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KENT (70) 3rd rate Built in 1746, Deptford.
Hulk in the East Indies in 1760.

  • Captured in 1745 Thomas FOX, from the NEWCASTLE. In April 1747 he was sent as commanding officer of a small squadron (KENT, HAMPTON COURT, EAGLE, LION, CHESTER and HECTOR, with two fireships, to cruise between Ushant and Cape Finisterre, to intercept a large merchant fleet from San Domingo to France. After a month he fell in with a convoy of 170 ships laden with cochineal, cotton, indigo and other valuable commodities. They were protected by four ships of war who deserted them on the approach of the English squadron, leaving 46 to be captured; the rest dispersing, some to be taken by English cruisers.
  • KENT then formed part of the squadron under Rear Adm. HAWK which was sent to intercept a large well protected French convoy sailing to the West Indies. The admiral asked the Admiralty to bring Capt. FOX before a Court Martial to investigate his behaviour.
  • His trial began at Portsmouth on 25th. November, Sir Peter Warren, presiding. The charge against him, read by the judge advocate, was that he did not come properly into the fight, did not do his utmost to engage, disable or damage the enemy, nor assist his majesty's ships who did. Several captains from the squadron gave evidence against him but the evidences, which were numerous, for the captain, unanimously agreed that his personal courage was not wanting in the day of battle; and whereas the evidence against him swore that he did not engage but at a great distance, his evidence made it appear, to the satisfaction of the court, that she engaged the Fougueux three quarters of an hour within musquet and pistol shot until she struck to her; then the Kent shot ahead and engaged the Tonnant for half an hour until she carried away the Tonnant's main-top mast, when the Kent forged ahead, her braces, preventers and stoppers having all been shot away.
  • The trial ended on 21st. December with the court of the opinion that part of the charge was proved, that he had been guilty of backing his mizzen-top-sail, and leaving the Tonnant, contrary to the 10th. and 11th. articles of war, they acquitted him however of the charges of cowardice, but, because he paid too much regard to the advice of his officers, against his better judgement, passed sentence that he be dismissed from his present command of the Kent. Both his 1st. lieutenant and his master had misread the signal for 'close action' as meaning 'proceed to assistance of admiral', which is what he had done. Capt. FOX was superannuated as a rear admiral in 1749.

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