marriage (15 April) with Grace Elizabeth, daughter and coheiress of Robert Neale of Shaw House, Wiltshire. He was shortly afterwards appointed to the command of the San Fiorenzo of 42 guns, stationed for some time at Weymouth, in attendance on the king. On 9 March 1797 the San Fiorenzo, in company with the Nymphe, captured the French frigates Resistance and Constance off Brest [see Cooke, John 1763–1805]. She was afterwards at the Nore when the mutiny broke out. Her crew refused to join in the mutiny; she was ordered to anchor under the stern of the Sandwich, but a few days later she effected her escape, running through a brisk fire opened on her by the revolted ships. Her escape was a fatal blow to the mutiny, and on 7 June a meeting of London merchants and shipowners, held at the Royal Exchange, passed a vote of thanks to Neale and the officers and seamen of the San Fiorenzo for their spirited conduct. Neale continued in the San Fiorenzo, and was, on 9 April 1799, in company with the Amelia of 38 guns, off Lorient, where three large frigates were lying in the outer road, ready for sea. In a sudden squall off the land the Amelia was partly dismasted, and the French frigates, seeing the disaster, slipped their cables and made sail towards the San Fiorenzo. The Amelia, however, cleared away the wreck with promptitude, and the two ships, keeping together, succeeded in repelling the attack, and the French, having lost severely, returned to Lorient (Troude, iii. 153; James, ii. 376).

In 1801 Neale was appointed to the Centaur of 74 guns, from which he was moved into the royal yacht. In May and June 1804 he was one of the lords of the admiralty, but in July returned to the yacht. In the following year he was appointed to the 98-gun ship London, one of the small squadron under Sir John Borlase Warren [q. v.] which captured the French ships Marengo and Belle Poule on 13 March 1806. The two ships were actually brought to action by the London, but after an hour the Amazon frigate [see Parker, Sir William, (1781–1866)] coming up, engaged and captured the Belle Poule, while the Marengo, of 74 guns, under the personal command of Admiral Linois, seeing the Foudroyant, Warren's flagship, drawing near, struck to the London after a running fight of more than four hours [Troude, iii. 456; James, iv. 130].

In 1808 Neale was captain of the fleet under Lord Gambier, with whom, in 1809, he was present at the abortive attack on the French ships in Basque Roads [see Cochrane, tenth Earl of Dundonald]. On 31 July 1810 he was promoted to the rank of rear-admiral, and from 1811 to 1814 commanded a squadron on the coast of France, with his flag in the Boyne, and afterwards in the Ville de Paris. On 4 June 1814 he was advanced to be vice-admiral, and on 2 Jan. 1815 was nominated a K.C.B., and G.C.B. on 14 Sept. 1822. He was commander-in-chief in the Mediterranean, 1823–1826, a post which, by the rule then in force, carried with it a nomination as G.C.M.G. In 1824 his prompt action enforced the observance of the treaty of 1816 on the Dey of Algiers, though not till a considerable force of bombs had been sent from England, and the squadron was actually in position for opening fire (Ann. Reg. 1824, pt. i. pp. 207–208). He became an admiral on 22 July 1830; and in January 1833, on the death of Sir Thomas Foley, was offered the command at Portsmouth, on the condition of resigning his seat in the House of Commons. Neale refused the command on these terms, pointing out that the condition was unprecedented and therefore insulting. The case was brought up in the house, but Sir James Graham, then first lord, maintained that as the admiralty was responsible for its appointments, it had and must have authority to make what stipulations it judged necessary (Hansard, 3rd ser. xv. 622). Neale died at Brighton on 15 Feb. 1840; and, having no issue, was succeeded in the baronetcy by his brother, the Rev. George Burrard, rector of Yarmouth (I.W.) His wife survived him for several years, and died at the age of eighty-three, in 1855. His portrait, by Matthew Brown, has been engraved. A handsome obelisk was erected to his memory on Mount Pleasant, opposite the town of Lymington, of which he was lord of the manor, and which he had represented in parliament for forty years.

[Marshall's Roy. Nav. Biog. ii. (vol. i.) 433; Gent. Mag. 1840, i. 540; Foster's Baronetage, s.n. ‘Burrard;’ James's Naval History (edit. of 1860); Troude's Batailles Navales de la France.]

J. K. L.