BARTHOLOMEW, DAVID EWEN (d.
1821), captain in the royal navy, a native of Linlithgowshire, was
pressed out of a merchant ship in 1794. He appears to have had a
superior education for his rank of life, and was shortly after his
impressment rated as a midshipman. He served in the West Indies, on the
coast of Ireland, in the North Sea, and with Sir Home Popham in the
Komney on the East India station. When the Romney was paid off, in 1803,
he found himself a passed midshipman adrift upon the wide world,' and
wrote to Lord St. Vincent, then first lord of the admiralty, stating his
services and asking for advancement. Lord St. Vincent was not likely to
consider with favour the claims of any one who might be supposed to be a
protege of Sir Home Popham, and took no notice of his letter.
Bartholomew continued writing, and at the eighth letter St. Vincent,
wearied of his importunity, ordered him to be pressed. He was sent down
to the Inflexible at the Nore, but was soon afterwards again placed on
the quarter-deck. The case was brought before parliament and was
referred to a select committee, which reported, by implication, that the
impressment of Bartholomew was a violation of the usage of the navy, an
arbitrary and violent act which must disgust all young men who have
nothing but their merits to recommend them, and likely, therefore, to be
injurious to the service.
It was probably in consequence of this report that he was promoted to be
a lieutenant, 20 July 1805, in which rank he served throughout the
greater part of the war, till in February 1812, whilst in command of the
Richmond brig, on the south coast of Spain, he drove on shore and
destroyed the French privateer Intrepide. For this gallant service he
was made commander, 21 March 1812; and after some little time on
half-pay he had command of the Erebus rocket-ship on the coast of North
America. This formed one of the small squadron which, under Captain
James Alexander Gordon, went up the Potomac, received the capitulation
of Alexandria, 28 Aug., and forced its way back after an arduous and
brilliant campaign of twenty three days (JAMES, Naval History (ed.
1860), v. 180). He was next engaged on the coast of Georgia, and on 22
Feb. 1815 in the boat expedition, under Captain Phillott, up the St.
Mary's river (ibid. v. 236). His conduct on these occasions won for him
his post rank, which he received on 13 June, as well as the
companionship of the Bath. In 1818 he was appointed to the Leven, a
small frigate, for surveying service, in which he was engaged for nearly
three years. He had surveyed the Azores, part of the west coast of
Africa, and was employed amongst the Cape Verde Islands, when he
sickened and died at Porto Praya in the island of St. lago. 19 Feb.