Jervis, John, earl of St. Vincent (järˈvĭs, jûrˈ–) [key], 1735–1823, British admiral. His most famous action as commander of the Mediterranean fleet was his defeat in 1797 of 27 Spanish ships off Cape St. Vincent with only 15 vessels. The victory was partly due to an unauthorized attack by Horatio Nelson and might have been more complete had Jervis realized the weakness of the enemy. However, it helped to reduce British concern at a time when a French invasion of Britain was threatened. Jervis received a peerage and pension. As first lord of the admiralty (1801–6), Jervis was especially concerned with the restoration of discipline and with problems of health and hygiene. He returned (1806–7) to a sea command until his health failed.
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