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did not think it right to furnish his lordship with a single soldier. He obtained only a few artillery men and ordering on board that part of the troops who having embarked as marines, were born on the ships’ books as part of their respective complements, began the siege with 1183 soldiers, artillery men and marines, and 250 sailors. “We are but few” says Nelson, “but of the right sort, our general, at St. Fiorenzo, not giving us one of the five regiments he has there lying idle.” They were landed April 4th, under lieutenant colonel Villettes, and Nelson, who had obtained from the army the title of brigadier. The sailors dragged the guns up the heights, a work of the greatest difficulty, and which he said, would never have been accomplished by any but British seamen. The soldiers behaved with the same spirit: “Their zeal,” said he “is, I believe almost unexampled. There is not a man but considers himself as person, ally interested in the event, and deserted by the general; it has, I am persuaded, made them equal to double their numbers.” This is one of many proofs, that to make our soldiers equal to our seamen, it is only necessary that they should be equally well commanded. They have the same heart and soul, as well as the same flesh and blood. Too much may, indeed, be exacted from them in a retreat; but with their face towards a foc, there is nothing within the reach of human achievement which they cannot perform. The siege continued nearly seven weeks. On the 19th of May, a treaty of capitulation was begun. That same evening the troops made their first appearance on the hills, and on the following morning general D’Aubert arrived with the whole army to take Bastia | The event of the siege had justified the opinon of the sailors, but they themselves excused the judgment of the generals when they saw their conqucst. “I
am all astonishment,” says Nelson, “when I reflect on what we have a: chieved; 1000 regulars, 1500 national guards, and a large body of Corsican troops laying down their arms to 1000 soldiers and marines, and 200 seamen.” “I always was of opinion, have ever acted up to it, and never have had any reason to repent it, that one Englishman was equal to three Frenchmen. Had this been an English town, I am sure it would not have been taken.” The enemy were supposed to be far inferiour in number when it was resolved to attack the place, and it was not till the whole had been arranged and publickly determined on, that Nelson received certain information of their great superiority. This intelligence he kept secret, fearing that the attempt would be abandoned if so fair a pretext were afforded. “My own honour,” said he to Mrs. Nelson, “ lord Hood's honour, and the honour of our country, must all have been sacrificed had I mentioned what I knew. Therefore you will believe what must have been my feelings during the whole siege, when I had often proposals made to me to write to lord Hood to raise it.” Those very persons who had given him this advice, were rewarded for their conduct. Nelson received no reward. The siege of Calvi was carried on by general Stuart, an officer who, unfortunately for his country, never had an adequate field allotted him for the eminent talents with which he was gifted. Nelson had less responsibility here than at Bastia, but the scrvice was not less hard. “We will fag ourselves to death,” said he to lord Hood, “before any blame shall be at our doors. I trust it will not be forgotten, that twenty five pieces of heavy ordnance have been dragged to the different batteries, and mounted; and all but three fought by seamen o’ More than four months he was thus employed on shore, till he felt almost qualified to pass his examination as a besieging general. The climate proved more destructive than the war, Nelson described himself as the reed among the oaks, bowing before the storm when they were laid low. “All the prevailing disorders have attacked me, but I have not strength for them to fasten upon. One plan I pursue, never to employ a doctor. Nature does all for me, and Providence protects me.” His services before Calvi were, by an unpardonable omission, altogether overlooked: his name did not even appear in the list of wounded, though he had lost an eye. “One hundred and ten days” said he, “I have been actually engaged at sea and on shore against the enemy. Three actions against ships, two against Bastia in my own ship, four boat actions, and two villages taken, and twelve sail of vessels burnt. I do not know that any one has done more. I have had the comfort to be always applauded by my commanders in chief, but never to be rewarded; and what is more mortifying, for service in which I have been wounded, others have been praised, who at the time were actually in bed, far from the scene of action. They have not done me justice; but never mind—I’ll have a gazette of my own.” How amply was this second sight of glory realized l; The same prophetick feeling breaks out in a letter written after admiral Hotham’s action in the Mediterranean. In this action Nelson had born a splendid part. During the first day, when there was no ship of the line within several miles to support him, he engaged the Ca Ira of 84 guns, which having carried away her main and fore-top masts, was taken in tow by a frigate. This ship he engaged for two hours and a half, during which time 110 of her men were killed and wounded; and on the following day, came up with her again in tow of the Cen
seur 74. A partial action ensued,
till the French judged it more prudent to abandon these ships, than risk the loss of more. It was not long before a colonelcy of marines was given him; a thing which he had hoped for rather than expected. It came in good time, when his spirits were considerably oppressed by the feeling that his services were not acknowledged as they deserved. The Agamemnon now entered upon a new line of service, being appointed with a small squadron of frigates to cooperate with general Devins. He began in high spirits, but the want of activity and decision in the Austrian generals, soon gave him melancholy forbodings of what was to follow. His own exertions were unremitted, but he was crippled for want of means. Weak as his force was, it was almost reduced to nothing by sir Hyde Parker, after admiral Hotham had struck his flag. He left him only one frigate and a brig, whereas he had demanded two seventy-fours and eight or ten frigates or sloops, to ensure safety to the army. That army received a defeat from which it never recovered. The generals, of course, imputed it to the want of naval cooperation, asserting, that if their left wing had not been exposed to the fire of the French gun boats, it would not have happened. The left wing, was, however, the only part of the army that was not routed, but retreated in a body; and in good order. “I pretend not to say,” says Nelson, “that the Austrians would not have been beat had not the gun boats harassed them, for in my conscience I believe they would; but I believe the French could not have attacked, had we destroyed all their vessels of war.” Vado, and every other place in the Riviera of Genoa, fell into the enemy's hands; and Buonaparte, who now arrived to take the command of the French army, began his destructive Cal’eer. To follow Nelson through his subsequent services in the Mediterranean, till the fate of Italy was decided, would far exceed the utmost limits of a journal like this. In the whole of his conduct he displayed the same zeal, the same indefatigable energy, the same intuitive judgment, the same decision, which always characterized him. While his name was hardly known to the English publick, it was feared and respected throughout Italy. A letter came to him directed: “Horatio Nelson, Genoa.” When the writer was asked how he could direct it so vaguely, he replied: “There is but one Horatio Nelson in the world.” In the letter wherein he mentions this to his wife, he says: “Had all my actions been gazetted, not one fortnight would have passed during the whole war, without a letter, from me. One day or other I will have a long gazette to myself; I feel that such an opportunity will be given me. I cannot, if I am in the field of glory, be kept out of sight. Wherever there is any thing to be done, there Providence is sure to direct my steps.” These hopes and anticipations were soon to be fulfilled. His mind had long been irritated and depressed by the fear that a general action would take place before he joined the fleet. At length he sailed from the Mediterranean with a convoy for Gibraltar, whence he proceeded to the westward in search of the admiral. Off the mouth of the straits, he fell in with the Spanish fleet, and on the 13th February, communicated the intelligence to sir John Jervis. Nelson, now commodore, was directed to shift his broad pendant on board the Captain, and before sunset the signal was made to prepare for action. At day break the enemy were in sight. The British force consisted of two ships of 100 guns, two of 98, two of 90, cight of 74, and one of 64; with four frigates, a sloop, and a cutter. The Spaniards had one four decker of 136, six three deckers of l 12, two of 84, and cighteen of 74, with ten frigates and a
brig. Their admiral, D. Joseph de.
Cordova, had learnt from an American, that the English had only nine ships, which was indeed the case when he had fallen in with them. Upon this information, instead of going to Cadiz as had been his intention, he determined to seek an engagement with an enemy so inferiour in numbers; and relying, with fatal confidence, upon the accuracy of the American, suffered his ships to remain too far dispersed, when the morning of the 14th broke, and he came in sight. A fog for some time concealed their numbers. The look out ship fancying that her first signal was disregarded, made another, that the English force consisted of forty sail of the line. This, as
the captain afterwards said, “he did
to rouse the admiral.” It had the effect of perplexing him, and alarming the whole fleet. The absurdity of this conduct shows what was the state of the Spanish navy; in fact, the general incapacity of its officers was so well known, that in a Pasquinade, which about this time appeared at Madrid, wherein the different orders of the state were advertised for sale, the greater part of the naval officers with all their equipments were offered as a gift; and it was added, that any person who would be pleased to take them, should receive a handsome gratuity.
Before the enemy could form a regular order of battle, sir John Jervis, by carrying a press of sail, came up with them, passed through their fleet, then tacked, and thus cut off nine of their ships from the main body. These ships attempted to form on their larboard tack, either with a design of passing through the British line, or to leeward of it, and thus rejoining their friends. Only one of them succeeded. The others were so warmly received that they took to flight, and did not appear again in the action till the close. The admiral was now able to direct his attention to the enemy's main
body, still superiour in number to his whole fleet. He made signal to tack in succession. Nelson, whose station was in the rear of the British line, perceived that the Spanish fleet was bearing up before the wind with an intention of forming their line, joining their separated ships, or flying. To prevent either of these schemes from taking effect, he, without a moment's hesitation, disobeyed the signal, and ordered his ship to be wore. This at once brought him into action with the Santissima Trinidad, 136, the San Joseph, 1 12, Salvador del Mundo, 112, San Nicholas, 80, S. Isidro, 74, another 74, and another first rate. Troubridge, in the Culloden, nobly supported him. The Blenheim then came to their assistance. The Salvador del Mundo and S. Isidro dropped astern, and were fired into by the Excellent, capt. Collingwood, who made the latterstrike; “but Collingwood,” says Nelson, “disdaining the parade of taking possession of beaten enemies, most gallantly pushed up with every sail to save his old friend and mess mate, who was to appearance in a critical situation.” The Captain was at this time actually fired upon by three first rates, the S. Nicholas, and a 74 within pistol shot of her. The Blenheim was ahead, the Culloden crippled and astern. Collingwood ranged up, passed within ten feet of the S. Nicholas, giving her a most awful and tremendous fire; then pushed on for the Santissima Trinidad. At this time, the Captain having lost her foretop mast, not a sail, shroud, or rope left, her wheel shot away, and incapable of farther service in the line or in chace, he directed captain Miller to put the helm a starboard, and called for the boarders. The first man who leaped into the enemy’s mizen chains was captain Berry. He was supported from the spritsail yard, which locked in the S. Nicholas’s mizen rigging. A soldier of the 69th broke the upper quarter gallery window, and jumped Vol. iv. M
in, followed by the commodore himself and others as fast as possible. The cabin doors were fastened, and the Spanish officers fired their pistols at them through the window. The doors were soon burst. Nelson pushed on, and found Berry in possession of the poop, and the Spanish ensign down. The English were at this time in full possession of every part of the ship; and a fire of musketry opened upon them from the stern gallery of the S. Joseph. Nelson having placed sentinels at the different ladders, and ordered captain Miller to send more men into his prize, gave orders for boarding the S. Joseph. It was done in an instant, he himself leading the way, and exclaiming, “Westminster-abbey or victory !” It was not long before he was on the quarter deck, where the Spanish captain presented to him his sword, and told him the admiral was dying of his wounds below. One of his sailors came up, and with an Englishman’s feeling took him by the hand, saying he might not soon have such another place to do it in, and that he was heartily glad to see him there. Nelson received only a few bruises. The Spaniards had still eighteen or nineteen ships which had suffered little or no injury. That part of the fleet which had been separated from the main body in the morning were now coming up, and sir John Jervis made signal to bring to. The Captain was lying a perfect wreck on board her two prizes, and many of the other vessels were wholly unmanageable. The Spanish admiral meantime, according to his official account, inquired of his captains whether it was proper to renew the action. Nine of them answered explicitly that it was not—others replied that it was expedient to delay the business, que convenia retardar lu funcion—two only were for fighting. . As soon as the action was discontinued, Nelson went on board the admiral's ship, who received him on
the quarter deck, took him in his arms, and said he could not sufficiently thank him. In the official letter of sir John Jervis, no individual was named. The admiral had seen an instance of the ill consequence of selections in the example of lord Howe, and therefore thought it advisable to speak to the publick in terms of general approbation. His private letter to the first lord of the admiralty was for the first time made publick with his consent in Mr. Harrison’s work. Here it is said, that “ commodore Nelson, who was in the rear on the starboard tack, took the lead on the larboard, and contributed very much to the fortune of the day.” It is stated also that he boarded the two Spanish ships successively; but the fact that Nelson wore without orders, and thus planned as well as accomplished the victory, is not mentioned. Perhaps it was thought proper to pass over this part of his conduct in silence, as a splendid fault; but the example is not dangerous. Before the action was known in England, Nelson had been advanced to the rank of rear admiral. The order of the Bath was now conferred upon him. Among the numerous congratulations which he received, none can have affected him with deeper delight than a letter from his venerable father. “I thank God,” says this excellent man, “with all the fervour of a grateful soul, for the mercies he has most graciously bestowed on me in preserving you amid the imminent perils which so lately threatened your life at every moment. The height of glory to which your professional judgment, united with a proper degree of bravery guarded by Providence, has raised you, few sons, my dear child, attain to, and few fathers live to see. Tears of joy have involuntarily trickled down my furrowed cheek. Who could stand the force of such gencrai congratulation : The name and services of Nelson have sou;,&ct!
throughout the city of Bath, from the common ballad-singer to the publick theatre.” Sir Horatio, having shifted his flag to the Theseus, was now employed in the command of the inner squadron at the blockade of Cadiz. During this service occurred the most perilous action in which he was ever engaged. In a skirmish with the Spanish gun boats and launches, he was attacked by an armed launch containing 26 men, under Don Miguel Tregoyia, commander of the gun boats. Nelson had with him only his ten barge-men, captain Freemantle and his coxswain, John Sykes, an old and faithful follower, who twice saved the life of his admiral by parrying the blows that were aimed at him, and at last actually interposed his own head to receive the stroke of a sabre which he could not by any other means avert. The whole of the Spaniards were killed or wounded, and Nelson brought off the launch. He was less fortunate in an attempt upon Teneriffe. Earl St. Vincent having received intelligence that a homeward bound Manilla ship had reached Santa Cruz, and that its treasure was landed there for security, determined upon an expedition against that island. Nelson was despatched on this service, and allowed to select for it such ships and officers as he thought proper. Four ships of the line, three frigates, and the Fox cutter, formed the squadron. His orders were to make a vigorous attack, but on no account to land in person with the forces, unless his presence should be absolutely necessary. The plan which he formed was, that the boats should land in the night between the fort on the N. E. side of Santa Cruz bay and the town, make themselves masters of it, and then send a summons to the governour. By midnight the frigates approached within three miles of the place; but owing to a stiff gale of Wii.d is time offing, and a strong