« PreviousContinue »
assure you that I am fixed to live a country life, andto have many (I hope) years of comfort, which God knows, I never yet had—only moments of happiness; but the case shall be altered. I tell you, my dear good friend, all my little plans, for I know you did, and I hope always will, take a lively interest in my happiness. The death of Paul may prevent the shedding of more human blood in the north. The moment that is clear I shall not remain one minute, and at all events I hope to be in England in May. We have reports that the Swedish fleet is above the Shallows, distant five or six leagues. All our fellows are longing to be at them, and so do I, as great a boy as any of them,for I consider this as being at school, and going to England as going home for the holidays, therefore I really long to finish my task. I am glad to hear that Sir William's pictures sold so well, but believe me, before I would have sold a picture of you, I would have starved. I wonder Sir William could do it. I cannot write politics, as my letter probably will be read, but I have to beg you will remember me most affectionately to our friends of all ages and sexes, therefore I cannot mention names. I will endeavour and know to-morrow if you may safely write to Copenhagen.
"Ever yours affectionately.''
Mr. Osborn, Secretary to the Commander-in-chief, was appointed to the agency of the prizes taken at the battle; but difficulties arising, he declined the appointment. Lord Nelson's friend, and agent for the prizes at the Nile, Mr. Davison, was subsequently appointed sole agent, as appears from the following to Hely Addington, Esq.
"St. James's Square, 8th May, 1801. "Sir, "Having been appointed sole agent for the Baltic Squadron under the command of Admiral Sir Hyde Parker, for the prizes taken from the Danes in the engagement of the 2nd April off Copenhagen, I beg the favour of you to inform the Lords Commissioners of his Majesty's Treasury that I am prevented applying in the regular manner to the Navy Board for the usual allowance of head money, for want of the vouchers required, which could not be obtained by reason of the prisoners having been immediately set ashore at Copenhagen, and that the only paper transmitted to me to ascertain the number of persons on board the ships and floating batteries at the commencement of the action is a letter from Lord Nelson, stating that for the reasons above-mentioned their number could not be actually ascertained, but from the best accounts they had been able to obtain, the number of men on board the eighteen ships and vessels which struck to his Majstey's squadron under his Lordship's orders, did not amount to less than six thousand men.
"As it does not appear possible that regular vouchers can now be procured, I beg to solicit on behalf of Admiral Sir Hyde Parker, Vice-Admiral Lord Nelson, Rear-Admiral Graves, the several Commanders, Officers and ships' companies, that their Lordships will be pleased to dispense with the regular vouchers (as was done in the case of the victory of the Nile), and give directions to the Navy Board to pay the head money upon the authority of Lord Nelson's letter.
"I have the honour to be,
"Extract from Lord Nelson's letter:—
'St. George, 22nd April, 1801.
'The Danes being all landed without any declaration as to numbers, yet thiB can easily be got over by a dispensing order—not less than six thousand men can be allowed, and that is under the number.
'nelson And Bronte.
'To Alex. Davison, Esq.' "Hely Addington, Esq. &c. &c. &c. Treasury."
The correspondence with Lady Hamilton continues:—
"April 13th, Copenhagen. "My dearest Friend,
"All your letters up to the 4th April I received with inexpressible pleasure last night. By this occasion of the post I only acknowledge them. I wrote you yesterday, but as they go a round it may be a day later before you receive them. As soon as we are over the grounds in about two days, I shall write you fully. I love you for your attachment to your dear Queen,1 and your resolution to live and die with her—she deserves it all, for her faithful affection to you is beyond all description. I expect to be in England in May, but let what will happen, for I do not believe we shall fire another shot in the Baltic, you will hear that I have been so careful not to increase the strength of our opponents, who certainly died hard, that I have only put down six sail of the line instead of seven, but a ship more or a ship less cannot add to my reputation, and it might injure a poor Danish officer, which I do not, thank God, want to do. I cannot write politics. Many thanks for the songs. John Bull has always had faith in me, and I am grateful. I shall write you more by the brig Captain Fancourt2 desires his regards, as I do mine, to Sir William, the Duke, Lord William, and all our real friends."
"April 14th, 1801. "My dearest Friend,
"I was in hopes that I should have got off some Copenhagen china to have sent you by Captain Bligh,3 who was one of my seconds on the 2nd. He is a steady seaman, and a good and brave man. If he calls, I hope you will admit him, I have half promised him that pleasure, and if he can get hold of the china he is to take charge of it. I have this day pressed on Lord St. Vincent my leave to retire, and told him I hoped it would be before April was out. If we have peace with Russia, nothing shall keep me a moment, and to prepare for it I have sent to the Prince to request that he will give a general order for my free passage through his dominions in case I land at Lubeck, which is only thirty-eight miles from Gluckstadt on the Elbe.
1 The Queen of Naples.
'Robert Devereux Fancourt, in the early part of his career, served in the East Indies, under Sir Richard Bickerton, Bart., and was made Post Captain in 1790. In the revolutionary war he was employed in protection of the trade in the West Indies and the Mediterranean, and in 1797, served with Lord Duncan in the North Sea, after which he joined Vice-Admiral Dickson's squadron, and thence proceeded with Sir Hyde Parker in the Copenhagen expedition. His vessel, the Agamemnon, however, unfortunately struck upon a shoal, and he was thereby deprived the honour of being engaged on that memorable occasion. He was made Rear-Admiral, April 28, 1808, and a Vice-Admiral, August 12, 1812. He lived to the advanced age of 84 years, dying June 7th, 1826, an Admiral of the Blue.
• Captain George Miller Bligh, died Oct. 14, 1834.
"nelson And Bronte.
"I shall write by the brig Sir Hyde Parker is going to send home. Best regards to Sir William, the Duke, &c. &c. I have wrote by the post. Rev. Mr. Comyn1 has not joined. I hope he was not in the Invincible."2
On this day, Sir Thomas Troubridge, then one of the Lords of the Admiralty, wrote to Lady Hamilton to acquaint her with the death of Paul,5 by which it appears that Nelson was aware of it prior to its reaching the English Government :—
"April 14th, 1801, "My dear Lady Hamilton,
"Your great and good friend, magnanimous Paul, is dead, and the private letters from Mecklenburg, via Hamburgh, say our fleet is near Lubeck, having destroyed the Danish squadron. I sincerely hope it is true. One letter asserts that Lord Nelson said it was warm work while it lasted.
"The death of our inveterate enemy may give a turn to affairs; it is reported our seamen are released from prison in Russia, and a messenger arrived from Russia last night, which looks well. I cannot say more—burn this.
"Yours, most truly,
From the following letter, Nelson appears to have been very anxious to reach England:—
1 Lord Nelson's Chaplain on board the Vanguard at the Battle of the Nile. Nelson solicited of the Lord Chancellor, and obtained for him the Rectory of Bridgeham, in Norfolk.
* Rear-Admiral Totty'a ship, wrecked going out of Yarmouth Roads.
3 He was murdered March 24, 1801.
"St George, April 15th, 1801. "My dearest Friend,
"I can get nothing here worth your acceptance, but as
I know you have a valuable collection of china I send you
some of the Copenhagen manufacture, it will bring to your
recollection that here your attached friend Nelson fought
and conquered. Captain Bligh has promised to take charge
of it, and I hope it will reach you safe. Our guns are all out
of the ship in order to get her over the shallow water. My
Commander-in-chief has left me, but if there is any work to
do, I dare say they will wait for me. Nelson will be first.
Who can stop him? I have much to say, and before one
month is over, I hope to tell you in person. You may get
out by management from Troubridge whether my leave is
come out, if it is not, I will go without it, for here I will not
stay. I have just got a passport from the Prince, which I
shall use when occasion requires.
"Ever your3, most faithfully,
"nelson And Bronte."
Adjutant-General Lindholm sent to Lord Nelson the passport alluded to in the preceding letter:—
"Copenhagen, April 15th, 1801.
« Sir, "I have the honour to send your Lordship a German passport for your intended journey; but I hope to see your Lordship on board the St. George before you set out. His Royal Highness has ordered me to present his compliments to your Lordship.
"We hear to-day the interesting news from Hamburgh, that the Emperor of Russia has offered to give up the English vessels, and the English goods detained in Russia, when England will give up the Russian, Danish, and Swedish vessels in her ports. I hope that the northern business will soon be settled. I am, with the greatest esteem, my Lord, "Your most obedient humble servant,
*' Right Hon. Lord Nelson, "Vicc-Adiniral."
VOL. II. D