II. The Seahorse: Introductory note

Pages 47-48

The Barrington Papers, Vol. 77. Originally published by Navy Record Society, London, 1937.

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In November 1748 Captain Barrington was appointed to H.M.S. Seahorse, a new ship, just built at Harwich and launched September 13th, 1748. He received his commission on November 4th and hoisted the pendant on board in Sheerness harbour on the 12th. The Seahorse was destined to form one of Commodore Keppel's squadron in the Mediterranean. Barrington's orders to fit her for sea are dated November 15th, 1748, and on January 25th, 1748/9, he was ordered to put himself under Keppel's command and follow his orders. The Seahorse hauled out of dock on February 12th, 1749, anchored at the Nore on the 17th, and in accordance with Keppel's orders proceeded to Spithead where she arrived on February 26th. Not being ready himself, Keppel ordered Barrington to sail independently for the Mediterranean. The Seahorse sailed on March 18th and reached Gibraltar on April 9th. Keppel followed in the Centurion, (fn. 1) with the Lyme, and joined Barrington in the Tagus on May 24th, 1749, after which the three ships proceeded in company to Cadiz and Tetuan Bay. Keppel was largely engaged in diplomatic negotiations, some account of which is given in The Life of Augustus Viscount Keppel, by the Hon. Thomas Keppel; his dispatches to the Admiralty are in P.R.O. Ad. I, 383. The squadron was also called upon to afford protection to Trade and carry the remittances of money that the merchants shipped from time to time. This latter service took Barrington as far as Leghorn and Genoa; but in general the Seahorse's time was passed at Port Mahon and Gibraltar, with spells of duty at Lisbon and Cadiz. The Seahorse had her last spell in the Tagus from June to September, 1751. Leaving Lisbon on September 7th, she anchored off Dover on the 27th and proceeded on to Helvoet Sluys; from Holland she arrived at Spithead on October nth, 1751, where Admiralty orders awaited her, ordering her to refit at Portsmouth. After docking, the Seahorse was ordered to Plymouth to be paid and arrived there on December 17th. Service in the Channel and the Downs followed, and on March 15th, 1752, the Seahorse anchored at the Nore, to form one of Lord Anson's squadron destined to escort the King on his crossing from Harwich to Helvoet Sluys. After performing this service, which took place in foggy weather, the Seahorse resumed her Channel service. At the end of July 1752 Barrington was ordered suddenly to Gibraltar, to obtain reliable intelligence about the French Mediterranean Fleet. The Seahorse sailed from Spithead on August 4th and reached Gibraltar on the 22nd. In accordance with his orders, Barrington proceeded to the Tagus in October; in January the Seahorse returned to Gibraltar for provisions, and after revisiting Lisbon, left the Tagus on March 5th and reached Spithead on March 15th, 1753. Barrington gave up command of the Seahorse on April 2nd, 1753, and was succeeded in her by Captain Hugh Palliser.


  • 1. As a passenger on board Keppel took out young Joshua Reynolds, the artist.