Page:Dictionary of National Biography. Sup. Vol II (1901).djvu/454

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Hornby
Hornby
442

settled in favour of the States ; but in 1859 feeling on both sides ran high, and at one time war appeared to be imminent. That the difficulty was tided over was considered mainly due to the temper and tact shown by Hornby, whom the governor of Victoria wished to take forcible measures and the responsibility of them. When the dispute was temporarily compromised, the Tribune was ordered to England, arriving at the end of July 1860. In March 1861 Hornby was sent out to the Mediterranean to take command of the Neptune, an old three-decker converted into a screw two-decker, and manned by 'bounty' men, whom Hornby characterised as 'shameful riffraff.' Here he came under the command of Sir William Fanshawe Martin [q. v. Suppl.], and had some experience in that admiral's attempts at the devolution of steam manoeuvres. At the time he thought them needlessly complicated and likely to be dangerous ; but in later life he seems to have better recognised the difficulties which Martin had to contend with, and to have acknowledged the merit of Martin's work. His comments on this are particularly interesting, as there can be little doubt that it was this practice which first led to his own profound studies of the subject and to his future excellence in the management of fleets.

In November 1862 the Neptune returned to England, and in the following March Hornby was appointed to the Edgar as flag-captain of Rear-admiral Sidney Colpoys Dacres [q. v.], commanding the Channel squadron. This post he held till September 1865, when he was appointed to the Bristol as a first-class commodore for the west coast of Africa. Here Hornby continued till the end of 1867, when the state of his health, as well as his private affairs after the death of his father, forced him to apply to be relieved, and he reached England early in 1868. On 1 Jan. 1869 he was promoted to be rear-admiral, and was almost immediately appointed to the command of the flying squadron, which he held for two years. From 1871 to 1874 he commanded the Channel squadron, and from 1875 to 1877 he was one of the lords of the admiralty, an appointment which, to a man of very active habits, proved excessively irksome, the more so as he found himself out of agreement with the methods of conducting the business of the navy. His time, he complained, was so taken up with a hundred little details, that he was unable to give proper consideration to the really important affairs that came before him. On 13 Jan. 1877 he wrote : 'I left the admiralty with less regret and more pleasure than any work with which I have hitherto been so long connected.' It was thus that, when offered the choice of being first sea lord or commander-in-chief in the Mediterranean, he unhesitatingly chose the latter, and he was accordingly appointed early in January 1877. He had been promoted to the rank of vice-admiral two years before, 1 Jan. 1875.

With his flag in the Alexandra, Hornby arrived at Malta on 18 March, and took up the command, which he held during two years of great political excitement. It was the time of the Russo-Turkish Avar, and in February 1878, the Russian army having advanced within what seemed striking distance of Constantinople, Hornby was ordered to take the fleet through the Dardanelles. The Turkish governor and government protested, probably as a matter of form and to avoid irritating the Russians ; but they made no attempt to oppose the passage, though Hornby went through quite prepared to use force if necessary. A good deal was said at the time about the 'illegality' of the proceeding, but to Hornby, as to Lord Beacons- field, the objection was a thing of naught, and the 'Times,' commenting on the movement, said, 'The admiral was directed to proceed to Constantinople, and he has proceeded.' He anchored the fleet, in the first instance, at Prince's Island, about two miles from the city, but afterwards moved to a greater distance, remaining in the Sea of Marmora. In acknowledgment of his services at this time, and of the tact with which he had conducted them, he was nominated a K.C.B. on 12 Aug. 1878. On 15 June 1879 he was promoted to the rank of admiral, and in February 1880 he returned to England. In 1881 he was appointed president of the Royal Naval College, from which he was removed in November 1882, to be commander-in-chief at Portsmouth, which office he held for the customary three years. In the summer of 1885, leaving Portsmouth for a few weeks, he commanded an evolutionary squadron, the direct precursor of the 'manœœuvres' which have been pretty regularly carried out ever since. One interesting feature of the exercises was the defence of the fleet at anchor in Berehaven against an attack by torpedo-boats. On 19 Dec 1885 he was nominated a G.C.B., with especial reference to his summer 'work in command of the evolutionary squadron;' and on 18 Jan. 1886 was appointed first and principal naval aide-de-camp to the queen.

He now proposed to settle down on his estate at Lordington, near Emsworth, and to be known thenceforward as 'Yeoman Hornby.' Fate and the service were too