WARREN, Sir Peter (c.1703-52), of Cavendish Sq., London and Westbury, Hants.
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Family and Education
b. c.1703, 3rd s. of Michael Warren of Warrenstown, co. Meath, by Catharine, da. of Sir Christopher Aylmer, 1st Bt., of Balrath, co. Meath, wid. of Sir Nicholas Plunket. m. July 1731, Susanna, da. of Stephen de Lancey, a French Huguenot, of Caen and New York, sis. of James de Lancey, c.j. and lt.-gov. of New York, 1d. d.v.p. 4da. K.B. 29 May 1747.
Entered R.N. 1716, midshipman 1719, lt. 1723, capt. 1727, r.-adm. 1745, c.-in-c. Western squadron 1747, v.-adm. 1747.
Of an Irish Roman Catholic family, Warren entered the navy under the care of his uncle Admiral Matthew Aylmer, becoming a Protestant.1 He served successively under his cousin, Sir John Norris, Sir Charles Wager, and Lord Anson, to the last of whom he wrote ‘I pin my whole faith upon you, and determine, if you will give me leave, to stand or fall with you’.2 In 1742 he was appointed to the Leeward Islands station, where he captured over 20 prizes, including one valued at £250,000.3 He commanded the fleet at the capture of Louisbourg in 1745, earning a tribute from the Duke of Bedford, the first lord of the Admiralty:
Commodore Warren has behaved, in the whole affair, so much like an officer who has nothing so much at heart as his Majesty’s service, and so much to the satisfaction of us who employed him, as well as to that of all the officers who had the pleasure to serve under him, and has kept up so good an agreement, by his prudent conduct, with the officers that commanded the land forces, that I should think myself highly deficient in my duty to the King was I not to represent how much I thought it was for his Majesty’s service to reward so much merit in a conspicuous manner.4
Refused a baronetcy on the ground he had no heir, he was made a rear-admiral. In that year he took several more valuable prizes from the French. In the spring of 1747 he was second-in-command at the victory off Cape Finisterre under Anson, whom he succeeded as commander of the Channel fleet. Suffering from a ‘scorbutic disorder’,5 he saw little more active service before the peace.
Having failed to obtain the governorships of New York and of New Jersey 1745-6, Warren then expressed his intention ‘to get into Parliament and perhaps venture to open my mouth with more temper though less eloquence than our friend Mr. Vernon.’ He was returned for Westminster on the interest of the Duke of Bedford, who provided him with the necessary property qualification.6 He asked Anson for a seat on the Admiralty board, writing:
I beg you will assure his Grace the Duke of Bedford and yourself that I shall ever, upon all occasions adhere with a most firm and an unchangeable attachment to his Grace’s and your interest and service.7
Pelham put him forward in 1748, but the King turned him down. In March 1749 he was one of the high naval officers who ‘vehemently opposed’ the navy bill.8 He figures in the Leicester House lists of the new Government to be formed on the Prince’s accession as third commissioner of a council presided over by Prince George as lord high admiral. He spoke against an opposition motion for an inquiry into the state of Dunkirk, 5 Feb. 1750, and supported the Saxony subsidy in January 1752.9 In the summer of 1752 he went over to Ireland to complete the purchase of some estates there, dying in Dublin of a violent fever. 29 July.10
Ref Volumes: 1715-1754
Author: Eveline Cruickshanks
- 1. T. Warren, Hist. and Gen. of Warren Fam. 188-9.
- 2. Add 15957, f. 179.
- 3. Charnock, Biog. Navalis, iv. 185.
- 4. Bedford Corresp. i. 28-29.
- 5. Add. 15957, ff. 160, 168, 170.
- 6. Ex inf. Julian Gwyn, from the following: Warren to Clinton, 28 Aug. 1745, Clinton mss, Wm. L. Clements Lib.; Warren to Newcastle, 7 June 1746, Warren to Charles Knowles, 10 Nov. 1746, Gage mss; Add. 15955, f. 141. Anson to Bedford, 21, 23 June 1747, Bedford mss.
- 7. 9 Aug. 1747, Add. 15957, f. 208.
- 8. Walpole to Mann, 26 Dec. 1748, 4 Mar. 1749.
- 9. Walpole, Mems. Geo. II, i. 243.
- 10. Warren Fam. 1-2.