Page images
PDF
EPUB

paid no farther attention to bis safety. In a minute afterwards, his secretary, Mr. Scott, who stood near him, was killed. A musket-ball entered his head, and he fell dead instantly. Captain Adair of the marines endeavoured to remove the mangled body, but it had attracted the notice of the admiral, who said, « Is that poor Scott who is gone?" Afterwards, whilst he was conversing with captain Hardy, on the quarter-deck, during the shower of musket-balls and raking fire that was kept up by the enemy, a doubleheaded shot came across the poop and killed eight of the marines. In a few minutes, a shot struck the fore-bracebits on the quarter-deck, and passing between lord Nelson and captain Hardy, drove some splinters from the bits about them, and bruised captain Hardy's foot. They mutually looked at each other, when Nelson, whom no danger could affect, smiled and said, “ It is too warm work, Hardy, to last.” The Redoubtable had, for some time, commenced a heavy fire of musketry from her tops, which, like those of the enemy's other ships, were filled with riflemen. The Victory, however, became enveloped in smoke, except at intervals, when it partially dispersed, and, owing to the want of wind, was surrounded with the enemy's ships.

The last scene was now approaching. At fifteen minutes past one, and a quarter of an hour before the Redoubtable struck, lord Nelson and captain Hardy were observed to be walking near the middle of the quarter-deck : the admiral had just commended the manner in which one of his ships near him was fought, captain Hardy advanced from him to give some necessary directions, and he was in the act of turning near the hatch-way, with his face towards the stern, when a musket-ball struck him on the left-shoulder, and entering through the epaulet, passed through the spine, and lodged in the muscles of the back, towards the rightside. Nelson instantly fell with his face on the deck, in the very place that was covered with the blood of his secretary, Mr. Scott. Captain Hardy, on turning round, saw the sergeant of marines, Secker, with two seamen, raising him from the deck: “ Hardy," said his lordship, " I believe they have done it at last; my back-bone is shot through."

Some of the crew immediately bore the admiral to the cock-pit, and on his observing that the tiller ropes, which were shot away early in the action, had not been replaced, he calmly desired a inidshipman to remind capt. Hardy of it, and to request that new ones might be immediately rove. He then covered his face and stars with bis handkerchief, that he might be less observed by his men. Being placed on a pallet in the midshipman's birth on the Jarboard side, Mr. Beatty, the surgeon, was called, and bis lordship's cloaths were taken off, that the direction of the ball might be the better ascertained. “ You can be of no use to me, Beatty,” said lord Nelson, “ go and attend those whose lives can be preserved.” When the surgeon had executed his melancholy office, bad expressed the general feeling that prevailed on the occasion, and had again been urged by the admiral to go and attend to his duty, he reluctantly obeyed, but continued to return at intervals. As the blood Howed internally from the wound, tbe lower cavity of the body gradually filled : lord Nelson therefore constantly desired Mr. Burke to raise him, and complaining of an excessive thirst, was supplied by Mr. Scott (the chaplain) with lemonade. In this state of suffering, with nothing but havoc and death and misery around him, bis mind continued intent on the great object that was always before him, his duty to his country : he therefore anxiously inquired for capt. Hardy, to know whether the annihilation of the enemy might be depended 01); and it being upwards of an hour before that officer could leave the deck, lord Nelson suspected he was dead, and could not easily be' persuaded that it was otherwise. The crew of the Victory were now beard to cheer, when lieutenant Pasco, who lay wounded near him, said that one of their opponents had struck. A gleam of joy lighted up the countenance of Nelson; and as the crew repeated their cheers, and marked the progress of his victory, bis satisfaction visibly increased. Mr. Bulkley, the captain's aid de camp, then came below, and in a low voice communicated to the surgeon tbe particular circumstances which had detained capt. Hardy. The excessive heat of the cockpit, from the numbers of the dead and wounded, increased the faintness of the dying admiral, and his sight became dim: “Who brought the message?” said he feebly. “ Bulkley, my lord.” “It is his voice," said Nelson, “ remember me, Bulkley, to your father.” Capt. Hardy soon afterwards came down from the deck, and anxiously strove to conceal the feelings with which he had been struggling. “How goes the day with us, Hardy?" "Ten ships, my lord, have struck.” “ But none of ours, I hope."

" There is no fear, my dear lord, of that. Five of their yan bave tacked, and shewn an intention of bearing down upon us; but I have called some of our fresh ships round the Victory, and have no doubt of your complete success." Captain Hardy then found himself unable any longer to suppress the yearnings of a brave and affectionate heart, and hurried away for a time to conceal the bitterness of his sorrow. .

The firing continued, and the cheers of the men were occasionally heard amidst its repeated peals. With a wish to support his spirits, that were in some degree shaken by having seen the friend he so sincerely regarded, and from the increased pain under which he had to endure the agonies of excessive thirst, and the great difficulty of respiration, Mr. Burke said, “ I still hope, my lord, you will carry this glorious news home.” “Don't talk nonsensc," replied the admiral, “one would, indeed, like to live a little longer, but I know it to be impossible: God's will be done, I have performed my duty, and I devoutly thank him for it.” A wounded seaman was lying near him on a pallet, waiting for amputation, and in the bustle that prevailed was hurt by some person passing by: Nelson, weak as he was, indignantly turned his head, and with his usual authority reprimanded the man for not having more humanity. Sometime afterwards he was again visited by the surgeon ; “I find," said he, “something rising in my breast, which tells me I shall soon be gone. God be praised that I have done my duty. My pain is so severe that I devoutly wish to be released." · When the firing from the Victory bad in some measure ceased, and the glorious result of the day * was accomplished, capt. Hardy immediately visited the dying chief, and reported the entire number that had struck : “ God be praised, Hardy! bring the fleet to an anchor.” Capt. Hardy was returning to the deck, when the admiral called him back, and begged him to come wear. Lord Nelson then delivered his last injunctions, and desired that his body might be carried home to be buried, unless his sovereign should otherwise desire it, by the bones of his farber and mother. He then took capt. Hardy.by the hand, and observing, that he would most probably not see him again alive, the dying hero desired his brave associate to kiss him, that he might seal their long friendship with that affection which pledged sincerity in death. Capt. Hardy stood for a few minutes over the body of him he so truly regarded, in silent agony, and then kneeling down again, kissed his forebead." Who is that?” said Nelson. “ It is Hardy, my lord.” “God bless you, Hardy,” replied Nelson, feebly; and afterwards added, “I wish I had not left the deck, I shall soon be gone :” his voice then gradually became inarticulate, with an evident increase of pain; when, after a feeble struggle, these last words were distinctly heard, “ I have done my duty, I praise God for it.” Having said this, he turned his face towards Mr. Burke, on whose arm he had been supported, and expired without a groan, Oct. 21, 1805, in the forty-seventh year of his age.

* The final event of this action was considered as at an end: the feets of the capture of eighteen men-of-war, of the enemy were not merely defeated, the French commander-in-chief, and they were as good as annihilated, and two other flag-officers, with a general. with them the spirit of the French maIt was a blow to the maritime strength rine so completely depressed, as to of the two bostile powers that entirely forbid the hope of a revival, till a new ruined their present projects, and last. race of men shouli, arise, upou whom ingly crippled their exertions. The the terror of the name of Nelson would maritime war might from this day be cease to operate,

Perhaps, in no country, have higher public honours been paid to the memory of a public benefactor than those that were justly and enthusiastically given to lord Nelson. His body was brought home for interment; it was exhibited for several days in the proudest state at Greenwich ; from thence it was conveyed to Westminster; and finally buried in the cathedral of St. Paul's, Jan. 8, 1806. The funeral, made at the public expence, was the most solemn and magnificent spectacle ever bebeld in this country, and was duly honoured by the presence of seven of the sons of his majesty, and a vast number of naval officers, peers, and commoners. Honours and rewards were munificently bestowed on his relations, and an earldom was perpetuated in the family of Nelson, of which his brother was the first possessor. A monument was afterwards voted by parliament, and many of the principal cities and towns of the united: kingdom have voted a similar memorial of his -unparalleled merit.

In lord Nelson's professional character were united the greatest bravery, the most ardent zeal, and the most con'summate wisdom; all prompted, even from his earliest days, by a consciousness of superior talents, and a forethought that they would one day immortalize his name. His actions, however, even as imperfectly detailed in the preceding narrative, will form the best illustration of his character. In one respect only he has interrupted that train of delightful recollections which must ever accompany the name of Nelson ; we allude to his unhappy attachment to lady Hamilton, into wbich he appears to have been at first betrayed by gratitude, but which he permitted at last to increase with such violence, as to alienate him from his wife, to whom he had been for so many years fondly devoted. Reduced at last by her vices and extravagance, the woman to whom he had thus sacrificed his character,, closed her worthless life by the base disclosure of his confidential correspondence. · NELSON (ROBERT), a learned and pious English gentleman, was born June 22, 1656, at London. He was the son of Mr. John Nelson, a considerable Turkey merchant of that city, by Delicia his wife, sister of sir Gabriel Roberts, also a London merchant. His father dying when he was but two years old, he was committed to the care of his mother, and her brother sir Gabriel, who was ap. pointed his guardian. His first education was at. St. Paul's school, London ; but, after some time, his mother wishing to have him more under her eye, took him home to her house at Dryfield, near Cirencester, in Gloucester. sbire, and procured the learned Dr. George Bull, then rector of Suddington in that neighbourhood, to be his tutor. As soon as he was fit for the university, he was sent to Trinity college, Cambridge, first as pensioner, and afterwards was admitted a fellow commoner. It is not improbable, that Dr. (afterwards archbishop) Tillotson was consulted on this occasion, as he was intimately acquainted with the guardian, sir Gabriel Roberts : however, it is certain that Mr. Nelson was early known to that eminent divine, and very much esteemed by him. . In 1680 he was chosen F. R. S. probably by the introduction of his friend and school-fellow, Dr. Halley, for whom he had a particular regard, and in whose company he set out on his travels the same year. In the road to Paris they saw the remarkable comet which gave rise to the cometical astronomy of sir Isaac Newton; and our agthor, apparently by the advantage of his fellow-traveller's instructions, sent dean Tillotson a description of it. Before he left Paris he received a letter from a friend

1 Life of Nelson by Clarke and M'Arthur, abridged, 1810, 8vo. .

« PreviousContinue »