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early as 1359. James Hoste, son of Jaques, who had been governor of Bruges, was one of the Protestants driven from the Low Countries by the persecutions of the Duke of Alva, and settled in England in 1569. From him the officer now deceased was sixth in descent; being the second but eldest surviving son of the Rev. Dixon Hoste, of Godwick in Norfolk, by Margaret, daughter of Henry Stanforth, Esq. of Salthouse in the same county. The career of Sir William Hoste in the navy was commenced as midshipman under the protection of the immortal Nelson, on the breaking out of the French revolutionary war; and he served with that great commander in the Agamemnon and other ships, till after the expedition against Teneriffe; when his patron transferred him to the care of Capt. Ralph W. Miller, commanding the Theseus of seventy-four guns. The following are extracts from Nelson's correspondence relative to his protege", previous to the latter attaining his sixteenth year:To the Rev. Dixon Hoste, Godwick, Norfolk, February 14. 1794:— " You cannot, my dear Sir, receive more pleasure in reading this letter than I have in writing it, to say that your son is every thing which his dearest friend can wish him to be; and is a strong proof that the greatest gallantry may lie under the most gentle behaviour. Two days ago, it was necessary to take a small vessel from a number of people who had got on shore to prevent us; she was carried in a high style, and your good son was by my side." To the same, May 3d.—" The little brushes we have lately had with the enemy only serve to convince me of the truth I have already said of him; and in his navigation you will find him equally forward. He highly deserves every thing I can do to make him happy." To Mrs. Nelson.— " Hoste is indeed a most exceeding good boy, and will shine in our service." In August, 1798, Mr. Hoste succeeded the Hon. T. B. Capel in the command of la Mutine, the only small vessel attached to Nelson's squadron in the battle of the Nile. This appointment being confirmed by the Admiralty in December following, he continued to serve in her till the close of the war. His post commission bore date January 7. 1802. He subsequently commanded the Eurydice of twenty-four guns, and Amphion frigate. At the commencement of 1809, Captain Hoste appears as senior officer in the Adriatic, where he cruized with unremitting vigilance against the enemy's vessels, and was employed in carrying supplies and reinforcements to the gar risons of Ancona, Corfu, and the Ionian islands. On the 8th of February, the Amphion, in company with the Redwing sloop of war, captured a French brig, mounting six twelvepounders, and destroyed two store-houses of wine and oil collected at Melida, an island near the coast of Dalmatia. She subsequently assisted at the capture of thirteen deeplyladen merchantmen in the mole of Pesaro, and had the command of the very gallant, well-conducted, and successful attack made on the enemy's fort and vessels at Cortelazzo, between Venice and Trieste. The following is an extract from Lord Collingwood's official letter on the occasion: —
"I have on many occasions had to represent the zeal, the bravery, and the nice concert of measures that are necessary to success, which have distinguished the services of Captain Hoste; and this late attack of the enemy is not inferior to those many instances which have before obtained for him praise and admiration. The manner in which he speaks of Lieutenant Phillot, who commanded the party, and of the other officers and men, is highly honourable to them; but the Amphion's officers and men, following the example of their Captain, could not well be otherwise than they are. * * * Within a month two divisions of the enemy's gun-boats have been taken, consisting of six each." There are not many officers in the service under whose directions more boat-actions have been carried into effect than under those of Captain Hoste. He was the sworn foe to inactivity; and when he could effect nothing with his ships, he was constantly contriving expeditions with boats, not only to
cut out vessels, but to destroy the batteries and to capture the towns of the enemy. In this way, in June J 810, the town of Grao, in the Gulf of Trieste, and a convoy laden with naval stores for the arsenal at Venice, were captured, in gallant style, by the boats of the Amphion, Active, and Cerberus. •
We come now to the mention of the most conspicuous naval victory which had for some time been achieved in the Mediterranean station, we mean the triumphant action maintained, March 13th, 1811, by Captain Hoste against a squadron of the enemy of greatly superior force, off the island of Lissa.
Connected with this event is a little characteristic anecdote, 'which shows the coolness and courage of Captain Hoste in battle. When the enemy were advancing to break the line in the action off Lissa, our hero hailed his old friend, Captain Gordon, then commanding the Active, the ship immediately astern of the Amphion, in these familiar words: — "I say, Jemmy, pass the word to keep the flying jib-boom over the taffel, for we must not let these rascals break the line;' Half an hour on this tack is worth two on the other." It is needless to say, that "Jemmy" was of all men the most likely to fulfil this injunction.
The battle of Lissa is the only engagement of any extent on record, in which the lines on both sides were formed entirely of frigates and smaller vessels. The following is Captain Hoste's own account of this victory, in which every reader must be struck with the evident reluctance of the writer to speak of his own deeds, and the anxiety he manifests to bring forward, in the best possible way, the merits and bravery of his companions: —
"Amphion, off Lissa, March 14. 1811.
"Sir, — It is with much pleasure I have to acquaint you, that after an action of six hours, we have completely defeated the combined French and Italian squadrons, consisting of five frigates, one corvette, one brig, two schooners, one gun-boat, and one xebec: the force opposed to them was his Majesty's ships Amphion, Active, Cerberus, and Volage.* On the morning of the 13th the Active made the signal for a strange fleet to windward, and daylight discovered to as the enemy's squadron lying-to off the north point of Lissa; the wind at that time was from the N.W., blowing a fine breeze. The enemy having formed in two divisions, instantly bore down to attack us under all possible sail. The British line, led by the Amphion, was formed by signal in the closest order on starboard tack to receive them. At 9 A.M. the action commenced by our firing on the headmost ships as they came within range. The intention of the enemy appeared to be to break our line in two places; the starboard division, led by the French commodore, bearing upon the Amphion and Active, and the larboard division on the Cerberus and Volage. In this attempt he failed (though almost aboard of us), by the well-directed fire and compact order of our line. He then endeavoured to round the van ship, to engage to leeward, and thereby place us between two fires; but was so warmly received in the attempt, and rendered so totally unmanageable, that in the act of wearing he went on shore on the rocks of Lissa, in the greatest possible confusion.
"The line was then wore to renew the action, the Amphion not half a cable's length from the shore; the remainder of the enemy's starboard division passing under our stern and engaging us to leeward, whilst the larboard division tacked and remained to windward, engaging the Cerberus, Volage, and Active. In this situation the action continued with great fury, his Majesty's ships frequently in positions which unavoidably exposed them to a raking fire from the enemy, who, with his superiority of numbers, had ability to take advantage of it; but nothing, Sir, could withstand the brave squadron I had the honour to command. At ll1' 20' A.M. the Flore struck her colours, and at noon the Bellona followed her example. The enemy to windward now endeavoured to make off, but were followed up as close as the disabled state of his Majesty's ships would admit of; and the Active and Cerberus were enabled at 3 P. M. to compel the sternmost of them to surrender, when the action ceased, leaving us in possession of the Corona of 44 guns, and the Bellona 32.* The Favorite of 44 guns, on shore, shortly after blew up with a dreadful explosion, the corvette making all possible sail to the N.W., and two frigates crowding sail for the port of Lessina, the brig making off to the S. E., and the small craft flying in every direction; nor was it in my power to prevent them, having no ship in a state to follow them.
* Favorite, Flore, Danae, and Corona, of 44 gups, and 850 men each; the latter a 24-pounder frigate; Bellona, of 36 guns, and 224 men; and Carolina of the same force, although described by Captain Hoste as a corvette. The brig and other small vessels carried in the whole 36 guns and 307 men, making, with the addition of 500 troops, a grand total of 284 guns, and 2655 men. The British squadron mounted 156 guns; and being 104 short of complement, went into action with only 879men. . > ■ '. i
"I must now account for the Flore's getting away after she had struck her colours. At the time I was engaged with that ship, the Bellona was raking us; and when she struck, I had no boat that could possibly take possession of her. I therefore preferred closing with the Bellona and taking her, to losing time alongside the Flore, which ship I already considered belonging to us. I call on the officers of my own squadron, as well as those of the enemy, to witness my assertion. The correspondence I have had on this subject with the French captain of the Danae (now their commodore), and which I enclose herewith, is convincing; and even their own officers, prisoners here, acknowledge the fact . Indeed, I might have sunk her, and so might the Active: but as the colours were down, and all firing from her had long ceased, both Captain Gordon and myself considered her as our own; the delay of getting a boat on board the Bellona, and the anxious pursuit of Captain Gordon after the beaten enemy, enabled him to steal off, till too late for our shattered ships to come up with him, his rigging and sails apparently not much injured; but, by the laws of war, I shall ever maintain he be* The Bellona mounted 36 guns.