HOOD, Sir Samuel (1762-1814), of 37 Lower Wimpole Street, Mdx.
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Family and Education
b. 27 Nov. 1762, 3rd s. of Samuel Hood of Kingsland, Dorset by Anne, da. of James Bere of Westbury, Wilts. m. 6 Nov. 1804, Hon. Mary Frederica Elizabeth Mackenzie, da. of Francis Humberston Mackenzie*, Lord Seaforth, s.p. KB 26 Sept. 1804; cr. Bt. 13 Apr. 1809.
Entered RN 1776, lt. 1780, cdr. 1782, capt. 1788; col. marines 1805; r.-adm. 1807, v.-adm. 1811.
Commr. for Trinidad and c.-in-c. Leeward Islands 1802-5; c.-in-c. E.I. 1811-d.
Hood served with distinction in the American and French wars, receiving a knighthood for his part in the conquest of the French West Indies and Guiana. In September 1806 he lost an arm while capturing enemy vessels, for which he received a pension of £500 p.a.1 The prime minister, Lord Grenville, thereupon wondered whether he might be induced to give up active service and accept a place at the Admiralty. As a naval hero he was sponsored by Lord Grenville as an unexceptionable candidate for Westminster, previously represented by his namesake, in 1806. The only exception was taken by William Fullarton* who was pursuing a vendetta against Hood, and Sir Thomas Picton*, for alleged misconduct in Trinidad.2 He filled an awkward vacuum, without being involved in the constituency’s political animosities and, standing jointly with Sheridan, but on a separate expense account, headed the poll.3 In 1807 he was withdrawn at Westminster in his absence, his friends finding his prospects poor, but his friend (Sir) Evan Nepean* promoted his return for Bridport, which was unopposed. The Whigs were now doubtful of him. Lord Buckingham reported him first as hostile (16 June 1807) then as friendly (21 June).4
Hood had scarcely any time for attendance at Westminster. He had hoisted his flag soon after his election in 1806 and proceeded on a secret mission in December which caused him to miss that Parliament. He was in the House on 10 July 1807, when he contradicted Lord Cochrane’s charges of naval abuses. He served at Copenhagen and Madeira that year, was second in command in the Baltic in 1808 and at Corunna in January 1809. On 1 Feb. 1809 he was in his place to receive the thanks of the House for his part in embarking the troops: ‘till he rose to speak all was quiet and orderly, but as soon as he got up, the whole House burst into a roar of applause, so that he was quite delayed by it from beginning his speech’.5 An accident subsequently prevented him from taking his seat or hoisting his flag:
He ordered his bed to be warmed, but got in without waiting for it, whereon the attentive abigail without noticing that he was there inserted the warming pan with so much effect, that for these three weeks he has been unable to stand or sit.
So Charles Williams Wynn* reported on 2 Mar. 1809.6 Perhaps this was why Lady Harriet Cavendish, meeting him about the same time, complained that Hood had ‘a foolish manner and does not look like a hero’.7 Hood was made a baronet a month later, and proceeded to the Mediterranean for two years. It is curious that the Whigs were ‘hopeful’ of him in March 1810. In 1811 he was promoted to the command of the Indian station. He died at Madras, 24 Dec. 1814. Before the news reached England he was gazetted KGC.8
Ref Volumes: 1790-1820
Authors: Brian Murphy / R. G. Thorne
- 1. DNB.
- 2. Buckingham, Court and Cabinets, iv. 80, 83; Fortescue mss, Fullarton to Wickham, 29 Oct., reply 2 Nov. 1806.
- 3. Fortescue mss, Sheridan to Grenville, 25 Oct.; Grey mss, Grenville to Howick, 6 Nov. 1806.
- 4. Buckingham, iv. 175, 177; Fremantle mss, boxes 44(8) and 46, Mq. of Buckingham to Fremantle, 16, 21 June, reply 22 June 1807.
- 5. Corresp. of Lady Lyttelton, 60.
- 6. Corresp. of Lady Williams Wynn, 143.
- 7. Letters of Harriet Cavendish, 298.
- 8. Gent. Mag. (1815), i. 66, 566.