Howe, Richard Howe, Earl, 1726–99, British admiral; elder brother of Viscount Howe. He won early recognition in the Seven Years War for his operations in the English Channel. After the outbreak of the American Revolution, he was given (1776) command of the North American fleet. He and his brother were commissioned to seek a peaceful settlement of the dispute with the colonies, but negotiations at Staten Island in 1776 came to nothing, and he supported (1777) his brother's successful campaign against Philadelphia. In 1778 he outmaneuvered the French fleet under the comte d'Estaing in its attempt to cooperate with land troops to take British-held Newport, R.I. He resigned later that year, but in 1782 he assumed command of the Channel fleet and relieved the siege of Gibraltar. Howe is best remembered for his decisive victory over the French fleet in the battle called the First of June in 1794. Created Earl Howe in 1788, he was popularly known as Black Dick.
See I. D. Gruber, The Howe Brothers and the American Revolution (1972).
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