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the good.^ But when the French Revolution began, it
seemed as if the restoration of Corsica was at hand.
The whole country, as if animated by one spirit, rose
and demanded liberty; and the National Assembly^
passed a decree, recognizing the island as a department
of France, and therefore entitled to all the privileges of
the new French constitution. This satisfied the Cor-
sicans, which it ought not to have done; and Paoli, in
whom the ardor of youth was past, seeing that his coun-
trymen were contented, and believing that they were
about to enjoy a state of freedom, naturally wished to
return to his native country. He resigned his pension in
the year 1790, and appeared at the bar of the Assembly
with the Corsican deputies, when they took the oath of
fidelity to France, But the course of events in France
soon dispelled those hopes of a new and better order of
things, which Paoli, in common with so many friends of
humankind, had indulged: and perceiving, after the
execution of the King,^ that a civil war was about to

1. Admiration of the good. In England Paoli became Intimate with
the literary circle which Included Johnson, Burke, Goldsmith, Garrlck,
Reynolds, and Boswell. He is mentioned frequently in Boswell's Life
of Johnson.

2. National A88eml)ly. Otherwise known as the Constituent (con-
stitution-making) Assembly, formed In June, 1789, by combining the
three bodies of the old States-General, and In session till Sept. 30,
1791. It was followed by the Legislative Assembly (Oct. 1, 1791-
Sept. 21, 1792), elected under the new constitution.

3. Execution of the king. Louis XVI was guillotined Jan. 21, 1793.

94 The Life op Nelson

ensue, of which no man could foresee the issue, he pre-
pared to break the connection between Corsica and the
French republic. The Convention,^ suspecting such a
design, and perhaps occasioning it by their suspicions,
ordered him to their bar. That way, he well knew, led
to the guillotine ; and, returning a respectful answer, he
declared that he would never be found wanting in his
duty, but pleaded age and infirmity as a reason for dis-
obeying the summons. Their second order was more
summary: and the French troops who were in Corsica,
aided by those of the natives, who were either influenced
by hereditary party feelings, or who were sincere in
Jacobinism,^ took the field against him. But the people
were with him. He repaired to Corte, the capital of the
island, and was again invested with the authority which
he had held in the noonday of his fame. The Conven-
tion, upon this, denounced him as a rebel, and set a price
upon his head. It was not the first time that France had
proscribed Paoli.

Paoli now opened a correspondence with Lord Hood,
promising, if the English would make an attack upon St.
Fiorenzo from the sea, he would, at the same time, attack
it by land. This promise he was unable to perform : and
Commodore Linzee, who, in reliance upon it, was sent
upon this service, was repulsed with some loss. Lord
Hood, who had now been compelled to evacuate Toulon,
suspected Paoli of intentionally deceiving him. This
was an injurious^ suspicion. Shortly afterwards he des-
patched Lieutenant-Colonel (afterwards Sir John)

1. The Convention. The National Convention, in control of France
from Sept. 21, 1792, to Oct. 27, 1795.

2. Jacotinism. A term applied to radical republicanism at the time
of the French Revolution. The name v^ras derived from the political
club of which Marat, Danton, Robespierre and others of the more vio-
lent revolutionists were members, and which met in an old Jacobin or
Dominican convent.

3. Injurious. Unjustified.

The Life op Nelson 95

Moore^ and Major Koehler to confer with him upon a
plan of operations. Sir Gilbert Elliot accompanied
them : and it was agreed, that, in consideration of the
succors, both military and naval, which his Britannic
Majesty should afford for the purpose of expelling the
French, the island of Corsica should be delivered into
the immediate possession of his Majesty, and bind itself
to acquiesce in any settlement he might approve of con-
cerning its government and its future relation with
Great Britain. "While this negotiation was going on,
Nelson cruised off the island with a small squadron, to
prevent the enemy from throwing in supplies. Close
to St. Fiorenzo the French had a store-house of flour,
near their only mill : he watched an opportunity, and
landed 120 men, who threw the flour into the sea, burnt
the mill, and re-embarked before 1,000 men, who were
sent against him, could occasion him the loss of a single
man. While he exerted himself thus, keeping out all
supplies, intercepting despatches, attacking their out-
posts and forts, and cutting out vessels from the bay, —
a species of warfare w^hich depresses the spirit of an
enemy more than it injures them, because of the sense
of individual superiority which it indicates in the assail-
ants, — troops were landed, and St. Fiorenzo was be-
sieged. The French, finding themselves unable to main-
tain their post, sunk one of their frigates, burnt another,
and retreated to Bastia. Lord Hood submitted to Gen-
eral Dundas, who commanded the land forces, a plan
for the reduction of this place : the general declined co-
operating, thinking the attempt impracticable, without a
reinforcement of 2,000 men, which he expected from

1. Sir John Moore. Moore died in 1809 at Corunna, Spain, from a
wound received during the retreat of his army before superior French
forces. A monument In his honor was erected by French officers,
and his death commemorated in Wolfe's well-known poem, The Burial
of Sir John Moore.

96 The Life of Nelson

Gibraltar. Upon this Lord Hood determined to reduce
it with the naval force under his command; and leaving
part of his fleet off Toulon, he came with the rest to

He showed a proper sense of respect for Nelson's
services, and of confidence in his talents, by taking care
not to bring with him any older captain.^ A few days
before their arrival, Nelson had had what he called a
brush with the enemy. ''If I had had with me five
hundred troops," he said, ''to a certainty I should have
stormed the town, and I believe it might have been
carried. Armies go so slow, that seamen think they
never mean to get forward : but I daresay they act on a
surer principle, although we seldom fail. ' ' During this
partial action our army appeared upon the heights ; and
having reconnoitred the place, returned to St. Fiorenzo.
''What the general could have seen to make a retreat
necessary," said Nelson, "I cannot comprehend. A
thousand men would certainly take Bastia ; with five hun-
dred and Agamemnon I would attempt it. My seamen
are now what British seamen ought to be — almost in-
vincible. They really mind shot no more than peas."
General Dundas had not the same confidence. "After
mature consideration, ' ' said he in a letter to Lord Hood,
"and a personal inspection for several days of all cir-
cumstances, local as well as others, I consider the siege
of Bastia, with our present means and force, to be a
most visionary and rash attempt; such as no officer
would be justified in undertaking. ' ' Lord Hood replied,
that nothing would be more gratifying to his feelings
than to have the whole responsibility upon himself ; and
that he w^as ready and willing to undertake the reduc
tion of the place at his own risk, with the force and

1. Any older captain. An officer senior In rank to Nelson would
have superseded him In command.

The Life of Nelson 97

means at present there. General d 'Anbant, who succeeded
at this time to the command of the army, coincided
in opinion with his predecessor, and did not think it
right to furnish his lordship with a single soldier, can-
non, or any stores. Lord Hood could only obtain a
few artillerymen; and ordering on board that part of
the troops who, having been embarked as marines, were
borne on the ships' books as part of their respective com-
plements, he began the siege with 1183 soldiers, artil-
lerymen, and marines, and 250 sailors. "We are but
few, ' ' said Nelson, ' ' but of the right sort ; our general
at St. Fiorenzo not giving us one of the five regiments
he has there lying idle."

These men were landed on the 4th of April, under
Lieutenant-Colonel Villettes and Nelson, who had now
acquired from the army the title of Brigadier. Guns
were dragged by the sailors up heights where it appeared
almost impossible to convey them ; — a work of the great-
est difficulty; and which Nelson said could never, in his
opinion, have been accomplished by any but British
seamen. The soldiers, though less dexterous in such
service, because not accustomed, like sailors, to habitual
dexterity, behaved with equal spirit. ' ' Their zeal, ' ' said
the Brigadier, *'is almost unexampled. There is not a
man but considers himself as personally interested in the
event, and deserted by the general. It has, I am per-
suaded, made them equal to double their numbers. '^
This is one proof, of many, that for our soldiers to
equal our seamen, it is only necessary for them to be
equally well commanded. They have the same heart and
soul, as well as the same flesh and blood. Too much may,
indeed, be exacted from them in a retreat ; but set their
face toward a foe, and there is nothing within the reach
of human achievement which they cannot perform. The
French had improved the leisure which our military

88 The Life op Nelson

commander had allowed them, and before Lord Hood
commenced his operations, he had the mortification of
seeing that the enemy were every day erecting new
works, strengthening old ones, and rendering the at-
tempt more difficult. La Combe St. Michel, the commis-
sioner from the National Convention, who was in the
city, replied in these terms to the summons of the British
admiral: ''I have hot shot for your ships, and bayonets
for your troops. "When two-thirds of our men are killed,
I will then trust to the generosity of the English." The
siege, however, was not sustained with the firmness which
such a reply seemed to augur. On the 19th of May a
treaty of capitulation was begun : that same evening the
troops from St. Fiorenzo made their appearance on the
hills; and, on the following morning, General d'Aubant
arrived with the whole army to take possession of Bastia.
The event of this siege had justified the confidence of
the sailors ; but they themselves excused the opinion of
the generals, when they saw what they had done. ''I am
all astonishment," said Nelson, ''when I reflect upon
what we have achieved : 1000 regulars, 1500 national
guards, and a large party of Corsican troops, 4000 in
all, laying down their arms to 1200 soldiers, marines,
and seamen ! I always was of opinion, have ever acted
up to it, and never had any reason to repent it, that one
Englishman was equal to three Frenchmen. Had this
been an English town, I am sure it would not have been
taken by them." When it had been resolved to attack
the place, the enemy were supposed to be far inferior in
number; and it was not till the whole had been arranged,
and the siege publicly undertaken, that Nelson received
certain information of the great superiority of the gar-
rison. This intelligence he kept secret, fearing lest, if
so fair a pretext were afforded, the attempt would be
abandoned. * ' My own honor, ' ' said he to his wife, ' ' Lord

The Life of Nelson 99

Hood's honor, and the honor of our country, must have
been sacrificed, had I mentioned what I knew: there-
fore you will believe what must have been my feelings
during the whole siege, when I had often proposals made
to me to write to Lord Hood to raise it." Those very
persons who thus advised him were rewarded for their
conduct at the siege of Bastia : Nelson, by whom it might
be truly affirmed that Bastia was taken, received no
reward. Lord Hood's thanks to him, both public and
private, were, as he himself said, the handsomest which
man could give : but his signal merits were not so
mentioned in the despatches as to make them sufficiently
known to the nation, nor to obtain for him from Gov-
ernment those honors to v/hich they so amply entitled
him. This could only have arisen from the haste in
which the despatches were, written ; certainly not from
any deliberate purpose, for Lord Hood was uniformly
his steady and sincere friend.

One of the cartel's^ ships, which carried the garrison
of Bastia to Toulon, brought back intelligence that the
French were about to sail from that port ; — such exer-
tions had they made to repair the damage done at the
evacuation, and to fit out a fleet. The intelligence was
speedily verified. Lord Hood sailed in quest of them
toward the islands of the Hieres. The Agamemnon was
with him. ''I pray God," said Nelson, writing to his
vnfe,/'that we may meet their fleet. If any accident
should happen to me, I am sure my conduct will be such
as will entitle you to the royal favor; — not that I have
the least idea but I shall return to you, and full of
honor: — if not, the Lord's will be done. My name shall
never be a disgrace to those who may belong to me. The

1. Cartel. A vessel or company of vessels protected by agreement
(cartel = card) with the enemy while engaged In transporting prison-
ers for exchange, or in similar duties.

100 The Life of Nelson

little I have, I have given to you, except a small annuity ;
I wish it was more ; but I have never got a farthing dis-
honestly — it descends from clean hands. Whatever fate
awaits me, I pray God to bless you, and preserve you,
for your son's sake." With a mind thus prepared, and
thus confident, his hopes and wishes seemed on the point
of being gratified, when the enemy were discovered close
under the land, near St. Tropez. The wind fell, and
prevented Lord Hood from getting between them and
the shore, as he designed: boats came out from Antibes
and other places, to their assistance, and towed them
within the shoals in Gourjean Roads,^ where they were
protected by batteries on isles St. Honore and St. Mar-
guerite, and on Cape Garousse.^ Here the English ad-
miral planned a new mode of attack, meaning to double^
on five of the nearest ships ; but the wind again died
away, and it was found that they had anchored in com-
pact order, guarding the only passage for large ships.
There was no way of effecting this passage, except by
towing or warping the vessels; and this rendered the
attempt impracticable. For this time the enemy escaped :
but Nelson bore in mind the admirable plan of attack
which Lord Hood had devised, and there came a day
when they felt its tremendous effects.

The Agamemnon was now" despatched to co-operate at
the siege of Calvi* with General Sir Charles Stuart; an
officer who, unfortunately for his country, never had an
adequate field allotted him for the display of those emi-

1. Gourjean Roads. The Golfe Jouan, off the southeastern coast
of France.

2. Cape Garousse. Cap de la Garoupe.

3. To double. To oppose two ships against each one of the enemy,
a method very natural in view of the British superiority of thirteen
to Beven. It can hardly be considered a model or precedent for Nelson's
plan of battle at Abouklr Bay, where the French were in superior
force and Nelson concentrated on the windward ships.

4. Calvi. A town on the northwest coast of Corsica.

The Life of Nelson 101

nent talents, which were, to all who knew him, so con-
spicuous.* Nelson had less responsibility here than at
Bastia ; and w^as acting with a man after his own heart,
who was never sparing of himself, and slept every night
in the advanced battery. But the service was not less
hard than that of the former siege. ''We will fag our-
selves to death," said he to Lord Hood, ''before any
blame shall lie at our doors. I trust it will not be for-
gotten that twenty-five pieces of heavy ordnance have
been dragged to the different batteries, mounted, and all
but three fought by seamen, except one artilleryman
to point the guns. ' ' The climate proved more destructive
than the service ; for this was during the period of the
"lion sun," as they there call our season of the "dog-
days." Of 2000 men above half were sick, and the rest
like so many phantoms. Nelson described himself as
the reed among the oaks, bowing before the storm when
they were laid low by it. "All the prevailing disorders
have attacked me," said he, "but I have not strength
enough for them to fasten on. ' ' The loss from the enemy
was not great; but Nelson received a serious injury: a
shot struck the ground near him, and drove the sand and
small gravel into one of his eyes. He spoke of it slightly
at the time : writing the same day to Lord Hood, he only
said, that he got a little hurt that morning, not much ;
and the next day he said, he should be able to attend his
duty in the evening. In fact, he suffered it to confine
him only one day ; but the sight was lost.^

• Lord Melville was fully sensible of these talents, and bore testi-
mony to them in the handsomest manner after Sir Charles's death.—
Southey'a Note.

1. Sight was lost, A letter from Nelson to Mrs. Nelson, August
18, 1794, gives further details : "On the 10th of July, a shot having
hit our battery, the splinters and stones from it struck me with great
violence in the face and breast. ... I most fortunately escaped,
having only my right eye nearly deprived of its sight ; it was cut
down, but is so far recovered as for me to be able to distinguish light

102 The Life of Nelson

After the fall of Calvi, his services were, by a strange
omission, altogether overlooked: and his name was not
even mentioned in the list of wounded. This was no-
ways imputable to the Admiral, for he sent home to
Government Nelson's journal of the siege, that they
might fully understand the nature of his indefatigable
and unequalled exertions. If those exertions were not
rewarded in the conspicuous manner which they de-
served, the fault was in the administration of the day,
not in Lord Hood. Nelson felt himself neglected. "One
hundred and ten days," said he, '^I have been actually
engaged, at sea and on shore, against the enemy; three
actions against ships, two against Bastia in my ship,
four boat actions, and two villages taken, and twelve sail
of vessels burnt. I do not know that any one has done
more. I have had the comfort to be always applauded by
my Commander-in-Chief, but never to be rewarded : and,
what is more mortifying, for services in which I have
been wounded, others have been praised, who, at the
same time, were actually in bed far from the scene of
action. They have not done me justice. But, never
mind, I'll have a 'Gazette'^ of my own." How amply
was this second-sight of glory realized !

The health of his ship 's company had now, in his own
words, been miserably torn to pieces by as hard service
as a ship's crew ever performed: 150 were in their beds
when he left Calvi; of them he lost fifty; and believed
that the constitutions of the rest were entirely destroyed.
He was now sent with despatches to Mr. Drake,^ at

from darkness. As to all purposes of use it is gone ; however, the
l)lemish is nothing, not to be perceived unless told." — Clarke and
M'Arthur, Life of Nelson, Vol. I, p. 190.

1. Gazette. A publication issued periodically by the British govern-
ment, giving information of appointments, promotions, honors, and
matters of similar nature.

2. Mr. Dralce. The British Minister.

The Life op Nelson 103

Genoa, and had his first interview with the Doge. The
French had, at this time, taken possession of Vado Bay,
in the Genoese territory; and Nelson foresaw, that if
their thoughts were bent on the invasion of Italy, they
would accomplish it the ensuing spring. ''The allied
powers," he said, ''were jealous of each other; and none
but England was hearty in the cause." His wish was
for peace, on fair terms, because England, he thought,
was draining herself, to maintain allies who would not
fight for themselves. Lord Hood had now returned to
England, and the command devolved on Admiral Hot-
ham. The affairs of the Mediterranean wore at this time
a gloomy aspect. The arts, as well as the arms of the
enemy, were gaining the ascendancy there. Tuscany
concluded peace, relying upon the faith of France, which
was, in fact, placing itself at her mercy. Corsica was
in danger. We had taken that island for ourselves, an-
nexed it formally to the crown of Great Britain, and
given it a constitution as free as our own. This was
done with the consent of the majority of the inhabitants:
and no transaction between two countries was ever more
fairly or legitimately conducted: yet our conduct was
unwise ; — the island is large enough to form an inde-
pendent state, and such we should have made it, under
our protection, as long as protection might be needed.
The Corsicans would then have felt as a nation; but,
when one party had given up the country to England,
the natural consequence was, that the other looked to
France. The question proposed to the people was, to
which would they belong? Our language and our re-
ligion were against us; our unaccommodating manners,
it is to be feared, still more so. The French were better
politicians. In intrigue they have ever been unrivalled ;
and it now became apparent that, in spite of old wrongs,
which ought never to have been forgotten or forgiven,

104 The Life of Nelson

their partisans were daily acquiring strength. It is
part of the policy of France, and a wise policy it is, to
impress upon other powers the opinion of its strength, by
lofty language, and by threatening before it strikes; a
system which, while it keeps up the spirit of its allies,
and perpetually stimulates their hopes, tends also to
dismay its enemies. Corsica was now loudly threatened.
The French, who had not yet been taught to feel their
own inferiority upon the seas, braved us, in contempt,
upon that element. They had a superior fleet in the
Mediterranean, and they sent it out with express orders
to seek the English and engage them. Accordingly, the
Toulon fleet, consisting of seventeen ships of the line, and
five smaller vessels, put to sea. Admiral Hotham received
this information at Leghorn, and sailed immediately in
search of them. He had with him fourteen sail of the
line, and one Neapolitan seventy-four ; but his ships were
only half manned, containing but 7650 men, whereas the
enemy had 16,900. He soon came in sight of them: a
general action was expected ; and Nelson, as was his cus-
tom on such occasions, wrote a hasty letter to his wife, as
that which might possibly contain his last farewell.
*'The lives of all," said he, *'are in the hands of Him
who knows best whether to preserve mine or not: my
character and good name are in my own keeping."

But however confident the French government might
be of their naval superiority, the officers had no such
feeling; and after maneuvering for a day, in sight of
the English fleet, they suffered themselves to be chased.
One of their ships, the Ca Ira, of eighty-four guns, car-
ried away^ her main and fore top-masts. The Inconstant
frigate fired at the disabled ship, but received so many
shot that she was obliged to leave her. Soon afterwards
a French frigate took the Qa Ira in tow; and the Sans

1. Carried away. Lost overboard.

The Life op Nelson 105

Culottes, one hundred and twenty, and the Jean Barras,
seventy-four, kept about gunshot^ distance on her
weather bow.^ The Agamemnon stood towards her, hav-
ing no ship of the line to support her within several
miles. As she drew near, the Qa Ira fired her stern guns
so truly, that not a shot missed some part of the ship,
and, latterly, the masts were struck by every shot. It
had been Nelson 's intention not to fire before he touched
her stern ;^ but seeing how impossible it was he should
be supported, and how certainly the Agamemnon must
be severely cut up, if her masts were disabled, he altered
his plan according to the occasion. As soon, therefore,
as he was within a hundred yards of her stern, he ordered
the helm to be put a-starboard, and the driver and after-
sails to be brailed up and shivered; and, as the ship
fell off, gave the enemy her whole broadside. They in-
stantly braced up the after-yards, put the helm a-port,
and stood after her again. This maneuver* he practiced
for two hours and a quarter, never allowing the Ca Ira
to get a single gun from either side to bear on him ; and
when the French fired their after-guns now, it was no
longer with coolness and precision, for every shot went

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