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Source: John Marshall, Royal Naval Biography, (London : Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme and Brown 1823-35), Volume spline No. 3, p.325 -  published 1824. As extracted December 2000 from the volume held in the Admiralty Libray and provided courtesy of CPO Peter Lockyer - HMS Victory, Portsmouth Naval Base.


This officer is a son of the late William King, of Southampton, Esq., and a brother of Captain Andrew King, RN. He first went to sea in the Director of 64 guns, commanded by Captain Thomas West, in June 1789, and from that period served in various ships till 1794 when he was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant, for his good conduct as a Midshipman on board the Barfleur, a second rate, bearing the Flag of Rear Admiral Bowyer, in the memorable actions between Earl Howe and M Villaret de Joveuse, an account of which will be found in our first volume.

After serving for some time with the present Sir Edward Thornbrough, in the Robust 74, Mr King joined the Dryad of 44 guns and 251 men, and he was the senior Lieutenant of that ship when she captured, after a spirited action,  Proserpine, a French frigate of 42 guns and 348 men. His behaviour on that occasion procured him the official commendations of his Captain, Lord Ameluis Beauclerk, and he was in consequence advanced to the rank of Commander. but we have reason to believe, did not obtain an appointment as such till June 1798, when he was commissioned to the Gaite sloop of war, in which vessel he cruised with considerable success against the enemy's privateers and trade on the Leeward Lands station, until Sept 28, 1800, when he was promoted into the Leviathan 74, bearing the flag of Rear Admiral Duckworth. whom he served under at the reduction of the Swedish and Danish West India colonies, in March 1801. He subsequently removed into the Andromeda frigate, and continued to command her till the end of the war when he was obliged through ill health to return to England.

In April, 1805. our officer was appointed acting Captain of the Endymion, during the absence of the Hon. Charles Paget and in that tine frigate, we find him employed off Cadiz under the gallant Collingwood.

A few days previous to the arrival of the combined French and Spanish fleets, Captain King was detached on a particular service, and when off Cape St. Mary fell in with the enemy, whose force consisted of twenty-six sail of the line, and nine frigates. Finding it impracticable to pass a-head of their line for the purpose of communicating with his Admiral, whom he had left in shore with only four line-of-battle ships, and after being chased by two sail of the line and a frigate, he took up a position in their rear, and by repeated signals let them to suppose that he was in communication with a fleet astern.  This ruse de guerre had the desired effect and M Villeneuve, who commanded the combined force, put into Cadiz. where he was closely reconnoitred by Captain King, who lost no time in reposing what had occurred to his chief, whom he joined at the entrance of the Straits   The ability and zeal which Captain King had thus displayed, were fully testified by Vice Admiral Collingwood in his public despatches.

Captain King continued in the Endymion till the latter end of 1806.  In the following spring he was appointed to the Monmouth of 64 guns, and ordered to the East Indies, from whence he convoyed home a valuable fleet of Indiamen. He subsequently commanded the Rodney 74, on the Mediterranean station, and in Nov 1814, was appointed to the Cornwallis, another third rate, fitting for the flag of Rear Admiral Buriton, but the bad state of his health at that period preventing him from undertaking a voyage to India, he resigned the command of' that ship previous to her quitting port, since which he has been on half pay.