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guard, at the sight of Nelson, Lady Hamilton sprang up the ship's side, and exclaiming, “O God! is it possible !” fell into his arms, more, he says, like one dead than alive. He described the meeting as “terribly affecting." These friends had scarcely recovered from their tears, when the king, who went out to meet him three leagues in the royal barge, came on board and took him by the hand, calling him his deliverer and preserver; from all the boats around he was saluted with the same appellations; the multitude who surrounded him when he landed repeated the enthusiastic cries; and the lazzaroni displayed their joy by holding up birds in cages, and giving them their liberty as he passed.
His birthday, which occurred a week after his arrival, was celebrated with one of the most splendid fêtes ever beheld at Naples. But, notwithstanding the splendour with which he was encircled, and the flattering honours with which all ranks welcomed him, Nelson was fully sensible of the depravity, as well as weakness, of those by whom he was surrounded. " What precious moments,” said he,“ the courts of Naples and Vienna are losing! Three months would liberate Italy! but this court is so enervated, that the happy moment will be lost. I am very unwell; and their miserable conduct is not likely to cool my
irritable temper. It is a country of fiddlers and poets, whores and scoundrels." This sense of their ruinous weakness he always retained; nor was he ever blind to the mingled" folly and treachery of the Neapolitan ministers, and the complication of iniquities under which the country groaned: but he
insensibly, under the influence of Lady Hamilton, formed an affection for the court, to whose misgovernment the miserable condition of the country was so greatly to be imputed. By the kindness of her nature, as well as by her attractions, she had won his heart. Earl St. Vincent, writing to her at this time, says, “ Ten thousand most grateful thanks are due to your ladyship for restoring the health of our invaluable friend Nelson, on whose life the fate of the remaining governments in Europe, whose system has not been deranged by these devils, depends. Pray do not let your fascinating Neapolitan dames approach too near him, for he is made of flesh and blood, and cannot resist their temptations." But this was addressed to the very person from whom he was in danger.
The state of Naples may be described in few words. The king was one of the Spanish Bourbons. As the Cæsars have shown us to what wickedness the moral nature of princes may be perverted, so in this family, the degradation to which their intellectual nature can be reduced has been not less conspicuously evinced. Ferdinand, like the rest of his race, was passionately fond of field sports,* and cared for nothing else. His
Sir William Hamilton's letters give the history of one of this sovereign’s campaigns against the wolves and boars. “Our first chase has not succeeded; the king would direct how we should beat the wood, and began at the wrong end, by which the wolves and boars escaped. The king's face is very long at this moment, but, I dare say, to-morrow's good sport will shorten it again.”—" No sport again! He has no other comfort to-day, than having killed a wild cat, and his face is a yard long. However, his majesty has vowed vengeance on the boars to-morrow, and will go according to his own fancy,
queen had all the vices of the house of Austria, with little to mitigate, and nothing to ennoble them; -provided she could have her pleasures, and the king his sports, they cared not in what manner the revenue was raised or administered. Of course a system of favouritism existed at court, and the vilest and most impudent corruption prevailed in every department of state, and in every branch of administration, from the highest to the lowest. is only the institutions of Christianity, and the vicinity of better regulated states, which prevent kingdoms, under such circumstances of misrule, from sinking into a barbarism like that of Turkey. A sense of better things was kept alive in some of and I darè say there will be a terrible slaughter.”—“ To-day has been so thoroughly bad that we have not been able to stir out, and the king, of course, in bad humour.” -" The king has killed twenty-one boars to-day, and is quite happy.” “ We have had a miserable cold day, but good sport. I killed two boars and a doe; the king nineteen boars, two stags, two does, and a porcupine. He is happy beyond expression.
Only think of his not being satisfied with killing more than thirty yesterday! He said, if the wind had favoured him, he should have killed sixty at least.”—“ The king has killed eighty-one animals of one sort or other to-day, and amongst them a wolf and some stags. He fell asleep in the coach : and waking, told me he had been dreaming of shooting. One would have thought he had shed blood enough.”—" It is a long-faced day with the king. We went far; the weather was bad ; and, after all, met with little or no game. Yesterday, when we brought home all we killed, it filled the house completely, and to-day they are obliged to whitewash the walls to take away the blood. There were more than four hundred boars, deer, stags and all. To-morrow we are to have another slaughter; and not a word of reason or common sense do I meet with the whole day, till I retire to my volumes of the old Gentleman's Magazine, which just keeps my mind from starving.”
the Neapolitans by literature, and by their intercourse with happier countries. These persons naturally looked to France, at the commencement of the revolution ; and, during all the horrors of that revolution, still cherished a hope, that, by the aid of France, they might be enabled to establish a new order of things in Naples. They were grievously mistaken in supposing that the principles of liberty would ever be supported by France, but they were not mistaken in believing that no government could be worse than their own; and, therefore, they considered any change as desirable. In this opinion men of the most different characters agreed. Many of the nobles, who were not in favour, wished for a revolution, that they might obtain the ascendency to which they thought themselves entitled : men of desperate fortunes desired it, in the hope of enriching themselves; knaves and intriguers sold themselves to the French, to promote it; and a few enlightened men, and true lovers of their country, joined in the same cause, from the purest and noblest motives. All these were confounded under the common name of Jacobins; and the Jacobins of the continental kingdoms were regarded by the English with more hatred than they deserved. They were classed with Philippe Egalité, Marat, and Hebert ;—whereas they deserved rather to be ranked, if not with Locke, and Sidney, and Russel, at least with Argyle and Monmouth, and those who, having the same object as the prime movers of our own revolution, failed in their premature, but not unworthy attempt.
No circumstances could be more unfavourable to the best interests of Europe, than those which
placed England in strict alliance with the superannuated and abominable governments of the continent. The subjects of those governments who wished for freedom thus became enemies to England, and dupes and agents of France. They looked to their own grinding grievances, and did not see the danger with which the liberties of the world were threatened : England, on the other hand, saw the danger in its true magnitude, but was blind to these grievances, and found herself compelled to support systems which had formerly been equally the object of her abhorrence and her contempt. This was the state of Nelson's mind : he knew that there could be no peace for Europe till the pride of France was humbled, and her strength broken; and he regarded all those who were the friends of France as traitors to the common cause, as well as to their own individual sovereigns. There are situations in which the most opposite and hostile parties may mean equally well, and yet act equally wrong. The court of Naples, unconscious of committing any crime by continuing the system of misrule to which they had succeeded, conceived that, in maintaining things as they were, they were maintaining their own rights, and preserving the people from such horrors as had been perpetrated in France. The Neapolitan revolutionists thought that, without a total change of system, any relief from the present evils was impossible, and they believed themselves justified in bringing about that change by any means. Both parties knew that it was the fixed intention of the French to revolutionize Naples. The revolutionists supposed that it was for the purpose of establishing