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hcin ti ininin hii^^







VICAR OF ST George's, fordington, dorchester

















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Scene from "The Dynasts," Vol. I., Act IV.,

Scene I.

{^Reprinted by permission of Mr Thomas Hardy.']

King. And now he has left Boulogne with all his host ?
Was it his object to invade at all,
Or was his vast assemblage a mere blind ?

Pitt. Undoubtedly he meant invasion. Sir,

Had fortune favoured. He may try it yet.
And, as I said, could we but close with Fox

King. But, but ; — I ask, what is his object now?

Lord Nelson's Captain — Hardy — whose old home

Stands in a peaceful vale hard by us here —

Who came two weeks ago to see his friends,

I talked to in this room a lengthy while.'

He says our navy still is in the dark

As to the aims by sea of Bonaparte

Now the Boulogne attempt has fizzled out.

And what he schemes afloat with Spain combined.

The Victory lay that fortnight at Spithead,

And Nelson since has gone aboard and sailed ;

Yes, sailed again. The Royal Sovereign follows,

And others her. Nelson was hailed and cheered

To huskiness while leaving Southsea shore,

Gentle and simple, wildly thronging round.

1 See pp. 134-135-


OF all the subordinate characters in the tragedy of
Trafalgar, the personality of Thomas Masterman
Hardy is unquestionably by far the most interesting,
striking, and attractive. The " Kiss me. Hardy " of the
dying Nelson has perhaps taken a firmer hold on the
popular imagination than either the " Remember " of
Charles Stuart, or the real or supposed " My country,
oh my country" of William Pitt.

Another of the " greatest sailor's " utterances during
the brief interview which preceded Hardy's return to his
duties on deck, within about half an hour of "his Lord's"
death, is scarcely less distinctly graven on men's minds.
It was, as we are told by the able author of Nelson
and his Captains, the timely quotation of the words,
"Anchor, Hardy, anchor," more than forty years later,
by which Sir Herbert Edwardes steadied in a moment
of supreme difficulty the iron nerve of the worn-out and
over-wrought Sir John Lawrence.^

Twenty-eight years have passed away since another
Thomas Hardy (scarcely less famous in his generation than
his great naval namesake) gave to the world that delightful
novel The Trumpet Major, the scenes of which are laid in
Dorset during the later days of the " Great Terror" (1796-
1805). Its author had talked to many men and women
who vividly remembered the events of that momentous
period of our history when George III. reviewed his troops

* Nelson and his Captains, W. H. Fitchett, p. 63.


— Regulars and Volunteers — on the heights above
Weymouth, and the arrival of the "dreaded Corsican"
on our shores was hourly expected.^ Mrs Charteris, the
daughter of Sir T. M. Hardy, was then alive, and it was
from her description of her father that Thomas Hardy
wrote the vivid pen-picture to be found in Chapter XXX HI.
of his book, in which love-sick Bob Loveday of the
mercantile marine is made to visit the captain of the
Victory at Portisham with a view to volunteer for service
on board Nelson's flag-ship. The author of The Tni)upet
Major had many long talks with Mrs Charteris, who,
amongst other things, informed him that during the last
illness of her revered father she had burned, by his
directions, the whole of his correspondence. It is evident
that she spoke only of communications addressed to
Hardy, for Hardy's own letters are constantly turning up,
very often throwing fresh light on the events in which he
played a more or less important part, and always adding to
one's appreciation of his amiable and unselfish character.
A good many letters of Hardy have come to light since
the first issue of the biography in The Three Dorset
Captams at Trafalgar. The most important of these will
be found in the last chapter of this volume.- " The
Captain," writes his namesake, " at this time was thirty-five,
rather short in build, with light eyes, bushy eyebrows, a
square, broad face, plenty of chin, and a mouth whose
corners played between humour and grimness."

In the result, Loveday, who had successfully resisted
the snares of the press-gang, fought at Trafalgar on board
the Victoiy, although for obvious reasons he does not
appear under that name in the muster-roll. By permission
of the author, further reference will be made in our text to

^ Full particulars of the various schemes projected for the defence
of Dorset and other interesting details will be found in Napoleo7i and
the Invasion of England, by H. F. B. Wheeler and A. M. Broadley
(1907), and Dunwuriez and the Defence of England against Napoleon^
by Dr J. Holland Rose and A. M. Broadley (1908).

^ Sg.q post, p. 245.


the allusions to " Nelson's Hardy," both in the Dynasts and
The Trumpet Major. Thomas Hardy's graphic account of
the meeting between the captain of the Victory and his
Sovereign has already been printed after the dedication.

No sooner did the belated news of the battle of
Trafalgar reach England than the whole kingdom was
flooded with popular mementoes of the great event which
had saved her from the long-feared foreign invasion, while
depriving her of her foremost sailor. In all these
souvenirs— songs, broadsides, glass-pictures, engravings,
or pottery — the favourite theme was that of the most
familiar death scene in naval history— Nelson expiring
in the arms of Hardy. Two-and-twenty years after
Trafalgar, the late Admiral Sir W. William Phipps Hornby
was serving with Hardy, then Commander-in-Chief of the
Experimental Squadron at Portsmouth. Shortly before
his death, Sir William Hornby communicated to Mr Henry
Newbolt an old Trafalgar song, "The Quarter-gunner's
Yarn," ^ containing the following verses :—

" Our captain was Hardy, the pride of us all,
ni ask for none better when danger shall call,
He was hardy by nature and Hardy by name.
And soon by his conduct to honour he came.

The Victory led, to her flag it was due.
Though the Te'meraires thought themselves admirals too,
But Lord Nelson he hailed them with masterful grace,
' Cap'n Harvey I'll thank you to keep in your place.'

To our battering next the Redoubtable struck.
But her sharpshooters gave us the worst of the luck,
Lord Nelson was wounded, most cruel to tell,
' They've done for me, Hardy,' he cried as he fell.

When the captain reported a victory won,
' Thank God,' he kept saying, ' my duty I've done ' ;
At last came the moment to kiss him good-bye,
And the captain for once had the salt in his eye.

1 The Year of Trafalgar, by Henry Newbolt, pp. 232-3-4. London
John Murray, 1905.


' Now anchor, dear Hardy,' the admiral cried.
But before we could make it he fainted and died ;
All night in the trough of the sea we were tossed,
And for want of ground tackle good prizes were lost.

Then we hauled down the flag, at the fore it was red,
And blue at the mizzen was hoisted instead
By Nelson's famed captain, the pride of each tar
Who fought in the Victory off Cape Trafalgar."

In the times immediately following Trafalgar the
" Mummers Play " was still enacted every succeeding
Christmastide in the mansions and farmhouses of the
West, and specially in the county of Hardy's birth.
" St George," " Captain Bluster," " Room," and the " Egyp-
tian King," may claim direct descent from the Middle
Ages, but an interlude was added dealing with the absorb-
ing topic of the hour, and in which the sole dramatis
personce were Nelson and Hardy. For the nonce the floor
of the room in which the rustic actors performed was
supposed to be the deck of the Victory. The following
dialogue, for half a century at least, never failed to provoke
the utmost enthusiasm : —

Nelson. " Hardy, I be wownded."
Hardy. " Not mortually I hopes, my lord."

Nelson. " Mortually I be afeared. Kiss me, Hardy, thank God
I've done my duty."

The friendship which existed between Nelson and
Hardy for over ten years was of the closest description.
Nothing could ever interrupt it. Nelson regarded Hardy
not merely as a " right-hand man " like the resourceful
Berry, or an able and courageous seaman like Ball,
Troubridge, Keats, and others. Hardy possessed all their
good qualities, but he had other attributes which led
Nelson to feel he might safely make him the recipient
of his most intimate confidences. Possibly the strong
union of sympathy which linked them together was inten-
sified by their strange diversity of both temperament and


physique. It is difficult to imagine a more striking con-
trast than that presented by the pale-faced, stunted, and
attenuated admiral — "that cripple-gaited, one-eyed, one-
armed little naval critter," as Sam Slick has been made
to describe him — and the captain — tall, broad-shouldered,
muscular, robust, rubicund of countenance and hearty in
manner, like his stalwart Dorset forebears. Nelson was
habitually moody, sensitive, and fretful ; at times he was
despondent, but Hardy could always cheer him with a
ringing laugh, an unruffled temper, and a constant dis-
position to look on the bright side of things. The
intense personal regard for one another of these two
comrades a peculiar interest to the letters of Hardy
which will now be read for the first time.

At Nelson's funeral it was Thomas Masterman Hardy
who bore the "banner of emblems." It must not be
forgotten that Hardy took part in all Nelson's principal
naval engagements — St Vincent, the Nile and Copenhagen,
as well as Trafalgar — but so important was the role played
by Hardy at Trafalgar that it overshadows many notable
occurrences in his career both before and after the most
memorable 21st October of history. From December 1796,
when Nelson hoisted his broad pendant on board the La
Minerve, of which ship Hardy had been appointed lieutenant
on the preceding 20th August, they became inseparable
friends. The victor of the Nile very soon realised the merits
of the future captain of the Victory. " I never knew Hardy
wrong upon any professional subject," said Nelson ; " he
seems imbued with an intuitive right judgment." It was
not, therefore, surprising that Nelson trusted Hardy
implicitly, and the same confidence was placed in him
by Lady Nelson and other members of their family. To
all of them he was "dear Hardy," and their affection was
repaid by the most sterling loyalty. Hardy was ever
jealous of the fair fame of the great admiral, who regarded
him as one of his best friends and ablest officers almost
from the day he saved him from capture by the Spaniards



in February 1797. That Hardy often told Nelson home
truths is abundantly evident from the voluminous corre-
spondence which now sees the light.

When Hardy returned to England after Trafalgar he was
in his thirty-seventh year. He survived Nelson for four-
and-thirty years, dying in harness as Governor of Greenwich
Hospital on the 20th September 1839, having served the
State under no less than four sovereigns, including her
late Majesty, Queen Victoria. Between 1806 and 1827
(when he finally struck his flag), on the 22nd anniversary
of Trafalgar, Hardy rendered invaluable services to
his country both on the North and South America
Stations. It has even been said that his tact and prudence
alone saved England from a third war with the United


From a comparatively early stage in his career Hardy
enjoyed the intimate friendship of at least two of the
Royal Dukes. In the autumn of 18 12 he thus wrote to
the Duke of Clarence, afterwards William IV. : —

Sept. ibth, 1812.


T have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of
your Royal Highness's letter of the 14th of last month,
which I only received yesterday from Lieut. Hay, who is
now in the Barfleur. I am appointed to the Ramillies,
and if I possibly can I will take young Hay with me
should either of the lieuts. not join that are now named to
her. I have great pleasure in stating to your Royal
Highness that during the time Mr Hay was under my
command he has at all times conducted himself most fully
to my satisfaction, and I have no hesitation in saying that
he will turn out a most excellent officer. I feel quite
grateful to your Royal Highness for your kind remem-
brance of me, and I beg to subscribe myself your Royal


Dutiful humble servant,

T. M. Hardy.



In 1830, when Lord Grey formed his first Cabinet,
William IV. only accepted the nomination of Sir James
Graham (whose name he declared he had never heard of)
to the post of First Lord of the Admiralty on the under-
standing that Sir T. M. Hardy, whom he knew well, and
of whose ability and prudence he entertained the highest
opinion, should be First Sea Lord. Hardy moved to
Whitehall, where for four years he threw all his consti-
tutional energy into the discharge of his official duties.
In the traditions of the Admiralty he is remembered as
one of the best and most far-sighted men who ever held
that responsible post. A portion of the Hardy corre-
spondence deals with that all-important epoch of his
career, as well as with the closing days of his life, which
he spent in company with many other Trafalgar survivors
at Greenwich Hospital, of which he became Governor, and
where he more than once welcomed his brother sailor, the
"jolly young tarry breeks" of 1782, now known as "Good
King William."

It is somewhat surprising that the life of Thomas
Masterman Hardy has never been written, and that until
less than three years ago, the places of his birth and baptism
were matters of historic doubt. In July 1905, however, a
Nelson and Trafalgar Exhibition was held at Dorchester,
the capital of Hardy's county, under the auspices of the
Rev. S. E. V. Filleul, Rector of All Saints' Church in that
town, assisted by a local committee. The result of the
activity of Mr Filleul and his associates was to bring
together, in one room, a number of rare, and in many
cases unique, relics connected not only with Lord Nelson
himself, but with the life and exploits of Thomas Hardy,
captain of the Victory, and other famous Dorset sailors
from Elizabethan times downwards. The portion of the
Dorchester Exhibition devoted to Hardy was of quite ex-
ceptional interest, for it contained relics of every description,
ranging from medals and miniatures to the watch he
wore while he held the dying Nelson in his arms, the pencil-


case he used to note the signals during the battle of
Trafalgar, with the marks of his teeth still clearly visible
upon it, and the silver shoe>buckle, shattered by a splinter
only a few minutes before the British Commander-in-Chief
received his death wound.

Mr Filleul was fortunate enough to obtain the active
co-operation of Hardy's direct descendants and representa-
tives, including Sir Malcolm MacGregor, Lady Helen
MacGregor, Mrs John Thynne, and Mr Atholl Macgregor,
while Mrs Manfield and her son, Mr William Hardy
Manfield, the present possessors of Sir T. M. Hardy's old
home at Portisham, contributed other objects of great
historic value. The loan was also obtained of several
autograph letters written by Hardy to his brother-in-law,
Mr John Callard Manfield, a former Mayor of Dorchester,
who, in the days of Trafalgar, and for some years previ-
ously, carried on the solicitor's business which has now,
after various changes, passed into the hands of Mr H.
A. Huxtable, like his predecessor, an ex-Mayor of
Dorchester, and who now holds the post of Town Clerk
of Weymouth. The presence of these autographs in the
exhibition eventually led to the discovery of several other
bundles of Hardy's letters, beginning 26th May 1798, and
ending 29th April 1839, less than five months before his
death. Mr Manfield died 21st June 1808, and the latter
portions of the Hardy correspondence are addressed to
Joseph Hardy, the admiral's elder brother, who survived

In addition to this unlooked-for discovery of hitherto
unknown Hardy letters, the writers have been enabled to
use other important MSS., including a letter written by
Hardy to his brother Joseph at the age of thirteen, now in
the possession of Mrs John Thynne, and other communica-
tions addressed by him to Mr Edmund Noble, Sir Benjamin
Hallowell-Carew, K.C.B., and others.

The captain of the Victory had no pretence to scholar-
ship in the modern sense of the word. He often wrote in


a hurry, and under circumstances of considerable excite-
ment. Sometimes he is racked with anxiety for the reputa-
tion of his " dear Lord"; other letters are jotted down in
the intervals of travel by land or sea. Occasionally he
writes with the din of battle still ringing in his ears, to
give the Dorset folk the earliest news of great victories
and stirring events, quorum pars magna futt, for Thomas
Masterman Hardy was ever in the thickest of the fight.
From first to last. Hardy wrote from the heart, and it has
been deemed expedient to publish the letters just as he
penned them, with the errors uncorrected.

Hardy's letters may not throw an important light on
the larger questions of naval history, but they certainly
very materially help us to a closer acquaintance with the
personality of Nelson, as well as that of all those who played
a prominent part in the great naval drama, of which he was
the central figure. They are remarkable also for the spirit
of affectionate regard to his own people which they
breathe throughout, and the deep love he entertained for
his native county. With him, charity always commenced
at home. Digby might want him to give a berth to the
son of some meritorious clergyman, but Hardy preferred
the recommendations which came from Dorchester or
" Possum." In very many of these letters we have ample
evidence of his constant care for the boys from Dorset — the
Balstons, the Robertses, and the Manfields — as well as of
that singular sweetness of disposition and temper which
endeared him to " old Nelson " (as Hardy affectionately
called him), who, just after Copenhagen, wrote to Alexander
Ball at Malta : " 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 — Hardy is as good as ever."
The picturesque side of life in the Navy during the Great
War, as graphically depicted in Commander C. N. Robin-
son's deservedly popular British Fleet, is reflected through-
out the earlier portions of the Hardy correspondence.



Without the information there given, it would have been
difficult to understand many of the matters to which Hardy
frequently alludes.

The Appendix contains a complete pedigree, not
only showing Hardy's lineal connection with Clement le
Hardi, Bailly and Lieutenant-Governor of Jersey in 1483
and 1488, but giving the names of the whole of his
descendants alive at the centenary of Trafalgar. It is
certainly an auspicious coincidence that Hardy's grandson.
Sir Evan MacGregor, K.C.B., was Permanent Secretary
of the Admiralty up till 1907. The room he so
long occupied was in close proximity to the apartments
tenanted sixty-three years since by Sir Thomas and
Lady Hardy, the latter of whom lived till 1877, and
is vividly remembered by Sir Evan. " Little," writes
Sir John Briggs,^ " could Lord Nelson's favourite captain
have anticipated that his own grandson would, at the end
of the nineteenth century, assist in carrying out the views
he entertained, and the opinions he expressed as First Sea
Lord of Sir James Graham's Board of 1830, and as his
representative witness all those great and important
changes which he then predicted science and steam would
render inevitably necessary throughout every branch of
the Naval Service."

From two roughly-bound folio volumes of stamped
receipts in the possession of Messrs Maggs, of 109 Strand,
the writers have been enabled to compile a complete and
accurate muster-roll of the Victory on the 21st October
1805. The earlier of these records, dated August 1806,
deals with the division pro rata of the ;^300,C)00 voted by
Parliament for the whole of the Trafalgar Fleet, while the
latter, begun in April 1807, shows in the minutest detail
the distribution of the sum total of the Trafalgar Prize
Money and Bounty Bills. The first Page of the Victory
section of both these valuable registers (which should
certainly find a home either at Whitehall or in the British
^ Naval Administrators, 1827- 1892. London, 1897, p. 44.


Museum) have been reproduced (by Messrs Maggs' per-
mission) amongst our illustrations.

In order to explain as far as possible the true import of

Hardy's letters, and to give something like an adequate

idea of the invaluable services rendered to his " king and

country" by the captain of the Victory during a career

extending over nearly sixty years, the writers have had

recourse to the works of standard authors dealing with our

naval annals between the years 1780 and 1840. They

desire to express the deep obligations they are under to

Captain Mahan,^ Mr Henry Newbolt,^ Commander Charles

N. Robinson,^ Mr W. H. Fitchett, B.A., LL.D.,^ Professor

John Knox Laughton,^ Secretary of the Navy Records

Society (probably the greatest living authority on Nelson

bibliography), Mr David Hannay,^ and last but not least,

the able correspondent of The Tunes'^ whose masterly

elucidation of the tactics of Trafalgar in a series of articles

recently published, has been the admiration of all those

interested in the achievements of Lord Nelson and his


While the sheets of the first issue of this work were
going through the press, another very interesting discovery
was made, viz., the " remark-book " of Richard Francis
Roberts, one of Hardy's midshipmen on board the Victory
at the battle of Trafalgar. It was used with the sanction
of its owner. Miss Roberts of the Grove, Burton Bradstock,
in the chapter relating to that momentous event in Hardy's
career. Miss Roberts has since then come across a series

1 The Life of Nelson^ Captain A. T. Mahan. London : Sampson,
Low, Marston & Co., 1897.

"^ The Year of Trafalgar. London: John Murray, 1905.

3 The British Fleet, Commander C. N. Robinson. London :
George Bell, 1896.

^ Nelson and his Captains. London : Smith, Elder & Co., 1904.

^ The Nelson Memorial, by John Knox Laughton. London :
George Allen, 1896. Biography of Nelson in D.N.B., etc., etc.

* Introduction to reissue of Southey's Life of Nelson.

^ The Times, September 16, 19, 26, 30, and October 19, 1905.


of interesting letters from her ancestral kinsman, giving
a minute account of the action of October 21, 1805, and
the events which immediately followed it. The interest of
these letters, written at the time of the momentous occur-
rences they deal with, is very great, and Chapter XXIII.
of the present volume is devoted to their publication.

For many years a Dorset or Dorsetshire figured in the
list of British ships-of-war. The first Dorsetslm'e, a third-
rate of 80 guns, was built at Southampton in 1694. She
was a vessel of 1176 tons, and carried a crew of 476 men.
She was rebuilt at Portsmouth in 17 12, and finally taken to
pieces in 1749. Then came the Dorset, a large yacht with
swivel guns only, constructed at Deptford, November 1752
— August 1753. She survived the Great War, and in the
spring of Waterloo year fetched £'H^. The second Dorset-
shire was a third-rate of 80 guns, built at Portsmouth
in 1757. She was broken up in 1775. Two men-of-war
have been named after Lord Hood — like Hardy, a native
of Dorset — viz., the Hood (late Edgar), a second-rate of

Online LibraryAlexander Meyrick BroadleyNelson's Hardy : his life, letters and friends → online text (page 1 of 25)