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Villeneuve committed suicide at Rennes, April 22, 1806. *.

2. Puhlic funeral. Nelson was buried in state in St. Paul's Catbe^ ,
dral, London. ^

3. Public monument. The Nelson Column, 145 feet high, in Trafalgar!
Square, London. It is made of bronze from captured cannon, is sur-
mounted by a statue of Nelson, and has four reliefs on its pedestal
representing scenes from Nelson's four great victories — St. Vincent,
Nile, Copenhagen, and Trafalgar. Four lions, by Landseer, guard the

The Life of Nelson 359

Statues and monuments also were voted by most of our
principal cities. The leaden coffin, in which he was
brought home, was cut in pieces, which were distributed
as relics of Saint Nelson, — so the gunner of the Victory'^
called them;— and when, at his interment, his flag was
about to be lowered into the grave, the sailors, who as-
sisted at the ceremony, with one accord rent it to pieces,
that each might preserve a fragment^ while he lived.

1. Victory. The first British ship of this name fought against the
Spanish Armada i& 1588. Nelson's Victorp, the fifth of the name,
was launched in 1765, was the flagship of Admiral Keppel in 1778,
of Kempenfeldt in his action with De Guichen in 1781, of Howe In
1793, and of Jervis at Cape St. Vincent In 1797. She has since been
preserved at Portsmouth.

2. Preserve a fragment. A chamber of Nelson pictures and relics is
preserved in Greenwich Hospital, London. Describing the sensations
stirred by these memorials, Nathaniel Hawthorne writes as follows :

"It is remarkable, however, that the great naval hero of England — ■
the greatest, therefore, in the world, and of all time — had none of the
stolid characteristics that belong to his class, and cannot fairly be
accepted as their representative man. Foremost in the roughest of
professions, he was as delicately organized as a woman, and as pain-
fully sensitive as a poet. More than any other Englishman he won the
love and admiration of his country, but he won them through the
efficacy of qualities that are not English, or, at all events, were inten-
sified in his case and made poignant and powerful by something morbid
in the man, which put him otherwise at cross-purposes with life. He
was a man of genius ; and, genius in an Englishman (not to cite the
good old simile of a pearl in the oyster) is usually a symptom of a lack
of balance in the general making-up of the character ; as we may satisfy
ourselves by running over the list of their poets, for example, and
observing how many of them have been sickly or deformed, and how
often their lives have been darkened by insanity. An ordinary English-
man is the healthiest and wholesomest of human beings ; an extraor-
dinary one is almost always, in one way or another, a sick man. It
was so with Lord Nelson. The wonderful contrast or relation between
his personal qualities, the position which he held, and the life that he
lived, makes him as interesting a personage as all history has to show,
and it is a pity that Southey's biography — so good in its superficial way,
and yet so inadequate as regards any real delineation of the man —
should have taken the subject out of the hands of some writer endowed
with more delicate appreciation and deeper insight than that genuine
Englishman possessed. But Southey accomplished his own purpose,
which, apparently, was to present his hero as a pattern for England's
young midshipmen.

360 The Life of Nelson

The death of Nelson was felt in England as something
more than a public calamity : men started at the intelli-
gence, and turned pale ; as if they had heard of the loss
of a dear friend. An object of our admiration and affec-
tion, of our pride and of our hopes, was suddenly taken
from us ; and it seemed as if we had never, till then,
known how deeply we loved and reverenced him. What
the country had lost in its great naval hero — the greatest
of our own and of all former times, was scarcely taken
into the account of grief. So perfectly, indeed, had he
performed his part, that the maritime war, after the
battle of Trafalgar, was considered at an end i the fleets
of the enemy were not merely defeated, but destroyed:
new navies must be built, and a new race of seamen
reared for them, before the possibility of their invading
our shores could again be contemplated. It was not, ,
therefore, from any selfish reflection upon the magnitude *
of our loss that we mourned for him : the general sorrow
was of a higher character. The people of England
grieved that funeral ceremonies, and public monuments,
and posthumous rewards, were all which they could now
bestow upon him, whom the King, the Legislature, and


"But the English capacity for hero-worship is full to the brim with ,

what they are able to comprehend of Lord Nelson's character. Adjoin-
ing the Painted Hall is a smaller room, the walls of which are com-
pletely and exclusively adorned with pictures of the great Admiral's
exploits. We see the frail, ardent man in all the most noted events
of his career, from his encounter with a Polar bear to his death at
Trafalgar, quivering here and there ahout the room like a Mue, lamhent
flame. No Briton ever enters that apartment without feeling the beef
and ale of his composition stirred to its depths, and finding himself
changed into a hero for the nonce, however stolid his brain, however
tough his heart, however unexcitable his ordinary mood. To confess
the truth, I myself, though belonging to another parish, have been
deeply sensible to the sublime recollection there aroused, acknowledging
that Nelson expressed his life in a kind of symbolic poetry which I had
as much right to understand as these burly islanders." — Hawthorne's
Our Old HomCj A Visit to GreenicicJi and Chelsea.

The Life of Nelson 361

the nation, would have alike delighted to honor; whom
every tongue would have blessed'; whose presence in
every village through which he might have passed would
have wakened the church bells, have given schoolboys a
holiday, have drawn children from their sports to gaze
upon him, and "old men from the chimney corner,"^ to
look upon Nelson ere they died. The victory of Trafalgar
was celebrated, indeed, with the usual forms of rejoicing,
but they were without joy; for such already was the
glory of the British Navy, through Nelson's surpassing
genius, that it scarcely seemed to receive any addition
from the most signal victory- that ever was achieved
upon the seas : and the destruction of this mighty fleet,
by which all the maritime schemes of France were totally
frustrated, hardly appeared to add to our security or
strength ; for, while Nelson was living, to watch the com-
bined squadrons of the enemy, we felt ourselves as secure
as now, when they were no longer in existence.

There was reason to suppose, from the appearances
upon opening the body, that, in the course of nature, he
might have attained, like his father, to a good old age.
Yet he cannot be said to have fallen prematurely whose
work was done ; nor ought he to be lamented, who died
so full of honors, and at the height of human fame. The
most triumphant death is that of the martyr; the most
awful that of the martyred patriot; the most splendid
that of the hero in the hour of victory : and if the chariot

1, "Old men from the chimney corner.'' "He [the poet] cometh
unto you with a tale that holdeth children from play and old men
from the chimney corner " — Sir Philip Sidney, Defense of Poesy.

2. Most signal victory. Napoleon's invasion of England, postponed
by the Austrian advance and the earlier failure of Villeneuve to reach
the Channel, was definitely prevented by the destruction of the French
fleet at Trafalgar. The news reached England in time to dispel the
gloom caused by tidings of Napoleon's victories against Austria. Aa
Meredith wrote in the poem Trafalgar Day, the winds "rolled the smoke
from Trafalgar to darken Austerlitz ablaze."

'362 The Life of Nelson ^^_

and the horses of fire^ had been vouchsafed for Nelson's j
translation, he could scarcely have departed in a brighter
blaze of glory. He has left us, not indeed his mantle of
inspiration, but a name and an example, which are at
this hour inspiring thousands of the youth of England : —
a name which is our pride, and an example which will
continue to be our shield and our strength. Thus it is
that the spirits of the great and the wise continue to live
and to act after them; verifying, in this sense, the
language of the old mythologist :

To\ fiev 8aLfJL0ve<; elaL, Ato? fieydXov Bua jSouAas,
EaOXol, iTTixOovLOi, (pvXaKE's 6vy]T(ov av6p(i)7ru)V.^

1. The chariot and the horses of fire. An allusion to the prophet
Elijah's ascent into Heaven, II Kings, ii, 11-14. The mantle of the
prophet fell upon his successor, Ellsha.

2. "These god-like spirits, through the will of almighty Zeus, are
beneficent, and remain ©n earth as the protectors of mortal men." —
Hesiod, Works and Days, 122, 123.



Aback (taken). See p. 106.
Aft, after. Toward the stern.
Athwart-hawse. Across the course
of a vessel; across her bow.

Back a sail. To shift a square-sail
so that it presses back against
the mast, thus checking the
ship's headway.

Barge, A large boat supplied only
to flag-ships for the use of flag
officers. Barge's crew, see p. 120.

Bear up. To turn with the wind,
to leeward.

Beat. To make progress against
the wind by sailing in tacks, or
zig-zag courses.

Berth. The place where a man
sleeps. Also, a vessel's assigned
position or station.

Bits. Upright timbers in the deck
to which ropes and cables are
made fast.

Bomb, bomb-vessel. See p. 31.

Boom. A long spar used to spread
the foot of a sail.

Bow. The forward end of a vessel.

Bower anchor. See p. 37.

Bowsprit. A large, strong spar ex-
tending from the bow.

Braces. Ropes attached to the
ends of yards. Brace up, to swing
the yards to a position nearly
parallel with the ship's keel, for
sailing into the wind.

Brails. Ropes used in furling fore-
and-aft sails. Brailed up, said of
a sail taken in by means of

Brig. A square-rigged vessel with,
two masts.

Bring-to. To turn into the wind;
to stop.

Broad pendant. See p. 59.

Broadside. All the guns on one
side of a ship; or a simultaneous
discharge from all of them.

Bulkhead. See p, 319. .

Cable. The chain by which a ves-
sel is secured to her anchor.
Catle's length, about 120 fathoms,
or 720 feet.

Capstem (capstan) bar. See p. 84.

Captain of the fleet. See p. 248.

Carried away. See p. 104.

Cartel. See p. 99

Chains. Iron bars by which the
shrouds holding the masts are
made fast to the ship's sides.
They are designated as fore,
main, and niizzen chains accord-
ing to the mast with which
they are connected.

Clew lip. To take in a sail by rais-
ing it to the yard above.

Cockle-boat. A small, light boat
used only in protected waters.

Cockpit. An apartment below the
waterline, aft; occupied by
wounded men during an engage-

Commissioned officer. See p. 158.

Convoy. Merchant-vessels under
the protection of a man-of-war.

Corvette. See p. 84.

Coxswain. One appointed to com-
mand a captain's barge or other-
ship's boat.

Crossjack yard. The spar support-
ing the crossjacJc, or lowest
square-sail on the mizzenmast.

Cutter. See p. 30.

Drive. To drift before the wind.

Driver. A name formerly given to
the spanker or large fore-and-
aft sail on the mizzenmast.

Embargro. An order forbidding
vessels to leave port.

Ensign. A flag indicating na-


The Life of Nelson

Fall off. To turn with the wind.

Fell on board. See p. 136.

Fathom. Six feet.

Fire-ship. A vessel with combust-
ibles or explosives, sent among'
enemy ships to set them on fire.

Flag-ship. The vessel bearing the

Fore. A prefix designating the
forward part of a vessel, or ob-
jects in that direction.

Fore-and-aft saU. A sail rigged
on a boom and gaff, instead of
yards; like the mainsail of a
cat- boat or sloop.

Fore-brace. A rope attached to
the lowermost yard on the fore-
mast. Fore-'brace bit, an upright
post in the deck to which the
fore-brace is made fast.

Forecastle. The crew's quarters,
forward. Also the upper deck
forward of the foremast.

Foremast. The mast nearest the
bow in a vessel with more than
one mast.

Foretop. See p. 38.

Frigate. See p. 26.

Furl. To take in a sail.

Galley. Applied In modern times
to small war-vessels propelled
primarily by oars, whether
rigged with sails or not.

Gangways. The upper deck near
the sides, between the quarter-
deck and the forecastle.

Going large. Sailing with the wind

Guardship. See p. 29.

Gunboat. Applied in former times
to a small craft mounting a
single gun.

Hanger. See p. 41.

Haul off. To withdraw.

Heave-to. To check or stop a ves-
sel's progress. Hove in stays, see
p. 105.

Ice anchor. See p. 32.

Jolly boat. A small boat carried
at the stern.

liandridge shot. See p. 173.

Larboard. The left side of a ship,
looking forward.

Launch. The largest of a ship's

Lead. A rope with a weight at-
tached for taking the depth of

Leading wind. See p. 257.

League. See p. 144.

Lee, leeward. On the side not ex-
posed to the wind; the sheltered

Log. The ship's journal, a record
kept by the officers.

Long-boat. See p 30

Luff. To turn the head of a vessel
toward the wind; to sail closer
to the wind.

Lugger. A small vessel with lug-
sails hoisted on yards swung at
an angle to the mast.

Main. A prefix designating the
sails, rigging, etc., of the main-

Main-brace. A rope attached to
the lowermost yard on the main-

Mainmast. The middle mast of a
ship; the after mast of a brig
or schooner.

Mainsail. In a square-rigged ship,
the lower square-sail on the

Mainyard. The yard that supports
the mainsail. See p. 33.

Marines. Soldiers serving on ship-

Master. See p. 42.

Master's mate. See p. 30.

Midshipman. See p. 38.

Mid-watch. See p. 34.

Mizzen. A prefix designating the
sails, rigging, etc., of the niiz-

Mizzenmast. The aftermost mast
of a three-masted vessel.

Mizzen-peak. The upper outer
corner of the fore-and-aft sail
on the mizzenmast.

Mole. See p. 114.

Mortar-boat. A small vessel
mounting mortars, i.e., short
guns of large bore for firing
shells at high angles.

Glossary of Nautical Terms


Points (of a compass). The thirty-
two divisions of the compass
card, the cardinal points being
north, east, south, and west.

Pontoons. Flat-bottomed barges
or lighters.

Poop. A raised deck at the stern.
Hence, in general, the after part
of a vessel.

Port-fire. See p. 176.

Ports. Openings in the side of a
vessel; especially openings
through which cannon may be

Post captain. See p. 42.

Praams. See p. 267.

Privateer. A privately owned ves-
sel commissioned by a govern-
ment to engage in warfare.

Prize. A vessel captured from the
enemy in time of war.

Prize-agents. See p. 69.

Quadrant. See p. 59.

Quarter. That part of a vessel's
side from about opposite the
mainmast to the stern. On the
quarter^ see p. 60.

Quarter-decls. The upper deck be-
tween the mainmast and the
stern, reserved for the use of

Quarter-gallery. See p. 136.

Quartermaster. A petty officer sta-
tioned on the quarter-deck to
tend the helm and in general to
assist the sailing-master in his

Badeaus. Rafts.

Bake. To fire from such a posi-
tion that the shots range the
whole length of an enemy ship.

Bates. See p. 26.

Beceivingr ship. See p. 71.

Begister ship. See p. 43,

Bigging. A general term applied
to all the ropes of a vessel; or,
more particularly, to the shrouds
and stays of the masts, as main
rigging, mizzen rigging,

Boads. An anchorage outside a
port, more exposed than a har-

Boiling ground. See p. 292.

Eoyal. The name of the fourth
mast above the deck, next above
the topgallant mast. Used also
to designate the sail and yard
of this mast.

Serve. 1. To wind a small rope or
rope-yarn around a larger rope,
to prevent chafing. 2. To wind
a rope .iround any object.

Shank. See p. 37.

Sheathed. Covered on the outside.

Ship. 1. Strictly, a vessel with
three masts, square-rigged. 2. A
ship-of-the-line. 3. Any large,
sea-going vessel.

Ship-of-the-Iine. See p. 26.

Shiver. To loosen a sail so that it
flaps in the wind.

Shrouds. Rope stays supporting a
mast from the sides. The
shrouds of the upper masts run
to cross-trees, and those of the
lower masts to the sides of the

Sloop-of-war. See p. 26.

Slops. See p. 71.

Sound. To try the depth of water
by means of a lead or other-

Spars. \. general term for masts,
yards, booms, etc., used to sup-
port sails. Applied particularly
to the masts.

Spritsail. A sail carried in former
times underneath the bowsprit.

Spritsail yard. A spar crossing the
bowsprit horizontally and at
right angles, used to support the

Starboard. The right side of a ves-
sel, looking forward.

Stern. The after end of a vessel.

Stern-chasers. See p. 267.

Studding-sails. Sails set on sliding
booms beyond the lower square-
sails; carried only in moderate

Supercargo. An agent placed in
charge of a ship's cargo.

Swivel. See p. 46.

Tack. 1. To turn a vessel about
by bringing her bow into the
wind — the opposite of wear.


The Life of Nelson

2. The course of a vessel in
beating against the wind, called
starboard or larboard (port) ac-
cording as the wind strikes on
the right or the left side.

Taken aback. See aback.

Tender. See p. 41.

Thrap. (variant of frap). To bind
or strengthen with ropes or

Tiller. A bar extending forward
from the rudder-post, for turn-
ing the rudder.

Tiller-ropes. Ropes running from
the tiller to the steering wheel.

Top. A platform at the head of a
lower mast, for the convenience
of men aloft.

Topgallant. The name of the third
mast above the deck, next above
the topmast. Used also to
designate the sail, yard, and
rigging of this mast.

Topmast. The second mast above
the deck.

Topsail. The sail of a topmast;
the second square-sail above the

Topsail breeze. See p. 250.

Transports. Vessels engaged in
carrying troops or supplies.

VaUed. See p. 253.
Van. See p. 106.
Veer, See p. 84.

Warp. To heave a vessel forward
by ropes attached to anchors or
other objects ahead.

Warrant carpenter. See p. 158.

Watch and watch. See p. 38.

Water-logged. Applied to a vessel
with so much water in her hold
that she is not easily steered.

Wear (pret. and past participle,
wore). To turn a vessel about
by swinging the bow with the
wind, instead of against it, as in

Weather. Windward; in the di-
rection from which the wind

Weigh. To hoist anchor; to get
under w^ay.

Wind (on a). See p. 161.

Yard. A spar swung by its center
to a mast, and carrying a



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Online LibraryRobert SoutheySouthey's Life of Nelson → online text (page 29 of 29)