Transcriber's note: Inconsistent hyphenation and spelling in the original document have been preserved. Obvious typographical errors have been corrected. Accents on foreign names have been added where necessary. An abbreviation key for the tables was added on pages 411 and 412, as they were too large in the original to be read easily in this format. The "ERRATA" of the "errata list" have been corrected in the text. The transcriber's note at the end of this e-book lists the other corrections that have been made.
MEMOIRS AND CORRESPONDENCE
ADMIRAL LORD DE SAUMAREZ.
ORIGINAL PAPERS IN POSSESSION OF THE FAMILY.
BY SIR JOHN ROSS, C.B. K.S.A. K.C.S. F.R.A.S. CAPTAIN IN THE ROYAL NAVY.
IN TWO VOLUMES.
LONDON: RICHARD BENTLEY, NEW BURLINGTON STREET, Publisher in Ordinary to Her Majesty. 1838.
LONDON: PRINTED BY SAMUEL BENTLEY, Dorset Street, Fleet Street.
CONTENTS OF THE SECOND VOLUME.
News of the Battles of the 6th and 12th of July reach England.—Rejoicings on the occasion, particularly described in a letter from Mrs. Saumarez.—Promotion of Lieutenant Dumaresq.—Letters from Earl St. Vincent, Mr. Tucker, and others.—Remarks on the conduct of the Governor and Garrison at Gibraltar.—State of the crew of the Caesar.—Ship refitted.—Appointments of officers to the St. Antoine, and other vacancies.—Correspondence with the Spanish Governor at Cadiz on the subject of red-hot balls.—Accusation refuted.—Letters from Lord Keith, Sir John Warren, and Captain Dixon.—Squadron off Cadiz reinforced.—Sir James resumes the blockade of Cadiz.—His proceedings.—Remarks on the result of the two Actions. Page 1
Despatches arrive from England.—Sir James superseded by Sir Charles Morice Pole.—Remarks and correspondence on the subject.—The St. George and four sail of the line arrive.—Blockade of Cadiz.—Sir James continues as second in command.—His appointments not confirmed.—Injustice of his treatment.—Letters from various persons.—The Caesar arrives at Gibraltar. 23
Preliminaries of peace.—Sir James created a Knight of the Bath.—Remarks on that Order.—Ceremony of investiture.—Action of the Pasley and Rosario.—Sir James receives the thanks of both Houses of Parliament.—Speeches of Earl St. Vincent, Lord Nelson, and Mr. Pitt.—The freedom of the city of London,—and a sword.—Address from Guernsey and Jersey.—Silver vases.—Inscriptions thereon. 36
Sir James disappointed in not returning home.—Extract of a letter to his brother.—The French send ships to the West Indies.—Squadron detached after them.—Death of General O'Hara.—Sir James receives orders to superintend the evacuation of Minorca.—Arrival of H.R.H. Duke of Kent.—Sir James arrives at Minorca.—Definitive treaty of peace.—Proceedings there.—Island given up to Spain.—The Caesar arrives at Gibraltar.—Proceeds to England.—Anchors at Spithead. 56
Commencement of Hostilities with France.—Sir James hoists his Flag at Sheerness.—Proceeds to Guernsey.—Flag in the Grampus.—Anecdote of Captain Caulfield.—Sir James visits Jersey, &c.—Diomede arrives as Flag ship.—The Admiral examines the Defence of the Island.—Loss of La Minerve.—Attack and Bombardment of Granville.—Cerberus gets aground.—Narrow Escape from a Shot.—Public and Private Letters.—Blockade of the Coast.—Loss of the Shannon and Grappler.—Conclusion of 1803. 72
Sir James continues in the command at Guernsey.—Proceedings of his Squadron.—Letter from Lord Nelson, dated two days before he was killed.—Capture and destruction of La Salamandre.—Sir James's benevolent conduct at Guernsey. 84
Sir James is called into active service.—Joins the Channel Fleet as second in command.—Shifts his Flag from the San Josef to the Prince of Wales.—His decisive conduct.—Anecdote of the Prince of Wales' Men.—Change of Ministry.—Sir James leaves the Channel Fleet, and returns to Guernsey.—Is offered the Command in the East Indies.—Letter on that occasion. 91
State of Affairs in Sweden.—Alarm of the King.—Sir James selected to command the Baltic Fleet.—Correspondence with Lord Mulgrave.—Sir John Moore's Expedition.—Arrives at Gothenburg.—Capture and destruction of a Danish seventy-four.—Sir John Moore goes to Stockholm.—Is arrested, and escapes.—Expedition returns to England.—Disposition of the Fleet.—Sir James proceeds to Carlscrona.—Rescue of Romana's Army.—Sir James proceeds to the Gulf of Finland.—Capture and Destruction of the Russian seventy-four, Sewolod.—The combined Swedish and English Fleet off Baltic Port.—Reconnoitres the Russian Fleet in the harbour, and determines to attack them.—Prevented by change of winds.—Proceeding off Baltic Port.—Letter to the Emperor of Russia.—Fleet returns to Carlscrona. 98
Sir James at Carlscrona.—Arrangements.—Author left in Sweden.—Letter from the Swedish Admiral.—Sir James leaves Carlscrona.—Arrives at Gothenburg.—Makes arrangements for the protection of the Trade.—Leaves Rear Admiral Keats in Command.—His departure from Sweden, and arrival in the Downs.—Proceeds to the Admiralty, and receives their Lordships' high approbation.—Proceedings of the Fleet.—Revolution in Sweden.—Sir James reappointed to the command in the Baltic.—His correspondence with Mr. Foster.—Official notice of the Duke of Sudermania being elected King of Sweden.—He confers upon Sir James the Grand Cross of the Order of the Sword. 126
Blockade of the Russian fleet.—Swedes' expedition, under Admiral Puke and General Wachtmeister, sails,—is unsuccessful. Private correspondence with Mr. Foster.—Armistice and Peace with Russia.—Peace with Denmark.—Proceedings of the Fleet.—State of affairs in Sweden.—Fleet returns to Carlscrona, and subsequently to England. 164
Sir James's third year in the command of the Baltic Fleet. Proceeds to Gothenburg and Havre.—Correspondence with Mr. Foster, Admiral Krusenstjerna, and others.—Swedes shut their ports.—Death of the Crown Prince.—Murder of Count Fersen.—Restrictions of the Swedish commerce.—Sir James's judicious conduct in that and in several disputes.—Election of Bernadotte, and his entry into Sweden.—Correspondence on the subject.—Sir James returns to England, and receives the approbation of the government and the nation. 187
Buonaparte declares he will conquer a "Maritime Peace."—Illness of George III.—Prince of Wales Regent.—Sir James obtains leave of absence.—The Victory sent to Lisbon with troops.—Attack on Anholt.—Gallant defence of the garrison.—Sir James continues in the Baltic at the request of ministers.—Letters respecting Anholt.—Letters from the Duke of Brunswick and answers thereto.—Arrival in Sweden of Sir James.—Letters to Mr. Yorke and Admiral Reynolds.—Negotiations on the sequestration of English ships at Carlscrona.—Conference with Baron Tawast.—Written document from the Baron unsatisfactory.—Letter from the Admiralty.—Sir James remonstrates with the Swedish Government.—Evasive answer.—Further correspondence.—Value of sequestered property.—Capture of two Danish privateers.—Gallant conduct of Lieut. St. Clair and Mr. Purcell.—Determination of Russia not to accede to the terms of France.—The Crown Prince places implicit confidence in Sir James.—Arrival of Mr. Thornton.—He is smuggled into the city of Gothenburg.—Amicable confirmation of the Ghent treaty.—Situation of the fleet.—Sir James's letter.—Disaster of the St. George and convoy.—Admiral Reynolds's letter.—Arrival of St. George at Wingo.—Sailing of the fleet.—St. George and Hero's convoy put back.—Sail again.—Melancholy wrecks of the St. George and Defence.—Captain Pater's narrative.—Remarks.—Loss of the Hero and convoy.—Proceedings of the Victory.—Remarks on crossing the North Sea.—Sir James arrives at Spithead. 222
State of Europe in 1812.—Critical situation of Sweden and Russia.—Advance of Buonaparte.—Sir James Saumarez resumes the command in the Baltic.—Attack on Anholt prevented.—Proceedings of the advanced squadron Arrival of the Victory at Gothenburg.—Capture and destruction of a Danish frigate and two brigs.—Captain Stewart's gallant conduct.—Official letters.—Capture of a ship in Pillau Roads.—Lieut. Jones's gallant conduct.—Official letters.—Peace with Russia.—Correspondence with Mr. Thornton and Earl Cathcart, who is appointed Ambassador to the Court of St. Petersburg.—Proceedings of the hostile armies on the frontiers of Russia.—Admiral Byam Martin sent to co-operate.—Siege of Riga.—Diversion made by Admiral Martin in Dantzig Bay.—Capture and destruction of four French privateers.—Ratification of peace with Russia and Sweden.—Sir James named Knight Grand Cross of the Sword of Sweden.—His Swedish Majesty's letter and the answer.—Emperor Alexander sends the Russian fleet to England.—Defeat of the French at Polosk, Borodino, Moscow.—Retreat of Buonaparte.—Archangel fleet arrives.—Earl Cathcart.—Mr. Saumarez's tour to Abo and St. Petersburg, and return to the Admiral with despatches.—Afflicting news from England.—Sir James's conduct on that occasion.—He is relieved by Sir George Hope.—Returns to England.—Strikes his flag. 271
State of the Continent after the defeat of Buonaparte.—Sir James's services in the Baltic no longer required.—Retires from service, but not from public life.—His various occupations.—His claims for a Peerage disregarded.—Correspondence and observations thereon.—His residence in Guernsey.—Visit to Oxford.—Letter from Lord Nelson.—Captain Miller's monument.—Political opinions.—Letter from Earl St. Vincent.—Is appointed to the command at Plymouth.—Speech of Earl Grey.—Receives a visit from Lord Exmouth.—Strikes his flag.—Claims for a Peerage again disregarded.—Returns to Guernsey.—His reception there.—Death of George IV.—Accession of William IV.—Is created Baron de Saumarez.—Letter from Lady de Saumarez.—His reception at the Island of Guernsey, and rejoicings there. 297
Political opinions and conduct of Lord de Saumarez.—Death of his second son.—His letter on that occasion.—Anecdotes of his carriage being robbed.—Of Sweden.—The King of Sweden presents him with his portrait.—Count Wetterstedt's letter and Lord de Saumarez's answer.—Lord de Saumarez's last illness and death.—His Christian fortitude.—His professional character.—Moral and religious character.—Remarks and conclusion. 315
Memoir of Sir Thomas de Saumarez. 332
Memoir of Captain Philip de Saumarez. 348
LIST OF PLATES.
Portrait of Lord de Saumarez Frontispiece.
Battle of the 12th July 1801 in the Straits of Gibraltar Page 6
Harbour of Rogerwick, showing the positions of the English, Swedish, and Russian fleets, 31st August 1808 115
Page 130, l. 4, for "Eurthalms" read "Eartholms."
182, l. 8, — "Stedriegh" read "Stedinck."
184, l. 3, — "remaininig" read "remaining."
187, l. 5, — "Krusensbyerna" read "Krusenstjerna."
396, for "T. Manzell" read "T. Mansell."
397, — "Michaer," read "Michael."
LORD DE SAUMAREZ.
News of the Battles of the 6th and 12th of July reach England.—Rejoicings on the occasion, particularly described in a letter from Mrs. Saumarez.—Promotion of Lieutenant Dumaresq.—Letters from Earl St. Vincent, Mr. Tucker, and others.—Remarks on the conduct of the Governor and Garrison at Gibraltar.—State of the crew of the Caesar.—Ship refitted.—Appointments of officers to the St. Antoine, and other vacancies.—Correspondence with the Spanish Governor at Cadiz on the subject of red-hot balls.—Accusation refuted.—Letters from Lord Keith, Sir John Warren, and Captain Dixon.—Squadron off Cadiz reinforced.—Sir James resumes the blockade of Cadiz.—His proceedings.—Remarks on the result of the two Actions.
The news of the splendid victory of the 12th of July was received in England with enthusiasm. After it became known that the squadron under Sir James Saumarez had been so materially damaged at Algeziras, it was thought impossible that the ships could have been prepared to meet the enemy in so short a time. The Admiral's despatches, subsequently to the first battle, stated that an overwhelming force had been sent to Algeziras from Cadiz; and, consequently, the news of his subsequent triumph over so great a superiority of force struck every person with astonishment.
The Louisa brig, Lieutenant Truscott, having on board Lieutenant Dumaresq, arrived off Mount's Bay on the 30th July. This officer landed with Sir James's despatches, and immediately proceeded to London. He was received at the Admiralty by Earl St. Vincent in the most gratifying manner. Mr. Addington, then prime minister, sent an express to Sir James's youngest brother at Brighton, requesting his presence in London; and, on his arrival, he in the handsomest manner presented him with a situation of trust and importance in the island of Ceylon, with a salary of two thousand pounds per annum. Lieutenants Dumaresq of the Caesar, Jackson of the Superb, and Lillicrap of the Venerable, were promoted to the rank of commanders.
The extraordinary public sensation which this important and unexpected victory created, is described in the following letter from Mrs. Saumarez of Newington, (Sir James's sister-in-law,) to whom Lieutenant Dumaresq paid a visit on leaving the Admiralty.
London, 5th August 1801.
MY DEAR SIR JAMES,
It is impossible to express the admiration and enthusiasm which your late despatches have excited in the breasts of all ranks of people. You are now the theme of every conversation, the toast of every table, the hero of every woman, and the boast of every Englishman. When Dumaresq waited on Lord St. Vincent, his lordship squeezed his hand in the greatest rapture, exclaiming, "I knew it,—I knew it,—I knew the man,—I knew what he could do! It is the most daring thing that has been done this war. It is the first thing.—I knew it would be so!" He then gave Dumaresq his commission, and wrote a letter of congratulation to Lady Saumarez, which he charged Phil. Dumaresq to deliver with his own hand. I trust they are now both together; and, after staying there one day, Phil. is to return to town.
Lord St. Vincent also sent Dumaresq to Mr. Addington, who received him in the most gracious manner. He told Phil. everything that man could say in terms of approbation; and justly added, that, however the multitude might estimate and admire the last action, yet the first, in his own mind, and in the minds of men who understood the matter, was equally deserving of praise, and would have fixed their approbation of Sir James's conduct, even though he had failed in his second attempt. At the same time he owned, that the exertions made by the men after the first action, in order to meet the second, were beyond conception or example. Indeed, they must surpass Mr. Addington's conception, since even Lord St. Vincent told Dumaresq that it was far beyond what he himself could imagine. In short, my dear Sir James, you have been achieving a deed that has held you up to the contemplation of mankind, and that secures you the gratitude of your country.
You will, no doubt, soon receive very distinguished marks of the royal and the national favour. In the mean time you will be delighted, equally with ourselves, to find that the stream of prosperity, beginning to flow towards you, has already involved your brother Nicholas, who was sent for yesterday from Brighton, in order to wait on Mr. Addington to-morrow morning. It can be for no other purpose than to make his fortune. God knows the poor fellow has suffered enough on your account! for we had the rascally French despatches full ten days before we received yours; and, when we did receive the first account, your brother Richard was not satisfied. He feared the business was not done, and his mind dwelt upon it with anxiety. At last, on the 1st of August, and not before, all our fears were removed; and yesterday we received the news that Mr. Addington had sent for Nicholas.
Indeed, Sir James, you have electrified your whole circle of friends in a masterly manner; for the very great success you experienced at last, came with double effect upon those who had greatly feared for you at the first: and, let me add, that not only your actions, but your letters also, are very much admired, and, I think, most deservedly.
Dumaresq is just like yourself,—unassuming and unaffected. He had been with us an hour with his commission in his pocket, without telling us of it; and it was only accidentally that we discovered he had been promoted.
And now, my dear Sir James, let me speak like an old woman. I tremble for you. Had you only dangers and difficulties to encounter, I should not fear; but now you are going to be overwhelmed with wealth, titles, fame, adulation, and distinction; with everything, in short, that can make a man forget himself;
"And Satan, wiser than he was of yore, Now tempts by making rich, not making poor!"
Now, if in such a situation you can retain the two pillars of your Christian faith, namely, humility and patience, you will then be the first of human characters. Alas! how seldom it is that we see the characters of the hero and the philosopher blended in one! When the head monopolises the spirits, the heart often wants courage; and, if the heart is strong, the head is weak. But, as no part of you has yet betrayed signs of weakness, endeavour to preserve yourself the same in future as you have been in the past, however your fortunes may alter.
God bless you, my dear brother! and God bless also Captain Brenton, and all the heroes that are with you, and bring you safe back again to enjoy the favours of your grateful country! M—— is here very happy. She sent to the Bank yesterday for money, and requested to have cash instead of notes. She was refused of course, at first; but when Mr. Brock said, that, upon his honour, the money was for Sir James Saumarez's sister, the guineas made their appearance immediately. I give you this as a specimen of what people think of you. Two engravers have called on us for your picture; and I have written to Lady Saumarez to let them have it. I hope her ladyship and Captain Dumaresq are now in high chat.
I remain, dear brother, Ever truly yours, M.S.
P.S. Richard desires his love; but you have deprived him of sleep.
As you could think on Mrs. Pope at the time you were undertaking the most desperate attempt that ever was made, you may probably find time to inquire for Horace T. who is now at Gibraltar hospital mending two broken thighs. He is the son of Mrs. T. whom you have met at our house. She keeps a ladies' school next door to us; and, could you serve her son, you would help the widow and the fatherless, and please me at the same time.
The following letters from Earl St. Vincent, and his secretary Mr. Tucker, will demonstrate the high estimation in which the victory of the 12th of July was held at the Admiralty.
Admiralty, 5th August 1801.
MY DEAR SIR,
I have to acknowledge your letters of the 30th June, 5th, 6th, 7th, 9th, 13th July, and to congratulate you most heartily on the career of glory you and your gallant squadron have run in the course of those periods. The hardy enterprise of the 6th merited complete success; but all who know the baffling winds in the Bay of Gibraltar can readily account for the event of it. The astonishing efforts made to refit the crippled ships in Gibraltar Mole surpasses everything of the kind within my experience; and the final success in making so great an impression on the very superior force of the enemy crowns the whole. I have great satisfaction in reporting to you that I have received the most gracious and full approbation of his Majesty this morning of your whole conduct, and that of every officer and man under your command, and I hear nothing but praise and admiration from every quarter.
We wait impatiently the arrival of Vice-admiral Pole from the Baltic to detach a powerful reinforcement to you, and we are not without hopes that four ships of the line are on their passage from Cork to join you before Cadiz, or at Gibraltar.
Having, from the moment of your departure, felt the most perfect confidence that everything would be performed for the honour and success of his Majesty's arms within the reach of human power, I have only to add my anxious wish that another opportunity will present itself, ere long, for a further display of that talent and intrepidity from which the country has, upon so many occasions, received important benefits.
I have the honour to be, With the most perfect regard and esteem, Very sincerely yours, ST. VINCENT.
To Sir James Saumarez.
Admiralty, 10th August 1801.
I congratulate you from my heart and soul, and assure you that I rejoice most sincerely in the glorious events you have achieved. I but feebly express what I feel on this occasion. It has been your good fortune, sir, to bear so large a part in accomplishing the most glorious actions of this eventful war, that you can scarcely have had an opportunity of witnessing their immediate effect on the public mind; but, be assured, in no instance has there been more lively admiration expressed of the intrepidity and indefatigable zeal of our navy, than has been shown by all ranks, of your most gallant enterprises, even before the account of your first action was received; and I am sure you will excuse me for adding the tribute my noble lord paid on that occasion, who, when he read the French account that they had taken the Hannibal, exclaimed, "We may have lost a ship, but I well know the man and the men who are there, and I'll pledge my life the nation has lost no honour!" The instant despatch of the ships from Ireland will prove that it was not conceived possible for you to have so soon refitted the squadron, which has been the subject of great admiration and surprise.
The noble and liberal conduct of the squadron in admitting the Pompee and Hannibal to partake of their prize-money is an honourable and beautiful contrast to the bickerings which have arisen lately respecting joint captures, and must ensure success to every claim that can be made out; but I am afraid we shall not be able to find a precedent for anything beyond head-money being given for ships which have been blown up in action.
We shall now return to the proceedings at Gibraltar, where we left the squadron of Sir James Saumarez, after the glorious battle of the 12th July.
The extreme degree of excitement and enthusiasm, sharpened by revenge, which supported the gallant crew of the Caesar, and enabled them to perform such prodigious labour during the last seven days, had now subsided. The incessant fatigue which they had endured, both of body and mind, their long abstinence from their natural sleep, and the sudden change from bustle to inactivity, threw the whole of the men into such a state of languor and debility, that they were found lying on the bare planks of the deck, having sunk exhausted, and incapable of making any exertion. This state of stupor continued several hours; some days, indeed, elapsed before many of them regained their usual strength and spirits. At length, however, the men again began to refit the ship, and prepare for resuming the blockade of Cadiz.
Nothing could surpass the attention, kindness, and hospitality of the governor and garrison of Gibraltar, who were, by the signal defeat of the combined squadron, happily relieved from a state of siege. Invitations from every quarter were given; but Sir James, who was averse to adulation, declined all except those of the governor, which he considered it his duty not to refuse. No time was lost in sending the men who were saved from the unfortunate Real Carlos to Algeziras; and Sir James entered into a correspondence with the governor, and subsequently with the commander-in-chief at Cadiz, for an exchange of prisoners, which, as the circumstances were now different from those which lately existed, was acceded to without waiting for the permission of the Minister of Marine at Paris. Consequently the whole of the Hannibal's men were sent to Gibraltar, in exchange for the crew of the San Antonio, which ship was surveyed, taken into the service, and commissioned. On this occasion the following promotions took place.
Commander the Hon. Geo. H.L. Dundas, of the Calpe, was appointed captain of the San Antonio, now called the St. Antoine; Lieut. Lamburn, first of the Caesar, to command the Calpe; Mr. Beard, master's mate of the Caesar, to be lieutenant of the St. Antoine, to which ship the purser and warrant officers of the Thames, also, were appointed. Mr. Champion, secretary to Sir James, was made purser of the Thames, while warrant officers were selected from the class of petty officers in the Caesar; Mr. John Brenton was appointed to fill the vacancy of lieutenant in the Caesar; Lieutenant Janvrin was made first lieutenant of the St. Antoine; and the other vacancies for lieutenants were filled up from the other ships, viz. Messrs. Curry and Hillier of the Pompee, T. Dowel of the Venerable, E. Donovan of the Superb, and Mr. J. Crawfurd, master of the El Carmen, were made acting lieutenants to the said ships; while the marine officers of the Hannibal, Lieutenant (now Colonel) Connolly, and Lieutenant Dunford, were also transferred with the marines of that ship to the prize. All these appointments were transmitted to, but not confirmed by, the Admiralty, excepting Captain Dundas, and Captain Dumaresq, who was subsequently appointed to the Calpe.
As the correspondence between Sir James and the Spanish commander-in-chief is highly creditable to both, and as it clears up a doubt which may still exist, we give an exact copy from the original letters, which were exchanged by a flag of truce.
H.M.S. Caesar, off Cadiz, 17th August 1801.
Having been informed that reports were circulated in Spain, ascribing the destruction of the two first-rates, Real Carlos and San Hermenegildo, in the engagement of the 12th July last, to red-hot balls from his Majesty's ships under my command, I take this present opportunity to contradict, in the most positive and formal manner, a report so injurious to the characteristic humanity of the British nation, and to assure your Excellency that nothing was more void of truth. This I request you will be pleased to signify in the most public way possible. To assuage, as far as lay in my power, the miseries that must necessarily result from a state of warfare, has ever been my strenuous endeavour, and such will be the rule of my conduct in carrying on the blockade of Cadiz, or any other service committed to my charge.
I beg your Excellency to accept the renewal of my respectful regard; and I have the honour to be,
With the highest consideration, Your Excellency's most obedient and most humble servant, JAMES SAUMAREZ.
To his Excellency Don Joseph de Mazzaredo, Commander-in-chief of his Most Cath. Maj. ships, Cadiz.
The flag of truce, which had been sent into Cadiz with some passengers, taken in a small vessel, and with the above letter, returned with the following answer, of which we give a verbatim copy, as a specimen of a foreigner's English:
The reports which have been current, that the burning of the two royal ships, on the nights of the 12th and 13th, arose from the use of red-hot balls, which were fired at them, have existed only among the ignorant public, and have not received credit from any persons of condition, who well know the manner of combating of the British navy. At the same time they give the greatest credit to the assertion of your Excellency that nothing could be more foreign from the truth, and the characteristic humanity of the British nation. I have myself experience of the particular conduct of your Excellency, conformable to your personal character, and to that of your late commander-in-chief, his Excellency Lord St. Vincent, in the manner in which, in the last blockade of Cadiz, he reconciled with the duties of a state of war those attentions and considerations to alleviate miseries not connected with the great object, and to secure that good intelligence and friendship with which two powers may suspend for a time treating each other as enemies; and I have no doubt that such will always be the rule of your Excellency's conduct.
In my particular circumstances, with an obligation to reside in this capital, as Captain-general of the Marine department, the correspondence in any urgent case of a flag of truce might suffer delay; and it would be convenient for your Excellency to address yourself directly to Don Joseph Herryar, Commandant-general of the province and army of Andalusia, qui (who) resides in Cadiz.
I will avail myself of every occasion to assure your Excellency of the esteem and consideration which I profess for your person.
God grant you may live a thousand years! Your most obedient servant, JOSEPH MAZZAREDO. Isle of Leon, 17th August 1801.
The following reply was sent by Sir James to the Spanish Admiral:
Caesar, off Cadiz, 18th August 1801.
I have received the honour of your Excellency's letter, by which I am extremely happy to find the reports of the Real Carlos and San Hermenegildo having been destroyed by red-hot balls from the squadron under my orders have only been credited by the ignorant public, and not by persons of higher condition in Spain. But as such reports, if permitted to gain ground without being contradicted, must tend to irritate the minds of the public, and occasion an animosity between the two nations that ought not to exist, I trust your Excellency will be pleased to comply with my request in causing the formal disavowal of it to be publicly notified.
The very flattering manner in which your Excellency is pleased to express yourself at my endeavours to alleviate the miseries attendant on a state of warfare during the former blockade of Cadiz, under the orders of the Earl of St. Vincent, afford me infinite satisfaction. It is by pursuing similar conduct that I hope to deserve the approbation of the King my royal master, and that of the English nation.
I shall comply with your Excellency's desire in order to accelerate the communication of flags of truce, that they in future be addressed to his Excellency the Governor-general of the province of Andalusia.
I beg your Excellency to accept my sincere and fervent wishes for your health and every possible happiness, and my assurance of the sentiments of most perfect regard with which I have the honour to be
Your Excellency's most obedient and most humble servant, JAS. SAUMAREZ.
To his Excellency Don Joseph Mazzaredo, &c. &c. &c.
We need only add that Sir James's request was complied with, and that several communications were subsequently made by flags of truce for the exchange of prisoners, by which the sufferings on both sides were much alleviated.
* * * * *
News of the battle of Algeziras, and of the loss of the Hannibal, having reached the Admiralty through the French papers, their lordships despatched a vessel with orders to Captain Tyler of the Warrior, who with six sail of the line was cruising off Ireland, to proceed with his squadron to reinforce Sir James Saumarez off Cadiz. These ships, viz. the Warrior, Captain Tyler; Defence, Lord H. Paulet; Bellona, Captain Bertie; Russell, Captain Cuming, all of seventy-four guns, and Eling, schooner, joined Captain Stirling of the Pompee on the 9th; who, with Captain Keats in the Superb, had resumed the blockade. Intelligence of this reinforcement was sent to Sir James at Gibraltar.
A claim was made for prize-money, by Captain C. Duncan of the Portuguese frigate Carlotta, but was not admitted; because, having been informed that peace had been made between Portugal and France, Captain Duncan had refused to take any part in the action, and had been requested by Sir James merely to carry his despatches to Lisbon.
The Caesar being refitted, Sir James made two attempts to join his squadron off Cadiz; but it was not until the 15th of August that he reached his station, having, in the mean time, twice visited Tangier. The Thames had been sent with despatches to Lord Keith, who had ordered the Genereux, Captain Manly Dixon, to leave Mahon, and join the squadron off Cadiz; but this officer having heard of the second action, and conceiving it would be unnecessary, did not join, but wrote a letter, of which the following is an extract.
H.M.S. Genereux, Minorca, E.N.E. 50 leagues, 24 July 1801.
This evening, being distant from the west end of Minorca, on my passage to join you, I fell in with the brig with your second letter, addressed to the senior officer at Mahon; and taking the same into consideration, and the great advantage which your glorious and most brilliant action with the French and Spanish squadrons must give you over the enemy off Cadiz, I judged it best for his Majesty's service to return to my station at Mahon, and act conformably to the last orders I received from Sir John Warren,—which were, to hold the Genereux in constant readiness to join him on his appearance off that port.
I beg leave to congratulate you, and the captains of your squadron, on the great success which has attended your first dash at the enemy in their strong position off Algeziras, and the very important consequence of it.
At the same time Sir James received the first of the following letters from Lord Keith, who had not yet received the accounts of the second battle:
Foudroyant, Bay of Aboukir, 4th August 1801.
I yesterday received your letters of the 7th and 9th ultimo, by the Delight, from Minorca. The letter has given me much concern, in consequence of the unfortunate issue of your gallant endeavours. I am still in hopes that it will not turn out so favourably for the enemy, and that some of their ships will be lost.
You will know, before this reaches you, that Cairo is evacuated. The greatest part of its garrison is now embarked. When that is accomplished, I see nothing to prevent our beginning to attack Alexandria; and I am sanguine that it cannot hold out long: but, until it is in our power, I can detach nothing from blockading that port, and covering this immense fleet of transports, store-ships, victuallers, &c. which have no other protection. Besides, the army cannot exist without our protection.
Sir John Warren sailed from hence on the 12th May. I have since heard from him, at sea and at Malta; and I have lately understood that he was off Cape Spartavento, where he may have heard of Gantheaume's squadron; but his ultimate orders are for Mahon, at which place he must now be with seven ships of the line. The Athenian must now be ready to join, from Malta. Should the enemy sail up the Mediterranean, Carthagena or Toulon must be their first rendezvous, where you will be able to observe them, when joined to Sir John; and, from all information, their objects of attack must be confined to three,—Egypt, Turkey in Europe, or Sicily, in the event of a renewal of hostilities: and to those objects I recommend the strictest attention; because, after the island of Minorca is sufficiently reinforced, it may be left, for a longer time than before, without very much danger: but I must recommend that the strictest secrecy is observed on my intended operation, and that frequent information is transmitted to me.
Were the enemy once collected at any one point, I could venture to detach from hence; but, unsettled as they are at present, it would be a measure of much danger. The ships last from England sail very ill; and, if met with, would be taken. The Hector, Ajax, and La Diane, lately ran foul of each other at sea, and are not yet in a state to act.
It will be proper to keep the cruisers active off Carthagena, Barcelona, and Crette, whence the enemy must derive their supplies; and whichever port the enemy's squadron goes into, must be blockaded de facto; and any vessels that attempt to enter, after due warning, must be detained. I beg to mention that the anchorage of Alendia Bay is good. If not better defended than I have known it to be, the batteries might be destroyed by a few soldiers from General Fox: a position there covers both sides of the island. The idea of an attack on Maracoa, or Algiers, I discredit: at the first place their army would be lost; at the second they could not trust their fleet in so open a bay even for a week.
I hope you will send to the Admiralty copies of all your letters to me on points of service, whilst I am at such a distance from you.
I have the honour to be, Sir, Your most obedient humble servant, KEITH.
Rear-admiral Sir James Saumarez, Bart. &c. &c. &c.
Foudroyant, Aboukir Bay, 17th August 1801.
I have had the honour of receiving your letter of the 19th ultimo, acquainting me with the measures which you had adopted for opposing the return to Cadiz of the combined French and Spanish squadrons lately anchored in Algeziras Bay; and with the fortunate result of your attack on them, with an inferiority of force that little encouraged an expectation of so distinguished an advantage. I beg to offer to you my sincere congratulations on the successful issue of an enterprise, so honourable to yourself; and request you will accept the tribute of my perfect approbation of the ardent zeal and determined resolution which animated you on that important occasion; and that you will communicate my full satisfaction and approbation to all the captains and officers, seamen and marines, of the ships of the squadron under your orders, who, by so eminently distinguishing themselves, have merited and obtained yours.
I have the honour to be, Sir, Your most obedient humble servant, KEITH.
To Rear-admiral Sir James Saumarez, Bart. &c. &c. &c.
I have to acknowledge the receipt of the various enclosures in your letters of the 19th July; and approve of the exertions to resume the station before Cadiz with the ships of your squadron, which, I have reason to believe, has been seasonably reinforced by the Genereux.
The Honourable Captain Dundas shall receive an appointment for the San Antonio, which, I have no doubt, the repeated meritorious conduct of that young officer will induce their lordships to confirm; and I shall have pleasure in paying attention to the other officers, to whom you have given acting orders, when a compliance with their lordships' commands, and an attention to prior engagements, shall enable me so to do.
I have the honour to be your obedient servant, KEITH.
To Rear-admiral Sir James Saumarez, Bart. &c. &c. &c.
Sir James, at the same time, received the usual order, dated 3rd August, to place himself under the orders of Lord Keith; by which it was supposed that his lordship had no right to share, as commander-in-chief, for the prizes antecedently taken by the squadron. This question, however, was decided in favour of his lordship.
The Bellona, Penelope, and Mermaid successively joined the squadron; and the latter, having a convoy from Lisbon, was despatched with it to Malta. The Audacious and Bellona were sent to Gibraltar to refit; and subsequently the Penelope, to be hove down. Sir James received letters from Mr. Frere, at Lisbon, by the Phaeton, Captain Morris, informing him of the conclusion of peace between Portugal and France; and of a report that some of the enemy's ships had escaped from Brest, which was however contradicted by despatches of later date from the Channel fleet, and from England. The enemy's designs had been completely frustrated, and vessels employed in the commerce of Great Britain proceeded to their various destinations without molestation. The Phaeton was also despatched up the Mediterranean with a convoy, and with information of importance for Lord Keith, from Mr. Frere. By the return of the Thames, Sir James received from Sir John Warren, whose absence from Toulon had permitted Admiral Linois' squadron to escape, the following letter, dated,
Renown, Port Mahon, 18th August, 1801.
I have the honour of informing you of my arrival here with the squadron under my command, being ordered by the commander-in-chief on this part of the station, and to assist and communicate with anything stationed without the Straits' mouth.
I received, with much satisfaction, the intelligence of your zealous and gallant efforts with the squadron under your orders in the several actions you have had with the enemy, the result of which has proved so successful and honourable to all who assisted in them.
I therefore beg leave, sincerely, to offer you my congratulations on this occasion; and trust you have received the stores sent from this dockyard, and the supernumeraries which were conveyed in the Mermaid.
I am sorry to add that the Swiftsure was captured by Gantheaume in her passage with some merchantmen, on the coast of Barbary; and that the enemy were fortunate enough to carry her into Toulon.
I have the honour to remain, Your obedient humble servant, J.B. WARREN.
To Rear-admiral Sir James Saumarez, Bart. &c. &c. &c.
The ports of Cadiz and St. Lucar were now declared to be in strict blockade, which was rigidly enforced, in order to prevent supplies being thrown in for the repairs of the damaged fleet; and serious disputes frequently took place between the French and Spaniards in these harbours.
Although the battles of the 6th and 12th of July were not in magnitude to be compared to those of the Nile and Valentine's day, they were to the nation actually of no less importance, by having put an end to the well-laid plan of Buonaparte for the destruction of our commerce and the reinforcement of his army in Egypt, which Gantheaume had unsuccessfully attempted.
Peace having been made between France and Spain, it was agreed that the fleet of the latter nation, partly manned with French crews and officers, should be joined by Linois' squadron from Toulon, and then proceed off Lisbon, which they were to sack, and destroy or capture the British merchant-ships lying there with rich cargoes; then, being reinforced by the Brest fleet, they were to pass the Straits of Gibraltar, and with an overwhelming force steer direct for Alexandria, where they were to land such a body of troops as would raise the siege, and drive the English out of Egypt. This would certainly have succeeded had the squadron under Linois not encountered that of Sir James, which led to the total defeat of their combined fleets, and to the abandonment of the grand plan: events which may be said to have brought about the conclusion of peace, first, with Portugal, and subsequently with Great Britain, as it was found impossible to relieve, or reinforce, the French army in Egypt before the capitulation of Alexandria, and the final expulsion of that army. But the reader will be surprised to find that the meritorious services of Sir James, although fully acknowledged, were not so fully rewarded.
Despatches arrive from England.—Sir James superseded by Sir Charles Morice Pole.—Remarks and correspondence on the subject.—The St. George and four sail of the line arrive.—Blockade of Cadiz.—Sir James continues as second in command.—His appointments not confirmed.—Injustice of his treatment.—Letters from various persons.—The Caesar arrives at Gibraltar.
Since the signal defeat of the French and Spanish combined squadrons on the 12th of July, Sir James had passed seven most anxious weeks without having received any communication from England. His sufferings on that account, and his impatience for letters, as well from his family as from the Admiralty, were, according to his own admission, more intolerable than he had ever experienced.
 The letters, which have already appeared, were received on the 31st of August.
The enemy's force at Cadiz being now so inferior, even to the squadron he at first commanded, he was enabled to send the Audacious and Bellona to refit at Gibraltar; while he detached the Warrior and the Phoebe to cruise off Lisbon, and other smaller vessels in different directions. He never doubted that he should be continued in the chief command; and his hopes of the pleasing intelligence had been raised to the highest pitch, when the long-expected despatches arrived. His surprise and mortification, therefore, may be imagined, when, on opening the very first letter from the Admiralty, he found himself superseded by a senior officer, on a plea which had no just foundation, namely, the increase of the enemy's force at Cadiz! whereas, on the contrary, that force had not only been decreased by the loss of two of its largest ships, but all the rest had been so materially damaged in the late actions as to be rendered for the present unserviceable.
As might be expected, Sir James felt so indignant at this, to say the least of it, ill-timed arrangement, that he considered it a duty he owed to his character to express his feelings strongly in a respectful answer to this communication, both to the Board, and to Earl St. Vincent; which produced an explanation, in which it appeared that the Admiralty, having determined to make Cadiz a separate command from that of the Mediterranean, it became necessary to employ two flag-officers. Sir James being the last on the list, none could be found junior; and they were, therefore, under the necessity of appointing a senior officer.
As it could not be disputed that the Admiralty had a right to make the dispositions for which they alone were responsible, the correspondence in which Sir James's services were acknowledged, and wherein regret was expressed by their lordships at the necessity they had been under of appointing a senior officer, ended in a satisfactory manner; and Sir James was contented to remain as second in command under Vice-admiral Pole, who arrived on the 31st August, in the St. George, to assume the chief command of the squadron.
Two of the letters which Sir James received on this occasion have been given in the preceding chapter, in order to show the reception which the intelligence of his victory met with in England. The following are copies of the official letters alluded to, and also of some private letters, which express his feelings on the occasion.
Admiralty, 2nd August 1801.
I received, yesterday, by Captain Ferris, and immediately communicated to my Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty, your letters of the 5th, 6th, 9th, and 10th instant, acquainting me, for their lordships' information, that, having received intelligence of three French line-of-battle ships and a frigate having anchored off Algeziras, you had proceeded through the Straits, with the squadron under your orders, for the purpose of attacking them, which you had accordingly done on the morning of the 6th; but that the Hannibal having unfortunately taken the ground, and all the endeavours you had exerted with the Caesar and Audacious having proved ineffectual, you had been compelled to withdraw from the attack, and to leave the Hannibal in possession of the enemy; transmitting, at the same time, a list of the killed and wounded, with a copy of a letter you had received from Captain Ferris, giving an account of his proceedings: and, in answer thereto, I have received their lordships' commands to acquaint you that, although your endeavours to destroy the enemy's ships, above-mentioned, were unsuccessful, they cannot too much applaud the spirit and activity with which the attack was conducted; and that, however they may regret the loss of the Hannibal to his Majesty, their lordships have the satisfaction of knowing that you, and all the officers and men employed under your command, have faithfully and zealously discharged your duty, and although by unfortunate circumstances a ship has been lost, as well as the lives of many gallant officers and men, the national character has in no degree suffered from the disaster.
Their lordships have the fullest confidence that every exertion will be made for repairing the damage which the ships now with you have sustained; and have commanded me to inform you that you may rely on their taking measures immediately for reinforcing you, and for sending such supplies of stores as the squadron may be likely to require.
I am, sir, your most obedient humble servant, EVAN NEPEAN.
To Sir James Saumarez, Bart.
Admiralty Office, 4th August 1801.
After I had closed my despatch of the 2nd instant, Lieutenant Dumaresq arrived, and delivered to me your letters of the 13th and 14th of last month: the former, giving information that the three French ships of the line and, a frigate, at Algeziras, having been joined by five Spanish and one French sail of the line, with other smaller vessels, had sailed on the morning of the 12th with his Majesty's late ship Hannibal, for Cadiz; that, by the great exertions of the officers and men of the squadron, you had been able to proceed to sea at the same time, with all the ships under your orders, except the Pompee, in pursuit of the enemy; and that, after a partial action, two Spanish ships of a hundred and twelve guns had been blown up, and one French ship of seventy-four guns had been taken by his Majesty's ship Superb: the latter transmitting a letter which you had received from Captain Keats, of the last-mentioned ship, containing an account of his proceedings on that occasion.
I lost no time in laying your said despatches before my Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty; and I have received their lordships' commands to express to you their highest approbation of the gallantry and good conduct which were displayed by you, and the captains, officers, and men under your orders, in engaging and defeating so superior a force of the enemy; and to desire that you will signify to them, particularly to Captains Hood and Keats, in the strongest terms, the sense their lordships are pleased to entertain of their meritorious services on this important occasion.
Their lordships have commanded me further to inform you that, in consequence of the favourable mention you have made of the services of the Honourable Captain Dundas and Lieutenant Dumaresq, they have been pleased to promote the former to the rank of post-captain, and the latter to command the Calpe.
I am, sir, your obedient humble servant, EVAN NEPEAN.
To Rear-admiral Sir James Saumarez, Bart. &c. &c. &c.
Admiralty Office, 14th August 1801.
My Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty having judged it necessary, from the present circumstances of the war, and preparations now making by the enemy in Cadiz, to augment the squadron serving on the coasts of Portugal and Spain bordering on the Atlantic, and to place the ships and vessels on that station under the command of Vice-admiral Pole, I have received their commands to acquaint you of this arrangement, and to enclose their orders to you, to put yourself, and the ships with you, under the Vice-admiral's command.
So many objections occur to the allowing a force of the extent necessary to be so employed, with only one flag-officer, that their lordships have felt themselves reduced to the necessity, from your standing on the list, of sending a senior officer to you; which, on considering the proofs you have given of your zeal and ability, and the advantage which the public has so recently derived from your very distinguished services, they would, if possible, have avoided.
I am, sir, your most obedient humble servant, Evan Nepean.
To Rear-admiral Sir James Saumarez, Bart. &c. &c. &c.
The enclosures mentioned in the above letters being the usual official order for Sir James to put himself under command of Vice-admiral Charles Morice Pole, need not be inserted; nor the consequent order from that officer to Sir James. The squadron was now augmented by four sail of the line; namely, the St. George, 98 (flag-ship), Captain Nichols; Dreadnought, 98, Captain Vashon; Russell, 74, Captain Cuming; and Powerful, 74, Sir Francis Laforey: and on the 10th of September the St. Antoine, Audacious, Zealous, and Bellona joined; which, with the Caesar, Superb, Venerable, Spencer, and Pompee, made twelve sail of the line.
The subjoined extract of a letter which Sir James wrote to his brother Richard, is sufficiently expressive of his feelings:
2nd September 1801.
Nothing can be more strongly penned than the letters, both public and private, which I have received. If I had destroyed thirty sail of line-of-battle ships, they could not have been in a higher strain of praise and admiration. But is it not surprising they should cease there? Not a syllable is said of the first lieutenant, or anything intended for myself. Your letter seemed to make certain of it, and you fully expect that a peerage will be conferred on me at the meeting of Parliament, with the grant of a suitable pension. I cannot but feel surprised that Phil. Dumaresq should have been detained so long in London, and not be charged with the smallest hint on the subject, which almost makes me fear my services will be disregarded in the same manner I experienced after the Nile.
I declare to you that on no service wherein I have been engaged have I found any situation equally arduous as that of Algeziras, nor have known any in the naval history of my country. Its consequences have been equal to the most complete victory; for, with seven sail, of which my squadron was composed, we have frustrated two important expeditions, the naval force of which consisted of sixteen sail of the line.
I have been encouraged to expect this mark of distinction by all on this station, and I cannot express my feelings should it not be conferred. I shall, however, follow my sister's advice of "patience and humility" in either instance, and I trust to my resignation should the injustice be done to me.
With regard to Mr. Pipon, he cannot do better than follow Captain Martin in a line-of-battle ship as first lieutenant; it will not prevent my exertions to serve him: but judge of the injustice to those officers who have shared in this and several other battles with me, to place a stranger over their heads.
The Caesar will, I hope, in a short time, be ordered to England; and I have written to be permitted to proceed in her, which I trust will be complied with.
Is it not hard I should have been deprived of Lady Saumarez's letters? It is, however, a consolation to know that she was in good health so late as the 14th, by a letter to Captain Dumaresq.
The loss of Lady Saumarez's letters, which had been sent unfortunately to Plymouth, where the squadron which sailed from Portsmouth did not touch, as was expected, added greatly to Sir James's disappointment; as did also the information that Mr. Lamburn, who had been appointed to the Calpe, was to return to the Caesar, being superseded by Captain Dumaresq; and that none of the appointments of the warrant-officers to the St. Antoine were confirmed. It was, from these facts, sufficiently evident that Sir James, in his honourable desire to benefit those under his command, particularly Captains Hood and Keats, had materially injured his own interest by permitting these officers to make their own reports of the action at which he was present commanding, and taking part. By thus omitting to give himself and his own ship the full share of credit due to both, he actually threw his officers and himself so completely into the back-ground, that people were led to believe the Caesar and the Admiral had little or nothing to do with the battle. It is to this, and not to any disinclination of Earl St. Vincent to reward Sir James, that his services were on this occasion unrewarded,—the success being, by these documents, attributed entirely to the Superb and Venerable; in contemplation of which, the heavy responsibility, the ardent zeal, the determined resolution Sir James had evinced, and, above all, the important advantages gained to the nation by that victory which his bravery and perseverance had obtained, were entirely overlooked. We may justly ask, were the merits of the first lieutenant of the Superb, which, in conjunction with the Caesar, made an easy capture of the San Antonio, and with a trifling loss, greater than those of the first lieutenant of the flag-ship, which was engaged far more severely at Algeziras, who exerted himself most zealously in refitting the ship, besides assisting in the capture of the French ship? Yet the promotion was only given to the first lieutenants of the Venerable and Superb, although the former ship would probably have been taken had it not been for the Caesar, and the latter was not in the action of Algeziras at all! These circumstances, and the fact that his appointments to the St. Antoine were not confirmed, seem to have given Sir James more concern than even the total neglect of his own meritorious services.
 It was reported that the San Antonio had struck before the Caesar came up, but this cannot be true; because, when the Caesar came up, both ships were still before the wind, firing at each other, and the Caesar had her cross-jack-yard shot away.
Taking into account every circumstance regarding the actions of the 6th and 12th July,—the severity of the former, the intermediate exertions, the professional skill, the daring and the tact displayed in the latter, and the complete discomfiture of the enemy's well-arranged plans for the destruction of our commerce at Lisbon and the subsequent relief of their army in Egypt,—this victory was equal to, if not greater in importance than, either the battles of St. Vincent or the Nile, for the former of which Jervis was created an earl, and Nelson a baron for the latter, immediately on the arrival of the news in England. Yet after a lapse of several months, after praises had been heaped upon Sir James, after the thanks of both houses of parliament had been voted to him for the fifth time, after his eminent services had been acknowledged by every large corporation, and generally throughout the kingdom—after the highest encomiums had been pronounced on him by Earl St. Vincent and Lord Nelson,—instead of a peerage, which he as richly deserved as either of the other two, he was decorated only with the red riband.
We shall close this subject for the present by giving an extract from a letter Sir James wrote to his friend Sir Thomas Troubridge, after his correspondence with the Admiralty on the subject of his being superseded had ended, and subsequently to his correspondence with the Navy Board on his having commissioned the St. Antoine to employ the crew of the Hannibal, which had been exchanged.
Caesar, 7th October 1801.
I leave it to you to decide whether I had not just cause for additional disappointment to find no notice taken of the services of the squadron by the promotion of any of the officers; and what I must feel at this moment to find Mr. Lamburn sent back, and the lieutenants of the Superb and Venerable alone promoted. I cannot but view it as a great injustice done me, and I am sorry to say it mortifies me more than I can express.
With regard to the St. Antoine, allow me to bring to your recollection under what circumstances she was commissioned. At that time I was ignorant of any part of our force having been withdrawn from the Baltic, or that any ships could be spared from the North Sea or the Channel fleet, and consequently could not expect but that a very small, if any, reinforcement could be ordered to join me; and to have left an efficient ship, which, with the Hannibal's ship's company, could be brought forward for service in so short a time, I should have deemed myself very reprehensible, All the appointments were made in the most fair and impartial manner; and I solemnly declare that the sole view to the good of his Majesty's service was what actuated the whole of my proceedings, which I am certain Hood will also declare. I am truly grieved at the manner the warrant-officers I appointed to that ship are ordered to be superseded, and I shall feel it as long as I live.
Believe me, my good friend, my heart is incapable of harbouring so heinous a vice as ingratitude, and I shudder at the thought of being taxed with it: but when I consider the treatment I have received on this occasion, I feel it difficult to support myself; and what adds to my distress is, to find by your private note of the 19th that I am likely to remain longer in this country. Let me assure you that I shall ever retain a grateful sense of the many and uniform proofs of your friendship for me, which I can truly say are not misplaced; there being no one among your numerous friends who can have a more true regard and sincere esteem for you than myself.
Sir James continued with the squadron under Sir Charles Pole, employed on the blockade of Cadiz, until the 14th November 1801, when he went in the Caesar, in company with several other ships to Gibraltar.
The following letter from General O'Hara gave Sir James the first news of the capitulation of Cairo, and the death of Sir Ralph Abercrombie, on the 21st of August
Gibraltar, 30th August 1801.
If you have seen either the Hebe or Mendovia, you are acquainted with the success in Egypt; and, if you have not, the enclosed Gibraltar Chronicle will inform you of all those particulars: and when we consider the great disparity of numbers between English and French, particularly detailed in the Chronicle, we must conclude ourselves greatly indebted to good fortune for having got well through that very arduous enterprise.
As the French troops, who capitulated, are nearly double the number of our people employed on that service, I cannot help having apprehensions till they are fairly embarked, and we are quit of them; for it is impossible to trust that scoundrel race if they can reap any advantage by breaking their faith. I am sorry to find, from several reports, that our great men don't draw together very well; I mean the chiefs of our army. It should seem we have more reasons than one to lament the loss of Sir Ralph Abercrombie,—the cause of clashing parties between Scotch and Irish, which is too commonly the case in our service; and I am afraid something of that sort now and then arises in the navy. I send you, likewise, our Chronicle of last Friday, because you will there see the honours that have been paid to the French officers for the action at Algeziras, as well as the one of the 13th. You will there perceive that the French Formidable was attacked by four English ships of war! It is quite wonderful what improbable lies those rascals do propagate.
Sir James found at Gibraltar H.M.S. Renown, Sir John Borlase Warren, whose flag he saluted.
Preliminaries of peace.—Sir James created a Knight of the Bath.—Remarks on that Order.—Ceremony of investiture.—Action of the Pasley and Rosario.—Sir James receives the thanks of both Houses of Parliament.—Speeches of Earl St. Vincent, Lord Nelson, and Mr. Pitt.—The freedom of the city of London,—and a sword.—Address from Guernsey and Jersey.—Silver vases.—Inscriptions thereon.
The fleet, with the exception of a small squadron off Cadiz, had returned to Gibraltar on the news that preliminaries of peace were signed. This was the consequence of the surrender of Alexandria to his Majesty's arms, and the final expulsion of the French from Egypt; on which account general rejoicings had taken place. But that which most strongly excited feelings of joy and exultation in the garrison and inhabitants of Gibraltar was, the information that his Majesty had been graciously pleased to honour Sir James Saumarez with the red riband and star of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath,—a distinction which, at this time, was very limited, and conferred only on those who had highly distinguished themselves in battle. There was then only one class, designated by the letters K.B.; but, in 1815, the order was, under certain regulations, extended to three classes. The former Knights of the Bath (K.B.) were made Grand-Crosses, (G.C.B.); the second, Commanders of the Bath, (K.C.B.); and the third, Companions of the Bath, (C.B.); by which the value of the original order has been much depreciated. The honour of knighthood, however, of whatever description, depends greatly on the brilliancy of the deed which it is intended to commemorate; and, certainly, on no occasion has it been destined to perpetuate the memory of a victory more splendid or more important than that achieved by Sir James. As the ceremony, both on account of the peculiar circumstances under which it took place, and the intense interest which Sir James's late actions had created, was of the most imposing nature, we shall give the reader the fullest account of it which we have been able to collect.
Gibraltar, 16th November 1801.
The following is the purport of garrison orders issued this day.
The Governor having been honoured with a commission from his Majesty, empowering him to invest Rear-admiral Sir James Saumarez, Bart. with the Most Honourable Order of the Bath, the royal standard will be hoisted, at gun-firing to-morrow morning, on the flagstaffs at Waterport and Europa. None of the working parties are to be employed. The whole of the troops off guard in the garrison will be formed on the Great Parade, under arms, with their colours, and two deep, exactly at twelve o'clock. The troops will march by their right to the Convent, when they will line the streets from thence to the South Port, and from the Barrier to the Grand Parade. They will be formed in the street precisely at a quarter before one o'clock, and at one o'clock the procession will move from the Convent in the following order,—viz.
ORDER OF PROCESSION.
Ensign Bruce, town-adjutant. Music,—5th regiment. One hundred seamen, with warrant-officers. A captain and two subalterns of the royal artillery, with four field-pieces drawn by artillery soldiers. Town-major and garrison quarter-master. Judge-advocate and chaplain. Mr. Ross, ord. store-keeper; and Mr. Pownall, N. officer; Mr. Sweetland, commissary; and Mr. Cutforth, agent victualler. Dr. Pym and Dr. Weir. Rev. Mr. Frome and the chaplain of the Caesar. First division of Officers of the squadron, youngest first. First division of Captains in the royal navy, and Field-officers—youngest first. Major Bellew and Major Geraghty. Lieut.-colonel Leyborne and Lieutenant-colonel Basset. Lieutenant-colonel Ballingal and Captain Oliver. Sir Francis Laforey, Bart. and Sir Thomas Williams. Captain Taylor and Captain Vashon. Music,—Banffshire band. Mr. Raleigh. The Commissioner's secretary, bearing a crimson velvet cushion, with the commission. The Governor's aides-de-camp. The Governor as the King's commissioner. The secretary to Sir James Saumarez, bearing on a velvet cushion the insignia of the Order of the Bath. Captain Linzee and Captain Brenton, esquires. SIR JAMES SAUMAREZ, BART. the knight elect, supported by Major-generals Stewart and Barnett. B. major and aides-de-camp to the Major-generals. Second division of Captains in the royal navy, and Field-officers,—eldest first. Captain Darby and Captain Bertie. Sir R. Barlow and Right Hon. Lord H. Paulet. Captain Thompson and Captain Cartier. Lieut.-colonel Grant, Lieut.-colonel Zouch, and Major Bury. Music,—Cambrians. Second division of Staff. Captain Mouat and Mr. Wooden. Mr. Consul Budd and Mr. F. Raleigh. Lieutenant Crawford and Mr. Stones. Dr. White and Dr. Vaughan. Mr. Keys and Mr. J. Bolton. Mr. Edward Bolton and Mr. Thomas Bolton. Music,—Argyleshire. One hundred marines commanded by a captain. Second division of the Officers of the squadron, eldest first. Drums and fifes. The grenadiers.
The regiments and corps will present arms, and the officers salute the King's commissioner as he comes on the right of each corps successively. The colours will also salute, and drums beat a march.
As soon as the grenadiers have passed the royal marine artificers, the latter will form in two lines or four deep, and march in column in their rear; the 5th regiment will likewise fall in and march in the rear of the royal marine artificers; and each other corps will in succession fall in and march to the Grand Parade, where they will form in a semicircle, the centre of which will be the throne. The diameter will be occupied by the seamen royal artillery, grenadiers, and marines.
When the procession has arrived opposite to the centre of the Parade, it will move down towards the Royal Pavilion; the seamen marching to the right flank of the diameter, the marines to the left, and the guns to the left and right of the seamen and marines, and the grenadiers on the right and left of the Pavilion.
The music will play "See, the conquering hero comes!" until the procession arrives opposite to the Royal Pavilion, when they will play "Rule Britannia." As soon as the knight is seated, the music will play "God save the King;" and immediately after the ceremony, the grenadiers will fire a volley, followed by a salute of one round from the four field-pieces, which will be the signal for a salute, from the Sea-line Walls, of sixty-three guns, viz. twenty-one guns from the Saluting Battery, twenty-one from the South Bastion, and twenty-one from Jumper's Battery and those to the southward. Whilst the salute is firing, the troops will file off from the Parade, and return to their former position in the streets; and, after the salute, the procession will move back to the Convent.
In this manner the procession moved on to the Grand Parade, where, in front of the Royal Pavilion, a chair of state was raised on three steps, covered with crimson velvet and rich gold lace. Over the chair a canopy richly embroidered with gold, and a floor-cloth of the same. Before this chair, but on the right and left sides, two other chairs were placed, covered also with crimson velvet and gold lace; over these were two banners, with the arms of the commissioner upon the right, and of the knight elect on the left chair. The first division of the procession having drawn up on the right, the King's commissioner, the knight elect, the general officers, and their suite facing to the King's state, and the rear division halting and drawing up on the left side of the front of the Pavilion, the whole made three reverences to the King's state, the music playing. Then the ensigns of the order, and the commission, were laid on the table before the sovereign's state; at which time General O'Hara and Sir James Saumarez sat down in their respective chairs, the music playing "God save the King." The general officers and suite divided, falling back on each side to leave the front open to the King's chair. After a short pause, General O'Hara standing up, Sir James Saumarez also rising from his chair, they both advanced before the table; turned about, and made three reverences to the King's state. General O'Hara then directed his secretary to read the King's commission. Sir James Saumarez's secretary attending with a riband, presented it to General O'Hara, who, as soon as the commission was read, received the riband, with which he invested Sir James Saumarez; making at the time the following short speech.
"It is most gratifying to me that, in obeying his Majesty's commands, I perform this highly honourable duty so near the scene of your heroic achievements, and before troops who were witnesses of your distinguished conduct and eminent valour."
To this, Sir James replied in a short complimentary speech suitable to the occasion.
After the salute, the commissioner and Sir James Saumarez stood up, and walked to the front of the Pavilion, made three reverences to the King's state, and the procession returned to the Convent.
The number and martial appearance of the troops; the multitude of spectators of both sexes, and of all nations and countries, who crowded the surrounding heights, and the lower part of the mountain that overlooks the sands; the roar of the cannon from our batteries, and from the shipping in the bay; the presence of those brave seamen and marines, so worthy of the gallant chief under whose command they fought; but, above all, the proximity of Algeziras and the Straits, and the train of ideas awakened by the sight of those places where the new knight, but a few months before, had entitled himself to the honourable tokens of gratitude now bestowed by his King and country; every circumstance contributed to render this scene one of the most solemn and most affecting that it may be the lot of men to behold.
Of the knight himself nothing needs be said in this garrison.
"Dans les murs, hors des murs; tout parle de sa gloire."
The following irregular stanzas on the occasion were written extempore by an officer of the royal navy.
Ye valiant martial bands, all hail! Britannia's sons, renowned in arms; Dreadful in war when foes assail, Rejoiced when peace resumes her charms:
Salute th' auspicious day with warlike strains, Which thus a King's munificence displays; When Saumarez his just reward obtains,— Unfading laurels, and unenvied praise!
And thou, oh vet'ran, not unknown to fame! Thou chief, well chosen to confer the meed! Be thine the honour of a spotless name, And thine the conscience of each virtuous deed! Long may'st thou live to share thy sov'reign's smiles, Whom Heav'n preserve to bless his subject isles!
The salutes from the batteries being returned, the ceremonies ended and other festivities commenced.
Sir Charles Morice Pole being informed by the governor of Cadiz that the preliminary treaties of peace had been acceded to by Spain, and that hostilities had ceased between the two nations, proceeded to England on the 11th of November, leaving the chief command to Sir James Saumarez; who, pursuant to orders, proceeded to Gibraltar Bay with the following ships, Caesar, Dreadnought, Spencer, Vanguard, Defence, Bellona, Zealous, Warrior, Trial, Powerful, and St. George; which, besides the four ships belonging to the squadron of Sir John Warren, were present on this occasion. This formidable squadron having been replenished with provisions, remained at Gibraltar for further orders.
On the 27th of November, Lieutenant Wooldridge, of the hired armed brig Pasley, arrived with her prize the Spanish privateer Rosario, which he captured, after a gallant action, on the 30th October, in which the former had four killed and six wounded, while the latter had twenty-one killed and thirteen wounded, in a crew of ninety-four men,—forty more than the Pasley. Lieutenant Wooldridge, who so gallantly concluded the hostilities on this station, was, at the recommendation of Sir James, promoted to the rank of commander.
The next arrival from England brought the gratifying intelligence that the thanks of both Houses of Parliament had been unanimously voted to Sir James, and the captains, officers, and crews of his squadron. The following account is rendered more interesting by the part taken on this occasion by his late Majesty, then Duke of Clarence, Earl St. Vincent, and Viscount Nelson, in the House of Lords, and by Mr. Pitt in the House of Commons.
30th October 1801.—House of Lords.
The First Lord of the Admiralty (Earl St. Vincent) rose to move the thanks of the House to Admiral Sir James Saumarez for his gallant and spirited conduct in his late actions with the united fleets of France and Spain, in which he had destroyed two Spanish men-of-war and taken a ship belonging to France. His lordship, with much feeling, stated the particulars of the engagement in the Bay of Algeziras, in which, notwithstanding the loss of one of his Majesty's ships, owing to a matter which Sir James could not prevent, that meritorious officer displayed the most dauntless courage and energy: that in the first engagement the fleet of Sir James was much crippled and disabled; but that, nevertheless, he made such wonderful exertions to repair his damages, that he was soon afterwards enabled to pursue the French and Spanish fleets, and to engage them with the most decisive success, although greatly his superiors in numbers and weight of metal. The gallant achievement, he declared, surpassed everything he had met with in his reading or service; and when the news of it arrived, the whole Board, at which he had the honour to preside, were struck with astonishment to find that Sir James Saumarez, in so very short a time after the affair of the Bay of Algeziras, had been able, with a few ships only, and one of them disabled, especially his own, to come up with the enemy, and, with unparalleled bravery, to attack them, and obtain a victory highly honourable to himself, and essentially conducive to the national glory.
His lordship said, the merit of the brave Admiral spoke so strongly for itself, that it would be unnecessary for him to take up more of their lordships' time respecting it. He should also move the thanks of the House to the captains who served under Sir James; but he could not forbear to give his highest applause to the captains whose conduct was so gallant and successful on that day. There was no invidious distinction in this. Every captain on that service, he was persuaded, would have done his duty in the same signal manner had he been fortunate enough to get into action. But it was not less his duty to notice the conduct of these gallant officers, on whom the fortune of the day fell, and who contributed to make the event so glorious by their conduct. Lord St. Vincent then formally moved the thanks of the House to Rear-admiral Sir James Saumarez.
Lord Viscount Nelson immediately rose to support the character and conduct of Sir James Saumarez, on which his noble friend had just expressed himself in such handsome terms. He said he was under particular obligations to that gallant officer, who had been second in command under him in one of his most important and successful engagements; that in the action in Algeziras Bay he was persuaded Sir James would have achieved his object, and carried the enemy's ships into Gibraltar, but for the failure of the wind; an accident which the Admiral could not prevent, and which enabled the enemy to haul their ships so close within the shore as to defeat his purpose. Nothing dismayed or dispirited, however, with the unfortunate event of that attempt, Sir James made wonderful exertions to put his few ships into a condition to sail after a fleet of the enemy and to attack them, though their fleet consisted of ten ships, and Sir James had but five, and his own ship greatly disabled. The glorious result their lordships well knew. But he was not surprised at the matchless intrepidity and skill of his gallant friend when he considered the professional school in which he had been bred, viz. the late Lord Howe, Lord Hood, Lord Bridport, and his noble friend the noble earl who sat next him. (Earl St. Vincent, feeling the full force of the compliment, made the noble and gallant lord a very low bow.) From such masters he could not but have learned everything that was courageous, spirited, and magnanimous. His lordship added some further panegyrics; and, after apologising to the House for having intruded on the time of their lordships, concluded by saying it was with the greatest satisfaction he voted for the thanks of the House to that meritorious officer.
Earl St. Vincent next moved the thanks of the House be given to Captains Hood and Keats, and such of the officers as principally distinguished themselves in the two engagements in the Bay of Algeziras and off Gibraltar. The Duke of Clarence rose, and said he should have given his testimony in an ample manner, both of the gallant officer Sir James Saumarez, and the captains who had the good fortune to be in the action, if the noble lord at the head of the Admiralty and the hero of the Nile had not been present to do them greater justice than his praise could afford. He could not, however, give a silent assent to the motion. He rose now, as a professional man, to express his entire concurrence with every syllable that had fallen from his two noble friends in commendation of the gallant Sir James Saumarez, and to declare the satisfaction he felt in the thanks of the House being voted, to those brave officers Captain Hood and Captain Keats, for their distinguished conduct in the two engagements. They were both as deserving officers as any in his Majesty's service; but he could speak more particularly to the merit of Captain Keats, having served under him for four years and a half during a former war as midshipman in the same watch. He was persuaded, whenever the country should be engaged in another war, Captain Keats would eminently distinguish himself.
The motion was agreed to, nemine dissentiente; as were likewise two other motions, made of course in applause of the men serving in the fleet of Sir James Saumarez, and to request that gallant Admiral to communicate the sense the House entertained of the other officers, seamen, and marines.
In the House of Commons Mr. Pitt said he would make a motion in which he was sure he was anticipated by the expectations of the House and of the public: it was for the thanks of the House to Rear-admiral Sir James Saumarez. On the merits of the gallant Admiral, and those who served under him, there could, he was sure, be no difference of opinion. He was equally sure that there was no difference of opinion respecting the merit of Sir James Saumarez in the attack which he made upon the French squadron in Algeziras Bay a few days previously to the signal advantage which he obtained over the combined squadrons of France and Spain, and for which he would now, he trusted, receive the thanks of the House. It was impossible for him, in making this motion, not to advert to the attack, in which the zeal and ability of the commander, and the spirit and intrepidity of the officers who served under him, were so eminently displayed. That attack failed; but the failure was owing, as Sir James Saumarez stated, to the failure of the wind and a sudden calm which came on. It was the misfortune of the gallant Admiral on that day to lose one of the ships under his command; but the officers and crew of that ship defended her until they had lost half their numbers. Sir James Saumarez was not disheartened, as must always be the case with men of true courage and vigour. He waited for an opportunity to make amends for his failure; that opportunity offered; and he availed himself in a manner worthy of him who had been the companion of, and sharer in the glory of, Lords St. Vincent and Nelson on the 14th of February and in the Bay of Aboukir. These events were still so fresh in the memory of every man that it would be unnecessary for him to enlarge on them. He should therefore conclude with moving
That the thanks of the House be given to Rear-admiral Sir James Saumarez, Bart. and Knight of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath, for his alacrity and zeal in pursuing, and for his able and gallant conduct in the successful attack on, the combined squadrons of the enemy in the Straits of Gibraltar on the 12th and 13th days of July last, by the squadron under his command.
In like manner the thanks of the House were voted to the captains, officers, seamen, and marines, nemine contradicente; as also that the Rear-admiral should communicate the same, and that the Speaker do send the resolutions to Sir James Saumarez.
The thanks of the House of Lords were conveyed to Sir James in the following letter from the Lord Chancellor, dated 30th October 1801:
I have the honour to obey the commands of the House of Lords in transmitting the enclosed resolutions.
In communicating these resolutions, whilst I obey their lordships' orders, I cannot but feel most highly gratified by the opportunity which the discharge of this duty affords me of expressing to a person to whom the country is so deeply indebted the personal interest and veneration with which I have the honour to be, &c.
To which Sir James returned the following answer:
Caesar, Gibraltar, 6th January 1802.
I yesterday had the honour of your lordship's letter, transmitting to me the resolutions of the House of Lords on the victory obtained by the squadron under my orders, on the 12th and 13th of July last, at the entrance of the Straits of Gibraltar.
Having on four occasions been honoured with the thanks of their lordships when commander of a line-of-battle ship in different general actions, this very high mark of distinction cannot but be more particularly gratifying to my feelings when entrusted with the command of his Majesty's squadron; and I am at a loss to express the deep sense I entertain of so flattering an instance of their lordships' approbation.
I shall have great satisfaction in conveying to the captains, officers, and men under my orders the vote of the august House, expressive of the sense their lordships are pleased to entertain of their general conduct.
In returning my most particular thanks for the very polite and obliging manner in which your lordship has been pleased to signify the resolutions of the House of Lords, I beg to assure you of the profound respect and veneration with which I have the honour to be, &c.
To the Right Honourable Lord Eldon, &c. &c. &c.
From the Speaker of the House of Commons Sir James at the same time received the following letter:
Palace-yard, 31st October 1801.
In obedience to the commands of the House of Commons, I have the honour of transmitting their vote of thanks for your alacrity and zeal in pursuing, and able and gallant conduct in the successful attack on, the combined squadron of the enemy in the Straits of Gibraltar, on the 12th and 13th days of July last, by the squadron under your orders; and also their thanks to the captains and officers of that squadron, and their acknowledgment and approbation of the services of the seamen and marines.
I feel the highest personal satisfaction in transmitting these resolutions to an officer who has on so many occasions done distinguished honour to his country, and to a service in which the nation feels the most important and anxious concern, and in the character of which I must individually be much interested.
I have the honour to be, With the highest respect and esteem, Sir, your most obedient humble servant, JOHN MITFORD, Speaker.
Rear-admiral Sir James Saumarez, &c. &c. &c.
The next flattering compliment which Sir James received was of a more substantial nature, and not less honourable, being the thanks of the lord mayor, aldermen, and commons of London with the freedom of the city, &c. accompanied by a sword, value one hundred guineas. The resolutions were conveyed to Sir James in the following letter from Sir John Eamer, then lord mayor:
Mansion House, 2nd December 1801.
I feel a peculiar satisfaction in having the honour of transmitting to you the unanimous thanks of the lord mayor, aldermen, and commons of the city of London, in common council assembled, for the very important services you have rendered your country, as expressed in their resolutions; agreeable to which I have the honour to request you will have the goodness to communicate to the officers, seamen, and marines under your command the unanimous thanks of this court for their bravery and uncommon exertions displayed in those memorable engagements.
On your return, sir, to this country, I shall be proud in having the opportunity of presenting you with the sword so deservedly voted to you, with the freedom of this great city, in which we shall have the honour of having your name enrolled amongst us; and I trust you will permit me to nominate you as a brother-liveryman in the worshipful company of salters, of which I have the honour to be a member.
I have the honour to be, With the highest esteem and respect, Sir, your most obedient servant, JOHN EAMER, Mayor.
To Sir James Saumarez, Bart. &c. &c. &c.
A Common Council holden in the chamber of the Guildhall of the city of London, on Friday the 27th day of November 1801;
John Eamer, Esq. Lord Mayor.
Resolved, unanimously, that the thanks of this court be given to Rear-admiral Sir James Saumarez, Bart. Knight of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath, for the very important and splendid victories obtained by the squadron under his command over a Spanish and French fleet of superior force, on the 6th, off Algeziras, and on the 13th July last, off Cape Trafalgar.