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or even more destructive to these poor devoted Danes. Nelson, who was as humane as he was brave, was shocked at this massacre, -for such he called it: and, with a presence of mind peculiar to himself, and never more signally displayed than now, he retired into the stern gallery, and wrote thus to the Crown Prince: 56 Vice-Admiral Lord Nelson has been commanded to spare Denmark, when she no longer resists. The line of defence which covered her shores has struck to the British flag: but if the firing is continued on the part of Denmark, he must set on fire all the prizes that he has taken, without having the power of saving the men who have so nobly defended them. The brave Danes are the brothers, and should never be the enemies of the English.” A wafer was given him ; but he ordered a candle to be brought from
the cockpit, and sealed the letter with wax, affixing a larger seal than he ordinarily used. This,' said he, “ is no time to appear hurried and informal.' Capt. Sir Frederic Thesiger, who acted as his aid-de-camp, carried this letter with a flag of truce. Meantime, the fire of the ships ahead, and the approach of the Ramillies and Defence, from Sir Hyde's division, which had now worked near enough to alarm the enemy, though not to injure them, silenced the remainder of the Danish line to the eastward of the Trekroner. That battery, however, continued its fire. This formidable work, owing to the want of the ships which had been destined to attack it, and the inadequate force of Riou's little squadron, was comparatively uninjured : towards the close of the action it had been manned with nearly fifteen hundred men; and the intention of storming it, for which every preparation had been made, was abandoned as impracticable.
During Thesiger's absence, Nelson sent for Freemantle, from the Ganges, and consulted with him and Foley, whether it was advisable to advance, with those ships which had sustained least damage, against the yet uninjured part of the Danish line. They were decidedly of opinion, that the best thing which could be done was, while the wind continued fair, to remove the fleet out of the intricate channel, from which it had to retreat. In somewhat more than half an hour after Thesiger had been despatched, the Danish Adjutant-General Lindholm came, bearing a flag of truce: upon which the Trekroner ceased to fire, and the action closed, after four hours' continuance. He brought an inquiry from the prince, What was the object of
Nelson's note? The British admiral wrote in reply: “ Lord Nelson's object in sending the flag of truce was humanity: he therefore consents that hostilities shall cease, and that the wounded Danes may be taken on shore. And Lord Nelson will take his prisoners out of the vessels, and burn or carry off his prizes as he shall think fit. Lord Nelson, with humble duty to his royal highness the prince, will consider this the greatest victory he has ever gained, if it may be the cause of a happy reconciliation and union between his own most gracious sovereign and his majesty the king of Denmark." -Sir Frederic Thesiger was despatched a second time with the reply; and the Danish adjutantgeneral was referred to the commander-in-chief for a conference upon this overture. Lindholm, as. senting to this, proceeded to the London, which was riding at anchor full four miles off; and Nelson, losing not one of the critical moments which he had thus gained, made signal for his leading ships to weigh in succession :--they had the shoal to clear, they were much crippled, and their course was immediately under the guns of the Trekroner.
The Monarch led the way. This ship had received six and twenty shot between wind and water. She had not a shroud standing; there was a doubleheaded shot in the heart of her foremast, and the slightest wind would have sent every mast* her side. The imminent danger from which Nelson
* It would have been well if the fleet, before they went under the batteries, had left their spare spars moored out of reach of shot. Many would have been saved which were destroyed lying on the booms, and the hurt done by their splinters would have been saved also. Small craft could have
had extricated himself soon became apparent: the Monarch touched immediately upon a shoal, over which she was pushed by the Ganges taking her amid ships; the Glatton went clear; but the other two, the Defiance and the Elephant, grounded about a mile from the Trekroner, and there remained fixed, for many hours, in spite of all the exertions of their wearied crews. The Desirée frigate also, at the other end of the line, having gone toward the close of the action to assist the Bellona, became fast on the same shoal. Nelson left the Elephant, soon after she took the ground, to follow Lindholm. The heat of action was over; and that kind of feeling, which the surrounding scene of havock was so well fitted to produce, pressed heavily upon his exhausted spirits. The sky had suddenly become overcast; white flags were waving from the mastheads of so many shattered ships :—the slaughter had ceased, but the grief was to come; for the account of the dead was not yet made up, and no man could tell for what friends he might have to
silence which follows the cessation of such a battle becomes a weight upon the heart at first, rather than a relief; and though the work of mutual destruction was at an end, the Danbrog was, at this time, drifting about in flames : presently she blew up; while our boats, which had put off in all directions to assist her, were endeavouring to pick up her devoted crew, few of whom could be saved. The fate of these men, after the towed them up when they were required: and, after such an action, so many must necessarily be wanted, that, if those which were not in use were wounded, it might have rendered it impossible to refit the ships.
gallantry which they had displayed, particularly affected Nelson : for there was nothing in this action of that indignation against the enemy, and that impression of retributive justice, which at the Nile had given a sterner temper to his mind, and a sense of austere delight, in beholding the vengeance of which he was the appointed minister. The Danes were an honourable foe; they were of English mould as well as English blood; and now that the battle had ceased, he regarded them rather as brethren than as enemies. There was another reflection also, which mingled with these melancholy thoughts, and predisposed him to receive them. He was not here master of his own movements, as at Egypt; he had won the day by disobeying his orders; and in so far as he had been successful, had convicted the commander-in-chief of an error in judgment. “Well," said he, as he left the Elephant, “ I have fought contrary to orders, and I shall perhaps be hanged. Never mind : let them !"
This was the language of a man, who, while he is giving utterance to an uneasy thought, clothes it half in jest, because he half repents that it has been disclosed. His services had been too eminent on that day. His judgment too conspicuous, his success too signal, for
commander, however jealous of his own authority, or envious of another's merits, to express any thing but satisfaction and gratitude: which Sir Hyde heartily felt, and sincerely expressed. It was speedily agreed that there should be a suspension of hostilities for four and twenty hours; that all the prizes should be surrendered, and the wounded Danes carried on shore. There was a pressing necessity for this; for the