|Lords Commissioners of Prizes
Admiral Taylor appeared at Whitehall, England, before the Right
Honourable the Lords of Commissioners of Appeals in Prize Causes,
in two court cases contesting the prizes of the two seized ships
the "Le Mentor" and "Ann Maria St. Felix."
June 14, 1750
Polycarpus Taylor, Esquire, Commander of his
Majesty' Ship the Fowey, on behalf of himself and other Officers
and Mariners of the said Ship the Fowey vs. the
appellants: James Ross and Thomas Seel, Jr., and Company, owners
of the private ship of war, the Thurloe.
The ship Le Mentor, from
Martinico was forced to
join an English convoy, (June 1745) just before the news of the declaration of
war with France, lest she should carry the news of the convoy to
France. In this position she was seized by the privateer
Thurloe, which knew of war being declared. The
question at issue was whether the frigate Fowey
under the command of Polycarpus Taylor, had not already taken
possession of her.
March 12, 1752
The Spanish ship Anna Maria St. Felix, was taken off the island of Cuba,
September 3, 1748, by
Admiral Knowles squadron, consisting of Rear-Admiral Charles
Knowles, Esq., Polycarpus Taylor, Esq., David Brodie, Esq., and
Edward Clarke, Esq., while on a
voyage from Carthagena and Havana to Spain. Admiral Knowles
condemned, and divided among the captors, the goods of the Anna
Maria y St. Felix in Jamaica, and after being
gutted, was burned, 26 days after the signing of peace.
The owners, James Tierney, of London, merchant,
in behalf of the said Francis Molla, the Master of
the Anna Maria St. Felix, and of Don Libino
Bernardo Vandenbrouke, of Cadiz, in the Kingdom of Spain,
merchant, and others, subjects of the King of Spain, the Owners
and Proprietors of the said Ship, her Tackle, Apparel, and
Furniture, and of the several Goods, Wares, and Merchandizes,
laden on board the same, at the time of her being taken seized
were seeking compensation for their losses.
James Tierney, Francis Molla, and Don Libino
Bernardo Vandenbrouke, obtained a verdict on the 26th of
March, 1752, by which the said money and goods, to the full value
of 13,619l 7s 10d were adjudged to be restored.
On January 26, 1756 the petitioner (owners) had
not been able to receive satisfaction for the said sum, or any
part thereof, appealed to the majesty to order that payment be made
of the said sum to the petitioner. The petition was laid before the parliament,
who referred it immediately to a committee. The owners of
the money and effects of the ship were granted 13,869 pounds by
the British government committee in 1756.
Rear Admiral - HMS Marlborough
90 gun, 2nd Rate ships
In the spring
of 1756, Policarpus was appointed to the Marlborough
as Rear Admiral. No
mention is made in either Charnock's Biographia
Navalis nor The Dictionary of National Biography
as to what Policarpus did while in England from
1748-1756. Taylor was appointed in June of 1756
to the Culloden,
with orders to go out with Sir Edward
(afterwards Lord) Hawke and join
her at Gibraltar.
Execution of Admiral Byng - 1757
Did the court martial and
execution of Admiral Byng affect Rear Admiral
Taylors dedication to serve? Admiral Taylor
brought the HMS Culloden
to England in 1757 and from that point on appears
to have had no more service.
In late May of
1756, Admiral Byng was engaged in battle with the
French. The HMS Minorca
was lost in the battle due to Byng failing
"to fight with sufficient vigour against the
French." Upon arriving in England in July
1756, Admiral Byng was arrested and
court-martialled under the Articles of War. The
ministry covered up its own failings in
preparations for the war and focused the blame on
Did Rear Admiral Policarpus Taylor participate
in politics? In the ten year interim between a
naval officer becoming a Post Captain and
promotion to an Admiral, he could serve in the
House of Commons or on the Board of Admiralty.
Life at sea had many perils. The number one
killer of men was disease. Lack of citrus fruits
resulted in scurvy. Tropical diseases, distemper,
smallpox, and yellow fever were frequently
brought in to seaports in London and spread to
the general population. Moreover, loss of limbs
was common among seamen.
Rear Admiral 1757-1762
retired from the service, in 1762, with the rank
and half-pay of a read-admiral on the
British Navy had four type of Rear Admirals. The
"red" was titled "Admiral",
the "white" was titled "Rear
Admiral," the "blue" was
titled "Vice Admiral"
and "yellow" for "Retired"
from service with a pension due to old age or a
health disability. This is commonly
referred to as "superannuated."
The Rear Admirals Superannuated upon half pay
of 17s 6d a day included nineteen men (Esquires) in 1781:
Roger Martin, Hon. G. Murray, Thorpe Fowke, Polycarp. Taylor,
Robert Robinson, George Elliot, John Hardy, Ed. Falkingham,
Henry Dive, W. Bladwell, Charles Knowles, Robert Jefferyes,
Henry Rosewell, T. Knowler (Knowles?), John Hale, Richard
Knight, I. Galbraith, John Harrison, and M. Whitwell.
A note of interest for the year 1781: Rt.
Hon. Lord Hawke, K. B. Vice Admiral of Great Britain, and
Lieutenant of the Admiralty received a monetary compensation for
16 servants while Sir George Brydges Rodney, Bart, Rear Admiral
of Great Britain received compensation for 12 servants.
Sir Richard Hughes, Bar. was superannuated
commissioner of the Navy in 1781, and received 500l a Year.
Norton, Durham, England
Admiral Taylor purchased a retirement home in the
countryside of Norton, Durham Parish, with the assistance of
land agent Thomas Hogg. He died sometime in January 1781 and the
presentation of his will to London court in
February of 1781.
Admiral Policarpus Taylor is buried in north
transept of Norton Church called the 'Blakiston porch' in
Durham, England. A memorial slab reads:
"Sacred to the memory of Admiral Policarpus Taylor,
whose naval conduct had in a variety of public services
reflected honour upon his country. He died at the age of
seventy-four, and in the year of redemption MVII*LXXXI (1781)
possessing many Christian qualities which rendered him to his
friends, and marked his character with general esteem-Death is
swallowed up in victory."
Adjacent to the memorial slab of Admiral
Taylor is the burial of his son-in-law Captain Robert Gregory,
Esquire, and daughter Mary Taylor.
"Here lyeth the body of Robert Gregory,
Esq., late Captain in the Royal Navy, who bore with manly
fortitude a long and painful illness, the consequence of a
broken constitution acquired in the service of his country.
He died the 18th of Feb. 1774, aged 30. He was a most
indulgent husband and a tender parent, which makes his loss
truly afflicting, to his affectionate widow, who in justice to
his memory hath caused this stone to be laid. The above
Capt. Gregory was son of the late Robert Gregory, Esq., of
Greenwich in Kent, also of the Royal Navy. - Also the remains
of Mary (Taylor) Gregory, relict of the above,
ob. 8 Feb. A. D. 1811, aetat 71."
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By Barbara Lewellen
Copyright 2003 Lewellen