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bomb-vessel called the Carcass, both of which had been fitted out on purpose to ascertain to wbat degree of latitude it was possible to penetrate. On board the latter of these vessels Mr. Nelson was admitted with great difficulty, and in consequence of his own pressing solicitation, in the humble capacity of a cockswain; for, in consequence of an order from the admiralty, boys were not permitted to be received on board.
After passing Shetland, they came in sight of Spitsbergen, and afterwards proceeded to Moffen Islaod, beyond which they discovered seven other isles, situate in 81 deg. 21 min. When they had sailed a little further North, they became suddenly fast wedged in the ice, on the 31st of July; so that the passage by which the sbips had eutered was suddenly and completely blocked up, while a strong current set in to the Eastward. In this critical situation they remained five whole days, during which period their destruction appeared inevitable; but the young hero, in, stead of being depressed, actuated by that filial love, and passion for enterprize, which were ever uppermost in his breast, ventured on the ice during a fine moon-light, with another daring ship-mate, and went in pursuit of a bear, but failed in the attempt, after being brought into the most imminent danger, On being interrogated somewhat roughly by bis commander, as to what motive he could have for hunting a bear, he replied, " That he wished to obtain the skin for his father."
Soon after his return, bis uncle recommended him to captain Farmer of the Seahorse, of 20 guns, then going to India, in a squadron under sir Edward Hughes. In this sbip he was rated as a midshipman; but in India he caught one of those malignant diseases so frequently fatal to European babits, which totally deprived bim of the use of his limbs, and nearly brought bim to the grave.
On the 8th of April 1777, he passed the usual examination before the board for the rank of lieutenant ; and on the subsequent day received his commission as second of the Lowestoffe, of 32 guns. In this vessel he cruised against the Americans, and happening to capture a letter of marque belonging to the Colonies, then in a state of insurrection, the first lieutenant proved unable to take possession of her, in consequence of a most tremendous sea, that seemed to interdict all approach. The captain, piqued at this circumstance, and desirous of effecting the object of his wishes, inquired « Whether he had not an officer capable of boarding the prize ?" On hearing this, lieutenant Nelson immediately jumped into the boat, and told the master, who wished to have anticipated him, " That if he came back without success it would be his turn."
In 1778 he was appointed to the Bristol, and rose by seniority to be first lieutenant. In the course of the succeeding year (June 11, 1779,) he obtained the rank of post-captain, on which occasion he was appointed to the command of the Hinchinbroke. Having sailed in this vessel for the West Indies, he repaired to Port Royal in the island of Jamaica ; and an attack upon that island being expected, on the part of count D'Estaing's feet and army, Nelson was intrusted, both by the admiral and general, with the command of the batteries at Port-Royal, the most important post in the whole island. A plan was next formed for taking fort San Juan, on the river St. John, in the galf of Mexico; and captain Nelson was appointed to the command of the naval department. His business was to have ended when he bad convoyed the forces, about 500 men, from Jamaica to the Spanish main ; but it was found, that not a man of the whole party had ever been up the river: he therefore, with his usual intrepidity, quitted bis ship, and superintended the transporting of the troops, in boats, 100 miles up a river which, since the time of the Buccaneers, none but Spaniards had ever navigated. Of all the services in which he had been engaged, this was the most perilous. It was the latter end of the dry season : the river was low, full of sboals, and sandy beaches; and the men were often obliged to quit the boats, and drag them through shallow channels, in which the natives went before to explore. This labour, and that of forcing the rapids, were chiefly sustained by the sailors, who, for seven or eight hours during the day, were exposed to a burning sun, and at night to heavy dews. On the 9th of April they arrived at a small island, called St. Bartholomew, wbich commanded the river in a rapid and difficult part, and was defended by a battery mounting nine or ten swivels. Nelson, putting himself at the head of a few sailors, leaped on the beach, and captain Despard, since executed for high treason, having gallantly supported him, they defeated the Spaniards with their own guns. Two days afterwards, having come in sight of the castle of San Juan, they began to besiege it on the 13th, and it surrendered on the 24th. But all that this victory procured them was a cessation from toil: no. supplies were found, and the castle itself was worse than a prison. The hovels, which were used as an hospital, were surrounded with putrid hides; and when orders were obtained from the commander in chief to build one, the sickness arising from the climate had become so general, that there were no bands to work at it. The rains continued, with few intervals, from April to October, when they abandoned their conquest; and it was then reckoned that of 1300 who were sent to different posts upon this scheme, only 380 returned. Nelson narrowly escaped. His advice had been to carry the castle by assault; instead of which, eleven days were spent in the formalities of a siege. He returned before its surrender, exhausted with fatigue, and suffering under a dysentery, by which his health became visibly impaired; but he fortunately received an appointment to the Janus of 44 guns, in which he reached Jamaica in such a state of sickness, that although much was done to remove it, he was soon compelled to return to England, in the Lion, commanded by the bon. William Cornwallis, through whose attention a complete recovery was effected.
In August 1781, captain Nelson was appointed to the command of the Albemarle of 28 guns, and sent into the North seas. During this voyage he gained a considerable knowledge of the Danish coast, and its soundings, which afterwards proved of great iinportance to his country. On his return he was ordered to Quebec with a convoy, under the command of captain Thomas Pringle. From Quebec he sailed with a convoy to New York, in October 1782, where he joined the feet under sir Samuel Hood, and became acquainted with prince William-Henry, now duke of Clarence, who was at that time serving as a midshipman in the Barfleur. His highness, after a description, rather ludi. crous, of his dress and manner, said, that even at this tiine there was something irresistibly pleasing in his address and conversation, and an enthusiasm, when speaking on professional subjects, which shewed that he was no common being. In November, captain Nelson sailed with sir Samuel Hood to the West Indies, where he continued actively employed till the peace.
After bis arrival in England, in 1783, he went on a trip to France, but returned in the spring of 1784, and was
appointed to the command of the Boreas frigate of 28 guns, ordered to the Leeward Islands. While here, he showed the utmost zeal and activity in protecting the comnierce of Great Britain, at that time menaced by a misunderstanding with the Americans, respecting their right to trade with the West India Islands. His conduct on this occasion occupies a considerable space in the work from which we borrow our information, but may be omitted without injury in a sketch that must necessarily be confined to his greater actions. It is to be regretted, however, that his services on this occasion were overlooked and neglected, for which he harboured a resentment that soon after appeared.
From July 1786, till June 1787, captain Nelson continued at the Leeward Islands, when at length be sailed for England. He had, during his stay in this quarter of the world, became acquainted with Mrs. Nisbet, the widow of Dr. Nisbet of the island of Nevis, then only in her eighteenth year, and married her on the 11th of March 1787, prince William-Henry standing father on the occasion. On his return to England, the Boreas frigate was for nearly five months kept at the Nore, as a slop and receiving ship; a circumstance that roused the indignation of its comman. der, and without scarcely ever quitting the ship, he was observed to carry on the duty with a strict but sullen attention. When orders were received for his ship to be paid off at Sheerness, he expressed his joy to the senior officer in the Medway, saying, “ It is my determination never again to set my foot on board a king's ship. Immediately after my arrival in town, I shall wait on the first lord of the admiralty, and resign my commission." The officer, finding it in vain to reason with him against this resolution in the present state of his feelings, used his secret interference with the first lord of the admiralty to save Nelson from taking a step so injurious to himself, and which would ultimately have been so mischievous to his country. Lord Howe took the hint, sent for captain Nelson, and having had a long conversation with him, desired that he might, on the first levee-day, have the honour of presenting him to his majesty. This was a wise measure, for he was most graciously received at court, and his resentment was effectually removed. He now retired, to enjoy the pleasures of domestic happiness at the parsonage-house at Burnham Thorpe, which his father gave him as a place of residence. But the affair of the American captures was
not terminated : he had, while amusing himself in his little farm, a notification that he was again to be sued for damages to the amount of 20,000l. This circumstance, as unexpected as it was unjust, excited his astonishment and indignation. “ This affront,” he exclaimed, “ I did not deserve; but I will no longer be trifled with. I will write immediately to the Treasury, and if government will not support me, I am resolved to leave the country." He accordingly informed the treasury, that unless a satisfactory answer were sent to him by return of post, he would immediately take refuge in France : an answer, bowever, was returned by Mr. (now the right bon. George) Rose, that he would assuredly be supported.
On the commencement of the late eventful war, he was delighted with the appointment to the Agamemnon of 64 guns, bestowed on him in Jan. 1793, and was very soon after placed under the orders of lord Hood, then appointed to command in the Mediterranean, who always placed such confidence in captain Nelson, as manifested the high opipion which he entertained not only of his courage, but of his talents and ability to execute the arduous services with which he was entrusted. If batteries were to be attacked, if ships were to be cut out of their harbours, if the hazardous landing of troops was to be effected, or difficult passages to be explored, we invariably find Nelson foremost on the occasion, with his brave officers, and the gallant crew of the Agamemnon. . During the time that Nelson bad the cominand of the Agamemnon, and previously to the commencement of hostilities with Spain, he put into Cadiz to water; and on beholding the Spanish fleet, exclaimed, “ These ships are certainly the finest in the world. Thank God! the Spaniards cannot build men, as they do ships !” It was observed in the Mediterranean, that before captain Nelson quitted his old ship, he had not only fairly worn her out, there not being a mast, yard, sail, nor any part of the rigging, but was obliged to be repaired, the wbole being cut to pieces with shot, but bad exhausted himself and his ship's company. At Toulon, and the ce. lebrated victories achieved at Bastia and Calvi, lord Hood bore ample testimony to the skill and unremitting exertions of captain Nelson, “which,” said his lordship, “I cannot sufficiently applaud.” During the memorable siege of Bastia, he superintended the disembarkation of the troops and stores, and commanded a brigade of seamen,