Obituary from The Gentleman's Magazine - January 1854

REAR-ADMIRAL PASCO.


Nov. ...  At East Stonehouse, near Devonport, aged nearly 79, Rear-Admiral John Pasco.

Rear-Admiral Pasco was born Dec 20,1774. He entered the navy, June 4, 1784, on board the Druid 32, lying at Plymouth. In 1786 he joined the Pegasus 28, commanded by H.R.H. the Duke of Clarence, with whom he served for about twelve months in the West Indies and off the coast of North America. He then became attached to the Impregnable 98, flagship at Plymouth of Adm. Graves, and to the Penelope 32, on the Halifax station. Between 1790 and 1795 he was employed as midshipman and master's mate, principally in the Channel and West Indies, on board the Syren 32, Orion 74, London 98, Caesar 80, Minotaur 74, Aimable 32, and Beaulieu 38. Attaining the rank of lieutenant July 15,1795, he was appointed to the Majestic 74, flag-ship of Sir J. Laforey; again to the Beaulieu, and to the Minotaur 74, all in the West Indies; Sept 27, 1796, to the Raisonnable 64, employed at tbe Cape of Good Hope and in the Channel; Dec 27, 1799, as first, to the Immortalite 36, on the latter station; and April 7, 1803 (after six months of half pay), to the Victory 100, flag-ship of Lord Nelson. When senior Lieutenant, in 1796, of the Beaulieu, Mr. Pasco landed with a battalion of seamen, and assisted at the reduction of St. Lucie. On his passage to the Mediterranean in May 1803, Pasco, then in the Victory, contributed to the capture of the French 32-gun frigate Embuscade. He afterwards went in
pursuit of the combined squadrons to the West Indies; and on his return he shared, Oct 21, 1805, in the battle of Trafalgar.

 

[ Lord Nelson, on this occasion, gave Mr. Pasco his ever-memorable order in words: "England confides that every man will do his duty:" which was altered to  "England expects," &c. on Mr. Pasco's suggestion, in order to save time, the former word not being in the telegraph vocabulary, and therefore requiring to be spelt letter by letter. This story has been improved by relating that the alteration was from "Nelson expects," to "England expects;" but the fact as above stated is given on the authority of Rear-Admiral Pasco himself, in a letter addressed to Robert CoIe esq., F.S.A: dated on the 29th Oct., 1840 :-
"His Lordship came to me on the poop, and after ordering certain signals to be made, about a quarter  to noon, he said, 'Mr. Pasco, I wish to say to the fleet, England confides that every man will do his duty;' and he added, 'you must be quick, for I have one more to make, which is for close action.'
"I replied, 'If your Lordship will permit me to substitute the word expects for confides, the signal will soon be completed, because the word expects is in the vocabulary, and the word confides must be spelt.' His Lordship replied in haste and seeming satisfaction, ' That will do, Pasco, make it directly.' When it had been answered by a few ships in the van, he ordered me to make the signal for close action and to keep it up; accordingly, I hoisted No. 16 at the top-gallant mast-head, and there it remained until shot away."
We may add another remarkable anecdote (also from a letter of Captain Pasco to Mr. Cole). When the fresh ships from England joined Nelson's fleet, they had the hoops of their masts painted black. As this was a common practice with the enemy, it did not long escape Nelson's penetrating glance, and he telegraphed each ship to paint her hoops yellow, that in the event of even a mast being distinguishable in the smoke, no mistaken fire might be poured into a friend : - so minute - so far seeing - so decisive - decisive were the arrangements of that immortal chief! ]

 

It being Lord Nelson's practice to make the officer first on his list for promotion the duty of signal-officer, and the junior that of first Lieutenant, Mr. Pasco, although senior of the Victory in the action, was to submit to the regulation enforced by his lordship, through whose death he in consequence lost that promotion to which his rank entitled him. He had thus the mortification of only receiving a Commander's commission, dated Dec 24, 1805; while Mr, Quilliam, the sixth Lieutenant, was at once advanced to post rank. During battle he had the misfortune to be very severely wounded by a grape-shot in the right side and arm; for which he received a pension of £250 per annum, besides having at the time obtained a grant from the Patriotic Fund.
After he left the Victory, Captain Pasco remained on half-pay until May, 1808. He then obtained the command of the Mediator 32, in which he served for three months off Cadiz and Lisbon. In the following November he joined the Hindostan 50, armee- en-flute, fitting for a voyage to New South Wales: on his return whence he was appointed, in Nov. 1810, to the Tartarus 20. In that ship, in which he was made post by commission bearing date April 3, 1811, Captain Pasco continued employed on the Channel, American, and Cork stations until May 1815. In the ensuing June he assumed command, at Lisbon, of the Rota  38; and he next, from Aug. 20, 1815, until paid off Sept. 2, 1818, served in the Lee 20, on the Channel station, where he made prize of several smuggling vessels. On  March 18, 1846, he was admitted into the Royal Hospital at Greenwich; but, resigning the appointment almost immediately, he was placed on the 1st of April following in command of his old ship the Victory stationed at Portsmouth. He had been previously, Feb. 19, 1842, selected as a recipient for the Captain's good-service pension, He attained the rank of Rear-Admiral Sept. 22, 1847.'
Rear-Admiral Pasco married, first, Sept. 1, 1805, Rebecca, daughter of J. L. Pen fold, Esq., of the Royal Dockyard at Plymouth; and, secondly, July 22, 1843, Eliza, relict of Captain John Weaver, R.M.(1826). By his first wife he had issue three sons and two daughters. Of the former, the eldest, William, is a Commander, and the second, Crauford, a Lieutenant in the Royal Navy. ,The youngest son, George Magrath Ley Pasco, was a Second Lieutenant, Royal Marines (1841). One of the Rear-Admiral's daughters is married to Capt. J.B.B. M'Hardy, R.N. the high constable of Essex, the other to Lieutenant H.M. Kinsman, R.N.

The deceased was a truly gallant sailor and amiable gentleman.