John Jervis, 1st earl of St Vincent

(1735—1823) naval officer

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Promoted earl following his triumph over the Spanish fleet in February 1797, Jervis, son of a crooked Staffordshire lawyer, had an inauspicious and impoverished start in life. Jervis served with Wolfe at Quebec in 1759, and subsequent service in the North Sea and Mediterranean endorsed his talents as a seaman. He was present at Keppel's indecisive action off Ushant in July 1778, while at home he became MP 1783–94. Promoted admiral in 1787 he combined well with the army in the West Indies in 1793, but it was his command in the Mediterranean 1795–9 which established his fame, together with his affectionate tutelage of his subordinate Nelson. In 1801, as 1st lord of the Admiralty, St Vincent prosecuted an inquiry into theft in the dockyards which contributed to Lord Melville's impeachment in 1806 for malversation of funds.

Subjects: British History.

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