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Carew, Sir Benjamin Hallowell [formerly Benjamin Hallowell] (1760–1834), naval officer, son of Benjamin Hallowell, commissioner of the American board of customs, was born in Canada in 1760, and entered the navy at an early age. On 31 August 1781 he was appointed by Sir Samuel Hood as acting lieutenant of the Alcide, and served in her in the action off the Chesapeake five days later. He was shortly afterwards moved into the Alfred, and was in her in the engagements at St Kitts and off Dominica [see ]. However, he was not confirmed in his rank until 25 April 1783. After seven years of uneventful service he was made commander on 22 November 1790. During the two following years he commanded the sloop Scorpion on the African coast, and in 1793 went to the Mediterranean in the storeship Camel from which he was made a post captain on 30 August by his appointment to the temporary command of the Robust (74 guns). He briefly commanded the Courageux during the absence of Captain Waldegrave, sent home with dispatches; and on being superseded from her, served as a volunteer in the sieges of Bastia and Calvi. Nelson's acknowledgement of his zeal, embodied in Hood's dispatch of 5 August, contributed to his appointment to the frigate Lowestoft and a few months later to the Courageux, which he commanded in the action off the Hyères Islands on 13 July 1795. He continued in her, attached to the fleet under Sir John Jervis, during the trying year 1796. On 19 December, when the fleet was in Gibraltar Bay, the Courageux was blown from her anchors in a heavy gale, and was driven over to the Moroccan coast and dashed to pieces at the foot of Apes' Hill. Out of her crew of 600 only about 120 escaped. Hallowell was absent at a court martial at the time.

While waiting on board the Victory for an opportunity to return to England, Hallowell was present in the battle off Cape St Vincent on 14 February 1797. He was afterwards sent home with the duplicate dispatches and a strong recommendation from Jervis, which led to his being immediately appointed to command the frigate Lively and ordered back to the Mediterranean. He was shortly afterwards transferred to the Swiftsure (74 guns), one of the inshore squadron off Cadiz under Captain Troubridge. Hallowell is described as having been a man of gigantic frame and vast strength, and stories were later told of the summary manner in which he, by arm and fist, quelled symptoms of mutiny which appeared on board the Swiftsure during this time.

In May 1798 the Swiftsure was detached to join Nelson; she was thus one of the small fleet which scoured the Mediterranean during July and destroyed the French fleet in Abu Qir Bay on the night of 1–2 August [see ]. The Swiftsure, with the Alexander [see ], had been detached on the evening of 31 July to look into Alexandria, and was thus rather later than the other ships in getting into action. It was already dark, and as she was sailing in she met a ship leaving the battle. Hallowell was on the point of firing into her, but he had fortunately given strict orders that not a shot was to be fired until the anchor was down and the sails clewed up; the strange ship turned out to be the British Bellerophon, which had been compelled to haul off for a time. The Swiftsure took her place and, together with the Alexander, devoted herself to the destruction of L'Orient, which blew up about two hours later.

When Nelson returned to Naples Bay, the Swiftsure was one of the ships left on the coast of Egypt under the command of Captain Samuel Hood, and she remained there for the next eighteen months. She rejoined Nelson at Palermo on 20 March 1799, and a couple of months later Hallowell, intent on countering the flattery then lavished on Nelson, astonished the fleet by sending him a coffin made of wood and iron from the wreck of L'Orient, together with a note (23 May 1799):
My lord, herewith I send you a coffin made of part of L'Orient's mainmast, that when you are tired of this life you may be buried in one of your own trophies; but may that period be far distant is the sincere wish of your obedient and much obliged servant, Ben. Hallowell.
For the next three months the Swiftsure remained on the coast of Italy, where Hallowell was actively employed, under Troubridge, in the capture of Sant' Elmo, Capua, and Civitavecchia; for which services he received from the king of Naples the orders of St Ferdinand and of Merit, and a snuffbox bearing the royal cipher in diamonds. Towards the end of the year the Swiftsure joined Rear-Admiral Duckworth at Minorca, and accompanied him to Lisbon, on which station and off Cadiz she remained. Hallowell married, on 17 February 1800, a daughter of , for many years commissioner of the dockyard at Gibraltar; they had children.

In May 1800 Rear-Admiral Sir Richard Bickerton hoisted his flag on board the Swiftsure, and in November went in her to the coast of Egypt. He then transferred his flag to the Kent, and the following June the Swiftsure was sent in charge of a convoy to Malta. On the way there Hallowell, having learned of the proximity of a powerful French squadron which had been endeavouring to land troops near Tripoli, resolved to make his way to reinforce Sir John Borlase Warren, off the north African coast, and accordingly left the convoy to shift for itself. He was thus alone when, on 24 June 1801, he fell in with the French squadron and was surrounded, and captured after an obstinate resistance. Hallowell was very shortly afterwards released on parole, and on 18 August was tried at Port Mahon by a court martial, which pronounced that his leaving the convoy was dictated by sound judgement and that the loss of the Swiftsure was unavoidable. He was therefore honourably acquitted of all blame.

In 1802 Hallowell commanded the Argo (44 guns) on the African coast with a broad pennant. Touching at Barbados on his return to Europe, and learning there that war had again broken out, he placed his services at the disposal of Commodore Sir Samuel Hood, then commander-in-chief on the Leeward Islands station. He was thus engaged in the capture of St Lucia and of Tobago in June 1803, and was warmly thanked by Hood in his dispatches. On his return to England he was sent out, still in the Argo, on a special mission to Abu Qir. He was afterwards appointed to the Tigre, in which he joined the fleet off Toulon under Nelson, and under his command took part in the chase of the French fleet to the West Indies in May and June 1805. In September the Tigre was with the fleet off Cadiz, but was one of the ships detached to Gibraltar under Rear-Admiral Louis on 3 October, and had thus no share in Trafalgar. Continuing in the Tigre, Hallowell was given command of the naval part of the expedition to Alexandria in 1807; after this he was with the fleet off Toulon and on the coast of Spain until his advancement to flag rank on 1 August 1811. In January 1812 he hoisted his flag on board the Malta (80 guns), again in the Mediterranean, where he remained until the peace. In January 1815 he was made a KCB. Between 1816 and 1818 he was commander-in-chief on the coast of Ireland, and became vice-admiral on 12 August 1819. From 1821 to 1824 he was commander-in-chief at the Nore, with his flag in the Prince Regent.

On the death of his cousin, Anne Paston Gee (28 March 1828), Hallowell unexpectedly succeeded to the estates of the Carews of Beddington, near Croydon, Surrey, and as required by her will assumed the name and arms of Carew, to which family, however, he was not related. To a friend who congratulated him he answered: ‘Half as much twenty years ago had indeed been a blessing; but I am now old and crank.’ On 22 July 1830 he attained the rank of admiral, and on 6 June 1831 was made GCB. He died at Beddington Park, Surrey, on 2 September 1834.

J. K. Laughton, rev. Roger Morriss


J. Marshall, Royal naval biography, 1/2 (1823), 465–83 · GM, 2nd ser., 2 (1834), 537 · United Service Journal, 3 (1834), 374 · United Service Journal, 1 (1835), 95 · E. P. Brenton, Life of Lord St Vincent (1838), 1.302 · W. James, The naval history of Great Britain, from the declaration of war by France in 1793, to the accession of George IV [5th edn], 6 vols. (1859–60), vol. 3, p. 77 · The dispatches and letters of Vice-Admiral Lord Viscount Nelson, ed. N. H. Nicolas, 7 vols. (1844–6), vol. 3, p. 89


Duke U., Perkins L., papers · NMM, corresp. and papers · Sci. Mus., corresp. and papers · Yale U., Beinecke L. |  BL, letters to Lord Spencer · U. Aberdeen L., corresp. with A. M. Fraser · U. Nott. L., corresp. with Lord William Bentinck · W. Sussex RO, naval orders to W. S. Badcock


F. Chantrey, pencil drawing, 1815, NPG · oils, 1815–19, NMM · W. C. Ross, miniature, c.1833, Los Angeles County Museum · J. Hayter, oils, NPG · M. Thomas, oils, NMM