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APTAIN JOSEPH ELLISON, the worthy officer whose
services to his country we have now the satisfaction of commencing our NINETEENTH volume with, was born at Newcastleupon-Tyne, in the year 1753. He was the only son of Joseph Ellison, Esq. a descendant of a very respectable family in that part of the country.+ Unfortunately, he lost his father when he was only six months old ; in consequence of which he was adopted by
* A portrait, and very interesting memoir of this gallant officer were inserted in our fifteenth volume.
+ Many families have branched off from the original stock of the Ellisons; as is evident from the following letter, addressed to the subject of this memoir, by Richard Ellison, Esq. the present member of parliament for the city of Lincoln. We insert it with the more satisfaction, as it affords Nab. Chron, dol,XIX.
an aunt, wka had no children of her own, and was removed by her into the neighbourhood of Portsmouth,
We must trace, with a rapid hand, his early professional progress. In his ninth year, he went to sea with Admiral Sir Edward lIawke,* in the Royal George, which was at that time command. ed by Captain Kennett. In the year 1763, he was removed into the Rippon, of 60 guns, Captain (now Admiral) Thompson ; from which he went on board the Arrogant, commanded by the late Admiral M-Kenzie. In 1767, he joined the Glory, Captain Chad; in which he remained till 1769, when he was removed into the Aldborough, Captain Hawke; in 1770, he served in the Boyne, Captain Bennet; in 1773, he went into the Ocean, Cap. tain Oury; and, in 1776, into the Somerset, Captain Le Cras. From the last mentioned ship, he was sent, for a few months, into the Albion, commanded by the Honourable Levison Gower.
a gratifying testimony of the general estimation in which both the public and private character of Captain Ellison are holden :
22, Dover Street, July 6, 1797. “I have this day reccived, on my return to London, the honour of a letter from you, but which I am persuaded is intended for some other gentleman of our common name; and I presume for Mr. Ellison, of Park House, near Newcastle, who has been some time dead. Allow ine to say, that I consider the circumstance of this letter coming into my hands, as fortunate to myself.—It gives me the opportunity of becoming known to you, and of expressing a wish for the increase of that acquaintance. If circumstances should at any time bring me into the vicinity where you may be, I shall with pleasure avail myself of the occasion, personally to pay my respects to you; and I will fatter myself, that when you visit London I may hope for that favour from you. My country residence is Sudbrooke llall, near Lincoln; and if you should visit the north, I beg to extend my wish for the pleasure of waiting upon you there. The late Mr. Ellison, of whom I have spoken, was of the same family, as are also all the Ellisons in the counties of Lancaster, Durham, and Northumberla::d, although the relationship is now very distant. I have little doubt but in conversation on the subject, we shall be found in some degree related : in the mean time, permit me to congratulate you on your honourable appointment,t and to offer every wish for your health and happiness. I have the honour to be, with every respect, &c. &c.
U RICHARD ELLISON."
* A memoir of this officer appears in the seventh volume of the Naval CHRONICLE, page 453.
+ To the Marlborough.
On his return to the Somerset, that ship was ordered to Boston, in America. Soon after her arrival there, the American war broke out; on which occasion, Captain Le Cras gave Mr. Ellison the command of three gundaloes, for the purpose of preventing the rebels from forming a junction. This was a service of great satigue, and of no slight danger; as the persons engaged in it were deprived of their natural rest, and of every other comfort, and were fired at, and harassed continually, by the enemy. One of Mr. Ellison's “lucky escapes," at this time, is deserving of notice. While asleep, at night, an eighteen-pounder came into the larboard quarter, killed two men who were lying close to him, and cut the cleus of his hammock!
When these gundaloes were found to be no longer serviceable, they were discharged, and Mr. Ellison went back to the Somerset.
Immediately on his arrival from England, Sir William (now Lord Viscount) Howe obtained information, that the enemy had advanced as far as the heights of Charlestown, had thrown up redoubts, and were straining every nerve to oppose a vigorous resist. ance against the British army. Sir William having landed at Boston, Mr. Ellison was ordered to convey him, in the Somerset's barge, from that port to Charlestown.* They accordingly proceeded thither, accompanied by the army, in flat-bottomed boats, and Mr. Ellison assisted in setting fire to the town. On making good their landing, he also volunteered his services to the army ; bat it was deemed of more consequence that he should remain in the barge, in case a retreat should be requisite. On the following morning, however, Sir William Howe, having gained a complete vietory over the rebels at Bunker's Hill, re-imbarked in the Somerset's barge ; and Mr. Ellison conducted him to General Gage, at Boston.
When Mr. Ellison took his leave of Sir William Howe, that officer, as a handsome compliment to his merit, offered him a military commission; which, it is scarcely necessary to say, he declined, as he felt a much stronger attachment to the naval service,
The Somerset returned to England in March, 1776 ; soon after
* For a View of Charlestown see Vol. XVIII,
which Mr. Ellison was removed into the Rippon, at that time commanded by Captain the Hon. Wm. Waldegrave (now Admiral Lord Radstock) and bearing the pendant of Commodore Sir Edward Vernon. In the Rippon, he proceeded to the East Indies; and, while on that station, the war broke out between England and France. In the month of August, 1778, Sir Edward Vernon's squadron, consisting of the Rippon, Coventry, Seahorse, and Cormorant sloop, and the Valentine and Besborough East Indiamen, fell in with a French squadron, of three sail of the line, and two frigates, under the command of M. Tranjolly, off Pon, dicherry; and, after a spirited action of two hours, in which the Rippon had four killed and fifteen wouoded, the opponents parted, as it were, by consent; the enemy retreating into Pondi. cherry, and the English into Madras. +
In the month of October following, Mr. Ellison was present at the reduction of Pondicherry, as acting lieutenant of the Cormorant, by order of Commodore Vernon.
In this sloop he subsequently went up the Red Sca. At Suez, some of the crew deserted, and turned Mahometans; and Lieutenant Ellison, having been sent to recover them, was seized by the Turks, and taken before one of their tribunals, to be punished. On receipt of this intelligence, Captain Owen sent on shore, to demand Lieutenant Ellison and the men; and to say that, unless they were immediately delivered up, he would warp the sloop alongside the town, and level it with the dust; which threat he was actually proceeding to put into execution, when Lieutenant Ellison was sent on board.
On the arrival of the Cormorant at Madras, Captain Owen died; in consequence of which Lieutenant Ellison was despatched
* A biographical memoir of his lordship is given in the tenth volume of the Naval CHRONICLE, page 265.
+ Sir Edward Vernon's official account of this engagement is inserted in our memoir of the late Sir Andrew Mitchel; vide NAVAL CHRONICLE, Vol. XVI. page 91. Sir Andrew Mitchell was at that time one of the lieutenants of the Rippon; and was, immediately after, made post in the Coventry. A short sketch of the professional services of Sir Edward Vernon also appears in our sixteenth volume, page 90.-Shortly after the above mentioned action, Captain Marlow, in the Coventry, captured the Sartine, French frigate, of 28 guns, which mistook the British for the French squadron.