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John Jervis, 1st Earl of St Vincent

John Jervis, 1st Earl of St Vincent

Overview
Admiral of the Fleet
Admiral of the Fleet (Royal Navy)
Admiral of the fleet is the highest rank of the British Royal Navy and other navies, which equates to the NATO rank code OF-10. The rank still exists in the Royal Navy but routine appointments ceased in 1996....

 John Jervis, 1st Earl of St Vincent GCB
Order of the Bath
The Most Honourable Order of the Bath is a British order of chivalry founded by George I on 18 May 1725. The name derives from the elaborate mediæval ceremony for creating a knight, which involved bathing as one of its elements. The knights so created were known as Knights of the Bath...

, PC
Privy Council of the United Kingdom
Her Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council, usually known simply as the Privy Council, is a formal body of advisers to the Sovereign in the United Kingdom...

 (9 January 1735 – 14 March 1823) was an admiral in the Royal Navy
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

 and Member of Parliament
Member of Parliament
A Member of Parliament is a representative of the voters to a :parliament. In many countries with bicameral parliaments, the term applies specifically to members of the lower house, as upper houses often have a different title, such as senate, and thus also have different titles for its members,...

 in the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

. Earl St Vincent served throughout the latter half of the 18th century and into the 19th, and was an active commander during the Seven Year's War, American War of Independence, French Revolutionary War and the Napoleonic Wars
Napoleonic Wars
The Napoleonic Wars were a series of wars declared against Napoleon's French Empire by opposing coalitions that ran from 1803 to 1815. As a continuation of the wars sparked by the French Revolution of 1789, they revolutionised European armies and played out on an unprecedented scale, mainly due to...

. He is best known for his victory at the 1797 Battle of Cape Saint Vincent, from which he earned his titles, and as a patron
Patronage
Patronage is the support, encouragement, privilege, or financial aid that an organization or individual bestows to another. In the history of art, arts patronage refers to the support that kings or popes have provided to musicians, painters, and sculptors...

 of Horatio Nelson
Horatio Nelson, 1st Viscount Nelson
Horatio Nelson, 1st Viscount Nelson, 1st Duke of Bronté, KB was a flag officer famous for his service in the Royal Navy, particularly during the Napoleonic Wars. He was noted for his inspirational leadership and superb grasp of strategy and unconventional tactics, which resulted in a number of...

.

Jervis was also recognised by both political and military contemporaries as a fine administrator and naval reformer.
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Encyclopedia
Admiral of the Fleet
Admiral of the Fleet (Royal Navy)
Admiral of the fleet is the highest rank of the British Royal Navy and other navies, which equates to the NATO rank code OF-10. The rank still exists in the Royal Navy but routine appointments ceased in 1996....

 John Jervis, 1st Earl of St Vincent GCB
Order of the Bath
The Most Honourable Order of the Bath is a British order of chivalry founded by George I on 18 May 1725. The name derives from the elaborate mediæval ceremony for creating a knight, which involved bathing as one of its elements. The knights so created were known as Knights of the Bath...

, PC
Privy Council of the United Kingdom
Her Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council, usually known simply as the Privy Council, is a formal body of advisers to the Sovereign in the United Kingdom...

 (9 January 1735 – 14 March 1823) was an admiral in the Royal Navy
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

 and Member of Parliament
Member of Parliament
A Member of Parliament is a representative of the voters to a :parliament. In many countries with bicameral parliaments, the term applies specifically to members of the lower house, as upper houses often have a different title, such as senate, and thus also have different titles for its members,...

 in the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

. Earl St Vincent served throughout the latter half of the 18th century and into the 19th, and was an active commander during the Seven Year's War, American War of Independence, French Revolutionary War and the Napoleonic Wars
Napoleonic Wars
The Napoleonic Wars were a series of wars declared against Napoleon's French Empire by opposing coalitions that ran from 1803 to 1815. As a continuation of the wars sparked by the French Revolution of 1789, they revolutionised European armies and played out on an unprecedented scale, mainly due to...

. He is best known for his victory at the 1797 Battle of Cape Saint Vincent, from which he earned his titles, and as a patron
Patronage
Patronage is the support, encouragement, privilege, or financial aid that an organization or individual bestows to another. In the history of art, arts patronage refers to the support that kings or popes have provided to musicians, painters, and sculptors...

 of Horatio Nelson
Horatio Nelson, 1st Viscount Nelson
Horatio Nelson, 1st Viscount Nelson, 1st Duke of Bronté, KB was a flag officer famous for his service in the Royal Navy, particularly during the Napoleonic Wars. He was noted for his inspirational leadership and superb grasp of strategy and unconventional tactics, which resulted in a number of...

.

Jervis was also recognised by both political and military contemporaries as a fine administrator and naval reformer. As Commander-in-chief
Commander-in-Chief
A commander-in-chief is the commander of a nation's military forces or significant element of those forces. In the latter case, the force element may be defined as those forces within a particular region or those forces which are associated by function. As a practical term it refers to the military...

 of the Mediterranean, between 1795 and 1799 he introduced a series of severe standing orders
General order
In militaries, a general order is a published directive, originated by a commander, and binding upon all personnel under his command, the purpose of which is to enforce a policy or procedure unique to his unit's situation which is not otherwise addressed in applicable service regulations, military...

 to avert mutiny
Mutiny
Mutiny is a conspiracy among members of a group of similarly situated individuals to openly oppose, change or overthrow an authority to which they are subject...

. He applied those orders to both seamen and officers alike, a policy that made him a controversial figure. He took his disciplinarian
Discipline
In its original sense, discipline is referred to systematic instruction given to disciples to train them as students in a craft or trade, or to follow a particular code of conduct or "order". Often, the phrase "to discipline" carries a negative connotation. This is because enforcement of order –...

 system of command with him when he took command of the Channel Fleet
Channel Fleet
The Channel Fleet was the Royal Navy formation of warships that defended the waters of the English Channel from 1690 to 1909.-History:The Channel Fleet dates back at least to 1690 when its role was to defend England against the French threat under the leadership of Edward Russell, 1st Earl of...

 in 1799. In 1801, as First Lord of the Admiralty he introduced a number of reforms that, though unpopular at the time, made the Navy more efficient and more self-sufficient. He introduced innovations including block making machinery
Portsmouth Block Mills
The Portsmouth Block Mills form part of the Portsmouth Dockyard at Portsmouth, Hampshire, England, and were built during the Napoleonic Wars to supply the British Royal Navy with pulley blocks. They started the age of mass-production using all-metal machine tools and are regarded as one of the...

 at Portsmouth Royal Dockyard
HMNB Portsmouth
Her Majesty's Naval Base Portsmouth is one of three operating bases in the United Kingdom for the British Royal Navy...

. St Vincent was known for his generosity to officers he considered worthy of reward and his swift and often harsh punishment of those to those he felt deserved it.

Jervis' entry in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
Dictionary of National Biography
The Dictionary of National Biography is a standard work of reference on notable figures from British history, published from 1885...

by P. K. Crimmin describes his contribution to history: "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."

Early life


John Jervis was born in Meaford, Staffordshire
Meaford, Staffordshire
Meaford is a landmark hamlet in the English county of Staffordshire.It lies at the junction of the A34 and A51 roads, north of the town of Stone. It is on the River Trent, while Meaford Lock is on the Trent and Mersey Canal...

 on 9 January 1735 the second son of Swynfen and Elizabeth Jervis. His father was a barrister
Barrister
A barrister is a member of one of the two classes of lawyer found in many common law jurisdictions with split legal professions. Barristers specialise in courtroom advocacy, drafting legal pleadings and giving expert legal opinions...

, counsellor to the Admiralty Board
Admiralty Board (United Kingdom)
The Admiralty Board is the body established under the Defence Council of the United Kingdom for the administration of the Naval Service of the United Kingdom...

 and auditor of Greenwich Hospital. Swynfen Jervis intended that his son should follow him to the bar
Call to the bar
The Call to the Bar is a legal term of art in most common law jurisdictions where persons must be qualified to be allowed to argue in court on behalf of another party, and are then said to have been "called to the bar" or to have received a "call to the bar"...

. The young Jervis was educated at Burton-upon-Trent Grammar School and subsequently at Reverend Swinden's Academy in Greenwich
Greenwich
Greenwich is a district of south London, England, located in the London Borough of Greenwich.Greenwich is best known for its maritime history and for giving its name to the Greenwich Meridian and Greenwich Mean Time...

, London.

Early naval career


At the age of thirteen Jervis ran away and joined the navy at Woolwich
Woolwich
Woolwich is a district in south London, England, located in the London Borough of Greenwich. The area is identified in the London Plan as one of 35 major centres in Greater London.Woolwich formed part of Kent until 1889 when the County of London was created...

, London. After a short time he returned home as he had heard his family were very upset at his disappearance. Lady Jane Hamilton (mother of Sir William Hamilton
William Hamilton (diplomat)
Sir William Hamilton KB, PC, FRS was a Scottish diplomat, antiquarian, archaeologist and vulcanologist. After a short period as a Member of Parliament, he served as British Ambassador to the Kingdom of Naples from 1764 to 1800...

) and Lady Burlington became aware of Jervis' desire to join the navy and lobbied his family on his behalf. Eventually they introduced the Jervis family to Admiral George Townshend who agreed to take the boy aboard one of his ships.

On 4 January 1749 Jervis entered the navy as an able seaman
Able Seaman (rank)
In the British Royal Navy in the middle of the 18th century, the term able seaman referred to a seaman with at least two years' experience at sea...

 aboard the 50-gun on her way to Jamaica
Jamaica
Jamaica is an island nation of the Greater Antilles, in length, up to in width and 10,990 square kilometres in area. It is situated in the Caribbean Sea, about south of Cuba, and west of Hispaniola, the island harbouring the nation-states Haiti and the Dominican Republic...

. On arrival in the West Indies, Jervis was detached on HM sloop
Sloop
A sloop is a sail boat with a fore-and-aft rig and a single mast farther forward than the mast of a cutter....

  to the Mosquito Coast
Mosquito Coast
The Caribbean Mosquito Coast historically consisted of an area along the Atlantic coast of present-day Nicaragua and Honduras, and part of the Western Caribbean Zone. It was named after the local Miskito Indians and long dominated by British interests...

 where he saw constant service against Spanish guarda-costas and privateers. When Townshend quit the West Indies he discharged Jervis into the under Admiral Thomas Cotes. Cotes' flag captain Henry Dennis rated Jervis as a midshipman
Midshipman
A midshipman is an officer cadet, or a commissioned officer of the lowest rank, in the Royal Navy, United States Navy, and many Commonwealth navies. Commonwealth countries which use the rank include Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, India, Pakistan, Singapore, Sri Lanka and Kenya...

. On 31 July 1754 Jervis moved to the 24-gun . Jervis commented in a letter to his sister: "my chief employ when from my duty is reading studying navigation and perusing my old letters of which I have almost enough to make an octavo volume". Whilst in Jamaica, the young Jervis drew funds against his father's account with a local banker. When the reply came from England that the withdrawal could not be honoured, the midshipman found himself in debt. Jervis was forced to quit his mess and live on ship's rations in order to pay off the loan. The event deeply affected the young Jervis who swore never to "draw another bill without the certainty of it being paid." Sphinx was paid off at Spithead
Spithead
Spithead is an area of the Solent and a roadstead off Gilkicker Point in Hampshire, England. It is protected from all winds, except those from the southeast...

 on 7 November 1754. Jervis was assigned to the 20-gun in December of the same year and then from the end of December until February 1755 was assigned to HM Yacht William and Mary under the navigational expert Captain John Campbell.

Jervis passed his lieutenant
Lieutenant
A lieutenant is a junior commissioned officer in many nations' armed forces. Typically, the rank of lieutenant in naval usage, while still a junior officer rank, is senior to the army rank...

's examination on 2 January 1755 and was assigned as sixth lieutenant to the first-rate  of 100 guns. By March, he had moved to third lieutenant of the 60-gun . The Nottingham was part of Edward Boscawen
Edward Boscawen
Admiral Edward Boscawen, PC was an Admiral in the Royal Navy and Member of Parliament for the borough of Truro, Cornwall. He is known principally for his various naval commands throughout the 18th Century and the engagements that he won, including the Siege of Louisburg in 1758 and Battle of Lagos...

's fleet that attempted to prevent French reinforcements reaching New France
New France
New France was the area colonized by France in North America during a period beginning with the exploration of the Saint Lawrence River by Jacques Cartier in 1534 and ending with the cession of New France to Spain and Great Britain in 1763...

. On 31 March 1756 Jervis moved to the 74-gun HMS and on 22 June he was promoted to be fourth lieutenant of the 90-gun Prince
HMS Triumph (1698)
HMS Triumph was a 90-gun second rate ship of the line of the Royal Navy, launched at Chatham Dockyard in 1698. She was renamed HMS Prince in 1714....

 under Captain Charles Saunders in the Mediterranean. When the captain was promoted to admiral, Jervis followed him to the 74-gun in November 1756. In January 1757 Jervis was promoted to temporary command of . In her, he fought a large French privateer in an indecisive action off Cape Gata
Cape Gata
Cape Gata is the south-eastern cape of the Akrotiri Peninsula on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus. It is located within the British Sovereign Base Areas, and is the southern-most point of the island....

. When the captain of the Experiment regained his health Jervis moved back to the Culloden. In June 1757, he followed Saunders to the 90-gun HMS St George
HMS Charles (1668)
HMS Charles was 96-gun first-rate ship of the line of the Royal Navy, built by Christopher Pett at Deptford Dockyard until his death in March 1668, then completed by Jonas Shish after being launched in the same month. Her name was formally Charles the Second, but she was known simply as Charles,...

. Jervis returned to England in temporary command of the 80-gun , a ship that had been captured by Henry Osborn's fleet at the Battle of Cartagena
Battle of Cartagena (1758)
The Battle of Cartagena took place on 28 February 1758 off the Spanish port of Cartagena during the Seven Years War. A British fleet under Henry Osborn, which had blockaded a French fleet in Cartagena, attacked and defeated a French force under Michel-Ange Duquesne de Menneville coming to their...

. He followed Saunders once more when the admiral was promoted to command the North American station; Jervis was promoted to first lieutenant of HMS Prince.

Quebec and promotion to captain



The fleet, part of an expedition to capture the French possessions
Canada, New France
Canada was the name of the French colony that once stretched along the St. Lawrence River; the other colonies of New France were Acadia, Louisiana and Newfoundland. Canada, the most developed colony of New France, was divided into three districts, each with its own government: Quebec,...

 in North America, left England in February 1759. They stopped first at Louisbourg
Louisbourg, Nova Scotia
Louisbourg is a community in Nova Scotia's Cape Breton Regional Municipality.-History:The town's name was given by French military forces who founded the Fortress of Louisbourg and its fortified seaport on the southwest part of the harbour, in honour of Louis XV...

 which had been captured from the French
Siege of Louisbourg (1758)
The Siege of Louisbourg was a pivotal battle of the Seven Years' War in 1758 which ended the French colonial era in Atlantic Canada and led directly to the loss of Quebec in 1759 and the remainder of French North America the following year.-Background:The British government realized that with the...

 the previous year. By June, the ice along the Saint Lawrence River
Saint Lawrence River
The Saint Lawrence is a large river flowing approximately from southwest to northeast in the middle latitudes of North America, connecting the Great Lakes with the Atlantic Ocean. It is the primary drainage conveyor of the Great Lakes Basin...

 had broken up and the fleet along with the military transports headed up river to the assault of Quebec City
Quebec City
Quebec , also Québec, Quebec City or Québec City is the capital of the Canadian province of Quebec and is located within the Capitale-Nationale region. It is the second most populous city in Quebec after Montreal, which is about to the southwest...

. On 15 May 1759, Jervis had been promoted acting commander of the sloop . In this command Jervis impressed General James Wolfe
James Wolfe
Major General James P. Wolfe was a British Army officer, known for his training reforms but remembered chiefly for his victory over the French in Canada...

 in the preparations which led to the Battle of the Plains of Abraham
Battle of the Plains of Abraham
The Battle of the Plains of Abraham, also known as the Battle of Quebec, was a pivotal battle in the Seven Years' War...

. Porcupine and the frigate led the armed transports past Quebec to land up river. One biographer, Jedediah Tucker, notes that as the approach was so critical, both Wolfe and the subsequently famous James Cook
James Cook
Captain James Cook, FRS, RN was a British explorer, navigator and cartographer who ultimately rose to the rank of captain in the Royal Navy...

 boarded the Porcupine to ensure the success of the mission.

For his efforts Jervis was promoted commander and took command of . Jervis returned to England in September but immediately returned to North America in command of the Albany. In May 1760 Jervis was attached to Admiral Sir George Rodney
George Brydges Rodney, 1st Baron Rodney
George Brydges Rodney, 1st Baron Rodney, KB was a British naval officer. He is best known for his commands in the American War of Independence, particularly his victory over the French at the Battle of the Saintes in 1782...

's Channel squadron.

In October 1760 he was made post-captain
Post-Captain
Post-captain is an obsolete alternative form of the rank of captain in the Royal Navy.The term served to distinguish those who were captains by rank from:...

 in command of the 44-gun . Gosport had on board a young midshipman, George Elphinstone, later Viscount Keith, who took over Jervis' command in the Mediterranean after Jervis' departure in 1799. In 1762, HMS Gosport, and under Captain Joshua Rowley
Sir Joshua Rowley, 1st Baronet
Vice-Admiral Sir Joshua Rowley was the eldest son of Admiral Sir William Rowley. Sir Joshua was probably born on 1 May 1730 at the family home of Tendring Hall in Suffolk. Rowley served with distinction in a number of battles throughout his career and was highly praised by his contemporaries...

, convoyed the East and West Indian trade to the westward, and successfully protected it from the squadron of Commodore de Ternay
Chevalier de Ternay
Charles-Henri-Louis d'Arsac de Ternay was a French naval officer. Most active in the Seven Years' War and the War of American Independence, Ternay was the naval commander of a 1762 expedition that successfully captured St. John's Newfoundland...

.

By the end of 1763 the Gosport has been paid off and Jervis remained unemployed until February 1769 when he was appointed to the 32-gun , the first coppered
Copper sheathing
Copper sheathing was the practice of protecting the under-water hull of a ship or boat through the use of copper plates affixed to the outside of the hull. It was pioneered and developed by the Royal Navy during the 18th century.-Development:...

 warship in the Royal Navy. He was tasked with delivering bullion to the English merchants in Genoa
Genoa
Genoa |Ligurian]] Zena ; Latin and, archaically, English Genua) is a city and an important seaport in northern Italy, the capital of the Province of Genoa and of the region of Liguria....

. During his time in Genoa two Turkish
Turkish people
Turkish people, also known as the "Turks" , are an ethnic group primarily living in Turkey and in the former lands of the Ottoman Empire where Turkish minorities had been established in Bulgaria, Cyprus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Greece, Kosovo, Macedonia, and Romania...

 slaves escaped a Genoese galley and hid aboard one of Alarm boats. They were forcibly removed; Jervis made an official protest and promised retaliation if they were not handed over. The slaves were produced and Jervis took custody of them.

On 30 March 1770 the Alarm was driven ashore off Marseilles but with the efforts of Jervis, the crew and the local French authorities under the governor of Marseilles, Georges René Le Peley de Pléville
Georges René Le Peley de Pléville
Georges-René Le Pelley de Pléville was the governor of the port of Marseilles, a French admiral, minister for the navy and the colonies from 15 July 1797 to 27 April 1798, a senator, a knight of the Order of St Louis and the Order of Cincinnatus, and one of the very first Grand officiers of the...

 she was brought off and repaired. Jervis personally returned to Marseilles with a letter of thanks from the Board of the Admiralty to the governor for his assistance.

In 1771 Alarm returned to England to collect the Duke of Gloucester
Prince William Henry, Duke of Gloucester and Edinburgh
Prince William, Duke of Gloucester and Edinburgh was a member of the British Royal Family, a grandson of George II and a younger brother of George III.-Early life:...

, King George III
George III of the United Kingdom
George III was King of Great Britain and King of Ireland from 25 October 1760 until the union of these two countries on 1 January 1801, after which he was King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland until his death...

's brother in order that he could winter in Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

. He lived aboard with his entourage until May 1772 when Alarm returned to England and was paid off.

Touring Europe and Russia


Between October 1772 and June 1775, Jervis travelled extensively. He began in France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 where he studied the language and made observations about French life. He accompanied Captain Samuel Barrington
Samuel Barrington
Rear Admiral Samuel Barrington RN was a British admiral.Samuel was the fourth son of John Shute Barrington, 1st Viscount Barrington of Beckett Hall at Shrivenham in Berkshire...

 to Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

 where they spent time in Saint Petersburg
Saint Petersburg
Saint Petersburg is a city and a federal subject of Russia located on the Neva River at the head of the Gulf of Finland on the Baltic Sea...

 and inspected the arsenal
Arsenal
An arsenal is a place where arms and ammunition are made, maintained and repaired, stored, issued to authorized users, or any combination of those...

 and dockyards at Kronstadt
Kronstadt
Kronstadt , also spelled Kronshtadt, Cronstadt |crown]]" and Stadt for "city"); is a municipal town in Kronshtadtsky District of the federal city of St. Petersburg, Russia, located on Kotlin Island, west of Saint Petersburg proper near the head of the Gulf of Finland. Population: It is also...

 and took a tour of the yacht designed by Sir Charles Knowles for Catherine of Russia
Catherine II of Russia
Catherine II, also known as Catherine the Great , Empress of Russia, was born in Stettin, Pomerania, Prussia on as Sophie Friederike Auguste von Anhalt-Zerbst-Dornburg...

. The pair continued on to Sweden
Sweden
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

, Denmark
Denmark
Denmark is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe. The countries of Denmark and Greenland, as well as the Faroe Islands, constitute the Kingdom of Denmark . It is the southernmost of the Nordic countries, southwest of Sweden and south of Norway, and bordered to the south by Germany. Denmark...

 and northern Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

. All the while Jervis made notes on defences, harbour charts and safe anchorages. They came home via the Netherlands
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

, Jervis once again making extensive studies of the area and taking copious notes describing any useful information. He and Barrington then took a private cruise along the Channel coast calling at various harbours including Brest
Brest, France
Brest is a city in the Finistère department in Brittany in northwestern France. Located in a sheltered position not far from the western tip of the Breton peninsula, and the western extremity of metropolitan France, Brest is an important harbour and the second French military port after Toulon...

, making and improving their charts as they went. When Jervis later became the Commander-in-Chief of the Channel Fleet he was aided significantly in his blockade of Brest by these charts. In later years, he commented: "Had the young Captain Jervis not performed such a complete survey of this port then the Earl St Vincent would not have been able to effect such a thorough blockade of it."

First Battle of Ushant



At the outbreak of the American War of Independence
American Revolutionary War
The American Revolutionary War , the American War of Independence, or simply the Revolutionary War, began as a war between the Kingdom of Great Britain and thirteen British colonies in North America, and ended in a global war between several European great powers.The war was the result of the...

 in 1775 Jervis was given the command of ; however, she was surveyed by the dockyard and found unfit for service. He was therefore appointed instead to command of HMS Foudroyant, the ship he had brought to England as a prize seventeen years earlier. For the first few years of the war, the French supplied arms, funding, and military advice on an informal and limited basis to the newly emerging nation of America. With the signing of the Treaty of Alliance
Treaty of Alliance (1778)
The Treaty of Alliance, also called The Treaty of Alliance with France, was a defensive alliance between France and the United States of America, formed in the midst of the American Revolutionary War, which promised military support in case of attack by British forces indefinitely into the future...

 in 1778 and the creation of the Franco-American alliance
Franco-American alliance
The Franco-American alliance refers to the 1778 alliance between Louis XVI's France and the United States, during the American Revolutionary War. Formalized in the 1778 Treaty of Alliance, it was a military pact in which France provided arms and money, and engaged in full-scale war with Britain. ...

, the war widened. Jervis spent the first few years of the war patrolling the Channel in Foudroyant without seeing any significant action, but as the war reached Europe Jervis was placed under the command of Admiral Augustus Keppel
Augustus Keppel, 1st Viscount Keppel
Admiral Augustus Keppel, 1st Viscount Keppel PC was an officer of the Royal Navy during the Seven Years' War and the War of American Independence...

. The Channel fleet, under Keppel, sighted the French fleet intending to enter Brest
Brest, France
Brest is a city in the Finistère department in Brittany in northwestern France. Located in a sheltered position not far from the western tip of the Breton peninsula, and the western extremity of metropolitan France, Brest is an important harbour and the second French military port after Toulon...

 on 23 July. The British fleet of 30 ships of the line chased the French fleet of 29 ships and engaged them on 27 July in what became known as the First Battle of Ushant
Battle of Ushant (1778)
The Battle of Ushant took place on 27 July 1778, during the American War of Independence, fought between French and British fleets 100 miles west of Ushant, a French island at the mouth of the English Channel off the north-westernmost point of France...

. The battle was indecisive and in the political aftermath Jervis provided a stalwart defence of Admiral Keppel at the latter's court-martial
Court-martial
A court-martial is a military court. A court-martial is empowered to determine the guilt of members of the armed forces subject to military law, and, if the defendant is found guilty, to decide upon punishment.Most militaries maintain a court-martial system to try cases in which a breach of...

, helping to secure Keppel's acquittal.

Relieving Gibraltar and capture of the Pégase



Jervis remained in Foudroyant attached to the Channel Fleet and for a short time acted as flag captain to Admiral Molyneux Shuldham
Molyneux Shuldham, 1st Baron Shuldham
Molyneux Shuldham was an officer of the British Royal Navy. He served for a time as colonial governor of Newfoundland.-Family and early life:...

. In 1780 Jervis was with Admiral Rodney when the British fleet relieved Gibraltar
Gibraltar
Gibraltar is a British overseas territory located on the southern end of the Iberian Peninsula at the entrance of the Mediterranean. A peninsula with an area of , it has a northern border with Andalusia, Spain. The Rock of Gibraltar is the major landmark of the region...

. In 1781 he was with Admiral George Darby
George Darby
Vice Admiral George Darby was an officer in the Royal Navy. He was the second son of Jonathan Darby III Esq. , of Leap Castle, in King's County, Ireland.-Early career:Darby joined the Royal Navy as a volunteer...

 at the second relief of Gibraltar. On 19 April 1782 Jervis was with his old friend and travelling companion when a ship in Admiral Barrington’s squadron sighted a French convoy leaving Brest. The squadron gave chase and Foudroyant caught and engaged the French 74-gun Pégase
French ship Pegase (1781)
The Pégase was a 74-gun ship of the line of the French Navy, lead ship of her class, launched in 1781.She was captured by the Captain John Jervis on 21 April 1782 in HMS Foudroyant, Jervis was invested as a Knight of the Bath for the capture....

. After an engagement of more than an hour Pégase struck. Jervis himself was wounded in the attack. For his services he was invested as a Knight of the Bath
Order of the Bath
The Most Honourable Order of the Bath is a British order of chivalry founded by George I on 18 May 1725. The name derives from the elaborate mediæval ceremony for creating a knight, which involved bathing as one of its elements. The knights so created were known as Knights of the Bath...

 on 19 May 1782. He was again at the relief of Gibraltar
Great Siege of Gibraltar
The Great Siege of Gibraltar was an unsuccessful attempt by Spain and France to capture Gibraltar from the British during the American War of Independence. This was the largest action fought during the war in terms of numbers, particularly the Grand Assault of 18 September 1782...

 with Earl Howe
Richard Howe, 1st Earl Howe
Admiral of the Fleet Richard Howe, 1st Earl Howe KG was a British naval officer, notable in particular for his service during the American War of Independence and French Revolutionary Wars. He was the brother of William Howe and George Howe.Howe joined the navy at the age of thirteen and served...

's fleet in 1782 and took part in the indecisive Battle of Cape Spartel
Battle of Cape Spartel
The Battle of Cape Spartel was an indecisive naval battle between a Franco-Spanish fleet under Admiral Luis de Córdova y Córdova and a British fleet under Admiral Richard Howe...

. Jervis was promoted commodore
Commodore (Royal Navy)
Commodore is a rank of the Royal Navy above Captain and below Rear Admiral. It has a NATO ranking code of OF-6. The rank is equivalent to Brigadier in the British Army and Royal Marines and to Air Commodore in the Royal Air Force.-Insignia:...

 and hoisted his broad pennant
Broad pennant
A broad pennant is a swallow-tailed tapering flag flown from the masthead of a ship to indicate the presence of a commodore on board. It is so called because its dimensions are roughly 2:3....

 in the 50-gun in December 1782, with orders to proceed to the West Indies. Due to the peace negotiations his orders were rescinded and he struck his pennant on 14 January 1783.

Marriage and political office


During the peace Jervis married his cousin Martha, daughter of Lord Chief Baron Sir Thomas Parker
Thomas Parker (judge)
Thomas Parker was an English judge, Privy Counsellor and Lord Chief Baron of the Exchequer.-References:*Dictionary of National Biography, Parker, Sir Thomas , judge, by J. A. Hamilton. Published 1895....

. Jervis was also returned as MP
Member of Parliament
A Member of Parliament is a representative of the voters to a :parliament. In many countries with bicameral parliaments, the term applies specifically to members of the lower house, as upper houses often have a different title, such as senate, and thus also have different titles for its members,...

 for Launceston in 1783. Jervis began his political career in earnest and voted for Pitt
William Pitt the Younger
William Pitt the Younger was a British politician of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. He became the youngest Prime Minister in 1783 at the age of 24 . He left office in 1801, but was Prime Minister again from 1804 until his death in 1806...

's parliamentary reforms and against Charles James Fox
Charles James Fox
Charles James Fox PC , styled The Honourable from 1762, was a prominent British Whig statesman whose parliamentary career spanned thirty-eight years of the late 18th and early 19th centuries and who was particularly noted for being the arch-rival of William Pitt the Younger...

 and his East India Bill. During the elections of 1784 Jervis stood for election in the independent borough of Great Yarmouth
Great Yarmouth
Great Yarmouth, often known to locals as Yarmouth, is a coastal town in Norfolk, England. It is at the mouth of the River Yare, east of Norwich.It has been a seaside resort since 1760, and is the gateway from the Norfolk Broads to the sea...

 where he was returned as MP alongside Henry Beaufoy
Henry Beaufoy
Henry Beaufoy was a British MP.He was the son of a Quaker wine merchant and educated at the academies at Hoxton and Warrington before studying at Edinburgh University in the early 1770s...

. Jervis then voted against Pitt's further bills for reform but supported him once more during the 1788–1799 Regency Crisis.

On 24 September 1787 Jervis was promoted rear-admiral of the blue and hoisted his flag in the 74-gun Carnatic
HMS Carnatic (1783)
HMS Carnatic was a 74-gun third rate ship of the line of the Royal Navy, launched on 21 January 1783 at Deptford Wharf.On 17 May 1815, she was renamed HMS Captain. Captain was broken up in 1825....

 for several months during the tensions arising from the Prussian invasion of the Netherlands. In 1790 Jervis was recalled to service once more and moved his flag to the second-rate Prince
HMS Prince (1788)
HMS Prince was a 98-gun second rate ship of the line of the Royal Navy, launched on 4 July 1788 at Woolwich. She fought at the Battle of Trafalgar.-Life:...

 during the Nootka Sound crisis
Nootka Crisis
The Nootka Crisis was an international incident and political dispute between the Kingdom of Great Britain and the Kingdom of Spain, triggered by a series of events that took place during the summer of 1789 at Nootka Sound...

 that threatened war between England and Spain. Also in 1790 Jervis was promoted rear-admiral of the white and stood down as MP for Great Yarmouth and stood instead for the Chipping Wycombe
High Wycombe
High Wycombe , commonly known as Wycombe and formally called Chepping Wycombe or Chipping Wycombe until 1946,is a large town in Buckinghamshire, England. It is west-north-west of Charing Cross in London; this figure is engraved on the Corn Market building in the centre of the town...

 seat to which he was returned as MP alongside the Marquess of Lansdowne
John Petty, 2nd Marquess of Lansdowne
John Henry Petty, 2nd Marquess of Lansdowne was the eldest son of the former Prime Minister of Great Britain, William Petty-FitzMaurice, 2nd Earl of Shelburne and 1st Marquis of Lansdowne, by his first wife, Lady Sophia Carteret.John Henry Petty-FitzMaurice travelled widely desipte his ill health,...

. With his interest in politics wavering he spoke rarely and then almost exclusively on naval matters. In 1794 he resigned his seat and did not stand again for political office. In 1792 Jervis proposed a scheme to alleviate the financial hardship of superannuated seamen. He later withdrew the proposal as Viscount Melville
Henry Dundas, 1st Viscount Melville
Henry Dundas, 1st Viscount Melville PC and Baron Dunira was a Scottish lawyer and politician. He was the first Secretary of State for War and the last person to be impeached in the United Kingdom....

 promised that the matter would be addressed by the Admiralty Board.

French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars



Jervis was promoted vice-admiral of the blue and was appointed to command of the Leeward Islands
Leeward Islands
The Leeward Islands are a group of islands in the West Indies. They are the northern islands of the Lesser Antilles chain. As a group they start east of Puerto Rico and reach southward to Dominica. They are situated where the northeastern Caribbean Sea meets the western Atlantic Ocean...

 station. Jervis took with him an army that, combined with the navy, formed a joint military expedition. The goal of the expedition was to capture French colonies and thereby weaken France's international trade. The army commander was Sir Charles Grey
Charles Grey, 1st Earl Grey
Charles Grey, 1st Earl Grey, KB PC was one of the most important British generals of the 18th century. He was the fourth son of Sir Henry Grey, 1st Baronet, of Howick in Northumberland. He served in the Seven Years' War, American War of Independence and French Revolutionary War...

, a friend and political ally. Jervis hoisted his flag in . He took Grey's son, Captain George Grey, as his flag-captain, later Sir George Grey, 1st Baronet
Sir George Grey, 1st Baronet
Sir George Grey, 1st Baronet, KCB was a British Royal Navy officer. He was born at the family home of Fallodon, Northumberland on 10 October 1767, the third son of Charles Grey, 1st Earl Grey and Elizabeth Grey , and younger brother of Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey and General Sir Henry George Grey...

. The combined forces captured the French colonies
Invasion of Guadeloupe (1794)
The Invasion of Guadeloupe was a British attempt in 1794 to take and hold the island of Guadeloupe in the West Indies during the French Revolutionary Wars. Troops led by General Charles Grey were landed on April 11, 1794, and assisted by a fleet led by Admiral Sir John Jervis...

 of Martinique
Martinique
Martinique is an island in the eastern Caribbean Sea, with a land area of . Like Guadeloupe, it is an overseas region of France, consisting of a single overseas department. To the northwest lies Dominica, to the south St Lucia, and to the southeast Barbados...

, Guadeloupe
Guadeloupe
Guadeloupe is an archipelago located in the Leeward Islands, in the Lesser Antilles, with a land area of 1,628 square kilometres and a population of 400,000. It is the first overseas region of France, consisting of a single overseas department. As with the other overseas departments, Guadeloupe...

 and Saint Lucia
Saint Lucia
Saint Lucia is an island country in the eastern Caribbean Sea on the boundary with the Atlantic Ocean. Part of the Lesser Antilles, it is located north/northeast of the island of Saint Vincent, northwest of Barbados and south of Martinique. It covers a land area of 620 km2 and has an...

 and restored monarchist rule.
The French counter-attacked and recaptured Guadeloupe on 2 June 1794. Jervis and Grey landed a force
Invasion of Guadeloupe (1794)
The Invasion of Guadeloupe was a British attempt in 1794 to take and hold the island of Guadeloupe in the West Indies during the French Revolutionary Wars. Troops led by General Charles Grey were landed on April 11, 1794, and assisted by a fleet led by Admiral Sir John Jervis...

 to recapture the island but were repulsed by the reinforced French garrison and the British expedition withdrew. In November 1794 Admiral Benjamin Caldwell
Benjamin Caldwell
Admiral Sir Benjamin Caldwell, GCB was a senior and highly experienced British Royal Navy officer of the eighteenth century whose many victories and achievements were overshadowed by his acrimonious departure from the Navy during the French Revolutionary Wars after highly publicised disputes with...

 replaced Jervis. Disputes over prize money
Prize money
Prize money has a distinct meaning in warfare, especially naval warfare, where it was a monetary reward paid out to the crew of a ship for capturing an enemy vessel...

 were widely held as the reason that Jervis and Grey were not awarded peerages for their service. Grey and Jervis' enemies proposed a vote of censure against the General and Admiral. The vote itself was negative. The prize money for the capture of the three islands, when finally calculated, amounted to £70,000 that was due to the officers and men of the navy. If adjusted for inflation this would equal approximately £ as of 20. Jervis and Grey were however awarded the thanks of both Houses of Parliament for their services. On 12 April 1794 Jervis was promoted vice-admiral of the white.

Command of the Mediterranean Fleet



Jervis was promoted admiral of the blue on 1 June 1795 and appointed to command the Mediterranean Fleet
Mediterranean Fleet
Several countries have or have had a Mediterranean Fleet in their navy. See:* Mediterranean Fleet * French Mediterranean Fleet* Mediterranean Squadron * United States Sixth Fleet...

. Unfortunately the Boyne had caught fire on 1 May 1795 and had blown up in Spithead, the result of an accident, and Jervis lost almost all of his possessions. Jervis went to take command of the Mediterranean fleet in the frigate and once more took Charles Grey
Charles Grey
-Real people:*Charles Grey, 7th Earl of Kent , Lord Lieutenant of Bedfordshire*Charles Grey, 1st Earl Grey , British Army General*Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey , British Prime Minister, after whom Earl Grey tea is named...

's son, Captain George Grey
Sir George Grey, 1st Baronet
Sir George Grey, 1st Baronet, KCB was a British Royal Navy officer. He was born at the family home of Fallodon, Northumberland on 10 October 1767, the third son of Charles Grey, 1st Earl Grey and Elizabeth Grey , and younger brother of Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey and General Sir Henry George Grey...

, as his flag-captain. Jervis also took Robert Calder
Robert Calder
Admiral Sir Robert Calder, 1st Baronet, KCB was a British naval officer who served in the Seven Years' War, the American Revolutionary War, the French Revolutionary Wars and the Napoleonic Wars.-Early life:...

 as his captain of the fleet. On arrival at Gibraltar Jervis took as his flagship. Amongst Jervis' subordinates were Captains Horatio Nelson
Horatio Nelson, 1st Viscount Nelson
Horatio Nelson, 1st Viscount Nelson, 1st Duke of Bronté, KB was a flag officer famous for his service in the Royal Navy, particularly during the Napoleonic Wars. He was noted for his inspirational leadership and superb grasp of strategy and unconventional tactics, which resulted in a number of...

, Cuthbert Collingwood
Cuthbert Collingwood, 1st Baron Collingwood
Vice Admiral Cuthbert Collingwood, 1st Baron Collingwood was an admiral of the Royal Navy, notable as a partner with Lord Nelson in several of the British victories of the Napoleonic Wars, and frequently as Nelson's successor in commands.-Early years:Collingwood was born in Newcastle upon Tyne...

 and Thomas Troubridge
Sir Thomas Troubridge, 1st Baronet
Sir Thomas Troubridge, 1st Baronet was a British naval commander and politician.Troubridge was educated at St Paul's School, London. He entered the Royal Navy in 1773 and, together with Nelson, served in the East Indies in the frigate Seahorse. In 1785 he returned to England in the Sultan as...

. Jervis began a close blockade of Toulon
Toulon
Toulon is a town in southern France and a large military harbor on the Mediterranean coast, with a major French naval base. Located in the Provence-Alpes-Côte-d'Azur region, Toulon is the capital of the Var department in the former province of Provence....

 and Nelson was assigned the task of aiding the Austrian
Holy Roman Empire
The Holy Roman Empire was a realm that existed from 962 to 1806 in Central Europe.It was ruled by the Holy Roman Emperor. Its character changed during the Middle Ages and the Early Modern period, when the power of the emperor gradually weakened in favour of the princes...

 army along the Italian coast. By September 1796 the British presence in the Mediterranean had become untenable. Napoleon
Napoleon I
Napoleon Bonaparte was a French military and political leader during the latter stages of the French Revolution.As Napoleon I, he was Emperor of the French from 1804 to 1815...

 had beaten Britain's Austrian allies who were in disarray and, in October, Spain had surrendered and allied themselves to the French. Jervis recalled Admiral Robert Mann to aid in the blockade of Cadiz. Mann took his ships instead to Spithead. Jervis abandoned Corsica between September and November 1796 and withdrew his forces to Gibraltar. A Spanish fleet made up of twenty four line-of-battle ships
Ship of the line
A ship of the line was a type of naval warship constructed from the 17th through the mid-19th century to take part in the naval tactic known as the line of battle, in which two columns of opposing warships would manoeuvre to bring the greatest weight of broadside guns to bear...

 and seven frigates sailed from Toulon on 1 February 1797. Jervis' fleet of ten ships-of-the-line was patrolling off Cape Saint Vincent and was subsequently joined by five more under Sir William Parker. The Spanish admiral, José de Córdoba, had taken his ships into the Atlantic to weather a storm and was making his way to Cadiz when the two fleets caught sight of each other.

The Battle of Cape St. Vincent



The British and Spanish fleet sighted one another at dawn on 14 February 1797. The British fleet had fifteen line-of-battle ships against the twenty four Spanish ships. On the quarter-deck of Victory, Jervis and his flag captain, Robert Calder
Robert Calder
Admiral Sir Robert Calder, 1st Baronet, KCB was a British naval officer who served in the Seven Years' War, the American Revolutionary War, the French Revolutionary Wars and the Napoleonic Wars.-Early life:...

 counted the ships. It was at this point Jervis discovered that he was outnumbered nearly two-to-one:


"There are eight sail of the line, Sir John"

"Very well, sir"

"There are twenty sail of the line, Sir John"

"Very well, sir"

"There are twenty five sail of the line, Sir John"

"Very well, sir"

"There are twenty seven sail of the line, Sir John"

"Enough, sir, no more of that; the die is cast, and if there are fifty sail I will go through them"
A passenger aboard Victory, Captain Benjamin Hallowell
Benjamin Hallowell Carew
Admiral Sir Benjamin Hallowell Carew GCB, was a senior officer in the Royal Navy...

, achieved a brief notoriety for slapping the admiral on the back and calling out "That’s right Sir John, that's right. By God, we shall give them a damned good licking!"

During the battle Nelson, in command of , wore
Jibe
A jibe or gybe is a sailing maneuver where a sailing vessel turns its stern through the wind, such that the wind direction changes from one side of the boat to the other...

 out of line and performed a stunning feat by capturing two of the enemy vessels within moments. Nelson and his crew boarded
Boarding (attack)
Boarding, in its simplest sense, refers to the insertion on to a ship's deck of individuals. However, when it is classified as an attack, in most contexts, it refers to the forcible insertion of personnel that are not members of the crew by another party without the consent of the captain or crew...

 and captured one and crossed her deck and boarded and captured the second, which had collided in the smoke and general melee
Mêlée
Melee , generally refers to disorganized close combat involving a group of fighters. A melee ensues when groups become locked together in combat with no regard to group tactics or fighting as an organized unit; each participant fights as an individual....

 of the battle. The move was later feted by the public and press and dubbed “Nelson’s patent bridge for boarding first-rates.” When the Spanish retreated Jervis did not press his advantage but consolidated his victory and began the lengthy job of repairing both his ships and crews. The British had suffered casualties of 73 killed and 227 wounded. Sir John did not mention Nelson's achievement in his initial despatch to the Admiralty despite Nelson's obvious contribution to the success of the battle. In later despatches Jervis did mention Nelson. In one anecdote, when discussing the battle with his flag-captain, Sir Robert, who had been mentioned in the despatch and had been awarded a knighthood for his services, brought up the issue of Nelson disobedience of the admiral's orders for having worn out of the line of battle
Line of battle
In naval warfare, the line of battle is a tactic in which the ships of the fleet form a line end to end. A primitive form had been used by the Portuguese under Vasco Da Gama in 1502 near Malabar against a Muslim fleet.,Maarten Tromp used it in the Action of 18 September 1639 while its first use in...

 in order to engage the enemy. Jervis silenced him by saying: "It certainly was so, and if you ever commit such a breach of your orders, I will forgive you also."

Despite the capture of only four vessels, the Battle of Cape Saint Vincent became celebrated as an outstanding victory and the awards and recognition far outweighed the achievement. The bad news of the evacuation of the Mediterranean, the capitulation of the Spanish and the Italian city-states and the defeat of the Austrian army alongside the increasing threat of a French invasion of Britain had depressed the politicians and general public. A victory, like that of Cape Saint Vincent, was more important for the morale
Morale
Morale, also known as esprit de corps when discussing the morale of a group, is an intangible term used to describe the capacity of people to maintain belief in an institution or a goal, or even in oneself and others...

 of the country as a whole than its military ramifications. Both Jervis and Nelson were hailed as heroes and Jervis was made Baron
Baron
Baron is a title of nobility. The word baron comes from Old French baron, itself from Old High German and Latin baro meaning " man, warrior"; it merged with cognate Old English beorn meaning "nobleman"...

 Jervis of Meaford and Earl
Earl
An earl is a member of the nobility. The title is Anglo-Saxon, akin to the Scandinavian form jarl, and meant "chieftain", particularly a chieftain set to rule a territory in a king's stead. In Scandinavia, it became obsolete in the Middle Ages and was replaced with duke...

 St Vincent. Songs were written about Jervis and the battle and there was a general feeling of relief in both the Government and people of Britain. Nelson for his services was invested as a Knight of the Bath. The now Earl St Vincent was gifted a pension
Pension
In general, a pension is an arrangement to provide people with an income when they are no longer earning a regular income from employment. Pensions should not be confused with severance pay; the former is paid in regular installments, while the latter is paid in one lump sum.The terms retirement...

 for life of £3,000 per year. The City of London
City of London
The City of London is a small area within Greater London, England. It is the historic core of London around which the modern conurbation grew and has held city status since time immemorial. The City’s boundaries have remained almost unchanged since the Middle Ages, and it is now only a tiny part of...

 presented him with the Freedom of the City
Freedom of the City
Freedom of the City is an honour bestowed by some municipalities in Australia, Canada, Ireland, France, Italy, New Zealand, South Africa, Spain, the United Kingdom, Gibraltar and Rhodesia to esteemed members of its community and to organisations to be honoured, often for service to the community;...

 in a gold box valued at 100 guineas
Guinea (British coin)
The guinea is a coin that was minted in the Kingdom of England and later in the Kingdom of Great Britain and the United Kingdom between 1663 and 1813...

 and awarded both him and Nelson a ceremonial sword. The presentation box and sword are both currently held at the National Maritime Museum
National Maritime Museum
The National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, England is the leading maritime museum of the United Kingdom and may be the largest museum of its kind in the world. The historic buildings forming part of the Maritime Greenwich World Heritage Site, it also incorporates the Royal Observatory, Greenwich,...

, Greenwich
Greenwich
Greenwich is a district of south London, England, located in the London Borough of Greenwich.Greenwich is best known for its maritime history and for giving its name to the Greenwich Meridian and Greenwich Mean Time...

. The two swords awarded Jervis and Nelson were the first of their kind to be issued by the City of London. St Vincent was awarded the thanks of both Houses of Parliament and given a gold medal by the King. The London Gazette
London Gazette
The London Gazette is one of the official journals of record of the British government, and the most important among such official journals in the United Kingdom, in which certain statutory notices are required to be published...

published an advertisement in 1798 regarding the prize money that was due to the officers and men who had fought at the battle. The sum quoted was £140,000, in inflationary terms this would be approximately £ as of 20, of which, as admiral, Jervis was entitled to a sizeable share. Jervis resumed his blockade of the Spanish fleet in Cadiz
Blockade of Cádiz (1797)
The Assault on Cadiz was a part of a protracted naval blockade of the Spanish port of Cadiz by the Royal Navy, which comprised the siege and the shelling of the city as well as an amphibious assault on the port itself from June to July 1797. After the battle of Cape Saint Vincent the British fleet...

.

Mutiny and discipline


During 1797 there was considerable discontent amongst the seamen of the Royal Navy. This discontent manifested itself at the Nore and at Spithead
Spithead and Nore mutinies
The Spithead and Nore mutinies were two major mutinies by sailors of the Royal Navy in 1797. There were also discontent and minor incidents on ships in other locations in the same year. They were not violent insurrections, being more in the nature of strikes, demanding better pay and conditions...

 when the greater part of the Channel Fleet
Channel Fleet
The Channel Fleet was the Royal Navy formation of warships that defended the waters of the English Channel from 1690 to 1909.-History:The Channel Fleet dates back at least to 1690 when its role was to defend England against the French threat under the leadership of Edward Russell, 1st Earl of...

 rose up against their officers. These mutinies were not overly violent and the officers were put ashore and the heads of the mutinies established their own order and kept the ships under "committee" control until their collective demands were met. The mutineers demands ranged from discontent at cruel officers to poor pay and long sea service without shore leave. There were other mutinies throughout the Navy that year, most notably and both on the Jamaica station. These mutinies resulted in the crews killing their officers and taking their ships into enemy held ports.

Jervis had the reputation as a disciplinarian and put in place a new system that would ensure that the men in the Mediterranean fleet did not mutiny. To begin with the admiral wrote a new set of standing orders. For example, Jervis divided the seamen and marines and berthed the two separately putting the marines between the officers aft and the men forward. Thus he created an effective barrier between officers and potentially unruly crews.

Jervis discouraged conversation in Irish though he did not ban it. He ordered the marine detachments to be paraded every morning and, if there was a band available, for "God save the King"
God Save the Queen
"God Save the Queen" is an anthem used in a number of Commonwealth realms and British Crown Dependencies. The words of the song, like its title, are adapted to the gender of the current monarch, with "King" replacing "Queen", "he" replacing "she", and so forth, when a king reigns...

 to be played. The marine detachment was then to remain armed at all times. Marines and soldiers were also excused from duties in regard to the general running of the ship.

In order to keep his crews active and to ensure that the Spanish did not perceive that there might be discontent in the fleet, Jervis ordered the nightly bombardment of Cadiz in his own words to "Divert the animal."

The Admiral isolated the ships from one another to minimise collusion and the opportunities the men might have to band together in mutiny. St Vincent did ensure, however, that the men under his command were cared for. When the stock of tobacco
Tobacco
Tobacco is an agricultural product processed from the leaves of plants in the genus Nicotiana. It can be consumed, used as a pesticide and, in the form of nicotine tartrate, used in some medicines...

 ran low the Admiral ensured that the supply was renewed from his own funds. When the postmaster
Postmaster
A postmaster is the head of an individual post office. Postmistress is not used anymore in the United States, as the "master" component of the word refers to a person of authority and has no gender quality...

 in Lisbon
Lisbon
Lisbon is the capital city and largest city of Portugal with a population of 545,245 within its administrative limits on a land area of . The urban area of Lisbon extends beyond the administrative city limits with a population of 3 million on an area of , making it the 9th most populous urban...

 detained the letters and packets arriving from England for the men for fear that they would carry seditious communications, Jervis set up a post office aboard his flagship to receive and distribute all the letters that arrived for both seamen, marines and officers.

Jervis strictly adhered to the Articles of War
Articles of War
The Articles of War are a set of regulations drawn up to govern the conduct of a country's military and naval forces. The phrase was first used in 1637 in Robert Monro's His expedition with the worthy Scots regiment called Mac-keyes regiment etc. and can be used to refer to military law in general...

 and individual regulations that he had written for his fleet. Any infraction was dealt with harshly and he was renowned for treating both officers and seamen with the same harsh discipline. As an example, one officer who allowed his boats crew to plunder a fishing boat was placed before a court martial and it was ordered that he be "degraded from the rank of Midshipman in the most ignominious manner by having his uniform stripped from his back on the quarter deck of the (ship unknown)[sic]. before the whole ship's company and to be further disposed of as the Commander-in-chief shall direct. To be muleted of his pay now due to him for his services on board any ship of his Majesty's service and to be rendered incapable of ever serving as an Officer or a Petty Officer in any of His Majesty's ships." Jervis later personally directed that the midshipman should have his head shaved, a notice hung around his neck describing his crime and that he should be solely responsible for the cleaning of the head
Head (watercraft)
The head is a ship's toilet. The name derives from sailing ships in which the toilet area for the regular sailors was placed at the head or bow of the ship.-Design:In sailing ships the toilet was placed in the bow for two reasons...

 (naval term for the communal toilets situated at the bow
Bow (ship)
The bow is a nautical term that refers to the forward part of the hull of a ship or boat, the point that is most forward when the vessel is underway. Both of the adjectives fore and forward mean towards the bow...

 of the ship) until further notice. In another incident, St Vincent instructed that two men aboard who were tried for mutiny on a Saturday were executed on Sunday. The men were duly executed but Admiral Charles Thompson
Sir Charles Thompson, 1st Baronet
Sir Charles Thompson, 1st baronet Thompson was a British naval officer. After long service in the Seven Years' War, American War of Independence and War of the First Coalition, he was Admiral John Jervis's second in command at the battle of Cape St Vincent...

 raised an objection to formal executions on the Sabbath and Jervis wrote to the Board of Admiralty demanding Thompson's removal or that they accept his own resignation. The Board relieved Thompson. On 9 July 1797 Nelson wrote to Jervis congratulating him in his resolve and wholeheartedly supporting his decision to execute the men on a Sunday.

Jervis could also be exceptionally kind when he felt that the situation warranted it. On one occasion, whilst the fleet was becalmed the men of the flagship were ordered to bathe. The men leapt over the side to swim in a sail that had been lowered over the side. One of the men, a senior able seaman, jumped in wearing his trousers. In one of the pockets he had his prize money and back pay that he had been saving for several years. The bank notes were destroyed by the water and when the man came aboard and discovered what had happened he began to weep. The Admiral saw the man and asked the problem. One of his officers told him and St Vincent went to his cabin. When he returned he had the crew mustered and called the man forward. "Roger Odell you are convicted, Sir, by your own appearance of tarnishing the British oak with tears. What have you to say in your defence why you should not receive what you deserve?" The man told him what had happened and St Vincent replied "Roger Odell you are one of the best men in this ship you are moreover a captain of a top and in my life I never saw a man behave himself better in battle than you did in the Victory in the action with the Spanish fleet. To show therefore that your Commander-in-chief will never pass over merit wheresoever he may find it. There is your money Sir!" The Earl produced £70 of his own money and presented it to the surprised sailor "but no more tears mind, no more tears Sir."

When Nelson returned to the Mediterranean St Vincent wrote to Earl Spencer
George Spencer, 2nd Earl Spencer
George John Spencer, 2nd Earl Spencer KG PC FRS FSA , styled Viscount Althorp from 1765 to 1783, was a British Whig politician...

, First Lord of the Admiralty: "I do assure your Lordship that the arrival of Admiral Nelson has given me new life; you could not have gratified me more than in sending him. His presence in the Mediterranean is so very essential." St Vincent detached Nelson to pursue Napoleon in his invasion of Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

 Rear-Admiral Sir John Orde
Sir John Orde, 1st Baronet
Sir John Orde, 1st Baronet was the third son of John Orde, of Morpeth, Northumberland, and the brother of Thomas Orde-Powlett, 1st Baron Bolton...

 who was senior to Nelson complained publicly and bitterly about what he considered a personal slight. Jervis ordered Orde home. Orde requested that he be court-martialled in order that he might have the opportunity to clear his name. The Board refused. Orde then requested that St Vincent be brought before a court-martial. Again, the Board refused. The Board censured Jervis for not having supported his subordinates. Orde later challenged the ageing admiral to a duel
Duel
A duel is an arranged engagement in combat between two individuals, with matched weapons in accordance with agreed-upon rules.Duels in this form were chiefly practised in Early Modern Europe, with precedents in the medieval code of chivalry, and continued into the modern period especially among...

. The challenge became public knowledge and the king ordered Jervis to decline. Before the challenge was formally declined, Orde wrote to the Board to inform them that he had withdrawn it.

When the men aboard the refused to execute a man for mutinous behaviour and their captain did nothing, the Earl threatened the captain with replacement and had boats from the rest of the fleet armed with carronades surround the Marlborough; he then threatened to sink the ship if his orders were not carried out. The man was duly executed. St Vincent turned to an officer beside him watching the mutineer hanging from the yard arm and said "Discipline is preserved, Sir!"

Between 1797 and 1799 alongside the suppression of mutiny Jervis set himself the task of improving the dockyards and defences of Gibraltar. After the Battle of the Nile
Battle of the Nile
The Battle of the Nile was a major naval battle fought between British and French fleets at Aboukir Bay on the Mediterranean coast of Egypt from 1–3 August 1798...

 the dockyards, under Jervis' watchful eye, managed to successfully repair most of the fleet. Lady Lavinia Bingham, wife of Earl Spencer wrote to St Vincent to congratulate him for having provided the necessary tools for Nelson to have achieved the victory he did at the Nile. "Never did disinterested zeal and friendship meet with a brighter reward than yours has reaped in this victory of your gallant friend." Nelson commented that he had "never beheld a fleet equal to Sir John Jervis'" Having had great difficulty supplying the fleet with fresh water the Admiral arranged for large tanks to be built in Gibraltar. On 14 February 1799 St Vincent was created admiral of the white. Constant service and approaching old age meant that the admiral became increasingly unwell. Despite his failing health, St Vincent was reluctant to relinquish command and the Board reluctant to supersede him. By 17 June 1799 he had no choice but to resign his command and return to England. During his time ashore the Earl lived in Rochetts, Essex
Essex
Essex is a ceremonial and non-metropolitan county in the East region of England, and one of the home counties. It is located to the northeast of Greater London. It borders with Cambridgeshire and Suffolk to the north, Hertfordshire to the west, Kent to the South and London to the south west...

 with his wife.

Command of the Channel Fleet


As his health had improved he was given command of the Channel Fleet
Channel Fleet
The Channel Fleet was the Royal Navy formation of warships that defended the waters of the English Channel from 1690 to 1909.-History:The Channel Fleet dates back at least to 1690 when its role was to defend England against the French threat under the leadership of Edward Russell, 1st Earl of...

. St Vincent was to comment "The King and the government require it and the discipline of the British Navy demand it. It is of no consequence to me whether I die afloat of ashore. The die is cast."

He took command of the Channel fleet in on 26 April 1800 and took up a close blockade of Brest. Once at Brest he transferred to the Ville de Paris of 110 guns and took Sir Thomas Troubridge as his captain of the fleet. He was also accompanied by his personal physician, Doctor Andrew Baird. Baird was later to become instrumental in the plans of the commander-in-chief and the health and well being of the Channel fleet.

St Vincent's appointment was not popular amongst the officers of the Channel fleet. His reputation as a strict disciplinarian had followed him from the Mediterranean and he immediately issued orders banning officers and captain to sleep ashore and forbade them from travelling more than three miles from their ship. Amongst other strict regulations introduced were orders that ships were to be repaired where possible at sea and that Ushant
Ushant
Ushant is an island at the south-western end of the English Channel which marks the north-westernmost point of metropolitan France. It belongs to Brittany and is in the traditional region of Bro-Leon. Administratively, Ushant is a commune in the Finistère department...

 was to be the official rendezvous for the Channel fleet rather than the traditional Torbay
Torbay
Torbay is an east-facing bay and natural harbour, at the western most end of Lyme Bay in the south-west of England, situated roughly midway between the cities of Exeter and Plymouth. Part of the ceremonial county of Devon, Torbay was made a unitary authority on 1 April 1998...

. The wife of one of his captains is said to have toasted the news of his appointment with the line "May his next glass of wine choke the wretch." Ships were forbidden to go to Spithead without specific written orders from the Admiral or Admiralty. During his command he remained with the fleet and became respected by the officers and men for suffering their hardships with them.

With the charts that he had made with Barrington in 1775 the inshore squadron at Brest was able to keep a much tighter blockade. In one incident, the inshore squadron sighted several French ships leaving Brest. Sir Edward Pellew
Edward Pellew, 1st Viscount Exmouth
Admiral Sir Edward Pellew, 1st Viscount Exmouth, GCB was a British naval officer. He fought during the American War of Independence, the French Revolutionary, and the Napoleonic Wars...

, captain of HMS Impétueux
French ship America (1788)
America was a Téméraire-class 74-gun ship of the line of the French Navy. The Royal Navy captured her in 1794 at the Battle of the Glorious First of June. She then served with the British under the name HMS Impetueux until she was broken up in 1813...

, gave chase. The rear admiral in charge of the inshore squadron recalled him, worried that the Impétueux would run aground. The French escaped. After several letters went back and forth between the two admirals, St Vincent, tired of his subordinate's excuses, took the entire offshore squadron and sailed them between the inshore squadron and the shore thus proving that the ships had a shallow enough draught
Draft (hull)
The draft of a ship's hull is the vertical distance between the waterline and the bottom of the hull , with the thickness of the hull included; in the case of not being included the draft outline would be obtained...

 to have given chase and captured the French. St Vincent then wrote to the rear admiral and suggested that he strike his flag and return to shore for some needed rest.

St Vincent was as generous in the Channel as he had been in the Mediterranean. A particular letter from England made the admiral host a dinner aboard the flagship for fifty of the officers whom he felt closest to. At the dinner he revealed that the letter was from an orphanage
Orphanage
An orphanage is a residential institution devoted to the care of orphans – children whose parents are deceased or otherwise unable or unwilling to care for them...

 near Paddington
Paddington
Paddington is a district within the City of Westminster, in central London, England. Formerly a metropolitan borough, it was integrated with Westminster and Greater London in 1965...

 in London. The orphanage had run out of money to support the children of sailors who had died in the service of their country. St Vincent solicited from each captain and lieutenant a sum of money and then added his own donation. The cutter sailed back to England the same evening. St Vincent gave the orphanage £1,000

St Vincent's skills as an administrator and logistician came in to play and he issued orders regarding the health and well being of the fleet. St Vincent wrote to Earl Spencer, commenting "I have ever considered the care of the sick and wounded as one of the first duties of a Commander-in-chief, by sea or land,". Based on Doctor Baird's advice on cleanliness and hygiene the admiral brought in as many fresh vegetables as he could, along with vast quantities of fresh lemon juice to minimise illness, particularly scurvy
Scurvy
Scurvy is a disease resulting from a deficiency of vitamin C, which is required for the synthesis of collagen in humans. The chemical name for vitamin C, ascorbic acid, is derived from the Latin name of scurvy, scorbutus, which also provides the adjective scorbutic...

. The effect was dramatic. The hospital ship that accompanied the fleet was sent home unneeded and in November 1800 when the fleet came to anchor in Torbay there were as few as sixteen hospital cases amongst the estimated twenty three thousand men. In a letter to Sir Evan Nepean
Evan Nepean
Sir Evan Nepean, 1st Baronet PC was a British politician and colonial administrator.-Early career:...

, first secretary to the Admiralty, St Vincent described Baird as "the most valuable man in the Navy not excepting the Board itself," The oncoming winter of 1800–1801 forced the admiral to live ashore at Torre Abbey
Torre Abbey
Torre Abbey is a historic building and art gallery in Torquay, Devon, which lies in the South West of England. It was founded in 1196 as a monastery for Premonstratensian canons, and is now the best-preserved medieval monastery in Devon and Cornwall...

 overlooking Torbay. Vice-Admiral Sir Henry Harvey
Henry Harvey
Admiral Sir Henry Harvey, KB was a long-serving officer of the British Royal Navy during the second half of the eighteenth century. Harvey participated in numerous naval operations and actions and especially distinguished himself at the Glorious First of June in command of...

 took over operational command of the fleet in St Vincent's absence.

In 1801 in a letter to the Board of Admiralty, St Vincent made the now famous remark: "I do not say, my Lords, that the French will not come. I say only they will not come by sea." In 1801 St Vincent was replaced by Admiral William Cornwallis
William Cornwallis
Admiral the Honourable Sir William Cornwallis GCB was a Royal Navy officer who fought in the Napoleonic Wars. He was the brother of Charles Cornwallis, the 1st Marquess Cornwallis, governor-general of India...

 and the new Prime Minister
Prime minister
A prime minister is the most senior minister of cabinet in the executive branch of government in a parliamentary system. In many systems, the prime minister selects and may dismiss other members of the cabinet, and allocates posts to members within the government. In most systems, the prime...

 Henry Addington
Henry Addington, 1st Viscount Sidmouth
Henry Addington, 1st Viscount Sidmouth, PC was a British statesman, and Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1801 to 1804....

 promoted St Vincent to First Lord of the Admiralty.

First Lord of the Admiralty


In January 1801 St Vincent had written a short letter to the then first Lord Earl Spencer stating: "Nothing short of a radical sweep in the dockyards can cure the enormous evils and corruptions in them; and this cannot be attempted till we have peace." As First Lord St Vincent intended to investigate, discover and remove all of the corruption that he considered plagued the Navy, the Royal Dockyards and their civilian administration. Consequently, he clashed with the various Navy Board
Navy Board
The Navy Board is today the body responsible for the day-to-day running of the British Royal Navy. Its composition is identical to that of the Admiralty Board of the Defence Council of the United Kingdom, except that it does not include any of Her Majesty's Ministers.From 1546 to 1831, the Navy...

s, the civil administration of the Royal Navy that administered amongst other things the navy yards and stores. St Vincent saw these boards and individuals as hindering the efforts of the Navy.

The Commission of Inquiry


During the peace with France, after the Treaty of Amiens
Treaty of Amiens
The Treaty of Amiens temporarily ended hostilities between the French Republic and the United Kingdom during the French Revolutionary Wars. It was signed in the city of Amiens on 25 March 1802 , by Joseph Bonaparte and the Marquess Cornwallis as a "Definitive Treaty of Peace"...

 was signed on 25 March 1802, St Vincent ordered the Navy Board to begin an investigation for fraud and corruption in the Royal Dockyards. He swiftly found that the investigations were not being conducted effectively and ordered the commissioners to retrieve all logs and accounts and inventories and put them under their "personal seal" in anticipation of the Admiralty Board travelling to the various yards itself and conducting their own inspection. The investigation began in earnest in 1802. St Vincent swiftly uncovered casual and obvious abuses of the system. Some men were listed as having done work, then over-time and then acted as night watchmen for years without a break of any kind. Others were listed as workmen ashore but also as sailors receiving pay in the Receiving Ship
Hulk (ship)
A hulk is a ship that is afloat, but incapable of going to sea. Although sometimes used to describe a ship that has been launched but not completed, the term most often refers to an old ship that has had its rigging or internal equipment removed, retaining only its flotational qualities...

. Work was done and then the identical work was charged for over various periods, often by different departments or sections. In another yard, "The men of an entire department were found to be incapables, as old, infirm boys, cripples, or idiots, and the department itself to have the appearance of an asylum for every rogue and vagabond that could not obtain a meal by any other means." St Vincent found that minor dockyard officials were the tip of a far bigger corruption. He lobbied the government to create a special commission of inquiry that would have the power to question suspects under oath. The cabinet determined that the outcome of such an inquiry might be damaging politically (and possibly in some cases, personally) and gave the board of inquiry permission to question suspects under oath but gave the suspects the right to refuse to answer questions that might incriminate themselves. This addendum removed the ability of the inquiry to act effectively in any way. The Commission of Inquiry produced twelve reports:

1. Foreign Yards;
2. the Chatham Chest
Chatham Chest
The Chatham Chest was a fund set up around 1590 to pay pensions to disabled seamen. It was financed by members' contributions which were deducted from their pay, and has therefore been described as the world's first occupational pension scheme. The assets of the scheme were held in an actual chest...

 (the pension fund for seamen);
3. supply of Blocks
Block (sailing)
In sailing, a block is a single or multiple pulley. One or a number of sheaves are enclosed in an assembly between cheeks or chocks. In use a block is fixed to the end of a line, to a spar or to a surface...

 and Naval Cooperage
Cooper (profession)
Traditionally, a cooper is someone who makes wooden staved vessels of a conical form, of greater length than breadth, bound together with hoops and possessing flat ends or heads...

;
4. prize money and prize causes;
5. the Collection of the sixpence from Merchant Seamen;
6. the Economy of the Naval Yards;
7. the Naval Hospitals
Royal Naval Hospital
A Royal Naval Hospital was a hospital operated by the British Royal Navy. No Royal Naval Hospitals survive as such, although some have become civilian hospitals and one remains as a tri-service military hospital.Royal Naval Hospitals included:...

 and the Hospital ships for French prisoners at Plymouth
Plymouth
Plymouth is a city and unitary authority area on the coast of Devon, England, about south-west of London. It is built between the mouths of the rivers Plym to the east and Tamar to the west, where they join Plymouth Sound...

;
8. the Victualling
Victualling Commissioners
The Commissioners for the victualling of the Navy, often called Victualling Commissioners, were the body responsible under the Navy Board for victualling ships of the British Royal Navy.-Creation:...

 and Cooperage at Plymouth;
9. the receipt and expenditure of stores at Plymouth;
10. Office of Treasurer of the Navy
Treasurer of the Navy
The Treasurer of the Navy was an office in the British government between the mid-16th and early 19th century. The office-holder was responsible for the financial maintenance of the Royal Navy. The office was a political appointment, and frequently was held by up-and-coming young politicians who...

;
11. the issue of Money Bills
Money bill
In the Westminster system , a money bill or supply bill is a bill that solely concerns taxation or government spending , as opposed to changes in public law.- Conventions :...

;
12. the purchase Stores for the Naval Service more particularly Masts
Mast (sailing)
The mast of a sailing vessel is a tall, vertical, or near vertical, spar, or arrangement of spars, which supports the sails. Large ships have several masts, with the size and configuration depending on the style of ship...

, Spars
SPARS
SPARS was the United States Coast Guard Women's Reserve, created 23 November 1942 with the signing of Public Law 773 by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The name is a contraction of the Coast Guard motto: Semper Paratus and its English translation Always Ready...

, Fir
Fir
Firs are a genus of 48–55 species of evergreen conifers in the family Pinaceae. They are found through much of North and Central America, Europe, Asia, and North Africa, occurring in mountains over most of the range...

 and Hemp
Hemp
Hemp is mostly used as a name for low tetrahydrocannabinol strains of the plant Cannabis sativa, of fiber and/or oilseed varieties. In modern times, hemp has been used for industrial purposes including paper, textiles, biodegradable plastics, construction, health food and fuel with modest...



One of St Vincent's biographers put the findings of the commission succinctly "The valuable British oak rotted in the forests for want of the axe; the frames building rotted on the stocks for want of timber; the ships at sea rotted before their day because constructed of such worthless perishable materials."

Reform


One reform St Vincent did achieve was the introduction of block making machinery
Portsmouth Block Mills
The Portsmouth Block Mills form part of the Portsmouth Dockyard at Portsmouth, Hampshire, England, and were built during the Napoleonic Wars to supply the British Royal Navy with pulley blocks. They started the age of mass-production using all-metal machine tools and are regarded as one of the...

 at the navy yard in Portsmouth
Portsmouth
Portsmouth is the second largest city in the ceremonial county of Hampshire on the south coast of England. Portsmouth is notable for being the United Kingdom's only island city; it is located mainly on Portsea Island...

. The machinery was designed by Marc Isambard Brunel
Marc Isambard Brunel
Sir Marc Isambard Brunel, FRS FRSE was a French-born engineer who settled in England. He preferred the name Isambard, but is generally known to history as Marc to avoid confusion with his more famous son Isambard Kingdom Brunel...

 and Samuel Bentham
Samuel Bentham
Sir Samuel Bentham was a noted English mechanical engineer and naval architect credited with numerous innovations, particularly related to naval architecture, including weapons...

. By 1808 forty-five machines were turning out 130,000 pulley blocks per year. The innovation meant that only ten to thirty unskilled men were able to equal the output of 100 skilled blockmakers and the capital cost
Capital cost
Capital costs are costs incurred on the purchase of land, buildings, construction and equipment to be used in the production of goods or the rendering of services, in other words, the total cost needed to bring a project to a commercially operable status. However, capital costs are not limited to...

 of the project was recovered in three years. The revolution of machinery enabled the Navy to become self-sufficient in regard to the production of the essential blocks. This self-sufficiency removed a great deal of corruption, from external contractors producing inferior goods that jeopardised sailors lives, to the corruption that arose from poorly paid officials responsible for awarding contracts and the bribes that might ensue. The buildings that housed the Block Machinery remain to this day and make up part of the Historic Portsmouth Dockyard
HMNB Portsmouth
Her Majesty's Naval Base Portsmouth is one of three operating bases in the United Kingdom for the British Royal Navy...

.

As First Lord, St Vincent also determined to build a breakwater in Plymouth
Plymouth Breakwater
Plymouth Breakwater is a stone breakwater protecting Plymouth Sound and the anchorages therein. It is wide at the top and the base is . It lies in about of water. Around 4 million tons of rock were used in its construction in 1812 at the then-colossal cost of £1.5 million .-History:In 1806, as...

. The First Lord commissioned a civil engineer
Civil engineer
A civil engineer is a person who practices civil engineering; the application of planning, designing, constructing, maintaining, and operating infrastructures while protecting the public and environmental health, as well as improving existing infrastructures that have been neglected.Originally, a...

, John Rennie, and Joseph Whidbey
Joseph Whidbey
Joseph Whidbey was a member of the Royal Navy who served on the Vancouver Expedition 1791–1795, and later achieved renown as a naval engineer. He is notable for having been the first European to discover and chart Admiralty Island in the Alexander Archipelago in 1794.Little is recorded of...

, the former Master-Attendant at Woolwich
Woolwich
Woolwich is a district in south London, England, located in the London Borough of Greenwich. The area is identified in the London Plan as one of 35 major centres in Greater London.Woolwich formed part of Kent until 1889 when the County of London was created...

 dockyard, to design the breakwater. Work did not begin until 1811 but the earl is widely credited as the force behind its construction.

St Vincent spoke with the King regarding the contribution made by marines to the general service of the Navy and recommended to the King
George III of the United Kingdom
George III was King of Great Britain and King of Ireland from 25 October 1760 until the union of these two countries on 1 January 1801, after which he was King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland until his death...

 that the prefix "Royal" be added. These were the first official discussions into the retitling of the corps to Royal Marines
Royal Marines
The Corps of Her Majesty's Royal Marines, commonly just referred to as the Royal Marines , are the marine corps and amphibious infantry of the United Kingdom and, along with the Royal Navy and Royal Fleet Auxiliary, form the Naval Service...

.

During his tenure, the workers in the Royal dockyards demanded an increase in pay due to an increase in living costs. St Vincent reacted by dismissing the ringleaders and every man who had taken an active role in the strike. He eventually agreed to a small temporary allowance for the purchase of bread whilst the price of bread remained high.

St Vincent's gaze passed over every aspect of the Navy from the Sea Fencibles
Sea Fencibles
The original Sea Fencibles were a naval militia established to provide a close-in line of defense to protect the United Kingdom from invasion by France during the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars...

 to the Navy Hospitals. The earl attempted to disband the Sea Fencibles claiming that they were needed only to quiet the fears of little old ladies and that good men passed their whole careers without hearing a shot fired. Doctor Baird, St Vincent's personal physician, was appointed to the Sick and Hurt Board
Sick and Hurt Commissioners
The Sick and Hurt Commissioners were responsible for medical services in the British Royal Navy from 1715 to 1806...

 as Inspector of all Hospitals.

Powers to promote


Another burden of his promotion to first lord of the Admiralty was that St Vincent was inundated with letters from aspiring officers and their relatives and friends. Soliciting employment from those in positions of influence in the navy had become common practice and was a generally accepted method of securing a good posting. The more influence that an officer could draw upon, the better and oftentimes more lucrative the position. Also, due to the peace with France the navy had been reduced and employment was scarce. The first lord could not, therefore, provide every officer of influence a position and was obliged to reject many of the letters that he received. Despite St Vincent having declared both publicly and privately that officers would be promoted or given position commensurate with their achievements and not based on their political or social influence, the letters continued to flow to the Admiralty.

The ways in which St Vincent chose to communicate the rejections often depended on the number of letters, the individual concerned, or the demands made by their respective well wishers. To the Earl of Portsmouth
John Wallop, 3rd Earl of Portsmouth
John Charles Wallop, 3rd Earl of Portsmouth , styled Viscount Lymington until 1797, was a British nobleman and lunatic....

 he wrote: "I cannot possibly agree in opinion with your Lordship, that a person sitting quietly by his fireside, and enjoying very nearly a sinecure
Sinecure
A sinecure means an office that requires or involves little or no responsibility, labour, or active service...

, during such a war as we have been engaged in, has the same pretensions to promotion with the man who has exposed his person, and hazarded his constitution in every clime." A harsh rebuff to a peer of the realm
Peer of the Realm
Peer of the Realm is a term for a member of the highest social order in a kingdom, notably:...

. Yet to a lady of no discernible rank or influence he wrote: "Although I cannot admit the force of your argument in favour of Captain (name unknown) [sic.], there is something so amiable and laudable in a sister contending for the promotion of her brother that no apology was necessary for your letter of the 24th, which I lose no time in acknowledging;"

Famously, when Commander Lord Cochrane
Thomas Cochrane, 10th Earl of Dundonald
Admiral Thomas Cochrane, 10th Earl of Dundonald, 1st Marquess of Maranhão, GCB, ODM , styled Lord Cochrane between 1778 and 1831, was a senior British naval flag officer and radical politician....

 captured the 32-gun Spanish frigate El Gamo
Spanish frigate El Gamo
The Spanish ship El Gamo was a 32-gun xebec-frigate of the Spanish Navy involved in action with, and subsequently captured by Lord Cochrane on 6 May 1801...

 in the 14-gun sloop a promotion was the usual reward for such a feat of skill and seamanship. It would be fair to argue that it would have been expected by both the commander and his friends and family. Unfortunately for Cochrane, the ship carrying the letter of that victory was intercepted and it was only received after he had himself been captured by the French and was facing a court-martial over the loss of his ship. A court-martial for losing one's ship was common practice at the time and in many cases, including Cochrane's, it was only a formality. It was only when Cochrane was cleared by the court that he could be promoted. Unfortunately the commander thought that the First Lord had deliberately withheld the promotion due to an unforeseen grudge; he held this opinion for the rest of his life. Cochrane had many powerful friends and relatives who lobbied continuously on his behalf. These solicitations may have had a negative effect on Cochrane's career as it is possible that Jervis became irritated by them.

Resignation as First Lord


The detailed investigation into corruption that St Vincent began caused him to become extremely unpopular as many influential men were involved in the various money making schemes perpetrated. The board of inquiry set up by St Vincent was responsible for the impeachment of Henry Dundas, 1st Viscount Melville
Henry Dundas, 1st Viscount Melville
Henry Dundas, 1st Viscount Melville PC and Baron Dunira was a Scottish lawyer and politician. He was the first Secretary of State for War and the last person to be impeached in the United Kingdom....

 and his trial for misappropriation of public funds. St Vincent had made an enemy of Pitt and Pitt used the naval reform and its unpopularity to attack the First Lord and the Addington administration. St Vincent left the office on May 14, 1804 when Addington was replaced as Prime Minister by Pitt. Lord Howick
Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey
Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey, KG, PC , known as Viscount Howick between 1806 and 1807, was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 22 November 1830 to 16 July 1834. A member of the Whig Party, he backed significant reform of the British government and was among the...

, second son of St Vincent's friend Sir Charles Grey came to his defence and with the assistance of Charles James Fox moved for a vote of thanks in the Commons for St Vincent's tireless efforts in naval reform in 1806. Fox had said of St Vincent's appointment in 1801 "allow me to say, that I do not think it would be easy, if possible, to find a man in the whole community better suited, or more capable of the high office he fills, than the distinguished person at the head of the Admiralty — I mean the Earl of St Vincent." and had continued his support of the Earl throughout his time as first lord.

Resumption of command


On 9 November 1805 St Vincent was promoted admiral of the red. He took command of the Channel fleet once more in the 110-gun first-rate . During his tenure in command he spent much of his time at a house that he rented in the village of Rame. Once again he issued the orders that had become so effective in the Mediterranean and his previous Channel command. Once again these orders proved unpopular. For a short time in 1806 he gave command of the Channel fleet to his second-in-command Sir Charles Cotton
Sir Charles Cotton, 5th Baronet
Sir Charles Cotton, 5th Baronet was a senior Royal Navy officer of the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars whose service continued until his death in command of the Channel Fleet from apoplexy in 1812. During his service, Cotton saw action off the Eastern Seaboard of the Thirteen Colonies and...

 in order that he might travel to Portugal on a particular mission. Portugal was under threat of invasion and St Vincent had been ordered, if necessary to take the Portuguese court to its colony in Brazil
Brazil
Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

. The invasion of Portugal was delayed and St Vincent was recalled to the Channel fleet. It was Sir Sidney Smith and Graham Moore
Graham Moore
Admiral Sir Graham Moore, GCB, GCMG was a British sailor and a career officer in the Royal Navy. He was the younger brother of General Sir John Moore.-Naval career:...

 who led the Royal family to safety in Brazil
Transfer of the Portuguese Court to Brazil
The Transfer of the Portuguese Court to Brazil was an episode in the history of Portugal and the history of Brazil in which the Portuguese royal family and its court escaped from Lisbon on November 29, 1807 to Brazil, just days before Napoleonic forces captured the city on December 1...

. St Vincent had long suffered from poor health and a change in government led to his resignation on 24 April 1807.

The Earl had always attempted to promote on merit rather than patronage and had become increasingly frustrated with the system of preferment by social rank and not competence. At his retirement in 1807 he had an audience with the King. The King asked if the navy were a better institution now than it had been on St Vincent's entrance into it. St Vincent replied that it was not. He stated: "Sire I have always thought that a sprinkling of nobility was very desirable in the Navy, as it gives some sort of consequence to the service; but at present the Navy is so overrun by the younger branches of nobility, and the sons of Members of Parliament and they so swallow up all the patronage and so choke the channel to promotion, that the son of an old Officer, however meritorious both their services may have been, has little or no chance of getting on." He continued on "I would rather promote the son of an old deserving Officer than of any noble in the land."
In a letter dated 18 October 1806 to Viscount Howick, then the First Lord. "If you will, my good Lord, bring a bill into Parliament to disqualify any Officer under the rank of Rear-Admiral to sit in the House of Commons, the Navy may be preserved; but while a little, drunken, worthless jackanapes is permitted to hold the seditious language he has done, in the presence of Flag-officers of rank, you will require a man of greater health and vigour than I possess to command your fleets." Presumably St Vincent was referring to a particular member of Parliament although his feelings on the subject remain clear.

Final years


In his retirement he seldom took his seat in the House of Lords
House of Lords
The House of Lords is the upper house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Like the House of Commons, it meets in the Palace of Westminster....

 and made his last appearance in either 1810 or 1811. During these final years St Vincent gave generously to various charities, organisations and individuals. He donated £500 to the wounded and survivors of the Battle of Waterloo
Battle of Waterloo
The Battle of Waterloo was fought on Sunday 18 June 1815 near Waterloo in present-day Belgium, then part of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands...

 and £300 to relieve starvation in Ireland. St Vincent also donated £100 to the building of a Jewish chapel in Whitechapel
Whitechapel
Whitechapel is a built-up inner city district in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, London, England. It is located east of Charing Cross and roughly bounded by the Bishopsgate thoroughfare on the west, Fashion Street on the north, Brady Street and Cavell Street on the east and The Highway on the...

, London. In 1807 St Vincent, as a member of the House of Lords, opposed a bill
Bill (proposed law)
A bill is a proposed law under consideration by a legislature. A bill does not become law until it is passed by the legislature and, in most cases, approved by the executive. Once a bill has been enacted into law, it is called an act or a statute....

 to abolish the slave trade
History of slavery
The history of slavery covers slave systems in historical perspective in which one human being is legally the property of another, can be bought or sold, is not allowed to escape and must work for the owner without any choice involved...

. His motives appear to have been practical rather than humanitarian or otherwise. St Vincent argued that if Britain were to ban the trade it would simply be continued by other countries and thereby Britain would lose the revenue generated and be weakened accordingly. St Vincent spoke in opposition to the Convention of Sintra
Convention of Sintra
The Convention of Cintra was an agreement signed on August 30, 1808 during the Peninsular War. By the agreement, the defeated French were allowed to evacuate their troops from Portugal without further conflict...

 He spoke against the Walcheren Campaign
Walcheren Campaign
The Walcheren Campaign was an unsuccessful British expedition to the Netherlands in 1809 intended to open another front in the Austrian Empire's struggle with France during the War of the Fifth Coalition. Around 40,000 soldiers, 15,000 horses together with field artillery and two siege trains...

 and then condemned its failure, although conspicuously excluded the failure of its officers and men. St Vincent spoke in defence of Lieutenant-General Sir John Moore's retreat through Spain and Portugal and condemned the government and army commanders for failure to support him thoroughly. In 1816 his wife Martha died at Rochetts in Essex. The couple had no children. In the winter of 1818–1819 St Vincent went to recover his health in France. When he arrived at Toulon he was greeted by Admiral Edouard Missiessy
Edouard Jacques Burgues de Missiessy
Edouard-Thomas de Burgues, comte de Missiessy was a French sailor....

 who said of St Vincent that he was: "as much the father of the French as of the English Navy."

Further honours


In 1800 St Vincent was made an honorary lieutenant-general of Marines
Royal Marines
The Corps of Her Majesty's Royal Marines, commonly just referred to as the Royal Marines , are the marine corps and amphibious infantry of the United Kingdom and, along with the Royal Navy and Royal Fleet Auxiliary, form the Naval Service...

 and in 1814 was promoted to general
General
A general officer is an officer of high military rank, usually in the army, and in some nations, the air force. The term is widely used by many nations of the world, and when a country uses a different term, there is an equivalent title given....

. These positions were little more than a sinecure and carried no official duties. In 1801 St Vincent had been created Viscount St Vincent
Viscount St Vincent
Viscount St Vincent, of Meaford in the County of Stafford, is a title in the Peerage of the United Kingdom. It was created in 1801 for the noted naval commander John Jervis, 1st Earl of St Vincent, with remainder to his nephews William Henry Ricketts and Edward Jervis Ricketts successively, and...

 of Meaford, Staffordshire. a title that because he had no children passed to his nephew, Edward Jervis Ricketts
Edward Jervis Jervis, 2nd Viscount St Vincent
Edward Jervis Jervis, 2nd Viscount St Vincent was a Viscount in the Peerage of the United Kingdom.He was born Edward Jervis Ricketts, the second son of William Henry Ricketts and Mary Jervis, daughter of Swynfen Jervis, Rector of Meaford, Staffordshire and sister of John Jervis, 1st Earl of St...

. In 1806 he had was appointed as one of the thirty one elder brothers of Trinity House
Trinity House
The Corporation of Trinity House of Deptford Strond is the official General Lighthouse Authority for England, Wales and other British territorial waters...

. The elder brothers along with the master form the court of Trinity House. In 1809 St Vincent was honoured by John VI of Portugal
John VI of Portugal
John VI John VI John VI (full name: João Maria José Francisco Xavier de Paula Luís António Domingos Rafael; (13 May 1767 – 10 March 1826) was King of the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and the Algarves (later changed to just King of Portugal and the Algarves, after Brazil was recognized...

 who awarded him the Royal Portuguese Military Order of the Tower and Sword
Order of the Tower and Sword
The Military Order of the Tower and of the Sword, of Valour, Loyalty and Merit is a Portuguese order of knighthood and the pinnacle of the Portuguese honours system. It was created by King Afonso V in 1459....

 in order to commemorate the safe arrival of the Royal Family
Transfer of the Portuguese Court to Brazil
The Transfer of the Portuguese Court to Brazil was an episode in the history of Portugal and the history of Brazil in which the Portuguese royal family and its court escaped from Lisbon on November 29, 1807 to Brazil, just days before Napoleonic forces captured the city on December 1...

 in Brazil
Brazil
Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

, after Napoleon had invaded Portugal.
In May 1814 he was promoted acting admiral of the fleet
Admiral of the Fleet (Royal Navy)
Admiral of the fleet is the highest rank of the British Royal Navy and other navies, which equates to the NATO rank code OF-10. The rank still exists in the Royal Navy but routine appointments ceased in 1996....

 and commander-in-chief of the Channel squadron. He was confirmed Admiral of the fleet on the 29 January 1820 and George IV sent him a gold topped baton as a symbol of the office. The baton is currently held in the collections of the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich. On 2 January 1815 he was made Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath when the order was rearranged by the Prince Regent. The knight grand cross is the highest rank in the order.

Death and memorial


St Vincent died on 13 March 1823 and, because he had no children, the Barony of Jervis became extinct. His nephew, Edward Jervis Ricketts
Edward Jervis Jervis, 2nd Viscount St Vincent
Edward Jervis Jervis, 2nd Viscount St Vincent was a Viscount in the Peerage of the United Kingdom.He was born Edward Jervis Ricketts, the second son of William Henry Ricketts and Mary Jervis, daughter of Swynfen Jervis, Rector of Meaford, Staffordshire and sister of John Jervis, 1st Earl of St...

, became the Viscount St Vincent and changed his surname to Jervis, becoming Edward Jervis Jervis in honour of his uncle. St Vincent was buried at Stone in Staffordshire, in the family mausoleum
Mausoleum
A mausoleum is an external free-standing building constructed as a monument enclosing the interment space or burial chamber of a deceased person or persons. A monument without the interment is a cenotaph. A mausoleum may be considered a type of tomb or the tomb may be considered to be within the...

, at his own request and a monument was erected in St. Paul's Cathedral.

Legacy


At least three ships and two stone frigate
Stone frigate
Stone frigate is a nickname for a naval establishment on land. The term has its origin in Britain's Royal Navy after its use of Diamond Rock, off Martinique, as a 'sloop of war' to harass the French...

s (or shore establishments) have been named either in honour of the Earl or after that battle that he won. , commissioned in 1910 was the first of her class and therefore the class of battleship was named after her. The St. Vincent class battleship
St. Vincent class battleship
The St. Vincent class battleships consisted of three ships of the Royal Navy laid down in 1908, and completed between May 1909 and April 1910. They were St. Vincent, Collingwood, and Vanguard. Vanguard was destroyed in an ammunition explosion, probably due to bagged cordite.Visually, they were very...

s included and . , a J-class destroyer
Destroyer
In naval terminology, a destroyer is a fast and maneuverable yet long-endurance warship intended to escort larger vessels in a fleet, convoy or battle group and defend them against smaller, powerful, short-range attackers. Destroyers, originally called torpedo-boat destroyers in 1892, evolved from...

, launched just prior to the Second World War, was named after the Admiral. HMS Jervis served throughout the war. She was known as a lucky ship as, despite taking part in several actions, she never lost a man to enemy fire. HMS Jervis Bay, an armed merchant cruiser which was lost in heroic circumstances, was indirectly named after him.

Jervis has also been remembered in schools in England. He has a boarding house (Saint Vincent) named in his honour at the Royal Hospital School
Royal Hospital School
The Royal Hospital School, , is a British co-educational independent boarding school with naval traditions. It admits pupils from age 11 to 18 through Common Entrance or the school's own exam...

. Saint Vincent College in Gosport
Gosport
Gosport is a town, district and borough situated on the south coast of England, within the county of Hampshire. It has approximately 80,000 permanent residents with a further 5,000-10,000 during the summer months...

, England is also named after the admiral.

As with many other officers during the great age of discovery there are several areas of the world named in the earl's honour. Cape Jervis, South Australia
Cape Jervis, South Australia
Cape Jervis is a town at the southwestern tip of Fleurieu Peninsula in South Australia, approximately 108 km south of Adelaide. The population is approximately 300 people and growing rapidly, with a new estate situated behind the main town...

 and Jervis Bay
Jervis Bay
Jervis Bay is a large bay bounded by the state of New South Wales, the Jervis Bay Territory, and a detached enclave of the Australian Capital Territory. HMAS Creswell is located between Jervis Bay Village and Greenpatch in the Jervis Bay Territory.-History:...

, New South Wales
New South Wales
New South Wales is a state of :Australia, located in the east of the country. It is bordered by Queensland, Victoria and South Australia to the north, south and west respectively. To the east, the state is bordered by the Tasman Sea, which forms part of the Pacific Ocean. New South Wales...

, Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

 were named for him as was the town of Vincentia
Vincentia, New South Wales
Vincentia is a town in New South Wales, Australia in the City of Shoalhaven, on the shores of Jervis Bay. It is roughly 25 km south-east of Nowra, and approximately 200 km south of Sydney. In 2006, the population of the State Suburb of Vincentia was 2,875....

 and Jervis Bay National Park
Jervis Bay National Park
Jervis Bay National Park, formerly known as Jervis Bay National Park , consists of several protected areas on the western and northern foreshores of Jervis Bay, on the south coast of New South Wales...

. The County of St Vincent, New South Wales
New South Wales
New South Wales is a state of :Australia, located in the east of the country. It is bordered by Queensland, Victoria and South Australia to the north, south and west respectively. To the east, the state is bordered by the Tasman Sea, which forms part of the Pacific Ocean. New South Wales...

 was also named in his honour. Jervis Inlet
Jervis Inlet
Jervis Inlet is a principal inlet of the British Columbia Coast, about northwest of Vancouver.-Geography:It stretches from its head at the mouth of the short Skwakwa River to its opening into the Strait of Georgia near Texada Island...

, in British Columbia
British Columbia
British Columbia is the westernmost of Canada's provinces and is known for its natural beauty, as reflected in its Latin motto, Splendor sine occasu . Its name was chosen by Queen Victoria in 1858...

, Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

, was also named for him.

Historiography


Though Jervis clearly had a strong impact during the Napoleonic Wars and afterwards on the development of the Navy, surprisingly few contemporary biographies of Jervis are available, and those are seriously lacking in breadth and thoroughness. The most recent work related to Jervis is The Remaking of the English Navy by Admiral St. Vincent: The Great Unclaimed Naval Revolution by Charles Arthur, 1986, but this focused more on Jervis's reforms to the docks, and less to other parts of his life. Evelyn Berkman's Nelson's Dear Lord: Portrait of St. Vincent (1962), as the bibliographer Eugene Rasor points out, is merely an "effort" to create a biography. The same bibliographer says much the same about William Milbourne James's "Old Oak": The Life of John Jervis, Earl St. Vincent (1950) and Owen Sherrard's A life of Lord St. Vincent (1933), pointing to both as mediocre. Ruddock Mackay published an article in Mariner's Mirror
Mariner's Mirror
The Mariner's Mirror is the quarterly academic journal of the Society for Nautical Research in the United Kingdom. It was established in 1911 and is abstracted and indexed by Scopus.- Editors :Previous editors-in-chief have been:...

which documented the early life of Jervis.

External links


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