Naval Commander
Born 1647 Died 1691

The eldest son of William Legge, George served as a volunteer in the navy during the Dutch war of 1665-1667, and quickly won his way to high rank. He was also a member of the household of the Duke of York, afterwards James II; was governor of Portsmouth and master-general of the army; in 1678 he commanded as colonel the troop at Nieuport, and in 1682 he was created Baron Dartmouth. In 1683 as 'admiral of a fleet' he sailed to Tangiers, dismantled the fortifications and brought back the English troops, a duty which he discharged very satisfactorily.

Under James II Dartmouth was Master of the Horse and Governor of the Tower of London; and in 1688, when William of Orange was expected, James II made him commander-in-chief of his fleet. Although himself loyal to James, the same cannot be said of many of his officers, and an engagement with the Dutch fleet was purposely avoided. Dartmouth, however, refused to assist in getting James Edward, prince of Wales, out of the country, and even reproved the king for attempting this proceeding. He then left the fleet and took the oath of allegiance to William and Mary, but in July 1691 he was arrested for treason, and was charged with offering to hand over Portsmouth to France and to command a French fleet. Macaulay believed that this accusation was true, but there are those who hold that Dartmouth spoke the truth when he protested his innocence. Further proceedings against him were prevented by his death, which took place in the Tower of London on the 25th of October 1691.

Extracted from the entry for DARTMOUTH, EARLS OF in the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica, the text of which lies within the public domain.

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