An eminent naval officer; he was a
native of Scotland and first obtained employment in the maratime service
of Holland. This circumstance operated to his disadvantage on entering
into the English navy; However, at the commencement of the American war,
he had the command of a squadron destined to act in the Gulf of St.
Lawrence. His conduct on that station, in 1776, having forced his way up
that great river, in the spring of the year, when nearly filled with
drifting ice, to the relief of his countrymen in Quebec, procured him
honors and promotion. On the prospect of a rupture with Spain, in 1787, he
was raised to the rank of a rear-admiral. He died in 1789. Independent of
his merit in the practice of the more immediate duties of his profession,
he deserves notice on account of his important improvement in the mode of
firing guns on board ships, by means of lock instead of matches. It is
said that he was acquainted with six European languages, and could speak
His grandson is the present General
Sir Howard Douglas, G. C. B.