Nelson, Horatio

, one of the bravest, and the most successful navai commander that ‘ever appeared in the world, the fourth son of the rev. Edmund Nelson, rector of Burnham- Thorpe, in the county of Norfolk, was born in the parsonage-house of that parish, September 29, 1758. His father’s progenitors were originally settled at Hilsborough, where, in addition to a small hereditary estate, they possessed the patronage of the living, which our hero’s grandfather enjoyed for several years. His father married, in May 1749, Catherine, daughter of Maurice Suckling, D. D. prebendary of Westminster, whose grandmother had been sister to sir Robert Walpole, earl of Orford. By this lady he had eight sons and three daughters. Horatio, so called after the late earl of Orford, was placed at the high-school of Norwich, whence he was removed to NorthWalsham, both within the precincts of his native county. In his twelfth year, the dispute having taken place between the courts of St. James’s and Madrid, relative to the possession of the Falkland Islands, an armament was immediately ordered, and captain Maurice Suckling, his maternal uncle, having obtained a ship, young Nelson was, at his own earnest request, placed on his quarter-deck as a midshipman, on board the Raisonable, of 64 guns. But in consequence of the dispute being terminated, and capt. Suckling being appointed to a guard-ship in the Medway, Nelson was sent a voyage to the West Indies, and on his return he was received by his uncle on board the Triumph, then lying at Chatham, in the month of July 1772. It was observed, however, that although his voyage to the East Indies had given him a good practical knowledge of seamanship, he had acquired an absolute horror of the royal navy and it was with some difficulty that captain Suckling was enabled to reconcile him to the service; but an inherent ardour, coupled with an unabating spirit of enterprize, and utter scorn of danger, made him at length ambitious to partake in every scene where knowledge was to be obtained or glory earned.

An opportunity of this kind soon presented itself, and appeared admirably calculated to satiate that romantic taste for adventure which, from the earliest periods of his life, seemed at once to fill and to agitate the bosom of our youthful hero. When captain Phipps, afterwards lord Mulgrave, sailed June 2d, 1773, towards the North Pole, on board the Racehorse, captain Lutwidge commanded another | bomb-vessel called the Carcass, both of which had been fitted out on purpose to ascertain to what degree of latitude it was possible to penetrate. On board the latter of these vessels Mr. Nelson was admitted with great difficulty, and in consequence of his own pressing solicitation, in the humble capacity of a cockswain; for, in consequence of an order from the admiralty, boys were not permitted to be received on board.

After passing Shetland, they came in sight of Spitsbergen, and afterwards proceeded to Moffen Island, beyond which they discovered seven otbef isles, situate in 81 deg. 21 min. When they had sailed a little further North, they became suddenly fast wedged in the ice, on the 31st of July so that the passage by which the ships had entered was suddenly and completely blocked up, while a strong current set in to the Eastward. In th*s critical situation they remained five whole days, during which period their destruction appeared inevitable; but the young hero, instead of being depressed, actuated by that filial love, and passion for enterprise, which were ever uppermost in his breast, ventured on the ice during a fine moon-light, with another daring ship-mate, and went in pursuit of a bear, but failed in the attempt, after being brought into the most imminent danger. On being interrogated somewhat roughly by his commander, as to what motive he could have for hunting a bear, he replied, “That he wished to obtain the skin for his father.

Soon after his return, his uncle recommended him to captain Farmer of the Seahorse, of 20 guns, then going to India, in a squadron under sir Edward Hughes. In this ship he was rated as a midshipman; but in India he caught one of those malignant diseases so frequently fatal to European habits, which totally deprived him of the use of his limbs, and nearly brought him to the grave.

On the 8th of April 1777, he passed the usual examination before the board for the rank of lieutenant; and on the subsequent day received his commission as second of the Lowestoffe, of 32 guns. In this vessel he cruised against the Americans, and happening to capture a letter of marque belonging to the Colonies, then in a state of insurrection, the first lieutenant proved unable to take possession of her, in consequence of a most tremendous sea, that seemed to interdict all approach. The captain, piqued at this circumstance, and desirous | of effecting the object of his wishes, inquired “Whether he had not an officer capable of boarding the prize?” On hearing this, lieutenant Nelson immediately jumped into the boat, and told the master, who wished to have anticipated him, “That if he came back without success it would be his turn.

In 1778 he was appointed to the Bristol, and rose by seniority to be first lieutenant. In the course of the succeeding year, (June 11, 1779,) he obtained the rank of post- captain, on which occasion he was appointed to the command of the Hinchinbroke. Having sailed in this vessel for the West Indies, he repaired to Port Royal in the island of Jamaica; and an attack upon that island being expected, on the part of count D’Estaing’s fleet and army, Nelson was intrusted, both by the admiral and general, with the command of the batteries at Port-Royal, the most; important post in the whole island. A plan was next formed for taking fort San Juan, on the river St. John, in the gulf of Mexico; and captain Nelson was appointed to the command of the naval department. His business was to have ended when he had convoyed the forces, about 500 men, from Jamaica to the Spanish main; but it was found, that not a man of the whole party had ever been up the rjver: he therefore, with his usual intrepidity, quitted his ship, and superintended the transporting of the troops, in boats, 100 miles up a river which, since the time of the Buccaneers, none but Spaniards had ever navigated. Of all the services in which he had been engaged, this was the most perilous. It was the latter end of the dry season: the river was low, full of shoals, and sandy beaches; and the men were often obliged to quit the boats, and drag them through shallow channels, in which the natives went before to explore. This labour, and that of forcing the rapids, w,ere chiefly sustained by the sailors, who, for seven or eight hours during the day, were exposed to a burning sun, and at night to heavy dews. On the 9th of April they arrived at a small island, called St. Bartholomew, which commanded the river in a rapid and difficult part, and was defended by a battery mounting nine or ten swivelsNelson, putting himself at the head of a few sailors, leaped on the beach, and captain Despard, since executed for high treason, having gallantly supported him, they defeated the Spaniards with their own guns. Two days afterwards, having come in, sight of the castle of San Juan, they | began to besiege it on the 13th, and it surrendered on the 24th. But all that this victory procured them was a cessation from toil: no supplies were found, and the castle itself was worse than a prison. The hovels, which were used as an hospital, were surrounded with putrid hides; and when orders were obtained from the commander in chief to build one, the sickness arising from the climate had become so general, that there were no hands to work at it. The rains continued, with few intervals, from April to October, when they abandoned their conquest; and it was then reckoned that of 1800 who were sent to different posts upon this scheme, only 380 returned. Nelson narrowly escaped. His advice had been to carry the castle by assault; instead of which, eleven days were spent in the formalities of a siege. He returned before its surrender, exhausted with fatigue, and suffering under a dysentery, by which his health became visibly impaired; but he fortunately received an appointment to the Janus of 44 guns, in which he reached Jamaica in such a state of sickness, that although much was done to remove it, he was soon compelled to return to England, in the Lion, commanded by the hon. William Cornwallis, through whose attention a complete recovery was effected.

In August 1781, captain Nelson was appointed to the command of the Albemarle of 28 guns, and sent into the North seas. During this voyage he gained a considerable knowledge of the Danish coast, and its soundings, which afterwards proved of great importance to his country. On his return he was ordered to Quebec with a convoy, under the command of captain Thomas Pringle. From Quebec he sailed with a convoy to New York, in October 1782, where he joined the fleet under sir Samuel Hood, and became acquainted with prince William-Henry, now duke of Clarence, who was at that time serving as a midshipman in the Barfleur. His highness, after a description, rather ludicrous, of his dress and manner, said, that even at this time there was something irresistibly pleasing in his address and conversation, and an enthusiasm, when speaking on professional subjects, which shewed that he was no common being. In November, captain Nelson sailed with sir Samuel Hood to the West Indies, where he continued actively employed till the peace.

After his arrival in England, in 1783, he went on a trip to France, but returned in the spring of 1784, and was | appointed to the command of the Boreas frigate of 28 guns, ordered to the Leeward Islands. While here, he showed the utmost zeal and activity in protecting the commerce of Great Britain, at that time menaced by a misunderstanding with the Americans, respecting their right to trade with the West India Islands. His conduct on this occasion occupies a considerable space in the work from which we borrow our information, but may be omitted without injury in a sketch that must necessarily be confined to his greater actions. It is to be regretted, however, that his services on. this occasion were overlooked and neglected, for which he harboured a resentment that soon after appeared.

From July 1786, till June 1787, captain Nelson continued at the Leeward Islands, when at length he sailed for England. He had, during his stay in this quarter of the world, became acquainted with Mrs. Nisbet, the widow of Dr. Nisbet of the island of Nevis, then only in her eighteenth year, and married her on the 11th of March 1787, prince VVilliam- Henry standing father on the occasion. On his return to England, the Boreas frigate was for nearly five months kept at the Nore, as a slop and receiving ship; a circumstance that roused the indignation of its commander, and without scarcely ever quitting the ship, he was observed to carry on the duty with a strict but sullen attention. When orders were received for his ship to be paid off at Sheerness, he expressed his joy to the senior officer in the Medway, saying, “It is my determination never again to set my foot on board a king’s ship. Immediately after my arrival in town, I shall wait on the first lord of the admiralty, and resign my commission.” The officer, finding it in vain to reason with him against this resolution in the present state of his feelings, used his secret interference with the first lord of the admiralty to save Nelson from taking a step so injurious to himself, and which would ultimately have been so mischievous to his country. Lord Howe took the hint, sent for captain Nelson, and having had a long conversation with him, desired that he might, on the first levee-day, have the honour of presenting him to his majesty. This was a wise measure, for he was most graciously received at court, and his resentment was effectually removed. He now retired, to enjoy the pleasures of domestic happiness at the parsonage-house at Burnham Thorpe, which his father gave him as a place of residence. But the affair of the American captures was | not terminated: he had, while amusing himself in his little farm, a notification that he was again to be sued for damages to the amount of 20,000l. This circumstance, as unexpected as it was unjust, excited his astonishment and indignation. “This affront,” he exclaimed, “I did not deserve; but I will no longer be trifled with. I will write immediately to the Treasury, and if government will not support me, I am resolved to leave the country.” He accordingly informed the treasury, that unless a satisfactory answer were sent to him by return of post, he would immediately take refuge in France: an answer, however, was returned by Mr. (now the right hon. George) Rose, that he would assuredly be supported.

On the commencement of the late eventful war, he was delighted with the appointment to the Agamemnon of 64 guns, bestowed on him in Jan. 1793, and was very soon after placed under the orders of lord Hood, then appointed to command in the Mediterranean, who always placed such confidence in captain Nelson, as manifested the high opinion which he entertained not only of his courage, but of his talents and ability to execute the arduous services with which he was entrusted. If batteries were to be attacked, if ships were to be cut out of their harbours, if the hazardous landing of troops was to be effected, or difficult passages to be explored, we invariably find Nelson foremost on the occasion, with his brave officers, and the gallant crew of the Agamemnon. During the time that Nelson had the command of the Agamemnon, and previously ta the commencement of hostilities with Spain, he put into Cadiz to water; and on beholding the Spanish fleet, exclaimed, “These ships are certainly the finest in the world. Thank God! the Spaniards cannot build men, as they do ships!” It was observed in the Mediterranean, that before captain Nelson quitted his old ship, he had not only fairly worn her out, there not being a mast, yard, sail, nor any part of the rigging, but was obliged to be repaired, the whole being cut to pieces with shot, but had exhausted himself and his ship’s company. At Toulon, and the celebrated victories achieved at Bastia and Calvi, lord Hood bore ample testimony to the skill and unremitting exertions of captain Nelson, “which,” said his lordship, “I cannot sufficiently applaud.” During the memorable siege of Bastia, he superintended the disembarkation of the troops and stores, and commanded a brigade of seamen, | who served on shore at the batteries. Lord Hood had submitted to general Dundas, and afterwards to his successor D‘Aubert, a plan for the reduction of Bastia; but he could obtain only a few artillery-men, and began the siege with less than 1200 soldiers, artillery-men, and marines, and 250 sailors. With these, which Nelson said were ’“few, but of the right sort,” a landing was effected on the 4th of April, under colonel Villetes and Nelson, who had obtained from the army the title of brigadier. The sailors dragged the guns up the heights, which was a work that could probably have been accomplished only by British seamen, and the soldiers behaved with the same spirit. The siege continued nearly seven weeks, and on the 19th of May a treaty of capitulation was begun; and 1000 regulars, 1500 national guards, and a large body of national troops, laid down their arms to 1000 soldiers and marines, and 200 seamen. The siege of Calvi was carried on by general Stuart, and Nelson had less responsibility here than at Bastia, but the business was equally arduous; “I trust,” said he to lord Hood, “it will not be forgotten, that twenty-five pieces of cannon have been dragged to the different batteries, and mounted, and all, but three, fought by seamen.” It was at this siege of Calvi, that he lost an eye, and yet his name did not appear, in the Gazette, among the wounded. Of this neglect he could not help complaining, and on one occasion said, “they have not done me justice but never mind: I’ll have a Gazette of my own;” and on another occasion, with a more direct attempt to prophesy, he wrote to Mrs. Nelson, “One day or other I will have a long Gazette to myself. I feel that such an opportunity will be given me. I cannot, if I am in the field of glory, be kept out of sight.

During the month of December 1796, being now raised to the rank of commodore by sir John Jervis, he hoisted his broad pendant on board La Minerve frigate, captain George Cockburne, and was dispatched with that ship and La Blanche to Porto Ferrajo, to bring the naval stores left thereto Gibraltar; and on his passage thither captured a Spanish frigate, La Sabina, of 40 guns and 286 men. In this action the captured ship had 164 men killed and wounded, and lost the mizen, main, and fore-masts; and La Minerve had seven men killed, 34 wounded, and all her masts shot through. Commodore Nelson’s letter, on this occasion, to the admiral, sir John Jervis, has been justly | regarded as a noble example of a generous and modest spirit, for he assumes no merit to himself, but gives all to the captain, his officers, and crew.

In Feb. 1797, he fell in with the Spanish fleet, but was enabled to escape from them and join admiral sir John Jervis off Cape St. Vincent, on the 13th of that month, in time to communicate intelligence relative to the state and force of the Spanish fleet, and to shift his pendant on board his former ship, the Captain, 74 guns. Before sunset, the signal was made to prepare for action. At daybreak, the enemy were in sight The British force consisted of two ships of 100 guns each, two of 98, two of 90, eight of 74, and one of 64, with four frigates, a sloop, and a cutter. The Spaniards had one ship of 136 guns, six of 112 guns each, two of 84, and-eighteen of 74 guns, with ten frigates. The disproportion was very great, but sir John Jervis, following the new system of naval tactics, determined to break the line of the enemy; and before the Spanish admiral could form a regular order of battle, of which he seemed very desirous, sir John, by carrying a press of sail, caine up with them, passed through the fleet, then tacked, and thus cut off nine of their ships from the main body. These, in their turn, attempted to form on their larboard trick, either with a design of passing through the British line, or to the leeward of it, and thus rejoining their friends. One of the nine only succeeded; the others were so warmly received, that they took to flight, and did not appear in action till the close. The admiral was now enabled to direct his whole attention to the enemy’s main body, still superior to his whole fleet. He made signal to tack in succession. Nelson, whose station was in the rear of the British line, perceiving that the Spanish fleet was bearing up before the wind, with an intention of forming their line, joining their separated ships, or flying; determined to prevent either of these schemes from taking effect, and accordingly, without a moment’s hesitation, disobeyed the signal, and ordered his ship to be wore. This at once brought him into action with seven of the largest ships of the enemy’s fleet, among which were the Santissima of 136 guns, and two others of 112. Captain Trowbridge, in tihe Culloden, nobly supported him; and the Blenheim, captain Frederick, came to their assistance. The Salvador del Mundo and the San Isidore dropped astern, and were fired into by the Excellent, captain Collingwood, to whom | the latter struck. “But Collingwood,” says Nelson, “disdaining the parade of taking possession of beaten enemies, most gallantly pushed up with every sail set, to save his old friend and mess-mate, who was to all appearance in a very critical situation.” The Captain was at this moment fired upon by three first rates, and the San Nicholas and a 74 were within pistol-shot. The Blenheim was a -head, and the Culloden crippled a-stern. Collingwood ranged, passed within ten feet of the San Nicholas, and giving her a most tremendous broadside, pushed on for the Santissima Trinidad. At this time the Captain had lost her fore-topmast, had not a sail, shroud, or rope left, her wheel was shot away, and thus left incapable of farther service in the line or the chase; her noble commander, Nelson, instantly resolved on a bold and decisive measure, and determined, whatever might be the event, to attempt Jhis opponent sword in hand; and directed captain Miller to put the helm a-star-board, and the boarders were summoned, This gentleman, the commodore’s captain, (who was afterwards in the battle of the Nile, where he gained great honour, and was slain in the Theseus, under sir Sidney Smith), so judiciously directed the course of his ship, that he laid her aboard the star-board quarter of the Spanish 84; her spritsail-yard passing over the enemy’s poop, and hooking in her mizen shrouds: when the word to board being given, the officers and seamen, destined for this perilous duty, headed by lieutenant (now sir Edward) Berry (who was afterwards lord Nelson’s captain in the Vanguard, in the battle of the Nile), together with the detachment of the 69th regiment, commanded by lieutenant Pearson, then doing duty on board the Captain, passed with rapidity on board the enemy’s ship, and in a short time the San Nicholas was in possession of her intrepid assailants. The commodore’s ardour would not permit him to remain an inactive spectator of this scene. He was aware that the attempt was hazardous, and he thought his presence might animate his brave companions, and contribute to the success of this bold enterprise. He^ therefore, as if by tnagic impulse, accompanied the party in this attack; passing from the fore-chains of his own ship into the enemy’s quarter-gallery, and thence through the cabin to the quarter-deck, where he arrived in time to receive the sword of the dying commander, who had been mortally wounded by the boarders. The English were at this time in possession of | every part of the ship, and a fire of musketry opened upon them from the stern-gallery of the San Josef. Two alternatives now presented themselves, to quit the prize, or instantly to board the three-decker; and, confident in the bravery of his seamen, he determined on the latter. Directing, therefore, an additional number of men to be sent from the Captain on board the San Nicholas, Nelson headed himself the assailants in this new attack, exclaiming, “Westminster-abbey, or a glorious victory” Success in a few minutes, and with little loss, crowned the enterprise. For a moment, commodore Nelson could scarcely persuade himself of this second instance of good fortune; he, therefore, ordered the Spanish commandant, who had the rank of brigadier, to assemble the officers on the quarter-deck, and means to be taken instantly for communicating to the crew the surrender of the ship. All the officers immediately appeared, and the commodore had the surrender of the San Josef duly confirmed, by each of them delivering his sword. On this occasion Nelson had received only a few bruises. The Spaniards had still eighteen or twenty ships, which had suffered little or no injury; but they did not think right to renew the battle. As soon as the action was discontinued, Nelson went on board the admiral’s ship, who received him on the quarterdeck, took him in his arms, and said he could not sufficiently thank him. Before the news of the action had arrived in England, Nelson had been advanced to the rank of rear-admiral; and now for his gallantry, on the 14th of February, he received the insignia of the Bath, and the gold medal from his sovereign. He was also presented with the freedom of the city of London in a gold box.

In April 1797, sir Horatio Nelson hoisted his flag as rear admiral of the blue, and was detached to bring down the garrison of Porto-Ferraio, and on May 28 he shifted his flag from the Captain to the Theseus, and was appointed to the command of the inner squadron at the blockade of Cadiz. During this service, his personal courage was, if possible, more conspicuous than at any other period of his former history. In the attack on the Spanish gun-boats, July 3, 1797, he was boarded in his barge, with only its usual complement of ten men and the coxswain, accompanied by captain Freemantle. The commander of the Spanish gun-boats, Don Miguel Tregovia, in a barge rowed by 26 oars, having 3O men, including officers, made | a most desperate effort tooverpower sir Horatio Nelson and his brave companions; but after a long and doubtful conflict, the whole of the Spaniards were either killed or wounded, and Nelson brought off the launch. On the 15th of July, he was detached with a small squadron to make an attack on the town of Santa Cruz, in the island of Teneriffe, where it was imagined a Manilla ship had landed an immense treasure. The rear-admiral, on his arrival before the town, lost no time in directing 1000 men, including marines, to be prepared for landing from the ships, under the direction of captains Trowbridge, Hood, Thomson, Freemantle, Bowen, Miller, and Waller, who volunteered their services. The boats of the squadron being manned, the landing was effected in the night, and th party were in full possession of Santa Cruz in about seven hours; but, finding it impracticable to storm the citadel, they prepared for their retreat, which was allowed by the Spaniards unmolested, agreeably to the stipulations made with captain Trowbridge. It was on this occasion that our gallant hero, in stepping out of the boat, received a shot through the right elbow, which rendered amputation necessary.

He was now obliged to go to England for medical advice, where honours awaited him sufficient to recover his accustomed spirit, and he received assurance from his surgeons, more gratifying than all, that he would soon be fit for active service. Letters were addressed to him by the first lord of the Admiralty, the earl Spencer, and by his steady friend the duke of Clarence, to congratulate him on his return. The freedom of the cities of London and Bristol was conferred upon him; he was invested with the order of the Bath, and on his first appearance at court, his majesty received him in the most gracious and tender manner, expressing his sorrow at the loss which the noble admiral had sustained, and at his impaired state of health, which might deprive the country of his future services. “May it please your majesty,” replied the admiral, “I can never think that a loss, which the performance of my duty has occasioned; and so long as 1 have a foot to stand on, I will combat for my king and country.” Among other marks of national gratitude, it was intended to bestow a pension of 1000l. a year on him, and etiquette requiring that he should give in a memorial of his services, previous to such a grant, he accordingly presented the | following, which, like the general course of his wonderful life, has no parallel in naval history:

"To the King’s Most Excellent Majesty.

"The Memorial of Sir Horatio Nelson, K. B., and a

Rear-Admiral in your Majesty’s Fleet.

"That during the present war your Memorialist has

been in four actions with the fleets of the enemy, viz. on the 13th and 14th of March, 1795; on the 13th of July, 1795; and on the 14th of February, 1797 in three actions with frigates; in six engagements against batteries; in ten actions in boats employed in cutting out of harbours; in destroying vessels, and in taking three towns. Your Memorialist has also served on shore with the army four months, and commanded the batteries at the sieges of Bastia and Calvi.

"That during the war he has assisted at the capture of ven sail of theline, six frigates, four corvettes, and eleven privateers of different sizes and taken and destroyed near fifty sail of merchant-vessels and your Memorialist has actually been engaged against the enemy upwards of one hundred and twenty times.

"In which services your Memorialist has lost his right eye and arm, and been severely wounded and bruised in his body. All of which services and wounds your Memorialist most humbly submits to your Majesty’s most gracious consideration. Horatio Nelson.

October, 1797.

In April 1798, sir Horatio Nelson hoisted his flag in the Vanguard, and as soon as he had rejoined earl St. Vincent, he was dispatched to the Mediterranean, that he might ascertain the object of the great expedition fitting out at Toulon. He sailed with a small squadron from Gibraltar, on the 9th of May, to watch this armament. On the 22 d, a sudden storm in the gulph of Lyons carried away all the top-masts of the Vanguard; the fore-mast went into three pieces, and the bow-sprit was sprung. Captain (afterwards sir Alexander) Ball took the ship in tow, to carry her into St. Pietros, Sardinia. Nelson, apprehensive that this attempt might endanger both vessels, ordered him to cast off; but that excellent officer, possessing a spirit very like that of his commander, replied that he was confident he could save the Vanguard, and by God’s help he would do it. Previously to this, there had been a coolness between these brave seamen but from that moment, Nelson | became fully sensibje of the extraordinary merit of captain Ball, and a sincere friendship subsisted between them during the remainder of their lives. Being compelled to refit, the delay enabled him to secure his junction with the reinforcement which lord St. Vincent had sent to join him, under commodore Trowbridge. That officer brought with him no instructions to Nelson, as to the course he was to steer, nor any positive account of the enemy’s destination every thing was left to his own judgment. The first news was, that they had surprised Malta. He formed a plan for attacking them while at Gozo; but on the 22d, intelligence reached him that they had left that island on the 16th, the day after their arrival. He then pursued them to Egypt, but he could not learn any thing of them during his voyage; and when he reached Alexandria, the enemy were not there. He then shaped his course for the coast of Caramania, and steered from thence along the southern side of Candia, carrying a press of sail both night and day, with a contrary wind. Irritated that they should have eluded his vigilance, the tediousness of the night made him impatient, and the officer of the watch was repeatedly called upon to declare the hour, and convince his admiral, who measured time by his own eagerness, that it was not yet break of day. “It would have been my delight,” said he, “to have tried Bonaparte on a wind.” Baffled in his pursuit, Nelson returned to Sicily, took in stores at Syracuse, and then made for the Morea. There, on the 28th of July, he learnt that the French had been seen about a month before, steering to the south-east from Candia. He resolved to return, and immediately, with every sail set, stood again for the coast of Egypt. On the 1st of August, they came in sight of Alexandria; and at four in the afternoon, captain Hood, in the Zealous, made signal for the French fleet. For several preceding days, the admiral had scarcely taken either food or sleep: he now ordered his dinner to be served, while preparations were making for battle; and when his officers rose from, table, and went to their separate stations, he said to them, “Before this time to-morrow I shall have gained a peerage or Westminster- abbey.” It has never been explained, why Bonaparte, having effected his landing, should not have ordered the fleet to return. It is, however, certain, that it was detained by his express command; though after the death of Brueys, he accused 4iim of having lingered | there, contrary to his received orders. That admiral, not being able to enter the port of Alexandria, had moored his fleet in Aboukir bay, in a strong and compact line of battle; the headmost vessel being as close as possible to a shoal on the north-west, and the rest of the fleet forming a kind of curve along the line of deep water, so as not to be turned by any means on the south-west. The French admiral had the advantage of numbers in ships, in guns, and in men: he had thirteen ships of the line and four frigates, carrying 1196 guns, and 11,230 men; whereas the English had the same number of ships of the line, and one 50 gun ship, carrying 1012 guns, and 8068 men. They had, however, Nelson for chief-in-command, who, in all cases, was a mighty host in himself. During the whole cruize, it had been Nelson’s practice, whenever circumstances would admit of it, to have his captains on board the Vanguard, and fully explain to them his own ideas of the best modes of attack, whatever might be the situation of the enemy. His officers, therefore, were well acquainted with his principles of tactics and such was his confidence in their abilities and zeal, that the only plan arranged, in case they should find the French at anchor, was for the ships to form as most convenient for their mutual support, and to anchor by the stern. When he had fully explained his intended plan, captain Berry exclaimed with transport, “If we succeed, what will the world say” “There is no if.” replied the admiral “that we shall succeed is most certain: who may live to tell the story is a very different question.

The position of the enemy presented the most formidable obstacles, but the admiral viewed these with the eye of a seaman determined on an attack; and it instantly struck him, that where there was room for an enemy’s ship to swing, there was room for one of ours to anchor. No further signal was necessary than those which had already been made. The admiral’s designs were as fully known to his whole squadron, as was his determination to conquer or perish in the attempt. The action commenced at sunset, at half past 6 o’clock, with an ardour that cannot be described. The Goliath, captain Foley, and the Zealous, captain Hood, received the first fire from the enemy. It was received with silence. On board every one of the British ships, the crew were employed aloft in furling sails, and below in tending the braces, and making ready for | anchoring; a wretched sight for the French, who, with all their advantages, were on that element upon which escape was impossible. Their admiral, Brueys, was a brate and able man, yet he had, in a private letter, boasted that the English had* missed him, “because, not rinding themselves superior in numbers, they did not think it prudent to try their strength with him.” The moment was now come in which he was to be fatally undeceived. The shores of the bay of Aboukir were soon lined with spectators, who beheld the approach of the English, and the awful conflict of the hostile fleets, in silent astonishment. The two first ships of the French line were dismasted within a quarter of an hour after the action, and the others suffered so severely, that victory was even now regarded as certain. The third, the fourth, and the fifth, were taken possession^ of at half past eight. In the mean time, Nelson had received a severe wound on the head from a piece of iron, called a langridge shot; the skin of his forehead, being cut with it at right angles, hung down over his face. A great effusion of blood followed; but, as the surgeon pronounced there was no immediate danger, Nelson, who had retired to the cabin and was beginning to write his dispatches, appeared again on the quarter-deck, and the French ship the Orient being on fire, gave orders that boats should be sent to the relief of her men. Her commander Brueys was dead of his wounds, and the ship soon after blew up. The firing recommenced with the ships to the lee-ward of the centre, and continued until three in the morning. At day-break, the two rear-ships of the enemy were the only ships of the line that had their colours flying, and immediately stood out to sea, with two frigates The Zealous pursued, but as there was no other ship in a condition to support her, she was recalled. These, however, were all that escaped; and the victory was the most complete and glorious in the annals of naval history, uniting indeed, as was said in the House of Commons, all those qualities by which other victories had been most distinguished.

Congratulations, rewards, and honours of every kind were now showered upon the gallant admiral, by all the foreign princes and powers to which this splendid conquest was beneficial. At home he was created baron Nile of the Nile, and of Burnham Thorpe, with a pension of 2000l. for his own life., One peculiar feature in Nelson’s character was a consciousness of the importance of his services, | and a habit of forming an exact estimate of what they were worth according to the accustomed scale of national rewards. He was not therefore satisfied with this barony, because he conceived that the superior peerages given to sir John Jervis and admiral Duncan, were given for services less decisive and important than he had performed.

He went on however in his career, and it is to be deeply regretted that the proceeding which immediately followed, has been thought to detract from the glories of his former life. He now set sail for Sicily, and on his arrival at Naples, was received as a deliverer by their majesties and the whole kingdom. But soon after the subjects of that monarch, discontented at his conduct, and supported by the French, drove him from his capital, after which they established, or rather proclaimed, “The Parthenopean Republic.” The zeal of cardinal Ruffo, however, who successfully mingled the character of a soldier with that of a priest, proved signally efficacious towards the restoration of the exiled monarch. Having marched to Naples at the head of a body of Calabrians, he obliged “the patriots,” as they were termed, who were in possession of all the forts, to capitulate; and to this treaty the English, Turkish, and Russian commanders acceded. On the appearance of lord Nelson, however, Ferdinand publicly disavowed “the authority of cardinal Ruffo to treat with subjects in rebellion,” and the capitulation was accordingly violated, with the exception of the prisoners in Castella Mare alone, which had surrendered to the English squadron under commodore Foote. For this part of lord Nelson’s conduct much has been pleaded, but the general opinion was that it could not be justified.

On the ninth of August lord Nelson brought his Sicilian majesty safe to his court, having kept him some weeks in his ship, out of the reach of peril; and on the thirteenth the king presented him with a sword most magnificently enriched with diamonds, and conferred upon him the title of duke of Bront6, and annexed to the title an estate supposed to be worth 300O/. per annum. Besides the presents just mentioned, he received from the East India company 10,000l.; from the Turkey company a piece of plate of great value; from the city of London a sword of exquisite workmanship and great worth; from the grand seignior a diamond aigrette, or plume of triumph, valued at 2000/; also a rich pelisse valued at 1000^., and from the Seignior’s | mother a rose set with diamonds of equal value; from the emperor of Russia and the king of Sardinia boxes set with diamonds worth 3700l.: besides many other presents of less value, but costly, and expressive of a high sense of gratitude in the donors.

After the appointment of lord Keith to the command of the Mediterranean fleet, lord Nelson made preparations to return, and proceeding in company with sir William and lady Hamilton, to Trieste, he travelled through Germany to Hamburgh, every where received with distinguished honours. He embarked at Cuxhaven, and landed at Yarmouth on the sixth of November 1800, after an absence from his native country of three years. In the following January he received orders to embark again, and it was during this short interval that he formally separated from lady Nelson. Some of his last words to her were, “I call God to witness, that there is nothing in you, or your conduct, that I wish otherwise.” He was now raised to the rank of vice-admiral of the blue, and soon after hoisted his flag on board the San Josef of 112 guns, his own prize at the battle of cape St. Vincent. About this time the emperor Paul of Russia had renewed the northern confederacy, the express and avowed object of which was to set limits to the naval supremacy of England. A resolution being taken by the English cabinet to attempt its dissolution, a formidable fleet was fitted out for the North Seas, under sir Hyde Parker, in which lord Nelson consented to go second in command. Having shifted his flag to the St. George of 98 guns, he sailed with the fleet in the month of March, and on the 30th of that same month he led the way through the Sound, which was passed without any loss. But the battle of Copenhagen gave occasion for an equal display of lord Nelson’s talents as that of the Nile. The Danes were well prepared for defence. Upwards of two hundred pieces of cannon were mounted upon the crown batteries at the entrance of the harbour, and a line of twenty-five two-deckers, frigates, and floating batteries, was moored across its mouth. An attack being determined upon, the conduct of it was entrusted to lord Nelson; the action was fought on the second of April; Nelson had with him twelve ships of the line, with all the frigates and small craft, the remainder of the fleet was with the commander in chief, about four miles off. The combat which succeeded was one of the most terrible on record. Nelson | himself said, that of all the engagements in which he had borne a part, it was the most terrible. It began at ten in the morning, and at one victory had not declared itself. A shot through the main-mast knocked a few splinters about the admiral “It is warm work,” said he, “and this may be the last day to any of us in a moment; but, mark you, I would not be elsewhere for thousands.” Just at this moment sir Hyde Parker made signal for the action to cease. It was reported to him, but he continued pacing the deck, and appeared to take no notice of it. The signal-lieutenant asked if he should repeat it. “No,” replied Nelson, “acknowledge it.” Presently he called to know if the signal for close action was still hoisted, and being answered in the affirmative, he said, “Mind you keep it so.” About two o’clock, great part of the Danish line had ceased to fire, and the victory was complete, yet it was difficult to take possession of the vanquished ships, on account of the fire from the shore, which was still kept up. At this critical period, with great presence of mind, he sent the following note to the crown prince of DenmarkLord Nelson has directions to spare Denmark when no longer resisting but, if the firing is continued on the part of Denmark, lord Nelson must be obliged to set on fire all the floating-batteries he has taken, without having the power of saving the brave Danes who had defended them.” This immediately produced a treaty, which ended the dispute, and annihilated the northern confederacy. For this service lord Nelson was raised to the rank of a viscount. His last effort, in this war, was an attack on the preparations making at Boulogne, for the invasion of England; but, after the loss of many brave men on our side, the enterprize proved unsuccessful, from the situation of the harbour.

During the peace which followed, he retired to an estate lately purchased by himself, at Merton in Surrey; but no sooner was this short peace dissolved, than his lordship was called upon to take the command of the ships in the Mediterranean. He accordingly repaired thither, on board the Victory, May 20, 1303, and formed the blockade of Toulon with a powerful squadron. Notwithstanding all the vigilance employed, a fleet escaped out of this port on the 30th of March, 1805, and shortly after formed a junction with the Cadiz-squadron, sir John Orde being obliged to retire before such a superiority in point of numbers. | The gallant Nelson no sooner received intelligence of this event, than he followed the enemy to the West-Indies; and such was the terror of his name, that they returned without effecting any thing worthy of mention, and got into port after running the gauntlet through sir Robert Calder’s squadron. The enemy having thus again eluded his pursuit, he returned almost inconsolable to England; and hearing that the French had joined the fleet from Ferrol, and had got safe to Cadiz, he again offered his services, which were readily accepted by the first lord of the admiralty, who gave him a list of the navy, and bade him choose his own officers. He accordingly reached Portsmouth, after an absence of only twenty-five days; and such was his impatience to be at the scene of action, that, although a strong wind blew against him, he worked down channel, and, after a rough passage, arrived off Cadiz, on his birth-day, Sept. 29, on which day the French admiral, Villeneuve, received orders to put to sea the first opportunity. In point of preparation the two fleets were supposed to be on an equality; but in respect to force, the French were the stronger in the proportion of nearly three to two, they having thirty-four ships of the line of 74 guns, and under lord Nelson there were but twenty-four of the same rank: in frigates they out-numbered him in a similar proportion. Early in the month of October, lord Nelson received information which led him to imagine the enemy would soon put to sea. He had already arranged a plan, according to which he determined to fight. He was aware of the mischief of too many signals, and was resolved never to distract the attention of his fleet on the day of action by a great number of them. On the 4th of October he assembled the admirals and captains of the fleet into the cabin of his ship, the Victory, and laid before them a new and simple mode of attack. Every man comprehended his method in a moment, and felt certain that it must succeed. It proved irresistible.

Lord Nelson did not remain directly off Cadiz with his fleet, or even within sight of the port. His object was to induce the enemy to come out; with this view he stationed his fleet in the following manner. TheEuryalus frigate was within half a mile of the mouth of the harbour to watch the enemy’s movements, and to give the earliest intelligence. At a still greater distance he had seven or eight sail of the line. He himself remained off Cape St. Mary with the rest | of the fleet, and a line of frigates extended and communicated between him and the seven or eight sail off Cadiz. The advantage of this plan was, that he could receive ample supplies and reinforcements off Cape St. Mary, without the enemy being informed of it, and thus they always remained ignorant of the real force under his command: Villeneuve had also been misled by an American, who declared that Nelson could not possibly be with the fleet, as he had seen him in London but a few days before. Relying on this, the highest compliment they could pay Nelson, and on their own superiority, they put to sea on the 19th, and on the 21st lord Nelson intercepted them off Cape Trafalgar, about sixty miles east of Cadiz. When his lordship found, that by his manoeuvres, he had placed the enemy in such a situation that they could not avoid an engagement, he displayed much animation, and his usual confidence of victory. “Now,” said he, “they cannot escape us; I think we may make sure of twenty of them; I shall probably lose a leg, but that will be purchasing a victory cheaply.” He appears, however, to have had more gloomy presages, for on this morning he wrote a prayer in his journal, and solemnly bequeathed lady Hamilton, as a legacy, to his king and country. He left also to the beneficence of his country his adopted daughter, desiring that in future she would use his name only. “These,” said he, “are the only favours I ask of my king and country at this moment, when I am going to fight their battle.” He had put on the coat which he always wore in action, and kept for that purpose with a degree of veneration: it bore the insignia of all his orders. “In honour,” said he, “Igained them, and in honour I will die with them.” The last order which his lordship gave, previously to action, was short, but comprehensive, “England Expects Every Man To Do His Duty,” which was received with a shout of applause throughout the whole fleet. “Now,” said the admiral, “I can do no more we must trust to the great Disposer of all events, and the justice of our cause. I thank God for this opportunity of doing my duty.” It had been represented to him so strongly, both by captain Blackwood, and his own captain, Hardy, how advantageous it would be for him to keep out of the action as long as possible, that he consented that the Temeraire, which was then sailing abreast of the Victory, should be ordered to pass a-head, and the Leviathan also. They could not possibly do this | if the Victory continued to carry all her sail; and yet so far was Nelson from shortening sail, that he seemed to take pleasure in baffling the advice to which he could not but assent. He had determined himself to fight the Santissima Trinidada; and it is worthy of remark, that he gained the highest honour in grappling with this ship in the action off Cape St. Vincent. She was the largest ship in the world, carried 136 guns, and had four decks. The Victory did not fire a single shot till she was close along-side the Trinidada, and had already lost 50 men in killed and wounded. Lord Nelson ordered his ship to be lashed to his rival, and in this labour the commander of the Trinidada ordered his men also to assist. For four hours the conflict which ensued was tremendous. The Victory ran on board the Redoubtable, which, firing her broad-sides into the English flag-ship, instantly let down her lower deck ports, for fear of being boarded through them. Captain Harvey, in the Temeraire, fell on board the Redoubtable on the other side; another ship, in like manner, was on board the Temeraire, so that these four ships, in the heat of battle, formed as compact a tier as if they had been moored together, their heads lying all the same way. The lieutenants of the Victory immediately depressed their guns, and fired with a diminished charge, lest the shot should pass through and injure the Temeraire: and because there was danger that the enemy’s ship might take fire from the guns of the lower-deck, whose muzzles touched her side when they were run out, the fireman of each gun stood ready with a bucket of water, which, as soon as the gun was discharged, he dashed at the hole made in her sides by the shot. In the prayer to which we have already alluded, and which Nelson wrote before the action, he desires that humanity, after victory, might distinguish the British fleet. Setting an example himself, he twice gave orders to cease firing upon the Redoubtable, supposing she had struck, because her great guns were silent; and as she carried no flag, there were no means of ascertaining the fact. From this ship, whose destruction was twice delayed by his wish to spare the vanquished, he received his dealt. Captain Hardy, on perceiving frequent showers of musket-balls fired on the Victory’s quarter-deck, requested lord Nelson to take off the insignia by which he was exposed, as a mark, to the sharp shooters placed in the main-round-top of the enemy’s ships. He answered, he would when he had time but | paid no farther attention to his safety. In a minute afterwards, his secretary, Mr. Scott, who stood near him, was killed. A musket-ball entered his head, and he fell dead instantly. Captain Adair of the marines endeavoured to remove the mangled body, but it had attracted the notice of the admiral, who said, “Is that poor Scott who is gone?” Afterwards, whilst he was conversing with captain Hardy, on the quarter-deck, during the shower of musket-balls and raking fire that was kept up by the enemy, a doubleheaded shot came across the poop and killed eight of the marines. In a few minutes, a shot struck the fore-bracebits on the quarter-deck, and passing between lord Nelson and captain Hardy, drove some splinters from the bits about them, and bruised captain Hardy’s foot. They mutually looked at each other, when Nelson, whom no danger could affect, smiled and said, “It is too warm work, Hardy, to last.” The Redoubtable had, for some time, commenced a heavy fire of musketry from her tops, which, like those of the enemy’s other ships, were filled with riflemen. The Victory, however, became enveloped in smoke, except at intervals, when it partially dispersed, and, owing to the want of wind, was surrounded with the enemy’s ships.

The last scene was now approaching. At fifteen minutes past one, and a quarter of an hour before the Redoubtable struck, lord Nelson and captain Hardy were observed to be walking near the middle of the quarter-deck: the admiral had just commended the manner in which one of his ships near him was fought, captain Hardy advanced from him to give some necessary directions, and he was in the act of turning near the hatch-way, with his face towards the stern, when a musket-ball struck him on the left-shoulder, and entering through the epaulet, passed through the spine, and lodged in the muscles of the back, towards the rightside. Nelson instantly fell with his face on the deck, in the very place that was covered with the blood of his secretary, Mr. Scott. Captain Hardy, on turning round, saw the sergeant of marines, Seeker, with two seamen, raising him from the deck “Hardy,” said his lordship, “I believe they have done it at last; my back-bone is shot through.

Some of the crew immediately bore the admiral to the cock-pit, and on his observing that the tiller ropes, which were shot away early in the action, had not been replaced, he calmly desired a midshipman to remind capt. Hardy of | it, and to request that new ones might be immediately rove. He then covered his face and stars with his handkerchief, that he might be less observed by his men. Being placed on a pallet in the midshipman’s birth on the larboard side, Mr. Beatty, the surgeon, was called, and his lordship’s cloaths were taken off, that the direction of the ball might be the better ascertained. “You can be of no use to me, Beatty,” said lord Nelson, “go and attend those whose lives can be preserved.” When the surgeon had executed his melancholy office, had expressed the general feeling that prevailed on the occasion, and had again been urged by the admiral to go and attend to his duty, he reluctantly obeyed, but continued to return at intervals. As the blood flowed internally from the wound, the lower cavity of the body gradually filled: lord Nelson therefore constantly desired Mr. Burke to raise him, and complaining of an excessive thirst, was supplied by Mr. Scott (the chaplain) with lemonade. In this state of suffering, with nothing but havoc and death and misery around him, his mind continued intent on the great object that was always before him, his duty to his country: he therefore anxiously inquired for capt. Hardy, to know whether the annihilation of the enemy might be depended on; and it being upwards of an hour before that officer could leave the deck, lord Nelson suspected he was dead, and could not easily be persuaded that it was otherwise. The crew of the Victory were now heard to cheer, when lieutenant Pasco, who lay wounded near him, said that one of their opponents had struck. A gleam of joy lighted up the countenance of Nelson; and as the crew repeated their cheers, and marked the progress of his victory, his satisfaction visibly increased. Mr. Bulkley, the captain’s aid de camp, then came below, and in a low voice communicated to the surgeon the particular circumstances which had detained capt. Hardy. The excessive heat of the cockpit, from the numbers of the dead and wounded, increased the faintness of the dying admiral, and his sight became dim “Who brought the message?” said he feebly. “Bulkley, my lord.” “It is his voice,” said Nelson, “remember me, Bulkley, to your father.” Capt. Hardy soon afterwards came down from the deck, and anxiously strove to conceal the feelings with which he had been struggling. “How goes the day with us, Hardy?” “Ten ships, my lord, have struck.” “But none of ours, I hope.| There is no fear, my dear lord, of that. Five of their van have tacked, and shewn an intention of bearing down upon us; but I have called some of our fresh ships round the Victory, and have no doubt of your complete success.” Captain Hardy then found himself unable any longer to suppress the yearnings of a brave and affectionate heart, and hurried away for a time to conceal the bitterness of his sorrow.

The firing continued, and the cheers of the men were occasionally heard amidst its repeated peals. With a wish to support his spirits, that were in some degree shaken by having seen the friend he so sincerely regarded, and from the increased pain under which he had to endure the agonies of excessive thirst, and the great difficulty of respiration, Mr. Burke said, “I still hope, my lord, you will carry this glorious news home.” “Don‘t talk nonsense,” replied the admiral, “one would, indeed, like to live a little longer, but I know it to be impossible: God’s will be done, I have performed my duty, and I devoutly thank him for it.” A wounded seaman was lying near him on a pallet, waiting for amputation, and in the bustle that prevailed was hurt by some person passing by: Nelson, weak as he was, indignantly turned his head, and with his usual authority reprimanded the man for not having more humanity. Sometime afterwards he was again visited by the surgeon; “I find,” said he, “something rising in my breast, which tells me I shall soon be gone. God be praised that I have done my duty. My pain is so severe that I devoutly wish to be released.

When the firing from the Victory had in some measure ceased, and the glorious result of the day*


The final event of this action was the capture of eighteen men-of-war, of the French commander-in-chief, and two other flag-officers, with a general. It was a blow to the maritime strength of the two hostile powers that entirely ruined their present projects, and lastingly crippled their exertions. The maritime war might from this day be considered as at an end: the fleets of the enemy were not merely defeated, they were as good as annihilated, and with them the spirit of the French marine so completely depressed, as to forbid the hope of a revival, till a new race of men should arise, upon whom the terror of the name of Nelson would cease to operate.

was accomplished, capt. Hardy immediately visited the dying chief, and reported the entire number that had struck: “God be praised, Hardy I bring the fleet to an anchor.” Capt. Hardy was returning to the deck, when the admiral called him back, and begged him to come near. Lord Nelson then delivered his last injunctions, and desired that his | body might be carried home to be buried, unless his sovereign should otherwise desire it, by the bones of his father and mother. He then took capt. Hardy by the hand, and observing, that he would most probably not see him again alive, the dying hero desired his brave associate to kiss him, that he might seal their long friendship with that affection which pledged sincerity in death. Capt. Hardy stood for a few minutes over the body of him he so truly regarded, in silent agony, and then kneeling down again, kissed his forehead. “Who is that?” said Nelson. “It is Hardy, my lord.” “God bless you, Hardy,” replied Nelson, feebly; and afterwards added, “I wish I had not left the deck, I shall soon be gone:” his voice then gradually became inarticulate, with an evident increase of pain; when, after a feeble struggle, these last words were distinctly heard, “I have done my duty, I praise God for it.” Having said this, he turned his face towards Mr. Burke, on whose arm he had been supported, and expired without a groan, Oct. 21, 1805, in the forty-seventh year of his age.

Perhaps, in no country, have higher public honours been paid to the memory of a public benefactor than those that were justly and enthusiastically given to lord Nelson. His body was brought home for interment; it was exhibited for several days in the proudest state at Greenwich; from thence it was conveyed to Westminster; and finally buried in the cathedral of St. Paul’s, Jan. 8, 1806. The funeral, made at the public expence, was the most solemn and magnificent spectacle ever beheld in this country, and was duly honoured by the presence of seven of the sons of his majesty, and a vast number of naval officers, peers, and commoners. Honours and rewards were munificently bestowed on his relations, and an earldom was perpetuated in the family of Nelson, of which his brother was the first possessor. A monument was afterwards voted by parliament, and many of the principal cities and towns of the united kingdom have voted a similar memorial of his unparalleled merit.

In lord Nelson’s professional character were united the greatest bravery, the most ardent zeal, and the most consummate wisdom; all prompted, even from his earliest days, by a consciousness of superior talents, and a forethought that they would one day immortalize his name. His actions, however, even as imperfectly detailed in the | preceding narrative, will form the best illustration of his character. In one respect only he has interrupted that train of delightful recollections which must ever accompany the name of Nelson; we allude to his unhappy attachment to lady Hamilton, into which he appears to have been at first betrayed by gratitude, but which he permitted at last to increase with such violence, as to alienate him from his wife, to whom he had been for so many years fondly devoted. Reduced at last by her vices and extravagance, the woman to whom he had thus sacrificed his character, closed her worthless life by the base disclosure of his confidential correspondence. 1


Life of Nelson by Clarke and M’Arthur, abridged, 1810, 8vo.