Page images
PDF
EPUB

was this conduct that made him Comman!-adu it, to an through the whole period of his er-in-chief of the flotornenean, and twice service.

ADMIRAL LORD ST. VINCENT. our father, under whose fostering care we

have been led to fame. And, two days afFrom the Edinburgh Review.

ter, he again writes—We all love you. 1. Memoirs of Admiral the Right Honor- Come, then, to your sincere friends ; let able the Earl of St. l'incent. By Jede

us get you well; it will be such a happiness diah Stephens 'Tucker, Esq. Two vol- to us all--amongst the foremost, to your

attached, faithful, and affectionate umes 8vo. London : 1844.

Nelson.' 2. The Life and Correspondence, Naval and Military, of John Earl of St. Vin.

When we find a boy of thirteen, selfcent. By Edward Pelham Brenton, Captain in Her Majesty's Nary. Two ro taught, self-dependent, and self-denying,

tearing himself away from his family with umes 8vo. London: 1838.

a scanty pittance, unequal even to the proThe name of St. Vincent will justly be vision of common necessaries, and of so enrolled in the first rank of the many emi- marked a character and mind as to have nent characters, that have spread a lustre advanced himself to the highest professional over the annals of the British Empire dur- ranks and honors; the narrative of the proing the course of the last three hundred gressive steps of such a life cannot fail to years.

As a great Naval Commander, afford a useful, entertaining, and highly viewed under all the aspects of his profes- instructive example, more particularly to est stefareer, even from his first entrance every young midshipman who embarks in

til he arrived at the high- the naval service of his country. We shall his whole conduct pecunianzemarkable in therefore endeavor, as far as our space will

admit, to trace the progress of this illustriCommander-in-chief of being ordered, on the second occassiopt carry the Union flag at the main, having mater som drawn a portion of their

The two authors named at the head of previously held the office of First Lord of Earl's letter-books ; au plesy, the Admiralty, and been advanced to the they ransacked their contents--having, beprominent situation of Admiral of the tween them, extracted and printed not fewer Fleet; and by this conduct was the suc- than a thousand letters written by him and cessful battle fought with the enemy's fleet, his correspondents; of which about six nearly double the force of his own, for hundred are stuffed into Mr. Tucker's volwhich he received from his sovereign the umes, (three hundred would have been amhigh dignity of an Earldom of the United ple for every purpose,) and the other four Kingdom ; and, towards the close of his hundred are huddled pell-mell into Mr. distinguished career, honored by Brenton's, without the least order, and George IV. with a Field-marshal's baton, many of them having no relation to the in testimony of his eminent services. life of Lord St. Vincent.

Under the guidance, and by the example Mr. Tucker's father was Lord St. Vinof such a man, were the most distinguished cent's private and confidential Secretary, officers of the time educated and promoted afterwards a Commissioner of the Navy,

-Collingwood, Saumarez, Troubridge, and lastly the second Secretary of the AdHallowell, and Nelson, with many others. miralty, under the naval administrations of * He was the master and instructor,' says Lord Howick (Earl Grey) and Mr. Thomas Dr. Parr, ‘of Nelson, whom he formed and Grenville. This author had the additional made a greater man than bimself, and then advantage of whatever authentic materials, did not envy him.' The Doctor was not and we believe they were not few nor un

Lord St. Vincent knew not important, were left to him by his father, what envy was: when he found himself so with others from the Earl's family. unwell as to be obliged to give up the Nor was Captain Brenton without preMediterranean command, Lord Nelson, on tensions to become the biographer of Lord his own behalf and that of his gallant com- St. Vincent. His brother, Sir Jaleel Brenrades above mentioned, thus writes to him: ton, had served with his lordship, and by his -For the sake of the country, do not quit excellent and gallant conduct had gained us at this moment. ... We look up to his friendship, and when the noble Earl, you, as we have always found you, as to after the death of his lady, made an excur

was

far wrong

[ocr errors]

sion on the continent, he took with him, as we thought it best to return home. I went in his companions, the captain and his sister, at night, and made myself known to my sisMiss Brenton, the latter of whom continued ters, who remonstrated with me rather warmly to manage his household affairs.

on the impropriety of my conduct, and assured

me that Mr. Swinton would chastise me seOur notices will be chiefly drawn from verely for it; to which I replied that he certhe “Memoirs' of the civilian; out of tainly would not, for that I did not intend to go which we shall gather such materials as to school any more, and that I was resolved to will best convey a true portrait of the char- be a sailor. acter, conduct, and feelings of this great The next day my mother spoke to me on man. To depict him in his early youth we be a sailor. This threw her into much per

the subject; and I still repeated that I would must, however, have recourse to Captain plexity; and, in the absence of her husband, Brenton's work, where we have a curious she made known her grief, in a flood of tears, piece of autobiography, dictated by the no- to Lady Archibald Hamilton, mother of the ble lord himself to the captain. One day, late Sir William Hamilton, and wife of the this author tells us, he took the opportunity governor of Greenwich Hospital. Her lady. of reminding the old Earl of his promise ship said she did not see the matter in the same to relate to him part of his early history, light as my mother did ; that she thought the ‘His lordship, with his characteristic kind-sea a very honorable and a very good profesness and frankness, immediately replied— me a situation in some ship of war.

sion, and said she would undertake to procure “Come, then, take your pen and sit down, In the mean time my mother sent for her and I will talk while you write.” He then brother, Mr. John Parker, who, on being made dictated to me what follows:

acquainted with my determination, expostula

ted with me, but to no purpose. I was reI was born at Meaford, in Staffordshire, on

solved I would not be a lawyer, and that I the 9th January, 1731, old style. My father would be a sailor. Shortly afterwards, Lady was counsellor and solicitor to the Admiralty, A. Hamilton introduced me to Lady Burlingand treasurer (Mr. Tucker says auditor) . of ton, and she lo Commodore Townshend, who Greenwich Hospital. At a very early age I was at that time going out in the Gloucester, was sent to a grammar-school at Burton-upon

as Commander-in-chief, to Jamaica. She reTrent, where I remained long enough to be quested that he would take me on his quarterconsidered a very capital Lätin and Greek deck, to which the commodore readily conscholar for my years; and I was often selected sented; and I was forthwith to be prepared by the master to show what proficiency his for a sea lile. boys had attained. At the same time, I frankly be called grotesque. My coat was made for

My equipment was rather what would no:v own to you that I know very little about the matter now. At the age of twelve years I was heels, and was fully large in the sleeves..!

me to grow up to; it reached down to my removed to a school at Greenwich, kept by a had a dirk and a gold-laced hat; and in this Mr. Swinton, and where I was to have remained until filled for college, being destined costume my uncle caused me to be introduced for the law. This favorite plan of my father's to my patroness Lady Burlington. Here I was, however, frustrated by his own coachman, acquitted myself but badly. I lagged behind whose name I have now forgotten. I only re- my uncle, and held by the skirt of his coat. member that I gained his confidence, always forward, shook hands with me, and told me I

ladyship, however, insisted on my coming sitting by his side on the coach-box when we had chosen a very honorable profession. She drove out. He often asked what profession I intended to choose. I told him I was to be a Townshend, desiring that we should call on

then gave Mr. Parkera note to Commodore lawyer. Oh, don't be a lawyer, Master Jackey," said the old man; "all lawyers are

This we did; hiin early the next morning.

and, after waiting some time, the commodore About this time Strachan (father of the made his appearance in his nightcap and sliplate Admiral Sir Richard Strachan) came to pers, and in a very rough and uncouth voice the same school, and we became great friends. asked me, how soon I would be ready to join He told me such stories of the happiness of a my ship? I replied, “ Direcily." "Then you sea life, into which he had lately been initiated, may go to-morrow morning," said he, “and I that he easily persuaded me to quit the school will give you a letter to the first lieutenant." ; and go with him. We set out accordingly, and concealed ourselves on board of a ship at Captain Brenton here interrupts the narWool wich. My father was at that time absent rative by informing us, that the manner and on the Northern Circuit. My mother and sisters were in a state of distraction at learning tion to the first lieutenant are too gross to

circumstances of young Jervis's introducour absence from school, fearing that some disaster had happened to us. But after keeping be described ; that, in point of immorality them three days in the utmost anxiety, and and vice, it equalled or outdid any thing suffering ourselves much privation and misery, described in Roderick Random.

rogues!”

"This was in the year 1745. As soon as the Jervis, to sell his own bedding, and to ship was ready for sea, we proceeded to Ja- sleep on the bare deck. maica; and, as I was always fond of active

At an early period after his joining the life, I volunteered to go into small vessels, and

Gloucester and arriving on the West Insaw a good deal of what was going on.

My father had a very large family, with dian station, finding he had no means of limited means. He gave me twenty pounds at partaking in the mess of his colleagues in starting, and that was all he ever gave me. that ship on account of the expenses, he After I had been a considerable time at the prevailed on the captain to transfer him station, I drew for twenty more, but the bill into one of the small cruisers, where he came back protested. I was mortified at this could adapt his scanty means to his absorebuke, and made a promise, which I have lute necessities; and, being utterly unable ever kept, that I would never draw another bill without a certainty of its being paid. I to indulge in expenses on shore, he was alimmediately changed my mode of living, ways ready to volunteer for such small craft quitted my mess, lived alone, and took up the as were proceeding to sea. The dishonored ship's allowance, which I found quite sufficient; bill being the greatest weight upon his washed and mended my own clothes; made a mind, he resolved to submit to the endurpair of trowsers out of the ticking of my bed; ance of pinching privation, in order to reand having by these means saved as much lieve himself from the burden. In one of money as would redeem my honor, I took up my bill; and from that time to this (and he these cruisers it happened that, in the casaid this with great energy] I have taken care ble tier, was an old quarter-master named to keep within my means.-(Brenton, vol. i. Drysdale, who had been mate of a merpp. 19, 20.)

chant vessel : this old seaman afforded the midshipman the only assistance he ever re

ceived, towards the perfect acquirement, Mr. Từcker's statement does not materi- which he afterwards attained, of navigation. ally differ from this, but it wants the ftesh- Thus did this youth contrive to rub on, ness of the original. However limited the for six years, till the autumn of 1754, when means may have been of Mr. Swynfen Jer- he had nearly served his time as midshipvis with his double offices, or whatever his man, and then returned in the Sphinx to intention in subjecting his son to pecuniary England; was transferred to the William distress and mortified feelings, it took with and Mary yacht, and there completed the the latter the right turn;—kindled in his few months required to make him eligible breast a lofty spirit of independence, which for a lieutenant's commission. This he renever afterwards was quenched; it first ceived in the early part of January 1755, taught him to rely upon himself, and how and joined the Prince, of ninety guns, insecurely, though not without a sacrifice, he tended for the flag of Lord Anson. She might do so; it originated in him that con- was commanded by Captain Saunders, fidence in his own resources, which, in the the pattern of steady bravery combined constantly occurring transactions of his with the most unaffected modesty.' In eventful life, was one of his chief superiori- February he was transferred, as the junior ties over the run of mankind.

lieutenant, to the Royal George, and the It was, however, a dangerous, and to many following month to the Nottingham, one of a youth would have proved a fatal, experi- the fleet under Admiral Boscawen. ment, though it succeeded with

Jer- When Sir Edward Hawke was sent out to ris. But it succeeded, not so much from the Mediterranean to repair the misfortunes the wisdom of the parent, as from the natu- connected with Admiral Byng's command, ral and determined character of the boy. Captain Saunders was promoted to the flag, It was that innate and inherent character, and appointed second in command; and it more than the difficulties he had to en- speaks volumes in favor of Jervis, that his counter on his first entrance into the ser- short acquaintance had impressed that exvice, that made him what he afterwards be- cellent officer with so good an opinion, came; for we are by no means sure that a that, unsolicited, he was selected as one of young man, entering the service under his followers. He placed him in the Dorwholly different circumstances—to whom chester, whence he was soon afterwards rehis friends allow some £50 or £60 a-year moved to the Prince, in which the Admifor his mess, in order to enable him to live rals flag was then flying; and when in like a gentleman among his colleagues- |1757 it was shifted to the Culloden, he would not turn out as distinguished an of- took Mr. Jervis with him as his second ficer as one doomed to share the poverty of lieutenant.

young

[ocr errors]

The illness of Strachan, who commanded (dition are matters of history, in which the a small sloop, the Experiment, placed Lieu- name of Wolfe is emblazoned in imperishtenant Jervis, for the first time, in the com- able characters. mand of a ship; and being sent out on a cruise, he fell in with and engaged the ple despaired, they triumphed, they wept, for

'In England,' says Lord Orford, 'the peoFrench privateer Xebeque, much superior Wolle had fallen in the hour of victory; joy, in force and sailing. In a running fight, griei, curiosity, astonishment, were painted in which lasted above two hours, the Experi- every countenance; the more they inquired, ment had a midshipman killed and several the higher their admiration rose; not an inciof the crew wounded; the sloop was much dent but was heroic and affecting.'—-Still

, damaged in her hull and rigging, and her however,” says Mr. Tucker, does one incimain-mast shot through. The Xebeque

dent remain, which, it is believed, is not genemade off'; but her speed was so superior participated in it, shonld be related. On the

rally known, and which, as Commander Jervis that the pursuit was soon decided to be night previous to the battle, after all the orders hopeless.

for the assault were given, Wolfe requested a The expedition against Canada being de- private interview with his friend ; at which, cided on, and the renowned Wolfe appointed saying he had the strongest presentiment that to the command of the military forces, Ad- he should be killed in the fight of' to-morrow,

but he was sure he should die on the field of miral, now Sir Charles Saunders, who was recalled from the Mediterranean for the ex- taking from his bosom the miniature of a young

glory, Wolte unbuttoned his waistcoat, and press purpose of taking the command of lady with whose heart his own" blended," he the fleet to be employed on this expedition, delivered it to Commander Jervis, entreating again hoisted his flag in the Prince, and se- that, if the foreboding came to pass, he would lected Mr. Jervis to be his first lieutenant. himself return it to her on his arrival in Eng. The military Commander-in-chief, and his

land. Wolfe's presages were too completely aide-de-camp, Captain (afterwards Colonel) painful duty of delivering the pledge to Miss

fulfilled, and Commander Jervis had the most Barré, were among Sir Charles Saunders's Lowther.' guests. Wolfe and Jervis had been at school together, 'when the generous ac

In 1769 he was appointed to the Alarm quaintance of youthful hours' had been frigate, and sent to the Mediterranean. formed, now in a maturer age to be re- When at Genoa, (not at Tunis, as Captain newed ;* and such was the confidence the Brenton says,) two African slaves, sauntersoldier here placed in the sailor, that, ing in their galley near the mole, jumped ‘when on the eve of battle, that gallant into the Alarm's boat, enfolded themselves young hero sought for a friend to whoin he in the British colors, and shouted out, might unbosom the fondest secret of his 'We are free !' The Genoese officer, hearheart, Jervis was the chosen depositary.' ing this, caused them to be taken forcibly

By the time the forces had arrived at the from their place of refuge, one of the slaves mouth of the St. Lawrence, Sir Charles had carrying away with him the piece of the flag appointed Jervis to command the Porcupine torn off. This being reported to Captain Jersloop, with which, by his alertness on all vis, he at once decided it was an insult to the occasions, he was judged to be of material British flag; and accordingly,' he says, service to the army. The Porcupine was “I demanded of both the Doge and Senate ordered to lead, and the General was em- that both the slaves should be brought on barked in the leading ship. When under board the Alarm, with the part of the torn the guns of Quebec, it fell a dead calm. color which the slave carried off with him,

The stream of the river set the Porcupine the officer of the guard punished, and an rapidly towards the flats, and within the apology made on the quarterdeck of the reach of the guns of Fort Louis, from Alarm, under the king's colors, for the whence she was cannonaded. But, by the outrage offered to the British nation;' and judicious exertions of Jervis and his crew, he carried every point of his demand. Mr. she was towed off, and the fleet conducted Tucker, rather unnecessarily, here introto a landing-place; and here Commander duces Jervis's opinions in after life as deJervis's participation ceased.

cidedly averse from the abolition of negro The exploits and the result of this expe- slavery; and we notice this the rather be

cause we think Captain Brenton bas been * Is not this doubtful ? Wolfe was born in 1726,

led into a mistake. He says that Sir Jervis in 1734, making a difference of eight years George Naylor waited on Lord St. Vincent in their ages.

for some historical anecdotes to grace the history of his peerage; that his lordship ploy, by great economy my own pocket expressed his dissent, being utterly averse supported myself, and maintained my indefrom such nonsense and vanity; but that, pendence, though it was hard work; but I after a short silence, he said, Yes, there could not afford to purchase any thing in is one anecdote which I will give you, and this land of tempting curiosities and arts.' one at which I am more proud than of any The Duke quitted in May, with a heart other event of my life;'—and he tells the overflowing with thankfulness for the unalstory of the two slaves. This is not exact- loyed pleasure he had received from his ly what we should expect from one, who trip with Jervis. was not only indifferent, but invariably hos- The Alarm, after this, went home, was tile, to slave emancipation ; and we think, paid off, and Jervis, with his friend Captain moreover, that some little vanity' was Barrington, the former having first for displayed (but could any one blame it !) in some time studied the French language, the emblazonment of his arms with an his- set off on a tour of inspection of the Eutorical anecdote that no one can mistake; ropean naval arsenals—chiefly those of -his supporters bearing the Thunderer's France. They then proceeded to St. Peeagle and the winged horse of Helicon, in tersburg by the Baltic; and Jervis gives a direct allusion to the capture of the Pegase concise and spirited account of th Emby the Foudroyant.

press Catharine, and the noted characters After a severe storm, and the shipwreck who were then found in the Russian capiof the Alarm, at Marseilles, it required the tal. Stockholm, Carlscrona, Copenhagen, most extraordinary exertions, together with and the harbors of Norway, were also the valuable assistance of M. Pleville de visited; as were Hamburg, Lubeck, and Peltier, the port officer, to make her again the ports of Holland, together with the seaworthy ; after which Jervis, by his rep- northern ports of France, and in the auresentations to the Admiralty, had the tumn of the second year of their travels, gratification of presenting to M. de Peltier they returned to Plymouth. a valuable piece of plate. A few months Soon after his arrival, Jervis was apafter the accident, he writes to his sister- pointed to the Foudroyant, the finest two• The Alarm is the completest thing I ever deck ship in the British navy. She was saw on the water :'-having previously de- annexed to the Channel fleet under Admiscribed her 'a miserable sunken ral Keppel, and was stationed immediately wreck.'

astern of the Commander-in-chief's ship, He also wrote to his father on this occa- the Victory. In our review of the Life of sion; but nothing appears in reply either Keppel, by the Hon. and Rev. Augustus then or thereafter. I have the happiness Keppel, we adverted to the straightforward to inform my dearest father that my pros- evidence of Captain Jervis on the courtpects brighten, and I hope to be at sea in a martial called for by Palliser against Kepmonth. I have had a severe lesson of sub-pel. Mr. Tucker has reprinted, at full mission to the Divine will, gained some length, the evidence of Jervis, which occuexperience, and, I have the vanity to think, pied two days, and which consists of ninetylost no reputation, although other loss I one questions and cross-questions, with the have sustained enough; but that is not to answers. All of these were clear, concise, be named.'

decided, and consistent; and that evidence His Royal Highness Prince William alone left not a doubt as to the conduct of Henry, Duke of Gloucester, being in a weak Keppel. state of health, it was the King's pleasure In 1779 the Foudroyant was still aitachthat a winter's sojourn in Italy should take ed to the Channel fleet, then under the place, and that a frigate should convey him command of Sir Charles Hardy, who made from port to port-and the Alarm was or- so dignified a retreat before the immensely dered on that service. On this occasion superior Spanish and French fleets, that Jervis proved, in one respect, that as the Lord Howe and his Board of Admiralty boy had been, so was the man. Alive to expressed their high approbation of the the advantages of visiting the several courts Admiral's wise and prudent conduct. of Italy under such favorable auspices, and It would appear, however, that Jervis in the society in which he was com- considered it in a different light. Writing pelled, as it were, to move, he thus in- to his sister he says—'I am in the most forms his friends how he supported him- humbled state of mind I ever experienced, self: ‘T

ghout such an expensive em- from the retrea we have made before the

as

« PreviousContinue »