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By Louise Fiske

The 1St Viscount Exmouth
April 19, 1757 – January 23, 1883


Kept by Chaplain J. B. Frowd, the assigned Minister to Lord Exmouth

(Naval History Chronicle Vol. 33)

This amazing Prayer Book survived more than raging embattlements in Algeria, it also saw the result of Mutanies.

A psalm has been noted as “Parker, the Mutineer chose on his execution day.”

It is most clearly written in the hand of the Chaplain.

Edward Pellew( Lord Exmouth) ran away from his family in 1770 and joined the Royal Navy at the young age of 13. Just prior to the Revolutionary War.

At the beginning of the war he joined the Blonde frigate, commanded by Captain Philomen Pownall, whom he sailed with to the relief of Quebec.  He then moved to the Carleton schooner and distinguished himself by his conduct in the battle fought on Lake Champlain, Oct. 11, 1776.  He then went with General Burgoyne’s army across the lakes to join the King’s forces in New York and was, consequently, present in the 1777 battle of Saratoga.  In one of America’s greatest victories in the Revolutionary War,  Pellew, was captured along with the others in his regiment after a humiliating surrender to General Gates. He returned to England by the way of Quebec, and on his arrival was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant.

His continued success brought great victories and recognition that resulted in a multitude of titles and advancements.

At the bombardment of Algiers, he secured the release of the 1,200 Christian slaves in the city.  For this action, he was created 1st Viscount Exmouth on December 10, 1816.


Following the end of the Napoleonic Wars  in 1815, the Royal Navy  no longer needed the Barbary states as a source of supplies for Gibraltar  and their fleet in the Mediterranean Sea. Britain exerted considerable political pressure exerted to force the Barbary states to end their piracy and practice of enslaving European Christians.

In early 1816, Exmouth undertook a diplomatic mission, backed by a small squadron of ships of the line to Tunis, Tripoli, and Algiers to convince the Days to stop the practice and free the Christian slaves. The Deys of Tunis and Tripoli agreed without any resistance, but the Dey of Algiers was more recalcitrant, and the negotiations were stormy. Exmouth believed that he had managed to negotiate a treaty to stop the slavery of Christians and returned to England. However, due to confused orders, Algerian troops massacred 200 Corsican, Sicilian and Sardinian fishermen who were under British protection just after the treaty was signed. This caused outrage in Britain and Europe, and Exmouth’s negotiations were seen as a failure.

As a result, Exmouth was ordered to sea again to complete the job and punish the Algerians. He four frigates   (HMS SevernGlasgowGranicusand Hebrus), and five bombs (HMS BelzebubFuryHecla and Infernal).HMS Queen Charlotte —100 guns—was his flagship and Rear Admiral David Milne was his second in command aboard HMS Impregnable  98 guns. This squadron was considered by many to be an insufficient force, but Exmouth had already unobtrusively surveyed the defenses of Algiers: he was very familiar with the town and was aware of a weakness in the field of fire of the defensive batteries. He believed that more large ships would have interfered with each other without being able to bring much more fire to bear. In addition to the main fleet, there were four sloops (HMS HeronMutineCordelia and Britomart), eight ships’ boats armed with Congreve rockets, and some transports to carry the rescued slaves.

When the British arrived in Gibraltar, a squadron of five Dutch frigate s(MelampusFredericaDageraadDianaand Amstel) and a corvette —led byVice Admiral Theodorus Frederik van Capellen —offered to join the expedition. Exmouth decided to assign them to cover the main force from Algerian flanking batteries, as there was insufficient space in the mole for the Dutch frigates.

Council of War aboard the Queen Charlotte by Nicolaas Bauer

The day before the attack, the frigate Prometheus arrived, and its captain Dashwood attempted to secretly rescue the British Consul and his wife and infant. Some of the rescue party was discovered and arrested. The attack was described by the US Consul.

The plan of attack was for the larger ships to approach in a column. They were to sail into the zone where the majority of the Algerian guns could not be brought to bear. Then, they were to come to anchor and bombard the batteries and fortifications on the mole to destroy the defenses. Simultaneously, HMS Leander—50 guns—was to anchor off the mouth of the harbor and bombard the shipping inside the mole. To protect Leander from the shore battery, two frigates—HMS Severn and Glasgow—were to sail inshore and bombard the battery.

Sketch Showing  the Positions of the Fleet before the bombardment


Exmouth in Queen Charlotte anchored approximately 80 yd (73 m) off the mole facing the Algerian guns. However, a number of the other ships, notably Admiral Milne aboard HMS Impregnable anchored out of position, in the case of Milne’s ship 400 yards from where it should have been. This error reduced the effectiveness of these ships and exposed them to fiercer Algerian fire. Some of the other ships sailed past Impregnable and anchored in positions closer to the plan. The unfortunate gap created by the misplaced HMS Impregnable was closed by the frigate HMS Granicus and the sloop

In their earlier negotiations, both Exmouth and the Dey of Algiers had stated that they would not fire the first shot. The Dey’s plan was to allow the fleet to anchor and then to sortie from the harbour and board the ships with large numbers of men in small boats. But, Algerian discipline was less effective and one Algerian gun fired a shot at 15:15. Exmouth immediately began the bombardment. The Algerian flotilla made an attempt to board but thirty-three of their boats were sunk. After an hour, the cannon on the mole were effectively silenced, and Exmouth turned his attention to the shipping in the harbour, including a number of naval vessels of frigate size or smaller, which were destroyed by 19:30.

Although the fleet also bombarded the city, there was comparatively little damage as the construction of the houses meant that cannon balls passed through the walls, leaving a neat hole without destroying them. The explosive mortar shells and rockets caused some destruction to domestic buildings, and the shipping in the harbour burned so fiercely that the warehouses nearby caught light and were burnt down.

At 20:00, Milne asked that a sloop that had been fitted out as an explosion vessel, with 143 barrels of gunpowder aboard, be used against the “Lighthouse battery,” which was mauling his ship. The vessel was exploded, but to little effect and against the wrong battery.

Despite this, the Algerian batteries could not maintain fire and by 22:15, Exmouth gave the order for the fleet to weigh anchor and sail out of range, leaving HMS Minden to keep firing to suppress any further resistance. By 01:30 the next morning, the fleet was anchored out of range. The wounded were treated, and the crew cleared the damage caused by the Algerian guns. Casualties on the British side were 16 percent killed or wounded.

The allied squadron had fired over 50.000 round shot using 118 tons of gunpowder, and the bomb vessels had fired 960 explosive mortar shells.

Guns. Killed. Wounded.
Queen Charlotte 108 Admiral Lord Exmouth, K.C.B.
Captain James Brisbane. {  
8 131
Impregnable 104 {   Rear-Admiral David Milne.
Captain Edward Brace.
50 160 }
Superb 78 Captain Charles Ekins. 8 84
Minden 74 Captain William Paterson. 737
Albion 74 Captain John Coode. 3 15
Leander 60 Captain Edward Chetham. 17118
Severn 50 Captain Hon. T. W. Aylmer. 334
Glasgow 50 Captain Hon. Anthony Maitland. 1037
Granicus 42 Captain William Furlong Wise. 1642
Hebrus 42 Captain Edmund Palmer. 416
Heron 18 18 Captain George Bentham.
Mutine 18 Captain James Mould.
Prometheus 22 Captain Wm. Bateman Dashwood
Cordelia 10 Captain William Sargent.
Britsmart 10 Captain Robert Riddell. .
Beelzebub } Bombs Bombs
Infernal Captain Hon. G. J. Perceval. 2 17
Hecla Captain William Popham.

The following day at noon, Exmouth sent the following letter to the Dey:

“Sir, for your atrocities at Bona on defenceless Christians, and your unbecoming disregard of the demands I made yesterday in the name of the Prince Regent of England, the fleet under my orders has given you a signal chastisement, by the total destruction of your navy, storehouse, and arsenal, with half your batteries.

As England does not war for the destruction of cities, I am unwilling to visit your personal cruelties upon the unoffending inhabitants of the country, and I therefore offer you the same terms of peace which I conveyed to you yesterday in my Sovereign’s name. Without the acceptance of these terms, you can have no peace with England.” He warned that if they were not accepted, then he would continue the action. The Dey accepted the terms, not realising that they were a bluff, as the fleet had already fired off almost all of its ammunition

A treaty was signed on September 24, 1816. The Dey freed 1,083 Christian slaves and the British Consul and repaid the ransom money. Over 3000 slaves in total were later freed.

After some time, Algiers and other Barbary states renewed their piracy and slavery, as they earned revenues from the ransoms for some European slaves and had a market for others.

Following his return to England, he became Commander in Chief of Plymouth from 1817-1821, when he effectively retired from active service. In 1832, he was appointed Vice-Admiral of the United Kingdom and Admiral of the Red Squadron of His Majesty’s Fleet, Knight Grand Cross of the Most Honorable Military Order of the Bath, also of the Royal and distinguished Order of Charles the Third of Spain, of the Military Order of William of the Netherlands, of the Royal Sicilian Order of St. Ferdinand and Merit , of the Military Order of St. Maurice and St. Lazare of Sardinia, Knight of the Most Honourable and Most Ancient Order of the Annunciation of the Royal House of Savoy, High Steward of Great Yarmouth, and one of the Elder Brethren of the Hon. Corporation of the Trinity House.

Bitton House

He bought Bitton House in Teignmouth  in 1812 and it was his home until his death in 1833. He was buried in Christow  on the eastern edge of Dartmoor on 30 Jan 1833. A note on the parish burial record states, “No Singing, No Sermon”. The museum in Teignmouth has a comprehensive collection of artefacts that belonged to him.

Sir Edward Pellew by Patrick MacDowell, 1846.

Lot 151 from Catalog 484

The Book of Common Prayer. 8vo, contemporary straight-gained morocco decorated in blind, all edges gilt, cloth clamshell with gilt-lettered spine- and cover-labels provided; rubbed.

London: Otridge & Son, 1813 [300/500]

Lord Exmouth’s copy, with his printed label and signed by Pellew on the title, with the inscription “Souvenir from Mrs. Catherine Hart” dated 1814, and with manuscript note detailing ownership, mounted to the title-page. The rear blank contains a 2-page manuscript prayer titled

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