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THE DANISH ACCOUNT.
forbid that I should destroy an unresisting Dane! When they became my prisoners, I became their protector.”
This letter was written in terms of great asperity against the Danish commander. Lindholm replied in a manner every way honourable to himself. He vindicated the commodore in some points, and excused him in others; reminding Nelson that every commander-in-chief was liable to receive incorrect reports. With a natural desire to represent the action in a most favourable light to Denmark, he took into the comparative strength of the two parties the ships which were aground, and which could not get into action; and omitted the Trekroner and the batteries upon
Amak Island. He disclaimed all idea of claiming as a victory “what to every intent and purpose,” said he," was a defeat ; but not an inglorious one. As to your lordship’s motive for sending a flag of truce, it never can be misconstrued ; and your subsequent conduct has sufficiently shown that humanity is always the companion of true valour. You have done more ; you have shown yourself a friend to the re-establishment of peace and good harmony between this country and Great Britain. It is therefore, with the sincerest esteem, I shall always feel myself attached to your lordship.” Thus handsomely winding up his reply, he soothed and contented Nelson, who, drawing up a memorandum of the comparative force of the two parties for his own satisfaction, assured Lindholm that, if the commodore's statement had been in the same manly and honourable strain, he would have been the last man to have noticed any little inaccuracies which might get into a commander-in-chief's public letter.
For the battle of Copenhagen, Nelson was raised to the rank of viscount ; an inadequate mark of reward for services so splendid, and of such paramount importance to the dearest interests of England. There was, however, some prudence in dealing out honours to him step by step : had he lived long enough, he would have fought his way up to a dukedom.
Sir Hyde Parker is recalled, and Nelson appointed Commander-He goes to
Revel-Settlement of Affairs in the Baltic--Unsuccessful Attempt upon the Flotilla at Boulogne-Peace of Amiens-Nelson takes the Command in the Mediterranean on the Renewal of the War-Escape of the Toulon Fleet. Nelson chases them to the West Indies, and back-Delivers up his Squadron to Admiral Cornwallis, and lands in England.
WHEN Nelson informed Earl St. Vincent that the armistice had been concluded, he told him also, without reserve, his own discontent at the dilatoriness and indecision which he witnessed, and could not remedy. man,” said he, “but those who are on the spot, can tell what I have gone through and do suffer. I make no scruple in saying that I would have been at Revel fourteen days ago ; that, without this armistice, the fleet would never have gone, but by order of the Admiralty; and with it, I dare say, we shall not go this week. I wanted Sir Hyde to let me, at least, go and cruise off Carlscrona, to prevent the Revel ships from getting in. I said I would not go to Revel to take any of those laurels which I was sure he would reap there. Think for me, my dear lord ; and if I have deserved well, let me return ; if ill, for heaven's sake, supersede me, for cannot exist in this state.”
Fatigue, incessant anxiety, and a climate little suited to one of a tender constitution, which had now for many years been accustomed to more genial latitudes, made him at this time seriously determine upon returning home. “If the northern business were not settled,” he said, • they must send more admirals ;" for the keen air of the north had cut him to the heart. He felt the want of activity and decision in the commander-in-chief more keenly; and this affected his spirits, and consequently his health, more than the inclemency of the Baltic. Soon
IN SEARCH OF THE SWEDES.
after the armistice was signed, Sir Hyde proceeded to the eastward with such ships as were fit for service, leaving Nelson to follow with the rest, as soon as those which had received slight damages should be repaired, and the rest sent to England. In passing between the isles of Amak and Saltholm, most of the ships touched the ground, and some of them stuck fast for a while ; no serious injury, however, was sustained. It was intended to act against the Russians first, before the breaking up of the frost should enable them to leave Revel; but learning on the way that the Swedes had put to sea to effect a junction with them, Sir Hyde altered his course, in hopes of intercepting this part of the enemy's force.
Nelson had at this time provided for the more pressing emergencies of the service, and prepared, on the 18th, to follow the fleet. The St. George drew too much water to pass the channel between the isles without being lightened ; the guns were therefore taken out, and put on board an American vessel. A contrary wind, however, prevented Nelson from moving; and on that same evening, while he was thus delayed, information reached him of the relative situation of the Swedish and British fleets, and the probability of an action. The fleet was nearly ten leagues distant, and both wind and current contrary ; but it was not possible that Nelson could wait for a favourable season under such an expectation. He ordered his boat immediately, and stepped into it. Night was setting in-one of the cold spring nights of the north ; and it was discovered soon after they had left the ship that, in their haste, they had forgotten to provide him with a boat-cloak. He, however, forbade them to return for one; and when one of his companions offered his own great coat, and urged him to make use of it, he replied,
I thank you very much ; but, to tell you the truth, my anxiety keeps me sufficiently warm at present."
Do you think,” said he, presently, “that our fleet has quitted Bornholm? If it has, we must follow it to Čarlscrona.” About midnight he reached it, and once
more got on board the Elephant. On the following morning the Swedes were discovered ; as soon, however, as they perceived the English approaching, they retired, and took shelter in Carlscrona, behind the batteries on the island, at the entrance of that port. Sir Hyde sent in a flag of truce, stating that Denmark had concluded an armistice, and requiring an explicit declaration from the court of Sweden whether it would adhere to or abandon the hostile measures which it had taken against the rights and interests of Great Britain ? The commander, Vice-Admiral Cronstadt, replied " that he could not answer a question which did not come within the particular circle of his duty ; but that the King was then at Maloe, and would soon be at Carlscrona." Gustavus shortly afterwards arrived, and an answer was then returned to this effect, “That his Swedish Majesty would not for a moment fail to fulfil, with fidelity and sincerity, the engagements he had entered into with his allies; but he would not refuse to listen to equitable proposals made by deputies furnished with proper authority by the King of Great Britain to the united northern powers.” Satisfied with this answer, and with the known disposition of the Swedish court, Sir Hyde sailed for the Gulf of Finland; but he had not proceeded far before a despatchboat from the Russian ambassador at Copenhagen arrived, bringing intelligence of the death of the Emperor Paul; and that his successor, Alexander, had accepted the offer made by England to his father, of terminating the dispute by a convention. The British admiral was therefore required to desist from all further hostilities.
It was Nelson's maxim that, to negotiate with effect, force should be at hand, and in a situation to act. The fleet, having been reinforced from England, amounted to eighteen sail of the line; and the wind was fair for Revel. There he would have sailed immediately, to place himself between that division of the Russian fleet and the squadron at Cronstadt, in case this offer should prove
insincere. Sir Hyde, on the other hand, believed that the death of
Paul had effected all which was necessary. The manner of that death, indeed, rendered it apparent that a change of policy would take place in the Cabinet of Petersburgh ; but Nelson never trusted anything to the uncertain events of time which could possibly be secured by promptitude or resolution. It was not, therefore, without severe mortification, that he saw the commander-in-chief return to the coast of Zealand, and anchor in Kioge Bay; there to wait patiently for what might happen.
There the fleet remained, till despatches arrived from home, on the 5th of May, recalling Sir Hyde, and appointing Nelson commander-in-chief.
Nelson wrote to Earl St. Vincent that he was unable to hold this honourable station. Admiral Graves also was so ill, as to be confined to his bed ; and he intreated that some person might come out and take the command. “I will endeavour," said he, “ to do my best, while I remain ; but, my dear lord, I shall either soon go to heaven, I hope, or must rest quiet for a time. If Sir Hyde were gone, I would now be under sail.” On the day when this was written, he received news of his appointment. Not a moment was now lost. His first signal, as commanderin-chief, was to hoist in all launches, and prepare to weigh ; and on the 7th he sailed from Kioge. Part of his fleet was left at Bornholm, to watch the Swedes, from whom he required and obtained an assurance that the British trade in the Cattegat, and in the Baltic, should not be molested ; and saying how unpleasant it would be to him if anything should happen which might for a moment disturb the returning harmony between Sweden and Great Britain, he apprised them that he was not directed to abstain from hostilities, should he meet with the Swedish fleet at sea. Meantime, he himself, with ten sail of the line, two frigates, a brig, and a schooner, made for the Gulf of Finland. Paul, in one of the freaks of his tyranny, had seized upon all the British effects in Russia, and even considered British subjects as bis prisoners. “I will have all the English shipping and