A Blupete Biography Page


Admiral Anson
(1697-1762).

It is outside the ambit of my larger work to write up persons who did not have a direct connection to Nova Scotia. But in the case of George Anson, an exception is to be made. Anson, in addition to having a significant developmental impact on the British royal navy of the day, was very influential in the careers of both Warren and of Boscawen, admirals who did have a direct connection with Nova Scotia.

One would be hard pressed to find a man of the royal British navy who was more decorated and honoured than George Anson: As a 15 year old he entered the navy, at 21 an officer and by 27 he was the captain of his own naval ship. After a spectacular round the world trip, lasting three years and nine months, Anson was made a rear-admiral, in 1744. Having defeated the French fleet off of Cape Finisterre, in 1747, Anson was made a vice-admiral and raised to the peerage.1 He was made a full admiral in 1748; first lord of the admiralty. Not everyone thought that Anson was the best choice for the high rank of The First Lord of the Admiralty; "... a position in which he disappointed everyone."2 Yet, in 1761, and, just a year before his death, the 59 nine year old took the highest rank existing, admiral of the fleet.3

"Anson moved freely in the corridors of power." He was "very much a man of his age. His predominant characteristic was a rational calm which no adverse circumstance could shake."4 These characteristics, one might imagine were the characteristics of Warren and Boscawen, men who worked directly under Anson and who were promoted by Anson to high positions within the navy.

Incidentally, a number of important developments of the British navy came about during Anson's time. One was the progression of naval dress; a specific naval uniform emerged. "It was in Anson's time that a regular uniform was laid down for naval officers, though it was many years before the bulk of them readily conformed to it." Also, too, under Anson, the navy struck a system5 by which their warships were rated.

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FOOTNOTES:

[1] See Allen, Battles of the British Navy, p. 159-60.

[2] Parkman, Montcalm and Wolfe (vol. 1), p. 186.

[3] Anson also, incidentally, became one of the richest navy men at the time; his riches mostly coming to him as his share of the treasure of the Nuestra Señora de Covadonga which he took in 1743, valued at £ 500,000, a fabulous sum for those days; and, later, £ 300,000, which he took off of one of the transports which La Jonquière, had to give up after his defeat in 1747 (Cape Finisterre).

[4] Oxford Companion to Ships & the Sea.

[5] Oxford Companion ....

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Peter Landry
1997 (2013)