Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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BROUGHTON, William Robert, naval officer, born in Gloucestershire, England, in 1762; died in Florence, Italy, 12 March, 1821. He entered the royal navy as a midshipman in 1774, and was attached to the sloop "Falcon." He participated in the naval attack on Bunker Hill (17 June, 1775), and was soon afterward captured in an attempt to bring off a schooner that had run aground at Cape Ann. He was exchanged in December, 1776, and served on the American station until 1778. After several years of service in East Indian waters, he was appointed, in 1790, to the command of the "Chatham," a brig attached to Vancouver's roy-age of discovery on the northwest coast of America. With this vessel he was engaged in a survey of Columbia River and the coasts adjacent. Vancouver named a group of islands in the Pacific "Broughton's Archipelago," but the title has not survived, in 1793 he was sent home with dispatches, and travelled over-land from San Blas to Vera Cruz, a distance of about six hundred miles in a straight line. The original journal kept during this journey is preserved in the library of the royal united service institution in London. He reached England in the autumn of 1793, and on 3 October was placed in command of the "Providence," a vessel of four hundred tons, in which he again sailed for the northwest coast of America; but he found the place of rendezvous deserted, Vancouver having sailed some time before. This voyage terminated his American record. He crossed the Pacific, and subsequently rendered distinguished service in the British navy, rising to the rank of captain. In 1804 he published "A Voyage of Discovery to the North Pacific Ocean," confined mainly to the Asiatic coasts.
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