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Earl of Mornington (1799 ship)
Career (United Kingdom) East India Company Ensign (1707)
Name: Earl of Mornington
Owner: East India Company
Builder: Perry, Wells & Green, Blackwall Yard
Launched: 1799
Fate: Sold February 1804
Career (United Kingdom) Royal Navy Ensign
Name: HMS Drake
Acquired: Purchased February 1804
Fate: Broken up 1808
General characteristics [1]
Class & type: East Indiaman
Tons burthen: 253 (bm)
Length: 104 ft 0 in (31.70 m) (overall); 79 ft 3 in (24.16 m) (keel)
Beam: 24 ft 6 in (7.47 m)

East India Company: 35 men[2]

Royal Navy:75

East India Company: Pierced for 14 but carrying 8 × 12-pounder guns[2]

Royal Navy: 16 × 18-pounder carronades

Earl of Mornington was an Honourable East India Company packet ship built in 1799 by Perry, Wells & Green of Blackwall. She performed one voyage for the Company, sailing from England to India and returning. The Admiralty purchased her in 1804 and she then served the Royal Navy until she was broken up in 1808.

East India Company[]

It is not clear for which Earl of Mornington she was named, but it was probably Richard Wellesley.

Earl of Mornington made one voyage for the EIC.[3][Note 1] Her captain was George Simpson, who received a letter of marque on 7 October 1799. At the time her armament then was recorded as eight 12-pounder guns.[2] She left Britain on 20 November 1799 and arrived at Calcutta on 22 April 1800. She left Kedgeree on 5 November. By 12 May 1801 she had reached Simon's Bay, but then on 8 August she was back at Calcutta. On 11 March 1802 she left Culpee, an anchorage towards Calcutta and closer than Saugor. From there she reached St Helena on 28 June and arrived at the Downs on 19 August.[4]

Naval service[]

In 1804 the Admiralty purchased her for the Royal Navy and named her HMS Drake.[1] She was commissioned in October 1804 under Commander William H. Drury. Drake formed part of Commodore Hood's squadron at the capture of Surinam River in 1804. The squadron consisted of Hood's flagship Centaur, Pandour, Serapis, Alligator, Hippomenes, Unique, and transports carrying 2000 troops under Brigadier-General Sir Charles Green.[6] British and Dutch casualties were light.[6][7][Note 2]

Drake sailed to Jamaica on 12 April 1805.[1] On 1 November 1805 William Furlong Wise was promoted to Commander into Drake. He was the nephew of James Richard Dacres, the admiral commanding the station. In April Wise transferred to Elk.[10][Note 3] In 1806 Drake came under the command of Commander F. Mere.[11] However, she was under the command of Robert Nicholas when on 26 October she assisted in cornering the French privateer Superbe, which the schooner Pitt, under the command of Lieutenant Michael Fitton was engaging. Superbe's captain then drove her ashore at Ocoa Bay, enabling he and his surviving crew members to escape.[12] Nicholas's replacement in November 1806 was Commander John Parish. In October 1807 Commander George Bell replaced Parish; by 1808 she was under the command of Lieutenant John Fleming (acting).[1]


She was broken up at Sheerness in 1808.[1]


  1. The National Archives gives data for two voyages, but this seems to be an error. The first voyage is for the correct vessel.[4] The second voyage is almost surely for the larger (500 tons (bm)) and older India-built vessel Earl of Mornington.[2][5]
  2. In February 1808, the members of the British force shared in a grant of £32,000, representing part of the proceeds from the capture of Surinam.[8] A second grant of £16,000 followed in November.[9]
  3. Elk had been under the command of Wise's cousin, Commander James Dacres.
  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Winfield (2008), p.271.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Letter of Marque, p.60,[1] - accessed 14 May 2011.
  3. Hardy and Hardy (1811), p.199.
  4. 4.0 4.1 National Archives - Earl of Mornington,[2] - accessed 18 November 2014.
  5. Lloyd's Register (1804).
  6. 6.0 6.1 "No. 15712". 19 June 1804. 
  7. James (1837), Vol. 3, pp.288-90.
  8. "No. 16121". 20 February 1808. 
  9. "No. 16199". 8 November 1808. 
  10. Dictionary of National Biography, Vol. 62, p.642.
  11. "NMM, vessel ID 365744". Warship Histories, vol i. National Maritime Museum. Retrieved 30 July 2011. 
  12. "No. 15987". 27 December 1806. 


  • Colledge, J.J. Ships of the Royal Navy: The Complete Record of All Fighting Ships of the Royal Navy From the Fifteenth Century to the Present. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press, 1987. ISBN 0-87021-652-X.
  • Hardy, Charles and Horatio Charles Hardy (1811) A register of ships, employed in the service of the Honorable the United East India Company, from the year 1760 to 1810: with an appendix, containing a variety of particulars, and useful information interesting to those concerned with East India commerce. (London: Black, Parry, and Kingsbury)
  • Winfield, Rif. British Warships in the Age of Sail, 1793-1817: Design, Construction, Careers and Fates. Seaforth Publishing, 2nd edition, 2008. ISBN 978-1-84415-717-4.

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