1902 Encyclopedia > Samuel Hood, 1st Viscount Hood

Samuel Hood, 1st Viscount Hood
British sailor

SAMUEL HOOD, FIRST VISCOUNT HOOD (1724-1816), English admiral, was born in 1724 at Butleigh in Somer-setshire, where his father was rector. Entering the navy at sixteen years of age, he quickly obtained promotion, becom-ing lieutenant in 1746 and commander in 1754. In 1757 he captured a French ship of equal size with his own, and in 1759 he repeated the achievement. After holding succes-sively the appointments of chief commander of the Boston naval station and commissioner of the dockyards at Ports-mouth, he was in 1780 promoted to the rank of rear-admiral, and sent to co-operate with Sir George Rodney in the West Indies, where he fought some indecisive actions with the Comte de Grasse. In July of the following year he succeeded Rodney in the supreme command, shortly after which the fleet set sail for America. Although iiq January 1782 Hood failed io hold the island of St Chris-topher's against the superior forces of the French, he succeeded in very difficult circumstances in preserving his fleet intact until the arrival of Rodney, when he so distinguished himself in the action of the 9th April and the more important one of the 12th, that for his services he was created a peer of Ireland with the title of Baron Hood of Catheiington. On Rodney's return home he was again promoted to the chief command, which he held till peace was proclaimed in 1783. In 1784 Lord Hood successfully opposed Charles Fox as parliamentary candi-date for Westminster, and, though he lost his seat on being made a lord of the admiralty in 1788, he regained it in 1790. On the outbreak of war with France, after the Revolution, in 1793, he was appointed to the command of the fleet in the Mediterranean, where he received the surrender of Toulon from the French royalists. Before evacuating it to Napoleon on December 18th, Hood burned the arsenal, and destroyed fifteen sail of the line besides carrying off eight. In the following year he succeeded, after a stubborn resistance, in expelling the French from Corsica; and after his return home he was in 1796 appointed governor of Greenwich Hospital and raised to the English peerage with the title of Viscount Hood of Whitley. In 1799 he was promoted to the rank of admiral, and in 1804 he received the grand cross of the bath. He died at Bath 27th June 1816. The achievements of Lord Hood, though not of so brilliant a character as those of a Blake or a Nelson, were the result of thorough seamanship, and of a rare union of courage and decision with coolness and caution.

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