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 Sir Edward Pellew/Lord Exmouth 
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Post Sir Edward Pellew/Lord Exmouth
In connection with his command in the East Indies and the loss of the ship of line Blenheim and frigate Java in 1807, I uncovered this reference in Shipwrecks of the Revolutionary & Napoleonic Eras:

"At least 950 men perished with the two ships, and it would appear that if Rear-Admiral Pellew actually did offer (rear admiral Sir Thomas Troubridge) alternative ships (which cannot now be proved), then the responsibility for the deaths of so many men must surely fall upon the latter. Since Troubridge's appointment effectively halved Pellew's command, there was no love lost between the two admirals. In fact, there was a persistent rumour on the lower deck that Pellew had virtually driven Troubridge to sea, expecting his destruction."

Given the portrait history has painted of Pellew, the later jealousies seem out of context, but at the same time it pique's my interest as well.
Has anyone seen or read any of Pellew's correspondence that might shed a greater light on his character during this time?
Charity


Thu Aug 11, 2005 6:45 am
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Charity,

I moved this topic because I felt it has the potential to go beyond the scope of the book section.

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susan


Thu Aug 11, 2005 7:05 am
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Post Re: Sir Edward Pellew/Lord Exmouth
HMS Charity wrote:
Given the portrait history has painted of Pellew, the later jealousies seem out of context, but at the same time it pique's my interest as well.

Depends which portraits you view, I guess. I've always been a fan of Troubridge (in the same way I like the fictional character of Herrick).

C.N. Parkinson wrote about the situation in his book War in the Eastern Seas: 1793-1815, which, unfortunately, I do not have a copy of (rather hard to find and pricey last I looked). However, I have a photocopy of Chapter 14, which covers the divided command. Parkinson, quotes from Pellew's letters. Needless to say, they do not paint a flattering portrait of Troubridge. Parkinson also points out:

"As regards to the personal conflict between Pellew and Troubridge, it is perhaps fair to remember that Pellew's personal papers have survived while Troubridge's were lost. We thus know exactly what Pellew thought of his rival but rather less of what Troubridge thought of Pellew."

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susan


Fri Aug 12, 2005 12:26 am
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Troubridge's son was in command of a sloop of war on the station. I wonder if his personal papers from that time have survived and if they would cast some light on the subject as well?
Charity


Fri Aug 12, 2005 2:00 am
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HMS Charity wrote:
I wonder if his personal papers from that time have survived and if they would cast some light on the subject as well?

Would be interesting to find out if they have. Are you going to look into it?

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susan


Sun Aug 14, 2005 5:18 am
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From The Georgian Era: Memoirs of the Most Eminent Persons, who Have Flourished in Great Britain, Volume II (1833):

"He is said to be so unskilful an equestrian, that, not daring to cross a horse, he once rode a donkey while reviewing a body of marines. On this occasion, it is added, he was attended by a favourite negro boy, named after his master, Edward, who, having been made acquainted with the vulgar appellation of the animal on which Lord Exmouth was mounted, innocently observed, as he walked by the side of the gallant admiral and his asinine charger, 'Here be three Neddy, now, massa!'"

The image of Pellew on a donkey is quite amusing.

I didn't get the last bit until Mil informed me that "Neddy" is a name for a donkey, like "Jenny."

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susan


Sat Feb 11, 2006 8:32 pm
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Given that Pellew, whilst in command of Indefatigable, "pressed" a negro violinist with the Lisbon orchestra to play the fiddle for his crew, I'm not surprised that he would be accompanied by a black footboy. It seemsthat Pellew may not have been as enlightened a soul as we would like to believe.
I love the reference to his lack of equestrian skill...it's truly understandable for a man who spent so much time serving at sea.
Charity


Mon Feb 13, 2006 6:20 pm
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From Selections From the Correspondence of Admiral John Markham During the Years 1801–4 and 1806–7, here are bits from a letter from George Murray to Markham (private letter dated 19 Apr 1807):

"...for I find the Sir. E. Hughes has twice been ordered home, but I fear from some little pique between Pellew and Troubridge she has been stopped, for first one gave her orders and the other stopped her, and then the other gave orders and those were contradicted by the other."

"Captain Ratsey's [of the Sir E. Hughes] account of the state of the Blenheim when at Penang gives more reason to suppose she could not weather the very heavy gale on the 1st February, so that I really have no hopes of his safety; it seems he wanted another ship and had ordered her, but Pellew would not let her go, but ordered the Blenheim to join him. However, poor Troubridge had sailed from Madras before the orders arrived."

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susan


Mon Feb 13, 2006 8:36 pm
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I went looking for a biography of Pellew and tried to track down a copy of C. Northcote Parkinson's "Edward Pellew, Viscount Exmouth, Admiral of the Red" published in London in 1934. Difficult to find... so I am trying to get a copy through Interlibrary Loan. [This book is available on-line, but I find that staring at a monitor is not as satisfying as holding a book in my hand.] However, if you check out Parkinson's book at the link below, especially Chapter IX "Politics" and Chapter X "The East Indies" you will discover some interesting insights into this conflict between Pellew and Troubridge.

Chapter IX sets up the rivalry between the two and explains the change in Troubridge's attitude toward Nelson. It's amazing that the sending of Troubridge to share Pellew's command was a deliberate attempt by members of the British government to cause conflict. A paragraph in Chapter X states:

"The method devised by Pitt and Melville for employing Troubridge was a masterpiece of cunning. It was decided to divide the command in the East Indies and give half of it to Troubridge. By this plan several happy strokes were delivered simultaneously. To begin with, it punished Pellew - particularly as Troubridge was to have the better half. Then, it might end in punishing Troubridge. In the meanwhile, it satisfied Addington, how, it is difficult to understand. They were well aware that, whatever Addington thought, there was certain to be a desperate quarrel between two of St. Vincent's supporters - a quarrel, if not a duel. At one stroke, they filled the ranks of St. Vincent's friends with dissension, punished one if not two of them, and yet satisfied Addington that they were provided for. The move was a cunning one, from every point of view. That it endangered the whole of our possessions in the East was a minor consideration."

Click HERE, then look for Parkinson's book on the left side of the page. Tons of info about Pellew, including portraits, at the site.

Don


Thu Feb 23, 2006 10:40 am
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timoneer wrote:
It's amazing that the sending of Troubridge to share Pellew's command was a deliberate attempt by members of the British government to cause conflict.

Wow. That's very interesting. It's an angle on the situation I hadn't heard of before. I wonder if that's just Parkinson's take on it or is it accepted fact?

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Fri Feb 24, 2006 12:01 am
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susan wrote:
Wow. That's very interesting. It's an angle on the situation I hadn't heard of before. I wonder if that's just Parkinson's take on it or is it accepted fact?

I wondered the same thing. There is a footnote number attached (326) to that particular paragraph but the actual citation is not listed on-line, at least as far as I could determine. The footnotes should be in the book, however. I'll look, but it may be some time before I see the book since the Interlibrary Loan process is somewhat slow.

Don


Fri Feb 24, 2006 3:41 am
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In Lee Bienkowski's book, there is a part in the chapter about Pellew that says that in 1775, while Pellew was serving aboard Alarm, he and some of the other junior officers had a falling out with their captain. It was so serious that the captain, John Stott, put them ashore at Marseilles, from where they had to find their own way back to England.

Does anyone know the nature of the dispute? Is it discussed in Parkinson's book?

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Tue Feb 28, 2006 4:32 am
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susan wrote:
In Lee Bienkowski's book, there is a part in the chapter about Pellew that says that in 1775, while Pellew was serving aboard Alarm, he and some of the other junior officers had a falling out with their captain. It was so serious that the captain, John Stott, put them ashore at Marseilles, from where they had to find their own way back to England.
Does anyone know the nature of the dispute? Is it discussed in Parkinson's book?

In Chapter One of C.N. Parkinson's book, it states: "The "Alarm" remained in the Mediterranean until 1776, but Pellew's connection with her terminated abruptly in the course of the previous year, when he and another midshipman were turned out of the ship at Marseilles. The correct, though not the only, version of how this came about seems to be as follows: Captain Stott obeyed the regulation which forbade him to carry his wife on board by carrying his mistress instead. The practice was not unknown at the time. He was in this less eccentric than might be imagined lie was nevertheless slightly sensitive on the subject, and when he discovered Pellew and a younger midshipman, laughing over a caricature of the lady which the latter had drawn, he promptly sent them both ashore."

Sounds like youthful antics.

Don


Tue Feb 28, 2006 6:20 am
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Seems a bit extreme. Must have been an extremely unflattering caricature.

How come Parkinson says "the correct" but then says "seems"? He doesn't seem entirely certain. I kind of wish he gave the other versions.

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Tue Feb 28, 2006 6:40 am
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timoneer wrote:
susan wrote:
Wow. That's very interesting. It's an angle on the situation I hadn't heard of before. I wonder if that's just Parkinson's take on it or is it accepted fact?

I wondered the same thing. There is a footnote number attached (326) to that particular paragraph but the actual citation is not listed on-line, at least as far as I could determine. The footnotes should be in the book, however. I'll look, but it may be some time before I see the book since the Interlibrary Loan process is somewhat slow.

I received the book from the library yesterday. There are NO footnotes. The number 326 that appears in the middle of the paragraph on-line simply indicates that page 236 begins at that point. Rats!

Don


Tue Mar 07, 2006 5:09 pm
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