MONCKE, George Paris, Esq. Captain R.N.; at Dunkirk; Nov. 14. 1828.

This officer was the only son of a Captain in the Royal Horse Guards. He entered the Navy in June, 1775, as a midshipman on board the Worcester 64, commanded by Capt. Mark Robinson, and forming part of a small squadron of observation then about to proceed on a cruise off Cape Finisterre, under Commodore Sir Peter Parker.

In March, 1777, Mr. Monke was transferred to the Fox, of 28 guns, Capt. P. Fotheringham. That ship was captured by two American frigates, June 8th following (though afterwards retaken on its way to Boston by Capt. John Brisbane, of the Flora frigate). Mr. Monke was taken in one of them to Boston, where he remained in close confinement for several months. After that period he and his fellow prisoners were exchanged, and reinstated in their former posts on board the Fox; which ship returned to England in February, 1778.

We next find the subject of this memoir serving in the Courageux 74, and acting as Aid-de-camp to Capt. Lord Mulgrave, in the action off Ushant, between Keppel and D'Orvilliers.

In Sept. 1780, being strongly recommended by Lord Mulgrave, Mr. Monke was appointed to act as Lieutenant of the Harpy fire-vessel, in which he continued until Nov. 1781; when he received a commission for the Warrior 74, Capt. Sir James Wallace, under whom he served as fourth of that ship in Rodney's battle with De Grasse, April 9 and 12. 1782; on which days her total loss amounted to five killed and 21 wounded. He also assisted at the capture of two French 64-gun ships, one frigate, and a corvette, in the Mona Passage, on the 19th of the same month.

On the arrival of the victorious fleet at Jamaica, Lieut. Monke was appointed first of Le Jason 64, Capt. John Aylmer, with whom he returned home in the month of October following; that ship having miraculously weathered the tremendous hurricane, which proved so fatal to the Centaur, Ramillies, Ville-de-Paris, Glorieux, and Hector, as well as to numerous merchant vessels which had sailed for England under the protection of Rear-Admiral Graves.

In 1790 Lieutenant Monke was appointed to command the Speedwell cutter, and employed on various services, under the orders of Lord Howe. In 1792, while cruising on the Yorkshire coast, he captured the Hell-afloat, a very fine smuggling cutter of 14 guns, the exact number mounted by his own vessel.

A short time previous to the commencement of the French revolutionary war, Lieut. Monke proceeded to Hamburgh, for the purpose of bringing over a number of British sailors, who had recently been wrecked in different vessels on the coast of Jutland, and he succeeded in prevailing on a hundred of them to embark with him in the Speedwell. During the passage home — a very stormy one, and prolonged by contrary winds — he found himself obliged to keep the deck night and day, in order to secure these men for the Navy, it being known that they intended, if possible, to seize the cutter, run her ashore, and thus avoid impressment. In consequence of the fatigue he endured on this occasion, his health was so seriously injured as to render it necessary for him to resign his desirable command in Aug. 1793.

Lieutenant Monke's subsequent appointments were to the Maidstone frigate, and Ville-de-Paris, of 110 guns, from which latter ship he was promoted to the rank of Commander, in March 1797.

Finding himself now possessed of much unwished-for leisure, Captain Monke compiled, and in 1799 published, "A Vocabulary of Sea Phrases, and Terms of Art used in Seamanship and Naval Architecture." The work consists of two pocket volumes, in English and French, containing all the orders necessary for working a ship, and carrying on the duty, as well at sea as in port; by means of which an English prize-master, however ignorant of the French nautical language, may navigate a ship of that nation with part of her own crew, whenever circumstances, for a while, prevent a sufficient number of British seamen being put on board for that purpose. In July 1808 Captain Monke was appointed to the Centurion 50, armed en flute, and ordered to convey naval stores to Halifax. We subsequently find him commanding the Statira, frigate pro temp, and assisting at the reduction of Guadaloupe. His post commission bears date Jan. 12. 1810.

We now arrive at the unfortunate conclusion of Captain Monke's professional career. In Oct. 1810, he assumed the command of the Pallas 32, and proceeded from the Firth of Forth to cruise for a month on the coast of Norway, where his boats, under the direction of Lieut. M'Curdy, captured, in the cove of Siverang, two Danish cutter-privateers of considerable force. Returning to Leith Roads, pursuant to his orders, he had the misfortune to be wrecked near Dunbar, in the night of Dec. 19., his pilots having mistaken the light issuing from a lime-kiln for the light on the Isle of May, and the latter for that on the Bell Rock. It is not a little singular that, at the very same time, the Nymph 36, Capt. Edward Sneyd Clay, though not in company with the Pallas, went ashore under exactly similar circumstances, and was also totally wrecked within a short distance of her.


The Annual Biography and Obituary 1830. Vol. 14.
Longman, Rees, Orme, Brown, and Green, London, 1830. pp 428-429.

Transcribed by Lars Bruzelius.


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