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NIGER (33) 5th rate Built in 1759, Sheerness DY.
Prison ship in 1810.
Renamed NEGRO in 1813.
Sold in 1814.

  • 1760 Capt. John BENTINCK, employed as a cruiser he had the fortune to fall in with the DIADEME, a French ship of war mounting 64 guns. Not withstanding his great inferiority of force, he continued to chace for a considerable time in the hope meeting with some other cruiser by whose assistance the enemy might have been successfully attacked. Having six feet of water in the hold occasioned by a large shot hole under her starboard counter, and no friend appearing, Capt. BENTINCK shortened sail in order to separate from the enemy. This enabled him to heel his ship and repair the damage.
  • About a week after, on his return to Plymouth, he fell in with and captured a small French privateer from St. Malo called the JASON, of 8 guns and 52 men. In the following November he captured off Morlaix, the EPREUVE, a fine French corvette, carrying fourteen six pounders and one hundred and thirty-six men. In 1761 he took the 12 gun LE DUC DE MAZARIN from Dunkirk. Also in 1761 he became member of Parliament for town of Rye, one of the Cinque Ports.
  • 1761 Cdr. Thomas FITZHERBERT, as acting captain of NIGER he was employed on a cruise off the coast of France, where he fell in with, and captured, about twenty leagues to the south west of Ushant, the DUC de MAZARINE, belonging to Brest, and carrying twelve guns and 160 men. He was promoted to post captain in June following and appointed to the WAGER.
  • 1762 Capt. Thomas CORNWALL.
  • 1763 Capt. Sir Thomas ADAMS.
  • 1767 Capt. Andrew WILKINSON.
  • 1770 Capt. Francis BANKS.
  • 1772 Capt. Edward THOMPSON,
  • 1791 Capt. Sir Richard KEATS.
  • 1792 Capt. Hon. G. C. BERKELEY.
  • 1793 Capt. MOORSON. Capt. Hon. Arthur Kaye LEGGE, 02/1793, almost immediately after being promoted to post rank.
    NIGER was one of the repeaters in Lord HOWE's fleet on the glorious 1 June 1794. Mr James WALKER, her first lieutenant, was appointed commander for his conduct as signal officer.
  • 1794 Capt. Edward J. FOOTE, 10/1794.
    On 9 May 1795 NIGER was with a squadron under Sir Sir Richard STRACHAN at anchor in Gourville Bay, Jersey, when 13 enemy vessels were seen running along the shore. The squadron chased them under a small battery which was soon silenced and 12 of them, laden with naval stores, were taken possession of. L‘ECUREUIL of 18 guns and 105 men was destroyed near the Penmarks on 12 April 1796.
    She was present, with the other frigates LIVELY and SOUHAMPTON, at the battle off Cape St. Vincent on 14 February 1797.
    Capt. FOOTE removed to SEAHORSE in October.
  • 1797 Capt. Edward GRIFFITH (later COLPOYS), 10/1797, until he removed to the TRITON.
    While she was stationed off the French coast she captured a number of privateers.
  • 1798 Capt. Matthew Henry SCOTT, 03/1808.
    In December of that year her people saved the lives of three men from ATLAS whose boat had been upset near NIGER at Spithead.
  • 1799 Capt. LARMOUR, 07/1797, Portsmouth. Troopship.
  • 1800 Capt. James HILLYER.
    On 3 September 1800 an attack was made on two Spanish corvettes lying in the road at Barcelona and reported to be destined for the relief of Malta which was then blockaded by a British squadron. The enterprise was directed by Capt. Thomas LOUIS of the MINOTAUR (74). Capt. HILLYAR of the storeship NIGER, and Lieut. Charles SCHOMBERG volunteered their services to lead the boats and they were assisted by Lieuts. WARRAND, LOWRY and HEALY; Mr READ, Master, and Lieut. JEWEL of the marines.
    The boats left at 8 PM and for a time they were alongside a Swedish galliot standing in towards the mole at Barcelona but they were able to quit her when they were a long gun -shot of the enemy. As they boarded the outer corvette the Spanish crew barricaded themselves in the cabin and made an obstinate defence before they were obliged to surrender. The cheers of the assailants provoked a discharge of round and grape from the second corvette which, by loosening her fore-topsail, then attempted to escape towards the mole. Unfortunately the wind took her the wrong way and she was easily taken.
    The two captured vessels were then taken out under heavy fire from four batteries, ten gunboats, two schooners, each mounting two 42-pounders and the fort of Montjuif which was throwing shells. The British losses occurred chiefly in two boats and were two seamen killed and one officer, four seamen and one marine wounded; the latter mortally. The enemy had three men killed and twenty-one wounded.
    The prizes proved to be EL ESMERALDA and LA PAZ, both about 400 tons and each armed with 22 brass guns, 12 and 9-pounders. They were loaded with provisions and stores and Dutch officers on board said that they were to have taken 300 troops from Majorca to Batavia. They were both fine ships, LA PAZ being brand new.
    Capt. HILLYAR and Lieut. SCHOMBERG were specially commended by Captain LOUIS in his report to Vice-Admiral Lord KEITH but representations were made by both the Swedish and Spanish governments that the attack was made under the disguise of a neutral flag. After investigation these allegations were rejected by the Admiralty.
    NIGER was next involved in the debarkation of the army at Aboukir Bay in March 1801. The "bravery, activity and perseverance" of HILLYAR and his officers and seamen were praised by Sir William Sidney SMITH in his report to Admiral Lord KEITH. By their "unparalleled exertions" the cannon were landed at the same moment with the troops and moved forward with them into battle.
  • On 20 January 1804 Horatio NELSON addressed a letter to Earl ST. VINCENT.
    " Captain HILLYAR is most truly deserving of all your Lord ship can do for him. At twenty-four years of age when I made him a Lieutenant for his bravery he maintained his mother, sisters and a brother. From all these circumstances, so honourable to Captain HILLYAR, independent of his services, which everyone thought would have obtained him promotion in the late war.
    I beg leave to submit that as the NIGER is a very fine fast sailing frigate, well manned and in most excellent condition, she may be fitted with the MADRAS's 32-carronades which are not so heavy as her present 9-pounders, and that your Lordship would recommend her being considered as a post-ship. Captain HILLYAR's activity would soon complete the additional number of men, and she would be an efficient frigate. I will not venture to say more, I am sensible of your attention to merit."

    As a result of this recommendation NIGER's establishment was altered and on 29 February 1804 Capt. HILLYAR was appointed to command her as a 32-gun frigate.
  • The following autumn NIGER discovered a very fine watering place at Pulla, about five miles west of Porto Torres in Sardinia which was advantageous for the British ships watching the French at Toulon. Lord NELSON called it I "the most healthy spot the fleet has ever been at. So far from a man being ill from the thousands who went on shore, they have all derived the the greatest benefit from the salubrity of the air brought down by that fine river."
  • The following year NIGER was in Malta on 14 July when her captain married Miss Taylor, the daughter of the Naval Storekeeper. Later in the year she was serving off Cadiz with NELSON leaving a few days before the battle of Trafalgar.
  • On 27 February 1806 NIGER landed Mr Cartwright, the British Consul-General at Algiers, at Gibraltar. He had asked for his passport when the Dey refused to adhere to treaty obligations.
  • On 2 May 1806 NIGER captured the Spanish national schooner VIRGIN DEL CARMEN, Lieut. Luis Navaretta, bound to la Guira with dispatches (thrown overboard) from Algiciras, and at the end of 1807 she assisted in escorting Sir John Moore's army from Gibraltar to England.
  • From 1810 she was used as a prison and hospital ship at Portsmouth.
  • 1811 Lieut. Timothy BIRD.
  • 1812 Lieut. TODMAN.
  • At the beginning of 1814 she was renamed NEGRO. Lieut. T. A. EDWARDS.
  • Sold in September 1814.

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