Page images

cided dislike of a great portion of the naval | ed in kind and courteous terms, whether officers to the managing officers of his his refusals were addressed to the Princes Board. Lord Howick (Earl Grey) had the of the Royal Family, the first Nobles of the saine feelings with Lord St. Vincent as to land, or to a poor Lieutenant. the naval department; but his short stay at On the death of Mr. Pitt, and the accesthe head of the Admiralty, did not permit sion of Lord Grenville as Prime Minister in him to enter upon any efficient steps for a 1806, and Lord Grey as first Lord of the reformation. He did not, however, forget | Admiralty, Lord St. Vincent a second time the lesson he had learned at the Admiralty, accepted the command of the Channel or the principles inculcated by Lord St. fleet; and being promoted to the high rank Vincent; and from the moment (as Lord of Admiral of the feet, he hoisted the Union Grey) he became Prime Minister, his first flag at the main in the Hibernia. Just instruction to Sir James Graham, as first then intelligence arrived of the renowned Lord of the Admiralty, was, to take imme- victory of Trafalgar; on which occasion diate steps for an act of Parliament to can- the old Earl wrote thus to his Secretary : cel the Patents of every Commissioner of Lord Collingwood has done himself imthe Navy, both at Somerset House and at mortal honor by his conclusion of the batthe ports, whether at home or abroad. tle, which Nelson so nobly began. Writing Thus, as appears by the Imperial Calendar, to you privately, I suppose I may confess twenty-seven commissioners of the Navy, that I do feel a pride in this great victory Victualling, and Transport Boards, were beyond the general enthusiasm. I was deprived of their Patents on the same day : prepared for every thing great from Nelof whom nine belonged to the Navy Board, son, but not for his loss.' No wonder that and seven to the Victualling and other de- the news of this immortal achievement, and partments : and in lieu of those sixteen, of the loss of the unsurpassable hero by were substituted five responsible officers, whose sublime genius it had been planned, one to each of the five departments into and who had hailed him as 'the father' of a which the new establishment was divided numerous contemporary group of England's -the Surveyor, the Accountant-General, most illustrious seamen, should have occathe Comptroller of Victualling, the Store- sioned a glow of enthusiasm, attempered kemper, and the Inspector of Hospitals and with a severe pang to a nature which, Fleets—and each of these was under the though strong and stern, was yet as tender supervision of a Lord of the Admiralty. and feeling as it was warmly patriotic ! Eight or nine superintendents at the ports About this time Lisbon was threatened supply the remainder of the twenty-seven. with the presence of a French army; on

This new system, we believe, works well, which it was deemed expedient to send an though at first it met with a determined embassy to negotiate with the house of opposition. It is now twelve years since Braganza, supported by a strong squadron it was established, and we are not aware and a large body of troops, which were imthat any changes have been found neces- mediately to be dispatched to the Tagus. sary in the plan, though a succession of Lord St. Vincent was nominated for this Whigs and Tories have formed the several service, as being considered the most fit for Boards of Admiralty ; but we may observe such an occasion. The object was to dethat, whether it works well or ill, Lord St. fend the country, if that should be found Vincent was, in fact, the primum mobile practicable; and if not, the Court should rethat impelled Lord Grey to adopt it, and solve to remove itself with the ships, forces, Sir James Graham boldly and manfully to and stores to the Brazils—in either case bis carry it into execution.

lordship was to lend his co-operation. The We have thought it necessary to enter storm, however, did not break over Portubriefly into this discussion as part and par- gal quite so soon as was anticipated ; and cel, or, at any rate, the result, of Lord St. before the end of the year Lord St. Vincent Vincent's administration of the navy. The was ordered to resume his command before space we have allotted for this article will Brest. not admit of transcribing any portion of his Almost immediately after this, Mr. Fox very voluminous correspondence. Suffice died, and Mr. Thomas Grenville took the it to say, that it was always to the point in place of Lord Howick (Earl Grey) in the question-briefly and clearly expressed, Admiralty, where he reinained only a few and free from all ambiguity. When obliged months; George III. being anxious to get to refuse a request, it was generally couch- rid of a ministry, 'many of whom,' says


Mr. Tucker, 'he personally disliked, and fleet of the enemy.' On the whole, he adthe political principles of whom he detest- mits that the work is ingenious, and wored.' On the change of administration, thy the study of all young and inexperienced Lord St. Vincent immediately resigned his officers; adding, however, that he perceives command; and was ordered to strike his signs of compilation from Père le Hoste flag and come on shore-an order to down to Viscount de Grenier. The queswhich,' as he wrote to his Secretary, he tion as to the originality and merits of our meant to be very prompt in paying obe distinguished countryman's system, dience.'

have long since fully discussed ; and shall During this short command we see little only now add, as we are bound in fairness to call for any remark. There is, however, to do, that the latter tendencies of opinion an observation his lordship makes in a let- are rather adverse to that which we upter to his former Secretary, who was now held. the second Secretary to the Admiralty, Lord St. Vincent having now struck his which rather surprised us. • I pity,' he flag for the last time, received a summons says, “the exposure of the weakness of some to a private audience of the King. After a of your lords, whose dulness I have long few preliminaries, the King saidbeen acquainted with.' Now these weak

6" Well, Lord St. Vincent, you have now and dull lords were his old colleague John quitted active service, as you say, for everMarkham, and the other naval lords were tell me, do you think the naval service is betSir Charles Pole and Sir Harry Neale. In ter or worse than when you first entered it ?" another letter to Lord Howick he thus ex

Lord St. Vincent—" Very much worse, presses himself—'I am sorry to say there please your Majesty." are few flags at the main or ihe fore I have

The King (quickly)—“How so, how so ?" any respect for;' and farther - If you will, thought that a sprinkling of nobility

was very

Lord St. Vincent—“Sire, I have always my good lord, bring a bill into Parliament desirable in the navy, as it gives some sort of to disqualify any officer under the rank of consequence to the service; but at present the Rear-Admiral to sit in the House of Com- navy is so overrun by the younger branches of mons, the Navy may be preserved ; but nobility, and the sons of members of Parliawhile a little, drunken, worthless, jacka- ment, and they so swallow up all the patronnapes is permitted to hold the seditious lan- age, and so choke the channel to promotion,

that the son of an old officer, however meriguage he has done, in the presence of flag- torious his services may have been, has little officers of rank, you will require a man of or no chance of getting on." greater health and vigor than I possess to · The King –– Pray, who was serving cap command your fleets.'

tain of the fleet under your lordship ?" In answer to another letter of Lord How- Lord St. Vincent-"Rear-Admiral Osick, who had asked his opinion of Clerk's borne, Sire.” system of Naval Tactics, he says- If it

The King—“Osborne, Osborne! I think

there are more than one of that name admihad any merit in the battles of the 1st June, rals." of Camperdown, and Trafalgar, that fought 'Lord St. Vincent—"Yes, Sire, there are off Cape St. Vincent is totally out of the three brothers, all admirals.” question.' That Lord Rodney passed The King -“That's pretty well for dethrough the enemy's line by accident, not mocracy, I think.”' by design-that Lord Howe's attack upon

How cleverly and adroitly was the fact the fleet of the enemy was at variance with the tactics of Mr. Clerk-that Lord Dun- as to the Osbornes drawn forth by the the tactics of Mr. Clerk—that Lord Dun- King! The old lord proceeded to explain can's action was fought pell-mell

, without it in detail, and ended thus :plan or system that the attack of Aboukir furnishes no argument for, or against, these ""Sire, I hope your majesty will pardon me tactics—that a fleet to windward bearing for saying, I would rather promote the son of down at right angles upon the fleet of an an old deserving officer than of any noble in enemy must be crippled, if not totally disa- the land.”. The king mused for a minute or bled, before it can reach the enemy,' Lord St. Vincent-quite right.' '

two, and then said "I think you are right, (Clerk's position,) has been disproved by the more recent action, under Lord Nel- Lord St. Vincent now retired into prison, bearing down in two columns at Tra- vate life, bearing with him, Sheridan falgar.' He adds—' Mr. Clerk is most cor- happily said, 'a triple laurel-over the rect in his statement of the advantages to enemy, the mutineer, and the corrupt.' be derived from being to leeward of the The state of his health did not allow him


to reside long at his house in London, and laborers, can never be forgotten. Throughhis small retreat of Rochetts, therefore, be out his whole command, indeed, we concame his principal abode; but he occa- stantly meet with instances of his gensionally came up to attend the House of erosity. 'Let but a case of real misforLords, and sometimes, on particular sub- tune be brought before him, especially of jects, he spoke, and with biting severity. an officer who had deserved well, and whose

necessity was not occasioned by his own He opposed Lord Grenville's bill for the imprudence, it would be sure to meet relief, abolition of the slave trade. He doubted promptly, liberally, and with an exquisite the humanity of the measure, as ' from his delicacy of feeling still more admirable.' own experience he was enabled to state, There can be no greater or more exalted that the West Indies was paradise itself to praise ! A private soldier at Gibraltar fell the negroes, compared with their native into a deep pit, so filled with mud, and country;' and he could only account for exhaling noxious vapors, that no one the noble proposer bringing it forward by would venture down to help him. One supposing that some obi-man had cast his Joaquim, who had been boatswain of Nelspell upon him. He was a steady advocate son's ship, and now in the dockyard, Jet for Catholic Emancipation. “God forbid,'|himself down by a rope, and rescued the he said, 'that any the smallest alteration poor fellow. Lord St. Vincent presented should be made in the bill to enable the his deliverer with a piece of plate, value Catholics to serve in the navy and army;'| £28, with this inscription — For preservand he expressed his indignation on hear- ing a soldier's life at the risk of bis own.' ing that Sir John Cox Hippesley had gone to Hearing by chance that poor Dibdin, to the Congress of Aix-la-Chapelle to obtain a whose happy genius such excellent nautical decree for the extinction of the Jesuits ;- songs are due, was in distressed circuman Order to whom we were obliged, not stances, Lord St. Vincent immediately sent only' for the most useful learning and dis- him £100, and desired an inquiry into coveries of every description, and necessary the real state of his case to be made; 'for for the instruction of the Catholic youth it would indeed be a shame, Mr. Tucker,' throughout the civilized world. With the he said, 'that the man who has whiled away same feeling of toleration and liberality, he the mid-watch, and softened the hardships is said to have subscribed £100 towards of war, should be in need, while a seaman building a chapel for the Jews, and also to enjoys an abundance.' What a tribute to their hospital.

the Muse of Dibdin, and how noble, geneIt appears, indeed, that he was generous rous, and kindly the sentiment which it and charitable, even to profusion; of which embodies! several marked instances have been men- Never, indeed, was there a more comtioned in the course of our remarks. But passionate or a more kind-hearted man than he had no commiseration for the exigen- Lord St. Vincent. domestic affliction cies of a spendthrift; and a gambler was had greatly depressed his old confidential his detestation. To an officer who had Secretary's health and spirits. To divert contracted debt he says— Having fought his thoughts, and with no other motive, his my way up to where I now stand, without lordship said to him that he had long the smallest pecuniary aid from any one, wished to visit the Scilly islands to look at even when I was a mid, I cannot possibly a spot for a lighthouse, and also Cornwall entertain an opinion that officers of this to inquire into the rapid deterioration of day, whose half-pay is considerably more copper, and he desired the Secretary's atthan formerly, cannot practice the same tendance at these inspections ; and his necessary economy which marked the humane and now aged Chief actually took character of mine.' His Lordship, in the that long and fatiguing journey ostensibly plenitude of his pecuniary circumstances, with these objects, but really to assuage never lost sight of a prudent economy; but the grief of an old and attached servant. his generosity was liberally and extensively The loss of Sir Thomas Troubridge sank manifested. 'The charity to the poor,' deeply into his heart. In a postscript to a says Mr. Tucker, ‘from Lord St. Vincent's letter are these words' Oh, Blenheim! establishment, was equal to that of any Blenheim ! where are you? After the remansion in England; and the delightful ceipt of every letter he would exclaimdrives with him to inspect the erection of Where is the Blenheim ? What can have the cottages he built for some industrious become of the Blenheim ? I shall never


see Troubridge's like again.' He called to the day of his death, frequently observhim ‘the Bayard of the British navy.' ing, that when so many were worn by the

In 1816, when in his 81st year, Lady soldiers, the sailors should at least have one; St. Vincent died. On her monument, by that surely England's naval merit must be Chantrey, in the church of Stone, is the equal to that; and that the navy never following short but classically simple in- should be without one.' When the Prince scription by his lordship :

Regent increased the order of the Bath,

and created Knights' Grand Crosses, his "Sacred to the memory of

lordship said, he did not care whose name Martha, CountESS ST. VINCENT, they placed on the list, if they had only done who was eminently pious, virtuous, and him the favor to strike his out; that when charitable.'

he was created a K.B., it was an honorable

distinction; but that now he saw names on Her age is not given, but she could not the list which he thought disgraced it, and be much less than seventy. No mention all classes with them.' The Duke of Welis made of her domestic life. It is only lington, according to Colonel Gurwood, stated that she was a lady of kindly feelings; was pretty much of the same opinion as rethat the state of her health had made her garded the Army. very infirm; and that, as a wife, her adora- In 1818, then in his eighty-third year, the tion of her lord was very ardent. They decay of his health was so perceptible, and lived together thirty-four years.

his cough so distressing, that he was adviIn answer to a note from Captain Tower, sed to winter in a milder climate. Captain accompanied by a bust of Napoleon, in and Miss Brenton, and a medical attendant, which the Captain says—'I feel a gratifica- accompanied him to the south of France. tion in presenting it to one who knows Every honorable reception and attention how to respect a great and fallen enemy,' were paid to him in passing through France. Lord St. Vincent replies— You do me He continued at Hyeres until the spring of justice in attributing the feelings you so 1819, and then returned. An anecdote is well describe to my character; and I blush told by Mr. Tucker, which the writer of for those who trample upon a man many of this article heard from the noble Earl himthem feared, and all allowed, in the career self, at his own table at Rochetts. He had of his military glory, to be an astonishing been walking in his grounds, and looking character.' And shortly before his death at a green-house then building, when his he took occasion to observe- That it had bailiff suggested that a venerable old oak often been a matter of satisfaction to him, should be felled, as it was rapidly decaying. that Bonaparte saw such specimens of our 'I command you to do no such thing,' said naval officers as Sir Henry Hotham, Sir his lordship; 'that tree and I have long George Cockburn, and Sir Frederick been contemporaries; we have flourished Maitland.' When reminded that they all together, and together we will fall. He had risen from his own school—No,' he was then exceedingly cheerful and agreeanobly replied, 'that is too much. They ble, but occasionally distressed with his would have been as great any where; it cough ; yet even at this time, Miss Brenwas with such men that I formed a school.'ton, who remained in the house, said he

He was much pleased when the present came down stairs about five every morning. Lord Melville appointed him General of In 1821, Lord Melville appointed him to Marines; and took this opportunity, as he the rank of Admiral of the Fleet; and had done on a former occasion, of testify- shortly afterwards the King honored him ing his sense of the justice which Lord with a naval baton, accompanied by an Melville did to the services of sea-officers' expression of his Majesty's warmest re-a compliment most justly due to every gards, as a testimony of his Majesty's perpart of the administration of that amiable sonal esteem, and of the high sense he enand excellent nobleman, who came into tertained of the eminent services which his office and left it, twice as first Lord of the lordship has rendered to his country, by Admiralty, with an unblemished repu- his distinguished talents and brilliant tation.

achievements.' Lord St. Vincent's great desire, in the When George IV. was about to embark declining years of his life, plainly for the on his visit to Scotland, Lord St. Vincent sake of his profession, was the Garter. He proceeded to Greenwich, and slept at the cherished a hope of it, Mr. Tucker says, house of Sir George Keats, governor of the

hospital, in order to pay his respects to his than to eulogize his naval career, which Majesty on board his own yacht. Long would not be more glowing than just. To before six in the morning, the old Earl was repeat his inexhaustible expedients to overseen on the terrace with four old pension

come difficulties; the reformation, the instruc

tion, the rapid advance of his school; the ers, who had served under him, walking in spirit which he infused or enterprise; the omhis wake, and in frequent conversation with nipresence which he enforced of obedience; them. Their only object was an interview the perfect discipline of his energetic comwith their old Commander-in-chief, now mand; the distinguished officers whom he in his eighty-eighth year. On his return educated; the boldness with which he attacked to breakfast he appeared in more than and defeated an enemy's fleet nearly doubling usual spirits, related the interview, and duct in the mutiny ;' the wonderful skill with

his own in numbers; the grandeur of his consaid, “We ali in our day were smart fellows.' which he drew forth the powers and resources On this occasion he wore, for the first time, of all ranks of subordinates, and then combined the repudiated Star of the Grand Cross of them to work together for the country ; his the Bath, that of the Knights Commanders fearless opposition to injurious prejudices and being usually worn by him. It is stated, usages, of however long standing, however as a trait of his kind attention to children, high abode; and, what crowns his course, the that one day being asked by a child what emanated from his system-on all this it would

ulterior and lasting excellences which have that star was, and where he found it-'I be delightful to indulge.? found it,' he replied, “upon the sea; and if you become a sailor, and search diligently, To this not very felicitous summary we perhaps you may find just such another.' may add a few words, though we have The interview with his Majesty was long already touched on most of the transactions and gracious; it was also the last time that in which, throughout his public life, he his lordship was on the water, and the last bore a principal part.

It cannot be suppoofficer who, on duty, had the honor of at- sed that, during his long and active career, tending him, was the present Commander Lord St. Vincent escaped censure;-proM'Clintock, whose arm assisted his lord-ceeding mostly, however, from those civil ship's tottering step on shore from the servants of the naval department whose boat; and then taking off his hat to the irregularities—to call them by no harsher youthful midshipman, “Thank ye, sir-name--had provoked his ire, and induced thank ye !' said the old admiral, in his last him to the adoption of measures for their adieu to the naval service.

correction, which seriously affected the From this day, August 1822, to Mareh reputation of some, and the interests of 1823, Lord St. Vincent's robust frame was many. Neither can it be expected that approaching its last functions; old age, he passed through the various stages of debility, and convulsive fits of coughing, public life altogether free of blame. But had all but worn it out. Yet, on the 13th if he had faults, they were so much neutralof that month, while the hand of death was ized by great and eminent virtues-charity, just upon him, he was still alive to the great generosity, and magnanimity-as to prepassing events of the day; and about eight (vent their assuming any general or promiin the evening, after lying in silent exhaus- nent character. Nor was there in his distion for two hours, he departed without a position any thing sullen or morose, whatsigh or a groan, in the presence of his ever the provocation might be. His anger affectionate friends, Sir George Grey, Doc- was never smothered, but readily appeased tor Baird, and his faithful old Secretary. by giving it full vent. He was undoubtedly It is stated he did not die wealthy. He severe; but the occasions which called for was succeeded in the Peerage by his ne- its exercise fully justified it. These were phew, Mr. Edward Jervis Ricketts, inherit-chiefly two. The first, his prompt meaing the Viscounty only. His remains were sures for the complete extinction of the interred at Stone in Staffordshire, quite mutiny in the feet before Cadiz, augmentprivately, as his will directed. A public ed as it frequently was by mutinous ships monument is erected to his memory in St. sent to him from England. What the conPaul's Cathedral.

sequences must have been of an organized We shall here extract Mr. Tucker's mutiny in a fleet close to an enemy's port, synopsis of the Earl's public character and on a foreign station, cannot be unknown services :

to any, and is fearful to contemplate ; but "To the ardent admirers of the great admi- by a stern and uncompromising severity, ral, nothing could be more easy or gratifying if sending the criminals to immediate exe

« PreviousContinue »