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perior to eloquence; and the orator stood mute in tears before the assembly.
Thus concludes all that is perishable of an Englishman, who, by his works in art, as well as by his writings; and even more, by the beneficence of his heart, will ever continue an ornament to the history of his country. Beyond all comparison, Sir Joshusa Reynolds was not only the best painter of his age, but the best of all we as yet possess. He was the first amongst us who, in any great or decided degree, added the most standard merits of his profession to the glories of Great Britain. Since the period of his death, his works have only risen progressively in pride and value; and the last production of his easel (the celebrated portrait of Mrs. Siddons, in the character of the Tragic Muse,) which was offered to public sale, was purchased for the unprecedented sum of 3500 guineas. He possessed the theory, as well as the practice of his art; in historical painting there was a grace, and in all he performed, a facility that stamped a character of superiority ; but his portraits, for fancy, ease and variety, are far more exquisitely engaging than those of any other English painter. He expired with the full promise, and his memory may already be considered secured in the reversion, of having been the father of the British School of Painting.
The design of this monument, which stands in the recess under the western window of the north transept in St. Paul's Cathedral, is thus explained. The seated figure is meant for a personification of History: she is listening to Fame expatiating upon the merits of Rodney, whose statue is elevated upon the pedestal in the centre. Rossi was the artist employed upon the group, for which he received the ample reward of six thousand guineas; and yet the performance of it does him no honour. The inscription runs as follows:
Erected at the Public Expense
To the Memory of
In many memorable engagements,
and especially in that of 12 April, 1782,
Over the French Fleet ;
To the West Indian Islands,
Died 24th of May, 1792.
Walton-upon-Thames was the birth place of Rodney. His father, Henry Rodney, was a captain in the navy, and commanded the yatch in which George the I. used to visit his German dominions. This circumstance procured the subject of this sketch, who was a second son, the honour of having his Majesty and the Duke of Cumberland for sponsors at his christening, and at the same time led to a promise that if educated in the profession of his father, all the promotion which any merit he might display could warrant, and the interests of the service would permit
, should certainly be his. Such were the high auspices under which young Rodneyentered the Navy at an early age, and after paseing through the probationary stages of the service, became, în 1742, one of the lieutenants employed under Admiral Mathews, in the Mediterranean. During the course of the same year he was promoted to be captain of the Plymouth, a sixty gun ship
. Returning soon after to England, he was shifted on board of the Sheerness frigate, of twenty guns, from which he was again as speedily removed into the Windsor Castle, of 44 guns. In 1746, he was employed to cruise along the Irish coast in the Eagle,
a new ship carrying 61 guns, and on that station had the fortune of capturing two privateers; the one Spanish, with 16 guns, and 120 men,--and the other French, with 22 guns and 260 men. During the following year he was attached to the squadron under Commodore Fox, which was commissioned to intercept a fleet of merchantmen on their return from Domingo, and enjoyed his full share of an easy but profitable victory. For the French were no sooner discovered in the Bay of Biscay, than they crowded all their sails in flight; and when the British still gained upon them in the chase, the men-of-war abandoned the merchantmen to their fate. Forty-eight vessels thus fell into the hands of the British, of which six were captured by Rodney.
But it was not until the defeat of Letendues's fleet, by Admiral Hawke, that Captain Rodney laid the spirited foundation of that popularity which ultimately ennobled his name in so eminent a degree. Upon that occasion, he ran the Eagle through a tremendous fire, from the rear to the van of the enemy,
and maintained an obstinate engagement with two opponents, until his braces, bowlines, and wheel, were all shot away, and his ship for a while was totally unmanageable. Yet, no sooner had he effected a partial repair of these heavy injuries, than he concurred with two other captains, in an attempt to seize upon the French Admiral and his second, who availed themselves of the favour of a dark night to escape. A distinct combat ensued; it was short and fierce, but though unsuccessful, tended highly to exalt the characters of the officers who undertook it. Peace was declared in October, 1748, and Rodney remained for an interval without a commission. During the course of a year, however, he was appointed to the Rainbow, a fourth-rate ship, and was soon after nominated Governor and Commander-in-chief of Newfoundland. Proceeding to this station, at the head of the squadron usually sent for the protection of our fisheries along the coast, he made a voyage of discovery for a small island which had recently been reported to lie about 50° N.l., and 330 leagues westward from Scilly. Rodney made a diligent cruize to determine the existence of the place, but could find no land. He relinquished his command at the usual period, and in February, 1753, married Jane, the daughter of Charles Compton, Esq., and sister of Spencer, Earl of Northampton.
From the Kent of seventy guns, in which he remained until 1755, he was appointed to the Dublin of 74 guns, in 1757, and sailed under Sir Edward Hawke on the expedition against Rochfort. Being attached during the following year to Admiral Boscawen's fleet before Louisbourg, he captured the Mount Martin, a French Indiaman of great value while on his passage out. This was his last enterprise in an inferior rank, for in June, 1759, he was raised to the flag of Rear-admiral of the Blue, and entrusted with the command of a squadron of war, and bomb ships, for the purpose of destroying a French flotilla, equipped at Havre de Grace with the open view of invading Great Britain. The dispositions which he made for carrying his orders into execution, and the manner in which he accomplished his ends, were strikingly judicious and successful. He maintained an unintermitted bombardment for two-and-fifty hours
, fired the town repeatedly in different quarters, consumed the great -magazine of fat boats, overset and sunk many others, and so much damaged the remainder, that they were rendered unfit for any subsequent service. The consequences of this achievement were highly important: the designs of the French were entirely frustrated, their hostile preparations all destroyed, and the part itself left almost without the capabilities for one formidable 11dertaking during the continuance of the war. Rodney remained on this station for nearly two years longer, and gained all the ad. vantages which zeal and ability could ensure.
In 1761 he was chosen member of Parliament for Penryn, in Cornwall, and during the course of the same year, received the command of an expedition against the island of Martinique. Setting sail from Spithead, in the Marlborough of 74 guns, ce the 18th of October, he arrived, with all the forces destined for the attack, off the bay of Cas Navire, on the 7th of January, 1762. Many difficulties were opposed to the success of the troops, both by the fortifications which had been thrown up by the enemy, and the irregular nature of the country. Bravery and perseverance, however, overcame every obstacle, the attack prospered in various quarters, and the whole island surrendered on the 12th of February. Grenada, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent, were then reduced in rapid succession, and all the French possessions in the Caribbees lay secured in the dominion of Great
Britain. Rodney came home to England, and remained for some years unemployed, in consequence of the peace of 1763. His services were rewarded with a baronetcy, in January, 1764, and he was made Governor of Greenwich Hospital, during the course of the ensuing year. In 1768, he embarked in a contested election for the borough of Northampton ; but though returned by a cided majority, the money he was tempted to lay out in the struggle, and a habit of life generally expensive, embarrassed his income so much that he was unable to enjoy the triumph. Pressed by this embarrassment, he resigned his lucrative post at Greenwich, and accepted of the command of the Jamaica station, with his flag on board the Princess Amelia of 74 guns, in 1771. The governor of that island was then in a precarious state of health, and Rodney aspired to the fortune of retrieving his affairs by succeeding to this lucrative seat of power in case of a vacancy. In this hope, however, he was disappointed; the governor lived on, and he was obliged to revisit England when the usual term of his commission expired. Such was the state in which he found himself compelled to avoid the persecution of his creditors, by retiring into France, where he spent some years in great obscurity and acute distress. It is said that the government of France availed itself of his misfortunes to try and draw him from the service of his country, by offers of a large sum of money, and the first rank in the French navy. But he rejected the proposal with spirit, and was soon after enabled to regain bis native country and solicit a command. It is farther reported, that the means by which he discharged the incumbrances upon his income, were disinterestedly lent to him by the Duc de Biron, who had the generosity to reward the virtue he could not seduce, by restoring it to its natural sphere of action.
However true these relations may really be, it is certain that towards the close of the year 1779, Rodney was made Admiral of the White, and appointed to the command of the Leeward Island station. He sailed from Spithead in December, on board the Sandwich of ninety guns, and discovered a fleet of merchantmen and men-of-war off Cape Finisterre, at day-break, on the 8th of January, 1780. Making signals for a general chase, he soon gained sufficiently on the strangers to perceive the Spanish colours, and by manauvres of superior dexterity, succeeded in capturing the