[BITList] Jervis, John, earl of St Vincent (1735-1823), naval officer
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Sat Mar 13 08:17:14 GMT 2010
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Jervis, John, earl of St Vincent (1735-1823), naval officer, the second of four children of Swynfen Jervis (1700-1771) of Meaford in Stone, Staffordshire, barrister at law, and Elizabeth (fl. 1700-1770), daughter of George Parker of Park Hall, Staffordshire, was born at Meaford on 20 January 1735 and baptized at Stone on 26 January. His uncle was Sir Thomas Parker, chief baron of the exchequer. John was educated at Burton upon Trent grammar school, and at the Revd Samuel Swinden's academy in Greenwich from 1747, a year in which his father was appointed counsel to the Admiralty (5 June), auditor of Greenwich Hospital (1 July), and one of its directors (4 November), possibly through the influence of Admiral George Anson, a distant relative of Swynfen Jervis's wife.
Early naval career
Although he was intended for the law, Jervis ran away to Woolwich to join the navy in 1748. He was discovered and returned home. Undeterred by family remonstrances, and through the combined influence of Lady Archibald Hamilton, wife of the governor of the hospital, Lady Burlington, and Lady Gower, he gained in December an introduction to the Hon. George Townshend, lately appointed commodore and commander-in-chief on the Jamaica station. As a result on 4 January 1749 he was entered as an able seaman on the Gloucester (50 guns, Captain John Storr) at Portsmouth. Bearing Townshend's broad pennant from 17 March, the ship was bound for Jamaica with a small squadron whose task was to protect the British West Indian trade from Spanish privateers and guarda costas. Jervis volunteered for these duties whenever he could, cruising off the Mosquito Coast in the sloop Ferret between October 1750 and February 1751. When in June 1752 Townshend went home for his health, he discharged Jervis into the Severn (50 guns), the flagship of his successor, Thomas Cotes, on 26 June. Here Jervis was rated midshipman by Captain Henry Dennis, until 5 August. But there were few opportunities for action and by his own account, he spent his time in 'reading, studying navigation, and perusing my old letters' (Mackay, 61).
On 31 July 1754 Jervis was entered as midshipman in the Sphinx (24 guns) going home for major repairs, which arrived at Spithead on 3 October and was paid off on 7 November. In that year Charles Saunders, one of Anson's proteges, became treasurer of Greenwich Hospital. His acquaintance with the Jervis family was to have a major impact on Jervis's career. Nominal service for the month of December 1754 in the newly launched Seaford (20 guns) and from 27 December to 2 February 1755 in the yacht Mary, moored at Greenwich under Captain John Campbell, another Anson protege, completed Jervis's necessary six years, and he passed his examination for lieutenant on 22 January 1755. On 19 February he was promoted sixth lieutenant of the Royal George (90 guns) and on 11 March he was moved as third lieutenant to the Nottingham (60 guns). She formed one of Edward Boscawen's fleet trying, unsuccessfully, to prevent French reinforcements reaching Canada. On 31 March 1756 he moved, still as third lieutenant, to the Devonshire (80 guns) and on 22 June he was made fourth lieutenant in the Prince (90 guns), Saunders's flagship in the Mediterranean. He rose to third (3 October) and second lieutenant (27 October) in the flagship before moving with the admiral to the Culloden (74 guns), again as second lieutenant, on 29 November 1756.
Jervis had entered the navy during peace. His career, supported by influence, had been unspectacular but he had been continually employed and steadily promoted, gaining experience and knowledge of his profession under notable commanders. Anson's influence had been ever present, chiefly through his proteges; that of Saunders, now in command in the Mediterranean, was to be decisive in placing Jervis in a position and giving him the opportunity to reach post rank. In January 1757 Jervis was lent to the Experiment (20 guns) during her captain's illness, and he commanded her on 16 March in a severe but indecisive engagement with a large French privateer off Cape Gata. He returned to the Culloden a few days later and on 1 June followed Saunders to the St George (90 guns), Vice-Admiral Henry Osborn having assumed command. When Saunders was superseded in May, Jervis was appointed to the Foudroyant (80 guns), captured in a chase on 28 February 1758 off Cartagena. He returned home in her and on 15 January 1759, as her first lieutenant, joined the Neptune in which Saunders went to North America as commander-in-chief. Jervis was promoted commander on 15 May and on 4 July he was made acting commander of the sloop Porcupine, an appointment confirmed by the Admiralty. It was here he met and impressed General James Wolfe with his decision and promptness. With the frigate Halifax, the Porcupine led the ships in charge of transports past Quebec to take part in the capture of that fortress. The story that Wolfe sent his last message and her miniature to Lady Katherine Lowther, to whom he was engaged, by Jervis may be true. But Jervis did not deliver them in person.
Promoted to the command of the Scorpion (10 guns) on 15 May upon the death of her commander, Jervis was sent home with dispatches on 25 September, but he returned immediately on 13 January 1760 in the Albany, with important dispatches for General Jeffrey Amherst. After his return to England in May Jervis was attached for a short time to the channel squadron under Rear-Admiral George Rodney before being promoted to post rank on 13 October 1760 and placed in command of the Gosport (44 guns). In her he served first in the North Sea, and in April 1762 he was charged with convoying the Virginia and Maryland trade to America. In company with the East and West India trade, under the escort of Captain Joshua Rowley in the Superb, on 11 May, they encountered and repelled the French squadron under Ternay on its way to capture Newfoundland. Having joined Lord Colvill, commander-in-chief in North America, in August 1762, Jervis took part in the recovery of Newfoundland in September, and returned in the Gosport to England in the spring of 1763.
Peace brought the customary unemployment but in February 1769 Jervis was appointed to the frigate Alarm (32 guns), the first coppered warship, delivering bullion to English merchants in Genoa. Here between 9 and 15 September he protested at the insult to the British flag occasioned by the forcible removal from the Alarm's boat of two Turkish slaves who had escaped from a Genoese galley. His protests and threats of retaliatory force against the doge and senate of Genoa produced the slaves and the arrest of their detainers. Jervis himself felt it had given him 'an opportunity of carrying the dignity of the British flag as high as a Blake' (Jervis to father, 21 Jan 1770, Parker-Jervis MSS, 49/44, bundle 91/1). On 30 March 1770 his prompt seamanship saved the Alarm when she was driven on the rocks during a severe gale at Marseilles and seemed a total loss. With the help of the French officials and his crew's exertions she was repaired and ready for service by mid-May. 'A glorious action in the midst of a war could not be more applauded than the gallantry of the officers and crew', he wrote to his father on 11 May (ibid.). Both these actions were approved by the Admiralty publicly and privately. Ordered home in 1771, the Alarm arrived at Spithead in the middle of May and in August sailed for the Mediterranean with the king's brother, the duke of Gloucester; he was to winter in Italy and lived on board the Alarm until May 1772 when she returned to England to be paid off. Jervis's professional expertise and courtly manners seem to have been the reasons why he was chosen, but influence also played a part. Jervis had dined with the duke in 1769 and in describing this to his father commented that Sir Charles Saunders had 'been so flattering to say to Colonel Barre that he had the greatest affection and regard for me and ... added there is no better Officer in the King's Naval Service' (ibid., 16 Feb 1769). On this Mediterranean cruise he learned a good deal about the area which was to prove useful when he commanded there in 1795-6.
European travels and political career
Jervis used his leisure to further his professional knowledge. In October 1772 he went to France to learn the language, studying so hard that he endangered his health. Then he toured the country, condemning the French for their folly and dissipation, but equally blaming the English travellers he saw 'posthaste after the bubble Pleasure' (Anson, 36). In November 1773 he returned to England. The following summer, with his friend Captain Samuel Barrington, he visited Russia. During the month he spent at St Petersburg he saw the admiralty, went on the yacht designed by Sir Charles Knowles, inspected the arsenal and dockyards at Kronstadt, and visited the most notable British merchants and shipbuilders. He kept a journal of all he saw, particularly noting safe anchorages and harbours in the Baltic and correcting his charts. On his way back he did the same at the ports of Sweden, Denmark, and north Germany, from Lubeck to Hamburg, and came home via the Netherlands with a mass of naval information. In 1775 he and Barrington made a yachting cruise off the west coast of France. They visited Brest, where Jervis paid particular attention to the approaches to the roadstead. This was to stand him in good stead when he blockaded that port in 1800-1801. They then moved on to Lorient, Rochefort, and Bordeaux.
In June 1775 Jervis was appointed to the Kent but as she was found to be defective he was, on 1 September, appointed to the command of the Foudroyant, the French prize he had brought home from the Mediterranean in 1758 and which was still the largest two-decked ship in the Royal Navy. She served chiefly as a guardship until 1778 when she became part of Admiral Augustus Keppel's Channel Fleet and took part in the battle of Ushant on 27 July 1778. In November 1778 Lord Sandwich had listed Jervis as 'a good officer, but turbulent and busy, and violent as a politician attached to Mr. Keppel' (Correspondence of George III, ed. J. Fortescue, 1927, no. 2460) and at the subsequent court martial of Keppel in January 1779 Jervis's evidence was strongly in Keppel's favour and helped secure the admiral's honourable acquittal. The Foudroyant remained with the Channel Fleet during 1779, when a Franco-Spanish invasion force appeared in the channel and Jervis was mortified to retreat before them. But on 19 April 1782 off Brest, Barrington's squadron, of which he was part, fell in with a French convoy which had just left that port. The French scattered and the Foudroyant gave chase to the largest of the ships of war, the Pegase (74 guns), came up with her just after midnight, and took her after a close engagement of nearly an hour. The Pegase, newly commissioned and poorly manned, suffered considerable damage. The Foudroyant, which Jervis had made notable for her perfect discipline and efficiency, had only five men slightly wounded, one of them Jervis himself.
Jervis was made a knight of the Bath on 28 May 1782 as a reward for this action which made his name more widely known outside the navy. He was at all three reliefs of Gibraltar, the first by Rodney in January 1780, again in March 1781 by Darby, and finally by Lord Howe in October 1782, taking part in the skirmish off Cape Spartel on 20 October. The Foudroyant was paid off on 31 December 1782 but Jervis had already been appointed commander of a squadron on a particular service on 26 December 1782, and on 3 January 1783 he was directed to go to the West Indies, with a broad pennant in the Salisbury (50 guns). However, as the peace preliminaries were signed in that month, he was ordered to strike his flag on 14 January 1783. On 5 June 1783 he married his first cousin Martha (1741-1816), first daughter of Sir Thomas Parker and his second wife, Martha; the couple had no children.
Peace had brought Jervis the opportunity to enter parliament and at the end of January he was returned as MP for Launceston, a pocket borough in the duke of Northumberland's interest. This was at the request of the earl of Shelburne, a friend of Jervis who shared his interest in reform. Jervis voted for Pitt's early proposals for parliamentary reform on 7 May 1783 and against Fox's East India Bill (27 November 1783) and was classed as a Pittite in the lists drawn up before the April election of 1784. On a platform of support for Pitt and reform he stood, with Henry Beaufoy, for Great Yarmouth-an independent borough with approximately 800 voters, many of whom were merchants, seamen, and dissenters-and he was successfully returned. In the succeeding years Jervis again voted for Pitt's unsuccessful motion for parliamentary reform. He opposed the duke of Richmond's fortification plans, as a member of the commission of inquiry, but supported Pitt in the regency crisis of 1788/89. Jervis was promoted rear-admiral of the blue on 24 September 1787 and hoisted his flag in the Carnatic (74 guns) during the weeks of the Dutch crisis and in the Prince (90 guns) in the dispute with Spain in 1790, being promoted rear-admiral of the white on 21 September 1790. But he did not support Pitt's bellicose policies and, perhaps as a consequence of these political differences, he left his seat at Yarmouth and in 1790 was returned for Chipping/High Wycombe through the interest of Shelburne, now marquess of Lansdowne, who controlled the borough. He remained its member for three years but he spoke rarely in the Commons, and then usually on naval matters. In March 1786 he had deplored the inefficient maintenance of the navy and expressed his desire 'to root up and totally prevent the growth of evils so enormous and alarming' (Drummond, 2.682).
In December 1792 Jervis introduced a scheme, supported by government, to relieve distressed superannuated seamen. On 4 February 1793 he drew attention to the hardship newly commissioned officers suffered from delayed payments of subsistence money. He continued to support the government in its unsuccessful attempt to repeal the Test Act in 1791, and voted for the opposition's motion for parliamentary reform in May 1793, but he opposed further proceedings against Warren Hastings that year and the government's warlike attitude over the Ochakov crisis of 1791-2. He did not attend the debates of February 1793 on the outbreak of war with France, after consulting Lansdowne, and because he believed the attitudes of Pitt's government were compelling the French to declare war. But his patriotism was unquestioned; he was ready to serve, and in the autumn of 1793 he was appointed to command the expedition to the West Indies. He later declared that he had not been influenced politically by Lansdowne, but to avoid further prejudice he resigned his seat in January 1794. He declined to stand for Yarmouth in 1796, where he was popular with the dissenting interest, and did not again enter the House of Commons.
Service in the West Indies and Mediterranean, 1793-1796
Jervis's appointment as naval commander of the 1793 expedition to the West Indies may have surprised some contemporaries, but he had served in the West Indies, had experience of combined operations, and his professional abilities were undoubted. Moreover Dundas had offered Sir Charles Grey the military command on 18 August, and Jervis and Grey were friends and shared some political sympathies. The expedition left England on 26 November 1793. Jervis, who had been promoted vice-admiral of the blue on 1 February 1793, flew his flag in the Boyne (98 guns), whose flag-captain was Sir Charles Grey's son, George. At first the expedition went well. There was warm co-operation between the naval and military forces, and the French were outnumbered and politically divided. Martinique, Guadeloupe, and St Lucia were swiftly captured between March and April 1794. Jervis had been promoted vice-admiral of the white on 12 April 1794 and was on the point of returning to England, for health reasons, when French reinforcements landed at Guadeloupe on 2 June 1794. As soon as the news reached him at St Kitts, on 5 June, Jervis sailed for Guadeloupe to repulse this force. But the English troops, suffering from fever, were themselves repulsed and besieged and the previous success was turned to defeat and failure. In November 1794 Vice-Admiral Benjamin Caldwell came out to relieve Jervis who arrived in England in February 1795.
The original expedition has been described as 'a superbly conducted military operation and also a well-organized and thoroughly executed plundering enterprise' (M. Duffy, Soldiers, Sugar and Seapower, 1987, 109). It led to disputes with neutrals, chiefly the Americans, over the regulation of maritime neutral trade and alienated French colonial opinion, making it easier for republican forces to reconquer the islands. Grey and Jervis, quoting past precedents, warmly defended the system of prize money, which for naval officers was an important part of their professional rewards and an additional spur to enterprise. Jervis had been involved in a dispute with his superior, Lord Colvill, in 1764 over prize money, and between 1799 and 1801 he was disputing issues of prize money with both Nelson and Lord Keith. Both Grey and Jervis faced a vote of censure in the Commons in May 1795, which was defeated by the unusual combination of the opposition and Dundas. It cost both commanders the peerages they should have gained though Jervis was promoted admiral of the blue on 1 June 1795, in anticipation of his appointment to command the Mediterranean Fleet in succession to Lord Hood. But on 1 May his flagship, the Boyne, caught fire at Spithead and blew up, and Jervis lost everything in her. His appointment to the Mediterranean had been discussed in May when Lord Hugh Seymour, a member of the Board of Admiralty, suggested his name to Lord Spencer, the first lord. On 28 June he again pressed Jervis's claims, despite the recent censure motion, as 'an officer of rare merit' who would do 'honour to the minister who avails himself of his talents afloat' (Anson, 111). Spencer agreed, and Jervis left England in November in the frigate Lively (32 guns) accompanied by George Grey as his flag-captain and Robert Calder as captain of the fleet. They arrived at Gibraltar on 23 November and joined the fleet at San Fiorenzo Bay, Corsica, on 29 November where Jervis moved to the Victory (100 guns) on 4 December and gave the signal to unmoor on the 13th. The admiral quickly recognized the quality of many of his captains-Nelson, Collingwood, Troubridge-and by a more vigorous prosecution of the war in the Mediterranean gave them their opportunities. A close blockade of Toulon was begun; Jervis co-operated closely with Sir Gilbert Elliot, the viceroy of Corsica, while a squadron under Nelson supported allied Austrian troops on the Italian coast, and unsuccessful attempts were made to prevent French troops, under Bonaparte, penetrating Italy via the republic of Genoa. Jervis exercised his ships constantly in cruising and working them up to a high pitch of discipline and efficiency. Because the dockyard at Gibraltar was woefully short of stores he had his ships caulked and repaired at sea, a considerable feat. At the same time he bombarded the navy's civil departments for much needed supplies of food, clothing, ammunition, and stores. The situation worsened. In July 1796 Spain made peace with France. Bonaparte had occupied Leghorn on 27 June and threatened the British position in Corsica. Jervis attempted to concentrate his forces, recalling Admiral Mann from the blockade of Cadiz in July. This allowed the Spanish admiral, Langara, to sail for Toulon with seventeen ships of the line, chasing Mann into Gibraltar en route and creating a Franco-Spanish force which quite outnumbered Jervis's fleet. Nelson commented:
They at home do not know what this fleet is capable of performing; anything and everything ... of all the fleets I ever saw, I never saw one, in point of officers and men equal to Sir John Jervis's, who is a commander able to lead them to glory. (Dispatches and Letters, 2.229)
His words accurately reflect the efficiency and high morale of the fleet, but Jervis's position was rapidly becoming untenable. He was desperately short of all supplies with no base nearer than Gibraltar, itself under threat. To continue to hold Corsica was impossible and he received orders on 25 September to evacuate the island and withdraw from the Mediterranean. He left San Fiorenzo on 2 November and reached Gibraltar on 1 December, having been delayed by storms and head winds, and having become seriously short of rations. A few days later a hurricane hit his weakened ships, wrecking one and badly damaging two others. Gibraltar offered few facilities or supplies and by the end of the month Jervis had withdrawn to Lisbon. It was an undoubted reverse, but Jervis's resource, patience, and nerve had never failed.
The battle of Cape St Vincent, 1797
Spain had declared war against Britain in October and France lost little time in using the naval resources of her reluctant ally. The combined Franco-Spanish fleet left Toulon in December 1796. The French sailed through the straits for Lorient but the Spanish fleet put into Cartagena to refit. Undermanned, lacking experienced seamen, and short of supplies, it sailed on 1 February 1797, its task to escort four ships, carrying mercury for refining silver, to Cadiz. Blown by strong winds through the straits and further into the Atlantic than intended, the Spanish admiral, Cordoba, worked his way back towards Cadiz. Jervis had left Lisbon on 18 January with a Portuguese convoy for Brazil and was patrolling off Cape St Vincent, having been joined by five ships under Admiral Sir William Parker on 6 February. Various sightings and news of the Spanish fleet in the days before the battle were confirmed on 13 February when the frigate Minerve joined the fleet. The British were confident that they would win the imminent engagement. The final toast at dinner in the Victory on the eve of the battle was 'Victory over the Dons in the battle from which they cannot escape to-morrow!'. At dawn on 14 February in mist and light winds the British fleet of fifteen sail of the line was sailing in admirable close order. It was not until 10.30 a.m. that the number of Spanish ships confronting Jervis became apparent. When the reported total reached twenty-seven Calder remarked on the disparity of forces. 'Enough sir', replied Jervis. 'The die is cast and if there are fifty sail I will go through them!'. In the heightened enthusiasm of the moment Captain Benjamin Hallowell, a passenger in the Victory, clapped the admiral on the back, declaring 'That's right Sir John, that's right. By God, we shall give them a damned good licking!' (Tucker, 1.255).
As the morning mist parted the Spanish ships were revealed, trying to form their line and cover the mercury convoy. As they did so a gap opened, separating the convoy and escort, under Admiral Moreno, from the main body of the fleet. Jervis signalled his ships to pass through the gap. The Culloden (Captain Troubridge) reached it before the Spaniards could close the space, and this enabled the rest of the British ships to make their way through, effectively separating the Spanish force into two parts. Just after midday Jervis ordered his ships to tack in succession towards the larger of the Spanish divisions. The smaller Spanish leeward division under Admiral Moreno attempted to prevent this, close range fighting took place, and the Spanish attacks were beaten off. But a gap had now opened in the British line, and a shift in the wind increased this. The five ships of Jervis's van were heading north by west into the enemy. Jervis therefore altered course to north-west, possibly to enable the ships in his centre division to double the Spanish line, catching the Spanish ships between them and his van. He ordered his rearmost ships, among them Nelson in the Captain, to take up a suitable station and get into action as soon as possible.
Naval signals were not sufficiently precise for Jervis to explain exactly what he intended and some of his rearmost ships did not respond. But Nelson had noticed the leading Spanish ships moving as though to attack the British rear. He saw that the British van had still to engage, that Jervis could not see what was going on, and that time would be lost while the British rear obeyed the admiral's signals. He therefore wore out of the line and set off to join the Culloden and the British van as they attacked the Spanish centre. This risky manoeuvre was approved by Jervis when he saw it. The Spaniards abandoned their move towards the British rear and headed north-west, their line disintegrating as they went. By 2 p.m. a melee had developed as the British ships overtook and engaged the Spaniards. Nelson boarded and took the San Nicolas and the San Josef, while others captured the Salvador del Mundo and San Ysidro. At 4.22 p.m. Jervis gave the signal to break off the action. The Spaniards had lost four ships, four others were badly damaged, and it was impossible for them to renew the action on 15 February. The British fleet, guarding its prizes, made first for Lagos on 16 February for immediate repairs, and then for Lisbon where they arrived on 24 February.
News of the victory, which reached London on 3 March, was greeted with delighted relief. The preceding months had been filled with bad news and there was then a general fear of invasion. It was known that the fleet had abandoned the Mediterranean; the unsuccessful French attempt to invade Ireland in the previous December had been thwarted not by the Channel Fleet but by bad weather, and public confidence in the navy was at its lowest. Jervis's remark, just before the battle began, that 'a victory is very essential to England at this moment' (Anson, 157) had been correct and the rewards were correspondingly great. Jervis had been nominated for a peerage in 1796 as a reward for earlier services. He was now created Baron Jervis of Meaford and earl of St Vincent on 23 June 1797 with a life annuity of £3000. The City of London presented him with its freedom and a splendid sword. The thanks of both houses of parliament, on 3 and 9 March 1797, were followed by thanks and addresses from the major ports and a gold medal from the king. Jervis, 'wishing to avoid an appearance of arrogance in naming the action as my title' (Jervis to W. Jervis, 16 July 1797, Parker-Jervis MSS, 49/44, bundle 91/2), had suggested his earldom should bear the title Yarmouth, because of his attachment to the borough, and when that was rejected he put forward that of Orford, the title given to Edward Russell after La Hogue, as originally belonging to the navy, but he left the final choice to the king, who chose St Vincent.
Once repairs were completed the fleet put to sea. St Vincent had received orders to blockade the Spanish fleet, which had taken refuge in Cadiz. A close blockade was begun, with an inshore squadron of ten ships, the main body of the fleet lying at Rota. St Vincent hoped, in vain, the Spaniards would come out for a decisive action. In July, writing to his brother, he claimed the consequences of 14 February were more important than the battle itself, since the Spanish fleet had 'been palsied from that hour to this' and that he had 'been riding triumphant one hundred and seven days in the entrance to the Port' (16 July 1797, Parker-Jervis MSS, 49/44, bundle 91/2). But the task was made more difficult as the effects of the general fleet mutinies at Spithead and the Nore began to spread to the Mediterranean ships.
Service in the Mediterranean and the channel, 1797-1800
St Vincent suppressed every manifestation of mutiny with unbending severity. Ships' companies were kept occupied and Cadiz was regularly bombarded. Nelson and a squadron of seven ships were sent to attack Santa Cruz in Tenerife in July 1797 to carry the war to Spain and divert men with opportunities for prize money. The speaking of Irish was forbidden, to discourage the seditious activity of United Irishmen in the fleet. The marines in each ship were berthed separately and marine officers were ordered to visit their men and call the roll regularly. Ship visiting was forbidden with ships newly arrived from England and greatly curtailed elsewhere. Yet a suggestion that mutinous letters and appeals from the Nore, arriving from England in the Alcmene, should be withheld was firmly rejected. 'Certainly not, sir', the admiral declared, 'let every letter be immediately delivered: I dare to say the commander in chief will know how to support his own authority' (Tucker, 1.300-2). When necessary one of Jervis's own captains trained in his discipline was transferred to a newly arrived and mutinous ship, to bring it back to good order. Above all, discipline and the rules of the service were constantly maintained for all ranks, and punishments quickly followed breaches of the rules. When two sailors, convicted of mutiny on Saturday, were hanged on Sunday, Vice-Admiral Thompson protested at 'a profanation of the Sabbath', for which, St Vincent wrote, 'I have insisted on his being removed from this fleet immediately, or that I shall be called home' (DNB). The danger came to a head in May 1798 when ships, under Sir Roger Curtis, from the channel and the Irish stations, many seriously infected with mutiny, joined the Mediterranean Fleet. The case of the Marlborough was typical. One of the ringleaders on her was court martialled and sentenced to death, the sentence to be carried out by the crew of that ship. Protests from the captain and declarations by the men that the sentence would not be carried out were equally useless. Extraordinary precautions were taken to prevent an open outbreak. The ship was surrounded by launches, armed with carronades, with orders on any appearance of mutiny, to fire into the Marlborough until all resistance ceased, sinking the ship if necessary. The man was hanged the following morning. 'Discipline has been preserved' was St Vincent's comment (Tucker, 1.303). St Vincent refused to appear afraid or overwhelmed by the serious situation. 'Responsibility', he once declared, 'is the test of a man's courage.'
Meanwhile French preparations at Toulon, from the end of 1797, indicated the formation of a large force; this was Bonaparte's expedition to Egypt. It was essential for British forces to re-enter the Mediterranean to discover the object of the enterprise. Lord Spencer, writing to St Vincent in April 1798, had suggested sending a squadron under Sir Horatio Nelson for this purpose. St Vincent had already decided that Nelson, though a junior flag-officer, was best qualified for this task. But those officers passed over hardly saw the appointment in that light: Rear-Admiral Sir John Orde in particular was furiously angry. Never patient with critical subordinates, St Vincent ordered Orde home, ignoring his protests. He was censured by the Admiralty for not having shown proper attention and support to subordinate flag-officers, a censure he protested against. Orde retained his grudge, and when St Vincent returned to England in 1799 he challenged the admiral to a duel. At sixty-five and in indifferent health St Vincent was hardly fit to respond, but it was only the direct command of George III which prevented his accepting the challenge.
Nelson's Mediterranean squadron, detached on 24 May, was formed from the ten best ships in St Vincent's fleet. They were replaced the same day by Curtis's mutinous reinforcements. Once this force had been disciplined and formed into an effective unit the admiral planned to capture Minorca as a vital base for the protection and safety of the fleet. He arrived at Gibraltar in October, and put Commodore John Thomas Duckworth in command of the naval forces of the expedition which finally took Minorca on 15 November 1798. St Vincent's energies had also been directed to improving the limited facilities of Gibraltar. In February 1799 he suggested the resiting and expansion of the victualling yard. Freshwater tanks were built to conserve winter rainwater and a beginning made on an underground reservoir. He was particularly proud of repairing the defects of those ships, damaged at the battle of the Nile, which came to Gibraltar with their prizes. Great exertions were required, for officers always wanted to go home 'to recount their feats after a glorious Victory; and the officers of the dockyards shrink from work of so much labour' (Jervis to W. Jervis, 13 Dec 1798, Parker-Jervis MSS, 49/44, bundle 91/2), but St Vincent's vigorous presence overcame all these obstacles and he thought the ships better fitted than if they had gone to England.
The strain of these events and responsibilities told on his health. Ministers were unwilling for him to be relieved and 'had put it on a footing so honourable to me that I am determined to die in harness' (Jervis to W. Jervis, 6 July 1798, Parker-Jervis MSS, 49/44, bundle 91/2), and on 14 February 1799 he was created admiral of the white. In December 1798 Admiral Lord Keith came out to command the blockading squadron off Cadiz under St Vincent's orders, and when in April 1799 Admiral Bruix escaped from Brest and entered the Mediterranean it was Keith, not St Vincent, who pursued him. Reluctant to resign, St Vincent still thought himself the only officer capable of handling the important operations he was charged with. He was in very weak health at Gibraltar when Bruix went through the straits on 6 May. He summoned Keith to join him there and together they sailed for Minorca, which St Vincent thought the object of Bruix's expedition, arriving on 19 May. Here news that Bruix was heading north led St Vincent to attempt, unsuccessfully, to intercept him by sailing in the direction of Cape Creus on 22 May. Already ill when he sailed, St Vincent was forced to return to Minorca on 1 June, leaving Keith to continue to Toulon where Bruix had temporarily taken refuge. For the next few weeks St Vincent tried to retain command. He supported Keith in his attempts to find and defeat Bruix before he defeated the smaller British squadrons scattered about the Mediterranean, but he was anxious about the safety of Minorca. By 17 June he was forced to relinquish command, and he left for England in early July.
Throughout the winter, which he spent at his Essex property of Rochetts, St Vincent was ill with a combination of rheumatism and dropsy but with the spring he improved. The Admiralty had been urging him to take command of the Channel Fleet, still plagued with the remains of mutiny, and he suddenly decided to do so. 'The king and the government require it,' he said, 'and the discipline of the British navy demands it. It is of no consequence to me whether I die afloat or ashore' (DNB). He hoisted his flag on the Namur (100 guns) on 26 April 1800 and sailed for Brest, where he transferred to the Ville de Paris (100 guns), with Sir Thomas Troubridge as his captain of the fleet.
The news was most unwelcome to the Channel Fleet itself. The reputed toast given at Lord Bridport's table, 'May the discipline of the Mediterranean never be introduced into the Channel Fleet' expressed an unavailing hope. As soon as he was appointed St Vincent proceeded to issue all the orders which had made the Mediterranean Fleet a pattern of discipline and efficiency. Most officers resented the order which forbade them to go more than 3 miles from the landing place or to sleep ashore and the consequent separation from their wives. The wives resented it too, and one lady reputedly gave as a toast 'May his next glass of wine choke the wretch' (Tucker, 2.37n). Leave was only granted from sunrise to sunset, no boats were to remain ashore after sunset, and captains were to take their turn at watering duties to prevent desertions and the bringing of liquor into ships.
St Vincent was determined on so close and effective a blockade of Brest that the inshore squadron would not be driven off without provoking a general action, and that the main body of the fleet, based at Ushant, would be near enough to support them. Thus between twenty-four and thirty of his forty ships were constantly employed. Ushant not Torbay now became the accepted rendezvous for the Channel Fleet, while the inshore squadron cruised off the entrance to the Goulet (between the Black Rocks and the Parquette shoal), a station strewn with reefs and shoals, with hazardous currents and exposed to the full force of south-westerly winds. With grim humour St Vincent called this station 'the Elysian Lake' but it needed an officer of uncommon fortitude to command there and those who did so needed regular relief. Whenever possible, repairs were to be done at sea. Ships were forbidden to go to Spithead except in an emergency or for some major work which could not be done at sea, at Torbay, or Cawsand Bay. Nor were ships to remain even there for more than a week. On 16 and 17 May 1800, only a few weeks after he took command, a violent gale caused much damage to his ships and forced most of them to take shelter in Torbay, but in a few days the repaired squadron regained its station off Ushant where it remained for four months. St Vincent restored the pattern of close blockading Lord Hawke had initiated in the Seven Years' War. His familiarity with these waters, owing to the peacetime cruise of 1775, now stood him in good stead. His presence with the fleet was not only an example to all officers but enabled him to see how the fleet performed. The constant manoeuvring to take advantage of the tides and winds necessitated good seamanship at all times of the day and night. St Vincent had ordered that captains must be on deck when such evolutions were performed and made a point of seeing himself that these orders were obeyed.
Close blockading for such a long time would have been impossible without well-fed and healthy crews, and St Vincent ensured that there were regular, adequate supplies of food and clothing from England. The medical services were transformed through the work of his private physician, Andrew Baird, who acted informally as physician of the fleet. Regular supplies of lemon juice, fresh meat, and vegetables kept scurvy at bay; better ventilation and dry scrubbing rather than washing the lower decks helped to make the atmosphere less damp; those men who wished could be vaccinated against smallpox; and regular, isolated sick bays were introduced into all ships. As a result health improved and the hospital ship which normally accompanied the fleet was not required. The fleet is reported to have kept its watch on Brest without a break for 121 days, from May to September 1800, and to have had on board only sixteen hospital cases when it returned to Torbay in November. St Vincent later declared, with some truth, that the preservation of health in the fleets was his greatest achievement. But winter and illness forced the admiral to live ashore, at Torre Abbey, overlooking Torbay. From here he co-ordinated the fleet's movements and kept up the pressure on Brest, and this policy was successfully followed by his successor, Admiral William Cornwallis.
First lord of the Admiralty, 1801-1804
In 1801 William Pitt resigned and George III called on Henry Addington to form a government. St Vincent accepted the post of first lord of the Admiralty in Addington's cabinet on 19 February, though not without some hesitation. A long-time supporter of Catholic emancipation he had applauded Pitt's attempt to pass such a measure and stated his opinions to the king. George III honoured his opinions and motives but urged him to accept, and St Vincent formally took office with the rest of the cabinet on 17 July 1801.
With the war still ongoing St Vincent's first task was the equipment of the fleet sent to the Baltic to break the combination of those states against Britain. The workers in the royal dockyards took this opportunity to strike for a permanent doubling of their pay. Treating them as though they were mutinous seamen, St Vincent ordered the delegates out of the yards, sent an investigating committee to each yard, and offered an additional allowance while the price of bread remained high. When this was rejected he dismissed every man who had taken a leading part in the strike. The remainder returned to work but an ominous foretaste of St Vincent's methods with the navy's civil departments had been given. The victory at Copenhagen in 1801 and the death of the tsar broke up the northern coalition. St Vincent was next occupied with a threatened invasion by a flotilla at Boulogne, but the peace of Amiens was signed on 27 March 1802 and he was now able to give his full attention to the reform of the civil administration of the navy. The desire to root out abuses, apparent when he was an MP, and the passion for order and discipline which marked his career were now given full rein.
St Vincent had already determined on a wholesale elimination of the corruption and waste he believed were weakening the navy and causing the high taxes which were ruining the country. Moreover the tide of opinion was moving in his direction. Since the late 1780s an increasing concern for government efficiency and economy had favoured reform. The recommendations of the commission on fees, and the reports of the select committee on finance in the 1790s, though resisted by the civil administration of the navy and held up by the war, had begun to be implemented. Before he left office in 1801 Lord Spencer had approved reforms based on some of these recommendations which were carried into effect by an order in council of 21 May 1801. The movement for reform was thus already established when St Vincent came to the Admiralty in February 1801 and reflected his own determination. Aware of support for change in parliament and the navy, he was willing to use politics to effect it, to exert the Admiralty's authority over the Navy Board to its utmost, and ignore or discard that board's authority and expertise. His experiences at Gibraltar in 1798-9 had given him an interest in dockyard improvements. His belief in the inherent abuses in the civil administrative system and the necessity of a wholesale purge of them was supported by his two naval colleagues at the Admiralty, Sir Thomas Troubridge and Captain John Markham.
As soon as peace preliminaries were signed on 1 October 1801 St Vincent therefore began investigations which, by February 1802, convinced him that a thorough inquiry into the dockyards was necessary. In July the Board of Admiralty began a series of yard visitations, starting with Plymouth. Here, he told Addington, he had found a multitude of abuses that made the establishment of a commission of inquiry a necessity. Visitation of the other yards confirmed the impression. An act appointing commissioners to inquire into abuses and frauds was introduced and passed at the end of 1802. This commission was St Vincent's. He was its prime mover and nominated the commissioners. He appears to have wanted either to force the members of the civilian naval boards to resign or to abolish them altogether. William Marsden, second secretary to the Admiralty, thought the frauds detected in the yards were only a pretext for crushing these subordinate boards. St Vincent had hoped that the commission would be given powers to examine witnesses under oath but there was much opposition to this and witnesses were allowed the right to refuse to answer questions lest they incriminate themselves. Had the commissioners been able to examine witnesses on oath they would have got evidence for legal proceedings against many officials in the civil departments, who were appointed by letters patent under the great seal, could not be summarily dismissed, and chose not to resign. But if they had been prosecuted for fraud or malfeasance St Vincent would have been able to replace them with his nominees and reshape naval administration as he wished. He certainly believed the Navy Board had failed in its duty to the service and the public.
After the visitations the board was censured by the Admiralty for permitting the public to be defrauded and allowing abuses to go unpunished. There was inevitably some fraud and corruption in the civil departments of the navy, and carelessness and lack of financial supervision in offices frequently overburdened with work. Equally St Vincent failed to recognize the many practical difficulties the Navy Board grappled with and its experience and expertise in handling them, and he refused to credit the board with an equal, though different, professionalism to his own. As a result relations between the two boards became strained and then broke down. On the publication of the first report of the commission of naval inquiry, the Navy Board tried to present a memorial to the House of Commons, defending itself. St Vincent refused to permit them to do so. But the comptroller of the Navy Board, Sir Andrew Hamond, was also an MP and in June 1803 declared in the house that since St Vincent took office 'there has been so strong a prejudice' that it was 'impossible to go on' as things now stood (Morriss, 187). Morale in the civil departments slumped, and St Vincent's policies also alienated timber and shipbuilding contractors. The problems of a naval administrative system, traditionally divided between the Board of Admiralty and the Navy Board and its subordinates, were thus starkly revealed.
It was impossible to exclude politics from these events which provided Pitt with a weapon to attack Addington and regain power. Thus from 1803 St Vincent's naval administration was attacked in press and parliament. The renewal of the war in that year encouraged accusations that the effect of his economies had been to slow naval mobilization. He had cancelled contracts with private shipbuilders, thinking the work could be done more cheaply in the reformed dockyards. He had also checked the prices the navy offered for ship timber, which resulted in a drying up of supplies from the private timber contractors. He quarrelled with old friends and former political allies; Lord Spencer headed a 'new opposition' group against his policies and in January 1804 Evan Nepean, secretary to the Admiralty and a former protege, resigned after increasing difficulties with the commission of naval inquiry. St Vincent's administration proved an increasing source of weakness for Addington's government. On 15 March 1804, in moving for a comparative return of ships built, Pitt attacked St Vincent's policies and declared him 'less brilliant and less able in a civil capacity than in a warlike one' (Morriss, 197-8). Increasingly some naval officers, notably Nelson, agreed. Addington's government resigned on 10 May and St Vincent left office on 15 May 1804. The commission was replaced by one for revising the civil affairs of the navy. Within a year the political repercussions from publication of the commission of inquiry's reports led to the resignation and impeachment of Lord Melville, St Vincent's successor at the Admiralty. The attacks on St Vincent were continued through 1805 by John Jeffrey, MP for Poole, who repeatedly moved for papers to prove the admiral's incompetence. On 14 May 1806 he moved for a committee of the whole house to consider these matters, in a rambling and ineffective speech. But the whigs were now in government. The tide of opinion had changed in favour of St Vincent in a post-Trafalgar world. The first lord, Lord Howick, son of St Vincent's old friend Sir Charles Grey, with several members of the Admiralty board and Charles James Fox, repudiated Jeffrey's allegations and the motion was negatived without a division. Fox moved a vote of thanks to St Vincent for his administration which had 'added lustre to his exalted character, and is entitled to the approbation of this house' (DNB), and this was agreed without a division.
Final years and reputation
In the summer of 1805 St Vincent had been asked, through Addington, now Lord Sidmouth, to command the Channel Fleet. He had indignantly refused 'unless Mr Pitt should unsay all he had said in the House of Commons' on 15 March 1804 (Tucker, 2.268). He sought an interview with George III on 23 June to explain his position, declaring that he was the guardian of his own honour and that after Pitt's treatment of him, he could not entrust that honour to the prime minister. After Pitt's death, however, when Lord Grenville repeated the request, St Vincent agreed on 1 February 1806. He had been created admiral of the red on 9 November 1805 and on 7 March 1806 hoisted his flag in the Hibernia (110 guns). He was now seventy-one and in indifferent health, but resumed his old station off Ushant and the strenuous work of blockade. He was one of the commissioners to Lisbon between August and October 1806 when, on the threat of a French invasion of Portugal, it was proposed to secure the Portuguese fleet and transport the king of Portugal to Brazil. But these measures were postponed by both sides and St Vincent returned to command of the Channel Fleet until the end of October when it returned to Cawsand Bay for the winter. His health was poor and the Admiralty gave him leave to live ashore in the neighbourhood. On 18 March 1807 the whig ministry resigned. St Vincent did not wish to serve under its tory successors and on 24 April 1807 he hauled down his flag for the last time.
In retirement he spent most of his time at Rochetts. Until 1810 he occasionally attended the House of Lords, speaking chiefly on naval issues; in 1808 he spoke strongly against the expedition to Copenhagen and the capture of the Danish fleet as dishonourable. He long retained a keen interest in both national and local politics. His mind remained alert though physically he was plagued by rheumatism, a tendency to dropsy, and a troublesome cough; a visit to the south of France in the winter of 1818-19 did not alleviate these complaints. St Vincent's wife, Martha, had died on 8 February 1816 after suffering for some years from nervous illness and confusion.
In these last years honours fell thick upon St Vincent. He was made an elder brother of Trinity House in 1806. On 26 August 1800 he had been made lieutenant-general of marines and on 11 May 1814 he was promoted general. On 7 May 1814 he became acting admiral of the fleet and commander-in-chief in the channel and on 2 January 1815 he was made GCB. On the coronation of George IV he was promoted admiral of the fleet, and on 19 July 1821 the king personally sent him the gold mounted baton which symbolized the office. This was an honour all the more marked as, by custom, there could be only one officer of that rank, already held by the duke of Clarence. St Vincent's health was now much broken, but at eighty-seven he was still able to attend the king on the royal yacht at Greenwich on 11 August 1822. Here he met and talked to four pensioners, former seamen who had served under him and remarked 'We were all smart fellows in our day' (Anson, 337). He died on 13 March 1823 at Rochetts and was buried at St Michael's, Stone, as he desired, simply and without ostentation. A monument by Francis Chantrey was erected to him in the church in 1825 and another, condemned as tasteless, in St Paul's Cathedral in 1823. Since he had no children, on his death the earldom of St Vincent and the barony of Jervis of Meaford became extinct. On 27 April 1801 the admiral had been created Viscount St Vincent of Meaford, with a special remainder to his nephew, Captain William Henry Ricketts, who was drowned off Ushant on 26 January 1805. The title therefore passed to the latter's younger brother, Edward Jervis Ricketts, who took the name Jervis in lieu of Ricketts on 7 May 1823.
St Vincent's life and career were marked by self-sufficiency. Whether this was the result of his father's refusal to honour a bill for £20 at the beginning of the young Jervis's career, and his subsequent hardships, it is now difficult to determine. Possibly his memory in old age magnified those youthful hardships he described to Edward Pelham Brenton, his biographer. But his early career, revealed in letters to his sister, makes it plain that he devoted himself to learning his seamanship from the warrant officers with whom he served, which, enriched by his later experience, earned him an unsurpassed professional reputation. By the time he was appointed to command his character was fixed. It was marked by devotion to the navy, which he believed superior to other services, though his admiration for the marines was heartfelt. His belief in efficiency and discipline was absolute, his hatred of slackness and inefficiency vigorously expressed, and his suppression of mutiny, though essential, was often marked by extreme harshness. At a critical period his resolution and courage did not falter; yet his authoritarian temper could not tolerate criticism. Careless of wounded feelings when convinced he was right, he could be both stubborn and impetuous, inflexible and quick tempered. He possessed a grim humour, not always appreciated by its recipients. But he was ungrudging to zeal, skill, and courage, promoting those who showed such qualities, particularly the sons of old officers who lacked influence. In private life he was kind and generous, always ready to help anyone he believed had any claim on him.
St Vincent was not a great tactician. The battle of St Vincent, the only major battle in which he commanded, though temporarily deflecting a projected Franco-Spanish invasion, was not decisive and gained its fame largely through the nation's relief at the news of a victory during a gloomy period of the war. His importance lies in his being the organizer of victories; the creator of well-equipped, highly efficient fleets; and in training a school of officers as professional, energetic, and devoted to the service as himself. His mind was firm, clear, and decisive. Although his workload was exhausting, no significant detail escaped him and he excelled in the introduction of major improvements in naval health and hygiene. As a reforming administrator St Vincent was well-intentioned but tactless. Dauntless and persevering in his crusade against what he saw as institutionalized corruption in the royal dockyards and civil offices, he impatiently rejected traditional working methods and office practice, and condemned unheard a system often corrupt yet effective, which he did not fully understand. In the short term he alienated the existing naval administration and his reforms resulted in disruption when war was renewed. But St Vincent's term of office at the Admiralty produced important results. By providing a mass of information on working practices in the commission reports, by reducing abuses and promoting greater honesty and efficiency, and by clearing away outdated customs of work and rewards, St Vincent ensured that the navy was better prepared to meet the challenges of the nineteenth century.
P. K. Crimmin
Sources J. S. Tucker, Memoirs of Admiral the Rt Hon. the earl of St Vincent, 2 vols. (1844) + E. P. Brenton, Life of Lord St Vincent (1838) + R. F. Mackay, 'Lord St Vincent's early years, 1735-55', Mariner's Mirror, 76 (1990), 51-65 + C. White, The battle of Cape St Vincent (1997) + M. M. Drummond, 'Jervis, John', HoP, Commons, 1754-90 + D. R. Fisher, 'Jervis, John', HoP, Commons, 1790-1820 + GEC, Peerage, new edn, vol. 11 + W. V. Anson, The life of John Jervis, Admiral Lord St Vincent (1913) + William Salt Library, Stafford, Parker-Jervis MSS, 49/44, bundles 49, 81A, 88/1, 89, 90, 91/1-9 + survey of estates, 1800, 1808, D1798/663/39, 40; will and codicils, 1823, D1798/663/200; fuller account of estates, will, etc., 1825, Staffs. RO, Hand Morgan collection, Parker-Jervis of Meaford papers, D1798/663/204 + NMM, Jervis MSS [letters 1794-1804 from Nelson; lieutenant's promotion book 1801; letterbook 1806-7] + J. Jervis, earl of St Vincent, letters to Andrew Baird, 1799-1823, NMM, Parker MSS, PAR/166/4, 167/a-c [approx. 280 letters] + NMM, Baird MSS, BAI/1/1-53 [letters from St Vincent] + W. Boxall, letter to Andrew Baird, 4 March 1823, NMM, Baird MSS, BAI/2 [about St Vincent's last illness] + J. Jervis, earl of St Vincent, letters, 1793-1803, NMM, Nepean MSS, NEP/4-7 + Letters of ... the earl of St Vincent, whilst the first lord of the admiralty, 1801-1804, ed. D. B. Smith, 2 vols., Navy RS, 55, 61 (1922-7) + Private papers of George, second Earl Spencer, ed. J. S. Corbett and H. W. Richmond, 4 vols., Navy RS, 46, 48, 58-9 (1913-24) + The dispatches and letters of Vice-Admiral Lord Viscount Nelson, ed. N. H. Nicolas, 7 vols. (1844-6) + R. Morriss, The royal dockyards during the revolutionary and Napoleonic wars (1983) + C. Lloyd, St Vincent and Camperdown (1967) + J. J. Keevil, J. L. S. Coulter, and C. Lloyd, Medicine and the navy, 1200-1900, 3: 1714-1815 (1961) + D. Syrett and R. L. DiNardo, The commissioned sea officers of the Royal Navy, 1660-1815, rev. edn, Occasional Publications of the Navy RS, 1 (1994) + D. Lyon, The sailing navy list: all the ships of the Royal Navy, built, purchased and captured, 1688-1860 (1993) + E. Berckman, Nelson's dear lord. A portrait of St Vincent (1962) + D. Mathew, The naval heritage (1944)
Archives BL, corresp. and papers, Add. MSS 29910-29920, 30001-30013, 31181, 34902-34940, 31159-31167, 31175-31179, 31186-31187 + Duke U., Perkins L., papers + NMM, naval corresp., letter-book, and papers + Staffs. RO, Hand Morgan collection + William Salt Library, Stafford, corresp. | BL, corresp. with Lord Nelson, Add. MSS 34902-34940 passim + BL, letters to Evan Nepean, Add. MS 36708 + BL, letters to Charles Rainsford, Add. MSS 23669-23670 + Bodl. Oxf., MSS Shelburne 22, 29, 59 [microfilm] + Devon RO, corresp. with first Viscount Sidmouth + Harrowby Manuscript Trust, Sandon Hill, Staffordshire, letters to earl of Harrowby + Hunt. L., Stowe MSS + Hunt. L., letters to Grenville family + NMM, letters to Andrew Baird + NMM, letters to Richard Bowen + NMM, letters to Sir Thomas Foley + NMM, corresp. with Sir William Hamilton + NMM, letters to Sir Richard Keats + NMM, letters to Lord Keith + NMM, corresp. with Lord Minto + NMM, letters to Lord Nelson + NMM, letters to Sir Evan Nepean + NMM, Orde MSS + NMM, corresp. with Lord Shelbourne + NRA, priv. coll., letters to Lord Lansdowne + Royal Arch., letters to George III + Som. ARS, Waldegrave MSS + U. Durham L., letters to second Earl Grey + Yale U., Beinecke L., letters to Sir John Duckworth
Likenesses F. Cotes, oils, 1769, NPG · G. Stuart, oils, 1782-7, NMM · W. Beechey, oils, c.1792-1793, NMM [see illus.] · J. De Vaere, Wedgwood medallion, 1798, BM · D. Pellegrini, oils, 1806, NMM · J. Hoppner, oils, 1809, Royal Collection · W. Beechey, oils, c.1810, NMM · J. Hoppner, oils, c.1810, St James's Palace, London; repro. in Anson, Life of John Jervis, 312 · J. Hoppner, oils, c.1810, City of London Corporation · oils, c.1822-1823, NMM · L. F. Abbott, oils, NPG · W. Beechey, oils, Guildhall Art Gallery, London · W. Beechey, oils, NPG · J. Bouch, pencil drawing, NPG · F. Chantrey, bust, AM Oxf. · F. Chantrey, bust on monument, St Michael's Church, Stone, Staffordshire · H. Robinson, engraving (after J. Hoppner) · oils (after J. Hoppner), NMM
Wealth at death approx. £29,700, comprising: land in Staffordshire, Essex, London, and Bristol (leasehold); English and Irish pension; balances in three banks; plate, etc. to value of over £5000; stock in public funds: Staffs. RO, Hand Morgan collection, Parker-Jervis MSS, D1798/663/200; abstract of contents of will of Earl St Vincent
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