« PreviousContinue »
COUNT BERNSTORFF TO LORD NELSON.
(Received May 18th, at sea.) "My Lord,
"I received the day before yesterday the two letters with which your Excellency has honoured me, and learn with much pleasure that his Britannic Majesty has approved of the Armistice concluded here the 9th of last month. My Court will carefully fulfil its stipulations. It is true the inhabitants of Holstein were at first uneasy, their province not being comprised in it. But it appears to me, that the basis of the arrangement for the re-establishment of a good understanding between the two powers is so solidly laid, that the effect of it will speedily be felt in all parts of the dominions of the King, my master. My Court has not delayed to make known its disposition and wishes in that respect to the Court of London, and anticipates a prompt and satisfactory result.
•* With respect to the alleged detention of different vessels laden with corn for England in the Norwegian ports, I am ignorant of the fact, unless it applies to some Swedish ships detained in Norway, in consequence of measures taken by their own Government to break off her communication with England; I shall, however, take care to procure some exact explanations on the subject; and I beg your Excellency to believe that my Government values too highly the facilities which Admiral Parker has given to the provisioning of Norway, to feel any wish on her part to present obstacles to the same object for England. If it should be necessary that further or more precise orders should be given to that effect, I pledge myself, my Lord, that those orders shall be given immediately.
"Accept, I beg, the assurance of the high consideration with which I have the honour to be, my Lord,
"Your Excellency's very humble,
"and very obedient servant,
"Copenhagen, May 8, 1801."
The first part of this letter refers to a communication made by Lord Nelson when conveying to Count Bemstorff the approval of the Armistice, expressing his hope that information would be given in Holstein to assure the inhabitants that the Armistice extended to that province, which it appears some had suspected not to be the case.
On the 11th, in a letter to Lady Hamilton, an evidence of his superstition creeps out:—
"May llth, 1801.
"My dearest Friend, "If I had stayed in Kioge Bay I should have been dead before this time, for what with ill health and the terrible disappointment of not going home, it would have overpowered me"; but I trust that long before this time you will know that somebody is coming out to supersede me. I have wrote so strongly that they cannot avoid it. I have as much right to have my health taken care of as any other person in the fleet, and if they would make me Lord High Admiral of the Baltic I would not stay; but my dear Friend, you know enough of my attention to my duty that whilst I do hold the command every thing which is active shall go on, but being stopped fighting. I am sure that any other man can as well look about him as Nelson. I am now far on my way to Russia, where I shall be able to form a pretty decisive opinion as to the views and plans of the new Emperor. I have, my dear Friend, taken it into my head that within these few days your picture has turned much paler than it used to be; it has made me quite uneasy, I hope to God you have not been unwell, or any thing happened which could make you look differently on me. If it has, I care not how soon I leave this world of folly and nonsense; but why should I think so—innocent myself, I feel I deserve, and shall have a just return. Without friendship this life is but misery, and it is so difficult to find a true friend, that the search is almost needless; but if ever you do it ought to be cherished as an exotic plant. You will not forget to remember me most kindly to Sir William and the Duke. Apropos, Mr. Comyn has not yet joined, I suppose he is with Sir Edward Berry. He has several letters for me from you."
"May 12th, Gnlph of Finland, offPakerot
"My dearest Friend, here I am very near the latitude of 60° degrees North, the air like a fine January day; but my heart as warm towards you as the sincerest friendship can make it, and as if I were upon the Equator. You deserve every mark of kindness from me, and by the living God, you shall always experience it whilst I draw breath, which, notwithstanding the unkindaess of some folks, I hope will be yet some years. I did not, my dear friend, come to the Baltic with a design of dying a NATURAL death. Who will thank me? those who care not one farthing for me. Our friend Troubridge has felt so little for my health that I have wrote him word I should never mention it again to him. By the 12th of June, or before, I hope to be in London, where I am fixed as to the plan of life I mean to pursue. It is to take a small neat house from six to ten miles from London, and there to remain till I can fix for ever or get to Bronte. I have never known happiness beyond moments, and I am fixed as fate to try if I cannot attain it after so many years of labour and anxiety. Forgive me tormenting you with my affairs, but I know you take a lively interest in all my affairs, and so do I every day pray for your complete felicity.
"May 13th. Here I am at Revel, as much to the surprise of the Russians as to most in the squadron. Expresses are gone to Petersburgh, and I have wrote to Count Pahlen the Prime Minister, and I dare say we shall be ordered a very friendly reception. I have ordered very fine beef and soft bread for our ships, but there is not a sign of vegetation. The Russian fleet sailed from hence on the 2nd to join the Cronstadt fleet at Caskna Gorku, where they are moored, forty-three sail of the line, but with twenty-five, if we were at war, I should not hesitate trying what stuff they were made of. In about a week I shall return from hence, and by the time I get down I hope a new Admiral will be arrived, when I shall proceed direct for England. To the Duke, Lord William, &c. say every thing. Troubridge has not been kind, but never mind. I have sent Galuchi, the child on board Foley, a present in your name. He is a fine boy but a pickle. Remember me most affectionately to all
r our friends, and to those I love most, say you what is proper. I will soon be in England."
Lieutenant-Colonel Stewart in his Narrative, states that Lord Nelson arrived in the Revel Roads on the 12th of May, and that he was disappointed in not finding the Russian fleet there, the breaking up of the ice having admitted of their departure for Cronstadt three days before. After some delay a salute was given and returned. Lord Nelson visited the Governor-General Sacken, on shore, and was received with military honours, and a welcome from the inhabitants. The Governor returned the Admiral's visit on the next day, accompanied by Count Pahlen's son, and many other officers, and Colonel Stewart observed that the Cossack officers gave infinitely more attention to what they saw than the Russians. These circumstances are confirmed by the details in the subjoined letter to Lady Hamilton :—
"St. George, May 15th, 1801. Revel Bay. "My dearest Friend,
"After seventeen days not out of my cabin, I was forced to row seven miles, to make the formal visit to the GovernorGeneral, and head of the Admiralty here. It cost me about three hours; they wanted me to dine on shore; but if I had been ever so well I would not. It is a horrid nasty place, and nothing less than the arrival of the Emperor shall get me ashore again. As usual, I received all the compliments to which I have been used, and which have spoiled me. The crowd was, of course, all the town. This morning the Governor and Admiral will be on board the St. George, and to-morrow morning I shall get answers to my letters from Petersburgh. I have wrote a line, my dear Friend, by the post; but as the post is a month going, and my letter will assuredly be read, it is only a date to say where I am. I have wrote to Lord St. Vincent to say, I expect to find another Admiral when I return, or probably he will never see me again. I cannot, I will not stay here, that you may rely upon. Why should I, when my health and happiness can I hope be perfect by going to England?
"May 16th. Yesterday I had all the world on board, not less than thirty officers and nobles of rank. Except to you, my own Friend, I should not mention it, 'tis so much like vanity; but hundreds come to look at Nelson, that is him, that is him, in short, 'tis the same as in Italy and Germany, and I now feel that a good name is better than riches, not amongst our great folks in England; but it has its fine feelings to an honest heart. All the Russians have taken it into their heads that I am like Suwaroff, Le jeune Suwaroff. This evening I expect the return of the courier from Petersburgh. I have increased my cough very much by going round the ship with the Russian officers and my trip on shore. I only hope the first land I next set my foot upon will be Old England, and the first house will assuredly be yours. As you will know when an Admiral is coming out to supersede me, or that permission is coming out for my return home, I hope to find you in London, for I have much to say to you.''
The following relates also to this period and situation:—
J. WOLLSTONECRAFT TO LORD NELSON.
"London, May 12th, 1801. "My Lord,
"As your illness, when Sir Hyde Parker sailed, prevented my having the honour of seeing you, and being now fearful of intruding on your Lordship's time, I take the liberty of informing you that I passed a winter at Revel some years ago, and also of sending you what local knowledge of that place I was thereby enabled to acquire.
"The breadth of the Bay and the situation of the mole will admit of bomb vessels being placed sufficiently near to bombard the ships in the mole, and yet be themselves out of the reach of point blanh shot from all the batteries, viz. those to the westward of the mole, those on the two small islands to the north north-west of it, and from any that may lately have been made (there were none some years ago) on the opposite side of the Bay and at the head of it.
"The mole is near a mile from the town, and is formed by a single wharf, which runs straight out towards the opposite side of the bay; this wharf is mounted with guns, and