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CRUISE IN THE ALBEMARLE.
Accordingly he sailed for Canada. During her first cruise on that station, the Albemarle captured a fishing schooner, which contained, in her cargo, nearly all the property that her master possessed, and the poor fellow had a large family at home, anxiously expecting him. Nelson employed him as a pilot in Boston Bay, then restored him the schooner and cargo, and gave him a certificate to secure him against being captured by any other vessel The man came off afterwards to the Albemarle, at the hazard of his life, with a present of sheep, poultry, and fresh provisions. A most valuable supply it proved, for the scurvy was raging on board. This was in the middle of August, and the ship's company had not had a fresh meal since the beginning of April. The certificate was preserved at Boston in memory of an act of unusual generosity; and now that the fame of Nelson has given interest to everything connected with his name, it is regarded as a relic. The Albemarle had a narrow escape upon this cruise.
Four French sail of the line and a frigate, which had come out of Boston harbour, gave chase to her; and Nelson, perceiving that they beat him in sailing, boldly ran among the numerous shoals of St. George's Bank, confiding in his own skill in pilotage. Captain Salter, in the St. Margaretta, had escaped the French fleet, by a similar manæuvre, not long before. The frigate alone continued warily to pursue him ; but as soon as he perceived that this enemy was unsupported, he shortened sail, and hove to; upon which the Frenchman thought it advisable to give over the pursuit, and sail in quest of his consorts.
At Quebec, Nelson became acquainted with Alexander Davison; by whose interference he was prevented from making what would have been called an imprudent marriage. The Albemarle was about to leave the station; her captain had taken leare of his friends, and was gone down the river to the place of anchorage ; when, the next morning, as Davison was walking on the beach, to his surprise he saw Nelson coming back in his boat. 'Upon inquiring
the cause of this re-appearance, Nelson took his arm, to walk towards the town, and told him he found it utterly impossible to leave Quebec without again seeing the woman whose society had contributed so much to his happiness there, and offering her his hand. “If you do," said his friend, “your utter ruin must inevitably follow.” “ Then let it follow," cried Nelson, "for I am resolved to do it." “And I,” replied Davison, " am resolved you shall not." Nelson, however, upon this occasion was less resolute than his friend, and suffered himself to be led back to the boat.
The Albemarle was under orders to convoy a fleet of transports to New York. “A very pretty job,” said her captain, “at this late season of the year" (October was far advanced), “ for our sails are at this moment frozen to the yards. On his arrival at Sandy Hook, he waited on the commander-in-chief, Admiral Digby, who told him he was come on a fine station for making prize-money. “ Yes, sir," Nelson made answer; “but the West Indies is the station for honour.” Lord Hood, with a detachment of Rodney's victorious fleet, was at that time at Sandy Hook : he had been intimate with Captain Suckling, and Nelson, who was desirous of nothing but honour, requested him to ask for the Albemarle, that he might go to that station where it was most likely to be obtained. Admiral Digby reluctantly parted with him. His professional merit was already well known; and Lord Hood, on introducing him to Prince William Henry, as the Duke of Clarence was then called, told the Prince, if he wished to ask any questions respecting naval tactics, Captain Nelson could give him as much information as any officer in the fleet. The Duke, who, to his own honour, became from that time the firm friend of Nelson, describes him as appearing the merest boy of a captain he had ever seen, dressed in a full-laced uniform, an oldfashioned waistcoat with long flaps, and his lank unpowdered hair tied in a stiff Hessian tail of extraordinary length; making, altogether, so remarkable a figure,
TAKES A SPANISH LAUNCH.
" that,” says the Duke, “I had never seen anything like it before ; nor could I imagine who he was, nor what he came about.
But his address and conversation were irresistibly pleasing; and when he spoke on professional subjects, it was with an enthusiasm that showed he was no common being.”
It was expected that the French would attempt some of the passages between the Bahamas; and Lord Hood, thinking of this, said to Nelson, “I suppose, sir, from the length of time you were cruising among the Bahama Keys, you must be a good pilot there.” He replied, with that constant readiness to render justice to every man which was so conspicuous in all his conduct through life, that he was well acquainted with them himself, but that in that respect his second-lieutenant was far his superior.
The French got into Puerto Cabello, on the coast of Venezuela. Nelson was cruising between that port and La Guayra, under French colours, for the purpose of obtaining information, when a king's launch, belonging to the Spaniards, passed near, and being hailed in French, came alongside without suspicion, and answered all questions that were asked concerning the number and force of the enemy's ships. The crew, however, were not a little surprised when they were taken on board, and found themselves prisoners. One of the party went by the name of the Count de Deux Ponts. He was, however, a prince of the German empire, and brother to the heir of the Electorate of Bavaria ; his companions were French officers of distinction and men of science, who had been collecting specimens in the various branches of natural history. Nelson having entertained them with the best his table could afford, told them they were at liberty to depart with their boat and all that it contained : he only required them to promise that they would consider themselves as prisoners, if the commander-in-chief should refuse to acquiesce in their being thus liberated ; a circumstance which was not by any means likely to happen. Tidings soon arrived that the preliminaries of peace had
been signed ; and the Albemarle returned to England, and was paid off. Nelson's first business, after he got to London, even before he went to see his relations, was to attempt to get the wages due to his men, for the various ships in which they had served during the war.
“ The disgust of seamen to the navy,” he said, was all owing to the infernal plan of turning them over from ship to ship; so that men could not be attached to the officers, nor the officers care the least about the men." Yet he himself was so beloved by his men, that his whole ship’s company offered, if he could get a ship, to enter for her immediately. He was now, for the first time, presented at court. After going through this ceremony, he dined with his friend Davison, at Lincoln's Inn. As soon as he entered the chambers, he threw off what he called his iron-bound coat, and putting himself at ease in a dressing-gown, passed the remainder of the day in talking over all that had befallen them since they parted on the shore of the River St. Lawrence,
Nelson goes to France during the Peace-Re-appointed to the Borers, and
stationed at the Leeward Islands-His firm Coudit concerning the American Interlopers and the Contractors-Murries and returns to England -13 on the point of quitting the Service in Disgusl-Mamer of Life while unemployed -Appointed to tlie Agamemnon on th breaking out of the War of the French Revolution.
“I HAVE closed the war," said Nelson, in one of his letters," without a fortune; but there is not a speck in my character. True honour, I hope, predominates in my mind far above riches." He did not apply for a ship, because he was not wealthy enough to live on board in the manner which was then become customary. Finding it, therefore, prudent to economise on his half-pay during the peace, he went to France, in company with Captain Macuamara, of the navy, and took lodgings at St. Omer's.
KINDNESS TO HIS MIDSHIPMEN,
The death of his favourite sister, Anne, who died in consequence of going out of the ball-room, at Bath, when heated with dancing, affected her father so much, that it had nearly occasioned him to return in a few weeks. Time, however, and reason and religion, overcame this grief in the old man; and Nelson continued at St. Omer's long enough to fall in love with the daughter of an English clergyman. This second attachment appears to have been less ardent than the first ; for, upon weighing the evils of a straitened income to a married man, he thought it better to leave France, assigning to his friends something in his accounts as the cause. This prevented him from accepting an invitation from the Count of Deux Ponts to visit him at Paris, couched in the handsomest terms of acknowledgment for the treatment which he had received on board the Albemarle.
The self-constraint which Nelson exerted in subduing this attachment made him naturally desire to be at sea ; and when, upon visiting Lord Howe at the Admiralty, he was asked if he wished to be employed, he made answer that he did. Accordingly, in March, he was appointed to the Boreas, twenty-eight guns, going to the Leeward Islands, as a cruizer, on the peace establishment. Lady Hughes and her family went out with him to Admiral Sir Richard Hughes, who commanded on that station. His ship was full of young midshipmen, of whom there were not less than thirty on board : and happy were they whose lot it was to be placed with such a captain. If he perceived that a boy was afraid at first going aloft, ke would say to him, in a friendly manner, “Well, sir, I am going a race to the mast-head, and beg that I may meet you there.” The
little fellow instantly began to climb, and got up how he could–Nelson never noticed in what manner, but, when they met in the top, spoke cheerfully to him, and would say how much any person was to be pitied who fancied that getting up was either dangerous or difficult. Every day he went into the school-room, to see that they were pursuing their nautical