Family and Early Life
Shuldham Peard was born at Penryn, Cornwall in 1761, the third son of Captain George Peard. Shuldham was baptised at St Gluvias on 29 October. At the age of ten he was entered on the books of HMS Fly, and afterwards on those of HMS Racehorse, as an able seaman. He probably first went afloat in 1776, in the 64-gun HMS Worcester, with Captain Mark Robinson; he was afterwards in HMS Martin with Captain William Parker, and in HMS Thetis with Captain John Gell on the Newfoundland station. In 1779, having been sent away in command of a prize, he was taken prisoner and carried into Cadiz. On his return to England he passed his examination on 6 April 1780, and on 26 April was promoted to the rank of lieutenant. In June 1780 he was appointed to the 74-gun HMS Edgar, one of the ships of the Channel Fleet, and continued in her until February 1782, taking part in the relief of Gibraltar in April 1781. From 1785 to 1790 he was in the 74-gun HMS Carnatic, the guardship at Plymouth; in 1790–1, during the Spanish armament, he was in HMS Princess Royal, flagship of Rear-Admiral William Hotham, at Portsmouth, and was again in the Carnatic in 1791–2. In January 1793, after the outbreak of the French Revolutionary Wars he joined Hotham's new flagship, the 100-gun HMS Britannia, and went out to the Mediterranean with him. On 30 January 1795 Peard was promoted to command the sloop HMS Fleche.
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