Golden Age of Piracy - Chapter Decoration

Pirate Hunters > Chaloner Ogle

Chaloner Ogle


OGLE, Sir CHALONER (1681?–1750), admiral of the fleet, born about 1681, was brother of Nathaniel Ogle, physician to the forces under Marlborough, and apparently also of Nicholas Ogle, physician of the blue squadron under Sir Clowdisley Shovell in 1697. He entered the navy in July 1697 as a volunteer per order, or king's letter-boy, on board the Yarmouth with Captain Cleveland. He afterwards served in the Restoration with Captain Foulis, in the Worcester and Suffolk, and passed his examination on 11 March 1701–2, being then twenty-one, according to his certificate. On 29 April 1702 he was promoted to be lieutenant of the Royal Oak, and on 24 Nov. 1703 to be commander of the St. Antonio. In April 1705 he was moved to the Deal Castle, which was captured off Ostend on 3 July 1706 by three French ships. A court-martial, held on 19 Oct., acquitted Ogle of all blame. He afterwards commanded the Queenborough; on 14 March 1707–8 he was posted by Sir George Byng to the Tartar frigate, and in her he continued during the war, for the most part in the Mediterranean, where he made some valuable prizes (Charnock). In 1716 he commanded the Plymouth in the Baltic under Sir John Norris [q. v.]; and in 1717 the Worcester, under Sir George Byng.

In March 1719 he was appointed to the 60-gun ship Swallow, and, after convoying the trade to Newfoundland, thence to the Mediterranean, and so home, was sent early in 1721 to the coast of Africa. For several months the ship was disabled by the sickness of her men. On 20 Sept. Ogle wrote from Prince's Island that he had buried fifty men and had still one hundred sick. In November he was at Cape Coast Castle, where he received intelligence of two pirates plundering on the coast. He put to sea in search of them. At Whydah he learnt that they had lately captured ten sail, one of which, refusing to pay ransom, they had burnt, with a full cargo of negroes on board. On 5 Feb. 1721-2 he found them at anchor around Cape Lopez. One of the ships, commanded by a fellow named Skyrm, slipped her cable in chase, mistaking the Swallow for a merchantman. When they had run out of earshot the Swallow tacked towards the pirate, and, after a sharp action, captured her. She then returned to Cape Lopez' under a French ensign, and, eager for the expected prize, the other pirate, commanded by Bartholomew Roberts [q. v.], stood out to meet her. It was a disagreeable surprise when the Swallow hoisted the English flag and ran out her lower deck guns. Roberts defended himself with obstinate bravery, but when he was killed the pirates surrendered. The whole number of prisoners was 262, of whom seventy-five negroes were sold. Of the rest, seventy-seven were acquitted on their trial at Cape Coast Castle; fifty-two were hanged; nineteen died before the trial; twenty, sentenced to death, were sent for seven years in the mines; the rest were sent to England to be imprisoned in the Marshalsea. Ogle's conduct in ridding the seas of this pest was highly approved, and on his return to England in April 1723 he received the honor of knighthood. He also received, as a special gift from the crown, the pirates' ships and effects, subject to the legal charges, and the payment of head-money to his officers and men; the net value of the proceeds was a little over 3,000l., and, though the officers and ship's company represented that it ought to be divided as prize-money, Ogle seems to have made good his contention that the captors of pirates were only entitled to head-money, and that the gift to him was personal, to support the expenses of his title (Captains' Letters, O. 2).

In April 1729 Ogle was appointed to the Burford, one of the fleet gathered at Spithead under the command of Sir Charles Wager [q. v.]; in 1731 he commanded the Edinburgh in the fleet, also under Wager, which went to the Mediterranean; and in 1732 he was sent out to Jamaica as commander-in-chief [see Lestock, Richard]. In June 1738 he was appointed to the Augusta, and on his promotion to be rear-admiral of the blue, 11 July 1739, he hoisted his flag in her, and, with a strong reinforcement, joined Haddock in the Mediterranean [see Haddock, Nicholas]. His stay there was short, and in the following summer he was third in command of the fleet under Sir John Norris. In the autumn he was ordered to take out a large reinforcement to Vice-admiral Vernon, whose exploit of 'taking Porto Bello with six ships' had inflamed the public with a desire for further achievement [see Vernon, Edward, 1684-1767]. When Ogle joined Vernon at Jamaica in the middle of January 1742, the fleet numbered thirty sail of the line, and, with some ten thousand soldiers, constituted by far the largest force that had ever been assembled in those seas. The attack on Cartagena in March and April was, however, a disastrous failure, and other operations attempted were equally unsuccessful. Vernon and the general were notoriously on bad terms, and between the navy and the army there was a bitter feeling, which showed itself in an open quarrel between Ogle and Edward Trevelvan, the governor of Jamaica. On 3 Sept. 1742 Ogle was charged before the chief justice of Jamaica with having assaulted Trevelvan on 22 July. The jury decided that Ogle had been guilty of an assault, and there the matter ended, the governor, through the attorney-general, requesting that no judgment should be given (A True and Genuine Copy of the Trial of Sir Chaloner Ogle, knt. now published in order to correct the errors and supply the defects of a Thing lately published called The Trial of &c, 1748).

On 18 Oct. 1742 Vernon sailed for England, leaving the command with Ogle. The fleet was too much reduced to permit of any operations against the coasts of the enemy, who, on the other hand, had no force at sea, I and Ogle's work was limited to protecting the British and scourging the Spanish trade. The one circumstance that calls for mention is the trial of George Frye, a lieutenant of marines, for disobedience and disrespect, on 16 March 1743-4. The court-martial, of which Ogle was president, found Frye guilty, and for that, and his 'great insolence and contempt shown to the court,' sentenced him to be cashiered, rendered incapable of holding a commission in the king's service, and to be imprisoned for fifteen years. The latter part of the sentence was afterwards pronounced illegal, and Frye obtained a verdict for false imprisonment against Ogle and the several members of the court-martial [see Mayne, Perry]. Ogle was sentenced to pay 800l. damages, which seems to have been eventually paid for him by the crown.

On 9 Aug. 1743 Ogle was promoted to be vice-admiral of the blue, and on 19 June 1744 to be admiral of the blue. He returned to England in the summer of 1745, and in September was president of the court-martial which tried sundry lieutenants and captains on a charge of misconduct in the action off Toulon on 11 Feb. 1743–4. With the later trials of the admirals Ogle had no concern, nor had he any further service. On 15 July 1747 he was advanced to be admiral of the white, and on 1 July 1749 to be admiral and commander-in-chief, entitled to fly the union flag at the main. He died in London on 11 April 1750 (Gent. Mag. 1750, p. 188). He was married, but seems to have died without issue. His portrait is in the Painted Hall at Greenwich, to which it was bequeathed by his grandnephew, Sir Charles Ogle [q. v.] Two mezzotint engravings by Faber and R. Tims are mentioned by Bromley.

Charnock's Biogr. Nav. iii. 402; official letters and other documents in the Public Record Office.


Primary Sources

Secondary Sources

Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 42

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