Maximilian Jacobs

Died 1802. He was described as being of foreign extraction.

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Captain Jacobs had a narrow escape from death at the Siege of Louisbourg in 1758. It may have saved a lot of trouble thereafter if the shot had been more accurate.

Jacobs was commissioned lieutenant on 22 November 1752 and promoted commander on 13 June 1757. He had the new sloop Alderney 10 in convoy duty and cruising until posted captain of the Kennington 20 on 4 January 1758. Sailing for North America in February, he served at the capture of Louisbourg where he was fortunate to survive the path of a round shot that tore the skirts of his coat.

He commanded the Actaeon 28 from the summer of 1759 with the Grand Fleet but left her towards the end of the year. On two separate occasions Commodore Thomas Hanway at Plymouth investigated Jacobs on accusations that he ill-treated his men, and although the charges were proved it was accepted that his intentions were not cruel, but rather that he had been too harsh in attempting to teach the men their duty.

In March 1768 he recommissioned the Deal Castle 24, going out to North America in June where he remained until paid off in July 1772.

Jacobs commissioned the new Amazon 32 in early 1776, sailing for North America in June and being present at the occupation of New York on 3 July. During the summer of 1777 he was commanding the Amazon at Rhode Island and later off Cape Cod and Cape Ann, and he participated in the defence of New York in July 1778. Shortly afterwards he drove the privateer Wilkes ashore on 5 August. After arriving at Spithead in company with the Bedford 74, Captain Edmund Affleck, the Amazon went around to the Nore to be paid off in February 1779.

Almost immediately Jacobs joined the Defiance 64, but as she was on the point of leaving Torbay for North America in May with Vice-Admiral Marriot Arbuthnot’s convoy a mutiny broke out aboard her. The men, being fully aware of Jacobs’ poor reputation, and apparently having been misinformed as to their destination, had previously written to the first lieutenant seeking his support and claiming that under the new captain they were destined to live in ‘oppression and poverty’. The mutiny was suppressed with Arbuthnot’s assistance, but only after news of its occurrence had been sent to the Admiralty, and when the convoy did sail it was temporarily diverted to the defence of Jersey.

Jacobs commanded the Defiance with the fleet that set out from New York in December 1779 to undertake the eventual capture of Charleston on 11 May 1780, but in the meantime, on 18 February, his vessel was wrecked on the Savannah Bar when he ignored the pilot’s recommendations after she had broken loose from her anchorage near North Edisto. Having been brought to a court martial on 22 May, Jacobs was found culpable for her loss and ‘dismissed during pleasure’, whilst the pilot was rendered incapable of undertaking his trade again.

Thereafter Jacobs did not receive any further employment, and he officially retired from active service along with a number of other officers in 1786, receiving the pay of a superannuated captain.

He died in 1802 at Douglas, Isle of Man.

Jacobs had been married with a son and daughter.