HMS Argonaut (1782)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
French Royal Navy EnsignFrance
Name: Jason
Launched: 1779
Captured: 19 April 1782, by Royal Navy
Royal Navy EnsignUnited Kingdom
Name: HMS Argonaut
Acquired: 19 April 1782
Fate: Broken up, 1831
General characteristics [1]
Class and type: 64-gun third rate ship of the line
Tons burthen: 14517794 (bm)
Length: 166 ft 4 in (50.70 m) (gundeck)
Beam: 44 ft 8 12 in (13.6 m)
Depth of hold: 19 ft 1 in (5.82 m)
Propulsion: Sails
Sail plan: Full rigged ship
Armament: 64 guns of various weights of shot

HMS Argonaut was a 64-gun third rate ship of the line, in Royal Navy service during the French Revolutionary Wars and the American Revolution. Launched in 1779 as the French ship Jason, she was captured by the British in 1782 and commissioned by them in the same year. After active service against the French, she was converted to a hospital ship in 1804 and permanently moored off Chatham Dockyard.

Argonaut was removed from navy service in 1828 and broken up in 1831.

French Revolutionary War[edit]

On 8 January 1795, while under the command of Captain Alexander John Ball she captured the French Republican warship Esperance on the North America Station.[2] Esperance was armed with 22 guns (4 and 6-pounders), and had a crew of 130 men. She was under the command of Lieutenant de Vaisseau De St. Laurent and had been out 56 days from Rochfort, bound for the Chesapeake. Argonaut shared the prize money with Captain Robert Murray's HMS Oiseaux.[3]

The French ambassador to the United States registered a complaint with the President of the United States that Argonaut, by entering Lynnhaven bay, either before she captured Esperance or shortly thereafter, had violated a treaty between France and the United States.[4] The French also accused the British of having brought Esperance into Lynnhaven for refitting for a cruise. The President passed the complaint to the Secretary of State, who forwarded the complaint to the Governor of Virginia. The Governor inquired into the matter of the British Consul at Virginia.[4] The British Consul replied that the capture had taken place some 10 leagues off shore. The weather had forced Argonaut and her prize to shelter within the Chesapeake for some days, but that they had left as soon as practicable. Furthermore, Argonaut had paroled her French prisoners when she came into Lynnhaven and if had entered American territorial waters solely to parole her French prisoners no one would have thought that objectionable.[5] The authorities in Virginia took a number of depositions but ultimately nothing further came from the matter.

Because she was captured in good order and sailed well, Rear Admiral George Murray, the British commander in chief of the North American station, put a British crew aboard and sent Esperance out on patrol with Lynx on 31 January.[2]

On 3 August 1795, Argonaut captured the ship Anna.[6]


Argonaut was placed on harbour service in 1797, and eventually broken up in 1831.



  1. ^ Lavery, Ships of the Line, vol. 1, p. 182.
  2. ^ a b "No. 13799". The London Gazette. 25 July 1795. p. 780. 
  3. ^ "No. 15086". The London Gazette. 4 December 1798. p. 1173. 
  4. ^ a b President (1815), pp.38-9.
  5. ^ Pitt et al., (1875-93), p.445.
  6. ^ "No. 15131". The London Gazette. 7 May 1799. p. 441. 


  • Lavery, Brian (2003) The Ship of the Line - Volume 1: The development of the battlefleet 1650-1850. Conway Maritime Press. ISBN 0-85177-252-8.
  • Palmer, William Pitt; Sherwin McRae; Raleigh Edward Colston; Henry W Flournoy; Virginia (1875–1893) "Calendar of Virginia State papers and other manuscripts : ... preserved in the Capitol at Richmond". (Richmond : R.F. Walker).
  • United States. President.; United States. Dept. of State (1815) "State papers and publick documents of the United States from the accession of George Washington to the presidency, exhibiting a complete view of our foreign relations since that time ... ". (Boston, Printed and published by T.B. Wait & Sons).