Narratives of Shipwrecks of the Royal Navy; between 1793 and 1849 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 346 pages of information about Narratives of Shipwrecks of the Royal Navy; between 1793 and 1849.

In conclusion, we will quote the following passage from the pen of Mr. M’Leod:—­’It is a tribute due to Captain Maxwell to state (and it is a tribute which all will most cheerfully pay) that, by his judicious arrangements, we were preserved from all the horrors of anarchy and confusion.  His measures inspired confidence and hope, while his personal example in the hour of danger gave courage and animation to all around him.’  Nor ought we to omit the high and well deserved praise which Captain Maxwell bestowed upon the ship’s company in his examination before the court martial.

‘I should be trespassing far too long upon the time of this court,’ said Captain Maxwell, ’were I to bring all before them whose conduct merited applause; but I can with great veracity assure the court, that from the captain to the smallest boy, all were animated by the spirit of Britons; and, whatever the cause was, I ought not to regret having been placed in a position to witness all the noble traits of character this extraordinary occasion called forth; and having seen all my companions in distress fairly embarked, I felt in walking off to the boat that my heart was lifted up with gratitude to a kind Providence that had watched over us.’

Captain Murray Maxwell commenced his naval career under the auspices of Vice-Admiral Sir Samuel Hood, and obtained his first commission as lieutenant in 1796, and was subsequently promoted to the command of the Cyane, in December, 1802.

In the following year he was appointed to the Centaur, and received his post commission on the 4th of August, in the same year.  In 1804, Captain Maxwell distinguished himself at the capture of Surinam, and for his conduct on that occasion was highly mentioned in the dispatches.

This officer was constantly employed in the late war, and distinguished himself on so many occasions, that we can only briefly allude to one or two instances where his gallantry was most conspicuous.  In 1806, he was appointed to the Alceste, and on the 4th of April, 1808, whilst that vessel, in company with the Mercury, Captain James Alexander Gordon, and the Grasshopper, 18-gun sloop, lay at anchor near Cadiz, a large convoy under the protection of several gun-boats, was seen coming close in shore from the northward.

Captain Maxwell determined to attempt their capture, and accordingly, the Alceste and Mercury attacked the gun-boats, whilst the Grasshopper, stationed close to the batteries of Rota, by a well directed fire, succeeded in driving the Spaniards from their guns.  The gun-boats being thrown into confusion, the first-lieutenant of the Alceste, Mr. Allen Stewart, and Lieutenant Watkin Owen Pell of the Mercury, volunteered to board the enemy in the boats.  They accordingly dashed in among the convoy, boarded and brought out seven tartans from under the very muzzles of the enemy’s guns, though supported by several armed boats sent from Cadiz to their assistance.

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Narratives of Shipwrecks of the Royal Navy; between 1793 and 1849 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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