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Sir Francis Hosier.
DIED A. D. 1727.
Francis Hosier became a lieutenant in the navy in the year 1692, and after serving in that station on board different ships for the space of four
years, he was raised to the rank of captain, and appointed to the Winchelsea frigate of thirty-two guns. Though the service never boasted a more gallant or abler officer than this gentleman, yet misfortune appears to have attended him, on most occasions, through life. variety of uninteresting commands, he was, about the year 1710, appointed captain of the Salisbury, and being sent on a cruise off Cape Clear, in company with the St Albans, there experienced for the first time a gleam of success, by falling in with a French ship of war mounting sixty guns, which struck to the Salisbury after a smart action. Although Captain Hosier continued several years in commission subsequent to this time, yet no particular mention is made of him till 1719, when he was appointed second captain of the Dorsetshire, on board which the earl of Berkley had hoisted his flag in virtue of a special commission, Vice-admiral Littleton commanded as first captain, and Hosier as second, with the honorary rank of rear-admiral of the blue. On the 8th of May, 1720, he was advanced to be rear-admiral of the white, and served during the current year, as well as the succeeding, as second in command of the fleet sent under the orders of Sir John Norris into the Baltic. In 1722 he was appointed to act in the same capacity under Sir Charles Wager.
Public tranquillity remained in a great measure undisturbed for the space of four years after this cloud had passed over. The confederacy, which in 1726 was supposed, and indeed avowed to have been entered into between the Spanish and Russian courts, rendering it prudent in the eyes of the British ministry to despatch squadrons into different parts of the world, that destined for the West Indies, with the intention of overawing the Spaniards in that quarter, was put under the orders of Admiral Hosier, who hoisted his flag on board the Breda of seventy guns, and sailed from Plymouth on the 9th of April. After a very tedious passage
he arrived off the Bastimentos, near Porto-Bello, where he cruised for six months, until the naturally unwholesome climate, and the dreadful effects of that destructive malady the scurvy, at length compelled him to return to Jamaica, with scarcely men enough left to navigate the squadron back into port. Fortunately there chanced to be a considerable number of seamen at Jamaica who were out of employ, and the vice-admiral was enabled to put to sea at the expiration of little more than two months, during which the ships of the squadron were as well refitted as circumstances would permit. From the time of his having quitted port, till the month of August ensuing, the British .quadron, with the most undaunted perseverance, kept the sea,
The conduct, however, which Hosier was compelled to observe towards the enemy, began to have a visible effect on his mind and health ; he was restrained, by his orders, from acting offensively towards those who daily insulted him by the outrages they committed against his countrymen, and his pride felt itself wounded irrevocably by that enjoined apathy with which he was compelled to behold the insolent conduct of an arrogant and presuming enemy. He died at sea, as is most confidently reported, of mere chagrin, on the 23d of August, 1727. He was a few days before his death advanced to be vice-admiral of the white squadron, but he died ere the news of his promotion reached the West Indies. A conmission was also sent out, empowering the governor of Jamaica to confer on him the honour of knighthood ; which, it is believed, he received.
Russel, Earl of Orford.
BORN A. D. 1652.-DIED A. D. 1727.
This celebrated character, better known, however, to the world under the name of Admiral Russel, than by the title which he acquired in the latter part of his life, was the son of Edward Russel, fourth son of Francis, earl of Bedford. His own disposition, and the wishes of his father, leading him to make choice of the sea as a profession, he entered into the naval service as a volunteer at a very early age. In the year 1680 he was raised to the rank of captain in the navy, and appointed to the Newcastle; but there is a complete chasm in his naval life from this time till after the Revolution had taken place, when he was, in reward for political services, appointed by King William admiral of the blue squadron.
In the year 1092, fortune, the ill stars of Louis XIV., and the extraordinary conduct of the Count de Tourville, threw that admiral into nearly the same situation into which Lord Torrington had been precipitated immediately previous to the battle off Beachy-head." The force of the enemy has been variously represented; some asserting their number to have amounted to no more than forty-four sail of the line, while others, in their eagerness to diminish the disparity of strength, have augmented them to sixty-three. The former, however, appears to have been the proper statement. The division from Toulon, which would have raised the fleet up to the higher number, certainly had not joined. The combined fleets of England and the States sent forth to oppose this armament, amounted to no less than ninety-nine ships of the line. Against this mighty force the Count de Tourville having been hardy enough to make head, however rash the attempt might be, certainly displayed every noble trait of character that could adorn a great and noble cominander. He contended the whole day, and at last made good his retreat, with the loss of not more than one ship in the encoun: ter itself, which blew up by accident."
In 1694, Russel was invested with the station of first commissioner for executing the office of lord-high-admiral. The very commencement of naval operations proved inauspicious, but it were unfair to attach to Mr Russel the blame, naturally due somewhere, in consequence of the failure of the attack upon Brest, and the sacrifice of the brave General Talmash with the troops under his command. In his very ostensible situation of first commissioner for executing the office of lord-high-admiral, he was accountable only for the advice he gave on the occasion,
the execution of the project having been committed to Lord Berkeley. The last service on which Russel was employed, as a naval commander, was the blockading of De Tourville in Toulon. In 1697, King William being about to embark for Holland, Russel was appointed one of the lords-justices for conducting the affairs of government during his absence, and was at the same time raised to the peerage by the titles of Baron Shingey, Viscount Barfleur, and Earl of Orford. The noble earl contented himself from this time with acting in a private station, so far as was compatible with his rank, influence, and fortune; that is to say, he took no part in the administration of public affairs till the 8th of November, 1709, when he accepted the station of first commissioner for executing the office of lord-high-admiral. On the removal of the earl of Godolphin about eleven months afterwards, bis lordship again quitted the admiralty-board; but on the decease of the queen he became one of the lords-justices for managing public affairs, till the arrival of King George I. The new sovereign received him into the highest favour, ap. pointed him one of his privy-council, and in a short time after his arrival reinstated him in his former honourable post at the admiralty-board. On the 16th of April, 1717, he finally quitted that situation, and also all further concern with public affairs. He died on the 26th of November, 1727.
Daniel De Foe.
BORN A. D. 1661.---DIED A. D. 1731.
DANIEL Foe, or De Foe as he chose afterwards to call himselt, was born in the city of London in the year 1661. His parents were respectable dissenters, and placed their son to be educated at the dissenting academy of the Rev. Charles Morton at Newington Green. The tutors in these seminaries in De Foe's time were in general men of learning and abilities, yet it cannot be supposed that their pupils enjoyed advantages at all equal to those possessed by young men attending the universities. De Foe himself admits this; but claims for his master the praise of putting his pupils through a more rational course of study than that followed in most contemporary establishments, whereto use his own words—the masters “ being careful to keep the knowledge of the tongues, tie down their pupils so exactly, and limit them so strictly, to perform every exercise, and to have all their readings in Latin or in Greek, that, at the end of the severest term of study, they come out unacquainted with English, though that is the tongue in which all their gifts are to shine." Morton acted upon another principle, and made it a prime business in his academy to instil a thorough acquaintance with their own tongue into the pupils; and De Foe assures us that more of them “excelled in this particular than of any school at that time. There were produced,” he adds, “ of ministers, Mr Timothy Cruso, Mr Hannot of Yarmouth, Mr Nathaniel Taylor, Mr Owen, and several others; and of another kind, poets, Samuel Wesley, Daniel De Foe, and two or three of your western martyrs, that, bad they lived, would have been extraordinary men of their kind: viz. Kitt, Battersby, young Jenkins, Hewling, and many more.”
De Foe, though he got a good education, was brought up to trade by his parents ; but he appears to have been fonder of writing books than selling hosiery. His first publication appeared in 1683.
It was entitled, “A Treatise against the Turks,' and was written in opposition to the prevailing sentiment of the day, which was in favour of the Ottoman power as opposed to that of Austria. In 1685 he got engaged in the duke of Monmouth's imprudent enterprise. The fate of that expedition probably damped the military ardour of the young aspirant after fame, but it formed an era in his life on which he seems to have looked back with peculiar satisfaction. In 1687 he published a tract, the object of which was to open the eyes of dissenters to the true nature of the insidious toleration with which James II. attempted to deceive them, and to mortify the leaders of the dominant religion. Up to this period occasional conformity had been practised by dissenters, who accepted official employments with the legal qualifications, without giving much offence to either party; amongst others, Sir Humphrey Edwin, a presbyterian, who had been elected lord-mayor in September, 1697, was in the practice of attending one service at the established church, and another service at his usual place of worship amongst the dissenters, every Sunday. This arrangement might not have attracted any particular notice had Sir Humphrey not, upon one occasion, carried the regalia of his office with him to Pinners’-hall meeting-house. This im prudentstep roused the jealousy of both churchmen and dissenters, though upon different and opposite principles ; and the wits of the day reaped a plentiful harvest from the general excitement of the public mind upon the subject. De Foe viewed the case with a more serious eye than many of his brethren of the pen, and treated it with his accustomed gravity in a tract entitled, “An Inquiry into the Occasional Conformity of Dissenters in cases of preferment. “In this work,” says his latest biographer, Mr Wilson, “ the author appears before us in the character of an acute casuist. Assuming as a principle that dissenters in his day continued to separate from the established church from the same motive that actuated the early puritans, that is, to attain a greater purity of worship, he argues that the fast and loose game of religion, which was then played by too many, will not admit of any satisfactory excuse.” De Foe was in fact a dissenter of the staunchest class, and took every opportunity of protesting against the trimming system of occasional conformity.
We have hinted at De Foe's repugnance to the avocations and toils of the counting-house. As might have been expected, his pecuniary affairs soon fell into embarrassment, and in 1692 one of his creditors took out a commission of bankruptcy against him, but the writ was instantly superseded on the petition of the rest, who accepted a composition on his own single bond, which he punctually paid by efforts of unwearied diligence. It is also recorded to his lasting honour, that some of his creditors, who had accepted of his composition, fell afterwards into distress themselves, De Foe finding himself able, voluntarily paid his whole debts to them in full. Under King William, De Foe enjoyed considerable court patronage, but he never allowed the sunshine of royal favour to blind him to the great cause of civil and religious liberty. His remonstrance against the imprisonment of some members of the grand jury of Kent, who had presented to the
commons a petition in which they prayed honourable menibers to “mind the public business more and their private beats less,” is remarkable for its bold truths and unshrinking freedom of expression. About this time he published another seasonable tract, entitled, “The original power of the collective body of the people of England examined and asserted.' Of this treatise Mr Chalmers declares that “it vies with Locke's famous tract in powers of reasoning, and is superior to it in the graces of style.” The same biographer has pronounced his * Reasons against a war with France' to be one of the finest tracts in the English language.
The death of King William and accession of Queen Anne placed De Foe, and the dissenters generally, in perilous circumstances. Anne inherited the hostility of the Stuarts to every thing in the shape of nonconformity to church or state ; and as to De Foe it has been well-observed, that for the previous twenty years of his life he had been unconsciously charging a mine which now blew himself and his family into the air. He had fought for Monmouth; he had opposed King James ; he had vindicated the Revolution ; he had panegyrized King William ; he had defended the rights of the collective body of the people; he had displeased Lord Godolphin and the duke of Marlborough ; he had bantered Sir Edward Seymour and the tory leaders of the commons; he had ridiculed all the 'high-flyers' in the kingdom ; and the accumulated indignation and wrath of all these parties and persons now hung like a thunder-cloud above his devoted and defenceless head. At last the storm burst upon him. In the month of January 1703, a proclamation appeared, offering a reward of £50 for De Foe's apprehension, as the author of a libel entitled, “The shortest way with the Dissenters.' In the Gazette, De Foe is described as “a middle-sized spare man, about forty years old, of a brown complexion, and dark brown hair, though he wears a wig, having a hook-nose, a sharp chin, grey eyes, and a large mole near his mouth.” The brochure just mentioned was a playful piece of irony, in which the author gravely proposed, as the easiest and speediest way of ridding the land off dissenters, to hang their ministers and banish the people. But both churchmen and dissenters viewed the whole in a serious light; and while many of the former applauded the author as a staunch and worthy churchman, as many of the latter, filled with apprehensions dire, began to prepare for Tyburn and Smithfield. De Foe perceiving matters assume so serious an aspect, gave
up, and hastened to assure all parties that he had written but in jest. In the issue, however, he found his jest a very serious affair. He was tried at the Old Bailey sessions in the month of July, 1703, and sentenced to pay a fine of 200 marks, to stand three times in the pillory, and be imprisoned during the queen's pleasure. The sentence reflected more dishonour on the court itself than its prisoner, and what was meant to stamp disgrace upon De Foe, eventually proved a source of triumph and satisfaction to him ; for he was accompanied to the pillory by the populace, who expressed their sympathy for him aloud; and when taken down, loud bursts of applause broke forth from the surrounding multitude,—a circumstance which drew from one of his political antagonists this couplet,
“ The shouting crowds their advocate proclaim,
Aad varnish over infamy with fame.”