BLAKE, ROBERT, a celebrated English admiral, who, more than any other, contributed to render England mistress of the sea, was b. at Bridgewater, in Sumersetshire, where his father was a merchant, in 1598. Au ardent republican, and a man of blunt, straight forward manners, singularly devoid of fear, and of inflexible character, lie was much respelled by Cromwell, with whom, however, he had no very intimate intercourse. When the c;vil war broke out, he raised a troop in Somersetshire, and took part in all important actions fought against the royalists in the western counties. In 1644, he sur prised Tnunton, of which place he was made governor, and in that capacity gave proof of no mean military skill. In 1649, in conjunction with two other officers of equal rank, he was appoiuted general of the sea, the two services at that time not being distinct, us they inc now. This was B.'s true sphere, and in it he soon exhibited transcendent ability. After destroying, with the exception of two vessels, the squadron of prince Rupert, which had sought safety iu the Tagus in 1651, B. forced the royalists to surren der Guernsey, Jersey, and the Scilly isles. In Mar., 1652, he was mad.: sole admiral of the tleet for nine months, and during this year be fought four engagements with Dutch fleets under Tromp, Ruyter, and De Witt. In the first, on the lUth May, the Dutch retreated under cover of darkness, with the loss of one man-of-war captured, and another sunk. In the next engagement, a squadron of 12 ships, sent to protect the herring-vessels from the attacks of B., were captured; and in the third, on the 28th Sept., 3 Dutch vessels were destroyed, and the rear-admiral taken. On the 29th fleet fif SO vessels, under the command of Van Tromp, encountered B. with only 4 off the Goodwin sands. The courageous Englishman scorned to fly even from odds so overwhelming, and the result of the action was the loss of 6 of his ships-2 captured, and 4 destroyed; the rest, in a shattered condition, sought safety in the Thames. Van Tromp now had recourse to that foolish act of bravado with which his name is asso elated: lie tied a broom to the mast-head of his vessel, and sailed through the channel, thus iutimating that he had swept English vessels clean out of it. Tromp little knew the indomitable character of B., or of the nation of which lie was the worthy representa tive on the seas. By Feb., 1633, B. was at sea again with 80 ships, and falling in with
Van Tromp with about an equal force, he at once attacked him, and after a three days' running-fight, the Dutchman was fain to seek shelter in the shallow waters of Calais— where the greater draught of the English ships did not admit of their following—with a loss of 11 men-of-war, and 30 of a fleet of merchantmen he had in convoy. The English lost only one ship. On the 3d and 4th of June, B. and his coadjutors, Deane and Monk, won another victory over Van Tromp; but ill-health prevented B. from taking part in the engagement of the 29th July, which finally shattered the naval supremacy of Holland. In 1634, B. was appointed by Cromwell to command an English fleet in the Mediter ranean, where he soon made the British flag respected by Dutch, Spanish, and French alike. The dcy of Tunis refused to do it reverence. B. attacked his capital, burned the Turkish fleet of nine ships which lay before it, accomplished a landing, and with a body of about 1000 men, annihilated an army of 3000 Turks, lie next sailed to Algiers and Tripoli, landed, and set free all the English who were detained as slaves. He con cluded alliances highly favorable to England with Venice and Tuscany. In 1657, be defeated the Spaniards at Santa Cruz. This was Perhaps one of the most daring actions iu B.'s memorable career. With a wind blowing right into the bay—which was very strongly defended—B. dashed in, attacked and destroyed the Spanish galleons and ship ping in the harbor, and, the wind fortunately changing, sailed out again with a loss of only one ship and 200 men. The Spanish loss in men and property was immense, and the terror the action inspired insured increased respect to the English flag. His health now failed; he returned to England, and died, as his ship entered the harbor of Plym outh, in the year 1657. Cromwell honored his memory by a solemn funeral proces sion, and caused him to be interred In Westminster abbey. His skill and courage were equaled only by his disinterested patriotism, sterling honesty, and love of justice; he not only gained a decided superiority over England's mightiest naval opponent, but, by the bold tactics lie introduced, infused that spirit of enterprise which has ever since dis tinguished the British navy.