Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 31.djvu/302

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succession to the baronetcy, he returned to England to arrange his private affairs. Afterwards he went out to join Barrington in the West Indies, was appointed to the Ceres, and in her was present in the action in the Cul-de-Sac of St. Lucia, 15 Dec. 1778. A few days later the Ceres was captured by the French squadron, and Knowles being shortly afterwards exchanged was appointed by Barrington to his own flagship, the Prince of Wales, in which he took part in the action off Grenada on 6 July 1779, when he was slightly wounded. He returned to England with Barrington, and in the following December went as a volunteer in the Sandwich with Sir George Rodney, who promoted him at Gibraltar to the command of the Minorca sloop, 26 Jan. 1780, and a week later, 2 Feb. 1780, to be captain of the Porcupine.

For the next two years Knowles continued in the Mediterranean, sometimes at Gibraltar, more commonly at Minorca, convoying or sending vessels loaded with provisions, or engaging French or Spanish privateers or cruisers. He returned to England in the spring of 1782, and, being ordered to resume the command of the Porcupine at Gibraltar, took a passage on board the Britannia with Admiral Barrington in the grand fleet under Howe. He was then appointed to command the San Miguel, a Spanish line-of-battle ship, which was blown ashore and captured, and on the departure of Captain Curtis [see Curtis, Sir Roger] remained at Gibraltar as senior officer until the peace. In 1793–4 Knowles commanded the Dædalus frigate on the coast of North America, and after his return to England commanded the Edgar of 74 guns in the North Sea. Towards the end of 1795 he was appointed to the Goliath of 74 guns; in her he joined the Mediterranean fleet in the summer of 1796, and took part in the battle of Cape St. Vincent on 14 Feb. 1797, for which, with the other captains, he received the thanks of parliament and the gold medal. On the return of the fleet to Lisbon he was appointed to the Britannia of 100 guns, but his ill-health compelled him to resign the command and return to England. He had no further service, though promoted in due course to be rear-admiral 14 Feb. 1799, vice-admiral 23 April 1804, and admiral 31 July 1810. On the accession of George IV he was nominated an extra G.C.B. He died 28 Nov. 1831, and was succeeded in the baronetcy by his son Sir Francis Charles (1802–1892), whose son Charles George Frederick is the present baronet.

Knowles was the author of numerous pamphlets on technical subjects (see also British Museum Catalogue).

[Ralfe's Nav. Biog. ii. 227; Marshall's Royal Nav. Biog. i. 113; Burke's Peerage and Baronetage.]

J. K. L.

KNOWLES, GILBERT (fl. 1723), botanist and poet, born in 1674, is known only for his ‘Materia Medica Botanica’ (London, 1723, 4to). This work is dedicated to Dr. Richard Mead [q. v.], and consists of 7355 Latin hexameters. Four hundred plants of the materia medica are described and their uses in medicine explained. Various episodes, some of which may yet be read with pleasure, are interwoven with the subject for the sake of ornament. Knowles alludes to his verses as being written ‘rudi Minerva,’ and evidently was a close student both of Virgil's style and matter.

A portrait engraved in mezzotint by John Faber from a painting by T. Murray, subscribed ‘Mr. Gilbert Knowles, ætatis 49, anno 1723,’ is prefixed to the volume.

[Knowles's book in Brit. Mus.; Nichols's Lit. Illustrations, viii. 442–3; Pulteney's Sketches of the Progress of Botany, i. 283.]

M. G. W.

KNOWLES, HERBERT (1798–1817), poet, was born at Gomersal, near Leeds, in 1798. His parentage is said to have been very humble, but it is also stated that he was the brother of J. C. Knowles, subsequently Q.C. He lost both parents at an early age, and was about to enter a merchant's office at Liverpool when his talents attracted the notice of three benevolent clergymen, who raised 20l. a year towards his education on condition of his friends contributing 30l. more. He was sent to Richmond grammar school, Yorkshire, ‘totally ignorant,’ he tells Southey, of classical and mathematical literature. It had been hoped that he might obtain a sizarship at St. John's College, Cambridge, but the inability of his relations to fulfil their engagements seemed likely to put an end to the project, when Knowles conceived the idea of applying to Southey, sending him at the same time the poem of ‘The Three Tabernacles,’ which he had composed on 7 Oct. 1816. Southey, with his usual generosity, entered warmly into the matter, promised 10l. a year from his own means, and procured 20l. more by application to Earl Spencer and Rogers. Knowles was actually elected a sizar on 31 Jan. 1817, but he was already in a hopeless decline, and died on 17 Feb. following, at Gomersal. A letter from him to Southey, dated 28 Dec. 1816, conveys the most favourable impression of his modesty, candour, and good sense. He deprecates all extravagant expectations of his academical success, but