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About Philip De Saumarez
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Phillip De SAUSMAREZ Pedigree Male
Birth: 1710 , Guernsey, Channel Islands
Death: 14 OCT 1747 Of Brest,England, , , At Sea
Burial: Plymouth, Devon, England
Father: Matthew De SAUSMAREZ Family
Mother: Anne DURELL
Record submitted after 1991 by a member of the LDS Church
b. 17 November 1710, d. 14 October 1747
Last Edited=19 Jun 2009
Philip Sausmarez was born on 17 November 1710.
He was the son of Matthew de Sausmarez and Anne Durell.
He died on 14 October 1747 at age 36, killed in action.
In 1743 he sailed with Commodore Anson on his voyage round the world.
He fought in the Battle of Finisterre on 14 October 1747.
PHILIP de SAUSMAREZ Who in a life, cut short by a French cannonball, crammed in the circumnavigation of the Globe, 20 Years before Captain Cook helped to capture the world’s richest treasure ship and invented/designed the first naval uniform.
Captain George Durell, Royal Navy, born 20 august 1713 md.,in May 1750 , his first cousin, Elizabeth, 5th daughter of Matthew Sausmarez. died at Southampton. Monument in All Saints Church, southampton, erected by his widow. when in command of H.M.S.> Gloucester , he took part in Lord hawkes action off Finisterre Oct 1747, and brought for burial at Plymouth. the body of his brother-in-law, Capt Philip Sausmarez R. N. of HMS Nottingham, killed in action
2 Philip, a Captain in the. Royal Navy ;
he sailed with Lord Anson in his expedition to the South Seas,
was made captain of the captured Galleon, and being afterwards promoted
to the Nottingham of 74 guns, gloriously fell in the command of that ship in
Lord Hawke's engagement 14 Oct. 1747.
Matthew Sausmarez (1685-1778) married Anne Durell, the daughter of a wealthy Jerseyman at St. Helier in Jersey on 1 January 1705. With the money she brought to the marriage, Matthew built a privateer. It is remarkable that while pursuing piracy at sea he had a career as an advocate. This couple had 11 children as shown in the pedigree in the appendix.
Matthew's eldest son, Jean or John was also an advocate. His second son, Philip, born in 1710, was the first of the family to serve in the Royal Navy. He was on Commodore Anson's trip to the Far East in H.M.S. Centurion in the 1740s. This was an expedition that was remarkable for two reasons - the great mortality from scurvy and the immense treasure brought back from the capture of a Spanish galleon off Manilla. Anson's share of the prize secured the fortune of his family in Staffordshire, allowing the building of the present Shugborough Hall, the family home of the late Lord Lichfield, the photographer. Philip Sausmarez was subsequently killed in a naval action with the French on 4 October 1747. His prize money helped the family buy back the manor from Charles Andros. There is a memorial to him in Westminster Abbey. Philip's brother, Thomas, was a naval captain from 1748. He captured the French vessel, Belliqeux, in the Bristol Channel and commanded her in the West Indies in 1861. He died in 1766.
The first of the De Sausmarez (Saumarez) family found on the public records of the metropolis, is Nicholas, the son of Matthew de Sausmarez, who in 1331 made application for a confirmation of his rights and prerogatives as formerly enjoyed by his ancestors,
and whose son Thomas was Lord of the Seigneurie of Sausmarez in the year 1481. Thomas married Colishe, daughter of Nicholas Fonachin, bailiff of the island of Guernsey, and had two sons and two daughters;
one of whom, Michael, inherited the estate, and was succeeded by his eldest son John, who in 1543 was jurat of the island of Guernsey, and married Margaret, daughter of James Guille, then bailiff.
John was succeeded by his son Thomas, also a jurat of the Royal Court, who married Rebecca Hancock;
and the property descended to his son, likewise a jurat of the Royal Court, who married Bertrand, daughter of Cardin Fautrart:
he was succeeded by his son Thomas, who married Martha Nicholi, and does not appear to have been of any profession.
His only son, Michael, who was married to Charlotte, daughter of James le Marchant, jurat of the Royal Court in 1681, became the next heir,
- * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
and was succeeded by Matthew de Sausmarez, his only son, who was the eleventh in the direct line since the year 1331.
This Matthew was born at Guernsey on the 4th June 1685, was colonel of militia of the island, and married Anne, daughter of John Durell, Esq. lieutenant-bailiff of the island of Jersey, on the 1st of January 1705
. By this, his first wife, he had
—first, John de Sausmarez, who was born on the 12th January 1706, and died 4th April 1774. He was Attorney General in the island of Guernsey; and married first, Martha, daughter of Daniel Delisle, Esq. of Guernsey, and the lady who repossessed the estate, which had become the property of John Andros, in right of his wife, Judith de Sausmarez.
The second son died an infant.
The third son was Philip de Sausmarez,[Pg 370] born on the 17th November 1710. He was first lieutenant with Commodore Anson, and commanded the Nottingham 64, when that ship captured the Mars, French 74.
Anne married Captain Philip Dumaresq;
Elizabeth, Margaret, and Magdalen, died unmarried.
Matthew Saumarez was the fourth son; he was born on the 10th October 1718;
and was the father of the late Lord de Saumarez.
He was drowned on his passage to England in March 1778.
Thomas, the fifth son, born 20th April 1720, is particularly mentioned in the commencement of this work.
William, the sixth son, was born 29th April 1722, and died in the East Indies;
and Michael, the seventh and last son, was born on the 8th October 1725, and died an infant
BIOGRAPHICAL MEMOIR OF CAPTAIN PHILIP DE SAUMAREZ.
The deeds of this brave and meritorious officer, who was the uncle of the noble Lord whose memoirs we have recorded in these volumes, would probably have been buried in oblivion, had not some official documents been discovered, of which we have gladly availed ourselves in presenting to the public a more full and authentic account of his glorious career than has hitherto been given.
Philip de Saumarez was the third son of Mathew de Saumarez of Guernsey, and Anne Durell, born at Guernsey 17th of November 1710. At an early age he was removed from his native isle to a grammar school at Jersey, where he continued under the immediate patronage of his aunt, Lady de Carteret, till the age of eleven, when with the view of making himself a proficient in mathematics and classics, as well as of acquiring the English language, which at that period was but partially spoken in these islands, he was sent to Southampton, and there placed under the care of Mr. Isaac Watts and Mrs. Kinsman. That he made considerable proficiency in learning, and employed the short time which in those days was devoted to education, preparatory to entering the service to advantage, may be justly inferred, if we may judge from the style of his letters, and from the precision and accuracy which mark the astronomical observations to be found in his journals.
At Southampton he remained about two years and a half, when he met with his uncle Captain James Durell, of the Royal Navy, a brave and distinguished officer, who took him to Greenwich, with the view of placing him in the Royal Navy, which he was soon after able to accomplish.[Pg 349] Mr. Philip de Saumarez commenced his naval career on the 4th of February 1726, under Captain Charles Kendal, in his Majesty's ship Weymouth of fifty guns, then attached to the Baltic station, from whence she returned in November. In the spring of the year 1727, she was ordered to the Nore to attend his Majesty George II, then going to Holland, and in the month of August she sailed for Gibraltar and the Mediterranean station.
On the 1st December 1727, he was removed from the Weymouth to the Gibraltar of twenty guns, commanded by the Hon. George Byng, who was succeeded by Captain John Stanley, with whom our young officer served till the 20th December 1729, on which day he joined Captain Byng in the Princess Louisa, of sixty guns, and sailed under his command till the 7th July 1730, when Captain Byng, having been appointed to the Falmouth of fifty guns, removed into the latter ship, and took Mr. De Saumarez with him, who had now served the necessary time, and had received flattering testimonials from his respective captains. Captain Byng mentioning that he was deserving of promotion, he obtained leave to go to London to pass his examination, which he did on the 17th of October 1732, at which period he had served above six years and seven months.
After passing, he immediately rejoined the Falmouth, and continued to serve two years longer as midshipman and master's mate. He now became extremely anxious for that promotion to which his services and excellent conduct so justly entitled him. He therefore returned home to apply for it, receiving a very strong certificate from Captain Byng, dated 25th June 1734. In August following he arrived in London; and several officers, among whom Capt. Saunders appears to be foremost, having recommended him for promotion as a most deserving officer, he was placed[Pg 350] on the Admiralty list, being appointed as midshipman and subsequently as master's mate to the Blenheim, of ninety guns, bearing the flag of Admiral Cavendish. Having arrived at the West Indies, he was appointed to the Dunkirk on the Jamaica station, anxiously waiting for promotion. He was above two years in that ungenial climate, where his health became much impaired before he received his commission. Several letters he wrote to his friends express his extreme desire to obtain it, as will be seen by the following short extract:
"12th January 1737—I wish I had it in my power reciprocally to enhance our satisfaction by acquainting you with my advancement; that period has not yet arrived; fortune seems in regard to me to be at a stand, and I find that I am obliged to fill the chasm by a constant perseverance of patience: probably this season may prove more auspicious, and I am in hopes of shortly seeing some revolution to my advantage."
The season after did indeed prove the fatal effects of the climate, on which subject he thus writes to his brother: "We have undergone a severe season this summer, heat being excessive, attended with calms that rendered it insupportable; this has occasioned a great mortality, and made death quite familiar to us, it being the usual thing to attend the funeral of the friends we conversed with the day before. Though this made us a kind of mechanic philosophers, (if I may use the term,) I do not observe that it contributes towards rectifying the morals of the inhabitants here, or making us better Christians."
On the 6th of August 1737, he at last succeeded in obtaining his long-expected promotion as lieutenant from Admiral Digby Dent, Commander-in-chief at Jamaica. This pleasing intelligence was communicated in a letter to Lady Carteret, dated the 10th of October 1737, which[Pg 351] mentions that he was appointed lieutenant of the Kinsale of forty guns, and that the Admiral signed his commission only three hours before his death. On the 28th July, he was removed from the Kinsale by the Commander-in-chief, but on the 22nd of August he received his confirmation from the Admiralty to the Diamond, which confirmed also both the former. He returned to England in October 1739, when he visited his friends in Guernsey and Jersey, and recruited his health, which was naturally delicate, and had been seriously impaired by the West Indian climate; but the imperious demands of active service soon called him away.
It was in this year that the memorable voyage round the world was projected, and shortly after the command was given to Commodore Anson, who had the privilege of selecting the officers who were to serve under him on that interesting and important enterprise, when Mr. Saumarez was chosen as second lieutenant of the Centurion of sixty guns, his own ship; besides which the squadron consisted of the Gloucester, fifty guns, Captain Norris; the Severn, fifty guns, Captain Legge; of the Pearl, forty guns, Capt. Mitchell; of the Wager, twenty-eight, Captain Kidd; and the Tryal of eight guns, Captain E. Murray; besides the Centaur store-ship and two victuallers, the Anna and Industry Pinks.
From numberless delays injurious to the expedition, it was not before the 17th of September 1740 that the Commodore was able to leave St. Helen's, and proceed on his intended voyage.
As the account of the proceedings of Commodore Anson has been published in almost every naval history as well as in the biographical memoirs of that illustrious navigator, it need not be repeated here, and we shall therefore[Pg 352] confine ourselves to the part in which the conduct of Lieut. Saumarez was conspicuous.
Lieut. Saumarez in 1741 was made acting commander of the Tryal, in the place of Lieutenant Saunders, who was appointed to the vacancy occasioned by the death of Captain Kidd, but who from ill-health was not in a state to be removed from the Centurion. In this situation he remained seven weeks, during which time he gave proofs of his consummate skill during a period of excessively inclement weather. Captain Saunders, on his recovery, assumed the command on the 19th February, when he returned to the Centurion as first lieutenant.
The following account given by Lieutenant Saumarez of the action with the Spanish Galleon, off Manilla, cannot be read without much interest. It is dated on board the Centurion, 1742.
"I shall run over briefly the dates of our voyage, and give you a rude sketch of our proceedings: to enlarge on particulars would exceed the limits of a letter.
"You will recollect our squadron left England on the 18th September 1740. We had a tedious passage of forty-one days to Madeira, the usual one being ten; to this accident several secondary ones succeeded, as loss of time, and the season proper for navigating the Southern seas, and declining health of the men, especially the soldiers. We stayed a month at this island, employed in watering, and taking in our stock of wine. It is highly probable that we narrowly escaped a squadron of the enemy, which were discovered from the mountains, cruising off the west end of the island, and which, if the commanders had behaved like disciplinarians, might have intercepted us, and it would have fully answered the designs of the Spanish court if they had disabled us from pursuing our voyage,[Pg 353] which must have been the consequence of an engagement. They had also the advantage of being double our number; but, leaving them to their reflections, we pursued our course, and crossed the line and tropic without any remarkable accidents occurring, excepting that fever and fluxes began to attack us, especially the soldiers; and in forty-four days we arrived at the island of St. Catherine, on the coast of Brazil, on the 19th March 1740.
"We stayed at St. Catherine's twenty-eight days, employed in recovering our sick, who lived on shore in tents, and in making preparations for doubling Cape Horn in a tempestuous and advanced season.
"We sailed hence on the 18th of January 1741, and soon after began to meet with uncertain, stormy weather, in which the Tryal sloop lost her mainmast, and was towed by one of the squadron; the rest separated from us, but as our rendezvous was at St. Julien's, a port on the coast of Patagonia, or, as others term it, Terra Magellanica, in 49° 30' South, we rejoined them there, by which we heard of Pizarro's squadron, from whom we narrowly escaped off Pepy's Island. We stayed here eight days, employed in putting all our lumber on board the store-ship, and were in hopes of meeting with the Spanish squadron.
"The coast here is a sulphureous and nitrous soil, abounding with salt lakes, but destitute of verdure, shrub, tree, or fresh water, and seems the seat of infernal spirits; nor indeed was there the trace of any animals, besides seals and birds. We here took in salt and refitted the sloop.
"Captain Kidd's death made a revolution by promotion amongst us, and I was appointed first lieutenant of the Commodore; but my predecessor, to whose command the sloop descended, was taken dangerously ill, and became incapable of taking possession of his charge. I was ordered[Pg 354] to take the command until his recovery; and here I must confess to you, I was sanguine enough to flatter myself with the same addition of good fortune, some favourable crisis in my behalf: but I was born to be unfortunate.
"We sailed hence on the 27th of February 1741: my station was a-head of the squadron, to keep sounding and make timely signals of danger.
"The 4th of March we discovered the entrance of the Strait of Magellan, and on the 7th passed through the Strait le Main, lying at the extremity of Terra del Fuego, between that and Staten Land.
"This day was remarkably warm and favourable, and though in latitude 55° 50' South, we began to look on the conquest of the Peruvian mines and principal towns in the Pacific sea as an amusement, which would naturally occur. From this time forward, we met with nothing but disasters and accidents. Never were the passions of hope and fear so powerfully agitated and exercised; the very elements seemed combined against us. I commanded the sloop at the time of the separation of the ships that returned home, being stationed to look out for islands of ice; and had to endure such fatigue from the severity of the weather, and the duty which the nature of the service necessarily brought on me, that really my life was hardly worth preserving at the expense of such hardships. Our own ships had several miraculous escapes, which, in the obscurity of the night and the violence of the weather, often endangered foundering the sloop.
"Having had the command of the sloop several weeks, I was at length superseded by her proper captain, who had recovered on board the Commodore's ship; and I returned to my post.
"During this time, the scurvy made terrible havoc among us, especially the soldiers, who, being either infirm[Pg 355] old men or raw inexperienced youths, soon lost their spirits, grew sick and disabled, and from the stench they occasioned, contributed to infect our seamen.
"This distemper is the consequence of long voyages, and exhibits itself in such dreadful symptoms as are scarcely credible, viz. asthma, pains in the limbs and joints, blotches all over the body, ulcers, idiotism, lunacy, convulsions, and sudden death. Nor can the physicians, with all their materia medica, find a remedy for it equal to the smell of turf, grass, or a dish of greens. It is not my province to account for what is a matter of much doubt and perplexity even to the most learned, but I could plainly observe that there is a je ne sais quoi in the frame of the human system, that cannot be removed without the assistance of certain earthy particles, or, in plain English, the landsman's proper aliment, and vegetables and fruits his only physic. For the space of six weeks we seldom buried less than four or five daily, and at last it amounted to eight or ten; and I really believe, that, had we stayed ten days longer at sea, we should have lost the ship for want of men to navigate her.
"At length we arrived at the island of Juan Fernandez, in the South Sea, after having had several imminent dangers of shipwreck on the coast of Chili, off which the nature of our rendezvous required us to cruise, in hopes of rejoining the squadron.
"We anchored here on the 16th June 1741, as we subsequently learned, just ten days after the departure of a Spanish ship of war, which was sent by the Admiral of these seas to gain intelligence, himself having cruised with his squadron of four sail a considerable time, in hopes of meeting with us, well judging the condition our ships might be in. You will be surprised to hear that in a sixty gun ship, on our arrival at this island, we mustered[Pg 356] but seventy-two persons, including officers and boys, capable of appearing on deck; the rest being all sick, having lost 228 since our leaving England, which includes nine months.
"We were joined by the Gloucester and Tryal sloop, (vide Anson's Voyage, p. 114,) the crews of which vessels had suffered still more, so that had there been an experienced enemy to have dealt with us, they might have made a very easy conquest of us all. But, 'whatever is, is right.' They gave us time to recover our spirits and rally our forces, for which we visited them afterwards and shut up their ports.
"I shall not attempt a description of this island at present, but only tell you it is the most romantic and pleasant place imaginable, abounding with myrtle trees, and covered with turnips and sorrel. Its bays, teeming with all kinds of fish, seem calculated for the reception of distressed seamen. We stayed here three months, employed in refitting our ships, and restoring the health of the sick, and this without any loss of time to us, it being the winter season, in which, from April to September, navigation is judged unsafe by the Spaniards. In the beginning of this month (September) we were agreeably surprised by the sight of a sail, to which we immediately gave chase, slipping our cable; but night intervening, we lost her. We soon after fell in with another, who was her consort, of 500 tons, and much richer, having about 18,000l. in money on board, besides a cargo, which would have been valuable (being chiefly sugar) could we have brought it to a proper market; but in these parts it is a misfortune that nothing but money is truly valuable, having no ports whereat to dispose of anything. Here I commenced captain again, in the Tryal's prize, having twelve guns, besides swivels, with thirty men,[Pg 357] and had a separate cruise ordered me with Captain Saunders. (Vide Anson's Voyage, p. 114.) She was a ship he had taken in the sloop, which then proved so leaky and disabled in her masts by a gale of wind, that she was sunk, and her prize commissioned in her room. As nothing appeared on our station, which was to leeward of Valparaiso, we had no opportunity of exerting ourselves. We next proceeded along the coast of Peru, and took two prizes, both very valuable to the Spaniards, the one being loaded with ship timber, and the other with iron bars, but to us of no great service; by the latter, (viz. the Nuestra Senora del Carmin, 250 tons of cargo, value 400,000 dollars,) we had information of a rich vessel in the road of Paita, bound to Lousuata on the coast of Mexico, the money being still in town. This was a chance worth pursuing; and having arrived off the port in the night, we sent in all the boats manned and armed, with fifty men, surprised and took the town with scarcely any resistance or loss, except one killed and one wounded on our side; the inhabitants abandoning their houses, and retiring to the neighbouring mountains.
"This event happened on the 15th of November 1741. (Vide Anson's Voyage, p. 149.) We kept possession of the town two days and a half without any disturbance from the natives, and, having plundered it, set it on fire, but spared the two churches.
"We found here about 30,000l. besides jewels; there was much more, but the inhabitants carried it off. We sunk two galleys and two snows, and carried away with us the small ship that was to have carried the money. We departed hence on the 16th, and some days after joined the Gloucester, which had been ranging the coast, and intercepted some vessels, though not so valuable as ours. We then proceeded along shore, burning some of our prizes,[Pg 358] which proved dull sailers, and arrived at the island of Quibo, 17th December 1741, a delightful uninhabited place, abounding with wild deer and other refreshments. Having watered here with all imaginable expedition, we sailed hence on the 19th December, with a design to cruise off Acapulco, on the coast of Mexico, for a rich ship that was expected from Manilla, on the island of Luconia, in the East Indies.
"There is a yearly ship whose cargo amounts to an immense sum, and could we but have had a favourable passage thither, she must indubitably have been ours; but we were disappointed, having been seventy-nine days in effecting a passage which has been performed in twenty, meeting with a long series of calms and uncertain weather. Hence we arrived five weeks too late, and therefore hoped to speak her on her return, which generally is in March; she would then have been laden with money to purchase another cargo. We cruized off this port and the coast of Mexico two months, at a distance not to be discovered from the shore, and having intelligence, by a boat we took, of the day of her sailing, we made no doubt of her being ours. We were five sail in all, with our prizes, and lay at three leagues distance from each other, and ten from the port. During this time we lived on turtle, which we caught daily in our boats. Our squadron described a half moon, our boats being at the same time three leagues from the shore within us to watch the port. The disposition was so just and regular, it was impossible she could have escaped. I was so curious as to calculate my share, which would have amounted to 10,000l.; but Providence ordained it otherwise.
"I should have told you that that ship mounted sixty guns. Having cruised till our water was almost all expended, and having an enemy's coast whereon to replenish,[Pg 359] we were obliged to depart, but left a boat behind to watch her motions. After many searches, we found a convenient bay for watering called Chequetan, where Sir Francis Drake had refitted. We sunk and burnt all our prizes, in order to cross the great Southern Ocean, and, with the Gloucester in company, go to the East Indies. We learned afterwards that this rich ship was detained, having had information from the coast of Peru of our being on the coast. We left Acapulco on the 6th of May 1742; and here begins another series of misfortunes and mortality surpassing the first. We had a passage of three months and a half to the Ladrone Islands, which is generally made in two; yet it was a vulgar opinion amongst our people that we had sailed so far as to pass by all the land in the world! Length of time and badness of the weather rendered both our ships leaky; this, joined to our mortality, the scurvy raging amongst us as much as ever, obliged us to destroy the Gloucester, which ship was ready to founder, and receive the men on board, who were all sick and dying. It is impossible to represent the melancholy circumstances wherein we were involved previous to our arrival at these islands. We anchored at one called Tinian, uninhabited, but abounding with wild cattle, hogs, fowls, and fruits: we could not have fallen in with a better place. I am convinced, had we stayed out ten days longer at sea, we should have been obliged to take to our boats, our leak increasing so fast, and our people being all infirm and disabled. We immediately sent all our sick on shore, and began to hope for better times, feeding plentifully on roast beef, when an accident fell out, on the 22nd September 1742, which nearly ruined us all.
"My post as first officer generally confined me on board the Commodore, whilst most of the officers and men were on shore for the recovery of their health, when a storm[Pg 360] came on and rose so mountainous a sea as none of us ever saw before. The ship was in danger of being pooped as we lay at anchor; at last we parted both our bower-cables and drove out to sea, with the sheet-anchor hanging in the hawse, a whole cable and three quarters of another out (excuse these barbarous sea terms), and narrowly escaped driving on a ledge of rocks, that was near, and leaving the Commodore and all the rest behind. The ship, by her labouring in such a troubled sea, made so much water that I was in doubt whether she would not have foundered; our ports and the guns were but ill-secured, owing to the suddenness of the storm, which also upset the long boat. Under these circumstances we drove to sea with one hundred men and boys on board, not knowing whether I should not at last be a captain in spite of my teeth. In this manner I drove seventy leagues, and was fifteen days before I recovered land, beating up against a fresh trade and the current. The Commodore, you may imagine, was overjoyed at my return, as were all the rest. They were very busy in building a vessel to carry them all to China, as they preferred venturing to sea in it to remaining in an uninhabited island, or to be exposed to the cruelty of the Spaniards who live in the neighbouring islands, the Commodore concluding that either the ship was lost, or that I should never be able to beat to windward. At last, after many hazards, we sailed on the 22nd of October 1742, and met with a tolerably good passage to the island of Macoa, a Portuguese settlement on the coast of China, where we arrived on the 11th November, having buried one hundred and sixty men since our leaving Acapulco, or four hundred and twenty since we left England, including Indians and negroes, whom we detained as prisoners."
Commodore Anson arrived at Macoa, and having careened[Pg 361] and repaired the ship, and been reinforced by some Lascars or Indian sailors, and by some Dutchmen, he sailed from Macoa on the 1st May, giving out that he was bound to Batavia, Captain Saunders of the Gloucester having gone to England in a Swedish ship; but when fairly at sea he made known to his crew that he was going to cruise off Manilla for the purpose of intercepting the two galleons expected there, one of which he ultimately took on the 20th June, just a month after they arrived off the station, after a severe action, in which the galleon, which was called the Nostra Signora Cabadonga, commanded by General Don Jeronimo de Montivo, had sixty-seven killed and eighty-four wounded, while the Centurion had only two killed, and a lieutenant and sixteen men wounded. Lieut. Saumarez, who had highly distinguished himself in this action, was now made Post Captain of the prize, which he safely conducted to Canton. She had on board 400,000l. in specie, besides property estimated at 600,000l. which was destroyed; he had now therefore obtained his rank, and a considerable share of prize money.
On the 7th of December 1743, they sailed from Canton, and arrived in England, to be welcomed by their families and friends, on the 15th June 1744, after an absence of four years, wherein they had endured hardships of every description. Captain Saumarez went to Bath for the recovery of his health. He subsequently served in the Sandwich, York, and Yarmouth: in the York he encountered a heavy gale, in which his superior seamanship was severely put to the test. He was subsequently removed to the Nottingham, of sixty guns, and on the 11th October 1747 fell in with the Mars, a French sixty-four gun-ship, with five hundred men, commanded by M. de Colombe, being one of the ships that had separated from D'Anville's fleet in the storm off Newfoundland. She was returning to Brest.[Pg 362] The Nottingham had sixty guns and four hundred men. After an engagement of two hours within pistol shot, in which the Mars had twenty-three killed and nineteen wounded, she struck. On board the Nottingham only three men were killed and nine wounded, which was attributed to the superior seamanship of the Captain, who obtained an advantageous position in the battle.
Captain Saumarez had been often heard to say that his highest ambition was to fall in with an enemy of equal force, and on this occasion his honourable feelings were completely gratified. He received congratulations from all his friends, and particularly from the Lords of the Admiralty, who expressed their highest approbation of the skill and courage he displayed on this occasion; but his mild, liberal, and generous treatment to a vanquished enemy was no less conspicuous in this instance than his bravery; it was indeed one of the strongest traits in his character. On this subject he received the following letter from the Secretary of the Admiralty:—
"The Chevalier de Crenay, late Captain of the Mars, having taken notice to the Lords of the Admiralty, in a letter their lordships received from him and his officers and company, I am commanded to let you know, that your civil treatment of them after they were taken, has been no less satisfactory to their lordships than your resolution and success in taking them.
"I am, sir, &c. &c.
"Thos. Corbett, Sec."
A letter from Chevalier Crenay himself is written in the strongest terms of gratitude and regard; after enumerating many civilities, he declares that every article had been restored, even to a box of porcelain, and that his officers and men all joined in offering their grateful thanks. It may be added, that Captain Saumarez did all in his[Pg 363] power to obtain Captain Crenay's exchange. The Mars was carried into Plymouth, and being found worthy of repair, was, from the representation of Captain Saumarez, taken into his Majesty's service: she was nearly 300 tons larger than the Nottingham, and found afterwards to be an excellent ship.
Captain Saumarez' ship was speedily refitted, and on the 3rd May 1747, he joined Lord Anson's squadron, which obtained a complete victory over the French fleet, commanded by M. Jonquière, taking six men-of-war and three East Indiamen. After the engagement, the Nottingham, with two more ships, was detached to pursue the convoy, and had the good fortune to capture four very valuable vessels from St. Domingo.
Captain Saumarez afterwards cruised under Admiral Warren, and on the 10th of September following he was ordered to join Admiral Hawke: he remained with that officer until the 14th October, when the Admiral came up with a French fleet, commanded by Monsieur De l'Etendiere, off Cape Finisterre, which he defeated, and took six of the enemy's ships; but the Tonnant, an 80 gun ship, with the Intrepide, 74, having escaped, Captain Saumarez, with the Yarmouth and Eagle, immediately gave chase to them. Having come up with the Tonnant, although the Nottingham was so unequal in size and number of guns, he gallantly engaged her before the other two English ships joined. After about an hour's close action, a shot from the enemy put an end to the existence of this brave officer, who, during his whole life, had served his king and country with honour and zeal; he died lamented by all those to whom he was known.
The following is an extract from the Rear-admiral's despatch: "Having observed that six of the enemy's ships[Pg 364] had struck, and it being very dark, and our own ships dispersed, I thought it best to bring to that night, and seeing a great firing a long way astern of me, I was in hopes of seeing more of the enemy's ships taken in the morning; but, instead of that, I received the melancholy account of Captain Saumarez being killed, and that the Tonnant had escaped in the night, with the assistance of the Intrepide, who, by having the wind of our ships, had received no damage that I could perceive."
The last will of Captain Philip Saumarez is an interesting document, inasmuch as it portrays his true character as an officer and a Christian, impressed with the uncertainty of human life, and almost anticipating the glorious fate which ultimately befel him; and as it is also replete with piety, morality, gratitude, and the other virtues which adorn the life of a hero, we shall conclude this memoir with some extracts taken from the original, which begins thus:
"I, Philip Saumarez, commander of H.M.S. Nottingham, from a reflection of the uncertainty of human life in general, particularly when engaged in a military profession: in order therefore to face death cheerfully, whenever duty or nature shall call upon me, I hereby dispose of whatever Providence has blessed me with, in the following manner:
"To my honoured mother, I bequeath the sum of 1500l. to be paid after my father's death, and until then to remain at interest; if she dies before him, to be divided equally among my eldest brother John's children.
"To my sister Anne, 300l. To my sister Elizabeth, 300l.
"To my brother John, 1000l. all my silver plate, and a diamond ring, formerly belonging to Lady Carteret.[Pg 365]
"To my niece and godchild, Carteret Saumarez, my brother John's daughter, I bequeath 1000l.
"My brother Matthew Saumarez, 1500l. and all my books; and to his daughter, 500l.
"My brother Thomas Saumarez, 1000l. with all my linen, liquors, furniture, and apparel.
"My brother-in-law, Philip Durell and his wife, I bequeath 50l. each, their fortunes being sufficient: his wife to buy mourning.
"To my aunt Durell, at Westminster, 100l.
"My aunt Sauvaine, 10l. to buy mourning.
"Mr. Solomon Durell, 40l.
"To my worthy friend James Wallace, commissioner of the victualling office, 100l.
"To my steward, 30l. besides a suit of mourning; and to my other servants, 5l. each.
"In case I am killed in action, or die whilst I command the Nottingham, to the three lieutenants a suit of mourning each, which I beg they will accept; and to Mr. Surroude, my chaplain, I bequeath the sum of 100l. in regard to his large family; and to Mr. Redley, my clerk, the sum of 30l. for the trouble of making up my accounts.
"To Admiral Anson and Sir Peter Warren, I desire they will accept a mourning ring each, my executors to lay out 30l. in each ring; and to the former I recommend my brother Tom.
"I likewise desire that 300l. may be laid out to purchase a handsome monument, made in London, to the memory of my late aunt, the Lady Carteret, to be erected in the church where she is interred, and a due epitaph, enumerating her exemplary virtues and life, to be inscribed on it in French and English, and recorded to posterity; and this I desire my brother John will see duly performed, as well as my other executors, with expedition; this piece[Pg 366] of gratitude to her memory having been neglected by all her relations.
"In case it should not be attended with any inconvenience, the surgeon to preserve and embalm my corpse, to be interred in a military manner on shore, in whatever port the ship may put in; and the surgeon to be presented with 30l. for his trouble. I bequeath to my brother officers, Captains Thomas Coates, Martyn, Keppel, Rodney, and Timothy Brett, a mourning ring of 10l. value each; the same to Mr. Logie, first lieutenant of the Nottingham.
"To the poor of the parish in the island of Guernsey, where I was born, 100l. to be distributed: the remainder of what fortune I may have to bequeath, to my honoured father. And I do hereby constitute and appoint my worthy friend Pussey Brook, Esq., James Wallace, Esq., and my eldest brother John Saumarez, Esq., executors of this my last will and testament, revoking all former wills by me heretofore made. In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal, at sea, this 30th day of June, and in the twenty-first year of the reign of our sovereign Lord George the Second over Great Britain, France, and Ireland, &c., and in the year of our Lord 1747.
"Philip Saumarez." (L.S.)
"Signed in the presence of,
Robert Richards, Master.
Alexander Gray, Gunner."
The wishes expressed in the will of this brave officer were implicitly complied with; his body was embalmed and sent to Plymouth by the admiral, in the Gloucester, commanded by Captain Durell, (afterwards Admiral Durell,) his brother-in-law, and was buried in the church at Plymouth with military honours. A neat tablet is erected in the said church, with the following inscription:[Pg 367] "Near this place lies the body of Philip Saumarez, Esq. commander of H.M.S. Nottingham. He was the son of Matthew de Saumarez, of the Island of Guernsey, by Anne Durell, of the island of Jersey, his wife, families of antiquity and respectability in those parts. He was born 17th November 1710, and gloriously but unfortunately fell by a cannon-ball, 14th October 1747, pursuing the ships of the enemy that were making their escape, when the French were routed by Admiral Hawke."
Out of respect to his memory, his brothers and sisters caused a plain monument to be erected to him in Westminster Abbey, with the following inscription:
"Sacred to the memory of Philip De Saumarez, Esq., one of the few whose lives ought rather to be measured by their actions than their days. From sixteen to thirty-seven years of age, he served in the navy, and was often surrounded with dangers and difficulties unparalleled: always approving himself an able, active, and gallant officer. He went out a lieutenant on board His Majesty's ship Centurion, under the auspicious conduct of Commodore Anson, in his expedition to the South Seas: he was commanding officer of the said ship when she was driven from her moorings at the island of Tinian.
"In the year 1747, being captain of the Nottingham, a sixty gun ship, he (then alone) attacked and took the Mars, a French ship of sixty-four guns.
"In the first engagement in the following year, when Admiral Anson defeated and took a squadron of French men-of-war and Indiamen, he had an honourable share; and in the second, under Admiral Hawke, when the enemy, after an obstinate resistance, was again routed, in pursuing two ships that were making their escape, he gloriously but unfortunately fell.[Pg 368]
"He was the son of Matthew De Saumarez, of the island of Guernsey, Esq. by Anne Durell, of the island of Jersey, his wife.
"He was born November 17th, 1710;
killed October 14th, 1747;
buried in the old Church at Plymouth,
with all honours due to his distinguished merits;
and this monument is erected, out of
gratitude and affection,
by his Brothers and Sisters."
From Hervey's Naval History, 1779 edition, p.352. "A plain monument is erected to his memory in Westminster Abbey. The inscription on this monument is as follows:
Sacred to the memory of Philip De Saumarez, Esq. One of the few whose lives ought rather to be measured by their actions than their days. From sixteen to thirty-seven years of age, he served in the navy; and was often surrounded with dangers and difficulties unparalleled; always approving himself an able, active, and gallant officer. He went out a lieutenant on board his majesty's ship the Centurion, under the auspicious conduct of commodore Anson, in his expedition to the South Seas; he was commanding officer of the said ship when she was driven from her moorings at the Island of Tinian. In the year 1746, being captain of the Nottingham, a sixty gun ship, he (then alone) attacked and took the Mars, a French ship of sixty-four guns. In the first engagement the following year, when Admiral Anson defeated and took a squadron of French men of war and Indiamen, he had an honourable share; and in the second under Admiral Hawke, when the enemy after an obstinate resistance was again routed, in pursuing two ships that were making their escape, he gloriously but unfortunately fell. He was the son of Matthew de Saumarez of the island of Guernsey, Esq; by Ann Durell of the island of Jersey, his wife.
He was born November 17, 1710; killed October 14, 1747. Buried in the old church at Plymouth, With all the honours due to his distinguished merits; And this monument is erected out of Gratitude and affection By his brothers and sisters.= http://www.cichw.net/pmnotes.html
WEBSITES OF INTEREST
Philip De Saumarez's Timeline
November 17, 1710
IGI Individual Record FamilySearch™ International Genealogical Index v5.0 British Isles
October 14, 1747
Of Brest,England, , ,, At Sea
the old Church at Plymouth,, Devon,, England