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ing of the wounded and the dead. It had been a murderous action. Our loss, in killed and wounded, was nine hundred and fifty-three. Part of this slaughter might have been spared. The commanding officer of the troops on board one of our ships asked where his men should be stationed ? He was told that they could be of no use; that they were not near enough for musketry, and were not wanted at the guns; they had therefore better go below. This, he said, was impossible ; it would be a disgrace that could never be wiped away. They were, therefore, drawn up upon the gangway, to satisfy this cruel point of honour; and there, without the possibility of annoying the enemy, they were cruelly mowed down! The loss of the Danes, including prisoners, amounted to about six thousand. The negotiations, meantime, went on; and it was agreed that Nelson should have an interview with the Prince the following day. Hardy and Freemantle landed with him. This was a thing as unexampled as the other circumstances of the battle. A strong guard was appointed to escort him to the palace, as much for the purpose of security as of honour. The populace, according to the British account, showed a mixture of admiration, curiosity, and displeasure, at beholding that man in the midst of them who had inflicted such wounds upon Denmark. But there were neither acclamations nor murmurs. “The people,” says a Dane, “ did not degrade themselves with the former, nor disgrace themselves with the latter. The admiral was received as one brave enemy ever ought to receive another: he was received with respect." The preliminaries of the negotiation were adjusted at this interview. During the repast which followed, Nelson, with all the sincerity of his character, bore willing testimony to the valour of his foes. He told the Prince that he had been in a hundred and five engagements, but that this was the most tremendous of all. “The French," he said, “ fought bravely; but they could not have stood for one hour the fight which the Danes had supported for four.” He
PATRIOTISM OF THE DANES.
requested that Villemoes might be introduced to him; and, shaking hands with the youth, told the Prince that he ought to be made an admiral. The Prince replied, “If, my lord, I am to make all my brave officers admirals, I should have no captains or lieutenants in my service.”
The sympathy of the Danes for their countrymen who had bled in their defence was not weakened by distance of time or place in this instance. Things needful for the service, or the comfort of the wounded, were sent in profusion to the hospitals, till the superintendents gave public notice that they could receive no more. On the third day after the action, the dead were buried in the naval churchyard : the ceremony was made as public and as solemn as the occasion required; such a procession had never before been seen in that, or, perhaps, in any other city. A public monument was erected upon the spot where the slain were gathered together. A subscription was opened on the day of the funeral for the relief of the sufferers, and collections in aid of it made throughout all the churches in the kingdom. This appeal to the feelings of the people was made with circumstances which gave it full effect. A monument was raised in the midst of the church, surmounted by the Danish colours; young maidens, dressed in white, stood round it, with either one who had been wounded in the battle or the widow and orphans of some one who had fallen ; a suitable oration was delivered from the pulpit, and patriotic hymns and songs were afterwards performed. Medals were distributed to all the officers, and to the men who had distinguished themselves. Poets and painters vied with each other in celebrating a battle which, disastrous as it was, had yet been honourable to their country ; some, with pardonable sophistry, represented the advantage of the day as on their own side. One yriter discovered a more curious but less disputable ground of satisfaction in the reflection that Nelson, as may be inferred from his name, was of Danish descent; and his actions, therefore, the Dane argued, were attributable to Danish valour,
The negotiation was continued during the five following days; and, in that interval, the prizes were disposed of in a manner which was little approved by Nelson. Six line-of-battle ships and eight praams had been taken. Of these, the Holstein, 64, was the only one which was sent home. The Zealand was a finer ship; but the Zealand and all the others were burnt, and their brass batteringcannon sunk with the hulls in such shoal water that, when the fleet returned from Revel, they found the Danes, with craft over the wrecks, employed in getting the guns up again. Nelson, though he forbore from any public expression of displeasure at seeing the proofs and trophies of his victory destroyed, did not forget to represent to the Admiralty the case of those who were thus deprived of their prize-money. Whether,” said he to Earl St. Vincent, “ Sir Hyde Parker may mention the subject to you, I know not; for he is rich, and does not want it: nor is it, you will believe me, any desire to get a few hundred pounds that actuates me to address this letter to you, but justice to the brave officers and men who fought on that day. It is true, our opponents were in hulks and floats, only adapted for the position they were in; but that made our battle so much the harder, and victory so much the more difficult to obtain. Believe me, I have weighed all circumstances; and, in my conscience, I think that the King should send a gracious message to the House of Commons for a gift to this fleet; for what must be the natural feelings of the officers and men belonging to it, to see their rich commander-in-chief burn all the fruits of their victory—which, if fitted up and sent to England (as many of them might have been by dismantling part of our fleet), would have sold for a good round
On the.9th, Nelson landed again, to conclude the terms of the armistice. During its continuance, the armed ships and vessels of Denmark were to remain in their then actual situation, as to armament, equipment, and hostile position; and the treaty of armed neutrality, as far as
CONFERENCE WITH THE PRINCE.
related to the co-operation of Denmark, was suspended. The prisoners were to be sent on shore ; an acknowledgment being given for them, and for the wounded also, that they might be carried to Great Britain's credit in the account of war in case hostilities should be renewed. The British fleet was allowed to provide itself with all things requisite for the health and comfort of its men. A difficulty arose respecting the duration of the armistice. The Danish commissioners fairly stated their fears of Russia ; and Nelson, with that frankness which sound policy and the sense of power seem often to require as well as justify in diplomacy, told them his reason for demanding a long term was, that he might have time to act against the Russian fleet, and then return to Copenhagen. Neither party would yield upon this point; and one of the Danes hinted at the renewal of hostilities. “Renew hostilities !” cried Nelson to one of his friends for he understood French enough to comprehend what was said, though not to answer it in the same language “tell him we are ready at a moment !--ready to bombard this very night!” The conference, however, proceeded amicably on both sides ; and as the commissioners could not agree upon this head, they broke up, leaving Nelson to settle it with the Prince. A levee was held forthwith in one of the state-rooms-a scene well suited for such a consultation ; for all these rooms had been stripped of their furniture, in fear of a bombardment. To a bombardment also Nelson was looking at this time : fatigue and anxiety, and vexation at the dilatory measures of the commander-in-chief
, combined to make him irritable; and as he was on the way to the Prince's dining-room, he whispered to the officer on whose arm he was leaning,
Though I have only one eye, I can see that all this will burn well.” After dinner he was closeted with the Prince; and they agreed that the armistice should continue fourteen weeks, and that, at its termination, fourteen days' notice should be given before the recommencement of hostilities.
An official account of the battle was published by Olfert Fischer, the Danish commander-in-chief, in which it was asserted that our force was greatly superior; nevertheless, that two of our ships of the line had struck; that the others were so weakened, and especially Lord Nelson's own ship, as to fire only single shots for an hour before the end of the action; and that this hero himself, in the middle and very heat of the conflict, sent a flag of truce on shore, to propose a cessation of hostilities. For the truth of this account the Dane appealed to the Prince, and all those who, like him, had been eye-witnesses of the scene. Nelson was exceedingly indignant at such a statement, and addressed a letter, in confutation of it, to the Adjutant-General Lindholm; thinking this incumbent upon him, for the information of the Prince, since his Royal Highness had been appealed to as a witness. “Otherwise,” said he, “ had Commodore Fischer confined himself to his own veracity, I should have treated his official letter with the contempt it deserved, and allowed the world to appreciate the merits of the two contending officers.” After pointing out and detecting some of the mis-statements in the account, he proceeds, “ As to his nonsense about victory, his Royal Highness will not much credit him. I sunk, burnt, captured, or drove into the harbour the whole line of defence to the southward of the Crown Islands. He says he is told that two British ships struck. Why did he not take possession of them? I took possession of his as fast as they struck. The reason is clear that he did not believe it; he must have known the falsity of the report. He states that the ship in which I had the honour to hoist my flag fired latterly only single guns. It is true; for steady and cool were my brave fellows, and did not wish to throw away a single shot. He seems to exult that I sent on shore a flag of truce. You know, and his Royal Highness knows, that the
guns fired from the shore could only fire through the Danish ships which had surrendered ; and that, if I fired at the shore, it could only be in the same manner.