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.dered on the 24th. Before that time the bad weather had set in. Sailors, soldiers, and Indians, sunk alike under it; the latter from unwonted exertions, the Europeans from the deadly effects of a climate allotted, by the distribution of nature, to a race of different colour and complexion. All that 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 a hospital were surrounded with putrescent hides, and when orders were obtained from the commander in chief to build one, the sickness had become so general, that there were no hands to work at it. The rains continued with few intervals from April till October, when they abandoned their baneful conquest. Of 1800 who were sent to different posts upon this ill fated scheme, only 380 returned.
Nelson narrowly escaped. His ad
vice had been to carry the castle by assault; instead of which eleven days were spent in the formalities of a o He returned to Bluefield a day before its surrender, exhausted with fatigue, and suffering under a dysentery. There he received an appointment to the Janus, of 44 guns, vacant by the death of captain Glover, son to the author of Leonidas. This providential promotion removed him from the fatal station just in time, and he reached Jamaica in such a state of sickness, that he was carried ashore in his cot. The careful attendance of a good
his reply; “for I am resolved to do it.” His friend, however, was equally resolute that he should not; and after some dispute, Nelson with no very good grace, suffered himself to be led back to his boat. Shortly after this, he became acquainted with prince William Henry, the present duke of Clarence, then serving as midshipman in the Barfleur under lord Hood. “I had the watch on deck,” says his royal highness, “when captain Nelson came in his barge along side; who appeared to be the merest boy of a captain I ever beheld: and his dress was worthy of attention. He had on a full laced uniform; his lank unpowdered hair was tied in a stiff Hessian tail of an extraordinary length. The old fashioned flaps of his waistcoat added to the general quaintness of his figure, and produced an appearance which particularly attracted my notice; for I had never seen any thing like it before, nor could I imagine who he was, nor what he came about. There was a something irresistibly pleasing in his address and conversation, and an enthusiasm when speaking on professional subjects which showed that he was no common being.” Lord Hood, who had been intimately acquainted with captain Suckling, took the Albemarle with him to the West Indies, and treated Nelson with the most gratifying kindness. “He treats me,” says Nelson, “as if I were his son: nor is my situation with prince William less flattering. Lord Hood was so kind as to tell him (indeed I cannot make use of expressions strong enough to describe what I felt) that if he wished to ask questions relative to naval tacticks, I could give him as much information as any officer in the fleet. He will be, I am certain, an ornament to our service. He is a seaman, which you could hardly suppose. Every other qualification you may expect from him; but he will be a disciplinarian and a strong one.” It is a proof of good judgment and good feeling in the prince, that he should, at first sight, have perceived the worth of Nelson, and have honoured him with every mark of friendship, from that time till, it may without disrespect be said, the friendship of Nelson became an honour to him.
Peace was now concluded, and the Albemarle returned to England, and was paid off. Nelson took this opportunity to pass a few months in France. He was then appointed to the Boreas, 28 guns, going to the Leeward Islands as a cruiser on the peace establishment. While the vessel was at anchor in Nevis Road, a French frigate past to leeward close along shore. Nelson had received information that this frigate was sent from Martinico for the purpose of making a survey of our West India islands. This he was determined to prevent. Accordingly he followed her to St. Eustatia, and being invited by the Dutch governour to meet the French officers at dinner, he took that opportunity of assuring the captain, that, understanding it was his intention to honour the British possessions with a visit, he had taken the earliest opportunity in his power to accompany them in his majesty’s ship the Boreas, in order that such attention might be paid to
the officer of his most christian majesty, as every Englishman in the islands would be proud to show ! The French, with equal courtesy, protested against giving him this trouble; but Nelson, with the utmost politeness, insisted upon paying them the compliment, followed them close, in spite of all their attempts to elude his vigilance, and never lost sight of them, till finding it impossible either to deceive or escape him, they gave up their intention in despair, and beat up for Martinico. The Americans at this time, taking advantage of the registers of the vessels issued while they were British subjects, carried on a great trade with our West India islands. Nelson, knowing that this was in direct violation of the navigation act, determined to put an end to it. “If once,” said he, “the Americans are admitted to any kind of intercourse with these islands, the views of the loyalists, in settling Nova Scotia, are entirely done away; and when we are again embroiled in a French war, the Americans will first become the carriers of these colonies, and then have possession of them. The commander in chief was disposed to gratify the planters by winking at this illicit trade. The governour of the Leeward Islands, sir Thomas Shirley, when Nelson addressed him upon the subject, told him that old generals were not in the habit of taking advice from young gentlemen. Nelson replied: “sir, I am as old as the prime minister of England, and think myself as capable of commanding one of his majesty’s ships, as that minister is of governing the state.” Resolved to do his duty, he ordered all American vessels to quit the islands in eight and forty hours; declaring, that if they refused, or presumed to land their cargoes, he would seize them. The Americans resisted these orders. The planters were, to a man, against him. The governours and presidents of the islands gave him no support; and the admiral, afraid to act on either side, but wishing to oblige the planters, advised him to be guided by the wishes of the presidents of the council. This there was no danger in disobeying; but after a while he issued an order requiring the officers under his command not to hinder the Americans from having free ingress and egress if the governour chose to allow them. General Shirley and others sent him letters little different from orders in their style. “ These persons,” says he, “I soon trimmed up and silenced. Sir Richard Hughes's was a more delicate business. I must either disobey my orders or disobey acts of parliament. I determined upon the former, trusting to the uprightness of my intentions, and believing that my country would not allow me to be ruined by protecting her commerce.” Accordingly he wrote to the admiral, and, in respectful language, told him he should decline obeying his orders till he had an opportunity of seeing and talking to him. Sir Richard’s first feeling was that of anger, and he was about to supersede Nelson; but having mentioned the business to his captain, the latter told him, he believed all the squadron thought he had issued illegal orders, and, therefore, did not know how far they were bound to obey him.— Luckily, though the admiral wanted vigour of mind to decide upon what was right, he was not obstinate in wrong; and he afterwards thanked Nelson for having shown him his errour. At Nevis, the Boreas found four American vessels deeply laden, with the island colours flying. They were ordered to hoist their proper flag, and leave it in eight and forty hours. At first, they denied their country, and refused to obey; but, upon being examined before the judge of the admiralty, they confessed that they were Americans, and that their ves
sels and cargoes where wholly American property. Upon this Nelson seized them. The governour, the custom house, and the planters were all against him.The admiral, though his flag was then in the roads, stood neutral; and subscriptions were raised to carry on the causes against him. This was not all: the marines whom he had sent on board the vessels, hindered some of the masters from going on shore. Instigated by an attorney, they declared that they had been put in bodily fear while the depositions were taking; for that a man with a drawn sword stood over them the whole time. This was the sentry at the cabin door; but the exaggeration served their purpose. Suits were taken out against Nelson, and damages laid to the enormous amount of 40,000l. At the trial he was protected by the judge for the day. The marshal was called upon to arrest him, and the merchants promised to indemnify him for so doing. The judge, however, did his duty, and threatened to send him to prison if he attempted to violate the protection of the court. The president of Nevis, Mr. Herbert, behaved with singular generosity on this occasion. Though no man had suffered more by the measures which Nelson thought it his duty to pursue, he offered to become his bail for 10,000l. if he chose to suffer the arrest. His lawyer proved an able as well as an honest man; and, notwithstanding the opinions and pleadings of the counsel of the different islands, that ships of war were not authorized to seize American traders without a deputation from the customs, the law was so plain, the case so clear, and Nelson maintained his cause so well, that the four ships with their cargoes were condemned. During this affair he sent a memorial to the king in consequence of which, orders were forwarded to defend him at the expense of the crown; and upon the representation which he made at the
same time to the secretary of state, the register act was framed. The treasury, upon this occasion, transmitted thanks to sir Richard Hughes, and the officers under him, for their activity and zeal in protecting the commerce of Great Britain : “I feel much hurt,” said Nelson, “ that after the loss of health, and risk of fortune, another should be thanked for what I did, and against his orders. I either deserved to be sent out of the service, or at least to have had some little notice taken of what I had done. They have thought it worthy of notice, and yet have neglected me.” At Nevis, Nelson became acquainted with Mrs. Nisbet, a widow in her eighteenth year. His correspondence with this lady from the time it commenced, till after many years of a happy marriage, it was so strangely broken off, has been kindly though reluctantly intrusted to Messrs. Clarke and M*Arthur. They were married March 11, 1787; prince William Henry, at his own desire, giving away the bride. Some part of his stay in the West Indies was employed in dete Sting publick frauds, and in endeavouring to obtain publick justice. But the peculators were too powerful; and they succeded, not only in impeding inquiry, but in raising prejudices against Nelson at the board of admiralty, which prevailed for many years. He returned to England a few months af. ter his marriage. By a cruel neglect, the Boreas was kept from the end of June till the end of November at the Nore, as a slop and receiving ship. This unworthy treatment, occasioned probably by the influence of the peculators, excited in Nelson the strongest indignation. During the whole four months he seldom or never quitted the ship, but was observed to carry on the duty with strict and sulien attention. When orders were received to preparc the Boreas for being paid off, he expressed his joy to the senior officer
in the Medway: “It will release me for ever from an ungrateful service, as it is my firm and unaiterable 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 his present state of feeling, used his secret interference with the first lord of the admiralty to save Nelson from taking a step so injurious to himself; little foresecing how deeply the welfare and honour of England depended upon his decision. This friendly representation produced a letter from lord Howe, intimating a wish to see him on his arrival in town. Pleased with his conversation, and perfectly convinced by what was then explained to him of the propriety of his conduct, he desired to present him to the king on the first levee day, and the gracious manner in which Nelson was received, effectually removed his resentment. The affair of the American captains was not yet over. Nelson had retired to his father's parsonage, where he amused himself with rural. occupations and rurul sports. It was his great ambition at this time to possess a pony. While he was gone to purchase one at a neighbouring fair, two men entered the parsonage and inquired for him. They then asked for Mrs. Nelson, and presented her with a notification on the part of the American captains, who now laid their damages at 20,000l. On Nelson's return, in high glee, with his pony, the paper was presented to him. His indignation and astonishment may well be imagined. “This affront,” he exclaimed, “I did not deserve, but I will be trifled with no longer. I will write immediately to the treasury, and if government will not support me I am resolved to leave the country.” Accordingly he informed the treasury that if a satisfactory answer were not sent by return of post, he should take refuge in France. Mr. Rose’s answer was that captain Nelson was a very good officer, and need be under no apprehension; for he would assuredly be supported. Notwithstanding the expenses of a ship in time of peace, he was anxious to be employed, and repeatedly applied to the admiralty, requesting that he might not be left to rust in indolence. “I must still,” he says in one of his letters, “buffet the waves in search of what? Alas! that thing called honour is now thought of no more. My integrity cannot, I hope, be amended; but my fortune, God knows, has grown worse for the service—so much for serving my country I have invariably laid down and followed close a plan of what ought to be uppermost in the breast of an officer, that it is much better to serve an ungrateful country than to i. up his own fame Posterity will o him justice.” During the Nootka armament he applied for employment, and his disappointment in not succeeding induced him again to resolve upon retiring from the service; a resolution from which he was dissuaded by the urgent remonstrances of lord Hood. Hearing that the Raisonable, in which he had commenced his career, was to be commissioned, he wrote to lord Chatham to ask for her. His application was again ineffectual, and a coolness ensued on his part towards
lord Hood because the latter de
do I see any chance of a rupture between this country and France.” Just at this time, Nelson had again written to the admiralty, and after earnestly requesting a ship, added, or if their lordships should be pleased to appoint me to a cockle boat I shall feel grateful.” The answer which he received was in the ordinary office terms: “Sir, I have received your letter of the 5th instant, expressing your readiness to serve, and I have read the same to my lords commissioners of the admiralty.” Nevertheless, by the influence of the duke and lord Hood, he was appointed January 30th, 1793, to the Agamemnon of 64 guns. The temper with which Nelson engaged in this war is manifested in the instructions he gave to one of his midshipmen. “There are three things, young gentleman, which you are constantly to bearin mind: first, you must always implicitly obey orders, without attempting to form any opinion of your own respecting their propriety: secondly, you must consider every man as your enemy who speaks ill of your king; and thirdly you must hate a Frenchman as you do the devil.” Joshua Nisbet, his son-in-law, went out with him as a midshipman. The Agamemnon was ordered to the Mediterranean under lord Hood, and there Nelson commenced a career first of unexampled exertion, and finally of unequalled glory. His first exertions were rather of a military than naval character. The distinguished part which he bore in the sieges of Bastia and Calvi is now first detailed in Messrs. Clarke and M*Arthur's work, from his journal, his official correspondence, and his letters to Mrs. Nelson. After St. Fiorenzo had surrendered, lord Hood submitted to general Dundas, a plan for the reduction of Bastia. The general declined cooperating D’Aubert, who succeeded to the command of the army, coincided in opinion with his predecessor, and