John Charnock.

Biographical memoirs of Lord Viscount Nelson, with observations, critical and explanatory .. online

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Online LibraryJohn CharnockBiographical memoirs of Lord Viscount Nelson, with observations, critical and explanatory .. → online text (page 1 of 39)
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A PREFACE is generally unnecessary, and often
impertinent; that is to say, it is unnecessary to
the reader ; far otherwise to the author of a
book. It is a vehicle, like the armed chariots of
old, in which he proudly sits, displaying his
own importance and superiority, while the wheels
of invective on which it rolls, pass without
mercy over those unfortunate wights Avho have
attempted to possess themseh^es even of the
smallest corner of that peculiar province, of which
he himself perhaps is an impudent usurper. Some-
times too, to use an humbler simile, he conde-
scends to play in it the part of a pufiing pre-
cursor to a shoAV, who, with much noise of drum
and trumpet, proclaims the mighty tilings whick


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iv l^REFACE.

you shall see and hear ; and iiaving pocketed
your money, ushers you behind the curtain, and
leaves you in the lurch, to grumble at his wretched
tragi- comedy, or to laugh at the awkwardness
of his company of performers.

These observations, however ludicrous the
manner in which they are here offered may seem,
are gravely intended, and well meant. The
Author of this volume, in making them, enjoys
a certain degree of self- congratulation, when he
reflects, that the nature of his subject must ex-
empt from such censure, and save from such ri-
dicule, the few prefatory lines which he hopes
his readers will agree with him are not wholly un-
necessary. A subject on which, as his humble
endeavours, with exceptions scarcely worth
naming, have the honour to be first exerted, he
has no competitors to envy or to blame. . A sub-
ject so splendid in its story, so notorious in the
infinite ubiquity of its fame, that he needs only
refer his readers to his title page, to bespeak
their attention.

It) however, he be thus fortunately exempted


from painful tricks and expedients of recommcu-
dation, he feels, and painfully too, the weight
of the task which he here essays to perform. —
The briUiancy and publicity of his theme, of
which but now he boasted, overwhelm him with
the sense of his own inadequacy to such an at-
tempt. He will offer an apology on the only
ground where, apologies ought ever to be rested,
on the ground of truth and sincerity, in a can-
did avowal of the motives which have induced
him, from time to time, to collect, and now to
present to the public, a sketch of the memoirs
of Lord Nelson'.

An enthusiastic attachment to the naval ser-
vice, and all that relates to it, has been, from
his childhood, his ruling passion. It has led
him, in more instances than one, to devote his
pen to the illustration of its mechanical ceco-
nomy, and to the biography of many of its
numberless heroes. With a disposition so in-
clined, and habits so fixed, it became his fortune
to gain some personal knowledge of the great
man whose memory he now seeks to consecrate ;
and that occasional intercourse took place in the


house of the late Captain William Locker,
Lieutenant-Governor of Greenwich Hospital,
with whom the Author may presume to boast of
many years' strict intimacy and friendship, and
whose high character in pubhc service, and in
private hfe, are above his powers of praise. That
excellent officer, as we shall see, was, in a manner,
Lord Nelson's professional father. By him, a
thousand traits and anecdotes were communi-
cated, in that exquisite manner of simplicity and
feeling which belonged almost peculiarly to him-
self.— By him the present work was suggested,
even during the life of his Lordship, almost
in the form of a request; certain materials,'
whose value will speak for them in the course
of the ensuing pages, have been since supplied
by his estimable family. Thus, w^ith an original
bias to the subject, some aid of private intel-
ligence relative to it, and, perhaps above all,
pushed on to the undertaking by the late pro-
digious conclusion of the Hero's triumph, have
promoted the Author's presumption in elevoting
his feeble powers to their celebration.

Of the mode in which he 'has executed his


task, the reader must judge for liiniself, recollect-
ing always, that the work affects only the cha-
racter of memoirs. A hfe of Lord Nelson,
properly given, would perhaps involve some
years of the general history of Europe. A detail
even of naval exploits, which have ek tended
from the Nile to the Baltic, nay, which have
shone in almost every sea that bears a distinct
denomination, could not possibly be confined to
a single volume.

The Author claims little merit beyond that,
■which, of right, belongs to a faithful collector
and reporter of much authentic intelligence,
that had been before widely scattered under
the public eye. He hopes, by this faithful
miniature representation of Lord Nelson, to
correct the defects and mistakes of such mi-
serable sketches as have already appeared, and
to furnish an outline to those who may, in fu-
ture, be inclined to amplify on a subject which
affords such boundless space. Should a work
of that kind be undertaken by no one else, he
may, at some future time, produce his best
endeavours to that effect, lie means to dc-


vote to them all tlie favourable intervals which
an uncertain state of health, and many pain-
ful private concerns may allow him. He
craves, in the mean time, to the defects of the
present performance, that candour of criticism
which is seldom denied to unavoidable imper^
fee tions.


Preliminary Introduction to the Memoirs of Lord
Nelson, page 1 — Hb desccnt,4. — Time of his birth, ibid. — Sent
to the public school at Norwich, ibid. — Removed to North
Walsham, ibid. — Enters on board the Raisonable, of 64 guns,
under his maternal uncle, Capt. Maurice Suckling, 5.— Bio-
graphical Memoirs of that Officer, ibid. — 'Raisonable put out
of commission, 7. — Mr. Nelson makes a voyage to the West
I dies, under the care of Mr. Rathbone^ 8. — Returns from
thence, and is appointed a Midshipman on board the Triumph,
ibid. — Received on board the Carcass, as Coxswain, 9. — Pro-
ceeds on a voyage for the discovery of the North West pas-
sage, under the orders of the Hon. Constantine Phipps, af-
terwards Lord Mulgrave, 10. — Memoirs of that Nobleman,
ibid. — Instance of the confidence and trust reposed in him, 15
-—Anecdote of his pursuing a Bear, ibid. — Returns to Eng-
land, and proceeds to the East Indies, on board the Seahorse,
of 20 guns, under the orders of Captain Farmer, 16. — Me-
moirs of that Officer, ibid. — Compelled, on account of his ill
health, to return to England, by order of Commodore
Hughes, 21 — Memoirs of that Officer, ibid.— Embarks on
board the Dolphin, 22 — Appointed, immediately after his ar-
rival, to be acting Lieutenant of the Worcester, commanded
by Captain Robinson, 24— Memoirs of that Officer, 25—
The high opinion entertained by him of Mr. Nelson, 26 -;



Promoted to be Second Lieutenant of the Lowestoffe, com-
manded by Captain Locker, 27 — Memoirs of that Officer,
ibid. — Proceeds to Jamaica, 29 — Appointed Commander of a
Tender, 31 — Anecdote concerning his conduct in boarding an
American prize, 32— Mr. Nelson appointed Third Lieuten-
ant of the Bristol, under Rear-Admiral Sir Peter Parker, 33
—Memoirs of that Officer, ibid. — Mr. Nelson promoted to
the command of the Badger sloop of war, 35 — Ordered to
the Musquito shore, ibid — Preserves Captain Lloyd, and the
crew of the Glasgow, from being burnt, ibid— Advanced to
be Captain of the Hinchinbroke, of 20 guns, 36— Appointed
to command the batteries which defended the entrance to Port
Royal, ibid. — Ordered on an expedition into the Gulf of
Mexico, ibid. — His gallantry and very conspicuous conduct,
37 — Taken ill, and returns to Jamaica, passenger on board
the Victor sloop, 38 — Promoted to be Captain of the Janus,
of 44 guns, ibid — Obliged to relinquish that appointment on
account of the continued ill state of his health, ibid.— -Re-
turns to England, as a passenger on board the Lion, com-
manded by the Hon. Captain Cornwallis, ibid.— Memoirs of
that Officer, ibid. — Captain Nelson, on his arrival, repairs to
Bath, 39— His speedy recovery, 40 — Appointed to the Al-
bemarle, of 28 guns, 42 — Ordered to Newfoundland, 43 —
His distinguished conduct on a cruise off Boston, ibid. — Pro-
ceeds to Quebec, and from thence to Nc\v York, 44 — Pro-
ceeds to the West Indies to join Lorj^

Online LibraryJohn CharnockBiographical memoirs of Lord Viscount Nelson, with observations, critical and explanatory .. → online text (page 1 of 39)