John Benbow, an English admiral, born at Newport in 1650, died in Jamaica, Nov. 4, 1702. He was reared in the merchant service, and in a trip to the Mediterranean in 1686 he fought so desperately against an African corsair, that he was invited to the Spanish court by Charles II., who recommended him to James II. of England. The latter gave him the command of a ship of war to protect British interests in the English channel, and subsequently he was promoted to the rank of rear admiral, and employed in blockading and bombarding the French ports. In 1701, with a squadron under his command, he sailed to the West Indies. His success was commended by the bouse of commons, and in 1702, on a second expedition, he encountered the French fleet under Dncasse, and for five days maintained a running fight with them. He succeeded in bringing the enemy's sternmost ship to close quarters, but his chief officers refused to second his efforts. Here he lost a leg by a chain-shot, an event which, though it did not abate his ardor, gave occasion for some of his captains to agree "that nothing more was to he done." On his return to Jamaica he brought the delinquents before a court martial, which convicted them of disobedience and cowardice, and caused them to be shot.
His wound, and the emotion caused by these events, concurred with a pulmonary disease to hasten his death.