Third Rate

Third Rate

Captured – 19th April 1782

Length – 166ft

Beam – 44ft

Broken Up – 1831

On the 19th April, 1782, The two decked 64-gun French third-rate ship, “Jason”, was captured whilst in the Mona Passage that separates Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, by a squadron of ships under the command of Rear Admiral Sir Samuel Hood.

In 1783, she was renamed HMS Argonaut. On January 8th 1795, whilst commanded by Captain Alexander John Ball she was involved in battle with the French and, with the assistance of HMS Oiseau; she captured the French sloop, Esperance 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.

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. 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. 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.

In 1797, she was reduced to harbour service and used as a Hospital Ship in the River Medway. Then, in 1822, she was moved a short distance upstream to Chatham and used in a similar role. Argonaut was eventually broken up in 1831.

3 thoughts on “Third Rate

  1. Lawrence Scott

    My 4th Great Grandfather Commander James James was on the Argonuat at some stage as his daughter Ann died on board HMS Argonaut on 04/12/1807 could someone confirm this

  2. Adam Phillips Post author

    Lawrence very little is known about the first Argonaut. In fact I have tried to research the ship and find it a bit of an enigma.

    If you have any further information about your 4th Great Grandfather please let me know so I can do some more research.

  3. Lawence Scott

    Adam my 4th Great Grandfather was Commander James James He was the Commander of the Argonaut when it was a hospital ship, he was born 09/08/1760 died 13/11/1845 Hammond Hill,Chatham.He was made Commander on the 01/07/1828

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