Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 05.djvu/427

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Boscawen
Boscawen
419

in the Dreadnought the officer of the watch went into his cabin one night and, waking him, said, 'Sir, there are two large ships, which look like Frenchmen, bearing down on us; what are we to do?' 'Do?' answered Boscawen, turning out and going on deck in his nightshirt; 'do? damn 'em, fight 'em!' That there was no such fight is quite certain; but whether the story is true or not true, it illustrates the popular opinion of Boscawen's character, and is a lucid commentary on the prompt decision which overwhelmed De la Clue.

But besides this Boscawen has a special reputation for the persistent efforts which he made to improve the health and comfort of the seamen. In his boyhood at the Bastimentos, as afterwards at Cartagena, at Pondicherry, or at Halifax, he had had forced on him the disastrous effects of sickness, if merely from the point of view of efficiency; the study of his men's health thus became with him almost an instinct; and in an age when anything like hygiene was little attended to, he was one of the first who gave it a prominent consideration; and it was more particularly he who brought Sutton's ventilating apparatus into common use, by having it fitted on board the Namur when preparing for her voyage to the East Indies. There is no exaggeration in the statement on his monument that 'with the highest exertions of military greatness he united the gentlest offices of humanity; his concern for the interest, and unwearied attention to the health, of all under his command, softened the necessary exactions of duty and the rigours of discipline.' And yet his discipline was undeniably severe; nor would he allow any relaxations or comforts which seemed to him likely to render the ship less efficient as a man-of-war. This is well illustrated by a sentence from a letter to the admiralty, written only six months before his death (8 July 1760), respecting the accommodation of the Torbay, which had been reported as very cramped, though she had carried his flag in 1755 without any complaints. 'All the officers,' he wrote, 'swung in hanging cots, and where stowed with conveniency. After I left the ship, Captain Keppel permitted canvas cabins to be built, which I suppose remain, and prevent the stowing the officers so well as when there were none. … I never permit, nor I have not for many years, nor ever will, in any ship that I go to sea in, standing cabins. In the Dreadnought, in 1744, cruising to the westward in thick weather, I fell in with thirteen sail of the enemy's ships; and in taking down the officers' cabins to clear! ship and bring the stern chase to bear upon the enemy, I found much bottled liquor, which being directed to be thrown overboard, much of it was drunk by the seamen, that when I was engaged soon after were so drunk as not to be able to do their duty; and had the French done theirs, I must have inevitably been taken. This determined me against cabins, and I have never altered my resolution.'

He married, in 1742, Frances, daughter of William Evelyn Glanville, of St. Clair, Kent, and by her had three sons and two daughters. The two elder sons died unmarried; the third, George Evelyn, succeeded his uncle as third Viscount Falmouth. Of the daughters, one married Admiral Leveson-Gower; the other married Henry, fifth duke of Beaufort. His widow, who is spoken of as 'the accomplished Mrs. Boscawen,' resided for many years at Rosedale, Richmond, formerly the home of Thomson the poet (British Museum, Add. MS. 27578, ff. 120-7, where are some verses addressed to her by Pye), and died in 1805. A portrait of Boscawen, by Sir Joshua Reynolds, is in the National Portrait Gallery; a copy is in the Painted Hall at Greenwich, to which it was presented by Lord Falmouth.

[Charnock's Biog. Nav. iv. 310; Beatson's Nav. and Mil. Memoirs; official letters and other documents in the Public Record Office.]

J. K. L.

BOSCAWEN, EDWARD (1787–1841), first Earl of Falmouth, the son of George Evelyn, third Viscount Falmouth, and Elizabeth Anne, only daughter of John Crewe, of Cheshire, was born on 10 May 1787, and succeeded to his father's titles in 1808. At that time he was an ensign in the Coldstream guards, but he soon quitted the army. On the coronation of George IV he was created an earl, and throughout that reign was constant in his attendance at the House of Peers. He was often engaged in controversy with Lord Grey and the other whig leaders, and one of his speeches exposed him to the lash of Cobbett. Lord Falmouth dreaded the liberal policy of Canning, and acted as Lord Winchelsea's second in the duel with the Duke of Wellington (provoked by Winchelsea's intemperate letter on 21 March 1829). Full particulars of this event, and of the correspondence which preceded it, are in the 'Wellington Despatches,' v. 533-47, and the astonishment which it created in society is depicted in the 'Greville Memoirs,' i. 192-3. He died suddenly at Tregothnan on 29 Dec. 1841, and was buried at St. Michael Penkivel. His wife, Anne Frances, elder