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by the murderous defeat which they suffered from the
main body. Flying into the city, they continued to de-
fend it, even after the French had planted their artillery
in the principal streets. Had there been a man of genius
to have directed their enthusiasm, or had there been any
correspondent feelings in the higher ranks, Naples might
have set a glorious example to Europe, and have proved
the grave of every Frenehman who entered it. But the
vices of the government had extinguished all other pa-
triotism than that of a rabble, who had no other virtue
than that sort of loyalty which was like the fidelity of a
dog to its master. This fidelity the French and their
adherents counteracted by another kind of devotion : the
priests affirmed that St. Januarius^ had declared in favor-
of the revolution. The miracle of his blood was per-
formed with the usual success, and more than usual
effect, on the very evening when, after two days of des-
perate fighting, the French obtained possession of Na-
ples. A French guard of honor was stationed at his
church. Championet gave, "Respect for St. Januarius !"
as the word for the army ; and the next day Te Deumwa^

1. St. Januarius. Bishop of Benevento, beheaded by Diocletian
about 300 A.D. Relics asserted to be the head and blood of the saint
are preserved in the cathedral at Naples. The blood is said to have
the miraculous pov/er of becoming liquid when brought near the head ;

its failure to liquefy is a presage of disaster.

208 The Life op Nelson

sung by the archbishop, in the cathedral ; and the inhab-
itants were invited to attend the ceremony, and join in
thanksgiving for the glorious entry of the French ; who,
it was said, being under the peculiar protection of Provi-
dence, had regenerated the Neapolitans, and were come to
establish and consolidate their happiness.

It seems to have been Nelson's opinion, that the Aus-
trian cabinet regarded the conquest of Naples with com-
placency, and that its measures were directed so as
designedly not to prevent the French from overrunning
it. That cabinet was assuredly capable of any folly and
of any baseness : and it is not improbable that, at this
time, calculating upon the success of the new coalition, it
indulged a dream of adding extensively to its former
Italian possessions; and, therefore, left the few remain-
ing powers of Italy to be overthrown, as a means which
would facilitate its own ambitious views. The King of
Sardinia, finding it impossible longer to endure the exac-
tions of France, and the insults of the French commis-
sary, went to Leghorn, embarked on board a Danish
frigate, and sailed, under British protection, to Sardinia
— that part of his dominions which the maritime suprem-
acy of England rendered a secure asylum. On his arrival
he published a protest against the conduct of France;
declaring, upon the faith and word of a king, that he
had never infringed, even in the slightest degree, the
treaties which he had made with the French republic.
Tuscany was soon occupied by French troops : a fate
which bolder policy might, perhaps, have failed to avert,
but which its weak and timid neutrality rendered in-
evitable. Nelson began to fear even for Sicily. "Oh,
my dear sir," said he, writing to Commodore Duckworth,
"'one thousand English troops would save Messina, — and
I fear General Stuart cannot give me men to save this
most important island!" But his representations were

The Life of Nelson 209

not lost upon Sir Charles Stuart: this officer hastened
immediately from Minorca, with a thousand men, assisted
in the measures of defense which were taken, and did
not return before he had satisfied himself, that, if the
Neapolitans were excluded from the management of af-
fairs, and the spirit of the peasantry properly directed,
Sicily was safe. Before his coming, Nelson had offered
the King, if no resources should arrive, to defend Mes-
sina with the ship's company of an English man-of-

Eussia had now entered into the war. Corfu surren-
dered to a Russian and Turkish fleet, acting now, for
the first time, in strange confederacy; yet against a
power which was certainly the common and worst enemy
of both. Troubridge, having given up the blockade of
Alexandria to Sir Sidney Smith, joined Nelson, bringing
with him a considerable addition of strength; and in
himself, what Nelson valued more, a man upon whose
sagacity, indefatigable zeal, and inexhaustible resources^
he could place full reliance. Troubridge was instructed
to commence the operations against the French in the
Bay of Naples. Meantime Cardinal Ruffo,^ a man of
questionable character, but of a temper fitted for such
times, having landed in Calabria, raised what he called
a Christian army, composed of the best and the vilest
materials ; loyal peasants, enthusiastic priests and friars,
galley slaves, the emptying of the jails, and banditti.
The islands in the Bay of Naples were joyfully delivered
up by the inhabitants, who were in a state of famine
already, from the effect of this baleful revolution. Trou-

1. Cardinal Ruffo. Fabrizio Ruffo (1744-1827), a Neapolitan who,,
though not an ordained priest, had risen to the rank of cardinal in
the papal service. Ferdinand made him vicar-general, and entrusted
him with the task of stirring up the peasantry against the French
government in Naples. Nelson called him "the great devil who com-
mancZod Vzg Christian army."

210 The Life op Nelson

bridge distributed among' them all his flour ; and Nelson
pressed the Sicilian court incessantly for supplies, tell-
ing them, that £10,000 given away in provisions would,
at this time, purchase a kingdom. Money, he was told,
they had not to give ; and the wisdom and integrity which
might have supplied its want, were not to be found.
^' There is nothing," said he, "which I propose that
is not, as far as orders go, implicitly complied with :
but the execution is dreadful, and almost makes me
mad. My desire to serve their Majesties faithfully, as
is my duty, has been such, that I am almost blind and
worn out; and cannot, in my present state, hold much
longer. ' '

Before any government can be overthrown by the con-
sent of the people, the government must be intolerably
oppressive, or the people thoroughly corrupted. Bad as
the misrule of Naples had been, its consequences had been
felt far less there than in Sicily ; and the peasantry had
that attachment to the soil, which gives birth to so many
of the noblest, as well as of the happiest feelings. In all
the islands the people were perfectly frantic with joy,
when they saw the Neapolitan colors hoisted. At Procida,^
Troubridge could not procure even a rag of the tri-col-
ored flag to lay at the King's feet; it was rent into ten
thousand pieces by the inhabitants, and entirely de-
stroyed. ''The horrid treatment of the French," he
said, ' 'had made them mad. ' ' It exasperated the ferocity
of a character which neither the laws nor the religion
under which they lived tended to mitigate. Their hatred
w^as especially directed against the Neapolitan revolution-
ists; and the fishermen, in concert among themselves,
chose each his own victim, whom he would stiletto when
the day of vengeance should arrive. The head of one
was sent off one morning to Troubridge, with his basket

1. Procida. An island near Naples.

The Life of Nelson 211

of grap'cs for breakfast, — and a note from the
Italian who had what he called the glory of present-
ing it, saying, he had killed the man as he was running
away, and begging his Excellency to accept the head,
and consider it as a proof of the writer's attachment to
the crown. With the first success of the court the work
of punishment began. The judge at Ischia^ said it was
necessary to have a bishop to degrade the traitorous
priests before he could execute them : upon which Trou-
bridge advised him to hang them first, and send them
to him afterwards, if he did not think that degradation
sufficient. This was said with the straightforward feel-
ing of a sailor, who cared as little for canon law as he
knew about it : but when he discovered that the judge 's
orders were to go through the business in a summary
manner, under his sanction, he told him at once, that
could not be, for the prisoners were not British subjects ;
and he declined having anything to do with it. There
were manifestly persons about the oourt, who, while they
thirsted for the pleasure of vengeance, were devising how
to throw the odium of it upon the English. They wanted
to employ an English man-of-war to carry the priests
to Palermo, for degradation, and then bring them back
for execution; — and they applied to Troubridge for a
hangman, which he indignantly refused. He, meantime,
was almost heartbroken by the situation in which he
found himself. He had promised relief to the islanders,
relying upon the Queen's promise to him. He had dis-
tributed the whole of his private stock, — there was plenty
of grain at Palermo, and in its neighborhood, and yet
none was sent him: the enemy, he complained, had more
interest there than the King ; and the distress for bread,
which he witnessed, was such, he said, that it would move
even a Frenchman to pity.

1. Ischia. An island in the Bay of Naples.

212 Thz Life of Nelson

Nelson's heart too was at this time ashore. "To tell
you/' he says, writing to Lady Hamilton, ''how dreary
and uncomfortable the Vanguard appears, is only telling
you what it is to go from the pleasantest society to a soli-
tary cell ; or from the dearest friends to no friends. I am
now perfectly the great man, — not a creature near me.
From my heart I wish myself the little man again. You
and good Sir William have spoiled me for any place,
but with you."

His mind was not in a happier state respecting pub-
lic affairs. "As to politics," said he, "at this time they
are my abomination : — the ministers of kings and princes
are as great scoundrels as ever lived. The brother of the
Emperor is just going to marry the great something of
Russia, and it is more than expected that a kingdom is to
be found for him in Italy, and that the King of Naples
will be sacrificed." Had there been a wise and manly
spirit in the Italian states, or had the conduct of Austria
been directed by anything like a principle of honor, a
more favorable opportunity could not have been desired,
for restoring order and prosperity in Europe, than the
misconduct of the French Directory at this time afforded.
But Nelson saw selfishness and knavery wherever he'
looked ; and even the pleasure of seeing a cause prosper,
in which he was so zealously engaged, was poisoned by his
sense of the rascality of those with whom he was com-
pelled to act. At this juncture intelligence arrived that
the French fleet had escaped from Brest, under cover of a
fog, passed Cadiz unseen by Lord Keith's squadron, in
hazy weather, and entered the Mediterranean. It was
said to consist of twenty-four sail of the line, six frigates,
and three sloops. The object of the French was to lib-
erate the Spanish fleet, form a junction with them, act
against Minorca and Sicily, and overpower our naval
force in the Mediterranean by falling in with detached

The Life of Nelson 213

squadrons, and thus destroying it in detail. When they
arrived at Carthagena, they requested the Spanish ships
to make sail and join; but the Spaniards replied, they
had not men to man them. To this it was answered, that
the French had men enough on board for that purpose.
But the Spaniards seem to have been apprehensive of
delivering up their ships thus entirely into the power of
such allies, and refused to come out. The fleet from
Cadiz, however, consisting of from seventeen to twenty
sail of the line, got out, under Masaredo,^ a man who
then bore an honorable name, which he has since rendered
infamous by betraying his country. They met with a
violent storm off the coast of Oran, which dismasted many
of their ships, and so effectually disabled them, as to
prevent the junction, and frustrated a well planned

Before this occurred, and while the junction was as
probable as it would have been. formidable. Nelson was
in a state of the greatest anxiety. ''"What a state am I
in!" said he to Earl St. Vincent. *'If I^go, I risk, and
more than risk Sicily : for we know, from experience,
that more depends upon opinion than upon acts them-
selves : and as I stay, my heart is breaking. ' ' His first
business was to summon. Troubridge to join him, with all
the ships of the line under his command, and a frigate, if
possible. Then hearing that the French had entered the
Mediterranean, and expecting them at Palermo, where he
had only his own ship, with that single ship he prepared
to make all the resistance possible. Troubridge having
joined him, he left Captain E. J. Foote, of the Seahorse,
to command the smaller vessels in the Bay of Naples, and
sailed with six ships, one a Portuguese, and a Portuguese
corvette; telling Earl St. Vincent that the squadron

1. Masaredo (or Mazareddo). A Spanish admiral; later a supporter
of Napoleon in Spain.

214 ' The Life of Nelson

should never fall into the hands of the enemy. ^'And
before we are destroyed," said he, "I have little doubt
but they will have their wings so completely clipped, that
they may be easily overtaken. ' ' It was just at this time
that he received from Captain Hallowell the present of
the coffin.^ Such a present was regarded by the men with
natural astonishment: one of his old shipmates in the
Agamemnon said : "We shall have hot work of it indeed!
You see the Admiral intends to fight till he is killed ; and
there he is to be buried." Nelson placed it upright
against the bulkhead of his cabin, behind his chair, where
he sat at dinner. The gift suited him at this time. It is
said that he was disappointed in the step-son^ whom he
had loved so dearly from his childhood, and who had
saved his life at Teneriffe : and it is certain that he had
now formed an infatuated attachment for Lady Hamil-
ton, which totally weaned his affections from his wife.
Further than this, there is no reason to believe that this
most unfortunate attachment was criminal : but this was
criminality enough, and it brought with it its punish-
ment. Nelson was dissatisfied with himself, and therefore
weary of the world. This feeling he now frequently ex-
pressed. ' ' There is no true happiness in this life, ' ' said
he; "and in my present state I could quit it with a
smile." And in a letter to his old friend Davison, he
said : ' ' Believe me, my only wish, is to sink with honor into
the grave ; and when that shall please God, I shall meet
death with a smile. Not that I am insensible to the honors
and riches my King and country have heaped upon me —
so much more than any officer could deserve; yet I am
ready to quit this world of trouble, and envy none but
those of the estate six feet by two. ' '

Well had it been for Nelson if he had made no other

1. Present of the coffin. See p. 178.

2. Disappointed in the step-son. See page 80, Bote 1, and p. 150.

The Life of Nelson 215

sacrifices to this unhappy attachment than his peace of
mind; but it led to the only blot upon his public char-
acter. While he sailed from Palermo, with the intention
of collecting his whole force, and keeping off Maretimo,^
either to receive reinforcements there, if the French were
bound upwards, or to hasten to Minorca, if that should be
their destination. Captain Foote, in the Seahorse, with
the Neapolitan frigates and some small vessels under his
command, was left to act with a land force consisting of a
few regular troops, of four different nations, and with the
armed rabble which Cardinal Ruffo called the Christian
army. His directions were, to co-operate to the utmost of
his power with the royalists, at whose head Euffo had
been placed ; and he had no other instructions whatever.
Ruffo advancing, without any plan, but relying upon the
enemy ^s want of numbers, which prevented them from
attempting to act upon the offensive, and ready to take
advantage of any accident which might occur, approached
Naples. Fort St. Elmo, which commands the town, was
wholly garrisoned by the French troops; the castles of
Uovo and Nuovo, which commanded the anchorage, were
chiefly defended by Neapolitan revolutionists, the power-
ful men among them having taken shelter there. If these
castles were taken, the reduction of Fort St. Elmo would
be greatly expedited. They were strong places, and there
was reason to apprehend that the French fleet might
arrive to relieve them, Ruffo proposed to the garrison
to capitulate, on condition that their persons and prop-
erty should be guaranteed, and that they should, at their
own option, either be sent to Toulon or remain at Naples,
without being molested either in their persons or families.
This capitulation was accepted: it was signed by the
Cardinal, and the Russian and Turkish commanders;
and, lastly, by Captain Foote, as commander of the

1. Maretimo (or Marittimo). A small island west of Sicily.

216 The Life op Nelson

British force. About six-and-thirty hours afterwards
Nelson arrived in the Bay, with a force, which had joined
him during his cruise, consisting of seventeen sail of the
line, with seventeen hundred troops on board, and the
Prince Royal of Naples in the Admiral's ship. A flag of
truce was flying on the castles, and on board the Seahorse.
Nelson made a signal to annul the treaty, declaring that
he would grant rebels no other terms than those of un-
conditional submission. The Cardinal objected to this;
nor could all the arguments of Nelson, Sir William Ham-
ilton, and Lady Hamilton, who took an active part in
the conference, convince him that a treaty of such a
nature, solemnly concluded, could honorably be set aside.
He retired at last, silenced by Nelson's authority, but not
convinced. Captain Foote was sent out of the Bay; and
the garrisons, taken out of the castles, under pretence of
carrying the treaty into effect, were delivered over as
rebels to the vengeance of the Sicilian court. — A deplor-
able transaction ! a stain upon the memory of Nelson, and
the honor of England ! To palliate it would be in vain ;
to justify it would be wicked : there is no alternative for
one who will not make himself a participator in guilt, but
to record the disgraceful story* with sorrow and with

Prince Francesco Caraccioli, a younger branch of one
of the noblest Neapolitan families, escaped from one of

• In one of his letters to Lady Hamilton, written a few weeks before
this fatal transaction, Nelson says in speaking of the Queen : "I de-
clare to God, my whole study is how to meet her approbation." —
Bouthey's Note. In the opinion of Admiral Mahan (Life of Nelson,
vol. i, p. 432), Nelson, whether justified or not, was at least within
his rights in annulling the treaty, which had been executed by parties
acting as representatives and not as principals, and not accredited for
that specific purpose. RuflEo, indeed, had according to Nelson acted
"in direct disobedience" of the King's orders. It is a disputed point,
furthermore, whether any steps had been taken to put the treaty into
execution. Nelson's fault lay chiefly in subordinating his duties as a
British naval officer to those as a representative of the King of Naples,

The Life of Nelson 217

these castles before it capitulated. He was at the head
of the marine, and was nearly seventy^ years of age, bear-
ing a high character, both for professional and personal
merit. He had accompanied the court to Sicily : but
when the revolutionary government, or Parthenopsean ^
Republic, as it was called, issued an edict, ordering all
absent Neapolitans to return, on pain of confiscation of
their property, he solicited and obtained permission of
the King to return, his estates being very great. It is
said that the King, when he granted him this permission,
warned him not to take any part in politics ; expressing,
at the same time, his own persuasion that he should re-
cover his kingdom. But neither the King, nor he him-
self ought to have imagined that, in such times, a man
of such reputation would be permitted to remain inactive ;
and it soon appeared that Caraccioli was again in com-
mand of the nsiYy, and serving under the republic against
his late sovereign. The sailors reported that he was
forced to act thus ; and this was believed, till it was seen
that he directed ably the offensive operations of the revo-
lutionists, and did not avail himself of opportunities for
escaping when they offered. When the recovery of Naples
was evidently near, he applied to Cardinal Ruffo, and to
the Duke of Calvirrano, for protection; expressing his
hope, that the few days during which he had been forced
to obey the French would not outweigh forty years of
faithful services; but, perhaps not receiving such assur-
ances as he wished, and knowing too well the temper of
the Sicilian court, he endeavored to secrete himself, and
a price was set upon his head. More unfortunately for
others than for himself, he was brought in alive, having

1. Nearly seventy years of age. Caraccioli was born in 1732, and
was thus sixty-seven at the time of his death. (En eye. Brit.)

2. Parthenopwan Republic. So called from Parthenope, the ancient
name of Naples. Nelson referred to it In his letters as the "Vesuvlan

218 The Life op Nelson

been discovered in the disguise of a peasant, and carried
one morning on board Lord Nelson 's ship, with his hands
tied behind him.

Caraccioli was well known to the British officers, and
had been ever highly esteemed by all who knew him. Cap-
tain Hardy ordered him immediately to be unbound, and
to be treated with all those attentions which he felt due to
a man who, when last on board the Foudroyant, had been
received as an admiral and a prince. Sir William and
Lady Hamilton were in the ship, but Nelson, it is af-
firmed, saw no one except his own officers during the
tragedy which ensued. His own determination was made ;
and he issued an order to the Neapolitan commodore,
Oount Thurn, to assemble a court-martial of Neapolitan
officers, on board the British flag-ship, proceed immedi-
ately to try the prisoner, and report to him, if the
charges were proved, what punishment he ought to suf-
fer. These proceedings were as rapid as possible;
Caraccioli was brought on board at nine in the forenoon,
and the trial began at ten. It lasted two hours : he
averred, in his defence, that he had acted under com-
pulsion, having been compelled to serve as a common
soldier, till he consented to take command of the fleet.'
This, the apologists of Lord Nelson say, he failed in
proving. They forget that the possibility of proving it
was not allowed him ; for he was brought to trial within
an hour after he was legally in arrest ; and how, in that
time, was he to collect his witnesses? He was found
guilty, and sentenced to death; and Nelson gave orders
that the sentence should be carried into effect that even-
ing, at five o'clock, on board the Sicilian frigate. La
Minerva, by hanging him at the fore-yard-arm till sunset ;
when the body was to be cut down and thrown into the
sea. Caraccioli requested Lieutenant Parkinson, under
whose custody he was placed, to intercede with Lord

The Life of Nelson 219

Nelson for a second trial, — for this, among other reasons,
that Count Thurn, who presided at the court-martial, was
notoriously his personal enemy. Nelson made answer,
that the prisoner had been fairly tried by the officers of
his own country, and he could not interfere — forgetting
that, if he felt himself justified in ordering the trial and
the execution, no human being could ever have questioned
the propriety of his interfering on the side of mercy.
Caraccioli then entreated that he might be shot, — ' ' I am
an old man, sir, ' ' said he ; ' ' I leave no family to lament
me, and therefore cannot be supposed to be very anxious
about prolonging my life; but the disgrace of being
hanged is dreadful to me." When this was repeated to
Nelson, he only told the Lieutenant, with much agitation,
to go and attend to his duty. As a last hope, Caraccioli
asked the Lieutenant if he thought an application to
Lady Hamilton would be beneficial ? Parkinson went to
seek her. She was not to-be seen on this occasion, — ^but
she was present at the execution. She had the most
devoted attachment to the Neapolitan court; and the
hatred which she felt against those whom she regarded
as its enemies made her, at this time, forget what was

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