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From the Monthly Review.
Nelsonian Reminiscences; Leaves from
THESE Reminiscences appeared originally
The book consists of narrative and anecdote of descriptions, sketches and yarns, all relating to nautical affairs, and naval experience. Many are the adventures, the scenes, and the pieces of portraiture to be met with in the Lieutenant's volume; and all that we are called on now to do, is to transfer samples to our pages,
in order to enliven them, and also to tempt to a fuller and more leisurely reading.
We first of all are introduced to the author in Naples Bay, the time 1799; and the first of his recorded reminiscences relates to a tragical event, the execution of prince Carraciolli, admiral of the Neapolitan fleet; the king of Naples and his court having taken up their quarters in the Foudroyant shortly after the old admiral had been hanged and consigned to the deep. Our extract speaks for itself.
Some days after the execution, when the name of Admiral Carraciolli had ceased to be remembered among the great and noble of the land, I was roused from my slumbers with an at his bad taste for early rising, I hurried up, account of the king being on deck. Wondering and found his majesty gazing with intense anxiety on some distant object. At once he turned pale, and letting his spyglass fall on deck, uttered an exclamation of horror. My eyes instinctively turned in the same direction, and under our larboard quarter, with his face full upon us, much swollen and discolored by the water, and his orbs of light started from their sockets by strangulation, floated the ill-fated prince. All the superstition of the Italian school was called into play by this extraordinary (and, in truth, it was a fearful) apparition. The old man's gray hair streamed in the light breeze that rippled the placid waters of this lovely bay; the king and court were alarmed, and looked very pale; the priesthood, who were numerous on board, were summoned; when one, more adroit than his brethren, told the king that the spirit of his unfortunate admiral could not rest without his forgiveness, which he had risen to im Nelson (who was suffering from ill health) being plore. This was freely accorded; and on Lord awakened from his uneasy slumbers by the agitation of the court, he ordered a boat to be sent from the ship to tow the corpse on shore.
Nelson's conduct at Naples presents passages that we have no mind to review ; and Lady Hamilton did not always, Lieu. tenant Parsons hints, "sympathize in the manner expected from her generous and noble nature." Still, he declares that she has been most grossly calumniated. "Her generosity and good nature were unbounded-her talents and spirit unequalled; and, to my knowledge, her heart was of softer materials than to rejoice in the sufferings of the enemies of the (Neapolitan) court, to whom both she and Lord Nelson were bound by the strongest ties of gratitude and affection." She served the country with unwearied zeal and activity, and in a greater degree than any female ever before had the power." This service, of course, consisted chiefly in the way which she took with her influence over the hero. "She was
"Youngster, to the mast-head. What! going without your glass? Let me know what she is immediately."
“A sloop of war, or frigate, my lord,” shouted the young signal-midshipman.
the cause of saving millions of British pro. perty from the grasp of the Spanish king, in 1797; she enabled Lord Nelson to fight the battle of Aboukir, and kept steady to our interest the fickle and dissolute court of Naples, from her influence over the daughter of Maria Theresa, then queen of that place." "Captain Peard; signal to cut off the flying "Memory's Log" contains an anecdote enemy-great odds, though-thirty-two small worth quoting, referrible to the period of guns to eighty large ones.
"Demand her number."
"The Success has hove to athwart-hawse of
"Bravo-Success, at her again."
Prince Carraciolli's execution, which, to-the Genereux, and is firing her larboard broadgether with some other acts, much to be la-side. The Frenchman has hoisted his tri-color, mented, our author attributes to a high sense with a rear-admiral's flag!" of gratitude for benefits conferred by the "She has wore round, my lord, and firing her Neapolitan court. "Lady Hamilton, with his lordship, (conspicuous from the star-like starboard broadside. It has winged her, my lord-her flying kites are flying away altogether. decorations that occasioned his death,) The enemy is close on the Success, who must were skirting the sea-board at Naples, when receive her tremendous broadside." The Gena shot from the castle of St. Elmo disar-ereux opens her fire on her little enemy, and ranged the glossy curls of the beautiful Em- every person stands aghast, afraid of the conse'On board!' said the hero and genius of quences. "The smoke clears away, and there victory. 'Not so, my dear lord,' said her lady-is the Success, crippled, it is true, but bull dog ship. Let it never be said that Nelson and like, bearing up after the enemy." Bronté were turned by a Frenchman's ball." Mr. Parsons says very little about Sir William Hamilton. In one place he mentions that he lived with his lady on board, and that "he was a spare, gentlemanly old "Beat to quarters, and fire coolly and delibman, kind to every person, and much be-erately at her masts and yards." loved." But anent the hero: the capture Le Genereux at this moment fired upon of the Genereux is thus dramatized in the chapter headed the Chase.
"Deck, there! the stranger is evidently a man-of-war-she is a line-of-battle-ship, my lord, and going large on the starboard tack."
"Ah! an enemy, Mr. Stains. I pray God it may be Le Genereux. The signal for a general chase, Sir Ed'ard, (the Nelsonian pronunciation of Edward,) make the Foudroyant fly!"
Thus spoke the heroic Nelson; and every exertion that emulation could inspire was used to crowd the squadron with canvass, the Northumberland taking the lead, with the flag-ship close on her quarter.
"This will not do, Sir Ed'ard; it is certainly Le Genereux, and to my flag ship she can alone surrender. Sir Ed'ard we must and shall beat the Northumberland."
"The signal for the Success to discontinue the action, and come under my stern," said Lord Nelson; "she has done well for her size. Try a shot from the lower-deck at her, Sir Ed'ard.” "It goes over her."
the British; and, as a shot passed through the mizen stay-sail, Lord Nelson, patting one of the youngsters on the head, asked him jocularly how he relished the music; and observing something like alarm depicted on his countenance, consoled him with the information, that Charles XII. ran away from the first shot he heard, though afterwards he was called "The Great," and deservedly, from his bravery. therefore," said Lord Nelson, "hope much from you in future."
Here the Northumberland opened her fire, and down came the tri-colored ensign, amidst the thunder of our united cannon. "The signal to discontinue the firing."
"I will do the utmost, my lord; get the en-And Sir Edward Berry boarded the prize. gine to work on the sails-hang butts of water to the stays-pipe the hammocks down, and each man place shot in them-slack the stays, knock up the wedges, and give the masts play -start off the water, Mr. James, and pump ship. The Foudroyant is drawing a-head, and at last takes the lead in the chase. The admi ral is working his fin (the stump of his right arm,) do not cross his hawse, I advise you."
Very shortly he returned with Rear-Admiral Père's sword, who, he stated, was then dying on his quarter-deck, with the loss of both legs, shot off by the raking broadsides of the little Success. This unfortunate Frenchman was under the imputation of having broken his parole, and was considered lucky in having redeemed his honor by dying in battle.
The advice was good, for at that moment Nelson opened furiously on the quarter-master The landing of the British army in Egypt, at the conn. "I'll knock you off your perch, you in 1801, affords Lieut. Parsons an opporturascal, if you are so inattentive.-Sir Ed'ard, send your best quarter-master to the weather-nity of detailing some of his most arresting reminiscences. The mere achievement of "A strange sail a-head of the chase!" called debarkation, of getting a footing on the the look-out man. beach, must figure whilst historical records
last; old Sir Ralph, "the good and the fond division were on shore. The British lines, brave"-as the song, "O the broad swords closing, to cover their heavy losses, rapidly apof old Scotland," has it,-coming out in the proached the landing-place. The French inpicture in all his proper dimensions and fantry in heavy masses now lined the beach, and attributes. All the boats of the British dous. Sir Ralph, in great agitation, again orthe roar of musketry was incessant and tremenfleet under the command of Lord Keith are dered the officer to put his boat in front of the assembled in a triple line, "extending about triple line, and was met by that officer respecta mile and a half at a league distance from fully declaring that "he would obey the orders their intended place of debarkation." The of his admiral alone." The old general made centre line is composed of flats and launches, Without some striking example, human nature an abortive attempt to jump overboard, saying, crowded to excess with the flower of the could not face such a fire;" and indeed the sea British army. These are towed by barges was ploughed and strongly agitated by the inand pinnaces, with a line of jolly-boats in numerable balls that splashed among the boats, the rear to assist the disabled. The signal sometimes hiding them altogether by the spray is given to advance leisurely, "but to keep they created. This was a most painful scene strictly in line till under fire, and then use for a spectator: our friends mown down like every exertion to land the troops.' But corn before the reaper. But now a change all that military skill could effect had been on the prows touching the beach; the soldiers, comes over it. A heart-stirring cheer is given done to render the place of debarkation heartily tired of being shot at like rooks, spring invulnerable; the French having for eight from the boats with great alacrity; that effectdays been preparing for the event. The ive instrument, the bayonet, &c. &c. French Governor of Alexandria is reported to have said, "that nothing with life could be thrown on his shores but a cat." Immediately in front, too, lies the enemy's army on hills which are strongly fortified, while between these ridges, peep out the flying artillery, the cavalry also showing themselves in numbers between the masses of infantry, sufficient, they look, to devour our small band.
The death of Abercrombie :
commander-in-chief, to whom he was aide-deThe Hon. Captain Proby, now addressing the camp, reported the enemy to be retreating, covered by their cavalry. "But good God, general, you are seriously wounded, your saddle is saturated with blood. Let me support you to the rear, and for all our sakes let the surgeons examine you."
Captain Proby, I thank you," said the veteImagine ten thousand of England's hardy ran, with a faint voice; "but in these stirring sons, full of life and vigor, rushing into an une-times the general should be the last person to qual contest that, in the space of one hour, would think of self. Captain Proby, order a forward decimate them. Hark! the first shell from Nel- movement, and hang fiercely on the retiring foe. son's island; the roar, the whistle, and explosion Desire Hompesh's dragoons to cut through their among the boats, answered by the heart-stirring rear-guard, and follow them closely to the walls cheers of the British lines. The heavy artillery of Alexandria." Seeing hesitation and great from the ridge of sand hills in front open their concern in the ingenuous, youthful countenance iron throats on the devoted boats. "Give way of Captain Proby, Sir Ralph added with sternfore and aft!" is the respondent cry to the shrieks ness," See my orders instantly obeyed, Sir." of the wounded, the heavy groans of the dying, And the aide-de-camp, dashing his spurs into and the gurgling sounds of the drowning. Gaps the flanks of the swift Arabian, flew along the are seen in our lines. * * *Now their fly-line, vociferating the orders of "Forward! foring artillery, with their long train of horses, gal-ward!" at the same time despatching the first lop to the beach, and open their brazen mouths dragoon he met with to Colonel Abercrombie, on our advancing boats. That most venerable stating his opinion that his father was bleeding and veteran son of war, Sir Ralph Abercrom-to death on the field with a gunshot wound. Sir bie, commander-in-chief, in the Kent's barge, moving in the rear, now desired the officer of that boat to pass through the gaps in our line, and place him in front of the fire. "I command you, sir," said the veteran; my personal safety is nothing compared with the national disgrace of the boats turning back. Example is needful in this tremendous fire, which exceeds all I ever saw. Oh, God! they waver,-onward, brave Britons, onward!" This apparent wavering was occasioned by a shell sinking the Foudroyant's flat boat with sixty soldiers in her, and by the rush of smaller ones to pick up the sinking soldiery. The lieutenant in command of the barge respectfully said he had the orders of Sir Rich-into his arms. ard Bickerton, not to expose the general-in-chief. He was quickly borne by orderly sergeants to unnecessarily to the fire, or land him till the sec- the rear, where the wound was pronounced of a
Ralph, seeing Sir Sidney Smith's horse shot under him, now desired his orderly to remount him. Sir Sidney, thinking it would inconvenience the general, refused to mount, till a ball from the retreating artillery decided the question by killing the orderly. While Sir Sidney (who was wounded) was thanking the general, Colonel Abercrombie galloped up-" Dear father, has your wound been examined?"
Sir Ralph, who was sinking fast from loss of blood, now turned affectionately to the manly form of his son, who stood at his side in a visible agony of suspense, muttered the words "A flesh wound-a mere scratch!" and fell fainting
dangerous nature. Fortunately the Foudroy-1 pair of penetrating black eyes, an intelliant's launch had just reached the beach with gent countenance, with a gentlemanly air, boats of the fleet to convey the wounded off to
the shipping; and the hero of sixty-three, in an expressive of good nature and kindness of insensible state, was consigned to the tender heart." Captain Selby of the El Carmen care of his son, exposed to the fierce sun, whose was ordered to England, to announce the rays shot down hot enough to melt him. Colo- British success in Egypt. The frigate nel Abercrombie held one of his hands, while however made tardy progress, having, by tender commiseration clouded his manly brow. the advice of Sir Sidney, "hugged the BarI saw this gallant and good old warrior extended bary coast close," in hopes of receiving on a grating, coming alongside the flag ship, his the landwind at night. The leewind, howsilvery hair streaming in the breeze that gently rippled the waters-his venerable features con- ever," blew hard upon us and nearly vulsed with agony, while the sun darted fiercely wrecked the old tub off Cape Dern." The on him its intense rays, combining with his wound hero of Acre was coming home a passenger to occasion the perspiration to pour down his fore- in the frigate. The extract now to be prehead like heavy drops of rain; yet he command-sented exhibits him characteristically, voled not only his groans, but even his sighs, lest unteering to board an American vessel in they should add to the evident anguish depicted distress during a gale :— in Colonel Abercrombie's countenance, as he wiped the perspiration from his father's face."We are near the Foudroyant, my dear sir; swallow a little of the contents of my canteen, it will enable you the better to bear the motion of being hoisted in."
On the following morning, the wind having moderated, we bore up and shook a reef out of the topsails, dropped the foresail, and stood under the stern of a large ship laboring heavily, with top-gallant yards across, on a topping sea, and American colors reversed.
"Send the quarter-master below to sling the general," said Lord Keith, "and select careful "I am in a sinking state," said brother Jonahands to the whip," and his lordship's counten- than, “and I calculate I shall only be able to ance expressed the deepest commiseration. keep her up two hours or so: the people are "Now, whip handsomely,-bear off the side, frightened and I am in a bit of a shake, theregentlemen, for God's sake do not let the grat-fore, Britisher, I will take it as a compliment if ing come in contact with any thing. High you will send your boat (mine are washed away) enough-lower handsomely-see that the bear- and save us from being drowned like rats in this ers are equally tall. Now rest the grating tarnation leaky hooker." gently on their shoulders:" and his lordship gazed on the suffering countenance of the ancient soldier.
"I am putting you to great inconvenience," said Sir Ralph; and added in faltering accents, "I am afraid I shall occasion you much more trouble."
"The greatest trouble, general," and Lord Keith took hold of one of the wounded man's hands," is to see you in this pitiable situation." Lord Keith pressed, relinquished the hand, and burst into tears; nor was there a dry eye that witnessed the sufferings of this venerated and venerable warrior. He lingered in acute pain three days, and his body was sent down to Malta.
"I will stay by you," said Captain Selby, "but no boat will live in this sea."
Upon this declaration Jonathan Corncob spat twice as fast as ever, and observed, "You might oblige us with a boat, Captain."
His passengers and crew did not take it in the same cool way their master did, but raised a great outcry, and threw up their hands to a superior power for aid, while, despairingly, they tried to induce us to send a boat. Sir Sidney's kind heart was touched by the scene.
"Captain Selby, if you will risk your leequarter cutter I will save, by the help of Heaven, those despairing creatures. Give me choice men,-good boatmen, Mr. Landon, and with your captain's permission, I will take you in the boat."
of care, for, as officer of the watch, it was my This speech relieved me from a heavy weight duty to share the risk with Sir Sidney, but I had no inclination to be drowned even in such good company, and his choice fell on the first lieutenant, (there is no accounting for taste.) It set both heart and mind at rest, for I fully conincurred with my captain in opinion that no boat spring into the lee-cutter. Captain Selby havcould live. Sir Sidney was the first man to ing remonstrated against his risking so valuable a life, was answered gaily by the gallant hero calling to our first luff, "Mr Landon, if your tackle-falls give way you will be drowned for your carelessness, as I intend to be lowered in the boat, and her tackle falls should always be stern-fast well attended, and your two best quar ready to bear any weight. Now for a bow and termasters at the falls. Watch her roll, men,
We meet with "the breeze that gently rippled the waters," and similar repetitions of fine writing rather too frequently to accord well with a veteran sailor's phraseology. But, to let that pass, we hasten to glean some notices and anecdotes of another wrrior, whose name will live long history, the chivalrous but eccentric Sir Sidney Smith. This knight of the sword, says Lieut. Parsons, "I remember well, and have him in my mind's eye,' as he stepped on the quarter-deck of H. M. fri. gate El Carmen,' lying in Aboukir Bay, Egypt, in the latter part of the year 1801. He was then of middling stature, good looking, with tremendous moustachios, a
when I give the word, for on your attention and field's tuition." skill depend the lives of the cutter's crew, your ship, composed songs and sang them; full "He was the life of the first luff, to say nothing of my own, and Chips, of anecdote, so well told, that you lost the carpenter, whom with your leave, Captain Selby, I will take on board Jonathan, who I sight of the little bit of egotism they smacksuspect is not so bad as stated, but rather lost ed of." He "shortened his moustachios in his reckoning. Additional stretchers in the daily, according to our run made in the boat, Mr. Landon,-each man with these in his night, fully determined to get rid of them hands to bear us off the side. Now, Captain by our arrival in England." Sir Sidney Selby, place your frigate close on her weather "asserted that rats fed cleaner and were quarter, to make a lee for us." And every man better eating than pigs or ducks, and, held his breath with consternation, as the gallant hero, watching the lee roll, loudly gave the agreeably to his wish, a dish of these beauword to lower away roundly, still louder to let tiful vermin were caught daily with fishgo and unhook, on the celerity of which depended hooks, well-baited, in the provision hold, all their lives. I drew my breath freely when for the ship was infested with them, and the boat showed her stern to the mountainous served up at the captain's table." The waves, impelled by her oars, as each billow knight, we are also informed, was a perfect threatened to engulph her, and the cool magna- Nimrod at running; for so fleet a-foot he nimity of Sir Sidney, as he steered alongside the wall-sided monster of a Yankee, who rolled awfully as he sprang on board.
"I guess you are the captain of that there Britisher," said Jonathan Corncob, addressing the hero of Acre, “and I take your conduct as most particularly civil."
"I am only a passenger in yon frigate, and am called Sir Sidney Smith. But let your carpenter show mine where he thinks the leak is, and I shall be glad to look at your chart." "You shall see it, Sidney Smith, (we do not acknowledge titles in our free country,") and Jonathan unrolled a very greasy chart before Sir Sidney.
"I do not see any track pricked off. What was your longitude at noon yesterday? and what do you think your drift has been since that time?"
"Why, to tell you the truth, Sidney Smith, I havn't begun to reckon yet, but mate and I was about it when the gale came on; I think we are about here ;" and Jonathan Corncob covered many degrees with the broad palm of his hand; "Mate thinks we are more to the eastward."
This convinced Sir Sidney that he rightly guessed that the man was lost. Americans, long, long ago, were not pre-eminent as now in navigation, and were generally and irreverently called God's ships. The carpenter by this time had diminished the leak, and Sir Sidney, giving Captain Corncob the bearings and distance of Brest, only a day's sail dead to leeward, offered to take him and his crew on board the El Carmen, leaving the boat's crew to run the tarnation leaky hooker into Brest, and claiming half her value as salvage.
But Jonathan gravely demurred; and calling to mate, "Reverse our stripes and place our stars uppermost again where they should be," while he kindly slapped Sir Sidney on the shoulder, calling him an honest fellow from the old country, and in the fulness of his gratitude offered him a quid of tobacco and a glass of brandy.
Sir Sidney got on board without accident, and Jonathan Corncob made sail for Brest, where I trust (but never heard) that he safely arrived.
Sir Sidney's manners, we are told, "would have done honor to Lord ChesterVOL. III. No. II. 17
was, that when reconnoitering the French army before Acre, and the enemy's sharp shooters had been thrown forward with a desire to make him their target, "he would enter the breach in the walls, where Jezza Pacha made his bed every night during the siege, before his companions were half way:
We have now given samples of the staple of the "Reminiscences." What more can we do to insure the popularity of the book?
THE SPIRIT OF POETRY.
WHERE art thou not, fair spirit, in this world
Could give alone-a spring of faith—to be
For ever tasted and for ever clear.
And mirror'd on its waters we behold
WHAT PLEASURE IT IS TO PAY ONE'S DEBTS.
I remember to have heard Sir T. Lyttleton make