Collingwood, Cuthbert, Lord

, a brave and excellent English admiral, the son of Cuthbert | Collingwood, of Newcastle upon Tyne, merchant (who died in 1775) and of Milcha, daughter and coheir of Reginald Dobson, of Barwess, in Westmoreland, esq. (who died in 1788) was born at Newcastle, Sept. 26, 1748. After being educated under the care of the rev. Mr. Moises, along with the present lord chancellor Eldon, he entered into the naval service in 1761, under the protection and patronage of his maternal uncle, capt. (afterwards admiral) Braithwaite, and with him he served for some years. In 1766 we find him a midshipman in the Gibraltar, and from 1767 to 1772, master’s mate in the Liverpool, when he was taken into the Lenox, under capt. (now admiral) Roddam, by whom he was recommended to vice-admiral Graves, and afterwards to vice-admiral sir Peter Parker. In Feb. 1774, he went in the Preston, under the command of viceadmiral Graves, to America, and the following year was promoted to the rank of fourth lieutenant in the Somerset, on the day of the battle at Bunker’s Hill, where he was sent with a party of seamen to supply the army with what was necessary in that line of service. The vice-admiral being recalled, and succeeded upon that station by vice-admiral Shuldham, sailed for England on the 1st of February, 1776. In the same year lieutenant Collingwood was sent to Jamaica in the Hornet sloop, and soon after the Lowestoffe came to the same station, of which lord Nelson was at that time second lieutenant, and with whom he had been before in habits of great friendship. His friend Nelson had entered the service some years later than himself, but was made lieutenant in the LowestorTe, captain Locker, in 1777. Here their friendship was renewed; and upon the arrival of vice-admiral sir Peter Parker to take the command upon that station, they found in him a common patron, who, while his country was receiving the benefit of his own services, was laying the foundation for those future benefits which were to be derived from such promising objects of patronage and protection: and here began that succession of fortune which seems to have continued to the last j when he, whom the subject of our present memoir had so often succeeded in the early stages of his promotion, resigned the command of his victorious fleet into the hands of a well-tried friend, whom he knew to be a fit successor in this last and triumphant stage of his glory, as he had been before in the earlier stages of his fortune. For it is deserving of remark, that whenever the one got a step in | rank, the other succeeded to the station which his friend had left; first in the Lowestoffe, in which, npori the promotion of lieutenant Nelson into the admiral’s own ship, the Bristol, lieutenant Collingwood succeeded to the LowestofTe; and when the former was advanced in 1778, from the Badger to the rank of post captain in the Hinchinbrooke, the latter was made master and commander in the Badger; and again upon his promotion to a larger ship, capt. Collingwood was made post in the Hinchinbrooke.

In this ship capt. Collingwood was employed in the spring of 1780, upon an expedition to the Spanish main, which, from the unwholesomeness of the climate, proved fatal to most of his ship’s company. In August 1780 he quitted this station, and in the following December was appointed to the command of the Pelican of 21- gnns but on the 1st of August 1781, in the hurricane so fatal to the West India islands, she was wrecked upon the Morant Quay; but the captain and crew happily got on shore. He was next appointed to the command of the Sampson, of 64 guns, in which ship he served to the peace of 1783, when she was paid off, and he was appointed to the Mediator, and sent to the West Indies, upon which station he remained until the latter end of 1786. Upon his return to England, when the ship was paid off, he visited his native country, and remained there until 1790, when on the expected rupture with Spain, on account of the seizure of our ships at Nootka Sound, he was appointed to the Mermaid of 32 guns, under the command of admiral Cornish, in the West Indies; but the dispute with Spain being adjusted without hostilities, he once more returned to his native country, where in June 1791 he married Sarah, the eldest of the two daughters of John Erasmus Blackett, esq. of Newcastle, by whom he left issue two daughters.

On the breaking out of the war with France in 1793, he was called to the command of the Prince, rear-admiral Bowyer’s flag-ship, with whom he served in this ship, and afterwards in the Barfleur, until the engagement of June 1, 1794. In this action he distinguished himself with great bravery, and the ship which he commanded is known to have had its full share in the glory of the day; though it has been the subject of conversation with the public, and was probably the source of some painful feelings at the moment in the captain’s own mind, that no notice was taken of his | services upon this occasion, nor his name once mentioned in the official dispatches of lord Howe to the admiralty.

Rear-admiral Bowyer’s flag, in consequence of his honourable wound in this day’s action, no longer flying on board the Barfleur, captain Collingwood was appointed to the command of the Hector, on the 7th of August, 1794, and afterwards to the Excellent, in which he was employed in the Blockade of Toulon, and in this ship he had the honour to acquire fresh laurels in the brilliant victory off the Cape of St. Vincent’s, on the 14th of February, 1797. In this day’s most memorable engagement, the Excellent took a distinguished part, and so well did Nelson know his value, that when the ship which captain Collingwood commanded was sent to reinforce this squadron, he exclaimed with great joy and confidence in the talents and bravery of her captain, “See here comes the Excellent, which is as good as two added to our number.” And the support which he in particular this day received from this ship, he gratefully acknowledged in the following laconic note of thanks:

Dear Collingwood A friend in need is a friend indeed.

It did not fall to his lot to have any share in the subse-r quent battle of the Nile, nor had he the good fortune to be placed in a station where any further opportunity was afforded to display his talents during the remainder of the war. He continued in the command of the Excellent, under the flag of lord St. Vincent, till January 1799, when his ship was paid off: and on the 14th of February, in the same year, on the promotion of flag officers, he was raised to the rank of rear-admiral of the white; and on the 12th of May following, hoisted his flag on board the Triumph, one of the ships under the command of lord Bridport on the Channel station. In the month of June 1800 he shifted his flag to the Barfleur, on the same station; and in 1801 was promoted to the rank of rear-admiral of the red, in which ship, and upon the same service, he continued to the end of the war, without any opportunity of doing more than effectually blockading the enemy’s fleet in their own ports, while they were proudly vaunting of their preparations for invading us: a service not less important to the honour, the interest, and the security of the nation, than those more brilliant achievements which dazzle the public eye. | On the re-commencement of hostilities, however, admiral Collingwood was again called into service, and on the promotion of admirals on the 23d of April, 1804, was made vice-admiral of the blue, and resumed his former station off Brest. The close blockade which admiral Cornwallis kept up requiring a constant succession of ships, the vice-admiral shifted his flag from ship to ship as occasion required, by which he was always upon his station in a ship fit for service, without the necessity of quitting his station, and returning to port for victualling or repairs. But from this station he was called in May 1805, to a more active service, having been detached with a reinforcement of ships to the blockading fleet at Ferrol And Cadiz. Perhaps it would be difficult to fix upon a period, or a part of the character of lord Collingwood, which called for powers of a more peculiar kind, o-r displayed his talents to more advantage, than the period and the service in which he was now employed. Left with only four ships of the line, to keep in nearly four tjmes the number, it seems almost impossible so to have divided his little force as to deceive the enemy, and effect the object of his service; but this he certainly accomplished. With two of his ships close in as usual to watch the motions of the enemy, and make signals to the other two, which were so disposed, and at a distance from one another, as to repeat those signals from one to the other, and again to other ships that were supposed to receive and answer them, he continued to delude the enemy, and led them to conclude that these were only part of a larger force that was not in sight, and thus he not only secured his own ships, but effected an important service to his country, by preventing the execution of any plan that the enemy might have had in contemplation.

On the return of lord Nelson in the month of September he resumed the command, and vice-admiral Collingwood was his second. Arrangements were now made, and such a disposition of the force under his command as might draw the combined fleets out, and bring them to action. In a letter to a friend, dated the 3d of October, lord Nelson tvrote that the enemy were still in port, and that something rnust be done to bring them to battle. “In less than a fortnight,” he adds, “expect to hear from me, or of me, for who can foresee the fate of battle?

At length the opportunity offered. The plan that was laid to Jure them out succeeded. Admiral Louis having | been detached with four sail of the line to attend a convoy to a certain distance up the Mediterranean, and the rest of the fleet so disposed as to lead the enemy to believe it to be not so strong as it was, admiral Villeneuve was tempted to venture out -with 33 ships under his command (18 French and 15 Spanish), in the hope of doing something to retrieve the honour of rheir flag. On the 19th of October lord Nelson received the joyful intelligence from the ships that were left to watch their motions, that the combined fleet had put to sea, and as they sailed with light westerly winds, his lordship concluding their destination to be the Mediterranean, made all sail for the Straits with the fleet under his command, consisting of 27 ships, three of which were sixty-fours. Here he learnt from capt. Blackwood that they had not yet passed the Straits, and on the 21st, at day-light, had the satisfaction to discover them six or seven miles to the eastward, and immediately made the signal for the fleet to bear up in two columns. It fell to the lot of vice-admiral Collingwoocl, in the Royal Sovereign, to lead his column into action, and first to break through the enemy’s line, which he did in a manner that commanded the admiration of both fleets, and drew from lord Nelson the enthusiastic expression, “Look at that noble fellow! Observe the style in which he carries his ship into action!” while the vice-admiral, with equal justice to the spirit and valour of his friend, was enjoying the proud honour of his situation, and saying to those about him, “What would Nelson give to be in our situation!

Of this memorable engagement, which will occur again in our life of Nelson, we shall only notice in this place, that it began at twelve o’clock: at a quarter past one, lord Nelson received the fatal wound; and at three, P. M. many of the ships, having struck their colours, gave way. The British fleet was left with nineteen ships of the enemy, ass the trophies of their victory; two of them first rates, with three flag officers, of which the commander in chief (Villeneuve) was one. On the death of lord Nelson, the command of his conquering fleet, and the completion of the victory, devolved upon vice-admiral Collingwood, who, as he had so often done in the early part of his life, now for the last time succeeded him, in an arduous moment, and most difficult service. Succeeding high gales of wind endangered the fleet, and particularly threatened the destruction of the captured ships; but by the extraordinary | exertions that were made for their preservation, four 74 gunships (three of them Spanish and one French) were saved and sent into Gibraltar. Of the remainder, nine were wrecked, three burnt, and three sunk. Two others were taken, but got into Cadiz in the gale. Four others which had got off to the southward were afterwards taken by the squadron under sir Richard Strachan. So that out of the thirty-three ships, of which the combined fleet consisted, there were only ten left, and many of these in such a shattered state, as to be little likely to be further serviceable.

Were we disposed, in our esteem of this distinguished character, to pay a compliment to the vice-admiral’s merits that might be considered as more exclusive, it would be the pious gratitude of his feelings, and his confidence in God, that we should hold up as a discriminating feature. We have seldom found the man who can lay aside the pride of the conqueror, and ascribe his successes to God. This in a most eminent degree lord Collingwood did. Scarce was the battle over, when the arrangement was made for a day of thanksgiving throughout the fleet, to that Providence to whom he felt himself indebted for the brilliant success with which the day had terminated. So much to the honour of this illustrious and virtuous character is the general order that he issued on this occasion, that it ought to be recorded as one of the traits which must ever redound to his praise.

"The Almighty God, whose arm is strength, having of his great mercy been pleased to crown the exertions of his majesty’s fleet with success, in giving them a complete victory over their enemies on the 21st of this month; and that all praise and thanksgiving may be offered up to the throne of grace, for the great benefit to our country and to mankind, 1 have thought proper that a day should be appointed of general humiliation before God, and thanksgiving for his merciful goodness, imploring forgiveness of sins, a continuation of his divine mercy, and his constant aid to us in the defence of our country’s liberties and laws, and without which the utmost efforts of man are nought; and direct therefore that           be appointed for this holy purpose.

Given on board the Euryalus, off Cape Trafalgar, October 22, 1805. C. Collingwood.

On the 9th of November, 1805, when the rank of rearadmiral of the red was restored in the navy, he was | advanced from the blue to the rank of vice-admiral of the red. On the same day his majesty was graciously pleased to confer upon him and his heirs male, the title of baron Collinwood, of Caklburne and Hethpoole, in the county of Northumberland: and the two houses of parliament, in addition to their vote of thanks, concurred in a grant of two thousand pounds a year for his own life, and the lives of his two succeeding male heirs, which upon finding that he had only two daughters, was afterwards changed into pensions upon them.

Lord Collingwood was also confirmed in the command of the Mediterranean fleet, to which he succeeded by seniority, and in the opinion of lord Hood wanted only an opportunity to prove himself another Nelson. The bad state of his health had required his return home, but he remained on his station in hopes that the French fleet would come out from Toulon. His last active service was the direction of the preparations which ended in the destruction of two French ships of the line on their own coast He had not seen any of his relatives for a considerable period before his death, yet he appears to have been sensible that his illness would prove fatal. He even ordered a quantity of lead on board at Minorca, for the purpose of making a coffin for his conveyance to England. He died off Minorca, March 7, 1810, onboard the Ville de Paris. His death is supposed to have been occasioned by a large stone in the passage to the bladder; and for some time before his death he was incapable of taking any sustenance. His body having been brought to England was interred. May 11, in St. Paul’s cathedral, with great funeral solemnity. Lord Collingwood was a man of amiable temper and manners, dignified as an officer and commander, yet without any pride; and social among his friends even to a degree of playfulness. His mind was impressed by a strong sense of religion, which he reverenced and enjoined to those under him. He had no enemies but those of his country, and while he cherished all the Old English prejudices against those, he displayed, in the most trying moments, a spirit of humanity which gained their affections. Of this an instance occurred after the great battle of Trafalgar which must not be passed over superficially. In clearing the captured ships of the prisoners, he found so many wounded men, that, as he says in his dispatches, “to alleviate. human misery as much as was in his power,” he | seat to the marquis de Solano, governor-general of Andalusia, to offer him the wounded to the care of their country, on receipts being given; a proposal which was received with the greatest thankfulness, not only by the governor, but by the whole country, which resounded with expressions of gratitude. Two French frigates were sent out to receive them, with a proper officer to give receipts, bringing with them all the English who bad been wrecked in several of the ships, and an offer from the marquis de Solano of the use of their hospitals for our wounded, pledging the honour of Spain for their being carefully attended. 1


Naval Chrnicle for 1806 and 1810. —Gent. Mag. 1810.