Page images

and children, to the amount of one hundred, I am told, came on board at two o'clock, but I got rid of them before three. He is a respectable venerable man, made ten thousand apologies for the liberty he had taken in bringing so many persons, for he knew that I had forbid it; to which I could only reply that he commanded; and having given him two salutes of the whole fleet of twenty-one guns each, he went off quite happy. He admired your picture most exceedingly, but who does not? At daylight I sail for Kioge to wait the arrival of the new Admiral.

"Ever yours,

"nelson And Bronte."

On the 4th Lord Nelson arrived in Kioge Bay, and wrote to Captain Ball, the Commander of the Navy at Gibraltar, pitying the poor Maltese for losing one whose counsel they anxiously sought, and readily attended to. The apparent disorder of Nelson's heart gave rise to a fear of consumption. He says: "As I know you have always been kind to me, I know you will be sorry to hear that I have been even at death's door, apparently in a consumption. I am now rallied a little, but the disorder is in itself so flattering, that I know not whether I am really better, and no one will tell me, but all in the fleet are so truly kind to me, that I should be a wretch not to cheer up. Foley has put me under a regimen of milk, at four in the morning; Murray has given me lozenges, and all have proved their desire to keep my mind easy, for I hear of no complaints, or other wishes than to have me with them.''1

On the 5th and 8th he wrote to Lady Hamilton :—

"St. George, Kioge Bay, June 5th, 1801. "My dearest Friend, "Little potatoe Harris has this moment given me your letter. I can only assure you that he brought the best recommendation in Europe, for if he had brought letters from all the Kings and Queens, &c. &c. in Europe, they would have all sunk as they ought before the orders of my guardian angel. When I consider how my saint Emma has protected me, I am always full of gratitude. However, my devotion ended, as the boy cannot live upon prayers, I have asked him to dinner, and Hardy has put him in a mess, and you may rely on my care of him whilst I remain, which I trust will not be many days. Hardy says our youngsters amount to thirty-five, and none of them can now be shot at in the Baltic, if Lord St. Helens manages well. Apropos, you know him, did you dine with him? He seems a very mild, good man, but all our diplomatic men are so slow. His Lordship told me that he hoped in a month he should be able to tell me something decisive. Now, what can take two hours I cannot even guess, but Ministers must do something for their diamond boxes. I gained the unconditional release of our ships, which neither Ministers nor Sir Hyde Parker [could accomplish], by showing my fleet. Then they became alarmed, begged I would go away, or it would be considered as warlike. On my complying, it pleased the Emperor and his Ministers so much, that the whole of the British shipping were given up in the following words: 'Je ne saurais donner a votre Excellence un temoignage plus eclatant de la confiance que l'Empereur mon maitre lui accorda qu'en lui annoncant 1'effet qu'a produit sa lettre de 16 de ce mois. Sa Majeste Imperiale a ordonne sur le champ la lever de l'Embargo mis sur les Navires Anglais.' I must stop, for old Mr. Sheppard, Purser of the Vanguard, is just come on board to dine with me. I never forget our old friends, and Mr. S. is really a good old man, but who is obliged to go to sea from the extravagance of his children. Old Sheppard has made his bow to your picture: so I made Harris, and every one I make do the same, that has the pleasure of knowing Santa Emma. I am anxious in the extreme at not getting letters from England, nor any notice of the speedy arrival of an Admiral.

* Letter Book. Dispatches and Letters, Vol. iv. p. 401.

"Ever yours,

"Nelson And Bronte.

"Best regards to Sir William, the Duke, Lord William, Mr. Bcckford and all friends. Hardy and Parker desire their regards."

"St. George, Jane 8th, 1801. "My dearest Friend, "I may now tell you that I have been since April 15th rapidly in a decline, but am now, thank God, I firmly believe, past all danger. On the 15 th of April I rowed five hours in a bitter cold night, in a boat, as I fancied Sir Hyde Parker was going after the Swedish fleet. A cold struck me to the heart. On the 27th I had one of my terrible spasms or heart-stroke, which had near carried me off, and the severe disappointment of being kept in a situation where there can be nothing to do before August, almost killed me. From that time to the end of May I brought up what every one thought was my lungs, and I was emaciated more than you can conceive; but Parker came, and brought me all your truly affectionate letters, in particular that of May 5th; it roused me, made me reflect that I had still one dear friend who would not desert me although all the world might. It gave a turn to my disorder. I have been mending ever since, firmly relying on your goodness, and am perhaps as well this day as ever I was in my life. I am in momentary expectation of the arrival of an Admiral, for I must not remain here. Probably I have lost my cause against Earl St. Vincent by it; indeed, after the letters I have wrote, unless the Admiralty have a desire to see me dead, they cannot allow me to remain; but God Almighty has protected me, in spite of all the little great men. It is this day thirtyfour days since I have had a scrap of a pen from England, so little do the Admiralty think of us. Merchant ships from London bring papers of the 23rd of May, but the Admiralty not a fine. Don't you recollect how I got scolded because I sent letters to them only three ways, and a fourth offered— it happened at Palermo,1 when I was slaving—and for which the present First Lord of the Admiralty is trying to rob me of my honourable right; but if I am poor by such unjust means, what I have will wear well, for it is honestly got at the expense of my blood; therefore, never mind them, my happiness, thank God, does not rest either on their smiles or frowns. I keep a fast-sailing brig ready to carry me off the

1 See Vol. i. page 298. anle.

moment my successor arrives. May the heavens bless and preserve you, my only true friend. I rejoice that Mrs. W. Nelson is still with you. I am sure of your goodness to poor blind Mrs. Nelson; whatever you promise her I will most punctually perform. Best regards to all friends. "Ever yours,

"nelson And Bronte."

Colonel Stewart had been dispatched to Copenhagen, and wrote to Lord Nelson as follows:—

"Copenhagen, June 8th. "My dear Lord,

"I came here yesterday by water from Kioge through the Amack Channel, which is of an infinitely more intricate description than I had formed to myself an idea of. The greater part of the Strait, which begins across from Draco to the main, is so very shallow, as to admit of no vessels of any burden or draft of water above six feet in general, and the shallowest reef begins and seems to go right across at least four miles from this town. Yesterday being Sunday, no Ministers were in town, nor have I yet been able to find either Mr. Lizakowitz or Mr. Walterstorff at home, being not returned from the country. I had, however, occasion to have much explanation with the Governor, the Prince of Wurtemberg, relative to a very cavalier manner in which they sent on board the schooner again one or two of the sailors who had only landed with the St. George's officers' clothes, and to the circumstance of every officer being obliged to be attended by a Danish Serjeant, if walking the streets. The Prince put everything on the best intentioned footing which I believe he could, but I could not bring matters to much understanding about the unpleasant mode in which our officers were followed by what they call 'military attention,' until Lindholm went to the Prince about it this morning, who has, I find, given directions that every such symptom of jealousy should cease in future.

"I have had fifty reports and informations about the hostility of the Danes towards us, the preparations for future offence, as well as defence, their breach of the armistice by repair and refit of their ships, &c. and have reason to think, from what could be gathered from a good deal of conversation with Lindholm this morning, that the sum total is, the whole nation is enraged at the loss of their colonies, and are certainly carrying on every preparation in their power, as far as relates to land operations, which Lindholm will, I think, explain to your Lordship as a measure of general preparation against the worst which may come on all sides. As he intends to be on board the St. George to-morrow, I need scarcely trouble you, my Lord, with the substance of our conversation this day, and will only observe, that he seems to feel equally confident of a peace as we do, but cannot help expressing the ill-humoured grace with which it will now be received, since the loss (which they pretend to call unexpected) of their colonies. To that event, rather than to new instructions supposed to have been conveyed from Petersburgh in the Russian brig, is, I believe, to be attributed the hostile feature which every thing has borne within these last ten days. I taxed Mr. L. pretty roundly with the circumstance of the refit of their ships, which you will find he will positively deny: I think, however, I shall ascertain before I leave this. As to appearances, they are the same to my eye as when here before; but I have scarcely had a view. I have been contending hard with the old lady of the hotel here to let me send by this conveyance the last three English papers, but she will not let them leave the club room. I however perceive no news in them, and no confirmation of the Guadaloupe surrender. Mr. Lindholm has informed me that by the Hamburgh mail, which is just arrived, the French are retaking possession of Ehrenbreitstein, and marching 50,000 men into Germany—that the King of Prussia is receding from Hanover—that 10,000 French have been shipped from Ancona into Turkey—and that we are in possession of Rosetta, the Grand Vizir's advance being within three days march of that place.

"Mr. Balfour promises to send this safe off, and also his newspapers the moment he receives them. I shall proceed to join you, my dear Lord, to-morrow night, if the Blanchisseuse be expeditious, if not at least on Wednesday morning, and shall do so with even more pleasure than I always must feel

« PreviousContinue »