Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Stirling, James (1791-1865)

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search

STIRLING, Sir JAMES (1791–1865), admiral and first governor of Western Australia, born in 1791, was fifth son of Andrew Stirling of Drumpellier, Lanarkshire, by Anne, daughter of Sir Walter Stirling [q. v.] He entered the navy in August 1803 on board the Camel storeship, in which he went out to the West Indies, where he was moved into the Hercule, of 74 guns, flagship of Sir John Thomas Duckworth. In 1805 he was in the Glory, then flagship of his uncle, Rear-admiral Charles Stirling [see under Stirling, Sir Walter], and was in the action off Cape Finisterre on 22 July 1805. He continued with his uncle in the Sampson, and again in the Diadem, in which he served during the operations in the Rio de la Plata in 1807. He was promoted to be lieutenant on 12 Aug. 1809, and in 1811 went out to the West Indies as flag-lieutenant to his uncle; by him he was promoted on 19 June 1812 to the command of the Brazen sloop, in which for some months he cruised successfully off the mouths of the Mississippi. Still in the Brazen, he was afterwards in Hudson's Bay, in the North Sea, on the coast of Ireland, and again in the Gulf of Mexico, and after the peace commanded her in the West Indies till 1818. On the special recommendation of the commander-in-chief, he was promoted to post rank on 7 Dec. 1818.

On 25 Jan. 1826 he was appointed to the Success, and sent to form a settlement in Raffles Bay, Torres Strait. For the successful performance of that duty he was highly complimented by the commander-inchief and by the government of New South Wales. His report of further explorations in 1827 determined the government to attempt a settlement in Western Australia, and in October 1828 he was appointed to command a party of intending colonists. The expedition sailed in the spring of 1829, and reached its destination in August. The sites of two towns, Freemantle and Perth, were marked out, and within four months of its foundation the colony had a population of thirteen hundred. Stirling remained governor of Western Australia till 1839, when the apparent imminence of a war with France led him to resign the appointment in order to return to active service. From 1840 to 1844 he commanded the Indus, of 78 guns, in the Mediterranean, and from 1847 to 1850 the Howe, of 120 guns, on the same station. On 8 July 1851 he was promoted to be rear-admiral. He was commander-in-chief in China and the East Indies from January 1854 to February 1856, during the war with Russia, which, however, scarcely interfered with the routine of the station. He became vice-admiral on 22 Aug. 1857, and admiral on 22 Nov. 1862. He was a Knight Grand Cross of the Redeemer of Greece, and died on 22 April 1865. He married, in 1823, Ellen, daughter of James Mangles of Woodbridge, and by her had a large family. His daughter, Georgiana Janet, married first Sir Henry Tombs [q. v.], and secondly Sir Herbert Stewart [q. v.]

[O'Byrne's Nav. Biogr. Dict.; Gent. Mag. 1865, i. 801; Jenks's Hist. of the Australasian Colonies, ch. vi.; Foster's Baronetage.]

J. K. L.