Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 27.djvu/275

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
There was a problem when proofreading this page.

On 27 March 1795 Hood's wife was created Baroness Hood of Catherington, Hampshire, in the peerage of Great Britain, and on 1 June 1796 he was himself created Viscount Hood of Catherington. On the reconstruction of the order of the Bath in 1815 he was nominated a G.C.B. Sir William Hotham [q. v.], who knew him intimately, says that ‘though he applied for leave to wear the decoration without undergoing, at his advanced age, the ceremony of investiture, it was refused him.’ On 25 March 1795 he was elected an elder brother of the Trinity House, and in March 1796 was appointed governor of Greenwich Hospital, a post which he held till his death, twenty years later, on 27 Jan. 1816. He was buried in the old cemetery of the hospital. Notwithstanding his great age, and though latterly declining in strength, he preserved his faculties to the last. ‘He was very attentive to his religious duties, and talked of and viewed his approaching dissolution with the courage of a strong mind and the hope of a religious one’ (Hotham MS.) Summing up his professional character, Sir William Hotham says: ‘I never saw an officer of more intrepid courage or warmer zeal; no difficulties stood in his way, and he was a stranger to any feeling of nervous diffidence of himself. Without the least disposition to severity, there was a something about him which made his inferior officers stand in awe of him. He was so watchful upon his post himself that those who acted with him were afraid to slumber; and his advanced age at the time he was last employed appears neither to have impaired the vigour of his understanding nor in any way cooled the ardour of his zeal. … He was exceedingly liberal, and never was nor would have been a rich man’ (ib.)

Hood's wife predeceased him in 1806, leaving issue one son, Henry (1753–1836), in whom the titles of baron and viscount merged. Besides his brother Alexander, viscount Bridport, whose career has been frequently confused with his in a very singular manner, and his own immediate relations, Captain Alexander Hood [q. v.] and Vice-admiral Sir Samuel Hood [q. v.], Hood had several relations and connections in the navy, and more or less closely associated with him. While in the Vestal he wrote, 3 Jan. 1760, recommending his first cousin, Thomas Hoskins, ‘who is about 22, and has been my clerk four years,’ for a commission in the marines. Rear-admiral Robert Linzee, who had a command under him in the Mediterranean, was his wife's brother. John Linzee, apparently another brother, served with him in the Vestal, and afterwards as a lieutenant in the Romney, with Edward Linzee as his servant; he became a captain in 1777. His own son Henry served as commodore's servant in the Romney, but seems to have quitted the navy after the first experiment.

There are several portraits of Hood. Among others, one by Abbott, belonging to the City of London, is in the Guildhall; another by Abbott is in the National Portrait Gallery; one by West, dated 1796, belongs to the present Lord Hood; copies of others by Gainsborough and Sir Joshua Reynolds are in the Painted Hall at Greenwich, where there is also a good picture by Pocock of the repulse of the French fleet at St. Kitts.

[The Memoir of Hood in the Naval Chronicle (ii. 1) was presumably written, or at least edited, by McArthur, Hood's secretary during the period of the Mediterranean command, and has thus, for this part of his career, high authority. The editor of the ‘Toulon papers’ (Naval Chronicle, ii. 102, 192, 288, iv. 478), also presumably McArthur himself, or one who wrote with McArthur's approval, accepts and lays stress on the evidence of Robespierre's Political Testament, published in 1796, which describes the Spaniards at Toulon as having a secret understanding with Robespierre, and as acting with systematic treachery towards the English (pp. 16–22). This appears most improbable, and the alleged testimony is tainted by the false pretence under which it is given; the pamphlet is clearly English in its origin, and merely proves that some anonymous Englishman suspected the Spaniards of having acted in bad faith: that an officer in Hood's confidence, as McArthur undoubtedly was, could believe the story, is the most important part of it; but there is no trustworthy evidence of any negotiation between Paris and Madrid, such as is spoken of. The earlier part of the memoir in the Naval Chronicle was probably furnished, not very indirectly, by Hood himself; it is imperfect, but is the only published account of this part of his career which is fairly accurate. The Memoirs by Charnock (Biog. Nav. vi. 169), Ralfe (Nav. Biog. i. 242), and in the Gentleman's Magazine (vol. lxxxvi. pt. i. p. 277) are very inaccurate. The full record of his service, which has been curiously entangled with that of his brother, Lord Bridport, can be gathered from the pay-books, muster-books, and logs of the several ships in which he was borne, from his official correspondence and other documents in the Public Record Office. Some letters written by Hood while commanding in North America in 1768 are included in a small collection entitled ‘Letters to the Ministry,’ published at Boston (Mass.) in 1769. More interesting are his letters in Add. MS. 9343, which, with correspondence and papers from other sources, are printed in Letters written by Sir Samuel Hood in 1781–2–3 (Navy Records Soc.), 1895. Nicolas's Despatches and Letters of Lord Nelson (i. and ii.) often refer to Hood. See also Beatson's