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miral Nelson's fame," he said, "would be co-equal with
the British name : and it would be remembered that he
had obtained the greatest naval victory on record, when
no man would think of asking whether he had been cre-
ated a baron, a viscount, or an earl ! " It was strange
that, in the very act of conferring a title, the minister
should have excused himself for not having conferred a
higher one, by representing all titles, on such an occa-
sion, as nugatory and superfluous. True, indeed, what-

the motto, "He gives the victory to him who deserves it." The sup-
porters were figures on the dexter (right) and the sinister (left) sides
of the shield.

* It has been erroneously said that the motto was selected by the
king : — it was fixed on by Lord Grenville, and taken from an ode of
Jortin's. The application was singularly fortunate ; and the ode itself
breathes a spirit, in which no man ever more truly sympathized than
Nelson :

Concurrant paribus cum ratibus rates,
Spectent numina ponti, et
Palmam qui meruit ferat. — Southey's 'Note.

The Life op Nelson 183

ever title had been bestowed, whether viscount, earl, mar-
quis, duke, or prince, if our laws had so permitted, he
who received it would have been Nelson still. That name
he had ennobled beyond all addition of nobility: it was
the name by which England loved him, France feared
him, Italy, Egypt, and Turkey celebrated him; and by
which he will continue to be known while the present
kingdoms and languages of the world endure, and as
long as their history after them shall be held in remem-
brance. It depended upon the degree of rank what
should be the fashion of his coronet, in what page of the
red book^ his name was to be inserted, and what prece-
dency should be allowed his lady in the drawing-room
and at the ball. That Nelson's honors were affected thus
far, and no farther, might be conceded to Mr. Pitt and
his colleagues in administration : but the degree of rank
which they thought proper to allot was the measure of
their gratitude,* though not of his services. This Nelson
felt; and this he expressed, with indignation among his

Whatever may have been the motives of the ministry,
and whatever the formalities with which they excused

1. Red hook. The Peerage, a book giving genealogical accounts of
the British nobility.

• Mr. Windham must be excepted from this well-deserved censure.
He, whose fate it seems to have been almost always to think and feel
more generously than those with whom he acted, declared, when he
contended against his own party for Lord Wellington's peerage, that
he always thought Lord Nelson had been inadequately rewarded. The
ease was the more flagrant, because an earldom had so lately been
granted for the battle of St. Vincent ; an action which could never be
compared with the battle of the Nile, if the very different manner in
which it was rewarded did not necessarily force a comparison ; espe-
cially when the part which Nelson bore in it was considered. — Lords
Duncan and St. Vincent had each a pension of £1000 from the Irish
government. This was not granted to Nelson, in consequence of the
Union ; though, surely, it would be more becoming to increase the Brit-
ish grant, than to save a thousand a year by the Union in such cases.
— Bouthey's Note.

184 The Life op Nelson

their conduct to 'themselves, the importance and magni-
tude of the victory^ were universally acknowledged. A
grant of £10,000 was voted to Nelson by the East India
Company; the Turkish Company presented him with a
piece of plate ; the City of London presented a sword to
him, and to each of his Captains ; gold medals were dis-
tributed to the Captains; and the First Lieutenants of
all the ships were promoted, as had been done after Lord
Hovt^e's victory. Nelson was exceedingly anxious that
the Captain and First Lieutenant of the Culloden should
not be passed over because of their misfortune. To
Troubridge himself he said, "Let us rejoice that the
ship which got on shore was commanded by an officer
whose character is so thoroughly established." To the
Admiralty he stated, that Captain Troubridge 's conduct
was as fully entitled to praise as that of any one officer
in the squadron, and as highly deserving of reward. ^ ' It
was Troubridge, ' ' said he, ' ' who equipped the squadron
so soon at Syracuse: it was Troubridge who exerted
himself for me after the action : it was Troubridge who
saved the Culloden, when none that I know in the service
would have attempted it." The gold medal, therefore,
by the king's express desire, was given to Captain Trou-
bridge, "for his services both before and since, and for
the great and wonderful exertion which he made at the
time of the action, in saving and getting off his ship."
The private letter from the Admiralty to Nelson in-
formed him, that the First Lieutenants of all the ships

1. Magnitude of the victory. "It was this battle," says the French
naval historian, Admiral Jurien de la Graviere, "which for two years
delivered up the Mediterranean to the power of England ; left the
French army isolated among a hostile population ; decided the Porte
in declaring against it ; saved India from French enterprise ; and
brought France to the brink of ruin by reviving the smouldering
flames of war with Austria, and bringing Suvarof and the Austro-
Russians to the French frontiers." — Guerres Maritimes, Vol. I, p. 229.

The Life of Nelson 185

engaged were to be promoted. Nelson instantly wrote to
the Commander-in-Chief. "I sincerely hope," said he,
"this is not intended to exclude the First Lieutenant of
the Culloden. For Heaven 's sake — for my sake — if it be
so, get it altered. Our dear friend Troubridge has en-
dured enough. His sufferings were, in every respect,
more than any of us." To the Admiralty he wrote in
terms equally warm. *^I hope, and believe, the word
engaged is not intended to exclude the Culloden. The
merit of that ship, and her gallant captain, are too well
known to benefit by anything I could say Her mis-
fortune was great in getting aground, while her more
fortunate companions were in the full tide of happiness.
No; I am confident that my good Lord Spencer will
never add misery to misfortune. Captain Troubridge
on shore is superior to captains afloat : in the midst of
his great misfortunes he made those signals which pre-
vented certainly the Alexander and Swiftsure from run-
ning on the shoals. I beg your pardon for writing on a
subject which, I verily believe, has never entered your
lordship 's head ; but my heart, as it ought to be, is warm
to my gallant friends. ' ' Thus feelingly alive was Nelson
to the claims, and interests, and feelings of others. The
Admiralty replied, that the exception was necessary, as
the ship had not been in action : but they desired the
Commander-in-Chief to promote the Lieutenant upon the
first vacancy which should occur.

Nelson, in remembrance of an old and uninterrupted
friendship, appointed Alexander Davison sole prize-
agent for the captured ships; upon which Davison or-
dered medals to be struck in gold, for the captains; in
silver, for the lieutenants and warrant officers; in gilt
metal, for petty officers; and in copper, for the seamen
and marines. The cost of this act of liberality amounted
to nearly £2000. It is worthy of record on another ae-

186 The Life of Nelson

count : — for some of the gallant men, who received no
other honorary badge of their conduct on that memorable
day, than this copper medal, from a private individual,
years afterwards, when they died upon a foreign station,
made it their last request, that the medals might care-
fully be sent home to their respective friends. So sensi-
ble are brave men of honor, in whatever rank they may
be placed.

Three of the frigates, whose presence would have been
so essential a few weeks sooner, joined the squadron on
the twelfth day after the action. The fourth joined a few
days after them. Nelson thus received despatches, which
rendered it necessary for him to return to Naples. Be-
fore he left Egypt he burnt three of the prizes : they
could not have been fitted for a passage to Gibraltar in
less than a month, and that at a great expense, and with
the loss of the service of at least two sail of the line. *'I
rest assured, ' ' he said to the Admiralty, ' ' that they will
be paid for, and have held out that assurance to the
squadron. For if an admiral, after a victory, is to look
after the captured ships, and not to the distressing of
the enemy, very dearly indeed must the nation pay for
the prizes. I trust that £60,000 will be deemed a very
moderate sum for them : and when the services, time, and
men, with the expense of fitting the three ships for a
voyage to England, are considered. Government will save
nearly as much as they are valued at. Paying for
prizes,"^ he continued, *'is no new idea of mine, and
would often prove an amazing saving to the state, even
without taking into calculation what the nation loses
by the attention of the admirals to the property of the

1. Paying for prises. Tbe money arising from the sale of captured
ships was divided among commander, officers, and crew. Nelson
requested that a sum equal to the value of the destroyed vessels be
handed over by the Government.

The Life op Nelson 187

captori*, an attention absolutely necessary, as a recom-
pense for the exertions of the officers and men. An ad-
miral may be amply rewarded by his own feelings, and
by the approbation of his superiors; but what reward
have the inferior officers and men, but the yalue of the
prizes ? If an admiral takes that from them, on any con-
sideration, he cannot expect to be well-supported." To
Earl St. Vincent he said, "If he could have been sure
that Government would have paid a reasonable value for
them, he would have ordered two of the other prizes to
be burnt: for they would cost more in refitting, and by
the loss of ships attending them, than they were worth. ' '
Having sent the six remaining prizes forward, under
Sir James Saumarez, Nelson left Captain Hood, in the
Zealous, off Alexandria, with the Swift sure, Goliath,
Alcmene, and Emerald, and stood out to sea himself on
the seventeenth day after the battle.*

♦ "Some French officers, during the blockade of Alexandria, were
sent off to Captain Hallowell to offer a supply of vegetables, and
observe, of course, the state of the blockading squadron. They were
received with all possible civility. In the course of conversation,
after dinner, one of them remarked that we had made use of unfair
weapons during the action, by which probably the Orient was burnt;
and that General Bonaparte had expressed great indignation at it.
In proof of this assertion he stated that in the late gunboat attacks,
their camp had twice been set on fire by balls of unextinguishable mat-
ter which were fired from one of the English boats. Captain Hallowell
instantly ordered the gunner to bring up some of those balls, and asked
him from whence he had them. To the confusion of the accusers he
related that they were found on board of the 8parUate, one of the
ships captured on the 1st of August ; as these balls were distinguished
by particular marks, though in other respects alike, the Captain
ordered an experiment to be made, in order to ascertain the nature of
them. The next morning, says Mr. Willyams, I accompanied Mr. Parr,
the gunner, to the island ; the first we tried proved to be a fire-ball,
but of what materials composed we could not ascertain. As it did not
explode (which at first we apprehended), we rolled it into the sea,
where it continued to burn under water ; a black pitchy substance
exuding from it till only an iron skeleton of a shell remained. The
whole had been carefully crusted over with a substance that gave it
the appearance of a perfect shell. On setting fire to the fuse of the

188 The Life of Nelson

other, which was differently marked, it burst into many pieces ; though
somewhat alarmed, fortunately none of us were hurt. People account
differently for the fire that happened on board of the French Admiral ;
but why may it not have arisen from some of these fire-balls left, per-
haps carelessly, on the poop or cabin, where it first broke out? and
what confirms my opinion on this head Is, that several pieces of such
shells were found sticking in the BelleropJion, which she most probably
received from the first fire of L'Orient/' — Willyams^s Voyage in the
Mediterranean, p. 145. — Soiifheji's 'Note.


Nelson returns to Naples — St^te of that Court and Kingdom —
General Mack — The French approach Naples — Flight of the Eoyal
Family — Successes of the Allies in Italy — Transactions in the Bay of
Naples — Expulsion of the French from the Neapolitan and Eoman
States — Nelson is made Duke of Bronte — He leaves the Mediterra-
nean and returns to England.

Nelson ^s health had suffered greatly while he was in
the Agamemnon. "My complaint," he said, "is as if a
girth were buckled taut over my breast; and my en-
deavor in the night is to get it loose. ' ' After the battle
of Cape St. Vincent, he felt a little rest to be so essential
to his recovery, that he declared he would not continue to
serve longer than the ensuing summer, unless it should
be absolutely necessary ; for, in his own strong language,
he had then been four years and nine months without
one moment's repose for body or mind. A few months'
intermission of labor he had obtained — ^not of rest, for
it was purchased with the loss of a limb ; and the greater
part of the time had been a season of constant pain. As
soon as his shattered frame had sufficiently recovered for
him to resume his duties, he was called to services of
greater importance than any on which he had hitherto
been employed, and they brought with them commensu-
rate fatigue and care. The anxiety which he endured
during his long pursuit of the enemy was rather changed
in its direction, than abated, by their defeat: and this
constant wakefulness of thought, added to the effect of
his wound, and the exertions from which it was not pos-
sible for one of so ardent and wide-reaching a mind to
spare himself, nearly proved fatal. On his way back to


190 The Life of Nelson

Italy he was seized with fever. For eighteen hours his
life was despaired of; and even when the disorder took
a favorable turn, and he was so far recovered as again
to appear on deck, he himself thought that his end was
approaching, — such was the weakness to which the
fever and cough had reduced him. Writing to Earl St.
Vincent, on the passage, he said to him, ^'I never ex-
pect, my dear lord, to see your face again. It may please
God that this will be the finish to that fever of anxiety
which I have endured from the middle of June ; but be
that as it pleases His goodness. I am resigned to His

The kindest attentions of the warmest friendship were
awaiting him at Naples. ' ' Come here, ' ' said Sir William
Hamilton, ''for God's sake, my dear friend, as soon as
the service will permit you. A pleasant apartment is
ready for you in my house, and Emma is looking out for
the softest pillows, to repose the few wearied limbs you
have left." Happy would it have been for Nelson if
warm and careful friendship had been all that awaited
him there ! He himself saw at that time the character
of the Neapolitan court, as it first struck an Englishman,
in its true light : and when he was on the way, he de-
clared that he detested the voyage to Naples, and that
nothing but necessity could have forced him to it. But
never was any hero, on his return from victory, wel-
comed with more heartfelt joy. Before the battle of
Aboukir the court of Naples had been trembling for its
existence. The language which the Directory^ held
towards it was well described by Sir William Hamilton,
as being exactly the language of a highwayman. The
Neapolitans were told, that Benevento^ might be added

1. The Directory. See p. 123, note 2.

2. Benevento. A city and province near Naples, then under the con-
trol of the Pope.

The Life op Nelson 191

to their dominions, provided they would pay a large
sum, sufficient to satisfy the Directory; and they were
warned, that if the proposal were refused, or even if
there were any delay in accepting it, the French would
revolutionize all Italy. The joy, therefore, of the court
at Nelson's success was in proportion to the dismay from
which that success relieved them. The Queen was a
daughter of Maria Theresa,^ and sister of Marie Antoi-
nette.^ Had she been the wisest and gentlest of her sex,
it would not have been possible for her to have regarded
the French without hatred and horror : and the progress
of revolutionary opinions, while it perpetually reminded
her of her sister's fate, excited no unreasonable appre-
hensions for her own. Her feelings, naturally ardent,
and little accustomed to restraint, were excited to the
highest pitch when the news of the victory arrived. Lady
Hamilton, her constant friend and favorite, who was
present, says, "It is nof possible to describe her trans-
ports : she wept, she kissed her husband, her children,
walked frantically about the room, burst into tears again,
and again kissed and embraced every person near her;
exclaiming, ' brave Nelson ! God ! bless and protect
our brave deliverer ; Nelson ! Nelson ! what do we not
owe you! conqueror — savior of Italy! that my
swoln heart could now tell him personally what we owe
to him ! ' " She wrote to the Neapolitan ambassador
at London upon the occasion in terms which show the
fulness of her joy, and the height of the hopes w^hich it
had excited. "I wish I could give wings," said she, ''to
the bearer of the news, and, at the same time, to our mc:."j
sincere gratitude. The whole of the sea-coast of Italy is
saved; and this is owing alone to the generous English.
This battle, or, to speak more correctly, this total defeat,

1. Maria Theresa (1717-1780). Ruler over Austria and Hungary.

2. Marie Antoinette. Queen of France, wife of Louis XVI.

192 The Life op Nelson

of the regicide squadron, was obtained by the valor of
this brave Admiral, seconded by a navy which is the
terror of its enemies. The victory is so complete, that I
can still scarcely believe it : and if it were not the brave
English nation, which is accustomed to perform prodi-
gies by sea, I could not persuade myself that it had hap-
pened. It would have moved ^ you to have seen all my
children, boys and girls, hanging on my neck and crying
for joy at the happy news. — Recommend the hero to
his master : he has filled the whole of Italy with admira-
tion of the English. Great hopes were entertained of
some advantages being gained by his bravery, but no one
could look for so total a destruction. All here are drunk
with joy."

Such being the feelings of the royal family, it may well
be supposed with what delight, and with what honors,
Nelson would be welcomed. Early on the 22d of Septem-
ber the poor, wretched Vanguard^ as he called his shat-
tered vessel, appeared in sight of Naples. The Cidloden
and Alexander had preceded her by some days, and given
notice of her approach. Many hundred boats and barges
were ready to go forth and meet him, with music and
streamers, and every demonstration of joy and triumph.
Sir William and Lady Hamilton led the way in their
state barge. They had seen Nelson only for a few days
four years ago, but they then perceived in him that
heroic spirit which was now so fully and gloriously mani-
fested to the world. Emma Lady Hamilton, who from
this time so greatly influenced his future life, wa^ a
woman whose personal accomplishments have seldom
been equalled, and whose powers of mind were not less
fascinating than her person. She was passionately at-
tached, to the Queen : and by her influence the British
fleet had obtained those supplies at Syracuse, without
which, Nelson always asserted, the battle of Aboukir

The Life of Nelson 193

could not have been fought. During the long interval
which passed before any tidings were received, her anx-
iety had been hardly less than that of Nelson himself,
while pursuing an enemy of whom he could obtain no in-
formation : and when the tidings were brought her by a
joyful bearer, open-mouthed, its effect was such, that she
fell like one who had been shot. She and Sir William
had literally been made ill by their hopes and fears, and
joy at a catastrophe so far exceeding all that they had
dared to hope for. Their admiration for the hero neces-
sarily produced a degree of proportionate gratitude and
affection ; and when their barge came alongside the Van-
guard, at the sight of Nelson, Lady Hamilton sprang up
the ship's side, and exclaiming, ''0 God! is it possible!"
fell into his arms, more, he says, like one dead than
alive. He described the meeting as ''terribly affecting."
These friends had scarcely recovered from their tears,
when the King, who went out to meet him three leagues
in the royal barge, came on board and took him by
the hand, calling him his deliverer and preserver; from
all the boats around he was saluted with the same
appellations ; the multitude who surrounded him when
he landed, repeated the same enthusiastic cries ; and the
lazzaroni^ displayed their joy by holding up birds in
cages, and giving them their liberty as he passed.

His birthday, which occurred a week after his arrival,
was celebrated with one of the most splendid /e^es ever
beheld at Naples. But, notwithstanding the splendor
with which he was encircled, and the flattering honors
with which all ranks welcomed him, Nelson was fully sen-
sible of the depravity, as well as weakness, of those by
whom he was surrounded. ''What precious moments,"

1. La-:zaroni. The beggars and poorer classes of Naples, so called
from the Hospital of St. Lazarus in Naples, which served as their

194 The Life of Nelson

said lie, ''the courts of Naples and Vienna are losing!
Three months would liberate Italy! but this court is so
enervated, that the happy moment will be lost. I am
very unwell ; and their miserable conduct is not likely to
cool my irritable temper. It is a country of fiddlers,
poets, and scoundrels." This sense of their ruinous
weakness he always retained; nor was he ever blind to
the mingled folly and treachery of the Neapolitan minis-
ters, and the complication of iniquities under which the
country groaned: but he insensibly, under the influence
of Lady Hamilton, formed an affection for the court, to
whose misgovernment the miserable condition of the
country was so greatly to be imputed.

By the kindness of her nature, as well as by her attrac-
tions, she had won his heart. Earl St. Vincent, writing
to her at this time, says, "Ten thousand most grateful
thanks are due to your ladyship for restoring the health
of our invaluable friend, on whose life the fate of the
remaining governments of Europe, whose system has not
been deranged by these devils, depends. Pray do not let
your fascinating Neapolitan dames approach too near
him, for he is made of flesh and blood, and cannot resist
their temptations." But this was addressed to the very
person from whom he was in danger.

The state of Naples may be described in few words.
The King was one of the Spanish Bourbons.^ As the
Csesars have shown us to what wickedness the moral na-
ture of princes may be perverted, so in this family the
degradation to which their intellectual nature can be
reduced has been not less conspicuously evinced. Ferdi-
nand, like the rest of his race, was passionately fond of

1. The King was one of the SpanisJi Bour'bons. Ferdinand IV. son
of Charles III of Spain and grandson of Louis XIV of France, was
king of Naples and Sicily from 1759 to 1806, and again, after the
downfall of Napoleon, nntil his death in 1825. During Napoleon's
ascendancy Ferdinand continued to rule in Sicily.

The Life op Nelson 195

field-sports,* and cared for nothing else. His Queen had
all the vices of the house of Austria, with little to miti-
gate, and nothing to ennoble them : — provided she could
have her pleasures, and the King his sports, they cared
not in what manner the revenue was raised or admin-
istered. Of course a system of favoritism existed at
court, and the vilest and most impudent cormption pre-
vailed in every department of state, and in every branch
of administration, from the highest to the lowest. It is
only the institutions of Christianity, and the vicinity of
better-regulated states, which prevent kingdoms, under

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