Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Nelson, Horatio
NELSON, HORATIO, Viscount Nelson (1758–1805), vice-admiral, third surviving son of Edmund Nelson (1722–1802), rector of Burnham-Thorpe, in Norfolk, and of his wife Catherine (1725–1767), daughter of Dr. Maurice Suckling, prebendary of Westminster, was born at Burnham-Thorpe on 29 Sept. 1758. His father was son of Edmund Nelson (1693–1747), rector of Hilborough, in Norfolk, of a family which had been settled in Norfolk for several generations. His eldest brother William [q. v.] is separately noticed. His mother's maternal grandmother, Mary, wife of Sir Charles Turner, bart., was the sister of Robert Walpole, first earl of Orford [q. v.], and of Horatio, first lord Walpole, whose son Horatio, second lord Walpole, was Horatio Nelson's godfather. Nelson received his early education at the high school at Norwich; he was also at school at North Walsham and at Downham, in Norfolk, and in November 1770 entered the navy on board the Raisonnable, under the care of his maternal uncle, Captain Maurice Suckling [q. v.] A few months later, on the settlement of the dispute with Spain, he followed his uncle to the Triumph, guardship at Chatham, and, while borne on her books as ‘captain's servant,’ was sent for a voyage to the West Indies on board a merchant ship commanded by John Rathbone, who had been a master's mate with Suckling in the Dreadnought some years before. After a rough lesson in practical seamanship he rejoined the Triumph in July 1772. His uncle then made him work steadily at navigation, and encouraged him in the practice of boat sailing, so that he became familiarly acquainted with the pilotage of both Medway and Thames from Chatham or the Tower down to the North Foreland, and was trained to a feeling of confidence among rocks and sands.
In April 1773, when the expedition towards the North Pole was fitting out under the command of Captain Phipps [see Phipps, Constantine John, Lord Mulgrave], Nelson made interest with Captain Lutwidge, who was to command the Carcass in the expedition, and, though only fourteen, was permitted to go as captain's coxswain. The ships returned in October, and Nelson was immediately appointed to the Seahorse frigate, fitting to go out to the East Indies under the command of Captain George Farmer [q. v.] Thomas Troubridge (afterwards Sir) [q. v.], was another of her midshipmen. After he had been two years in the East Indies, and had visited every part of the station ‘from Bengal to Bassorah,’ Nelson's health broke down, and the commodore, Sir Edward Hughes, ordered him a passage to England in the Dolphin of 20 guns. The Dolphin paid off at Woolwich in September 1776, and Nelson was transferred to the Worcester, Captain Mark Robinson, with an acting order as lieutenant. The Worcester was sent to Gibraltar in charge of convoy, and on her return Nelson passed his examination, 9 April 1777. By the interest of his uncle, then comptroller of the navy, he was promoted the next day, 10 April, to be second lieutenant of the Lowestoft, a 32-gun frigate, commanded by Captain William Locker [q. v.] The Lowestoft went to Jamaica, and Nelson had for some months the command of her tender, a schooner named, after Locker's daughter, the Little Lucy. In her he made himself acquainted with the very intricate navigation among the keys to the north of Hispaniola. It was at this time, too, that he contracted an intimate friendship with Captain Locker, with whom during his whole career he carried on a confidential correspondence.
In July 1778 Nelson was moved by Sir Peter Parker (1721–1811) [q. v.], the commander-in-chief, into his flagship, the Bristol, and on 8 Dec. 1778 was promoted by him to be commander of the Badger brig, in which he was sent into the Bay of Honduras for the protection of the trade against American privateers. On 11 June 1779 he was posted by Parker to the Hinchingbroke frigate, and in August, when D'Estaing, with the French fleet, came to Cape François, and an attack on Jamaica seemed imminent, Nelson was appointed to command one of the batteries for the defence of Kingston. Afterwards he went for a three months' cruise, and made a few prizes, his share of which, he wrote to Locker, would be about 800l. In January 1780 he was sent as senior naval officer in a joint expedition against San Juan, where he took an active part in the boat work up the river, and in the attack on the several forts. But the wet season set in, and the fever consequent on exposure and exhausting labour in a pestilential climate killed by far the greater part of the seamen, and would have killed Nelson had he not been happily recalled to Jamaica, on appointment to the 44-gun ship Janus. He was, however, too ill to take up the command, and for the restoration of his health was compelled to return to England as a passenger in the Lion, with his friend Captain (afterwards Sir) William Cornwallis [q. v.]
On arriving in England Nelson went to Bath; but it was not till near a year had passed that he was able to accept another command. In August 1781 he was appointed to the Albemarle, a 28-gun frigate employed in convoy service in the North Sea. Being sent to Elsinore to bring home the trade from the Baltic, he was able to make some observations on the navigation of the Sound, which were to prove useful twenty years later. In February 1782 he was ordered round to Portsmouth to prepare for a voyage to America, and sailed in April, in company with the Dædalus frigate and a large convoy. Having brought his charge safely to Newfoundland and into the Saint Lawrence, on 4 July he sailed for a cruise which lasted till 17 Sept., when he returned to Quebec ‘knocked up with scurvy.’ For eight weeks he himself and the other officers had lived on salt beef, and the men had done so since 7 April. In other respects, too, the cruise had proved of no benefit beyond giving him experience. Of several prizes that were made not one came into port; and, with the exception of being once chased by a squadron of French line-of-battle ships, there seems to have been no excitement. In November he went in the Albemarle to New York, where Lord Hood [see Hood, Samuel, Viscount] formed a high opinion of him, and took him and his ship back with him to the West Indies. Hood also introduced him to Prince William (afterwards William IV), telling the prince ‘that if he wished to ask questions relative to naval tactics, Nelson could give him as much information as any officer in the fleet’ (Nicolas, i. 72). At this time Nelson had never served with a fleet, so that whatever knowledge of the subject he had could only be theoretical, learnt probably in conversation with Locker; but to have any at all, beyond the Fighting Instructions, was then remarkable, especially in a young officer.
In March 1783, when cruising on the north coast of San Domingo, Nelson had intelligence that the French had captured Turk's Island. With the Resistance frigate and two brigs in company he at once went there; but in an attack, on 8 March, the brigs were unequal to the fire of the enemy's batteries, and the garrison, strongly entrenched, repelled the landing party. Conceiving nothing more could be done, Nelson drew off his force. In May he was ordered for England, and on 3 July the Albemarle was paid off, when Nelson was placed on half-pay. In October, in company with Captain Macnamara, an old messmate in the Bristol, he went to France to economise and acquire the language. The two took up their abode at St. Omer, and no doubt learnt some French, though Nelson was never able to speak it with any ease. He describes himself in his letters as avoiding English society; in reality he seems to have gone little into any other, and he was frequently at the house of an English clergyman, Mr. Andrews, with one of whose daughters he fell deeply in love. It would appear that Miss Andrews rejected his proposals, for in the middle of January 1784, a few days after consulting his uncle, William Suckling, he returned suddenly to England; nor was the intimacy renewed, though he continued on friendly terms with the family; and when in March he was appointed to the Boreas, he took one of the boys, George Andrews, with him as a ‘captain's servant.’
In the Boreas Nelson again went to the West Indies, where public opinion was unwilling to accept the change in the commercial position of the United States. This was more especially the case at St. Christopher's and the adjacent islands; and in November 1784, when Nelson was sent to that part of the station as senior officer, he found that the Americans were trading there on the same footing as formerly, and that American-built and American-commanded ships were freely granted colonial registers. The commander-in-chief, Sir Richard Hughes [q. v.], had sanctioned this irregular traffic, and had given orders that it was to be permitted at the discretion of the governors. Nelson, however, conceived that in so doing the admiral was exceeding his power; and, rightly considering the trade an infringement of the navigation laws, he promptly suppressed it, and seized five of the ships which were engaged in it. This drew on him the anger of the merchants, who took out writs against him, laying the damages at 4,000l.; and for eight weeks Nelson avoided arrest only by remaining a voluntary prisoner on board his ship. Hughes had at first intended to supersede him, and to try him by court-martial for disobedience of orders, but changed his mind on ascertaining that all the captains in the squadron believed that the orders were illegal. Nevertheless, he declined to undertake the cost of Nelson's defence, which was finally done by the crown, on special orders from the king; but the measure of Nelson's disgust was filled in March 1786, when Hughes coolly accepted for himself the thanks of the treasury for his activity and zeal in protecting the commerce of Great Britain. ‘I feel much hurt,’ Nelson wrote, ‘that, after the loss of health and risk of fortune, another should be thanked for what I did against his orders.’ But this was not the only matter in which Nelson felt called on to disobey the admiral. Hughes had ordered Captain John Moutray [q. v.], the commissioner of the navy at Antigua, to hoist a broad pennant as commodore, and to carry out the duties of the port. As Moutray was on half-pay, the appointment was absolutely illegal; and Nelson, on arriving at Antigua early in February 1785, and finding the broad pennant flying on board the Latona, sent for her captain and ordered it to be struck, at the same time writing to Moutray that he could not obey his orders or put himself under his command. This action led to a correspondence with Hughes, who reported the matter to the admiralty, when Nelson was reprimanded for taking on himself to settle the business, instead of referring it to them. Notwithstanding this unpleasant episode Nelson was on the best possible terms with Moutray, and was a warm admirer of Mrs. Moutray, of whom he wrote in enthusiastic terms as ‘my dear, sweet friend,’ ‘my sweet, amiable friend.’ On her sailing for England in March 1785, he mourned her departure as that of his only valuable friend in the islands, and presently sought comfort in the conversation of Mrs. Nisbet, a young widow residing at Nevis, to whom he shortly became engaged, and whom two years later he married at Nevis, on 12 March 1787 (Nicolas, i. 217, but the date is often given as 11 March; Doyle, Baronage, and Mrs. Gamlin in Notes and Queries, 8th ser. iv. 413); Prince William, then captain of the Pegasus frigate, gave the bride away [see Nelson, Frances, Viscountess].
Towards the end of May the Boreas was ordered home, and on her arrival at Spithead was sent round to the Nore, where, in expectation of a war with France, she lay for several months as a receiving ship. In December she was paid off, and after some months at Bath, Nelson, with his wife, went to live with his father at Burnham-Thorpe, where he remained, with little interruption, for upwards of four years, employing himself, it is said, in reading and drawing, or out of doors in gardening. During this time, too, several actions against him were brought or threatened on account of his conduct in the West Indies; and though assured that his defence should be at the charge of the crown, and though eventually the ships he had seized were condemned as prizes to the Boreas, the proceedings were a continual source of irritation and annoyance. He seems to have thought that his zealous service and the worries it had brought on him gave him a just claim for further employment; and when his repeated applications met with no success, he conceived that Lord Hood, then at the admiralty, had some pique against him. On the imminence of war with France, however, his prospects brightened. On 6 Jan. 1793 he was summoned to London, when Lord Chatham offered him the command of a 64-gun ship, if he would accept it till a 74 was ready. ‘The admiralty so smile upon me,’ he wrote to his wife, ‘that really I am as much surprised as when they frowned.’ A few days later it was settled that he was to have the Agamemnon, to which he was actually appointed on 30 Jan. He joined the ship on 7 Feb., and, in his joy at the prospect of active service, wrote that ‘the ship was without exception the finest 64 in the service;’ and a couple of months later, just as they were ready for sea: ‘I not only like the ship, but think I am well appointed in officers, and we are manned exceedingly well.’ ‘We are all well,’ he wrote to his wife from Spithead on 29 April; ‘nobody can be ill with my ship's company, they are so fine a set.’
In May the Agamemnon sailed for the Mediterranean with the fleet, under Lord Hood, and after touching at Cadiz and Gibraltar, arrived off Toulon in the middle of July. On 23 Aug. Toulon was occupied by the allies; and on the 25th, Nelson, in the Agamemnon, was sent to Naples to bring up a convoy of Neapolitan troops. It was at this time that he first made the acquaintance of the English minister, Sir William Hamilton (1730–1803) [q. v.], and of his wife Emma, lady Hamilton [q. v.]; but the details of their meeting, and the conversations as afterwards related by her, are demonstrably apocryphal (Harrison, i. 108; Memoirs of Lady Hamilton, p. 137). It was arranged that the Agamemnon was to escort six thousand troops to Toulon; but the news of a French man-of-war on the coast of Sardinia sent her to sea at two hours' notice. The Frenchman, however, a 40-gun frigate, got into Leghorn, and was there blockaded for a few days by Nelson, till he was obliged to rejoin the admiral at Toulon in the early days of October. On the 9th he was sent to join Commodore Linzee at Cagliari, and on the way, on the 22nd, fell in with a squadron of four French frigates, one of which, the Melpomene, of 40 guns, being separated from the others, was handled very roughly. The Agamemnon's rigging was so much cut that she was not able to follow up her advantage, and the Melpomene's consorts coming up carried her off. Eventually, in an almost sinking state, she got into Calvi. Nelson joined Linzee on the 24th, and accompanied him on a mission to Tunis, the object being to persuade the bey to let them take possession of a French 80-gun ship which had sought the shelter of the neutral port. Nelson thought that they should have seized her at once, and quieted the bey's scruples with a present of 50,000l.; but Linzee preferred to negotiate, and, when the bey refused to yield her, did not consider himself authorised to use force. The squadron therefore returned without effecting anything. But Nelson, much to his satisfaction, was sent with a few small frigates to look for the French ships he had met on 22 Oct. Two of them were at San Fiorenzo; one was at Bastia. The Melpomene remained at Calvi, and he could do nothing more than keep so close a watch on them that they could not put to sea without being brought to action.
After being driven out of Toulon, Hood resolved on capturing Corsica as a base of operations. On landing the troops, San Fiorenzo was taken with little difficulty on 17 Feb. 1794, but one of the imprisoned frigates was burnt; the other, the Minerve, though sunk, was weighed, and, under the name of San Fiorenzo, continued in the English service during the war. Hood was then anxious to march at once against Bastia, which he believed would fall as easily as San Fiorenzo had done. The general in command of the troops judged the force to be too small, and refused to co-operate. Thereupon Hood, partly at the suggestion of Nelson, who had made himself familiar with the appearance of the place, resolved to attempt it with such forces as he could dispose of, and on 4 April landed about fourteen hundred men—seamen and marines, or soldiers doing duty as marines—and with these and the ships in the offing formed the siege of the town. Nelson was landed in command of the seamen, and under his personal supervision the batteries were built and armed and manned. On 21 May Bastia surrendered, and with it a third of the frigates. On the 24th General Stuart, who had succeeded to the military command, arrived from San Fiorenzo, and it was then resolved to attack Calvi. The operation was necessarily deferred by the news of the French fleet being at sea; but when it took shelter in Golfe Jouan, and there was no prospect of an immediate engagement, on 10 June the Agamemnon was sent back to Bastia, to convoy the troops to the western side of the island. On the 19th they were landed in the immediate neighbourhood of Calvi, Nelson himself taking the command of two hundred seamen, who with infinite toil dragged the heavy guns into position, and afterwards served them in the batteries. On 12 July (‘Nelson's Journal, written Day by Day,’ Nicolas, i. 435; but in a letter to his wife on 18 Aug. he says the 10th, ib. 484) a shot from the town, striking the battery near where he was standing, drove the sand and gravel against his face and breast so as to bruise him severely at the time and to destroy the sight of his right eye. The men, both sailors and soldiers, suffered greatly from the heat, and nearly half the force on shore was down with sickness; but through all difficulties the siege was continued, and on 10 Aug. Calvi surrendered, when the Melpomene and another frigate, the Mignonne, fell into the hands of the English.
This completed the reduction of Corsica, and in October Hood returned to England, leaving the command with Admiral William (afterwards Lord) Hotham [q. v.]; and the Agamemnon, continuing with the fleet, had a very distinguished part in the engagements of 13–14 March and 13 July 1795. Though spoken of as victories, Nelson described them as ‘miserable’ affairs; the results were very imperfect, and ‘the scrambling distant fire was a farce.’ On 15 July he was ordered by Hotham to take command of the frigate squadron in the Gulf of Genoa, and to co-operate with the Austrians. On 4 April 1796 he was ordered to hoist a broad pennant as commodore of the second class; on 11 June, the Agamemnon being in need of a thorough refit, he moved into the Captain, a 74-gun ship; and on 11 Aug. was appointed commodore of the first class, with Ralph Willett Miller [q. v.] as his flag-captain. But these promotions made no change in the service on which he was employed. For upwards of a year he remained in command of the inshore squadron, preventing in great measure the French coasting trade, and harassing their movements on shore. What he effected, and still more what, from want of sufficient force, he failed to effect, are rightly considered as striking examples of the control which sea power is capable of exercising. Nelson always maintained that, if he had been adequately supported, the invasion of Italy could not have taken place. Captain Mahan, in a critical examination of the campaign of 1795, has pointed out that Hotham, while holding the enemy's fleet in check at Toulon, might have substantially increased the squadron with Nelson; this would have been less difficult if Hotham ‘had not thrown away his two opportunities of beating the Toulon fleet’ (Influence of Sea Power upon the French Revolution, i. 199–201).
In November Hotham was superseded by Sir John Jervis (afterwards Earl of St. Vincent) [q. v.]; but the mischief then done was past the power of Jervis to remedy. In 1796 the French rapidly overran the north of Italy, and forced a neutrality on Naples. Spain, too, was compelled to yield; and when her fleet was joined to that of France, the combined force was of such overwhelming numerical strength that orders were sent to Jervis to evacuate Corsica and retire from the Mediterranean. An English garrison still held the island of Elba; but at Gibraltar Nelson was directed to hoist his broad pennant on board the Minerve frigate, and bring away this garrison also. In company with the Blanche, under the commodore's orders, the Minerve sailed from Gibraltar on 15 Dec. 1796, and on the 20th, off Cartagena, fell in with two Spanish frigates, the Sabina and Ceres. The Sabina was engaged by the Minerve; after a stubborn fight she surrendered, and a prize crew was sent on board. The Blanche engaged the Ceres, which also presently struck her colours; but before she could be taken, a Spanish squadron of two ships of the line and two frigates came in sight. The Blanche, being some distance to leeward, escaped without difficulty; the Minerve was in greater danger. But the Sabina, hoisting English colours over the Spanish, induced the largest Spanish ship to leave the Minerve and follow her; her masts went over the side, and she was recaptured, but the Minerve escaped [see Cockburn, Sir George; Hardy, Sir Thomas Masterman]. On the 27th Nelson arrived at Porto Ferrajo, where he remained for a month leisurely embarking the naval stores; but, as the general refused to leave his post without specific orders from the government, Nelson sailed without him on 29 Jan. 1797, and, after reconnoitring Toulon and Cartagena, reached Gibraltar on 9 Feb. He sailed again on the 11th, and, passing through the Spanish fleet on the way, rejoined the admiral on the afternoon of the 13th. He returned to the Captain the same evening, and the next day the battle of Cape St. Vincent was fought. Nelson's share in this was particularly brilliant. The English line had cut the Spanish fleet into two parts, and was concentrating its attack on the weathermost of the two, when Nelson, commanding in the rear, observed that their leading ships were bearing up with a view to pass astern of the English line and rejoin the other division. To prevent this he wore out of his station, threw himself in the way of the leading ships, compelled them to haul their wind again, and closely engaged the Santísima Trinidad of 130 guns, the largest ship then afloat. The delay gave time for other English ships to come up, and thus rendered the action general and decisive. The Captain continued in the thick of the battle, had many killed and wounded, her rigging cut to pieces, and her fore-topmast gone. She was still closely engaged with the 80-gun ship San Nicolas when the Excellent, passing between the two, poured a tremendous broadside into the Spaniard at the distance of a few feet. The San Nicolas reeled from the blow and fell on board the 112-gun ship San Josef, which had also been severely beaten by the Captain, Culloden, and especially by the Prince George. It was then that Nelson, finding the Captain no longer manageable, laid her alongside the San Nicolas, which he carried by boarding, and from her was preparing to board the San Josef when she surrendered. On her quarter-deck her captain presented his sword, saying that the admiral was below mortally wounded. ‘I desired him,’ wrote Nelson, ‘to call to his officers, and on the quarter-deck of a Spanish first-rate, extravagant as the story may seem, did I receive the swords of vanquished Spaniards, which, as I received, I gave to one of my bargemen, who put them with the greatest sang-froid under his arm.’ As the Captain was disabled, Nelson moved his broad pennant to the Irresistible. In the evening, when the fighting was over, he went on board the Victory, where Jervis embraced him on the quarter-deck, and (wrote Nelson) ‘said he could not sufficiently thank me, and used every kind expression, which could not fail to make me happy.’
In acknowledgment of his conduct on this occasion Nelson was made a K.B., an honour which it was understood he would prefer to a baronetcy. His promotion to the rank of rear-admiral, on 20 Feb. 1797, was in due course of seniority, and was gazetted fourteen days before the news of the victory reached England. On 3 April, as soon as the announcement reached the admiral, Nelson was ordered to hoist his flag on board the Captain, to which he had returned on 24 March. He had been stationed off Cadiz with a detached squadron to look out for the viceroy of Mexico, who was expected home with a rich convoy. On 12 April he was again sent to Elba to bring away the garrison, with which he arrived at Gibraltar in the beginning of May. On the 24th he rejoined the admiral off Cadiz, and was ordered to hoist his flag on board the Theseus, and resume the command of the inshore squadron. The Spanish fleet was in the port, still strong in numbers, and it was supposed that they might make a dash to get to Ferrol. Nelson reported signs of their preparing for sea, and, though he did not think they would venture it, the ships were kept cleared for action. By the beginning of July he thought he might force them to come out by throwing shell in among them and into the town, which brought on a sharp skirmish with the Spanish gunboats, but had no further effect.
Before the end of March Nelson had suggested to the admiral that the viceroy of Mexico and the treasure-ships might have taken refuge at Santa Cruz, and he submitted a scheme for employing, in an attack on them, the garrison of Elba, nearly four thousand men, who might be sent on at once, without disembarking. In his judgment the enterprise was mainly a military one. ‘I will undertake,’ he said, ‘with a very small squadron, to do the naval part.’ Jervis seems to have ascertained that the viceroy had not put into Santa Cruz; but when, early in July, he had intelligence of a rich ship from Manila having come there, he proposed to Nelson the task of bringing her away; there were no longer any soldiers to dispose of, but a squadron from the fleet might probably be sufficient force. On the 14th Nelson received his instructions, and sailed in command of four ships of the line, three frigates, and the Fox cutter. By the 20th he was off the port, and on the 21st attempted to land all the available men, to the number of a thousand, who were to occupy the heights, while the line-of-battle ships engaged the batteries. The plan proved abortive, for the landing party found the heights occupied by a very superior force of the enemy, and, owing to a calm and contrary currents, the line-of-battle ships could not get near their assigned position. Nelson had little hope of succeeding in any other way, but, determining at least to attempt it, ordered an attack direct on the town on the night of the 24th. The men were to land at the mole and push on to the great square; Nelson himself was to lead. But in the dark the boats separated. Some reached the mole, where they were received with a deadly fire. The men sprang on shore and spiked the guns, but very many of them were shot down. As he was getting out of the boat, Nelson had his right elbow shattered by a bullet. He fell back into the arms of his stepson, Josiah Nisbet, and was taken on board the Theseus. But most of the boats missed the mole altogether, and in attempting to get in through the surf were stove; the scaling-ladders were lost, the powder was wet, and the men that scrambled on shore could make no head against the force opposed to them. When day dawned about three hundred men were all that could be collected, while against them all the streets were commanded by field-pieces, supported by upwards of eight thousand men under arms. Under these circumstances, the senior officer, Captain Troubridge, sent a flag of truce to the governor, who allowed them to withdraw, and even provided boats to take them to their ships. They sailed at once to rejoin the admiral, when Nelson was sent home in the Seahorse [see Fremantle, Sir Thomas Francis] for the recovery of his wounds. His arm had been amputated on board the Theseus, but a nerve had been taken up in one of the ligatures, and for several months continued to give intolerable pain. During his illness he was tenderly nursed by his wife, and by the beginning of December he was able to return thanks in church ‘for his perfect recovery.’ The admiralty wished to send him back to the fleet under Lord St. Vincent, and assigned for his flagship the Foudroyant of 80 guns, which was expected to be launched in Jan. 1798. It turned out, however, that she would not be ready in time, and as he was anxious to be afloat again as soon as possible, he was ordered to go out in the Vanguard of 74 guns, his shipmate and first lieutenant in the Agamemnon, Edward Berry [q. v.], going with him as flag-captain. He sailed from St. Helens on 10 April 1798, and, after touching at Lisbon, joined the fleet off Cadiz on the 30th. Two days later he was sent into the Mediterranean with a small squadron—two ships of the line, and four frigates, besides the Vanguard—to try and learn the intentions of the enemy, who were known to be fitting out a large armament at Toulon. Its destination was differently reported as Sicily, Corfu, Portugal, or Ireland.
Nelson had no difficulty in establishing the truth of the reports as to the equipment; but its exact aim, and the probable date of sailing, remained unknown. ‘They order their matters so well in France,’ he wrote to St. Vincent, ‘that all is secret.’ He dated this ‘off Cape Sicie,’ on 18 May. On the night of the 20th a violent northerly gale blew him off the coast, partially dismasted the Vanguard, and continued so strong that the frigates parted company, and three line-of-battle ships with difficulty entered the roadstead of S. Pietro in Sardinia [see Ball, Sir Alexander John]. There the Vanguard was refitted and jury-rigged. On the 27th they sailed again, and on the 31st were off Toulon, only to find that the French expedition had put to sea on the 20th with the northerly wind, of which a stronger gust had dismasted the Vanguard. Whither they had gone Nelson could not learn.
The admiralty had meantime become aware of the formidable preparations which the French were making, and had sent out orders to St. Vincent to detach a squadron of ‘12 ships of the line and a competent number of frigates, under the command of some discreet flag-officer, to proceed in quest of the armament, and, on falling in with it, to take or destroy it.’ Nelson, being actually in the Mediterranean at the time, was clearly indicated as well by the accident of service as by the high opinion which St. Vincent had of him, as the fittest man to have the command. Moreover Lord Spencer—prompted to some extent by Sir Gilbert Elliot (afterwards first Earl of Minto) [q. v.], and by the king himself (Nicolas, iii. 24–5)—had pointedly called St. Vincent's attention to Nelson's merits. But Nelson's seniors in the fleet, Sir William Parker (1743–1802) [q. v.] and Sir John Orde [q. v.], were not likely to see the matter in the same light, and wrote strong remonstrances against the appointment of a junior officer over their heads. This was some weeks later; but St. Vincent had from the first considered that it was not a question of seniority, but of fitness, and that as the responsibility was his, so must the selection be. Accordingly, on 19 May 1798, he detached Troubridge, with ten ships of the line and the Leander of 50 guns, to join Nelson and deliver his altered instructions. When these vessels met Nelson near Cape Corse on 7 June, they raised his force to fourteen ships, including the Leander; but the frigates, by some misunderstanding, had gone back to the fleet, and never rejoined him. Still, there was no news of the French, and it was not till 14 June that Nelson learnt that they had been seen on the 4th off Trapani, steering to the east. He decided at once to stand to the southward, and to send to Naples for further intelligence, as well as for assurance that he could victual and water in the Neapolitan ports, to which, by the recent treaty with France, no more than four ships at one time were to be admitted. Accordingly, on the morning of 17 June, Troubridge went in the Mutine, saw Sir William Hamilton and Sir John Francis Edward Acton [q. v.], who, on understanding the position, gave him a letter addressed to the governors of the several ports of Sicily, enjoining them to welcome and to assist the English squadron (United Service Magazine, May 1889, p. 18). With this message, and the report that the French had gone to Malta, Troubridge returned to the fleet, which immediately made sail for Messian. On the 22nd, near Cape Passaro, Nelson learnt that the French had taken Malta on the 15th, and had sailed the next day for the eastward. Till then he had believed that the expedition was aimed at Sicily; it now, apparently for the first time, occurred to him that their object was Egypt—‘to possess themselves of some port there, and to fix themselves at the head of the Red Sea, in order to get a formidable army into India, and, in concert with Tippoo Sahib, to drive us, if possible, from India.’ But on 26 June, as the squadron was nearing Alexandria, he wrote: ‘I have reason to believe, from not seeing a vessel, that they have heard of my coming up the Mediterranean, and are got safe into Corfu.’ This marks the extreme uncertainty under which he was labouring; so that when, on arriving off Alexandria on the 28th, and finding there neither French nor news of the French, he at once turned back, on the supposition that his guess—for it was nothing more—had been wrong, and that the enemy must have gone up the Adriatic or the Archipelago. All that he really knew was that they had five or six days' start of him from off Cape Passaro; he believed that if they were bound for Egypt, he must have sighted them on the way, and therefore, concluding that they had gone somewhere else, he stretched to the north, and skirting the coast of Karamania, in case they might be making for Ayas Bay, returned westward, and went into Syracuse for water and fresh provisions. These Acton's letter procured for him without difficulty, though the governor felt bound to keep up the appearance of yielding to constraint (ib.)
On 25 July 1798 he sailed again, intending to search the Archipelago, to Constantinople; but on the 28th he learned, from two different sources, that the French had been seen about four weeks before, steering towards the south-east from Candia. Nelson immediately bore up under all sail for Alexandria, which was sighted on 1 Aug., and running along the coast to the eastward, as the squadron opened Aboukir Bay the Zealous made the signal for seeing the French fleet—sixteen sail of the line. In reality it consisted of thirteen, with four large frigates, lying at anchor close in shore. The French were surprised by the appearance of the English fleet. Their boats were on shore watering, and, though hastily recalled, the men were tired with a long day's work under a summer sun. Some were no doubt left on shore, but the want was supplied by the frigates, which sent a large proportion of their men to the ships of the line. It is said that Brueys, the French commander-in-chief, supposing that the attack would be postponed till the next day, intended during the night to form his line in closer order and nearer to the shore; but, even as it was, many of the French officers believed that the attack must be made on the seaward—that is, on the starboard—side, and in the hurry and confusion not only did not cast the larboard guns loose, but even piled up the mess furniture and bags between the guns on the larboard side. In the English ships, on the other hand, everything was in order. During the anxious weeks which had preceded, Nelson had had many opportunities of explaining to the several captains what he proposed to do if he found the enemy at anchor. He had probably told them, what some of them knew already, that the enemy would be apt to lumber up the guns on the inshore side; for he must have learned from Hood that they had done something of the kind at Dominica on 12 April 1782 [see Rodney, George Brydges, Lord]. He had also learned from Hood the particulars of his engagement with De Grasse at St. Christopher's, rendered clearer by his personal knowledge of the locality; and he had seen and known the way in which Hood had proposed to attack Martin in Golfe Jouan. Certain that all his captains knew what they had to do, and would do it to the best of their ability, he now made the signal to attack the van of the enemy, and steered straight for them, the ships forming line as they advanced. No other signal was made; no other signal was necessary: for the circumstances of the attack had been fully discussed, and any seaman could see, more especially when his attention had been called to it, that where there was room for a ship at single anchor to swing, there was room for a ship under way to pass.
Thus all the leading ships went inside [see Foley, Sir Thomas; Hood, Sir Samuel], and at the closest possible quarters brought a tremendous and overwhelming fire to bear on the ships of the French van, the more overwhelming because the French guns on the larboard side were not clear for action (Ekins, Naval Battles, p. 260). The Vanguard, the sixth ship in the English line, was the first that anchored outside; most of those that followed did the same; but when all the English ships had got into action—with the exception of the Culloden, which had run aground on the end of the shoal extending from Aboukir Island—the thirteen, including the little Leander, were massed on seven of the French, the other six being left out of the fight to leeward, and unable, without better seamanship or more promptitude than they could command, to go to the relief of their friends. Nelson's own account of the battle, as written to Lord Howe, hits off its salient points in very few words: ‘I had the happiness to command a band of brothers; therefore, night was to my advantage. Each knew his duty, and I was sure each would feel for a French ship. By attacking the enemy's van and centre, the wind blowing directly along their line, I was enabled to throw what force I pleased on a few ships. This plan my friends readily conceived by the signals, … and we always kept a superior force to the enemy. At twenty-eight minutes past six, the sun in the horizon, the firing commenced. At five minutes past ten, when the Orient blew up, having burnt seventy minutes, the six van ships had surrendered. I then pressed further towards the rear; and had it pleased God that I had not been wounded and stone blind, there cannot be a doubt but that every ship would have been in our possession.’ Many of the French ships were individually superior to any of the English; the flagship Orient, of 120 guns, was supposed to be equal to any two of them; but, notwithstanding this, they were everywhere overpowered, and captured, burnt, or blown up. Two only escaped, the Généreux and Guillaume Tell, and two of the frigates.
A victory so decisive, so overwhelming, was unknown in the annals of modern war. The fame of it resounded through all Europe, and congratulations, honours, and rewards were showered on Nelson. He was created a peer by the title of Baron Nelson of the Nile and Burnham-Thorpe, with a pension of 2,000l. a year for three lives, and an honourable augmentation to his arms. The East India Company gave him 10,000l. The Emperor of Russia, with an autograph letter, sent his portrait in a diamond box, valued at 2,500l.; and the Sultan of Turkey, with other gifts, sent him a diamond aigrette of the value of 2,000l. Among other gifts, the earliest in point of time, and one which he prized exceedingly, was a sword from the captains of the squadron, virtually presented on 3 Aug. (Nicolas, iii. 67; Catalogue of the Naval Exhibition, 1891, No. 2649); and the quaintest was the coffin, made out of the Orient's main-mast, presented by Captain Hallowell of the Swiftsure [see Carew, Sir Benjamin Hallowell].
Though not dangerous, Nelson's wound was serious. A piece of langridge or scrap-iron had struck him on the forehead, inflicting a severe bruise and cutting a large flap of skin, which, hanging over his eyes, together with the gush of blood, blinded him for the time. For many months he suffered much from headache, and it is very doubtful whether the effects of the blow were not in some degree permanent. When the ships were sufficiently refitted on 15 Aug. 1798, seven, with six of the prizes, were sent to Gibraltar, under the command of Sir James Saumarez (afterwards Lord de Saumarez) [q. v.] The other three prizes, old ships and much battered, were burnt; and leaving Hood, with three ships of the line and three frigates, to blockade the coast of Egypt, Nelson in the Vanguard, with the Culloden and Alexander, sailed for Naples, where he arrived on 22 Sept. The Mutine, carrying Captain Capel with despatches, had brought the news of the victory thither three weeks before, and the court and populace had then indulged in an outburst of frenzied joy. This was repeated with redoubled enthusiasm on the arrival of Nelson. Sir William Hamilton and his wife were the first to go on board the Vanguard, but were immediately followed by the king, who pressed the admiral's hand, calling him ‘deliverer and preserver.’ On his birthday the Hamiltons gave a grand entertainment in his honour, and wherever he went he was greeted as Nostro Liberatore!
The Neapolitan government had meantime concluded a treaty of alliance with Austria, and had declared war against France. Nelson was instructed to make Naples his headquarters, to protect the coast, and to co-operate with the Austrians. For the time, however, his stay was short. He anticipated the order to undertake the blockade of Malta; on 4 Oct. despatched Ball in the Alexander on that duty, and on the 15th went himself in the Vanguard with three other ships which had joined him at Naples. Off Malta he was reinforced by a Portuguese squadron under the command of the Marquis de Niza, who readily consented to assist in the blockade, and from that time Valetta was a sealed port, though the enormous quantity of stores in the place enabled it to hold out for nearly two years. By 5 Nov. Nelson was back at Naples, exceedingly angry at the neglect of the ministers to supply the Maltese with arms and ammunition, as they had promised, and urging them also to active measures against the French. On the 22nd he sailed for Leghorn, carrying five thousand troops in the ships of the squadron; he arrived there on the 28th; the place yielded on the first summons, and on the 30th Nelson sailed again for Naples, leaving Troubridge in command. The king, with the Austrian general Mack, a man without either ability or professional knowledge, advanced towards Rome with an army of from forty to fifty thousand men, who, under incompetent if not traitorous officers, bolted at sight of some twelve thousand French, almost without firing a shot. ‘The Neapolitan officers,’ wrote Nelson on 11 Dec., ‘have not lost much honour, for God knows they have but little to lose; but they lost all they had … Cannon, tents, baggage, and military chest—all were left to the French … This loss has been sustained with the death of only forty men.’
The French were marching on Naples, now utterly unprotected on the land side, so that it became necessary to provide for the safety of the English residents, who were received on board three transports then in the bay, while the Neapolitan royal family on 21 Dec. embarked on board the Vanguard, and were landed at Palermo on the 27th. The French, meeting with no serious opposition, and indeed welcomed by an influential faction of the people, took possession of Naples in the end of January 1799, and established the ‘Vesuvian’ or, as it was also called, ‘the Parthenopeian Republic.’ On shore the English were powerless, but they could prevent any supplies from reaching the invaders by sea, and on 28 March Nelson ordered Troubridge, with a sufficient force, to institute a stringent blockade of the whole coast. Early in April he wrote that there were not more than two thousand French troops in Naples, and with them were about two thousand of the civic guard, who would always be on the side of the conqueror. Troubridge had little difficulty in regaining possession of the islands on the coast, and by the end of April Naples was ripe for a counter revolution. The civic guard declared that they were there to keep order, not to fight. Three-fourths of the French troops were recalled, the few that were left holding St. Elmo. Many of the Neapolitan Jacobins left with the French; others held the sea forts Uovo and Nuovo; the greater number repudiated their republicanism, and boasted their loyalty. Everything denoted the immediate end of the rebellion. But on 12 May Nelson, who remained with the court at Palermo, had intelligence that the French fleet had come into the Mediterranean. He was thus under the necessity of calling his squadron together at Marittimo, ready to support Lord St. Vincent if necessary, or possibly to sustain the immediate attack of the enemy.
The conduct of the blockade of Naples was meantime left to Captain Edward James Foote [q. v.], in the Seahorse frigate, with orders to co-operate with Cardinal de Ruffo, who commanded the royal forces on shore. Ruffo had distinct orders from his king not to treat with the rebels; but, in direct disobedience thereto, he entered on negotiations and granted them terms, by which, on surrendering the forts, they were to have a safe-conduct and free pass to France. Though entirely without authority, Foote yielded to Ruffo's persuasion, and also signed the capitulation. Nothing, however, had been done to give it effect when, on 24 June, Nelson with the squadron entered the bay, his flag now flying on board the Foudroyant. He had already heard of the armistice, and seeing flags of truce flying both on the forts and on board the Seahorse, at once annulled it by signal; and when on anchoring he learned that the truce was a definite capitulation which had not yet taken effect, he annulled that by a formal declaration ‘to the Neapolitan Jacobins’ in the forts, to the effect that they would not be permitted to embark or quit the forts. They must surrender to the king's mercy; on the 26th they accordingly surrendered, when they were made prisoners, tried as traitors, and many of them executed. Caracciolo, a commodore of the Neapolitan navy, had deserted from his flag, joined the Jacobins, and fired on the king's ships. On the 29th he was seized by some peasants in the mountains, and brought on board the flagship. Nelson, as commanderin-chief of the Neapolitan navy, immediately ordered the senior Neapolitan officer then present to assemble a court-martial to try him on charges of ‘rebellion against his lawful sovereign,’ and of ‘firing at the king's colours hoisted on board the king's frigate Minerva.’ The court assembled, found him guilty, and sentenced him to death. Thereupon Nelson ordered the sentence to be carried into execution the same afternoon, and the man was hanged at the foreyard arm of the Minerve. The Jacobins and their friends raised a violent outcry, and by their clamour succeeded in persuading many that Nelson had been guilty of a breach of faith and of murder; that he had treacherously obtained possession of the forts by means of a capitulation, and in violation of its terms had put to death Caracciolo and many others. On a careful examination it is difficult to see that Nelson could have acted otherwise. He had been appointed by the king commander-in-chief of the Neapolitan navy, and he had ordered a court-martial on Caracciolo, as an officer under his command guilty of mutiny, desertion, and rebellion. As to the other executions, which seem to have been justly called for, he had no further responsibility than that of restoring and maintaining the civil power which carried them out—services which were officially recognised by his being created Duke of Bronté in Sicily, and in the following year knight grand cross of the order of St. Ferdinand and Merit. It was, however, alleged against him that he allowed himself, for love of Lady Hamilton, to be made the instrument of the queen's vengeance. Current scandal had indeed for several months accused Nelson and Lady Hamilton of an undue intimacy, but it is well attested that with the annulling of the capitulation and with the death of Caracciolo Lady Hamilton had absolutely nothing to do.
A much more serious imputation on Nelson's conduct, because it is one of which it is impossible wholly to acquit him, is the charge of having been unduly influenced by his passion for this woman to disobey the orders of the commander-in-chief. On 19 July Nelson received a letter from Lord Keith, who had succeeded St. Vincent, acquainting him with the movements of the French. Keith had reason to believe the French had no design of attempting anything against Sicily, and he ordered Nelson to join him at once at Port Mahon with the whole of his force, or at least to send him the greater part of it. Nelson deliberately and distinctly refused to obey. ‘I have no scruple,’ he wrote, ‘in deciding that it is better to save the kingdom of Naples, and risk Minorca, than to risk the kingdom of Naples to save Minorca.’ At the same time he wrote to Lord Spencer, the first lord of the admiralty, explaining and defending his conduct; dwelling—as he had dwelt to Keith—on the danger that Naples and Sicily would run by the withdrawal of the squadron. In the face of orders from the commander-in-chief this was a consideration with which he had no concern; but it was thought then, and may be fairly supposed now, that very great social pressure was exerted at Naples to persuade him that the matter was one for him to determine, and that, perhaps unconsciously, he yielded to the influence. There can, indeed, be no question that at this time he was infatuated by his passion for Lady Hamilton, and was extremely likely to have his judgment warped on any measure which would separate him from her. His disobedience, however, was not to produce any good or ill effects. In due time he received a letter from the admiralty expressing grave disapproval of his conduct; but long before, on a second and more stringent order from Keith, he had detached a strong squadron to Minorca, against which, indeed, the French do not seem to have entertained any hostile intentions.
When Keith withdrew to the Atlantic, and to Brest, Nelson was left for a while commander-in-chief; but he displayed no marked enthusiasm for his duties. With the exception of a fortnight in October, in which he visited Mahon, he remained at Naples or Palermo, in close attendance on the Neapolitan court. Whether it really was for the good of the service that he should remain at Palermo, with or without his flagship, may very well be doubted. It is certain that his best friends felt that it was not; that Troubridge urged him to exertion; that Admiral Samuel Granston Goodall [q. v.], in an affectionate letter from London, wrote on 15 Nov.: ‘They say here you are Rinaldo in the arms of Armida, and that it requires the firmness of an Ubaldo and his brother knight to draw you from the enchantress’ (Nicolas, iv. 205 n); and a couple of months later Suvorof wrote from Prague, on 12 Jan. 1800: ‘Je vous croyais de Malte en Égypte pour y écraser le reste des surnaturels athées de notre temps par les Arabes! Palerme n'est pas Cithère’ (Athenæum, 1876, i. 396). Whether Nelson was offended at Suvorof's frankness or not, he did not reply to the letter, and Suvorof died in the following May. But to friends and foreigners alike he paid no attention in this matter, and continued to give his directions to the station, and to regulate the blockade of Egypt and Malta, while himself remaining on shore at Palermo. In December Keith returned to the Mediterranean and resumed the command, and on 20 Jan. 1800 Nelson joined him at Leghorn. The two then returned together to Palermo, whence they proceeded to Malta a few days later. An attempt of the French to break the blockade was expected, and to prevent this Keith spread his force round the island with such good effect that at daybreak on 18 Feb. a French squadron, consisting of the 74-gun ship Généreux, one of the two which had escaped from the Nile, with three frigates and a corvette, came into a cluster of English ships commanded by Nelson himself in the Foudroyant, when the Généreux and one of the frigates were captured. Nelson was very well satisfied with the result, the more so as he had always spoken of the two Nile ships as his; but he was overcome by his passion for Lady Hamilton, and could not remain away from Palermo, and on 24 Feb. he wrote to Keith: ‘My state of health is such that it is impossible I can much longer remain here. Without some rest I am gone. I must therefore, whenever I find the service will admit of it, request your permission to go to my friends at Palermo.’ Very reluctantly Keith gave him the required permission, but it was 16 March before he arrived at Palermo, and on the 20th he wrote to Troubridge: ‘It is too soon to form an opinion whether I can be cured of my complaint … Probably my career of service is at an end, unless the French fleet should come into the Mediterranean, when nothing shall prevent my dying at my post.’ On 4 April he was cheered by the news of the capture of the Guillaume Tell [see Berry, Sir Edward; Blackwood, Sir Henry], the last of the Nile ships. In announcing the event to the secretary of the admiralty he added: ‘My task is done, my health is finished, and probably my retreat for ever fixed, unless another French fleet should be placed for me to look after.’
In consequence, it would seem, of Keith's report, the admiralty wrote, on 9 May, that if Lord Nelson's health rendered him incapable of doing his duty, he was to be permitted to return home in any ship which Keith might have to send to England, or overland if he should prefer it; and to Nelson himself Lord Spencer wrote privately, to the effect that, if his health did not permit him to undertake the reduction of Malta, it would be better for him to come to England, instead of remaining at Palermo, in an inactive situation at a foreign court. Nelson received this letter in the beginning of June. During May he had been at Malta, and the Hamiltons had accompanied him on board the Foudroyant. He now determined to take advantage at once of the permission to go home. He wished to return to England in his flagship; but as Keith pronounced this quite impossible, he resolved to go overland with the Hamiltons, who were also returning to England. Accordingly, he quitted the Foudroyant at Leghorn on 26 June, left Leghorn on 17 July, and, travelling by easy stages to Ancona, and thence in a Russian frigate to Trieste, reached Vienna towards the end of August. Everywhere he was the lion of the hour, and at Vienna was royally fêted, though his friends regretted the publicity which he gave to his subjection to Lady Hamilton (Life and Letters of Sir Gilbert Elliot, iii. 114, 147). The party left Vienna on 26 Sept., and, passing through Prague, were received for a few days at Dresden by Hugh Elliot, and fell under the observation of Mrs. St. George, whose satirical comments on the admiral and his companions were many years afterwards given to the world by her son, Archbishop R. C. Trench (Journal kept during a Visit to Germany, pp. 76–81). It is quite possible that these were somewhat exaggerated; but there is no reason to doubt that the unfavourable and painful sketch is substantially true. From Dresden they passed on to Hamburg, and landed at Yarmouth on 6 Nov. 1800, when Nelson wrote to the admiralty that, his health being perfectly re-established, it was his wish to serve immediately.
In London he joined his wife, who received him with a chilling coldness which widened the gulf that was opening between them. After a few weeks of acrimonious intercourse, to which Nelson afterwards referred with horror (Nicolas, vii. pp. 392, ccix), they separated early in 1801; and, with the exception of a short interview a few days afterwards, they did not again meet. At this time, indeed, Nelson seems to have desired a reconciliation (ib. iv. 272); but his wife made no response, and they had no further communication, though he made her the very liberal allowance of 1,200l. a year.
On 1 Jan. 1801 he was promoted to be vice-admiral, and on the 17th hoisted his flag on board the San Josef as second in command of the Channel fleet, under Lord St. Vincent. By the middle of February, however, he was moved into the St. George, and on 17 Feb. was formally directed to put himself under the orders of Sir Hyde Parker (1739–1807) [q. v.], the commander-in-chief of a squadron to be employed on particular service. It was known that the service was against the Northern Confederation, the armed neutrality of the Baltic; and the fleet, having its rendezvous in the first instance at Yarmouth, sailed on 12 March, and on the 24th anchored outside Elsinore. Nelson was strongly in favour of at once sending a strong detachment through the Belt and up the Baltic to seize or destroy the Russian squadron at Revel, while the remainder of the fleet held in check or—if thought necessary—reduced the Danes at Copenhagen; and on 24 March he wrote to the commander-in-chief, urging the advantage of such a course. The northern league, he said, was like a tree, ‘of which Paul was the trunk, and Sweden and Denmark the branches;’ if the trunk was cut down the branches followed as a matter of course, but the branches might be lopped off without any injury to the trunk. ‘Nelson's suggestion,’ writes Captain Mahan, ‘worthy of Napoleon himself, would, if adopted, have brought down the Baltic confederacy with a crash that would have resounded through Europe’ (Influence of Sea Power upon the French Revolution, ii. 46); but Parker was unable to grasp the novel and daring strategy proposed to him. He refused to leave a strong enemy in his rear, even though held in check by a sufficient force, and determined that the first blow must be struck against Copenhagen; and Nelson, seeing that the only way to get to the Gulf of Finland was by first shattering the Danish force, readily accepted Parker's proposal that he should command the attack with a detachment of the smaller ships of the fleet, which, by their draught of water, were better suited to the shallow and intricate navigation. He shifted his flag to the Elephant, then commanded by Captain Foley, and during the last days of March carefully examined the approaches of the town and the formidable defences prepared by the Danes, who had placed a line of heavily armed hulks to support the batteries.
On 1 April Nelson took his squadron past Copenhagen to the eastern entrance of the King's Channel, and the following forenoon made the signal to weigh. The plan of the attack had been carefully drawn out the night before, the position of each ship being prescribed, with a certain amount of latitude for unforeseen casualties. Unluckily some of the ships struck on the Middle Ground, and were virtually out of the action; but the others closed up, so that no gap was left. The action began about 10 a.m. The fire of the Danes was exceedingly heavy and well sustained, and after three hours showed no evident signs of abating. It was then that Parker hoisted the signal to ‘discontinue the action.’ Nelson did not obey the signal. Clapping his telescope to his blind eye, he declared that he could not see it, and his conduct has often been adduced as an instance of glorious fearlessness. It does not detract from the real merit of Nelson, who never sought to avoid responsibility, to learn that the performance was merely a jest, and that the commander-in-chief had sent a private message that the signal should be considered optional—to be obeyed or not at the discretion of Nelson, who might be supposed to have a better knowledge of the circumstances than he could possibly have at a distance (Ralfe, Nav. Biog. iv. 12; Recollections of the Life of the Rev. A. J. Scott, p. 70). Nelson's judgment proved correct. About 2 P.M. many of the Danish ships were silenced, but it was difficult to take possession of them under the fire of the batteries and the other ships, so that they continually received reinforcements of men from the shore, and renewed the action. It was thus rendered impossible to spare even the beaten ships, and the carnage was very great. The Dannebrog, the flagship, had nearly every man killed or wounded; she caught fire, broke from her moorings, spread terror and confusion along the Danish line, and, drifting away to leeward, finally blew up. About half-past two Nelson, anxious to put an end to the slaughter, which seemed useless, sent a flag of truce on shore, with a note to the crown prince, to the effect that if the firing was continued he would be obliged to set on fire the floating batteries he had taken, without having the power of saving their crews. The flag of truce brought on a cessation of firing while a reference was made to Parker, some four miles off; this was followed by a suspension of hostilities for twenty-four hours, which was extended for some few days, and ended in an armistice for fourteen weeks. That this happy result was due to the flag of truce seemed certain; but Nelson had no doubt that the same result would have been arrived at had the battle been fought out as long as any of the Danes were able to resist, the only difference being that the loss of men on both sides would have been considerably and needlessly increased. There were, however, some who asserted that the position of the English fleet at half-past two was very critical; that though the Danish floating batteries were silenced or suffered severely; that with the wind as it was they could not get out without passing under the guns of the Three Crowns battery, which, in their captured, the English ships had disabled state, they were in no condition to engage; and that Nelson's flag of truce, with the letter and the affected humanity, was ‘a ruse de guerre, and not quite justifiable’—an artful device to gain time to get his ships out of their perilous position (Nicolas, iv. 360). If so, he shamefully neglected his opportunity. In the evening, when the Danish envoy returned from Sir Hyde Parker, his ships were still in the King's Channel.
On 5 May, while the fleet was lying in Kjöge Bay, Nelson was appointed commander-in-chief, in succession to Parker, and immediately made the signal to prepare for sea. It was well known that he and Parker held different opinions about the course to be pursued, and that Nelson had long been chafing at the delay in going up the Baltic. On the 7th the fleet weighed, and on the 12th was in the Gulf of Finland, when Nelson learnt, to his annoyance, that the Russian fleet, which had been icebound at Revel, had succeeded in getting out on 3 May. He considered that but for Parker's extraordinary hesitation it would have been at the mercy of the English. But in fact the death of the tsar on 24 March had completely altered the situation; and Nelson, finding that force could now effect nothing, that affairs had entered the domain of diplomacy, and that his stay in the Gulf of Finland would be a hindrance to its course, drew down the Baltic, arriving on 24 May at Rostock. He had for some weeks been in poor health; on 12 May he wrote to his friend Davison: ‘It is now sixteen days that I have not been able to get out of my cabin;’ and though this may perhaps have been a conventional phrase, Colonel Stewart wrote of him while at Rostock: ‘His health was not good, and his mind was not at ease; with him mind and health invariably sympathised.’ He was disgusted with the turn affairs had taken; disgusted at the delay which had prevented his crushing the Russians; disgusted, too, at the non-observance by the Danes of the terms of the armistice; and now that there was no longer any probability of active service, he was depressed by absence from Lady Hamilton, who, a few weeks before he sailed for the Baltic, had made him the father of a daughter, whom he had only just seen.
On 18 June Nelson gladly bade farewell to the fleet in Kjöge Bay, returned to Yarmouth in the Kite brig, and joined the Hamiltons in London. His own services during the campaign were rewarded with the title of viscount; but neither then nor afterwards was there any direct recognition of the battle of Copenhagen, for which, as he always maintained, he and his brothers in arms ought to have been thanked by parliament, and by the city of London. The omission caused him much annoyance, and more than a year after (8 Nov. 1802) he declined to dine with the lord mayor and sheriffs while the wrong done to ‘those who fought under his command’ remained unredressed.
Within a few weeks after his return from the Baltic, Nelson was appointed to command the defence flotilla on the south-east coast, and on 27 July he hoisted his flag on board the Unité frigate at Sheerness. It was reported that a large army and a great number of flat-bottomed boats were collected at Boulogne, Ostend, Blankenberg, &c., and that an invasion of England by a force of at least forty thousand men was imminent. Nelson before long discovered that this intelligence was grossly exaggerated; that, whatever was intended, there were not more than fifty or sixty boats at Boulogne, and perhaps sixty or seventy at Ostend and Blankenberg, which might carry fifty or sixty men apiece (ib. iv. 434–57). With such limited transport invasion was clearly out of the question; and, having provided for security, Nelson proceeded to guard against even insult. On the night of 15–16 Aug. he attempted to bring away or burn the flotilla in the harbour of Boulogne. But the French boats were chained together, many were aground, and as soon as they were boarded such a heavy musketry fire was opened on them from the shore that the assailants could not stay even to set them alight, and were obliged to retire with very severe loss. Other projects of annoying the enemy were discussed, but found equally impracticable on account of shoal water, strong tides, and heavy batteries; and by the end of September the peace seemed to be agreed on.
With the cessation of arduous work returned Nelson's desire to be on shore; it was not without grumbling and bitter railing that he consented to retain the command till the peace was concluded; and as soon as he was free he sought for rest and solace in the society of Lady Hamilton and her husband. He had already commissioned Lady Hamilton to look out for a country house. She had selected one at Merton, in Surrey, which Nelson had bought only a few weeks before. The next eighteen months were spent with the Hamiltons, for the most part at Merton, or at Hamilton's house in Piccadilly, the household expenditure being divided between them. During this time Nelson and Emma were necessarily much in each other's company, and at last Hamilton, feeling himself neglected, feeling that his comfort was sacrificed to Nelson's, and his desire for repose to his wife's love of gaiety, wrote her, after many altercations with her on the subject, a curious letter, complaining of the constant racket of society in which he was forced to live, and specifically objecting to the large company invited daily to dinner. ‘I well know,’ he said, ‘the purity of Lord Nelson's friendship for Emma and me,’ and how very uncomfortable a separation would make his lordship, ‘our best friend;’ but he was determined to be sometimes his own master, and to pass his time according to his own inclination; and, above all, to have no more of the silly altercations which ‘embitter the present moments exceedingly.’ The letter appears to have been written towards the end of 1802 or early in 1803, and a few months later Hamilton settled the little differences once for all. He died on 6 April 1803, his wife smoothing his pillow on one side, Nelson holding his hand on the other.
The death of Hamilton does not seem to have made any external difference in Nelson's mode of living. Emma remained at Merton, the ostensible mistress of the house, as she had been all along; and though there can no longer be any doubt as to the nature of her relations with Nelson, they were at the time kept strictly secret. Nelson's brother, with his wife and daughter, Nelson's sisters and their families, and numerous friends of both sexes were frequent visitors, staying often for several days, and not one seems to have suspected anything improper, anomalous as the position was. Among others, Lord Minto wrote (18 April 1803): ‘Lady Hamilton talked very freely of her situation with Nelson, and of the construction the world may have put upon it; but protested that their attachment had been perfectly pure, which I declare I can believe, though I am sure it is of no consequence whether it is so or not. The shocking injury done to Lady Nelson is not made less or greater by anything that may or not have occurred between him and Lady Hamilton’ (Life and Letters, iii. 284).
On the imminence of war it was from the first understood that Nelson was to go to the Mediterranean, and on 16 May 1803 he was formally appointed. He hoisted his flag on board the Victory at Portsmouth on the 18th, and sailed on the 20th. It was arranged, however, that as it might be important to strengthen Cornwallis off Brest, Nelson should leave the Victory with him and go out in the Amphion frigate, the Victory following as soon as possible. After touching at Naples and other ports of Italy, he joined the fleet off Toulon on 8 July, and for nearly two years the principal object of his command was to keep such a watch on the French fleet as to insure an engagement if it should attempt to put to sea. And this he did with a force never superior, generally inferior, in numbers to that of the enemy, with ships foul and crazy even when they put to sea, and with very limited supplies of stores. Under such circumstances it was only by the closest attention to details that the blockade could be continued; but, though the necessity of watering compelled him from time to time to relax his grip and withdraw the fleet to Maddalena, he was still able to maintain an efficient watch by means of frigates, to obtain timely knowledge of the enemy's movements, and, above all, to keep the fleet in the most perfect health during the many months of monotonous work and exposure in the heat of summer and the chilling gales of winter.
His own health, too, seems to have been better at this time than it had been while afloat since the battle of the Nile. It may be that the effects of the severe wound then received had worn off during the prolonged rest at Merton; it is perhaps more probable that his mind was now no longer racked by conflicting passions—jealousy, love, and a consciousness of wrongdoing—all of which seem to have torn him during his former command in the Mediterranean and in the Baltic. He was now commander-in-chief; his love for Emma was approximating to the calm devotion of married life; he had persuaded himself that his wife, after wilfully separating from him, had no longer anything to reproach him with, and he lived in hopes that either a divorce or her death would set him free to marry Lady Hamilton. His domestic relations ceased to trouble him. He was, therefore, able to give, and did give, his whole attention to the grim work before him.
During the summer of 1804 he was occasionally cheered by the hope that the French fleet was on the point of coming out. The French admiral La Touche Treville had commanded at Boulogne at the time of his unsuccessful attack on the flat-bottomed boats, a circumstance which possibly made Nelson the more anxious to meet him at sea, or intensified his anger when he found that La Touche had written to Bonaparte an account of his chasing the English fleet, which fled out of sight. ‘I keep his letter,’ he wrote to his brother, ‘and, by God, if I take him he shall eat it;’ and in many other letters about the same time he gave strong expression to his wrath. La Touche, however, died on 18 Aug., and, after some little delay, was succeeded by Villeneuve, superseding Dumanoir, who commanded in the second post.
In the following January Bonaparte resolved to make a gigantic effort to gain command of the Channel by bringing into it the whole naval strength of France and Spain. To accomplish this he proposed to form a junction between the fleets of Toulon, Cadiz, Rochefort, and Brest at Martinique. Each, escaping from the blockading force, was to make its way to the West Indies, whence the united fleet was to return in overwhelming force. The fleet from Rochefort got out, arrived at Martinique, and having waited the prescribed forty-five days, returned without mishap. Villeneuve also succeeded in getting out of Toulon while Nelson was at Maddalena, but a violent gale shattered his unpractised ships, and they were glad to return to the shelter of Toulon. It was not till 30 March that he was again able to put to sea, this time with better success, and to pass the Straits of Gibraltar. At Cadiz he was joined by a Spanish squadron, raising his numbers to eighteen sail of the line, with which he crossed the Atlantic, and arrived at Martinique on 14 May. When Villeneuve left Toulon, Nelson was at Maddalena, and, though he had early news of the sailing of the French, he was left without intelligence of the direction in which they had gone. He took up a position west of Sicily, refusing to go either east or west till he had some certain intelligence. It was not till 16 April that he learnt that they had been seen off Cape Gata; but a spell of contrary winds then delayed him, and he did not reach Gibraltar till 6 May, three weeks after the French had passed. More time was lost in ascertaining that they had gone to the West Indies, and though by extraordinary care and seamanship the English fleet gained eight days, it did not reach Barbados till 4 June. Villeneuve, who had orders to wait forty days on the chance of being joined by the Brest or Rochefort fleet, was off Antigua; but, on hearing of Nelson's arrival and a very exaggerated account of his force, he did not consider it prudent to remain, and sailed for Europe on the 9th. There is a common idea that Villeneuve's voyage to the West Indies was made in the hope of ‘decoying’ Nelson thither, and so removing him from the scene of operations in Europe. Nothing can well be more erroneous. Napoleon indeed thought it possible that Nelson might go off to the East Indies [cf. Mahan, ii. 155]; but Nelson's correct information and judgment completely disconcerted Napoleon's plan, which directed Villeneuve to wait, and while waiting to ravage the English settlements.
From Barbados Nelson would have gone straight to Martinique, and would probably have fallen in with Villeneuve on almost the very spot where Rodney had defeated the Count de Grasse twenty-three years before; but false intelligence drew him, very much against his judgment and instinct, south to Trinidad, and before he could recover the lost ground Villeneuve was well on the way to Europe. Nelson could now scarcely hope to overtake the combined fleet; but he despatched the Curieux brig to sight it if possible, and to join him, while he with the fleet made the straightest course for Gibraltar, where he might intercept the enemy should they seek to re-enter the Mediterranean. The Curieux meantime sighted the allied fleet, but, seeing it following a more northerly course than that for Gibraltar, turned away for England, where her news came in time for orders to be sent out for Sir Robert Calder [q. v.] to meet it off Cape Finisterre [see Bettesworth, George Edmund Byron; Middleton, Charles, Lord Barham]. Calder's action was fought on 22 July, four days after Nelson had joined Collingwood off Cadiz, and had learnt that as yet there was no news of Villeneuve in that direction. On the 19th he anchored at Gibraltar, and on the 20th noted in his diary that he went on shore for the first time since 16 June 1803; he had not had his foot out of the Victory for two years, wanting ten days. On 25 July he learnt that on 19 June the Curieux had seen the enemy's fleet on a northerly course, and on the 27th he sailed to support Cornwallis off Brest. He joined him on 15 Aug., and, leaving with him the greater part of his squadron, proceeded himself in the Victory to Spithead. On the 19th he struck his flag, and went to Merton, where he resided during the next few weeks.
On 1 Sept. the Euryalus brought the intelligence that the combined French-Spanish fleet had gone to Cadiz. On the morning of the 2nd Captain Blackwood called with the news at Merton, on his way to London. Nelson promptly followed him to the admiralty, and it was arranged that he should go out at once and resume the command off Cadiz. On the 14th he hoisted his flag on board the Victory at Portsmouth, sailed the next morning, and joined the fleet on the 29th. ‘The force,’ he wrote to Sir A. J. Ball, ‘is not so large as might be wished, but I will do my best with it; they will give me more when they can, and I am not come forth to find difficulties, but to remove them.’ On the other hand, the satisfaction among the senior officers in the fleet was very great. Good and worthy man as Collingwood was, he had not the art of winning the affection and love of his subordinates. Under his command the duty was carried on in gloom; whether from parsimony or as marking his sense of the serious nature of the service, the admiral saw no company, and he refused permission to those under his command to accept or offer hospitality. Nelson's arrival changed this system. Those officers who already knew him thronged to greet him as an old friend, and those who were yet strangers to him were at once won by the fascination of his manner and kindly courtesy (Bourchier, Life of Sir Edward Codrington, i. 51).
From the first his aim was to get the enemy out of their port, and with this in view he tightened the blockade, completely stopping the coasting trade on which Cadiz was largely dependent for its supplies. At the same time he carefully kept the fleet out of sight of land, fearing lest his increasing numbers should give Villeneuve an excuse for staying in port. He did not of course know that Napoleon, on the other hand, was bringing very strong pressure on Villeneuve to invite an engagement. But, though confident that even with inferior numbers he should defeat the enemy, Nelson urgently begged the admiralty to send him reinforcements. ‘Should they come out,’ he wrote on 5 Oct., ‘I should immediately bring them to battle; but though I should not doubt of spoiling any voyage they may attempt, yet I hope for the arrival of the ships from England, that as an enemy's fleet they may be annihilated.’ And on the 6th: ‘It is annihilation that the country wants, and not merely a splendid victory of twenty-three to thirty-six—honourable to the parties concerned, but absolutely useless in the extended scale to bring Bonaparte to his marrow-bones. Numbers can only annihilate, therefore I hope the admiralty will send the fixed force as soon as possible.’ And all this time he was maturing a plan of battle which he is said, though on doubtful evidence, to have sketched out while still in England. On 9 Oct. he issued his celebrated memorandum, explaining his intention of fighting in the order of sailing in two columns, at once to save time and to concentrate his whole force on the rear of the enemy. The details were outlined, and during the following days the plan was talked over and discussed with Collingwood, the second in command, Northesk, the third, and the several captains, so that when the time came every officer in the fleet perfectly understood what he had to do.
Notwithstanding his desire to have a numerically strong fleet, Nelson was obliged to send a detachment of six ships to Gibraltar to water [see Louis, Sir Thomas], and Villeneuve hearing, on 18 Oct., the news of their arrival there, thought the moment a favourable one for yielding to Napoleon's orders and coarse invective. On the 19th the combined fleet began to leave the harbour, a circumstance immediately signalled to Nelson by the frigates and inshore squadron. On the 20th they were all out, and Nelson, judging that Villeneuve would make for the Straits, with the design of entering the Mediterranean, drew down so as to command the entrance. At daybreak on the 21st the enemy were seen off Cape Trafalgar, nearly due east from the English, and distant about twelve miles. They numbered thirty-three sail of the line, while Nelson had with him only twenty-seven. The wind was very light from the west-north-west, but a heavy swell foretold the approach of bad weather. Making the signals to form order of sailing in two columns and to prepare for battle, Nelson, leading the weather or northern column, at once stood towards the enemy. Collingwood led the lee or southern line, and, when Villeneuve, wishing probably to keep as near Cadiz as possible, tacked to the northward, he was able, without further manœuvring, to carry out the plan of falling on the enemy's rear. The wind, however, very light from the beginning, gradually died away to the faintest air, and the advance was extremely slow.
It was during this time, about eleven o'clock, that Nelson, retiring to his cabin, wrote the so-called codicil to his will, setting forth the services which he believed Lady Hamilton had rendered to the state, and leaving her, ‘a legacy to my king and country, that they will give her an ample provision to maintain her rank in life;’ leaving also ‘to the beneficence of my country my adopted daughter, Horatia Nelson Thompson.’ The codicil, witnessed by Hardy and Blackwood, was afterwards taken to England by Hardy, and lodged with the government. At the time it was thought inexpedient to make it public, on account of the reference to the Queen of Naples; and as Lady Hamilton was already amply provided for, and the government knew that as to the services rendered by Lady Hamilton Nelson had been wrongly informed, they did not feel it necessary to make any further grant (cf. Jeaffreson, Lady Hamilton, ii. 291–301). It has often been spoken of as a scandal that such services should have gone without reward. But the only point to which exception can be taken in the conduct of the government is that they did not relieve the woman whom Nelson had loved, and who was the mother of his child, after she had squandered the handsome income bequeathed her by Hamilton and Nelson, but allowed her to drag through her latter years in very reduced circumstances.
A little before twelve, as the head of the lee line was approaching the enemy, Nelson hoisted the celebrated signal, ‘England expects that every man will do his duty’; and a few minutes later Collingwood, in the Royal Sovereign, dashed in among the enemy's rear. Nelson had reserved for himself the task of restraining the enemy's van should it attempt to support the rear; the Victory was thus long exposed to the enemy's fire, and sustained heavy loss, before Nelson was satisfied that no immediate movement of the van was to be apprehended. About one o'clock the Victory broke into the enemy's centre, passing slowly under the stern of Villeneuve's flagship, the Bucentaure, and pouring in a most terrible broadside, which is said to have dismounted twenty guns, and to have killed or wounded four hundred men. As she drew clear of the Bucentaure, she ran foul of the 74-gun ship Redoubtable, and her foreyard catching in the Redoubtable's rigging, the two ships fell alongside each other, and so remained. It was thus that between the two there followed a very singular duel. The Victory's broadside was superior to that of the Redoubtable, and drove the French from their guns; but the musketry of the Redoubtable was superior to that of the Victory, and cleared her upper deck. For a short while it seemed to the French possible for them to board the English ship, and capture her in a hand-to-hand fight; but a storm of grape from the Victory's forecastle put a deadly end to the attempt. It was just at this moment that Nelson, walking the quarter-deck with Captain Hardy [see Hardy, Sir Thomas Masterman], was wounded by a musket-shot from the Redoubtable's mizen-top, which, striking the left epaulette, passed down through the lungs, through the spine, and lodged in the muscles of the back. He fell to the deck, and as Hardy attempted to raise him said, ‘They've done for me at last, Hardy.’ ‘I hope not,’ answered Hardy. ‘Yes,’ replied Nelson; ‘my backbone is shot through.’ He was carried below; but, though the wound was from the first recognised as mortal, he lived for three hours longer in great pain, expressing, between the paroxysms, the keenest anxiety about the action. When Hardy brought him word that fourteen or fifteen of the enemy's ships had surrendered, he exclaimed, ‘That is well; but I bargained for twenty.’ Later on he said, ‘Remember, I leave Lady Hamilton and my daughter Horatia as a legacy to my country;’ and, with the words ‘Thank God, I have done my duty,’ expired about half-past four, on 21 Oct. 1805, almost as the French Achille blew up and the Intrépide struck her flag.
Nelson's body, preserved in spirits, was brought home in the Victory, and, after lying in state in the Painted Hall at Greenwich, was taken to London, and in a public funeral buried on 9 Jan. 1806 in the crypt of St. Paul's. The sarcophagus which contains the coffin was made at the expense of Cardinal Wolsey for the burial of Henry VIII. The monument in the cathedral above is by Flaxman. Nelson is also commemorated in London by Trafalgar Square, Charing Cross, commenced in 1829, and ornamented with the Nelson column, which was completed in 1849. It is surmounted by a colossal statue by E. H. Baily, 18 feet in height. The bronze lions, from Landseer's designs, were added in 1867. There is a Nelson monument on the Calton Hill, Edinburgh, and a Nelson pillar in Sackville (now O'Connell) Street, Dublin. Other monuments in many different parts of the country were erected to his memory, and poets and poetasters hymned his fame in many languages with but indifferent success. Neither then nor since has any happier threnody been suggested than Virgil's lines: <por,> In freta dum fluvii current, dum montibus umbræ Lustrabunt convexa, polus dum sidera pascet, Semper honos, nomenque tuum, laudesque manebunt. (Æneid, i. 607–9). </poem> By his wife Nelson had no issue (for an account of the Nelson peerage see under Nelson, William, first Earl Nelson). By Lady Hamilton he had one daughter, Horatia, who grew up, married the Rev. Philip Ward, afterwards vicar of Tenterden, Kent, and died in 1881. Another daughter, Emma, born in the end of 1803 or beginning of 1804, survived only a few weeks.Nelson's portraits are very numerous, and many of them have been engraved. Among the best are a full-length, by Hoppner, in St. James's Palace, and a half-length, by Lemuel F. Abbot, in the Painted Hall at Greenwich. Another, also by Abbot, closely resembling this, is in the National Portrait Gallery, as well as a painting by Heinrich Füger, for which Nelson sat while at Vienna in 1800. A portrait by Zoffany is at the admiralty; one by J. F. Rigaud, R.A., which Nelson presented to Captain William Locker in 1781, belongs to Earl Nelson, who owns another painted by L. Guzzardi in 1799. (See also Catalogue of the Naval Exhibition of 1891.) Arthur William Devis [q. v.] painted after Nelson's death the well-known ‘Death of Nelson in the Cockpit of H.M.S. Victory,’ which is now at Greenwich Hospital. The engraving by W. Bromley (dated 1812) has long been popular. [The bibliography of Nelson is enormous, but comparatively little of it has any real value. Even before his death a memoir had been published by Charnock, from materials supplied by Captain Locker, which in any other hands than Charnock's would have been a useful and interesting work. Other memoirs were published in quick succession as soon as the news of his death reached England. Of these, one only calls for any mention: that by Harrison, an obscure writer engaged by Lady Hamilton to exalt her claims on the government. It is in execrable taste, of no authority, and crowded with statements demonstrably false. And yet some of them, through the influence of other writers, and more especially of Southey, have passed current as facts; among which may be mentioned the celebrated ‘If there were more Emmas there would be more Nelsons,’ a story which is entirely without authority, and is contradicted by the natural and connected account of the conversation given by Blackwood (Nicolas, vii. 26). Clarke and McArthur's Life of Nelson, in two most unwieldy 4to vols., is the fullest, and in many respects the best biography. It is largely based on original documents and letters entrusted to the authors—many of which have never been seen since—but it is crowded with childish and irrelevant stories, resting on hearsay or tradition, and very probably not true. The only work treating of Nelson's professional career which is to be implicitly trusted is the collection of his Despatches and Letters, edited by Sir N. Harris Nicolas, in seven vols. 8vo; a selection from which, with a few additional documents and notes, has been edited by the present writer. The celebrated life by Southey, interesting as it always will be as a work of art, has no original value, but is a condensation of Clarke and McArthur's ponderous work, dressed to catch the popular taste, and flavoured, with a very careless hand, from the worthless pages of Harrison, from Miss Williams's Manners and Opinions in the French Republic towards the Close of the Eighteenth Century, i. 123–223, and from Captain Foote's Vindication. There is no doubt that Southey's artistic skill gave weight and currency to the falsehoods of Miss Williams, as it did to the trash of Harrison and the wild fancies of Lady Hamilton. Of other works that have some biographical value may be especially named the Life, by the Old Sailor (M. H. Barker), and the Vindication of Lord Nelson's Proceedings in the Bay of Naples, by Commander Jeaffreson Miles. Parson's Nelsonian Reminiscences are the recollections of his boyhood by an elderly man, and not to be implicitly trusted. Pettigrew's Life of Nelson, principally interesting from the Nelson-Hamilton correspondence which it first announced, loses a great deal of its value from the writer's ignorance of the naval history of the time, and the confusions into which he allowed Lady Hamilton to lead him; but still more from his reticence as to the documents he quoted. It is only within the last few years that the papers referred to were discovered and added to the collection of Mr. Alfred Morrison, who has increased the obligation under which students of Nelson's history already lay by having a full transcript of them printed. In Lady Hamilton and Lord Nelson, and the Queen of Naples and Lord Nelson, based to a great extent on these valuable papers, Mr. J. C. Jeaffreson has traced the relations of Nelson and Lady Hamilton. (See art. Hamilton, Emma, Lady.) A valuable examination of Nelson's services, and more especially of his chase of Villeneuve to the West Indies, is in Mahan's Influence of Sea Power upon the French Revolution and Empire; and, from the French point of view, in Chevalier's Histoire de la Marine française (1) sous la première République, et (2) sous le Consulat et l'Empire. The well-known Guerres Maritimes, by Admiral Jurien de la Gravière, is based almost entirely on Nicolas or James, and has no independent value.]