William Robert Broughton

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William Robert Broughton
William Robert Broughton.jpg
Born (1762-03-22)22 March 1762
Gloucestershire, England
Died 14 March 1821(1821-03-14) (aged 58)
Florence, Tuscany
Allegiance Kingdom of Great Britain Great Britain
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland United Kingdom
Service/branch Royal Navy
Rank Commodore
Commands held HMS Chatham
HMS Providence
HMS Penelope
HMS Illustrious
Battles/wars Napoleonic Wars

William Robert Broughton (22 March 1762 – 14 March 1821) was a British naval officer in the late 18th century. As a Lieutenant in the Royal Navy, he commanded HMS Chatham as part of the Vancouver Expedition, a voyage of exploration through the Pacific Ocean led by Captain George Vancouver in the early 1790s.

Personal life[edit]

William Robert Broughton was born on 22 March 1762.[1][2] His father, Charles Broughton, was a Hamburg merchant and his mother, Anne Elizabeth, was the daughter of Baron William de Hertoghe.[1] Broughton married his cousin, Jemima, on 26 November 1802. They had four children.

Early career[edit]

Broughton's name was added to the muster of the yacht Catherine on 1 May 1774, as captain's servant but Broughton first went to sea on 18 November when he joined the 10-gun brig-sloop, Falcon which sailed for North America, under the command of Captain John Linzee.[1]

On 14 February 1777, Broughton, by then a midshipman, transferred to Harlem under Lieutenant John Knight. He was appointed to the 64-gun Eagle on 1 July 1778, then in December he joined the seventy-four, Superb as a Master's mate and began service in the East Indies.[1] On 12 January 1782, Broughton was promoted to Lieutenant aboard the 68-gun Burford commanded by Captain Peter Rainier. When Burford paid off on 19 July 1784, Broughton went ashore and did not serve again for almost four years.[3]

Broughton resumed his career on 23 June 1788, aboard the 18-gun sloop, Orestes, under Manley Dixon, serving in The Channel and later, the Mediterranean. On 13 May 1790, he moved to HMS Victory and renewed his acquaintance with John Knight, her captain. Broughton's first command came on 18 December when he was given command of the brig, Chatham and asked to accompany George Vancouver in his exploration of the north-west Pacific.[3]

Vancouver Expedition[edit]

Main article: Vancouver Expedition

En route to the Pacific Northwest the expedition spent some time exploring the South Pacific and whilst sailing separately from Vancouver, in November 1791, Broughton and his crew became the first Europeans to sight both The Snares and the Chatham Islands on the 23rd and 29th respectively.[2] The former group contains an island that still bears Broughton's name.[4]

Sometime after their arrival in North America, in 1792, Broughton was given the task of charting a group of islands in the Queen Charlotte Sound. In his honour, Vancouver named them the Broughton Archipelago.[2] In October, Broughton was ordered to explore the lower stretches of the Columbia River, between present-day Oregon and Washington.[3][5] With several boats from his ship, Broughton and his party navigated upstream as far as the Columbia River Gorge and on 30 October, he reached his farthest point, landing in eastern Multnomah County east of Portland and northwest of Mount Hood. Late in 1792, Vancouver, stymied by conflicting instructions over Nootka Sound, sent Broughton back to England via Mexico and the Atlantic, bearing dispatches and requesting instructions.[5]

Exploring Japan and Sakhalin[edit]

On 3 October 1793, Broughton was promoted to commander and given command of HMS Providence, a ship formerly commanded by Captain William Bligh.[2][6] The fitting out caused a long delay and the ship didn't sail until February 1795 and when Broughton finally returned to north-west America, he was unable to locate Vancouver.[7] Correctly determining that Vancouver had returned to England having completed his survey,[8] Broughton crossed the Pacific and began a four-year survey of the Asian coast between the latitudes of 35 and 52 degrees north, which would include, the Kurile Islands, Japan, Okinawa, and Formosa.[2]

From September 1796 Broughton charted the east coast of Honshu and Hokkaidō before wintering at Macau where he purchased a small schooner to assist the Providence.[9] Next year he returned to Japan where the Providence was wrecked on what was to become known as Providence Reef, now Yae Bishi (重干瀬), at Miyako Island. The schooner saved the crew of the wrecked ship and they continued north along the east coast of Honshu.[2][10] Passing Hokkaido, the expedition sailed north into the Gulf of Tartary along the west coast of Sakhalin. Finding extensive shallows at the north end of the gulf it was falsely concluded that Sakhalin was part of the mainland (a common mistake). Broughton turned south along the coast of Korea and then headed home by way of Trincomalee, Ceylon, where the crew was paid off and he was court-martialled for the loss of his ship.[3] Having been acquitted, he reached England in February 1799 and shortly after began to write his book, "A Voyage of Discovery to the North Pacific Ocean; in which the coast of Asia, from the latitude of 35° north to the latitude of 52° north, the island of Insu (commonly known under the name of Jesso), the north, south and east coasts of Japan, the Lieuchieux and adjacent islands, as well as the coast of Corea, have been examined and surveyed, Performed in His Majesty's Sloop Providence and her tender, in the years 1795, 1796, 1797, 1798". It was published in 1804.[3]

Later career[edit]

Having been kept from the greater part of the French Revolutionary War by his book, Broughton resumed his active naval career on 23 June 1801, when he was given command of the 50-gun Batavier in The Channel. He served aboard her until the Peace of Amiens was ratified, in April 1802.[3] In May, Broughton was given command of the 36-gun Penelope, serving in the North Sea, an appointment that lasted until two days before his next command, the seventy-four, Illustrious, on 30 May 1807. In her, Broughton continued service, seeing action at the Battle of the Basque Roads. After the battle, Lord Cochrane proclaimed that Admiral Gambier had not done enough to destroy the French fleet and Gambier demanded a court martial at which he was acquitted, despite Broughton speaking out against him. In 1811, Broughton took part in the Java Expedition, where he served as commodore.

Death and legacy[edit]

Broughton died in Florence, Italy in 1821, and he was buried in the Old English Cemetery, Livorno. He named many locations in the course of his explorations and has been honoured with namings as well:[11]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Derek Hayes, Historical Atlas of the North Pacific Ocean',2001

  1. ^ a b c d Tracy, Nicholas (2006). Who's Who in Nelson's Navy. London: Chatham Publishing. p. 62. ISBN 1-86176-244-5. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f J. K. Laughton, ‘Broughton, William Robert, naval officer, (1762–1821)’, rev. Roger Morriss, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, May 2006 accessed 29 December 2015
  3. ^ a b c d e f Tracy, Nicholas (2006). Who's Who in Nelson's Navy. London: Chatham Publishing. p. 63. ISBN 1-86176-244-5. 
  4. ^ "Snares Islands - New Zealand's subantarctic islands". Parks and Recreation. Department of Conservation. Retrieved 30 December 2015. 
  5. ^ a b Jim Mockford, “The Journal of a Tour across the Continent of New Spain from St. Blas in the North Pacific Ocean to La Vera Cruz in the Gulph of Mexico, by Lieut. W. R. Broughton in the Year 1793, Commander H.M. Brig 'Chatham'”, Terrae Incognitae, vol.36, 2004, pp.2–58.
  6. ^ Broughton, William Robert (1804), A voyage of discovery to the north Pacific Ocean : in which the coastal Asia, ... Japan ... as well as the coast of Corea have been examined and surveyed, performed in His Majesty's Sloop Providence and her tender in the years 1795, 1796, 1797, 1798, T. Cadell and W. Davies, p. 1, OL 24159440M, retrieved 3 January 2015 
  7. ^ Broughton, William Robert (1804), A voyage of discovery to the north Pacific Ocean : in which the coastal Asia, ... Japan ... as well as the coast of Corea have been examined and surveyed, performed in His Majesty's Sloop Providence and her tender in the years 1795, 1796, 1797, 1798, T. Cadell and W. Davies, p. 2, OL 24159440M, retrieved 3 January 2015 
  8. ^ Broughton, William Robert (1804), A voyage of discovery to the north Pacific Ocean : in which the coastal Asia, ... Japan ... as well as the coast of Corea have been examined and surveyed, performed in His Majesty's Sloop Providence and her tender in the years 1795, 1796, 1797, 1798, T. Cadell and W. Davies, p. 64, OL 24159440M, retrieved 3 January 2015 
  9. ^ Broughton, William Robert (1804), A voyage of discovery to the north Pacific Ocean : in which the coastal Asia, ... Japan ... as well as the coast of Corea have been examined and surveyed, performed in His Majesty's Sloop Providence and her tender in the years 1795, 1796, 1797, 1798, T. Cadell and W. Davies, pp. 96–114, OL 24159440M, retrieved 3 January 2015 
  10. ^ Broughton, William Robert (1804), A voyage of discovery to the north Pacific Ocean : in which the coastal Asia, ... Japan ... as well as the coast of Corea have been examined and surveyed, performed in His Majesty's Sloop Providence and her tender in the years 1795, 1796, 1797, 1798, T. Cadell and W. Davies, p. 195, OL 24159440M, retrieved 6 January 2015 
  11. ^ Mockford, Jim. "Before Lewis and Clark, Lt. Broughton's River of Names: The Columbia River Exploration of 1792". Oregon History Quarterly. Retrieved 26 April 2007. 
  12. ^ Andrew David (ed.), William Robert Broughton's Voyage of Discovery to the North Pacific 1795–1798, Hakluyt Society 3rd series, no.22, London, Ashgate, 2010, Introduction, p.v. ISBN 0-904180-97-2.
  13. ^ Lewis and Clark's Columbia River – Broughton Bluff, Oregon