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been seized with vigour, might have ended in dividing France :—but he negotiated with the people of Toulon, to take possession provisionally of their port and city; which, fatally for themselves, was done. Before the British fleet entered, Nelson was sent with dispatches to Sir William Hamilton, our envoy at the court of Naples. Sir William, after his first interview with him, told Lady Hamilton he was about to introduce a little man to her, who could not boast of being very handsome; but such a man, as, he believed, would one day astonish the world. “ I have never before,” he continued, “ entertained an officer at my house; but I am determined to bring him here. Let him be put in the room prepared for Prince Augustus." Thus that acquaintance began which ended in the destruction of Nelson's domestic happiness. It seemed to threaten no such consequences at its commencement. He spoke of Lady Hamilton, in a letter to his wife, as a young woman of amiable manners, who did honour to the station to which she had been raised : and he remarked, that she had been exceedingly kind to Josiah. The activity with which the envoy exerted himself in procuring troops from Naples, to assist in garrisoning Toulon, so delighted him, that he is said to have exclaimed: “ Sir William, you are a man after my own heart ! -you do business in my own way:" and then to have added, “ I am now only a captain; but I will, if I live, be at the top of the tree.” Here, also, that acquaintance with the Neapolitan court commenced, which led to the only blot upon Nelson's public character. The king, who was sincere at that time in his enmity to the French, called
the English the saviours of Italy, and of his dominions in particular. He paid the most flattering attentions to Nelson, made him dine with him, and seated him at his right hand.
Having accomplished this mission, Nelson received orders to join Commodore Linzee, at Tunis. On the way, five sail of the enemy were discovered off the coast of Sardinia, and he chased them. They proved to be three forty-four gun frigates, with a corvette of twenty-four, and a brig of twelve. The Agamemnon had only three hundred and fortyfive men at quarters, having landed part of her crew at Toulon, and others being absent in prizes. He came near enough one of the frigates to engage her, but at great disadvantage, the Frenchman manoeuvring well, and sailing greatly better. A running fight of three hours ensued ; during which the other ships, which were at some distance, made all speed to come up. By this time the enemy was almost silenced, when a favourable change of wind enabled her to get out of reach of the Agamemnon's
guns; and that ship had received so much damage in the rigging, that she could not follow her. Nelson conceiving that this was but the forerunner of a far more serious engagement, called his officers together, and asked them if the ship was fit to go into action against such a superior force, without some small refit and refreshment for the men ? Their answer was, that she certainly was not. He then gave these orders : “ Veer the ship, and lay her head to the westward : let some of the best men be employed in refitting the rigging, and the carpenter in getting crows and capstern-bars to prevent our wounded
spars from coming down: and get the wine up for the people, with some bread, for it may
be half an hour good before we are again in action.” But when the French came up, their comrade made signals of distress, and they all hoisted out their boats to go to her assistance, leaving the Agamemnon unmolested.
Nelson found Commodore Linzee at Tunis, where he had been sent to expostulate with the dey upon the impolicy of his supporting the revolutionary government of France. Nelson represented to him the atrocity of that government. Such arguments were of little avail in Barbary: and when the dey was told that the French had put their sovereign to death, he drily replied, that « Nothing could be more heinous; and yet, if historians told the truth, the English had once done the same.” This answer had doubtless been suggested by the French about him : they had completely gained the ascendency, and all negotiation on our part proved fruitless. Shortly afterward Nelson was detached with a small squadron, to cooperate with General Paoli and the Anti-Gallican party in Corsica.
Some thirty years before this time, the heroic patriotism of the Corsicans, and of their leader, Paoli, had been the admiration of England. The history of these brave people is but a melancholy tale. The island which they inhabit has been abundantly blessed by nature: it has many excellent harbours; and though the mal-aria, or pestilential atmosphere, which is so deadly in many parts of Italy, and of the Italian islands, prevails on the eastern coast, the greater part of the coun
try is mountainous and healthy. It is about one hundred and fifty miles long, and from forty to fifty broad; in circumference, some three hundred and twenty :-a country large enough, and sufficiently distant from the nearest shores, to have subsisted as an independent state, if the welfare and happiness of the human race had ever been considered as the end and aim of policy. The Moors, the Pisans, the kings of Arragon, and the Genoese, successively attempted, and each for a time effected its conquest. The yoke of the Genoese continued longest, and was the heaviest. These petty tyrants ruled with an iron rod : and when at any time a patriot rose to resist their oppressions, if they failed to subdue him by force, they resorted to assassination. At the commencement of the last century they quelled one revolt by the aid of German auxiliaries, whom the Emperor Charles VI. sent against a people who had never offended him, and who were fighting for whatever is most dear to man.
In 1734 the war was renewed ; and Theodore, a Westphalian baron, then appeared upon the stage. In that age men were not accustomed to see adventurers play for kingdoms, and Theodore became the common talk of Europe. He had served in the French armies ; and having afterwards been noticed both by Ripperda and Alberoni, their example, perhaps, inAamed a spirit as ambitious and as unprincipled as their own.
He employed the whole of his means in raising money and procuring arms: then wrote to the leaders of the Corsican patriots, to offer them considerable assistance, if they would erect Corsica into an independent kingdom, and elect
him king. When he landed among them, they were struck with his stately person, his dignified manners, and imposing talents : they believed the magnificent promises of foreign assistance which he held out, and elected him king accordingly. Had his means been as he represented them, they could not have acted more wisely than in thus at once fixing the government of their country, and putting an end to those rivalries among the leading families, which had so often proved pernicious to the public weal. He struck money, conferred titles, blocked up the fortified towns which were held by the Genoese, and amused the people with promises of assistance for about eight months : then, perceiving that they cooled in their affections toward him, in proportion as their expectations were disappointed, he left the island, under the plea of expediting himself the succours which he had so long awaited. Such was his address, that he prevailed upon several rich merchants in Holland, particularly the Jews, to trust him with cannon and warlike stores to a great amount. They shipped these under the charge of a supercargo.
Theodore returned with this supercargo to Corsica, and put him to death on his arrival, as the shortest way of settling the account. The remainder of his life was a series of deserved afflictions. He threw in the stores which he had thus fraudulently obtained: but he did not dare to land; for Genoa had now called in the French to their assistance, and a price had been set upon his head. His dreams of royalty were now at an end : he took refuge in London, contracted debts, and was thrown into the King's Bench. After linger