Edward Pellew, 1st Viscount Exmouth

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Edward Pellew, 1st Viscount Exmouth

Edward Pellew, 1st Viscount Exmouth , GCB , (born April 19, 1757 in Dover , † January 23, 1833 in Teignmouth , Devon ) was a British naval officer and admiral . He was one of the most prominent ship captains of the Nelson era and was best known for the bombing of Algiers in August 1816 and the liberation of Christian slaves.


Childhood and youth

Edward Pellew came from a formerly wealthy merchant and seafaring family who, possibly originally from Normandy , had settled in west Cornwall . He was largely related to the English slave Thomas Pellow . Edward's father, Samuel Pellew, was the captain of a package ship and did not marry Constance Langford until he was 40. When he died in 1765, he left a widow and six children who were too young to earn a living. The oldest child, Samuel, was eleven years old; the second oldest, Edward and his twin sister Catherine, were eight. Since his mother remarried, Edward lived in his grandmother's household in Penzance , where he also went to school. He was almost penniless, but because he came from a long-established family, not without protection. Hugh Boscawen, 2nd Viscount Falmouth , the elder brother of the late Admiral Edward Boscawen , took care of him. At his mediation, Edward joined the Royal Navy on December 26, 1770, at the age of 13, as Captain's Servant on board the HMS Juno , the captain of which was a former boatswain Boscawens.

American War of Independence

Pellew served in the American Revolutionary War . After the surrender of General John Burgoyne at Saratoga , he was captured, but released on word of honor, and in 1780 took part in the war against France as a lieutenant. After he had forced three French privateers to beach their ships off the Île de Batz in 1782 as commandant of the Pelican , he was promoted to full captain ( post-captain ) for this act . From 1786 to 1789 he was stationed on Newfoundland .

Napoleonic Wars

At the beginning of the Revolutionary War in 1793 he took the first French ship, the frigate Cléopâtre (40 guns, Captain Jean Mullon) as commander of the 36-gun frigate HMS Nymphe on June 18, 1793 . This was remarkable in that the HMS Nymphe was not manned by war experienced marines, but primarily with recruits from the Welsh mines who had been hired for this expedition. In recognition of his achievement, Edward Pellew was beaten on June 28, 1793 to the Knight Bachelor .

In 1794 he was given command of the HMS Arethusa (38 cannons) and forced the Pomona (44 cannons) to surrender in a battle with the French frigate squadron off the Île de Batz . When the western squadron was enlarged and split in the same year, Pellew was given command of the second squadron on HMS Indefatigable (44 cannons). In this command he distinguished himself so much, especially when he rescued the entire crew of the shipwrecked transporter Dutton with great personal daring (January 26, 1796), that in 1796 he was raised to Baronet , of Treverry in the County of Cornwall. On January 13, 1797, his ship Indefatigable fought together with the frigate Amazon (36 cannons) the much larger French Droits de l'Homme , a ship of the line with 74 cannons. By skillful maneuvers in stormy weather, the superiority of the Droits de l'Homme could be balanced out by the two British frigates and both Droits de l'Homme and Amazon were lost.

In 1798 he switched to the Canal Fleet on board the HMS Impetueux (74 cannons), blocked Rochefort in 1799 , was elected Colonel in the Royal Marines in 1801 and elected to Parliament from Dunstable in 1802, where he supported the Tories and actively supported Pitt .

Edward Pellew, 1st Viscount Exmouth

When the war began again in 1803 he blocked the combined Spanish and French fleets in Ferrol and in 1804 became Rear Admiral of the Blue and commander of the British naval forces in the East Indies, where he conquered the Danish possessions , took out several French cruisers and so on Secured sea routes for British merchant ships. In 1805 he was awarded the second highest rank in the Royal Navy: Admiral of the Red .

In 1809 he returned to Great Britain and in 1810 became commander of the naval forces in the North Sea, as which he blocked the Scheldt , and in 1811 commander in the Mediterranean. He was preparing for the siege of Genoa and Livorno when Napoleon's abdication put an end to the war. In 1814 he was raised as Baron Exmouth to a peer , the following year Knight Commander (KCB) and a little later Knight Grand Cross (GCB) of the Order of Bath .

After Napoleon's return from Elba, he acted as the commander of the British naval power in the Mediterranean for the reinstatement of the Bourbons in Naples , and in 1816, in conjunction with a Dutch squadron, forced the Dey of Algiers by bombing its capital , which largely destroyed its fleet. for the release of Christian slaves and a declaration to end the slave trade in Christian prisoners. As a reward he received the dignity of a Viscount and thanks from Parliament. Edward Belcher , who had participated in this military action as a young man on the HMS Superb , named an island in the Canadian Arctic archipelago Exmouth Island in 1852 . Edward Pellew resigned from Plymouth Harbor Commander in 1817 .


Admiral Edward Pellew, 1st Viscount Exmouth, died on January 23, 1833, aged 76, at his country estate, West Cliff House , Teignmouth, Devon, and was buried in the family grave at St James' Parish Church in Christow , Devon.


His marriage to Susan Frowde († 1837), daughter of Sir James Frowde from Knoyle, Wiltshire, produced four sons and two daughters.

The eldest son, Pownoll Bastard Pellew (1786-1833), was also a naval officer and became the 2nd Viscount Exmouth. The second son, Sir Fleetwood Broughton Reynolds Pellew (1789–1861), was like his father an admiral. The third son was George Pellew (1793-1866), writer and clergyman. He married Frances († 1870), the daughter of Prime Minister Henry Addington, 1st Viscount Sidmouth , and wrote his life story ( The Life and Correspondence of Henry Addington, 1st Viscount Sidmouth , 1847).

Exmouth's younger brother was Sir Israel Pellew KCB (1758-1832), also an admiral and as captain of the HMS Conqueror participant in the 1805 Battle of Trafalgar .


  • Cyril Northcote Parkinson : Edward Pellew, Viscount Exmouth, Admiral of the Red. - London, 1934 (reprint Chatham Publishing, 2003)
  • Edward Osler: The life of Admiral Viscount Exmouth . - London, 1835.
  • William E. Home: The History of Edward Pellew . - London 1907.
  • Roger Perkins: Admiral Lord Exmouth's battle with the Corsairs of Algiers in 1816: the story of the suppression of white Christian slavery . - K. Mason 1982.
  • In the 1950 novel Fähnrich zur See Hornblower by the writer CS Forester, Pellew plays a role as the superior officer of the young Hornblower.


  1. ^ William Arthur Shaw: The Knights of England. Volume 2, Sherratt and Hughes, London 1906, p. 302.
  2. The Naval Chronicle , vol. 18 (1807), p. 463.

Web links

predecessor Office successor
New title created Baronet, of Treverry
Pownoll Pellew
New title created Viscount Exmouth
Pownoll Pellew