« PreviousContinue »
The Premier also wrote to Lord Nelson on the same day.
HON. HENRY ADDINGTON TO LORD NELSON.
"Downing Street, April 20th, 1801.
u My dear Lord, "You will have heard from Lord St. Vincent how entirely the whole and every part of your Lordship's conduct is approved of by the King, and you must have been informed from various quarters of the impression it has made upon Parliament and the public. It remains for me only to express the sentiments of admiration and of complete satisfaction, with which I contemplate what has passed, under your Lordship's auspices, in the Baltic and at Copenhagen. The transactions in which you had so distinguished a share, and of which, indeed, you were the life and soul, joined to the late event at Petersburgh will, I trust, lead to an honourable accommodation with the Northern Powers; but whilst we hope and expect the best, we must be prepared for the worst; and I am sure that the minds of the people of this country will be at ease whilst your Lordship continues in the Baltic. I must add, that you have gratified and obliged me by your private communications, which I beg you to repeat as frequently as may be consistent with your avocations and convenience. My best wishes on all accounts ever attend you. Believe me to be, with true attachment, my dear Lord, you sincere friend and faithful servant,
The King of Naples also wrote to congratulate Lord Nelson on the victory he had obtained:—
"My dear and much esteemed Lord Nelson, I received your welcome letter dated 10th of April, and I am your debtor from that date, owing to you a new and sincere compliment for that glorious day of the above mentioned month, the memorable 2nd, which also will give such advantages to your brave nation and all Europe; and it gives me confidence and hopes of a general and much desired peace. Therefore, again receive my cordial rejoicings, and be assured of the great pleasure I shall have to see you again in my kingdoms, where you will find gratitude, esteem, and affection. I beg you also to believe in my feelings, and the part I take in the well merited distinctions which your magnanimous Sovereign has shewn you, and the sensations it must have produced in his Royal and grateful soul for the important service which you have again rendered, and joined to so many others useful and beneficial to your grateful country. I feel the greatest happiness in expressing to you these deeply engraven sentiments which I hope soon by voice to repeat, and to assure you of the constant affection of your
1 Life and Correspondence of Lord Viscount Sidmouth, Vol. i. p. 379.
Lieutenant-Colonel Stewart, the bearer of the armistice to England, wrote to Lady Hamilton on his return to Copenhagen as follows:—
"Nelson Arms, Yarmouth, April 23rd, 1801. "Dear Madam,
"After your having expressed your intentions yesterday of forwarding under my care the picture to Lord Nelson, I feel quite distressed that it was out of my power to wait longer for it than four o'clock yesterday afternoon, having been dismissed by Lord St. Vincent two hours even previous to that time. I feel alarmed at your Ladyship's not thinking me to be a very civil sort of a gentleman, to have thus left town without again calling on you for poor St. Cecilia,1 but the close manner in which I was kept occupied at the Admiralty, Downing Street, and War Office, after I had the honour of taking leave of Sir William and your Ladyship, really prevented me from so doing. The Favorite sloop of war is, however, now here, expecting to be dispatched with the duplicate of my dispatches to the fleet, and if your Ladyship will send the picture in question to the care of Mr. Stewart, Agent for the Baltic fleet in this town, with directions for its being forwarded by the Favorite, or first safe conveyance, that gentleman will do so with care and with pleasure, for I have been speaking to him on the subject. I am anxious that Lord Nelson should have in his cabin so pretty a cadeau, as I shall thereby frequently have it in my power also to admire this interesting fair one. I shall therefore give our noble friend to expect the receipt of poor Cecilia, and must beg that your Ladyship will forward it, for it will, I am confident, give our hero great pleasure, and if you do not, I shall feel convinced that you are angry with me for not having waited for it. You must excuse this scrawl, written during the hasty moment of embarkation, from an inn, and believe me with much truth,
1 Lady Hamilton's portrait painted by Geo. Romney, R.A.
"Your Ladyship's very faithful servant,
The Colonel was also the bearer of the following letter to Lord Nelson from Alex. Davison, Esq.:—
"St. James's Square, 22nd April, 1801. "My dear Friend,
"Colonel Stewart's return to the Baltic affords me the happy opportunity of writing to you, and with the general voice of this nation to repeat again and again our joy on the most important victory at this particular period ever this country could have obtained. I will refer you to Colonel Stewart for our political news, who will communicate more in ten minutes than I could in hours writing. I am grieved to find, though however gratifying the cause, that you are not likely to obtain leave of absence so soon as you expected, or your friends here wished. It is said, the service absolutely requires your aid in the Baltic, and without yon nothing would have been done, and that nothing will be effected without you. Taking all this for granted, as I believe it to be true, yet I own I should have been much pleased to hear of your return immediately, as I see nothing now to be done, in which you as second can possibly claim that distinct pointed approbation you, in every act of your life, so justly merit. Fighting for the honour of another ought not to be your station, and as Sir Hyde is battling for a peerage, in God's name let him have it, and return quietly home, leaving you in the command, if it be determined that you are to remain. I hope it is not true, what I have heard, that it is the intention of the Government to offer you the dignity of Viscount. That you ought to have had long ago, and any additional distinction short of an Earldom, in my humble opinion, would be degrading. Your last act of service deserves every acknowledgment which a grateful country (whatever Ministers may think) can bestow. The nation would be gratified to see the highest mark of honour conferred upon you.
"I am truly sorry, my dear friend, to tell you poor Maurice1 is extremely ill, though within these twenty-four hours appearances have taken a favourable turn. Nine days ago he was seized with violent pains in his head, which terminated in an inflammation in the brain. The instant I was informed of it, I dispatched my own physician, Sir John Hayes,1 to attend him, in whom I have the most perfect confidence as a professional character. Sir John this morning assures me he is out of danger, but that it will require time and great care to bring him about. I am vexed my own miserable situation deprives me the satisfaction of being with Maurice. I have Sir John Hayes's regular report twice a day, and it gives me pleasure to know your brother highly approved my sending my own physician. My own health is as good as I could wish it, but my limbs and ancles so extremely weakened that I am unable to walk. A very few days will put me to rights, and the fit (of gout) be productive of benefit to me.
"Whilst fighting for your country's honour, I must not let you forget yourself, and as the trial in all probability will come before the court about the end of May, I must entreat you to give the different opinions annexed to the case some serious consideration, making such observations and remarks as you think will weigh in the minds of a jury, for though however confident we may in our own judgments be respecting the probable issue, yet too great precautions cannot possibly be taken, when we reflect with whom we are to take the field against. Your private observations cannot fail operating most forcibly on the minds of men of common sense, such as I hope will be on the jury.
"If you are certain of being in England at the period, the less necessity for this precaution, but it would wound my feelings were we to fall short of every possible means in our power to strengthen and arm one's counsel on this important occasion. It hurts me to write a word on business when your mind is so occupied with public duty, yet your own individual interest must not be neglected, and I trust you will excuse me.
1 Lord Nelson's Brother. * Sir John Macntunan Hayes, Bart. M.D.
"Your plate at Rundell's is finished, and a complete case making to contain the whole. I conclude you now would like that it remain until you return. The inclosed letter will, I presume, tell you how matters stand in Piccadilly. Several epistles pass daily between us. I conclude Stewart will call there, and will be the bearer of other packets, as she wrote to me last night, telling me a note had been sent to him to give her a visit.
"May every blessing attend you, and that you may soon return to us, is and always will be the sincere prayer of my dear friend's affectionate
On the 23rd Lord Nelson wrote to Lady Hamilton :—
"St George, April 23rd, 1801.
"My dearest amiable Friend, this day we sailed from Palermo on our tour to Malta. Ah! those were happy times. How different, how forlorn! alas, no wonder. I severely feel the difference, but as we are retiring to the anchorage near Copenhagen, I hope a very short time will place me in London. Yesterday Sir Hyde Parker wrote me word that the Russian Minister at Copenhagen had sent him a letter, saying the Emperor had ordered his fleet to abstain from all hostilities, therefore Sir Hyde Parker was determined to return to the anchorage near Copenhagen. I am truly anxiously looking out for my leave of absence, or that the whole fleet may be ordered home; stay I will not, if the Admiral would make me Lord High Admiral of the Baltic. Don't you think I am perfectly right? If you were to think the contrary it would break my heart, for I have the very highest opinion of your judgment.
"Read the inclosed, and send it if you approve. Who