User:Rich Farmbrough/DNB/J/a/James Cornewall

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{{subst:Quick infobox|James Cornewall|1699|1744|}} James Cornewall (born 1699 died 1744), captain in the navy, third son of Henry Cornewall of Bradwardine, near Hereford, nephew of Vice-admiral Charles Cornewall, was, on 3 April 1724, promoted to be captain of the Sheerness frigate, in which for the next four years he was employed on the coast of North America, and principally at Boston, in protecting the legitimate trade, and in suppressing piracy. His correspondence at this time throws a curious light on the state of colonial navigation, and recalls to mind the opening chapters of Fenimore Cooper's 'Water Witch' and 'Red Rover'. He returned to England in August 1728, and in December 1732 was appointed to the Greyhound, a small frigate, in which, during the following summer, he was employed on the coast of Morocco, where, in the course of 1733, he established friendly relations with the Sallee corsairs and the bashaw of Tetuan. He returned to England and paid off in the following March, and in June commissioned the Deptford of 50 guns, which for the next two years he commanded in the Channel and on the coast of Portugal under Sir John Norris. Early in 1737 he commissioned the Greenwich for service on the coast of Africa, where his duties would seem to have been regulating the trade with the negroes, as well for other commodities as for slaves. Some rumour afterwards reached the admiralty that he had himself been guilty of carrying slaves to Barbadoes, but it seems to have been quite unsupported by evidence, and led to nothing but a caution addressed to Anson, who succeeded him (Admiralty Minute, 7 April 1738). In 1739 Cornewall was appointed to the St. Albans of 50 guns, in which during the months of September and October, in company with the Weymouth, he cruised off the Azores in quest of homeward-bound Spanish ships. It was afterwards proposed to send him, in command of a small squadron, into the China seas and Western Pacific, to co-operate with a similar squadron sent round Cape Horn into the Eastern Pacific [see Anson, George, Lord]; but the project fell through, on account of the strain of the West Indian expedition. In 1741 Cornewall was appointed to the Bedford, in which, in the following year, he accompanied Vice-admiral Mathews to the Mediterranean. There, in 1743, he was transferred to the Marlborough of 90 guns, which in the action off Toulon was next astern of the Namur, bearing Mathews's flag [see Mathews, Thomas], and in support of the Namur was closely engaged with the Real Felipe and her seconds (11 February 1743–4). It was on these two ships that the brunt of the fighting fell; and when the Namur shot up into the wind, the Marlborough, left to herself, sustained heavy loss. She was completely dismasted, was reduced to a wreck, had 43 killed and 120 wounded. Among the former was Cornewall, whose legs were swept off by a chain shot. A large and ornate monument to his memory was erected at the public expense in Westminster Abbey. He was M.P. for Weobley 1732–4 and 1737–41. Cornewall's cousin, Frederick Cornewall, was first lieutenant of the Marlborough, and on the captain's death succeeded to the command, until his right arm was shot off. He was promoted to post rank on the same day, commanded the Revenge in the action off Minorca in 1756, and died in 1786. [DNB 1][DNB 2][DNB 3][DNB 4][1]


  1.  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain

    J. K. L.

    (1887). "Cornewall, James (DNB00)". In Stephen, Leslie. Dictionary of National Biography 12. London: Smith, Elder & Co. p. 0.

DNB references[edit]

These references are found in the DNB article referred to above.

  1. Official Letters, etc., in the Public Record Office
  2. Minutes of the Court-martial on Admiral Mathews
  3. Charnock's Biography. Nav. iv. 130, iii. 263, v. 288
  4. Collins's Baronetage (1741), volume iii. part ii. page 580.

External links[edit]


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