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de Saumarez. Vol II, by Sir John Ross

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Title: Memoirs and Correspondence of Admiral Lord de Saumarez. Vol II

Author: Sir John Ross

Release Date: November 4, 2008 [EBook #27151]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1


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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.

The ERRATA given in this edition are indicated by dotted lines under the corrections. Scroll the mouse over the word and the original text will appear.

An abbreviation key for the table was added on page 411, as it was too large in the original to be read easily in this format.

The transcriber's note at the end of this e-book lists the other corrections that have been made.


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Portrait of Lord de Saumarez.











Publisher in Ordinary to Her Majesty.


Dorset Street, Fleet Street.

[Pg v]



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 Cæsar.—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.


Despatches arrive from England.—Sir James superseded by Sir Charles Morice Pole.—Remarks and correspondence on the subject.—The St. George and four sail of the line arrive.—Blockade of Cadiz.—Sir James continues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 [Pg vi]persons.—The Cæsar arrives at Gibraltar.


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.


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 Cæsar arrives at Gibraltar.—Proceeds to England.—Anchors at Spithead.


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.

[Pg vii] CHAPTER VI.

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.


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.


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.

[Pg viii] CHAPTER IX

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.


Blockade of the Russian fleet.—Swedes' expedition, under Admiral Puké 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.


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[Pg ix] on the subject.—Sir James returns to England, and receives the approbation of the government and the nation.


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.


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 Åbo 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.


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[Pg xi] 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.


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.


Memoir of Sir Thomas de Saumarez. page 332
Memoir of Captain Philip de Saumarez. page 348




[Pg xii] Frontispiece.
Battle of the 12th July 1801
Harbour of Rogerwick

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."

[Pg 1]




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 Cæsar.—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[Pg 2] 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.

12 July 1801

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Battle of the 12th July 1801, when two Spanish ships of the line were burnt, and one French 74 taken by Rear-admiral Sir James Saumarez in the Straits of Gibraltar.

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 Cæsar, 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.[Pg 3]

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.

[Pg 4]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;[Pg 5]

"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,


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[Pg 6] 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.[Pg 7]

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.

Dear Sir,

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[Pg 8] 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 Pompée 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.

B. Tucker.

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 Cæsar, 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[Pg 9] 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 Calpé, was appointed captain of the San Antonio, now called the St. Antoine; Lieut. Lamburn, first of the Cæsar, to command the Calpé; Mr. Beard, master's mate of the Cæsar, to be lieutenant of the St. Antoine, to which ship the purser and warrant[Pg 10] 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 Cæsar; Mr. John Brenton was appointed to fill the vacancy of lieutenant in the Cæsar; 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 Pompée, 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 Calpé.

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. Cæsar, off Cadiz, 17th August 1801.

Having been informed that reports were circulated in Spain, ascribing the destruction of the two first-rates, Real [Pg 11]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:

Esteemed Sir,

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 [Pg 12]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:

Cæsar, 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[Pg 13] 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[Pg 14] 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 Pompée 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 Cæsar 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,[Pg 15] twice visited Tangier. The Thames had been sent with despatches to Lord Keith, who had ordered the Généreux, 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. Généreux, 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 Généreux 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[Pg 16] 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[Pg 17] 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,
Your most obedient humble servant,


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[Pg 18] 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,
Your most obedient humble servant,


To Rear-admiral Sir James Saumarez, Bart.
&c. &c. &c.

(Same date.)


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 Généreux.

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[Pg 19] their lordships' commands, and an attention to prior engagements, shall enable me so to do.

I have the honour to be your obedient servant,


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[Pg 20] 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[Pg 21] 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[Pg 22] 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.

[Pg 23]



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 Cæsar 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.[1] 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 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[Pg 24] Warrior and the Phœbe 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.[Pg 25]

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[Pg 26] the Cæsar 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,[Pg 27] 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 Pompée, 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 Calpé.

I am, sir, your obedient humble servant,

Evan Nepean.

To Rear-admiral Sir James Saumarez, Bart.
&c. &c. &c. [Pg 28]

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;[Pg 29] 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 Cæsar, Superb, Venerable, Spencer, and Pompée, 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.

[Pg 30] 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 Cæsar 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 Calpé, was to return to the Cæsar, 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,[Pg 31] 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 Cæsar 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 Cæsar, made an easy capture of the San Antonio, and with a trifling loss,[2] 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[Pg 32] 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 Cæsar, 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.

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[Pg 33] 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.

Cæsar, 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;[Pg 34] 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 Cæsar, 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[Pg 35]

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.

[Pg 36]



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[Pg 37] 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[Pg 38] 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.


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 Cæsar.
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.
[Pg 39]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.
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.
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 [Pg 40] 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[Pg 41] 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:

[Pg 42]

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, Cæsar, 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[Pg 43] 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[Pg 44] 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[Pg 45] 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.[Pg 46] 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[Pg 47] 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[Pg 48] 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.

Eldon, C.

To which Sir James returned the following answer:[Pg 49]

Cæsar, Gibraltar, 6th January 1802.

My Lord,

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.

James Saumarez.

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[Pg 50] 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.


[Pg 51] 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.

Resolved, unanimously, that the freedom of this city, with a sword of the value of one hundred guineas, be presented to Rear-admiral Sir James Saumarez, Bart. Knight of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath, as a testimony[Pg 52] of the opinion this court entertain of the eminent services rendered by him to his country.

Resolved, unanimously, that the thanks of this court be given to the several captains, officers, seamen, and marines, for their brave exertions on the days of the above celebrated victories.

Resolved, unanimously, that the Right Honourable the Lord Mayor be requested to transmit the above resolutions to Sir James Saumarez, and to request him to communicate the same to the officers, seamen, and marines of his squadron.

Resolved, unanimously, that the Right Honourable the Lord Mayor be requested to provide the sword on this occasion.

Signed, by order of the Court,

Edwd. Boxley.

His Majesty's ship Cæsar, Gibraltar Bay,
6th January 1802.

My Lord,

I have received the letter your lordship has done me the honour to write to me, transmitting the unanimous thanks of the lord mayor, aldermen, and commons of the city of London, in common council assembled, for the successful attacks made by the squadron under my orders upon the superior forces of the enemy, on the 6th and 12th of July last, off Algeziras, and at the entrance of the Straits of Gibraltar.

I beg leave to return my most grateful acknowledgments for so flattering a mark of distinction; more particularly for the high honour conferred upon me in the freedom of the city of London, and permitting my name to be enrolled with its loyal and brave citizens.

I also beg to offer my sincere thanks for the present of a sword, which I shall ever consider it my greatest pride to[Pg 53] have been found deserving of; and I trust to use it with every success in the service of my King and country on any future opportunity requiring its being unsheathed. I shall not fail to communicate to the captains, officers, and men under my orders the resolutions you have been pleased to enclose to me; and I beg to express how truly gratifying it is to me to have the honour of being nominated a brother liveryman in the worshipful company of salters, of which your lordship is a member.

I have the honour to be,
With sentiments of the most respectful regard and esteem,
Your lordship's most obedient
and most humble servant,

James Saumarez.

To Right Honourable the Lord Mayor,
&c. &c. &c.

The inhabitants of the channel islands, justly proud of their heroic countryman, were not behind in acknowledging the high sense they entertained of his services. The following is a copy of the resolution of the States of the island of Jersey:

Aux Etats de l'île de Jersey.

L'an Mil huit cent un, le vingt-deuxième jour d'Août, les Etats, à leur première tenue depuis la nouvelle de la victoire qu'a remportée l'Amiral Sir James Saumarez sur la flotte combinée de la France et de l'Espagne, dans les Passages de Gibraltar, ont un devoir de manifester la joie et la satisfaction que leur inspire cet heureux événement. Les divers exploits qui ont signalé les armes de sa Majesté ont toujours excité la plus vive allégresse dans le cœur des habitans de cette île. Mais ce qui relève infiniment à leurs yeux le prix de cette dernière victoire est la[Pg 54] considération qu'elle est due à un natif de l'île de Guernesey, à laquelle ce pays se sent étroitement attaché par les liens d'une commune origine, de la proximité, de l'amitié. Cette assemblée n'a pu manquer de remarquer les actions éclatantes qui ont distingué la carrière navale de Sir James Saumarez dans sa qualité de capitaine. Elle voit enfin que, parvenu au premier rang, il a su y briller d'un nouveau lustre, et s'y acquérir de nouveaux droits à la reconnaissance de la patrie. On a surtout admiré l'étonnante célérité avec laquelle cet amiral a réparé les damages de son escadre après la sanglante journée d'Algeziras; l'intrépidité avec laquelle il a osé poursuivre une flotte doublement supérieure par le nombre, la grandeur, et l'équipement parfait des vaisseaux; la promptitude avec laquelle il a saisi le moment favorable de l'attaque dans l'obscurité d'une nuit orageuse; et finalement le succès décisif qui a couronné ces nobles efforts. Considérant tout ce qu'a d'honorable pour l'île de Guernesey d'avoir mis au jour un de ces grands hommes qui ont illustré leur nation en la défendant, et dont la Providence s'est servie pour réprimer l'insatiable ambition de l'ennemi, les Etats ont unanimement résolu d'offrir dans cette occasion aux habitans de la dite île leurs sincères et cordiales félicitations; et, afin de leur faire connaître la part que prend cette assemblée à cet événement mémorable, le greffier est chargé de transmettre le présent acte à Robert P. Le Marchant, écuyer, bailli de Guernesey, pour qu'il veuille bien le communiquer à ses compatriotes de la manière la plus convenable.

Jean de Veulle, Greff.

The address of the loyal inhabitants of the Channel islands was followed by a liberal subscription for the wounded, and the widows and orphans of those who fell in the actions. Large[Pg 55] sums were also subscribed for the same purpose in Great Britain; while the island of Guernsey presented Sir James with a very handsome silver vase, being the second time the high sense entertained of his services had been thus expressed. The inscription on the first vase, which has not been before given, is as follows:

Presented to Sir James Saumarez, Knt.
of his Majesty's frigate the Crescent,
by the subscribers to the fund for encouraging
the capture of French privateers, in testimony
of their sense of his gallant conduct in the
action of the 20th October last with La Réunion,
French frigate, of considerable force, and the
protection thereby afforded to the
commerce of Great Britain.
London, 14th Nov. 1799.

On the second vase the following inscription:

of Guernsey
to their gallant countryman,
Sir James Saumarez, Bart. and K.B.
whose suavity of manner and private virtues have long
engaged their esteem and affection,
and whose brilliant achievements have not only immortalized
his name, but will for ever reflect lustre on his native isle,
and add to the glory of the British empire.
June 1802.

[Pg 56]



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 Cæsar arrives at Gibraltar.—Proceeds to England.—Anchors at Spithead.

Destined to remain with his squadron at Gibraltar, Sir James suffered a severe disappointment in being prevented from returning home. He occasionally visited Tetuan; and, after the preliminaries of peace were signed, he had communication with the Spanish authorities. On the 19th of January he was surprised by the appearance of four French line-of-battle ships in the eastward, which passed through the Straits of Gibraltar; on which he wrote a letter to his brother, whence the following is extracted:

Cæsar, Gibraltar, 20th January 1802.

I had the pleasure yesterday to receive your affectionate letter, by way of Malaga, which, although of an old date,[Pg 57] was very acceptable. The letter it enclosed from our brother Sir Thomas was the first I have seen from Guernsey for several months. Our accounts from England extend to the 6th instant, by way of Lisbon. Although no public despatches have been received, we have reason to expect the next arrival will bring the news of the definitive treaty being signed; at the same time it is rather surprising to see the French detaching ships from all their ports. Yesterday, four sail of the line and a frigate appeared to the eastward, which unquestionably must be Gantheaume's squadron. I detached the Phaeton with the intelligence, and am preparing four ships to follow them to the West Indies, taking it for granted they are going to St. Domingo.

I enclose a letter for Nicholas, who I hope has arrived before this time. It is satisfactory to be informed that Ceylon is a healthy situation. I hope before many years we shall see him amongst us in the enjoyment of good health and a competent fortune, for few are more deserving than he is.

Nothing has joined from Lord Keith since my last; but I understand his lordship is expecting his orders of recall, which will leave me no chance of going to England for some months. I have no apprehensions of being ordered to Jamaica; but, if I should, I hope none of my friends will suffer uneasiness on my account. My chief dislike to the station would be its prolonging my absence from home, as, in other respects, I would as soon be there as in any other station whilst I remain employed.

I am well pleased with the motto ("In Deo spero") you have substituted. It is the one I had fixed upon before; but wishing to have reference to the action made me adopt the other, though not without much consideration, as I allow it appeared as if I no longer had thattrust[Pg 58] which I hope will never forsake me in any event through life.

On the 21st of January Sir James detached the Warrior, Defence, Bellona, and Zealous, of 74 guns each, to follow the French squadron to the West Indies. These ships were placed under the command of Captain Tyler, of the Warrior, who was senior officer, and had directions to proceed to Jamaica and join Sir John Duckworth, the then commander-in-chief on that station: at the same time the Phaeton, Captain Morris, was despatched to England with the intelligence of the above circumstances. The Leda, Captain Hope, had been sent to Cadiz to receive for safety the specie belonging to the merchants, and to obtain information respecting the movements of the ships in that harbour. It was then ascertained that the French ship Duquesne, of 80 guns, had arrived there in distress, having parted from a convoy bound to St. Domingo. She was accompanied by a French frigate; and, both having troops on board, no doubt could be entertained of their destination, as well as that of the squadron under Rear-admiral Gantheaume. Several transports and troop-ships arrived from Malta and Egypt, having on board part of the army employed on the reduction of Alexandria, and were despatched to England.

An unexpected event now plunged the garrison of Gibraltar into deep affliction. The gallant[Pg 59] and highly-respected governor was seized with a malignant illness, which terminated his life in five days. With this mournful intelligence Sir James despatched the Penelope frigate to England, and another frigate to Lord Keith, at Malta. The following is a copy of his letter to Mr. Nepean on that occasion:


I request you will be pleased to inform my Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty that I have thought it necessary to despatch the Penelope to England, in order that the King's ministers may be apprised as speedily as possible of the loss his Majesty's service has sustained in the death of Governor O'Hara, who departed this life early this morning. I cannot on this occasion refrain from expressing my deep concern at the loss of an officer from whom the naval service in particular has always experienced the utmost attention.

I am, sir,
Your obedient humble servant,

James Saumarez.

General Burnet succeeded, pro tempore, to the command of the garrison; and Captain Gaskill, the late governor's aide-de-camp, was the bearer of the despatches to Government. It was about this time that the 54th regiment, commanded by Colonel Ross, arrived from Egypt to relieve the Cambrian Rangers, part of which went home in the Penelope, and the remainder in the Dido, troop-ship.[Pg 60]

The colours were hoisted half-mast on board all the ships until the 3rd of March, when General O'Hara's funeral took place; on which occasion the boats of the squadron, joined by those of the foreign men-of-war, rowed in procession to the Ragged Staff, while minute-guns were fired by the flag-ship and the garrison. The solemnity of this scene could not but be rendered more impressive by the recollection of the investiture of Sir James with the Order of the Bath, in which the venerable and gallant general had performed so distinguished a part only a short time before.

This event was followed by one of the same mournful description, namely, the death of Admiral Brenton, father to the gallant captain of the Cæsar, a venerable and highly-respected officer. As family affairs required Captain Brenton's presence in England, he exchanged with Captain Downman, of the Dorothea, by mutual consent, and with permission from the Admiral. This exchange accordingly took place on the 17th March 1802, when Captain Downman joined the Cæsar.

On the 22nd of March Sir James received orders from Lord Keith to proceed with the Cæsar to Minorca, for the purpose of superintending the various duties that might become necessary on the evacuation of that island; but as the order was grounded on a report which had reached his[Pg 61] lordship from Toulon and Marseilles that the definitive treaty of peace was signed, which proved to be premature, Sir James postponed his departure until more authentic information should arrive, and he acquainted the Lords of the Admiralty of this circumstance by a letter to the secretary, dated on the following day. Lord Keith himself, however, arrived in the Foudroyant, from Malta, on the 26th of March, and, being in expectation of orders to proceed to England, he did not interfere with the duty of the squadron.

On the 24th of April, there being no doubt that Minorca would soon be given up to Spain, Sir James received the following orders from Lord Keith, appointing him to conduct that service:

By the Right Hon. Lord Keith, &c.

Whereas orders may be immediately expected for the evacuation of the island of Minorca, and as I think it indispensable that that service should be conducted by an officer of rank, ability, and experience, you are hereby required and directed to proceed thither in his Majesty's ship the Cæsar, to be in readiness to take upon you the charge and execution of that duty, following such directions in that behalf as I have already forwarded to the senior officer there, copies of the most material of which are herewith enclosed, and such other instructions as you may hereafter receive from me; communicating with me or with Rear-admiral Sir Richard Bickerton, at Malta, on all occasions[Pg 62] when the necessity of the service on which you are employed may so require.—Given on board the Foudroyant, Gibraltar, 24th April 1802.

The following is a copy of the orders alluded to:

In the event of orders being received by you over land, or the arrival of instructions by sea which may not have reached me, for the evacuation of the island of Minorca, you are hereby specially instructed to carry them into effect in the manner most consistent with the directions which you shall receive. You will enter into immediate communication with the officer commanding his Majesty's land forces, and co-operate with him on all necessary occasions for carrying the evacuation into effect; and you will furnish to him, and to other officers of rank and their families, the best accommodation of which the disposable room in the ships will admit. In such case it will be incumbent on you to obtain, without a moment's loss of time, an exact estimate of the tonnage that will be required as well for the embarkation of the troops as of the stores, &c.

The above will be sufficient to show the arduous duty Sir James had to perform. The number of troops to be embarked at Minorca was 5,247; at Malta, 6,529; at Elba, 418; and at Egypt, 4,631; in all, 16,845. These were destined partly to England, and partly to Ireland; to transport which, men-of-war and merchant-ships were collected from all quarters.

On the same day Sir James received from Lord Keith a copy of a letter from the secretary of the Admiralty, dated 1st April 1802:[Pg 63]

I transmit to your lordship herewith, by command of my Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty, for your information, a Gazette Extraordinary, containing an account of the signature of the definitive treaty of peace at Amiens, on the 27th of last month, by the Plenipotentiary of his Majesty, and the Plenipotentiaries of France, and Spain, and the Batavian Republic. If no unforeseen event should happen, their lordships think it probable that the ratification will be exchanged in the course of three weeks from this time; but, whenever it shall take place, the earliest notice thereof shall be given to your lordship, &c.

The same despatch brought information that his Royal Highness the Duke of Kent (father of her present most excellent Majesty) had been appointed governor of Gibraltar; and, in consequence, the following orders were issued by Lord Keith:

Foudroyant, Gibraltar, 28th April 1802.

General Memorandum.

When his Royal Highness the Duke of Kent, who is expected at Gibraltar, arrives in this bay, the flag-officers and captains then at the anchorage are to attend in their boats with their flags and pendants hoisted, and to row in succession, the flag-officer or officers following the commander-in-chief, and the captains next, two by two, according to seniority; and, as soon as his Royal Highness shall have landed, the officers are at liberty to return to their ships.

When the royal standard is hoisted in the boat in which the Prince is to land, the ship he came in is to fire twenty-one guns; and, as the boat passes the flag-ship, twenty-one guns shall be fired from all the ships commanded by post-captains,[Pg 64] beginning when the Foudroyant shall have fired her second gun; the guards to be turned out, and the drums to beat a march, but the ships' yards are not to be manned.—By order of the commander-in-chief.

We need scarcely add that his Royal Highness was received with every mark of respect due to his illustrious name, and to the high situation in which he had been placed.

The Cæsar sailed from Gibraltar about the 1st of May, and on the 6th arrived at Mahon. When Sir James entered upon his important mission, he communicated immediately with General Clephane on the subject of the evacuation of the island of Minorca; and measures were taken for the embarkation of the troops and stores as soon as the ratification of the treaty of peace arrived, which took place on the 17th of May. Sir James at the same time received the welcome information that he was, with the Cæsar, to carry the last division to England. It was determined to send the Dreadnought and Généreux with the first division of transports, consisting of ten sail, in which were the 79th regiment and ordnance-stores, under command of Captain Cornwall Berkeley, of the Généreux. These were to proceed to Gibraltar; but the Dreadnought, Captain Vashon, had orders to proceed direct to England with the second battalion of the 40th regiment, which was embarked in that ship at the same time the troops at Porto Ferrajo and Elba sailed[Pg 65] on the 2nd of June. Some of the transports having returned from Gibraltar, the embarkation continued, and the island was finally given up on the 16th June. The orders given on this occasion, will be perused with interest.

Copy of articles agreed upon between Rear-admiral Sir James Saumarez and General Clephane, for the evacuation of the island of Minorca, and for delivering it to the authorities of his Catholic Majesty the King of Spain.

Rear-admiral Sir James Saumarez, Bart, and K.B., Commanding his Britannic Majesty's squadron in the port of Mahon, and Major-general William Douglas Maclean Clephane, commanding the troops upon the island of Minorca, being duly authorised on the part of his Britannic Majesty by his royal sign manual, and Don Juan Miguel de Nines y Felia, &c. having communicated his power and authority to receive the same, have agreed to the following arrangements, viz.

1st. Brigadier-general Moncreiffe is appointed to arrange with his Excellency the Captain-general, &c. &c. the speediest time for admitting his Catholic Majesty's troops by the gate at Ciudadela, and the troops of his Britannic Majesty will evacuate at the same time by the gate of Mahon.

2nd. On the following day Major-general Clephane will be ready to receive his Excellency the Captain-general upon the glacis of Fort George, and deliver the keys thereof in due form; immediately after which the British troops will embark.

3rd. The fort of Fornells, and the towers on the coast, will be given up in due time to the engineer, Don Raman.[Pg 66]

4th. Captain Framingham, Royal Artillery, will deliver up the ordnance and the ammunition found on the island at the time of the capture thereof as nearly as possible, and now collected at the following places, viz. Fornells, Buffera, Adaya, and Fort George.

5th. The royal arsenal shall be given up in its present state. Two line-of-battle ships' lower-masts and bowsprits, British property, will be left in store until means be furnished by the British Government to remove them.

6th. The papers found in the secretary's office will be restored.

7th. The revenues of the island are to belong to his Catholic Majesty from the 23rd day of May last, that being the day appointed by the definitive treaty for the cession of the island. In consequence of the judge and other civil officers having been employed by the British Government, their salaries have been paid up to the 17th June.

Signed and sealed at Mahon, the 14th day of June
one thousand eight hundred and two.

James Saumarez.

Cæsar, off Port Mahon, 16th June 1802.


I beg to acquaint you, for the information of my Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty, that the island of Minorca has been this day given up to the Spanish Government; and Major-general Clephane, with the last division of troops, embarked immediately after having put them in possession of Fort George. I shall proceed with all despatch to Gibraltar with his Majesty's ship Cæsar, and the Pomone, and Port Mahon brig; and have detached the Camelion to Barcelona, to land Major-general Clephane's and my despatches.

I have detached to the island of Malta 3,250 tonnage of[Pg 67] transports not required for the services of this island; and I have given directions to Captain Bowen, of his Majesty's troop-ship Alligator, to remain in Mahon harbour ten days from the time of the embarkation, and then proceed for Malta, and follow the orders of Rear-admiral Sir Richard Bickerton.

I herewith have the honour to enclose, for their lordships' information, a copy of the articles agreed upon with his Excellency Don Juan Miguel de Nines y Felia, the Spanish Captain-general; and I have the satisfaction to observe that the utmost good order and harmony has prevailed between the forces of our respective nations.

I have the further satisfaction to inform their lordships that, during the arduous service of embarking the numerous stores from Minorca, in which the seamen of the ships of war and transports have borne a considerable share, there has not been the smallest cause of complaint of any irregularity whatever having been committed.

Enclosed is a return of troop-ships and transports destined for Ireland, which embarked the last division of troops.

Major-general Clephane takes his passage to England on board the Pomone. I have to express my acknowledgments to that officer for the alacrity with which the embarkation of the various stores from the different ports of the island has been effected.

I am, sir,
Your most obedient humble servant,

James Saumarez.

To Evan Nepean, Esq.

By the Right Honourable Lord Keith, K.B. Admiral of the Blue, and Commander-in-chief.

Whereas I have obtained permission from the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty to return to England, and[Pg 68] have been authorised by their lordships to leave such directions for the governance of the station till their further commands are ascertained as I shall judge fit and proper for the execution of the Board; you are hereby required and directed, after my departure, to regulate the service in this bay, and pay attention to the instructions that follow, viz.—You will, on all proper and necessary occasions, communicate with his Royal Highness the Duke of Kent, governor of this garrison, and in particular yield all the accommodation of which ships passing from Minorca or Elba can admit for the reception of parties of the 5th regiment of foot, which are ordered to return to Britain from hence.

When the Acasta returns from Malta, she is not to be detained, the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty having expressly directed her return; and, as she will be able to accommodate a considerable number of men, I recommend that she receive part of the 5th regiment; and also; the Diane and Carriere, if they arrive here, and that you forthwith direct them to proceed.

Captain Dundas, of the Solebay, has my orders to repair to Lisbon to receive for Britain part of the troops who are there; and the accompanying order, addressed to Captain Hope, directs him to proceed with the Leda on the same; service. Captain Beanes, of the Determinée, and Captain Provost, of the Bonne Citoyenne, are instructed to proceed to Britain forthwith.

You will order the Milbrook to Lisbon with the letters from hence by the next Levant wind, and from thence to Spithead. The Pigmy will return to you with the first English mail that arrives in the Tagus.

You will inform yourself, from the officers of the yard, of the quantity and species of stores that they may be desirous of sending home; and direct them to be embarked[Pg 69] in his Majesty's ships and transports that are returning, in such proportions as can be conveniently received.

You will allow no ships to sail for Great Britain with more than six weeks' provision on board, till the agent victuallers shall be provided with a sufficient supply for the ships that remain here.

All transports, victuallers, and other vessels arriving here on the public account, are to be cleared with the greatest despatch; and, if any unnecessary delay appears on the master's part, you will cause protest to be made, and acquaint the transport board thereof.

As it is probable that Rear-admiral Sir Richard Bickerton may send down troop-ships to this place for the removal of the 5th regiment of foot, and as some part of the regiment is already embarked, and more of them may be forwarded by other opportunities, of which you may be able to avail yourself; it is my direction that such troop-ships, when they arrive, as they are not wanted for the conveyance of the 5th regiment, may be either returned to Malta or sent to Lisbon for the embarkation of troops under the command of Lieutenant-general Fraser, as existing circumstances may recommend as the most needful to be done. You will take care that no ships pass without having as many men as they can receive; and you will have the means of completing them by separate embarkations of the regiment above-mentioned, observing that the destination is the same; and, for your better guidance in this particular, I enclose herewith a state of the troop-ships, with the freights and the destinations appointed for them.

Till special orders are received from the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty, the ships and vessels, as per list enclosed, are to remain upon the service of the station; and if any of them arrive with contrary instructions from Rear-admiral Sir Richard Bickerton, or Sir James Saumarez,[Pg 70] before that was known, you are to retain them here accordingly.

You will open all public despatches which may be addressed to me, and carry them, as far as depends upon you, into effect at this place. Such as are addressed to Rear-admiral Sir Richard Bickerton you will forward to him at Malta. Maintain a correspondence with him, as the officer charged with the chief command on the station, by all convenient opportunities, and follow such orders and directions as you may receive from him.

Given on board the Foudroyant,
Gibraltar, 15th June, 1802,


Sir Jas. Saumarez, Bart, and K.B.
Rear-admiral of the Blue;
and, in his absence,
To John Aylmes, Esq. Captain of H.M.S. Dragon.

List of ships to remain on the station till further orders:

Kent, Hector, Diana, Greyhound, Camelion,
Dragon, Anson, Narcissus, Victorieuse, Weazle,
Superb, Medusa, Thames, Cynthia, Delight,
Triumph, Active, Maidstone, Port Mahon, Vincego.

N.B. Such others as may arrive here with troops may be sent to the destinations of the regiments.


No duty on which Sir James was ever employed was executed with more address, or more completely to the general satisfaction. The honour of the British flag was maintained in a manner which could not be questioned, being borne away mounted on a cannon, on which it was embarked without the necessity of striking it, when the keys of the fortress were delivered[Pg 71] to the Spanish commander-in-chief, while the Spanish standard was hoisted at the flag-staff. The greatest decorum was preserved on both sides.

The Cæsar left Mahon on the 17th June, with the last division of the troops, and arrived at Gibraltar on the 24th, when Sir James found that Lord Keith had already sailed, leaving orders for him to follow to England with the last division, which consisted of three sail of the line and six troop-ships.

After exchanging complimentary letters with his Excellency the Captain-general and Governor of Andalusia, Sir James took leave of his Royal Highness the Governor of Gibraltar. He sailed on the 30th of June, anchored at Spithead on the 23rd of July 1802, and reported in the usual manner the arrival of the Cæsar to the Admiralty.

[Pg 72]



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.

Hostilities with France were about to be resumed early in the year 1803, and Sir James was called into active service. On the 11th of March he hoisted his flag at Sheerness, on board the Zealand, in order to expedite the preparations that were going on in the Medway. Soon after this, the Zealand went to the Nore. She was at that time commanded by Captain, afterwards Admiral, William Mitchell, an officer who had risen to the rank of Rear-admiral by his good conduct, after having been flogged through the fleet for desertion.

The great preparations now making at St. Maloes rendered it probable that the intention of Bonaparte[Pg 73] was to attack the Channel Islands; Sir James was therefore appointed to the command at Guernsey, and, proceeding from the Nore in the Kite brig, he fell in with the Grampus, which was destined, pro tempore, for his flag. Both ships arrived at St. Pierre's roads on the 19th of May. Here the Admiral's squadron consisted of six frigates, and six brigs and cutters, which were chiefly employed in blockading the adjacent coast, and in preventing the concentration of the enemy's force at St. Maloes and Granville, the two principal places whence it appeared an attack would be made.

The Grampus was commanded by Captain Thomas Gordon Caulfield, who had notions of discipline peculiar to himself, with which Sir James, who lived on shore with his family, did not interfere. The following anecdote will serve to show that these deviations from the laws and customs of the navy are seldom attended with success.

It was Captain Caulfield's positive instructions that no boatswain's mate, or other petty officer, should carry a cane, the usual emblem of their authority; and that he would not punish any man unless convicted by the testimony of two witnesses, while the man himself might bring others to contradict the assertion of the officer making the complaint: in short, that the single testimony of an officer could not be taken without a majority of[Pg 74] evidence in its support. The ship had just been manned by impressed seamen, and her complement was completed from the prisons: it may therefore be supposed, that these regulations were not calculated to bring the ship speedily into a state of discipline. It must be remembered that the captain had not the power of administering an oath, and, when a complaint was made, men were soon found who would come forward, and prove, according to this system, that the accusation was groundless; and thus the culprit always escaped. The ship accordingly fell into a complete state of insubordination.

On one occasion a man was brought up on the quarter-deck in a state of intoxication, when the captain, as if he could not believe his own eyes, thought it necessary to call two of the officers as witnesses. The man was put into confinement; and next morning, at eight, he was brought up to be punished at the gangway. The offender being tied up, and the article of war under which he had fallen being read, the captain took the opportunity of assuring his assembled crew, that when legally convicted they were sure of punishment; but that no man should be struck.

At this moment the sentinel on the forecastle called out that "a prize was driving towards the ship." The danger of collision was the more imminent, inasmuch as a heavy gale was blowing at the time. The master, who sprang forward,[Pg 75] called aloud, "Veer away the small bower-cable, or she will be on board of us!" The pause which had been made in the captain's speech was broken by orders from him to veer away the cable quickly. "Down, my lads, veer away!" was repeated by every officer; but the men, not aware of the fatal consequence, and knowing that they could not, after what the captain said, be started, moved very leisurely to perform the duty, which, to save the ship, it was absolutely necessary should be done with the utmost alacrity. Meanwhile, Captain Caulfield, looking over the back of the culprit, and viewing the supineness of the men, who were totally regardless of his repeated injunctions to veer the cable quickly, began to be indignant; and when the master repeated, "If you do not veer away at once, we shall lose the bowsprit and all the masts," he called to the officers in the waist "to start the rascals down to the cable:" but, as it may be supposed, their unarmed endeavours would not have been successful, had he not, as the crisis approached, jumped down himself among the men, and, with the end of the thickest rope he could find, become the transgressor of his own laws, of the absurdity of which he was now so fully convinced, that he acknowledged he was wrong, and completely reversed his system.

No ship ever had a more narrow escape of being wrecked; the prize drifted so close to the Grampus as to carry away her spritsail yard, and, drifting[Pg 76] on the rocks, about three cables' length astern, was totally lost, and every man perished, among whom were a midshipman and four of the Grampus's crew. Had the prize, which was a large Dutch ship, came athwart-hawse of the Grampus, both, instead of one, would have been wrecked. No alternative was therefore left to Captain Caulfield but the rope's end, which he employed in violation of his own rules of discipline.

Sir James was extremely averse to innovations of this kind, and he took occasion to point out the propriety of officers being supported in the execution of their duty, and the danger of interfering with the excellent laws enacted for the government of the navy.

In the Grampus, Sir James visited the island of Jersey, and, after cruising to examine the coast of France adjacent to the islands, he returned to Guernsey; soon after which, the Grampus, being a new ship, was selected to convoy the East India fleet, and was relieved by the Diomede of fifty guns, Captain Thomas Larcom, on board which ship the flag was shifted, on the 19th of June, 1803.

As the summer advanced, the preparations of the enemy became more formidable, and the island was minutely examined by Sir James. The following anecdote may serve to prove how much officers may be mistaken as to the natural defences of a sea-coast.[Pg 77]

Some differences of opinion having arisen respecting the possibility of the enemy landing on the south side of Guernsey, where the land is high, it was proposed to put the question to the test by actual experiment. Sir James, and the Governor (Sir John Doyle), accordingly proceeded to the spot with the boats of the squadron. On arriving at the alleged inaccessible position, Sir James proposed that the seamen should be landed, and ordered to ascend what appeared to be a precipice; when, to the astonishment of the General, the whole body of men mounted to the top with apparent ease: it was consequently found advisable to fortify that, as well as other points which had been before deemed unnecessary.

About this time (3rd of July) the Minerve, Captain Brenton, one of Sir James's squadron, stationed off Cherbourgh, got aground in a fog, from a mistake of the pilot, and, after a gallant resistance, was taken by the enemy. The account of this unfortunate circumstance is so fully detailed in Captain E.P. Brenton's work, that it need only be mentioned here as having given great concern to the Admiral, who had the highest regard for his former companion in arms.

A considerable flotilla of armed vessels, destined for the invasion either of the Channel Islands or of England, had assembled at Granville; and Sir James, having shifted his flag from the Diomede to the Cerberus of thirty-two guns, Captain W.[Pg 78] Selby, sailed with a small squadron, consisting of the Charwell, eighteen, Captain Phil. Dumaresq; the Kite, eighteen, Captain Philip Pipon; the Terror and Sulphur bombs, Captains McLeod and Hardinge; Esling, Lieutenant Archbold; and Carteret, Lieutenant Burgess.

On the 14th September, the frigate having anchored as near as the tide would admit, and the other ships taking their stations, the bombardment began on the harbour of Granville, and lasted from eleven till five in the afternoon. On the 15th another attack of the same kind was made with more effect, as will be seen by the following official letter to the Secretary of the Admiralty, dated

Cerberus, off Granville, 15th Sept. 1803.

I beg you will be pleased to inform my Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty, that, having been joined by the Terror bomb on the 8th instant, and the Sulphur on the 12th, I embarked on board the Cerberus, and sailed from Guernsey roads the following morning, with the Charwell and Carteret cutters in company.

It blowing a strong breeze from the eastward, it was not until Tuesday evening I was enabled to get off Granville; when, having had an opportunity to reconnoitre the enemy's gun-vessels and other craft within the pier, and the different batteries by which they were protected, I anchored the Cerberus as near the shore as the tide would admit, having only sixteen feet at low-water. At eleven, the Terror came up, but, having grounded, it was not until two o'clock that Captain Hardinge was able to place his ship in the position assigned; this he now did in a most judicious manner,[Pg 79] and opened a brisk fire from his two mortars; which was returned from the mortar and gun-batteries on the heights near the town, and also from some guns on the pier, and the gun-vessels placed in the entrance.

From the number of well-directed shells thrown from the Terror into the pier and parts of the town, I am persuaded they must have done very considerable damage. The fire was kept up till after five o'clock, when I thought it advisable to recall the Terror, and anchored with this ship and the Charwell a short distance from the town. The Sulphur bomb, whose bad sailing prevented her from beating up, joined shortly after, and also anchored. The loss on this occasion was two men wounded by splinters on board the Terror.

A few shells were thrown in the evening, but the tide prevented the ship getting sufficiently near to be attended with much effect.

This morning the squadron was under sail before dawn of day, and all circumstances concurred to enable them to take their respective stations with the utmost precision. The two mortar-vessels opened a brisk and well-directed fire soon after five o'clock; which was unremittingly kept up till half-past ten, when the falling tide rendered it necessary to withdraw from the attack. Twenty-two gun-vessels, that had hauled out of the pier, drew up a regular line, and kept up a heavy fire, jointly with the batteries around the port, without doing much execution.

The Cerberus, after getting under sail, grounded on one of the sand-banks, and remained about three hours, before she floated: nine of the gun-boats, perceiving her situation, endeavoured to annoy her, and kept up a heavy fire upon her for some time; but were silenced by the Charwell and Kite, and also by the fire of the Sulphur and Terror bombs, and by the carronade launch of the Cerberus, under the orders[Pg 80] of Lieutenant Mansell, assisted by the Eling and Carteret, which obliged them to take shelter in their port.

In the performance of this intricate service, I cannot too highly applaud the zeal and persevering exertions of all the officers and men under my orders; and I should not do justice to the merits of Captain Selby, were I not to acknowledge the able assistance I have received from him since I had the honour of being in his ship: the steadiness and good conduct of all the officers and men in the Cerberus, during the time the ship was aground, do them infinite credit. The various services in which Capt. McLeod of the Sulphur, and Hardinge of the Terror, have been employed this war, are already sufficiently known: but I will venture to assert, that in no instance can they have displayed greater zeal and gallantry than on the present occasion. Great praise is due to Lieutenants Macartney and Smith, and the parties of artillery embarked on board the respective bomb-vessels.

It is not possible to ascertain the damages the enemy has sustained; but, as a very few of the shells missed taking effect, they must have been very considerable.

Jas. Saumarez.

During the period the Cerberus was aground the tide fell six feet, and at one time she was in the greatest danger of upsetting; the topmasts were immediately struck, and the vessel shored up by the lower yards and spare spars. While heeling over more than forty-five degrees, the bottom of the ship was exposed to the shot of the enemy, and was struck in several places. Sir James himself had a very narrow escape from a shot, which grazed his legs as he was standing on the gangway[Pg 81] with the purser and the secretary, whose dismay and quick retreat from so dangerous a situation only produced a smile from the Admiral, who would not listen to proposals subsequently made to him for quitting the Cerberus while in that situation. The coolness with which he gave his orders, and his presence of mind on this trying occasion, tended materially to save the ship, by exciting the officers and men to exert themselves; while the most perfect order was maintained under circumstances which often cause disorder and confusion.

The Cerberus received no material damage in the bottom from being aground: she was soon repaired, and returned with the squadron to Guernsey on the 17th, when the flag was again hoisted in the Diomede.

We subsequently learned that the flotilla at Granville was so much damaged as to delay its arrival at Boulogne, which was its ultimate destination, until a late period of the year; and that many of the vessels were lost in and near the Race of Alderney, on their passage, by a storm in which they were overtaken.

The following is extracted from a letter which Sir James wrote to his brother, describing this action:

Cerberus, off Granville, 15th Sept. 1803.

You will be glad to find that, thanks to Providence, the business of Granville has gone off as well as possible, although we have not succeeded in entirely destroying the[Pg 82] enemy's gun-vessels. I have to regret that, in the execution of my orders, many of the harmless inhabitants of the town, and their dwellings, must have suffered very considerably; having bombarded it nearly four hours on Wednesday, and six hours this morning, with scarcely any intermission.[3] This ship (the Cerberus) was for three hours on shore, and the tide left her six feet less than she drew. She was at the same time assailed by some of the enemy's gun-boats, but without great mischief. A shot was very nearly taking off both Mr. Champion and myself: how our legs escaped is inconceivable, having come through the part of the quarter-deck close to which we were standing.

Our friends Dumaresq and Pipon were in company, the former having joined early this morning. I am quite exhausted with fatigue, having had no rest since I left the island. Lady S. was unapprised of what was going forward, as well as yourself; but you must approve of the motives which urged me to conceal it from you. I am on my return to the island, which I hope to reach to-morrow evening.

The blockade of the French coast between Havre-de-Grace and Ushant, which was intrusted to Sir James, was kept up with rigour; and the Channel islands put into such a state of defence, as to defy all the projects of the enemy. In the performance of this service, the Admiral had to regret the loss of the Shannon, which was wrecked[Pg 83] on the 10th December in a gale, under the batteries of Cape La Hogue; and of the Grappler, which was lost on the 31st, at the Isles de Choisey: the crews of both these vessels were saved, but made prisoners.

The Diomede was sent to refit at Portsmouth; and, at the end of 1803, Sir James's flag was flying on board the Cerberus, while he lived at his own residence on shore with his family, carrying on the duty as a port-admiral.

[Pg 84]


1804 to 1806.

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.

The year 1804 is remarkable in the annals of the empire for the extraordinary exertions made by the First Consul of France to collect a powerful flotilla at the ports between Flushing, Cherbourg, and Boulogne, with the avowed intention of invading England. The vessels so collected were intended to convey the "Army of England," as it was called by Bonaparte, across the channel. We have already mentioned the fate of the Granville flotilla, after the attack made on it by Sir James. Early in this year it was discovered that one of the vessels belonging to it, a brig of 200 tons, had been driven on shore in the Bay of Dillette, adjacent to Alderney; that the enemy had succeeded in drawing her up to repair, and that she was nearly ready for launching. The commander of the Carteret cutter, who first discovered this, having represented it to Captain[Pg 85] Bennet of the Tribune, (senior officer of the detachment which Sir James had placed off Cherbourg,) proposed to take advantage of the first nocturnal spring-tide, either to launch her, if ready, or to destroy her. The Carteret was accordingly reinforced by two midshipmen and ten men from the Tribune; a landing was effected, and the guard defeated: but the brig was found to have a plank out on each side of the keel, and she was therefore destroyed. This service was performed with the loss of one of the Carteret's men, Mr. Parker (a midshipman), and two men of the Tribune; while the enemy's loss was five killed and ten prisoners, who were afterwards released.[4]

The Diomede, of fifty guns, having been refitted at Portsmouth, returned to take Sir James's flag. Her former commander, Captain Thomas Larcom, died at Portsmouth; and Captain Hugh Downman, who had succeeded Captain Brenton in the Cæsar, was, at Sir James's request, appointed his flag-captain. The Cerberus was sent to refit at Portsmouth, and on her way thither she captured a gun-boat.

During the years 1804 and 1805 the following vessels were taken and destroyed by the squadron:[Pg 86]

31st January.—The Hydra and Tribune captured four gun-boats.

17th March.—The Loire captured the Brave of St. Maloes, of sixteen guns and 110 men.

18th March.—The Tartar lugger captured the Jeune Henri, twelve, and 64 men.

—— April.—The Sylph destroyed several gun-vessels in the Race of Alderney, in which she had one man killed and two wounded.

The Hydra captured a privateer off Cherbourg.

On the 9th October, the Albicore, Captain Henniker, destroyed five French gun-vessels near Grosnez de Flamanville, without any loss in men, although considerably damaged in the rigging and hull.

In the course of this eventful year, Sir James kept up a constant correspondence with his friend Lord Nelson, whose glorious career was now near its close. Availing himself of the opportunity of a vessel from Guernsey bound to Gibraltar, he sent his lordship a supply of wines and other good things which that fertile island produces, together with newspapers, &c. These reached the Victory only a few days before the memorable battle of Trafalgar; and Lord Nelson's answer, which we here transcribe, was dated only three days before the action, and is probably the last but one ever written by him.

Victory, off Cadiz, Oct. 18th, 1805.

My dear Sir James,

You may rely upon it that, when I can, I will remove Lieutenant Fisher of the R.M. into a frigate; at present, I[Pg 87] fear the frigates are full, and the line-of-battle ships empty: but in whatever manner, my dear Sir James, I may be able to meet your wishes, I desire you will let me know. Our friends at Cadiz are ready to come forth, and I hope they will not again escape me: the career of the Rochfort squadron, I think, has been several days stopped by Sir Richard Strachan, but I wish his force had been more equal to the contest. I have to thank you for your great attention about my wine, and for recommending me some excellent champagne. I beg my most respectful compliments to Lady Saumarez; and, believe me ever, my dear Sir James, your most faithful and obliged friend,

Nelson & Bronte.

To Sir James Saumarez, Bart. & K.B.

Since writing my letter, I have to thank you for your packet of newspapers and your letter of October 1st; nothing could possibly be more acceptable. I hope we shall see Bonaparte humbled. The Guernsey vessel has made a very valuable recapture of a vessel loaded with cloths, bound to Lisbon.

Your's faithfully,

Nelson & Bronte.

The above was probably finished on the 19th, the day on which the Penelope frigate left the fleet with despatches for England,—the last his lordship ever sent.

During the year 1805 Sir James continued in the command at Guernsey, having his flag in the Diomede, and occasionally on board a frigate in her absence. The preparations of the French for invasion, which were continued with unremitting[Pg 88] vigour, made this station of more importance than it would otherwise have been. Spain, having declared war early in January, joined Napoleon in the grand object of invading England; and it was calculated, including the Dutch fleet, that the united force, which could be ready in the month of April, would amount to seventy-five sail of the line, fifty frigates, and 2,300 smaller vessels; and that the invading army would consist of 200,000 men.

It was evident that, without a junction of all his naval forces in the British Channel, Napoleon had no chance of being able to make a descent on the adjacent coast; and, to effect this, it was necessary to draw off a part of our blockading fleets. With this view the Toulon fleet went to the West Indies, whither it was pursued by Nelson; and, after an action with the squadron under Sir Robert Calder, it entered the port of Cadiz. The effectual blockade of that port and of Brest, together with the interruptions his flotilla met with in its progress towards Boulogne, defeated Napoleon's plans; and the Channel islands, which were now in a complete state of defence, continued unmolested. The only losses on this station were the capture of two gun-brigs, after a very gallant defence, by a flotilla of very superior force, off Granville; and the Pigmy cutter, which was wrecked near Jersey.

The memorable battle of Trafalgar at once put[Pg 89] an end to all the speculations of the ruler of France. The projected invasion was now impossible; and, consequently, the force which had been requisite for the station Sir James occupied, was no longer necessary. The Diomede, of fifty guns, and several other vessels, were withdrawn, and Sir James shifted his flag to the Inconstant. The year 1805 terminated without any other remarkable occurrence.

During the year 1806 the enemy's convoys were proceeding in a westerly direction; the victualling the French fleet at Brest, which had considerably increased, being the principal object, the squadron under Sir James was actively employed in intercepting these convoys. On the 9th of September the Constance, Captain Burrowes, fell in with Le Salamandre, French frigate store-ship, of twenty-six guns; and, assisted by the Strenuous and Sharpshooter, drove her on shore under a battery; and, believing her destroyed, returned to Jersey. It was, however, ascertained that she was floated off; and, returning to St. Maloes, repaired her damages. On the 12th of October, when again attempting to make her passage, she was attacked by the Constance, Sheldrake, and Strenuous, and having taken shelter under the fort of Equi, in the Bay of Brehat, the engagement, in which the gallant Captain Burrowes was killed, became severe. Le Salamandre, after running on shore, was compelled to strike, and was taken: but the wind[Pg 90] began to blow hard directly on the land; the Constance parted her cables, which had been damaged by the shot from the batteries, and drove on shore. It became therefore necessary, after taking out the men, to burn both the Constance and the prize. In this affair ten men were killed, and twenty-three wounded, exclusive of thirty-six men made prisoners in the unsuccessful attempt to save the Constance. The captain (M. Saloman) of the Salamandre and twenty-nine men were killed; but of the wounded there is no account, excepting of nine, who were among the prisoners taken on board the Sheldrake. Captain Thicknesse, of that sloop, was made post-captain on this occasion.

Nothing else worthy remark, connected with the subject of this memoir, happened during the year 1806: and Sir James had now enjoyed the society of his family and friends at his native island for three years; during which time his mind was not only actively employed in the performance of his duty as commander-in-chief on this important station, and in rendering his native island more capable of defence, but also in the establishment and support of its charitable institutions.

[Pg 91]



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.

Early in the year 1807 Sir James was called into more active service. The enemy's fleet at Brest had again become formidable. Earl St. Vincent was appointed to command the Channel fleet, and immediately applied for Sir James to be second in command. To make him eligible for this, he was promoted to the rank of Vice-admiral; and on the 7th of January he received orders to hoist his flag, blue at the fore, on board the San Josef, of 112 guns. As the noble Earl was unable from ill health to keep the sea in the Hibernia, his flag-ship, the whole responsibility fell on Sir James.

The San Josef, one of the finest ships in the navy, had been taken in the battle of the 14th[Pg 92] of February 1797; and, having since that period been almost constantly employed, was in need of a thorough repair. In February she became so leaky, that Sir James was obliged to shift his flag into the Prince of Wales, Captain Bedford, and send the San Josef into Plymouth to be repaired; and, it being ascertained that it would take more than a year before she could be ready, the officers and men were turned over to the Ville de Paris, which was ordered to fit for his flag.

Sir James's activity in blockading the enemy was unremitting. The fleet consisted of twenty-seven sail of the line, nine of which were three-deckers. It was his custom, every day that the weather permitted, to stand towards the Black Rocks in a line of battle, and off in a line of bearing, always communicating with the in-shore squadron.

On one occasion, while the weather had been thick for several days, the signal was made from the Hibernia for the enemy's fleet to leeward. The English fleet bore up in chase; and, although the Prince of Wales was the worst-sailing ship in the fleet, by carrying a great press of sail she became the headmost. The wind was from the west, and the fleet was standing in for Brest, the French coast being a lee shore. Captain Bedford, who was not so well acquainted with the coast as Sir James, represented the danger that the fleet was[Pg 93] running into, as it was blowing hard at the time; when Sir James replied, "There is good anchorage in Douvarnenez Bay," and continued his course: but it was soon after discovered that the strangers were the Plantagenet and in-shore squadron, and the fleet was still able to weather Ushant.

Captain Bedford, who, like other promoters of a religious feeling on board ship, was liable to be imposed upon by hypocrites, had on board the Prince of Wales a set of individuals among the seamen, who, taking advantage of his desire to encourage piety among the crew, ingratiated themselves so far by their outward manifestations as to induce him to appropriate a convenient berth in the ship, where they might sing psalms and perform other devotional exercises unmolested. This place virtually served as a depôt for the hypocrites, who had for a long time unsuspectedly committed divers acts of depredation. Just before the ship went into port, either to refit or replenish the water and provisions, the secretary's gold watch disappeared, as well as a considerable sum of money; and the complaint being made by him to the Admiral, the latter commanded the captain to call all hands on deck, and make a strict search for the stolen property.

The men being reported on deck by the officer who had charge of the lower decks, Captain Bedford said, "Where shall we begin to search?" to which the lieutenant replied, "My cabin, sir; then[Pg 94] your's; and then the religious berth." This answer drew forth a rebuke for even suspecting these "good Christians," as the captain emphatically called them. The examination was however persisted in: the officers went to the berth, the keys were demanded, and could not be found; but an iron crow-bar was effectually substituted; and the whole of the missing property, besides many other stolen articles, were discovered in the chests of these miscreants, to the surprise and mortification of the worthy Captain Bedford, who did not fail immediately to make his report to the Admiral then on the quarter-deck.

Before punishment of criminals takes place in a flag-ship, it is usual for the captain to carry the particulars to the Admiral. It was the practice of Sir James Saumarez to examine these reports minutely, and convince himself of the necessity of the punishment before giving it his sanction; which was always done with that painful reluctance so natural to his humane disposition. In this instance, however, his feelings of indignation were more than usually roused: he emphatically said, "Captain Bedford, I desire that you will immediately give each of these wretches such a punishment as will effectually put a stop to this unparalleled wickedness."

We need scarcely add that his orders were implicitly obeyed; and such was the indignation of the crew, that there was no necessity for urging the[Pg 95] boatswain's mates to do their duty, while Sir James, who never could witness punishment without extreme pain, retired to his cabin. He did not fail, however, to point out to every one how much the offence of theft had been aggravated by being committed under the cloak of religion, for which no punishment within the limited power of the captain could be too severe.

A change of ministry having taken place, Lord Gardner was appointed to command the Channel fleet; and, as his lordship chose the Ville de Paris for his flag, Captain Conn and the other officers were turned over to the Hibernia: three of Lord St. Vincent's officers were superseded; and Sir James joined his new flag-ship at sea. During the summer, when the wind came from the westward, and blew strong, the fleet bore up for Torbay. On one of these occasions Sir James showed much decision. The captains and officers of the fleet had sent their chronometers on shore to be cleaned and regulated, not expecting that there would be much occasion for them: it happened, however, that the fleet was blown off the coast by a strong north-east wind, which lasted more than a week. During this the ships, by chasing and performing various evolutions, had lost the reckoning, which differed from the true position by the chronometer of the Hibernia, which happened to be the only one in the fleet. After the easterly wind, a heavy westerly gale came on; and before[Pg 96] Ushant could be made, the weather became thick, and the signal was made to bear up for Torbay, and at the same time for the longitude.

Sir James had now to decide: if the reckoning was right, the course by chronometer would have wrecked the fleet in Bigberry Bay; and if the chronometer was right, the course by reckoning would have carried the fleet on the Bill of Portland. Under these circumstances Sir James carefully examined both, and at once decided on following the course by chronometer; and the fleet safely anchored in Torbay in the middle of the night.

Lord Gardner took a house near Brixham, and Sir James continued for some time to carry on the duty as usual; till at length Lord Gardner apprised Sir James that he had applied for his old friend, Sir John Duckworth, to be his second in command: on which Sir James wrote to be superseded; and in August, the same year, he struck his flag, to rehoist it on board the Inconstant at Guernsey. His old flag-ship was during the winter prepared for him, and in February 1808 he proceeded to Guernsey.

During this period, war with Russia broke out. Affairs in the north wore a serious aspect, and it was evident that the Baltic must soon become the seat of war.

Sir James received the following letter from Lord Mulgrave, offering him the command in the East Indies, which was the most lucrative station;[Pg 97] but prize-money was always a secondary consideration with the Admiral. He declined accepting the offer, as will be seen by his answer.

Admiralty, January 23rd, 1808.

My dear Sir,

Sir Edward Pellew having expressed a wish to be relieved from the command in the East Indies, I am desirous (before I think of another arrangement) to learn whether that station would be agreeable to you; in which case I should have great satisfaction in giving you that appointment.

I have the honour to be, with sincere regard and the highest esteem,

Dear sir,
Your most obedient and faithful servant,


To Vice-admiral Sir James Saumarez, K.B. &c.

Guernsey, 30th January 1808.

My dear Lord,

I am honoured with your lordship's private and confidential letter, and I cannot sufficiently express my grateful acknowledgements for the obliging manner in which your lordship has been pleased to propose to me the command in the East Indies, which I should be most happy to profit by, did the state of my health hold out any prospect of my fulfilling so important a trust with satisfaction to myself or to the benefit of my country. I am therefore, though reluctantly, compelled to decline this mark of your lordship's kindness.

I have the honour to be, &c. &c.

James Saumarez.

To Earl Mulgrave.

[Pg 98]



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.

The success of Buonaparte in Austria and Prussia, by which he was enabled to force Denmark to join him against Great Britain, and which, in the preceding year, led to the capture of Copenhagen and to the possession of the Danish fleet, had now induced Russia to accede to the proposal of declaring England to be in a state of blockade: Sweden alone remained faithful. The preparations for invasion which were making at St. Petersburg[Pg 99] having alarmed King Gustavus Adolphus, the most earnest solicitations were made for a large naval and military force to be sent from England for its protection. A fleet was accordingly ordered on that important service, and Sir James Saumarez was selected as the commander-in-chief best qualified to undertake it.

The Victory, which had been thoroughly repaired after the battle of Trafalgar, was commissioned at Chatham early in March, by Captain Philip Dumaresq, for Sir James's flag, which was soon after hoisted: Rear-admirals Sir Samuel Hood, R.G. Keats, M. Dixon, and A. Bertie, were placed under his command. The fleet consisted of sixteen ships of the line; and, including frigates, sloops, and gun-vessels, the number amounted to sixty-two sail.

Admiralty, February 20th, 1808.

Dear Sir,

I am in daily expectation of receiving accurate intelligence of the present state of the naval arsenal at Cronstadt. In the event of this information being as satisfactory as I have reason to hope, it is my intention to send a squadron into the Baltic, consisting of not less than twelve or thirteen sail of the line. If your health should be such as to admit of your taking the command of this fleet, I know of no arrangement which I can make that would be so satisfactory to myself, as to intrust the important service of attempting to destroy the Russian fleet, and of affording protection to his Majesty's firm and faithful ally, the King of Sweden, to your direction. It will not be necessary that you should come immediately to England, (in[Pg 100] the event of your undertaking the command,) as all the necessary preparations may be forwarded beforehand; and your coming immediately over might tend to excite a premature suspicion of the object we have in view. I have not yet opened this project to any officer, but those on whom I have fixed my views to assist you, are Rear-admirals Sir Samuel Hood and Keats, who, besides their great professional merits, have the additional advantage of being well acquainted with the Baltic.

I have the honour to be,
With great truth and regard,
My dear sir,
Your very faithful and obedient servant,


Guernsey, 27th February 1808.

My Lord,

I have had the honour to receive your lordship's private and secret letter of the 20th instant, and I feel most deeply impressed with the very obliging manner in which your lordship has been pleased to offer me the command of the squadron proposed to be sent to the Baltic. Although it is with great diffidence that I undertake a trust of so high and great importance, having ever made it the principle of my life to go upon any service where my exertions for my king and country would be deemed most useful, I cannot for a moment hesitate to comply with the commands of your lordship, and I shall hold myself in readiness to proceed from this station whenever called upon; requesting your lordship will have the goodness to allow me sufficient time to make such arrangements as may be required in London, previous to my going upon the proposed service. The two officers selected to co-operate with me, are possessed of the highest merit; and, of all others, those I[Pg 101] should have been happy to apply for, had they not been previously appointed. I shall be obliged to your lordship to mention the ship intended for my flag, as also such further information as may be judged necessary for me to know, with the probable time that I may be required to go to London; all which shall be held by me in the strictest confidence.

I have the honour to be,
With the highest regard,
My dear lord,
Your faithful and most obedient servant,

James Saumarez.

The ships composing this force proceeded to Gothenburg (the general rendezvous) as they were ready to sail. The Victory arrived in April, and was followed by an expedition consisting of 10,000 troops, commanded by the gallant Sir John Moore, who arrived on the 17th of May.

In the mean time, the body of French and Spanish troops, which, as part of the army of Marshal Bernadotte, had marched to the shores of the Belt, were obliged to halt, in consequence of the interposition of the English fleet; and the Danish 74, Prince Christian Frederick, was taken and destroyed, after a gallant resistance, by the Stately, 64, Captain George Parker, and the Nassau, 64, Captain R. Campbell. On the other hand, the Russians, who had laid siege to Sweaborg, in the Gulf of Finland, which was justly called the Gibraltar of the North, had induced the governor, Admiral Count Cronsted, to sign a capitulation,[Pg 102] that, if not relieved by the 6th of May, which was next to an impossibility, the fortress was to be delivered up, and as a compensation he was to receive an estate of great value in Russia. The reason which has been assigned for this act of treachery was, that, having refused to meet the English fleet under Lord Nelson, he had been superseded in command of the fleet at Carlscrona, and removed to Sweaborg, as a kind of banishment.

This unfortunate event paralyzed the plans of the King of Sweden; and Sir John Moore was sent for to Stockholm. As the King of Sweden would not give permission to land any of the troops which were on board the transports at Gothenburg, excepting a part of the cavalry, their detention was irksome; and the Admiral waited with much anxiety for the return of the General, when he heard of his having been arrested, or, at least, detained by order of the king at Stockholm. In a few days, however, Sir John made his appearance on board the Victory; when it was found that his Swedish Majesty had made several absurd propositions to him, such as an attack on Copenhagen and upon Cronstadt, for which his force was inadequate, especially since the arrival at the former place of several regiments of French and Spanish troops, and at the latter of the flotilla taken at Sweaborg. As Sir John declined to undertake these expeditions, he was ordered to remain[Pg 103] at Stockholm until he had received instructions from England respecting the disposition of his troops. Thus circumstanced, Sir John begged permission to send his aide-de-camp, Col. Graham, (now Lord Lynedoch,) to the Admiral with despatches; which being granted, he changed coats with the aide-de-camp, proceeded to Gothenburg himself, leaving the colonel in his stead, and arrived safely on board the Victory, to the great joy of Sir James, who was no less alarmed for Sir John's safety, than puzzled as to what measures would be most advisable to effect his release from unwarrantable confinement.

The following extract of a letter from Sir James to his brother, written from Gothenburg, will afford the best account that can be given of the state of affairs at the time he arrived there:

14th May 1808.

I fear you will be disappointed at the little information I can give you; it will, however, be satisfactory to know that none of the enemy's troops have, as yet, been enabled to cross the Sound, or get a footing on any part of Sweden. The Danes have about 30,000 troops in the island of Zealand; and at Funen and Holstein there are about 30,000 French, Spaniards, and Dutch: but the Sound and Belts are so closely watched, that it will be very difficult for any number of vessels to escape our different cruisers stationed to intercept them.

The Swedish troops on the frontiers of Norway, under the orders of General Armfeldt, have had several skirmishes with the Danes, which have in general proved very[Pg 104] favourable to the former; but nothing of importance has yet taken place, owing to the roads being almost impassable from the depth of snow and ice, which, even at this advanced season, cover them. Last Wednesday, accounts were received from Stockholm, of the surrender of Sweaborg! It was the more unexpected from the garrison having withstood two assaults, in which the Russians are said to have lost a great number of men. This event decides the fate of Finland. Sweaborg was considered a fortress of great importance.

The following extract, on the subject of Sir John Moore's detention and escape, shows the state of affairs up to his departure from Gothenburg on the 1st of July:

Victory, 30th June 1808.

You will have been surprised at the length of time we have been detained here, and particularly so when I inform you that the troops are returning to England, owing principally to this government not choosing to accede to the terms upon which it was proposed they should be employed in this country. It is truly to be lamented that so much delay should have taken place, and so much time lost, when their services might have been so well employed elsewhere. Between ourselves, much irritability has been shown by the King of Sweden in the different conferences Sir John Moore has had with him. Finding Sir John earnest in his intentions to return to England, he sent one of his officers to signify to him, he was not to leave Stockholm till his pleasure, which, of course, was considered as putting him under an arrest, a most unprecedented measure, and an outrage certainly offered to a friendly nation. Sir John, however, took a[Pg 105] favourable opportunity to get away from Stockholm, and arrived here last evening.

I trust and hope this will not lead to a rupture between the two countries; but so unwarrantable and violent a proceeding cannot easily be settled. I own to you, I never formed any expectation that the troops would be of essential service in this country. They were too few in number to act separately; and it would not have been right to commit them with the Swedish army, at the will and disposal of the monarch.

Sir James writes thus to his son; Sir John Moore's expedition being still at Gothenburg.

Victory, Gothenburg, 23rd May 1808.

I trust that we shall be enabled to defend Sweden during the summer; but, when winter sets in, we shall be compelled to withdraw our ships from the Baltic: this will expose the country to the attack of the enemy from Zealand and the ports on the south of the Baltic. The Swedes are a brave and upright people; they are faithful to their prince, and are very averse to any change in their government, and still more so to French principles. I have been twice on shore; but being near ten miles from Gothenburg, makes it inconvenient: it is a place of great trade; at this time, at least twelve hundred sail of vessels of different nations are in the port.

The above is a sufficient proof of the good opinion Sir James had formed of the Swedish character, and which, he often said, he never had occasion to alter.

Sir James was now placed in one of the most anxious and arduous situations which it was possible[Pg 106] to imagine. He had to protect the commerce of both nations in a dangerous and intricate navigation, with which his ships were but little acquainted, opposed on every side by Russians, Prussians, French, Danes, and Norwegians. It was requisite that his forces should be most judiciously disposed; and great tact and firmness were indispensable to conduct affairs under the existing circumstances. His conduct on this, as well as on every former occasion, was such as to deserve and obtain the high approbation of the government, and the people of both Great Britain and Sweden. The first letter Sir James received from Gustavus Adolphus was written in French, of which the following is an exact copy:

Château de Stockholm, le 6 Mai 1808.

Monsieur l'Amiral,

J'ai ordonné à mon aide-de-camp général de la marine, le Vice-amiral Baron de Rayalin de se rendre en Sconie, pour se concerter avec vous sur les opérations des flottes Swedoise et Anglaise contre l'ennemi commun. Il est indispensable de déployer la plus grande activité et energie proportionnées au danger; le Baron Rayalin vous montrera un plan à cet effet, que j'ai arrêté, et dont communication a été faite au Ministre de sa Majesté Britannique, resident auprès de moi, qui'il a du vous envoyer. Je suis persuadé que vous saisirez avec plaisir cette occasion pour remplir à ce que l'honneur et le devoir vous prescrivent. Et sur ce je prie Dieu qu'il vous ait, Monsieur l'Amiral, en sa sainte et digne garde; etant votre bien affectionné,

Gustaf Adolph.

A l'Amiral commandant les forces navales de sa
Majesté Britannique, dans le Sund.

[Pg 107]

Baron Rayalin having, with this letter, transmitted his exposé of the situation of the Swedes since the capture of Sweaborg and the recapture of Gothland, states that the Russians and Swedes had each eleven sail of the line: it was agreed that the Swedish fleet should be reinforced by two ships, the Centaur of 74 guns, Rear-admiral Sir Samuel Hood, and the Implacable 74, Captain Byam Martin, and take a position at Hango-udde, a small, ill-fortified harbour at the north-west point of Finland, round which the Russian flotilla must pass to attack Åbo and Åland; and that the English commander-in-chief should employ the rest of his fleet in blockading the enemy's coast from the Gulf of Finland to Norway, including the coasts of Prussia, Pomerania, Denmark, the Belt, and Sound, for the protection of commerce and the defence of the kingdom of Sweden.

These matters being arranged, Sir James left Gothenburg on the 2nd of July, in the Victory; and, passing through the Great Belt, visited the different stations where ships were to be placed. Having taken possession of the small island of Spröe, he proceeded to Carlscrona, the principal naval arsenal of Sweden, and arrived there on the 10th July.

The ensuing extract of a letter from Sir James to a friend, on leaving Gothenburg, will be read with interest, as it will throw some light on the[Pg 108] important and difficult line of conduct he had to pursue on this occasion.

Victory, off Gothenburg, 2nd July 1808.

You will, I am persuaded, feel much concern at the untoward circumstances that have occurred, and the impossibility that must now exist of the troops being of any service in this country. Every arrangement is made for their sailing the moment the wind will enable the transports to get out of the harbour; and I shall proceed at the same time for the entrance of the Sound, off Helsinburg, which is the station whence I can most easily communicate with the different detachments, and at the same time receive the despatches from England.

The only part for me to act in the present state of things, is to uphold the honour of the country, and, as far as lies in my power, keep up the friendly intercourse that has hitherto been maintained with our only ally.

In what light the business will be taken up at home it is impossible for me to say. It is certain that a most flagrant outrage has been offered by the King of Sweden in the detention of Sir John Moore; and how far his Majesty can justify himself in the eye of our government for so great an insult to an officer of Sir John's rank, entrusted with the command of an army, ordered from England for the defence of Sweden, and who went to Stockholm to confer in a confidential manner on the measures to be adopted for putting the orders he had received into execution, is at present difficult to conceive.

He had doubtless, in his own opinion, good grounds for having taken so strong a measure, but which scarcely can be admitted when the whole transactions that may have led to it are known to our government. This misunderstanding is the more to be lamented at this time, that[Pg 109] unanimity with our ally was the only point on which we could form our expectations of success; besides the advantage that the enemy may take of it, and the ridicule they will of course throw upon it.

Sir John Moore has been embarked with me since his return, besides General Hope. The former takes his passage on board the Audacious, which convoys the transports to Yarmouth.

During the months of June and July, Sir James had much correspondence with the ex-King and Queen of France, the Duchess d'Angoulême, and his old friend the Duc d'Havre. Some difficulty attended their transport to England; the Euryalus only being allowed to proceed on that service, and the suite of his majesty, and the royal family amounting to above a hundred persons. The correspondence, however, does not possess sufficient interest to dwell further on it; suffice it to say, that Sir James gave them all the assistance and accommodation in his power, and that they had left Carlscrona before the Victory arrived.

About this time Admiral Cederström, who had vanquished the Russians at Gothland, was called to Stockholm, and Rear Admiral Nauckhoff was appointed in his stead, with whom Sir James exchanged letters of congratulation. The King had gone to Åland; and, as no more was said about the affair of Sir John Moore, things went on smoothly: Baron Rayalin accompanied the[Pg 110] King, and Mons. Gullenstolpè acted as adjutant-general of the marine.

The Swedish fleet now consisted of eleven sail of the line and five frigates, which were reinforced by the Centaur and Implacable; and proceeded to the station before agreed on.

Towards the end of July, Sir James was aware of the refractory conduct of the Spanish troops, under the Marquis of Romana, in the island of Funen, where they had been arrested in their progress to Zealand by the appearance of the English fleet. Rear Admiral Keats was ordered to communicate, if possible, with Romana, who was known to be disaffected since the news had reached him of the revolution of affairs in Spain, and to offer every assistance to rescue the troops under his command. It was a great satisfaction to Sir James, that, on the arrival of the next packet, he found he had anticipated the desire of government, from whom he received instructions to the same intent, after Sir Richard had been detached.

The address and tact which Rear-admiral Keats displayed on this occasion is well known. As soon as he had succeeded in rescuing the Marquis of Romana, by seizing on the vessels at Nyborg, and transporting his troops to the defenceless island of Langeland, he despatched a vessel to Sir James, who immediately sailed from Carlscrona,[Pg 111] leaving behind Captain Hope, who went home in consequence of the illness and subsequent demise of his wife, Lady Jemima, and made all sail for the Belt. On this occasion Sir James gave a proof of the decision of his character, which could not but make a deep impression on all who were present.

The Victory, about sun-set, had doubled Dars Head, forming with the opposite point in Zealand the entrance of the Great Belt from the eastward. The wind was fresh and directly adverse, when Mr. Squire, master of the fleet, acquainted the Admiral that the ship must anchor for the night, as he could no longer take charge as pilot. Sir James, who had examined the chart, and could see no great risk in working as far as Femeren, where the channel became narrow and the soundings more regular, demanded his reason; which being unsatisfactory, he sent for Mr. Nelson, the master, and Mr. Webb, the north-sea pilot, but neither would undertake the charge, or give any satisfactory reason. Sir James immediately ordered the one master into the starboard, and the other into the larboard main channels, to see that the lead was correctly hove; and having directed the Cruiser brig, then in company, to keep right a-head, he kept the ship under sail till midnight, when she had worked up tack by tack to Femeren, a distance of six leagues. He was[Pg 112] thus enabled to reach Sir Richard Keats's division on the following day in time to concert measures for the removal of Romana's army to Gothenburg.

The conduct of these inferior officers could only arise from a desire to make themselves appear of importance, especially in the absence of the captain of the fleet; and their messmates could not but rejoice at their failure, as it brought them sooner to the scene of action.

On the 14th of August, when the Victory arrived off the battery near the centre of Langeland, an officer was despatched to the head-quarters of the Marquis, who embarked on board that ship on the following morning, and before night the whole of his troops were afloat; the Marquis was then removed to the Superb, and the convoy proceeded to Gothenburg, under the orders of Sir Richard Keats. It was much to be regretted that the fine regiment of Asturias could not be rescued; but, having reached Copenhagen, they were disarmed by the Danes and French the moment the intelligence of Romana's rescue was known.

The following extract of a letter from Sir James to his brother gives an interesting account of the rescue of Romana's army:

Victory, off Langeland, 21st August 1808.

I returned to the Belt from Carlscrona, in consequence of information from Admiral Keats, which reached me[Pg 113] on the 6th, that an overture had been made by a Spanish officer for their troops to be withdrawn from these islands. The following day the Musquito joined me from the Admiralty, with directions upon that subject, and to make trial if any thing could be done; fortunately, duplicates were sent to Admiral Keats, which he received in the Belt.

On the 14th, having been detained by contrary winds, I received accounts from Admiral Keats, that they had been withdrawn from the island of Funen, and landed on Langeland. I joined last Thursday, and the same evening an express reached me by the Mosquito, with the information that the Russian fleet from Cronstadt had sailed, and had been seen off Hango Udde, the station occupied by the Swedish squadron; these last having gone within the small islands to complete with water. Judge of my anxiety, particularly having detached those ships to join them, under Sir S. Hood, who received the advice at Carlscrona, in the Centaur, and was on the point of sailing to join the other two ships, who had proceeded some days before. I trust they will find their way to join the Swedes in safety; but it is an anxious moment.

I am proceeding with this ship and the Mars to endeavour to fall in with them; all the other ships here have the Spanish troops embarked on board them, and on board several small vessels taken at Nyborg. It certainly is of the greatest importance to have succeeded in withdrawing so large a portion of the Spanish army, upwards of 9,000. About 4,000 are left in Zealand and Jutland.

I hope it will not have led to any disaster. I have guarded against any to the utmost of my power, but we cannot answer for events; and in the course of my service I have never experienced greater anxiety than since I have been on this station: first, with regard to the expedition[Pg 114] and the business of Sir John Moore, which for a time paralysed all the naval operations, and certainly might have been attended with the worst consequences. We must however hope for the best, and trust all will turn to good.

Added to the despatches acknowledging this letter, was the following private note from Lord Mulgrave:

Admiralty, August 25th, 1808.

My dear Sir James,

I cannot let despatches go from the Admiralty without conveying to you my hearty congratulations on the important event of the deliverance of so large a body of the Spanish troops. Rear-admiral Keats has conducted this service with admirable talent, zeal, and judgment. We have a report here that the Russian fleet has put to sea; and are in anxious hope that they may have fallen in your way. The enemy's fate and the public interests cannot be in better hands than yours.

I am, dear Sir James, with great truth,
Yours very sincerely,


This service being completed, Sir James hastened back to the Baltic, and, arriving off Carlscrona, received additional intelligence of the position of the Russian fleet. Taking along with him the Mars, Goliath, and Africa, Salsette, Rose, and Ariel, he proceeded to the northward; and, passing between Gothland and Sweden, made for the Gulf of Finland, expecting to fall in with the Centaur and Implacable at certain places of rendezvous. He was not a little disappointed at not finding them, even at Hango Udd.[Pg 115] On the 30th of August he fell in with the Swedish frigate Camilla, Captain Troile, who came on board, and gave him the first information of the action which had taken place between the two fleets; it appeared that the Sewolod, a Russian seventy-four, which had been disabled by the Implacable, had been taken and burned by that ship and the Centaur, and that the Russian fleet had been pursued into Rogerwick, (or Port Baltic,) where they might be successfully attacked.

This joyful news was communicated to the squadron, and every ship was instantly cleared for action. The signals were successively made to bear up, let out reefs, and make more sail. The pilot at the same time informed the Admiral that he had been often in Rogerwick, which is a bay in the south side of the Gulf of Finland, formed by the islands of East and West Roge and the main, and that he could easily take the fleet in.

At two o'clock, the Swedish fleet,[5] consisting of ten sail of the line and three frigates, together with the Centaur and Implacable, were seen at anchor off Rogerwick; a plan of which is given, showing the position of both fleets. The general signal was made to prepare for battle; but the Centaur telegraphed that "you must anchor in thirty-five fathoms," in reply to the Admiral's[Pg 116] signal to weigh: this having been repeated, the signals were made to anchor, furl sails, &c.


View larger image

Harbour of Rogerwick, showing the positions of the English, Swedish, and Russian fleets, 31st August 1808

Sir Samuel Hood, the Swedish Admiral and captain of the fleet, now came on board; what occurred at this consultation is only known to themselves. Subsequently, Sir James went on board the Rose; but it was then too late to reconnoitre the enemy. Next day (31st August) was spent also in consultation; and on the 1st of September the Victory and Goliath got under weigh, and stood in to the entrance of the harbour; and, having silenced a battery on the west side with one broadside, the Admiral had, for the first time, a good view of the position of the enemy's fleet, and was convinced that they might have been attacked. He immediately made known his determination to attack them on the following day, and orders were accordingly issued to that effect; the Author was sent on board the Swedish Admiral's ship, not only with these orders, but to remain on board to explain signals, and assist in bringing the Swedish fleet into action. Captain Martin, of the Implacable, was appointed acting captain of the fleet, and Captain Pipon succeeded him.

In the mean time, the Russians sent on board an officer with a flag of truce, on pretence of treating for exchange of prisoners: when he came on board the Victory, he addressed Capt. Dumaresq in the French language, saying that he did not[Pg 117] understand English. Soon after which, the Author, happening to come on deck, recognised in this officer Mr. Skripeetzen, his old shipmate on board the Penelope; where he had been two years a signal midshipman; and, before that, as many on board the Leviathan. Of course he could speak and understand English perfectly, and he had actually his signal-book in his pocket.

This discovery afforded no small amusement. It was now evident that he came on board to make useful observations, and his object was completely obtained. The officers took him below, and showed him the ship clear for action, each deck having a thousand extra shot added to the usual number; on some of which the sailors had been exercising their wit by writing in chalk, "Post-paid"; "Free, George Canning";[6]—jokes which Mr. Skripeetzen did not seem to relish; and he quitted the ship evidently confused and mortified.

The hopes of the Admiral and his officers were now raised to the highest pitch; every preparation had been made, and the dawn of day of the 2nd September was waited for with anxious expectation. The wind, which in the evening had been favourable for the enterprise, unfortunately veered to the southward before day-break; and, as[Pg 118] it was directly against going in, an attack was impossible. As this hard-hearted gale continued for eight days, all hopes of being able to attack the enemy vanished.

The enemy in the mean time moored his ships in a compact line, with booms moored outside; and, having marched six thousand troops from Revel, threw up strong batteries on each side, so that his position was soon rendered impregnable.

Sir James now sent, by a flag of truce, the following letter to the Emperor Alexander:

His Britannic Majesty's ship Victory, off Baltic Port,
17th September 1808.


Your imperial Majesty is probably uninformed of the events that have recently taken place in the southern parts of Europe. Spain has succeeded in rescuing herself from the usurpation and tyranny of the ruler of France. Portugal has also extricated herself from the baneful hands of the enemy of all independent states; the whole of the French forces in that country having been compelled to surrender to the British army under Sir Arthur Wellesley. It is to be hoped that those events will induce the powers of the Continent to unite with Great Britain to restore that peace so highly to be desired for the welfare of mankind.

Knowing it to be the object most at heart of my gracious sovereign, and that of his Majesty's ally, the King of Sweden, should your imperial Majesty be impressed with the same sentiments, nothing will afford me greater happiness than to have the honour of imparting them to my government, and to desist from further hostile operations,[Pg 119] upon condition that your Majesty will give orders to your forces to desist from hostilities against England and her ally, and to withdraw your forces from Swedish Finland.

I have the honour to be,
With the most profound respect,
Your imperial Majesty's
Most devoted and most obedient humble servant,

James Saumarez,
Vice-admiral and commander-in-chief of his
Britannic Majesty's ships in the Baltic.

To his imperial Majesty the Emperor of all the Russias.

This appeal to his imperial Majesty unfortunately did not reach St. Petersburg until the day after the Emperor Alexander had left it, on his journey to meet Buonaparte at Erfurth; and, in consequence, Sir James received the following answer from the Russian Admiral Tchitchagoff, the minister of the Marine:

St. Petersburg, 12/27 Sept. 1808.


La lettre que votre excellence a adressé à sa Majesté l'Empereur m'est parvenu à mon retour à St. Petersburg conjointement à celle que m'a écrit Monsieur Thornton. Sa Majesté n'étant plus dans sa capitale depuis quelque jours, je me suis empressé de la lui expédier.

Pendant mon séjour au Port Baltique, ayant appris que votre excellence desiroit savoir si l'échange de nos équipages pris sur le vaisseau Le Sewolod, contre des sujets de sa Majesté Britannique ou Swedoise pourroit avoir lieu, je suis bien-aise de lui annoncer que des ordres ont été donnés au general en chef commandant en Finlande de rendre[Pg 120] un nombre égal, et rang pour rang, des sujets de sa Majesté Swedoise contre les prisonniers Russes faits dans le dernier combat.

En priant votre excellence de vouloir bien transmettre la ci-jointe au ministre de sa Majesté Britannique, Monsieur Thornton, je dois la prévenir que je n'ai point reçu les gazettes que ce dernier m'avoit annoncés dans sa lettre.

Je saisis avec empressement cette occasion pour assurer votre excellence de la considération la plus distinguée avec laquelle j'ai l'honneur d'être, De votre excellence,

Très humble et très obéissant serviteur,

P. de Tchitchagoff.

A son Ex. Mon. le Vice-amiral Saumarez.

The letters addressed to Mr. Thornton, being to the same effect, need not be given. The exchange of prisoners took place at a subsequent period.

A negociation now ensued between the Russian and British commanders-in-chief, for permission that the blockaded fleet should return to St. Petersburg unmolested, on condition that a part should be given up by the former. In answer to this proposition, his Swedish Majesty requiring that the whole should be given up, and Sir James's demand being for both the three-deckers and half the remainder, the negociation was broken off, and fire-ships were fitted out as the only chance of destroying them.[7] In the mean time, the Thunder and another bomb-ship, covered[Pg 121] by the Goliath and Salsette, continued to throw shells into the fortress, and on one occasion a magazine was blown up; but the fleet was too far within the harbour for the shells to reach them, or to prevent their extending a barricade of booms to prevent the approach of fire-ships. The Erebus and a brig having however been prepared, an attempt was made on the 20th September; but failed, owing to the rise of the moon before the vessels could approach.

The following is an extract from a letter written by Sir James to his brother:

Victory, off Port Baltic, 31st August 1808.

I have been disappointed in the expectations I so ardently formed when I wrote you last Monday. We arrived off Hango Udd, expecting all night to fall in with the Russian fleet; but at daylight a Swedish frigate joined, with the information that the Swedish squadron, with the Centaur and Implacable, had sailed on the 25th in pursuit of them, and chased them into this harbour; the Centaur and Implacable had cut off their rear ship, which was set on fire after her crew had been taken out.

I anchored at two yesterday afternoon, and had the satisfaction to find Sir S. Hood with the Swedish squadron at anchor, watching the enemy's squadron in the harbour, who have been occupied in fortifying themselves in the best manner; and I fear nothing can be attempted with any prospect of success, from what I am informed.

I most sincerely lament not to have been in time to join our ally, as most probably not a Russian would have escaped. My great consolation is, that not a moment has[Pg 122] been lost; and, when it is considered that I was off here in only eight days from the time I left the Belt, it will appear almost surprising, particularly with the north winds we experienced.

Sir S. Hood and Captain Martin are beheld by the Swedes with adoration for their heroic attack on the enemy's ship; had the Swedes sailed as well as the Russians, not one would have escaped.

It was after this letter had been despatched that Sir James reconnoitred the enemy in the Victory; and, consequently, determined on an attack.

On the 23rd of September, Captain Bathurst, of the Salsette, and Captain Trolle, of the Camilla, being sent to ascertain the position of the Russian fleet, reported that they were so completely barricaded, that any further attempt with fire-ships would be fruitless; Sir James ordered the Erebus and Baltic to be restored to their former condition, the brig having been burnt in the attempt.

In addition to the scurvy, which made its appearance in the Swedish fleet early in the month of July, the crews were now attacked with a malignant epidemic, which daily became more fatal; those who had been affected by scurvy, being predisposed to catch the infection of the fever, were invariably carried off. A Swedish ship of the line and two frigates had been loaded with the sick from the different ships, and sent to Carlscrona.[Pg 123] As the month of September advanced, it was evident that the Swedish fleet could not keep longer at sea; and that, if a reinforcement did not arrive from England, the blockade must soon be raised. Lemon-juice, sugar, &c. as well as medical assistance, was sent to the Swedes, but too late to have the desired effect.

Sir James, having anchored the Swedish ships farther out, persevered as long as it was possible, and the fleets rode out two heavy gales of wind in that exposed situation; while the Russian ships lay moored, with yards and topmasts struck, in the position given as second in the diagram (page 116).

The Swedish army in Finland had fought with great bravery, but were at length overpowered by numbers; Åbo, the capital of Finland, was in the end taken, and that valuable country for ever lost to Sweden. The King, and subsequently the remains of his army, retreated to Stockholm, and the campaign terminated decidedly in favour of Russia.

After what has been stated, it will not excite surprise that Sir James should have had some anxiety about the opinion of the public, as will be seen by the following short extract, dated 26th September, &c.

I am anxious to hear what will be said of the occurrences here, although I am conscious of having acted for the good of my country to the utmost in my power; and I trust the whole of my conduct since my first coming[Pg 124] upon the station will be entirely approved of by government: it is very possible there may be those who will be disposed to find fault, however unjustly.

It will be seen hereafter, that this apprehension was not ill-founded.

Before the arrival of the Victory and squadron off Rogerwick, Sir Samuel Hood had despatched his first lieutenant with the intelligence of the capture and destruction of the Russian seventy-four, Sewolod, and of the position of the Russian fleet. This officer was, of course, the bearer of many letters, which described the enemy's ships to be in a situation easily to be attacked, when the commander-in-chief should arrive. The expectations of the nation, from the known prowess of Sir James Saumarez, were therefore raised to the highest pitch. When the information subsequently reached England that he had not attacked them, it is not to be wondered at that blame should be attached to him by the public, who could not be aware of the existence of those circumstances which frustrated his intentions; and so long did this impression last, that it was only in 1834 that the Author explained the causes to his late Majesty, who had always been impressed with the idea that it was Sir James, and not the Swedish Admiral and Sir Samuel Hood, that objected to the attack; though certainly the very reverse was the fact. There can be no doubt that, if Sir James[Pg 125] had been authorised to take command of the Swedish fleet, he would, even against the opinion of Sir Samuel, have attacked the enemy's fleet on the 31st of August; and, as the wind changed on the following morning, he would have been able to carry off all his prizes without any difficulty. We have ever since lamented that the attempt, as planned by Sir James, was not promptly made.

The official description of the action with the Russian fleet will be found in the Appendix; as also Sir James's correspondence with his Swedish Majesty on the subject.

As it was hoped that some shift of wind would enable us to attack the enemy, we remained in a state of anxiety for three weeks. In the interim, intelligence was received of the success of the British arms in Spain, and of the expulsion of the French from Portugal. Sir James, in consequence of this information, and of the opinions before mentioned, and seeing that the enemy could neither be attacked nor blockaded any longer, weighed anchor on the 30th of September, and in company with the Swedes proceeded to Carlscrona, where he arrived on the 9th of October.

[Pg 126]


1808, 1809.

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.

On Sir James's arrival at Carlscrona, he was received with every mark of attention and respect by Admiral Puké, the governor, and other authorities. The sick, amounting to 3,000, were landed from the Swedish fleet; and their hospitals were visited and supplied, as far as possible, with medicine from the English, while they on the other hand received fresh provisions, vegetables, and water.

Arrangements being made for the protection of the commerce, and convoys, which were to sail as long as the sea was open, Sir James, and the[Pg 127] Swedes themselves, aware of the inefficiency of the Swedish ships of war compared with the English, and desirous that they should be in a better state to co-operate next season, complied with the request of Admiral Nauckhoff, to leave the Author with them during the winter, to assist in their operations of refitting, &c.

On his leaving Carlscrona, Sir James received the following farewell letter from that officer:

His Swedish Majesty's ship Gustaf IV. Adolf,
20th October 1808.


I have the honour to acknowledge your excellency's letter of the 18th of this month, in which your excellency has been pleased, in the most polite and flattering terms, to mark your satisfaction with the co-operation of the Swedish squadron, and the conduct of the commanders of the ships under my orders.

It is impossible for me to express the sentiments of esteem and gratitude for the unremitting and zealous exertions with which your excellency on every occasion has been pleased to promote the interest of my sovereign and country. His Majesty, my royal master, will be duly informed of the valuable services rendered to him and to the Swedish nation by your excellency, and the gallant flag-officers, captains, and others under your command; and I shall certainly regard your excellency's appointment to the command of the British fleet in these seas, as a most convincing proof of the inviolable friendship which his only but most faithful and powerful ally the King of Great Britain entertains for him, and for the promotion of Swedish interests.

I beg your excellency will be pleased to convey my best[Pg 128] thanks to every admiral, captain, and officer under your excellency's command, for all the attention and the very active zeal which they have on every occasion displayed. The care and attention which the worthy Dr. Jameson, and the surgeon Mr. Duke, have given to the sick, will ever be remembered with sentiments of sincere gratitude.

I have the honour to remain,
With the highest regard and consideration,
Your excellency's
Most obedient and very humble servant,

Nauckhoff, Rear-admiral.

Admiral Nauckhoff struck his flag on the 15th of November; at which time the mortality and sickness had been so great, that only three frigates could be manned to assist in the protection of the trade.

Sir James left Carlscrona on the 25th October, and, passing through the Great Belt, reached Gothenburg on the 29th of November. Here he remained in the Victory until the 3rd of December, during which interval he made the necessary arrangements for the protection of the trade in that quarter; and, leaving Rear-admiral Keats in the Superb, and, under his command, the Orion and two smaller vessels, he proceeded to the Downs, where he landed on the 8th, and appeared at the Admiralty on the 9th current. Their lordships were pleased to signify their high approbation of every part of his conduct, as far as the naval operations were concerned; but they considered his address to the Emperor of Russia a stretch of power. Of[Pg 129] this the public will judge. Sir James did no more, in fact, than propose an armistice, which is undoubtedly the province of every commander-in-chief. It is indeed true that Buonaparte, who was at Erfurth when the Emperor Alexander received his letter, made this the basis of a deceitful overture for peace, in order to gain time, and thereby puzzle the ministers a little; but this circumstance can never be held out as a reason for preventing a commander-in-chief at a great distance from home concluding an armistice, when he is confident it would be beneficial to the cause on which he is engaged.

In the mean time, the Russian fleet, with the exception of two ships, which were lost on the passage, succeeded in returning to Cronstadt. It was said that Admiral Henikoff, who commanded, was degraded in consequence of his conduct in not engaging the Swedish fleet.

The mortality continued at Carlscrona among the seamen until the cold weather set in about Christmas, when it was calculated that the Swedes had lost a number nearly equal to the original crews of their ships, including sixty-four officers; among whom were fourteen of the rank of captain (lieut.-col. in their service).

The Orion sailed with the first convoy in November, which she carried successfully through the Belt. The next ship was the Africa, which, after seeing her convoy through the Malinö channel,[Pg 130] was attacked by Danish gun-boats in a calm, and suffered so severely as to oblige her to return to Carlscrona. The Mars, Orion, and two bombs, made an unsuccessful attack on Eartholms.; but the last convoy which left Carlscrona, under the Salsette, Magnet, and two Swedish sloops of war, was the most disastrous undertaking of all. They sailed on the 23rd December, after the winter set in with unusual severity. A storm coming on from the northward, brought the already-formed ice down on the convoy. The Magnet (Captain Morris) was wrecked, with several others; the rest, with the Salsette and two Swedish armed ships, were carried back into the Baltic; and, excepting the Salsette, none of them were ever heard of.

The gallant Captain Bathurst, who afterwards fell gloriously at Navarin, after suffering severe hardships by being frozen out the whole winter, during which his ship was drifted twice round the island of Bornholm, was able to approach Carlshamn in March, and was cut into that harbour by the Swedes, who afforded him every assistance. The Swedish armed ships were lost by being carried by the ice on a sandbank in sight of the Salsette, which had then only four feet water to spare; the former, immediately they struck, turned bottom up, and all hands perished, being instantly covered with the ice. The thermometer, in January 1809, sank to forty-five degrees below zero;[Pg 131] the Sound and Belt were completely frozen over, and many passed between Sweden and Denmark on horseback over the ice.

The Author did not escape the infection at Carlscrona, but was one of the first who recovered, and was sent for by the King to Stockholm; it was, however, the middle of February before he could undertake the journey.

There were at one time nineteen packets due from England.

Things in Sweden began to take a different turn. The conduct of the King in disgracing his guards, because, after beating three times their number of Russians in Finland, they were obliged to retreat, and could no longer defend Åbo, the capital of that province, rendered him unpopular; and a conspiracy was formed, at the head of which was Aldercreutz, the general who had been in Finland, in conjunction with Aldersparre, who commanded the western army, which was secretly set in motion for Stockholm from the frontiers of Norway, and had arrived at Orebro before reports of its progress reached the King.

On the night of the 8th of March, his Majesty issued orders for all the troops to get under arms at daylight; and on the morning of the 9th he demanded the specie from the bank, intending to set off with it to Scania. The ministers and officers of state were summoned to the council; and others,[Pg 132] among whom was the Author, were required to attend his levee at nine o'clock, which was the moment fixed on by the conspirators, who entered, and told the King that he must not leave Stockholm. Drawing his sword, his Majesty made a pass at one of the conspirators: in the mean time the General seized the staff of power,[8] and ordered the others to seize the King, which they immediately obeyed by forcing him into the next room. They forgot, however, when they locked the door, that there was a private entrance, out of which the King immediately escaped, and appearing on the staircase, below which the Author was standing, he called loudly for help. Some of the conspirators, however, with great presence of mind, called to the soldiers on duty, "The King is mad;" on which they again secured him, and in the evening he was removed to Drottningholm, where his family resided.

The conspirators then went to his uncle the Duke of Sudermania, and, having represented the state of the King, requested he would assume the reins of government, to which he readily assented; and a proclamation was forthwith issued, declaring that Gustaf IV. Adolf was unable to govern[Pg 133] the nation, and that his uncle had assumed the royal authority in his stead.

This proclamation made no sensation, and things went on as if nothing had happened.

The new regent and government were of course anxious to have the matter set favourably before the government of England; and, in order to prove that the King was actually deranged, the regent submitted to the Author a paper found in the dethroned King's desk, certainly in his own handwriting, in which he described himself as the "Man on the white horse" in the Revelations, and declared that he must fight a battle under the walls of Copenhagen, which would give peace to Europe.

The Author, who had only a few days before been named aide-de-camp and adjutant to the fleet, had no longer any command, and therefore demanded his passports, which were granted: but, understanding that he was to be arrested at Orebro, he left Stockholm two hours sooner than the stated time of his departure, and by pretending that he was a Swedish officer who had despatches for Count Rosen at Gothenburg, and that the English officer was some hours behind, he escaped through the western army, after being questioned and examined by Aldersparre. He at length arrived safe on board the Superb, which had cut out of the ice into Wingo Sound; and, being immediately forwarded by a packet, reached London[Pg 134] in only nine days, where he found Sir James Saumarez preparing to resume his command.

It has been seen that, after Sir James's arrival in London, he was offered the chief command in the East Indies, which he declined chiefly because he did not consider his health equal to it; but he was not allowed to remain long idle. A squadron of the enemy's ships having escaped the vigilance of the Brest blockading fleet, Sir James was ordered to hoist his flag in the Mars, and proceed to sea in search of them: but their return into port before his squadron could be reported ready, did away with the necessity of his following them; and the affairs in Sweden rendering more necessary than ever, that an officer of his rank, character, and abilities should be sent to the Baltic, he was reappointed to that important command.

In the mean time Captain Searle was appointed to the Victory, Vice-captain Dumaresq, who had left her in consequence of a severe family affliction. The former was sent to Corunna, and was one of the fleet which brought home the remains of the army of the gallant but unfortunate Sir John Moore. On her return, Captain Dumaresq returned to the ship, as also Captain Hope, in his former situation; and Sir James's flag was hoisted in April at the Nore, whence she sailed soon after.[Pg 135] His instructions were to proceed to Gothenburg, and take under his command all his Majesty's ships and vessels employed and to be employed in the Baltic: he was to consider the protection of the trade his principal object; to watch the Russian fleet, and attack it if possible. In the present state of Sweden no precise instruction could be given: but he was to preserve as long as possible an amicable intercourse with the Swedes; to use every means in his power to encourage and protect the trade of his Majesty's subjects with Sweden; to be cautious not to give offence to its government, and to afford protection to such Swedish vessels as might require it; to keep up the supply of water and provisions in the fleet, so as not to be dependent on the supplies from Swedish ports; and finally, to guard against the admission of the infectious disease which was at that time prevalent in Sweden.

The Victory arrived at her station on the 6th May, when a correspondence took place between Sir James and Mr. Merry, the British minister and chargé d'affaires. Sir James informed the latter that the Alexandria was ordered to take his excellency to England if required, which offer was accepted by Mr. Merry. Mr. Augustus Foster was left as chargé d'affaires, who announced his appointment in a letter to Sir James, dated Stockholm, 7th May. He describes[Pg 136] the state of Sweden to be most unsettled and perplexing, but that no change had taken place in regard to her relations with England.

The following is a continuation of the correspondence between Sir James and Mr. Foster:

Victory, in Wingo Sound, 11th May 1809.


Having arrived at this anchorage on the 4th instant, and Rear-admiral Sir Samuel Hood being parted for England, in consequence of the ill state of his health, I opened your letter addressed to the Rear-admiral, dated 7th instant, informing him of your being appointed his Majesty's chargé d'affaires in the absence of Mr. Merry.

I have the honour to inform you that I shall feel highly gratified by any communication you may be pleased to make to me relating to his Majesty's service, and which may be interesting for my knowledge as commander-in-chief in these seas; and I shall be happy in conveying to you any information in my power, which may be connected with his Majesty's service.

His excellency Mr. Merry sailed yesterday for England, on board his Majesty's ship Alexandria. From him I received such information as he possessed to the period of his leaving Stockholm. I propose to detach Rear-admiral Dixon, who joined me the 9th instant in the Temeraire, to relieve Sir Richard G. Keats; and I propose to continue here for some time longer for the more speedy communication with England, as well as to receive what you may do me the honour to write to me; giving you due notice previously to my proceeding for the Baltic.

The accounts rumoured of the pretended defeat of the Austrians, I trust, will not prove correct; and we must not[Pg 137] be surprised at the circulation of exaggerated accounts of the success of Buonaparte in the present state of affairs on the continent and in the northern parts of Europe.

I have the honour to be,
With great truth and respect,
Sir, &c. &c. &c.

James Saumarez.

To A. Foster, Esq. his Britannic Majesty's
chargé d'affaires, Stockholm.

Stockholm, 15th May 1809.


Scarcely had the letter which I wrote to your excellency late last night been received by the person who set out with it this morning, when a note reached me from Baron de Lagerbjelke, minister for foreign affairs ad interim of this government, to inform me of his having important communications to make to me, and appointing an hour for a conference with me this forenoon.

The object of this conference was to expose to me the critical position in which Sweden is placed at this moment, from her desire to remain in amity and maintain her commercial intercourse with Great Britain, of which, as he was pleased to express himself, she was on the point of becoming the victim; and to ask of me to explain to you the full extent of her dangers, in the confidence that you would give her all the assistance in your power which her perilous situation requires, without waiting for instructions for the purpose from his Majesty's government; it not being the interest of England that this country should be conquered by Russia, although the same alliance no longer existed between his Majesty and the Swedish government.[Pg 138] Buonaparte has evaded the repeated solicitations of Sweden to take into his own hands the management of the negociation for a peace, which this country is willing to enter into with all her enemies; and has referred her for the terms of such a peace entirely to the court of St. Petersburg. This court, meanwhile, has manifested the most marked discontent at the delays which have already taken place in the negociation; and has insisted, as a preliminary condition to the treating for peace, that this country should enter into the alliance against Great Britain. She has also declared the kind of armistice concluded by her generals at an end; and Baron Schwaren, who had been sent on a mission to St. Petersburg, which place he left the 24th ultimo, returned here on the 6th instant, bringing intelligence of very formidable preparations which are making in Finland for the immediate invasion of this country, while the Russian army at Torneo has been considerably reinforced.

Baron de Lagerbjelke gave me the assurances of the Duke of Sudermania, that every effort shall be made on the part of Sweden to repel the meditated attack of Russia, and that his Royal Highness is determined not to yield to the conditions of peace proposed by her, as long as he has the means of defending himself; but he proposes that your excellency should on your part aid him in his defence, by displaying first a part of the fleet under your command in the Sound and on the coast of Denmark, to deter the Danes from making an attack on the southern provinces of Sweden, while the troops and sailors necessary for the defence of this part of the kingdom shall be withdrawn from these shores. Secondly, that you should engage to send such a force into the Baltic sea as to render it dangerous for the Russians to make any attempt with ships of the line against the harbours, or to carry an invading[Pg 139] force against the coast of Sweden. And thirdly, that by detaching sloops of war, brigs, and frigates in the direction from Norrköping and Stockholm, as far as Gefle, you should strew such a force in those seas as to intimidate the Russian General in Finland from embarking his troops on board the flotilla at Åbo, for the purpose of attacking at once the centre of this kingdom. Such are the paucity of means, and so few the troops which this government can assemble for the defence of Sweden against so powerful an enemy, that the invasion cannot in all probability but succeed, unless your excellency can send the aid the King desires.

On the supposition that you might act in consequence of the above-mentioned representation of this government, I observed to Baron de Lagerbjelke, that, from the remoteness of the seas in the neighbourhood of Åland and Gefle, it was very probable that many of your officers might be unacquainted with them, and thereby risk being thrown into situations of danger; on which he observed, that through the means of his father, the minister of marine, he should take care that pilots should be sent out to meet you whenever it was ascertained that any of the ships under your command were coming into these seas. The navigation of the Gulf of Bothnia promises now to be open in ten days or a fortnight; and therefore this government hopes, in case you should accede to their wishes, that as little time as possible may be lost in the execution of them.

Three Swedish frigates, as Baron de Lagerbjelke gave me to understand, have been ordered round from Carlscrona to cruise off these coasts; and 106 gun-boats, hemmemas, and other vessels, are at present in or near the water; but the want of men from the mortality of the last winter is severely felt, and can only be supplied from the[Pg 140] south, in case you think fit to coincide with the views of this government.

I have, &c. &c. &c.

Augt. Foster.

Vice-admiral Sir James Saumarez, Bart, and K.B.
&c. &c. &c.

This was the first communication which had been made by the Swedish government since Gustaf IV. Adolf was deposed, and his uncle had accepted the regency with full powers. By this exposé it appears that their first act after the revolution was to try to make peace singly with Buonaparte, which was of course refused; because the Swedes could give him nothing in return, and shutting the ports against Great Britain was a preliminary that could not be dispensed with. There was no alternative therefore but to apply to England for protection against their inveterate enemies the Russians, who had already possessed themselves of all Finland, and were preparing for the invasion of Sweden. Mr. Foster added the following private opinion on the state of affairs, which now became so interesting:

Stockholm, 15th May 1809.


I have written you a long public letter upon the wishes of this government for your co-operation in the defence of Sweden. My private opinion is, that the Swedes, in addition to their desire to maintain their commercial relations with us, (which of course they wish should be still carried[Pg 141] on, though by secret understanding,) entertain the design of preventing the Russians from interfering in their interior concerns; they also hope the French may be ultimately victorious against Austria, as they suppose they will not be inclined to the confirming of Russia in her conquest of Finland; which considerations make this government so backward in accepting the terms proposed by Russia. In the mean time they are in a most deplorable state, and cannot, I believe, collect 10,000 men: without your assistance they must perish or yield; with your aid it will be but a respite, I dare say, but perhaps of use for the Swedes.

The news of to-day is rather better: on the Tagliamento it would appear the Austrians are victorious; and in Poland, where Colonel Marfeld is said to have cut off some Russians, marched on Warsaw, and to be about besieging Dantzic: these latter want confirmation. The French, I fear, have crossed the Inn, but with great loss.

I have, &c. &c. &c.

Augt. Foster.

Vice-admiral Sir James Saumarez, Bart. and K.B.
&c. &c. &c.

To the above letters Sir James returned the following satisfactory answer, which decided the plan of his operations for this year:

Victory, Wingo Sound, Gothenburg, 18th May 1809.


I have just received the honour of your letter of the 15th instant, by the messenger Mears, acquainting me with the particulars of a conference you had with Baron de Lagerbjelke on the present critical state of Sweden, in consequence, as he was pleased to state to you, of her desire to remain in amity, and maintain her commercial relations, with Great Britain; and requesting you to explain[Pg 142] to me the full extent of her danger, in the confidence that I should give all the assistance in my power which her perilous situation required, without waiting for instructions from his Majesty's government. Also informing me of the formidable preparations making in Finland for the immediate invasion of Sweden.

The assurances made to you through Baron de Lagerbjelke, on the part of the Duke of Sudermania, that every effort will be made to repel the meditated attack of Russia, and that his Royal Highness has determined not to yield to the conditions of peace proposed to him, as long as he has the means of defending himself, will decide me in employing the fleet under my command in the best manner in my power for the defence of Sweden; for which purpose an adequate force will be stationed in the Sound and on the coast of Denmark, to intimidate the Danes from making any attack on the southern provinces of Sweden; and a squadron of line of battle ships will be employed in the Baltic to watch the Russian fleet, and prevent any attempt on their part to carry an invading army against the coast of Sweden from the side of Finland.

As the attention of the Swedish marine will be principally confined to the defence of Stockholm, and the coast within the Gulf of Bothnia, it is to be presumed that, with proper exertion, they will be perfectly adequate to that service; and as three Swedish frigates have been ordered to cruise on that station, with other armed vessels, and one hundred and six gun-boats, no doubt can be entertained of their being for the present sufficient to repel the enemy; and I shall readily order such further part of the force under my command, as can be spared from other services, to co-operate in that quarter. The important transactions going on in the southern coast of the Baltic, in which the interest of Sweden is materially concerned, require a considerable[Pg 143] part of the force under my orders for that particular service; but I have the honour to assure you, that every effort will be exerted for the protection and security of Sweden against any attack of the enemy.

You will be pleased to take the necessary measures that orders may be given for his Majesty's ships to be supplied with water, and such necessaries as they may stand in need of, at Carlscrona and other Swedish ports; and pilots when they require them.

I have the honour to be, &c.

Jas. Saumarez.

Augt. Foster, Esq.
&c. &c. &c.

Victory, in Wingo Sound, 18th May 1809.


I have replied to your public letter as fully as I can consider myself warranted, without having received any special instructions on the subject from his Majesty's government; but, considering it to be the intention to maintain the terms of amity with Sweden so long as it can be done consistently, and prevent the country from falling a prey to the common enemy, I trust to be right in using my efforts for that purpose; and I hope to receive the sanction of ministers on the measure I am adopting. I shall proceed for the Baltic the moment it lies in my power; but the late prevailing calms and adverse winds have prevented the arrival of the ships on their way to join me, and no accounts later than the 5th from London have reached this place. I sent, three days since, a small detachment of ships to take possession of Anholt, where supplies of water could be obtained, and which would also be a proper place for convoys to resort to in the event of exclusion from the Swedish ports.[Pg 144] Any information you can favour me with respecting the state of the Russian fleet at Cronstadt will be highly desirable, and also the probable time they may be enabled to put to sea from that port.

I have, &c. &c. &c.

James Saumarez.

To Augt. Foster, Esq.
&c. &c. &c.

As the next letter from Mr. Foster gives an account of the Russian forces and other interesting particulars, we have given it a place here, which makes any further account of the situation of Sweden unnecessary.

Stockholm 14th May 1809.


I received this evening the letter which your excellency did me the honour to write to me, dated the 11th instant, in answer to one which I had written to Rear-admiral Sir Samuel Hood on the 7th.

I take the opportunity of a private conveyance to have this forwarded to you at Gottenburg; and I beg to assure you that no efforts shall be wanting on my part to procure information which may be interesting to you as commander-in-chief in these seas, and to convey it to you as speedily as possible.

Our relations with Sweden have not changed materially since Mr. Merry's departure. Indeed, this government has had no stated form hitherto; though now the Duke of Sudermania is empowered to treat for peace, or to continue war. The Russians have a disposable force of near 20,000 men in Finland, and 105 gun-boats, and are building more, which creates alarm here; and it has been strongly insinuated by several of the officers of government here to[Pg 145] me, that nothing could be more grateful to them than such movements of the fleet under your command, sir, as would overawe the Danes, while they should deter the Russians from attempting invasion on the Bothnia coasts of this country; or which, by giving them security in Scania, would enable them to draw their forces this way.

Captain Tillard will sail on the 20th instant, with about eighteen or nineteen merchant-ships under his convoy.

I have, &c. &c. &c.

Augt. Foster.

Vice-admiral Sir Jas. Saumarez, Bart, and K.B.

Sir James soon after received a letter in the French language from R.A. Nauckhoff, containing the same exposé and request as Baron Lagerbjelke had made. He concludes with the following additional particulars:

Les états du Royaume de Swede ont déclaré par un acte formel, le 12 de ce mois, que le Roi ci-devant, aussi que son fils, a perdu tout le droit au trône ou à la couronne de Swede pour jamais: c'est la mauvaise conduite dans le gouvernement, dont tout le Royaume est mis en misère, qui a causé le malheur de ce Roi et sa famille. Le Duc Charles est, en attendant, Regent avec tout le pouvoir du Roi, et il sera fait et déclaré pour Roi de Swede aussitôt que les états ont eu le tems pour faire une autre forme de regence. Dans le moment on apporte la nouvelle que les Autrichiens ont totalement battu l'armée de Napoleon. Si cela se manifeste, je n'en doute pas que cela causerat des grands changemens chez les puissances du Nord.

The attack on the island of Anholt, for which Sir James had previously obtained the sanction of[Pg 146] government, was completely successful. The detachment consisted of the Standard, sixty-four, Captain Hollies; the Owen Glendower, thirty-six; Avenger, Rose, Ranger, sloops; and Snipe, gun-boat: this was reinforced by the marines of the Victory, under Captain Peter Jones, who particularly distinguished himself.

The governor, having been summoned, refused to surrender; when the marines of the squadron were immediately landed, under Captain Nicolls, who was senior officer, and who soon stormed their batteries, and obliged the governor to surrender at discretion.[9] [Pg 147]

The objects of this capture were to obtain a supply of water, a rendezvous for convoys, and the destruction of a retreat for privateers. Sir James appointed Captain Nicolls governor of Anholt, which was confirmed by the Admiralty. Rear-admiral Sir Samuel Hood returned to England on account of ill health, and was replaced by Rear-admiral Pickmore, who was stationed in the Belt under Rear-admirals Keats and Manly Dixon; while Rear-admiral Bertie was stationed at Helsingburg: the former three having the care and directions of convoying the fleets of merchant ships through the Belt; the latter through the Sound and Malmö channel. Sir James, in passing through the Great Belt, visited the station at the island of Spröe, and afforded protection to a numerous convoy of merchant ships passing at that time, and trading under neutral colours, under a licence from the English and the Swedish governments.

After touching at Ystad, Sir James arrived at Carlscrona on the 4th of June: from Ystad, he wrote the following letter to Mr. Foster:

Victory, Great Belt, 29th May 1809.


I had the honour yesterday morning to receive your letter of the 19th, inclosing one from Admiral Nauckhoff addressed to me, and also the copy of General Wrede's report on the state of the north. I have been detained by adverse currents and calms since my departure from Gottenburg;[Pg 148] but think myself fortunate in having been as early as Admiral Dixon, who sailed eight days before me, and with whom I fell in yesterday evening off Langeland.

The Danish force of gun-boats in the Belt has been considerably increased since last year. The Melpomene frigate was attacked by several in the night of the 23rd, and had four men killed besides about twenty wounded. Captain Warren, in having drawn their attention, succeeded in preserving a numerous convoy at anchor near Langeland, which seemed to have been the principal object for which they came out. The Ardent having very injudiciously landed a party of men on the island of Ramsoe, for the purpose of procuring a supply of wood and water, they suffered themselves to be surprised, and about eighty men were made prisoners.

I am hastening with all despatch towards Carlscrona, and I hope to have the honour of hearing from you in my way off Ystad. I think it right to mention, in confidence, that I shall not have more than six sail of the line of battleships with me, until I can be joined by those that may be on their way from England.

I have, &c. &c. &c.

James Saumarez.

Augt. Foster, Esq. his Majesty's chargé
d'affaires, Stockholm.

Victory, off Ystad, 30th May 1809.


I have the honour to acquaint you with my arrival off Ystad this afternoon, and that I have received your letter of the 23rd instant, informing me of the satisfaction expressed by the Swedish minister, M. de Lagerbjelke, at my compliance with the request of the Swedish government in affording them all the assistance in my power; and that[Pg 149] Vice-admiral Stedinck had promised to take the necessary steps for the fleet under my command being supplied with water and necessaries, as well as pilots; and also informing me of the exertions used by the Swedish marine for the defence and security of the country.

As it may be necessary for convoys to pass through the Malmö channel, I trust you have represented the expediency of the co-operation of the Swedish gun-boats stationed there; and I request you will please to signify to the Swedish government that all the protection in my power to afford the trade of Sweden, shall be granted to them.

I am proceeding with all despatch off Carlscrona, where I hope to have the honour of hearing further from you: as I shall probably proceed from Carlscrona off Dalarö, you will permit me to have such letters or despatches as may arrive for me at Gottenburg from England to be addressed to your care. I have, &c. &c. &c.

James Saumarez.

Augt. Foster, Esq. his Majesty's chargé
d'affaires, Stockholm.

P.S. A boat, spoken with this morning (30th May) from Stettin, reports that Colonel Schill had taken possession of Stralsund.

Sir James, while off Ystad, had the honour of receiving on board Prince William of Orange, who was the bearer of news which had great effect in deciding the Swedes in their choice of the line of policy to be pursued at this critical period. This account, which is detailed in Sir James's next letter to Mr. Foster, led to a correspondence which showed the nature of his opinion as to the integrity of the Swedes.[Pg 150]

Victory, off Ystad, 3rd June 1809.


I have the greatest satisfaction in transmitting to you the copy of a bulletin, detailing a statement of the important victory gained by the Archduke Charles over Buonaparte on the 21st and 22nd of May. It was delivered to me by his highness Prince William of Orange, who, with two attendants, arrived on board the Victory yesterday from Colberg, on his way to England. There is every reason to hope this victory will have been followed up by other important successes, which will decide the other states in uniting with Austria to extirpate the tyrant of the human race. I am proceeding to Carlscrona, where I trust to find letters from you; and, in the present critical state of affairs with this country, I hope to be forgiven for again repeating my anxious wish to have the honour of hearing from you as frequently as possible.

Admiral Bertie, who is stationed off Helsinburg, wrote to me that he has made repeated applications through Mr. Consul Fenwick for pilots, but has not been able to procure any: as this is an object of great importance, I request you will represent it to the Swedish government. He also mentions his suspicions that a better understanding exists with the Danes, from the frequent flags of truce, and also from some prisoners having been exchanged from Denmark, which he states as a circumstance very unusual.

Sir R.G. Keats also informs me, that two ships of the line and a frigate are fitting with expedition, intended, as is reported, to transfer troops to the eastward; but he adds that it was also rumoured that the ports of Sweden are expected to be shut against us even before the 14th. Although I feel the greatest confidence that there can exist no intention on the part of Sweden to deceive, we cannot be too much on our guard with that government, should[Pg 151] they find it necessary to enter upon terms with either Russia or Denmark.

I have, &c. &c. &c.

James Saumarez.

Augt. Foster, Esq. his Majesty's chargé
d'affaires, Stockholm.


Stockholm, June 9th, 1809.


I thank you for, and sincerely congratulate you on, the interesting news which you have been so obliging to send me from off Ystad. It is complete and glorious indeed, and will add to the other reasons I shall entertain for thinking that this government cannot mean to deceive us. Their situation is certainly a very delicate one; but, till now, I have no reason to complain of any insincerity on the part of the Swedes. Be assured that, if I had, I should instantly despatch notice of it to you. I do not like to venture writing general opinions by the common post, and therefore I have appeared perhaps to write to you too little at length hitherto. The post is also very tardy, or you must have received letters from me of the 23rd ultimo; one of the 30th must also be lying for you at Ystad. I shall now make a practice of writing to you by every post, as you very naturally will be glad to hear even negative news. Admiral Bertie's suspicions are very natural for him to entertain, but I really believe entirely unfounded.

The situation of Norway (which, I will confide to you, seems more critical for Denmark than for Sweden,) will account for so many couriers passing. The desire of peace, openly manifested by this country, accounts for their allowing such passage, which has for some time been permitted[Pg 152] in return for the passage through Denmark being allowed to Swedish officers. As to a better understanding being supposed to exist with the Danes, I had occasion to inquire on this subject the day before yesterday of M. d'Engeström, who is the new minister for foreign affairs here, and who assured me that the Danish government was even so pettish as to prevent the passage of the Hamburgh Gazette for some time back. The Russian government has demanded the exclusion of our ships from Swedish ports, and on this and other conditions have agreed to receive Baron Stedinck as negotiator: this they have informed me of, and at the same time of their intention to negotiate upon this point, and to gain further time. Delay is what they covet in appearance, and what in reality appears to be their interest to desire until the campaign in Germany is decided; for on it depends most probably the portion they will lose of territory, and the question even of their independence as regards their conduct towards us.

In the character of the Duke of Sudermania, who was created King on Thursday the 6th, I confess also that I place much confidence, more perhaps than in that of his ministers. His conduct has been loyal and frank, nor does he seem to exhibit that pliability in principles too common among this nation.

I have not time to copy the enclosure which I send you on the subject of pilots, which Vice-admiral Stedinck has just written out before me, as the post goes in an hour and a half; nor shall I perhaps have time to write to Admiral Bertie as I could wish, this being post-day for England.

Two ships of the line and a frigate are arrived off Dalarö, with 2,000 some hundred troops, and 500 sailors; and twenty-four gun-boats set out the day before yesterday from here: fourteen more follow to-morrow or[Pg 153] next day. A camp is to be formed at Upsala of 10,000 or 12,000 men; they mean to treat armed at least, which shows spirit. A Baron Taube has been sent to St. Petersburg to ask for passports for Baron Stedinck: he went the day before yesterday, and cannot be back under fifteen days.

The Russians are now said to have only about eighty-six gun-boats at Åland, but 11,000 men, and to be taking measures to defend themselves against you: one of the ships of the line is going back to Carlscrona; and a frigate, the Freya, I think. The report that the Swedish harbours would be shut against us on the 14th, must be attributed to the fears of the merchants, I suppose, who are nervous in such a precarious state of things as the present.

I have, &c. &c. &c.

Augt. Foster.

Vice-admiral Sir James Saumarez.

Victory, off Carlscrona, 15th June 1809.


I yesterday had the honour to receive your letter of the 9th instant, and although I was before perfectly convinced of the good disposition of the present government of Sweden towards our country, and of the sincerity of the Duke of Sudermania's intentions, I could not do otherwise than make you acquainted with the surmises of the two officers next in rank to me in the fleet. Your letter has perfectly removed any doubts that would have existed upon the subject, and I should place the same dependence in the Swedes as at the time of our alliance with them: the longer they are enabled to protract the negotiation with the Russian government, the more favourable will be the conditions of peace they are likely to obtain, as Russia will lose much of her ascendancy should Buonaparte be defeated by the arms of Austria.[Pg 154]

The different accounts I receive from the Continent state that the French army has been very considerably reduced by the late actions, and that it is considered to be in a most critical situation. A messenger, who arrived yesterday on board the Victory, charged with despatches from Mr. Bathurst, informed me that, subsequently to the brilliant victory of the 23rd, there had been several actions, though of less importance; they had all terminated in favour of the Austrian troops. The messenger left Baden on the 4th instant; and described in the strongest terms the high spirits of the whole army, and the hopes formed that the next action would prove decisive, and annihilate the French.

I shall have great pleasure in transmitting to you any accounts I may receive of importance; and I return you my sincere thanks for the Gazette you did me the favour to enclose to me in your letter of the 6th. I beg leave to congratulate you on the splendid success that has attended the army in Portugal.

I have, &c. &c. &c.

Jas. Saumarez.

Augt. Foster, Esq. chargé d'affaires, &c.

On the approach of the Victory off the harbour of Carlscrona, the Admiral wrote the following complimentary letter to Admiral Puké, who was then commander-in-chief and senior admiral in the Swedish service:

His Majesty's ship Victory, off Carlscrona,
4th June 1809.


It is with the highest satisfaction that I have the honour to inform your excellency of my arrival off Carlscrona,[Pg 155] being in my way up the Baltic, with part of the fleet under my command, for the defence of Sweden against the attack of the Russian fleet, and that I shall use every possible effort to preserve the good understanding that has for so many years subsisted between our respective nations.

I shall be thankful to your excellency for any information you will be pleased to honour me with that can tend to the advancement of the great and good cause in which we are engaged; and I am happy in profiting by the present opportunity to transmit an official bulletin which I received last Friday, giving an account of a most important victory over the French army, commanded by Buonaparte in person. This glorious event, it is to be hoped, will unite the powers in the northern parts of the Continent totally to extirpate the atrocious tyrant, who has been so long the scourge of the human race.

I have the honour to be,
With sentiments of the highest regard and consideration,
&c. &c. &c.

James Saumarez.

Vice-admiral Puké, &c. &c. &c.

To which Admiral Puké returned the following answer:

Carlscrona, 7th June 1809.


I felicitate myself very much on being so happy as to have occasion of renewing with your excellency the acquaintance I was favoured with the last year. Your excellency's flattering letter of the 4th instant gave me a very agreeable remembrance of it; and I may give my[Pg 156] hearty acknowledgments therefore, as also for the news your excellency was pleased to annex.

The post arrived a short time ago from Stockholm, and did not contain any thing of importance, but that matters stand well. The German mail has not come, and, in general, the news was so contradictory that nobody knew what to believe.

All our forces on the southern coast being in the necessity to be drawn up to the northern parts of the country for repelling the attack of the Russians, the coasts on this side will be without sufficient defence. It is only in your excellency I may fix my confidence, convinced as I am by the good intelligence that subsists between both nations, and his Britannic Majesty's benevolence towards Sweden, your excellency will not omit to protect, as far as possible, the trade from Gothenburg and through the Baltic, and prevent all hostile enterprises.

I should wish to have some of such gun-brigs as your excellency can allow, and other small vessels, to send up to the Finnish Gulf, where they would be of no little service.

I include myself in your excellency's friendship, which I shall be very proud to possess; and wish no better than that your excellency, with all your brave officers and men, with their usual success, may frustrate the enemy's projects against us. It is with these sincere sentiments,

I have the honour to remain, &c.

Johan af Puké.

At Carlscrona Sir James received intelligence of the fate of the unfortunate Major Schill, who had taken possession of Stralsund; but whose corps of 6,000, as well as himself, were surprised[Pg 157] by a large body of Danish and Dutch troops and cut to pieces. These accounts, and a demand for bomb vessels to assist the Swedish flotilla, were sent to the Admiralty.

In consequence of a solicitation from Baron Stedinck, the Swedish Minister of Marine expressed the high satisfaction of the Duke Regent at the arrangement Sir James had made, not only for the protection of the coasts of Sweden on the south, east, and west, but for his undertaking to proceed up the Gulf of Finland, to prevent the sailing of the Russian fleet, with his own powerful squadron.

On the 6th of June, the Duke of Sudermania was elected King by the States, and took the title of Charles XIII, on which occasion due notice was given to the Admiral both by Mr. Foster and the Swedish Minister for Foreign Affairs, Baron Engeström. At this time everything seemed to go well on the Continent, and the period of the new King's accession to the throne was thought a proper epoch to sue for peace with Russia. This, however, was not done without the knowledge of Mr. Foster, to whom assurances were given that the alliance with England should not be broken; and in this the King subsequently showed great firmness. An officer was sent to demand passports for Baron Stedinck, who was to be the negotiator, and who actually proceeded to the Gulf of Finland. But the[Pg 158] Emperor of Russia, acting under the influence or fear of Buonaparte, made the shutting of their ports against the English a preliminary concession before he would either grant a passport to the negotiator, or a cessation of hostilities. The attempt, which was indeed intended to gain time until the war between Austria and France was decided, totally failed, and nothing was left but to prosecute the war.

An attack on Åland, which had been meditated, was abandoned; and the plan now was to cut off a division of the Russian army, which had advanced to Urneo, in West Bothnia, for which extraordinary exertions were made. In the meantime the Russians, amounting to 11,000, with 84 gun-boats, had, in dread of the approach of the Admiral's fleet, fortified themselves strongly in Åland, which could not safely be approached by ships of the line.

Prince William of Orange, who had brought the intelligence from Colberg of the fate of Major Schill, and been hospitably received on board the Victory, wrote the following letter, which Sir James received off Carlscrona:

Monsieur,—Arrivé à Gothenburg, je m'empresse de remercier votre excellence de toutes ses bontés pour nous, et des facilités qu'elle nous a procurées pour continuer notre voyage. Je prends la liberté de joindre ici une lettre à M. Schroeder qui en renferme une autre à ma mere à Berlin; priant votre excellence de la faire parvenir à Colberg si[Pg 159] elle en a occasion, je lui en aurai une grande obligation. Je suis avec une parfaite consideration,

De votre excellence, le très devoué Serviteur,

Guillaume, Prince d'Orange.

Gothenburg, 6 Mai 1809.
Monsieur le Vice-amiral Saumarez.

The Victory left Carlscrona on the 20th June, having ten sail of the line in company, and proceeded to the Gulf of Finland, in order to blockade the Russian fleet at Cronstadt. Sir James chose a position at the small island of Nargue, near Revel, as the most convenient place: on passing Landsort, at the entrance of Stockholm, he sent the Rose with letters, and to receive any which Mr. Foster might have for him.

The coronation of the new King was to take place on the 29th June. It was the intention of his Majesty to invite Sir James to assist at that ceremony, had he anchored at Dalerö, the anchorage for ships of the line near the entrance of the river of Stockholm; but the Admiral had proceeded without anchoring, and on that day was off Hang Udd.

On arriving at Nargue Island, which had a Russian governor, but no fortification, Sir James found a large quantity of wood prepared for transportation to Revel, which was very acceptable to the fleet; but the water was not plentiful. The inhabitants of this island, who are fishermen and speak the Swedish language, are inoffensive[Pg 160] people; and the Admiral, on his arrival, signified that it was not his intention to molest them.

A correspondence was established between Mr. Foster and Sir James by means of small vessels; and he was informed from time to time of the progress of the negotiation with Russia, which was now going on, but which, as we have already stated, entirely failed. It was proposed that Baron Platen, one of the most talented men in Sweden, should proceed to the Victory to confer with Sir James, and decide on some plan of co-operation against the common enemy. Having received this proposal from Mr. Foster, Sir James sent the Rose to convey the Baron to the Victory.

Captain Mansell, of the Rose, was the bearer of the following letter:

Victory, off Nargue Island, 11th July 1809.


By the Mary cutter, which arrived yesterday, I received your letters of the 2nd and 4th inst. marked private and confidential; and I return you thanks for the important communication you have been pleased to make to me of the rejection by Russia of the proposed armistice with Sweden, and of the intended plan of the latter to transport a force to Wasa to co-operate with General Wrede, and endeavour to force the Russian troops in West Bothnia to capitulate, which I sincerely hope will be attended with the desired success.

I have not seen Baron Platen yet; but, should he put in execution his intention of running to the squadron, I shall readily attend to any proposal he makes to me respecting[Pg 161] a small part of the force under my orders being stationed off the Åland Haf, although the services in the Gulf of Finland occupy all the forces I can muster.

I remember to have had the honour of making the Baron's acquaintance, who appeared to me to be a clever and well-informed man. Be pleased to convey to him the information that, should he honour me with a visit, Captain Mansell has my directions to receive him on board, and that I shall be happy to concert with him any measures he may suggest for the defence of Sweden.

You will be happy to hear of the success that has attended a detachment of this fleet under the command of Captain Martin, of the Implacable, in an attack on the Russian flotilla, by the boats of that ship, the Bellerophon, Melpomene, and Prometheus, under the orders of Lieutenant Hawkey, who succeeded in boarding and carrying off six gun-boats, besides one sunk, and a convoy of vessels, fourteen in number, which were also captured, laden with stores and provisions for the Russian troops. It is with concern I have now to state the loss of Lieutenant Hawkey, who conducted that attack; and Lieutenant Stirling of the Prometheus, Mr. Mountenay, a midshipman, besides ten men killed and thirty-seven wounded.

The Implacable and Melpomene had, previously to this, nearly captured a large Russian frigate off Högland; but she escaped to Aspö, and, with four other ships of war, proceeded between the rocks to Frederickshamn. On the following day they captured nine vessels laden with naval stores belonging to the Emperor, which they fell in with in Narva Bay.

I anchored here last Sunday in expectation of procuring a supply of wood and water; of the former I found an abundance, which had been ready prepared for the Emperor's[Pg 162] troops at Revel, but was disappointed in being able to obtain but a small supply of water.

I am in anxious expectation of receiving favourable accounts from the armies. If Napoleon can but be defeated, the cause of Sweden will be materially benefited, and the Emperor of Russia kept within proper bounds.

I am, &c.

James Saumarez.

One of the first acts of his Swedish Majesty after his coronation was to put into execution the intention of the former sovereign, by conferring on Sir James the Grand Cross of the honourable military order of the Sword for his past meritorious service. This was communicated to him in the handsomest manner; but the honour could not of course be accepted without the permission of his own sovereign, which, on application, was most graciously accorded.

The news of the triumph of the British squadron over the Russian flotilla occasioned great rejoicing in Sweden, and inspired the nation with new spirit and courage: congratulations were sent from all quarters. Baron Platen sailed in the Rose from Dalerö on the 20th, and came on board the Victory on the morning of the 23rd under a salute of seven guns.

In a letter to Mr. Foster, Sir James says:

"Since the attack upon the gun-boats, not a vessel has been seen upon the coast; and I hope effectually to prevent any supplies getting to the Russian[Pg 163] troops in Finland excepting over land, which must tend to retard all their operations exceedingly.

"I have had this day (23rd July) a great deal of conversation with Baron Platen upon the actual state of affairs, and I feel perfectly disposed to give every assistance which the too limited means (owing to the various services required for my whole force) will admit. He informs me that the service is not likely to be of any continuance.

"I have ordered the Tribune, with the Rose and a gun-brig, to cruise in Åland Haf. The Tribune is a frigate of the largest class, which I can ill spare at present. Captain Reynolds will be directed to communicate with you, and I request you will furnish him with all such information as he may occasionally profit from.

"Baron Platen has brought me the decorations of Commander of the Grand Cross of the order of the Sword, a mark of distinction I by no means considered my services to have merited; and I feel sensibly this instance of attention from the King of Sweden. The choice fixed upon for successor to the throne is likely to lead to important events, as it is probable the Prince of Holstein will have influence enough in Norway to attach that country to Sweden, which would make up for the loss of Finland."

[Pg 164]



Blockade of the Russian fleet.—Swedes' expedition, under Admiral Puké 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.

The part of the campaign which depended on Sir James Saumarez, namely, the blockade of the Russian fleet, which consisted of thirteen sail of the line,—the protection of the coast of Sweden and of the trade of both nations,—was completely successful. Not so, however, the efforts of the Swedes: they indeed fought most bravely; and, if any fault could be found with their general, it was that he was too courageous. The force of the Russians was too great for their Swedish opponents; and every attempt made by the latter was in vain, notwithstanding Baron Platen's wishes were acceded to. Admiral Puké, on receiving his appointment, left Carlscrona in a ship of the line, and, arriving off Dalerö, wrote the following letter to Sir James:[Pg 165]

His Majesty's ship Adolf Frederick,
off Dalerö, 2d Aug. 1809.


I do myself the honour to inform your excellency that his Swedish Majesty has most graciously been pleased to intrust to me the command of his sea and land forces, who are to act on the coasts and in the Gulf of Bothnia against the common enemy of our respective nations; and I beg to assure your excellency that nothing could afford me more pleasure than receiving your commands, if ever I can be of the smallest use to your excellency. I submit to your excellency's own judgment if it should not be useful to the common service to have respective officers, who are acquainted with the languages, placed aside of the commanders-in-chief. For my part, I should find it very agreeable if Lieutenant John Ross, who served last year on board the Swedish Admiral's ship, would be permitted to resume the same employment on board of this. He is so well acquainted with the Swedish language and customs, that I flatter myself he would have no objection to this proposition.

If winds permit, I intend to depart to-morrow with two ships, one frigate, six galleys, fifty gun-boats, and some transports, carrying 7,000 troops, and proceed up the Gulf in order to debark this army on a proper place, so that they might fall in the back and destroy the enemy's troops, who at present occupy the province of West Bothnia. Vice-admiral Baron Cederstrom will remain with one hundred gun-boats and some galleys to protect the Swedish coasts opposite Åland. The Camilla frigate is left cruising in the Åland Haf, to act in conjunction with the British force stationed there by the orders of your excellency.

I should think it very useful for the service we are upon if a British frigate and some sloops of war could be stationed at Revel, in order to prevent the enemy from sending any reinforcement to Åland; and also if your excellency[Pg 166] should proceed further up in the Gulf of Finland with the British squadron, and make such demonstrations as would contribute to keep the enemy in uncertainty of an attack on either of the coasts in the Gulf. He would thereby be obliged to disperse his forces, which in the present case would be of the greatest utility for the service.

I submit all this to your excellency's invaluable judgment, and have the honour to remain, with the highest esteem and consideration,

Your excellency's
Most obedient and most humble servant,

John af Puké, Admiral.

His Excellency Vice-admiral Saumarez,
Commander-in-chief, &c.

The Swedish councillor of state, Baron Platen, who had been sent to communicate with Sir James, remained only a few days on board the Victory, when it was agreed that the Swedish flotilla should be reinforced, so that there could be no doubt left of its superiority to that of the Russians. The following correspondence will demonstrate the amicable feeling produced by the interview.

Stockholm, 2d August 1809.


It is with great pleasure I have the honour to return my best thanks for all the numberless civilities bestowed on me during my last visit. I should be vain were I to consider these as paid to me personally; they were given in honour of my King and country, so powerfully protected by your excellency, for which his Majesty has ordered me to express his highest gratitude.[Pg 167] In reference to the operations in the common cause, as well as to some other matters, I have written to Captain Hope, to whom I sent several charts and drawings. I hope he will make out what I mean, though I cannot express my ideas as I wish in a foreign language.

Part of the expedition to the north is already under way, and the rest will to-morrow set off under the command of Admiral Puké. May the Almighty crown the undertaking with success, and soon send them back again! Perhaps something might be effected, before bad weather puts a stop to operations, with the small fleet. Till now, every event seems favourable to the expedition; and the knowledge of the chief makes me confident that what is possible will be done. How much will Sweden be indebted to your excellency for having so powerfully promoted the business by combined measures.

I rejoice in the opportunity this gives me to assure your excellency of the high esteem wherewith I am for ever,

Sir, &c. &c. &c.

B.V. Platen.

P.S.—It is by the order of his Majesty that I have the honour to announce to your excellency that Lieutenant Ross has been created a Knight of the order of the Sword, on the particular request of the Admiral Puké.

Victory, Gulf of Finland, 12th August 1809.


With the greatest pleasure I have received the letter your excellency has done me the honour to write, and I have to express my sincerest regret at not having been able to enjoy for a longer time your valuable company on board the Victory; but when I considered how precious every hour must be to your excellency at this important epoch,[Pg 168] I could not prevail upon myself to offer the least delay to your departure, however happy it would have made me to postpone it for some days longer.

I hope soon to have the satisfaction to be informed that the expedition has been crowned with the most complete success; and should the proposed enterprise against Åland be adopted, I trust to be able to reinforce the detachment under the orders of Captain Reynolds, and contribute, as far as my means will admit, to an expedition that has the security of Sweden for its object.

I return you my sincere thanks for the charts you have been pleased to send to Captain Hope, and for the attention your excellency has bestowed on the welfare of the squadron in directing that the ships may be supplied with fresh provisions from the island of Gothland, should they require it.

The unremitted marks of friendship and regard shown to the fleet under my command in the different ports in Sweden have excited my highest gratitude, and I have not failed to express the same to my government.

I shall take the earliest opportunity to signify to Mr. Ross, who is at this time absent from the squadron on a particular service, the distinguished mark of favour his Majesty the King of Sweden has been pleased to confer upon him for his services.

I have the honour to be, &c. &c.

James Saumarez.[10]

His Excellency Baron de Platen, Stockholm.

[Pg 169]

The following letters from Sir James to Mr. Foster are given to show the progress of affairs at that time, and how dependent the Swedes were on the issue of undertakings in other quarters.

Victory, Gulf of Finland, 19th August 1809.


I received by the Mary your letter of the 10th, with the papers to the 1st instant from London. I hope the next accounts will convey the pleasing information of the complete success of the expedition under Lord Chatham, and that so powerful a blow in favour of the common cause will induce Austria to renew hostilities against Bonaparte. I shall also be happy to hear that the expedition to the Gulf of Bothnia has been terminated by the expulsion of the whole of the Russian force from Sweden. Nothing has transpired in these quarters since my last letter. From what I am informed, great discontent prevails in Russia at the conduct of Bonaparte with respect to Poland.

In my last letter from England, orders have been given for the vessels that conveyed the Spanish troops from the Danish islands to Gottenburg to be restored. This looks as if peace was about to take place between Sweden and Denmark; and I am informed by Mr. Merry it was a condition demanded by Denmark previously to preliminaries being entered into.

I have, &c. &c. &c.

James Saumarez.

Augt. Foster, Esq.
&c. &c. &c.

Victory, Gulf of Finland, 22nd August 1809.


I return you many thanks for the letters and despatches you have been pleased to forward to me, and which, with your letter of the 19th, reached me yesterday evening. It[Pg 170] becomes of so great importance that I should receive my several communications as speedily as possible, that I lose no time in hastening the cutter back to Dalarö, and I shall be obliged to you to transmit my letters for England that I send by her.

I have this morning received a letter from Berlin, dated the 30th ultimo, from a person who had recently left the Austrian head-quarters. It was expected that hostilities would be renewed at the expiration of the armistice, and measures were ordered to be in readiness for that purpose. I also understand that information of this being the intention of the Emperor has been transmitted to government, and also to Lord Chatham, commanding the expedition. I therefore hope we may yet see a favourable termination of the campaign.

With respect to Sweden, I am really anxious to be informed what are the intentions of ministers relative to that country, as also if there exists any probability of their concluding peace with Russia and the other powers.

On receiving the account of the insurrection on the Earthholmes, I sent immediate orders to his Majesty's ships that might be at Carlscrona to use their endeavours to take possession of them, and I have detached a ship of the line upon that service. It is an island of great importance, and I sincerely hope it will fall into our hands. I also hope to receive accounts of the expedition from Sweden having succeeded to its fullest extent, and request you will be pleased to transmit to me the earliest accounts that may arrive. I am rather surprised at not having heard from the detachment under Captain Reynolds.

I have, &c. &c. &c.

James Saumarez.

Augt. Foster, Esq.
&c. &c. &c.

Admiral Puké, having been reinforced by the[Pg 171] Tribune, Rose, Hearty, and some gun-boats, proceeded safely to his destination at West Bothnia. In every attack on the Russian flotilla he had the advantage, and he eventually landed General Count Wachtmeister with 7,000 troops near Umeö. It appears that this general did not take up the best position for preventing the escape of the Russian general Kaminski, who, notwithstanding the bravery of the Swedish troops in the battle of Umeö, succeeded in effecting a retreat on a reinforcement, and at length compelled the Swedish general to propose an armistice on the terms dictated by Russia. This led to a peace, by which Russia obtained the whole of Finland and West Bothnia as far as Umeö.

The terms would no doubt have been still worse had not the English fleet remained in the Gulf, for there was nothing else to prevent the Russians from taking possession of Stockholm. It will be manifest, from the following correspondence, that, under circumstances of heavy responsibility, Sir James remained to a very late period for the defence of Sweden and the protection of the commerce of that country and England.

Stockholm, 2d Sept. 1809.


I had the honour to receive yesterday your excellency's letter, dated 28th ultimo. Despatches and letters have been lying here for you some days: in those which came yesterday you will find the official account of the surrender of Flushing. I am sorry not to be able to give you such satisfactory intelligence as I could wish of the operations[Pg 172] of the Swedes, who have failed to cut off the retreat of the enemy, although they have gained considerable advantages. I enclose to you the Swedish Gazette, as I think you have an officer on board who can read it.

I delivered to Baron Platen your message. He is, however, quite despondent as to the possibility now of an attack upon Åland. Count ——, it really appears, might have taken a stronger position, so as to prevent the escape of Kaminski. The time that will now be lost in his pursuit being fatal, renders future operations equally so.

The Baron means to write to you, and I shall detain the King's messenger Meares; whom, not having anybody else to send, I am obliged to despatch to Dalerö until this letter is ready.

The negotiation at Frederickshamn, as far as I can understand, is proceeding slowly. The demands of Russia continue peremptory, as before, upon the cessions required. On the article respecting us, some propositions of a modifying nature have been offered by the Russians; such as though the general preliminary for excluding from Swedish ports is still insisted on, that colonial goods, salt, and raw produce of various kinds, amounting to almost every thing that is not actually prohibited by the Swedish laws, shall be considered as exceptions. But on the question of the ships, and particularly of the ships of war of Great Britain, I am afraid, in the present state of things, that Sweden will not obtain a peace without a stipulation for their exclusion.

Under this conviction I have addressed myself to Baron Engerstrom, representing to him the danger that his Majesty's ships might be exposed to in keeping the seas at the perilous season of the year if no ports were open to them; and I requested of him to give me early intelligence if Sweden were disposed to consent to this article, and as to when it might be put into execution. The Swedish minister gave me the most solemn assurances that he would not fail[Pg 173] to communicate to me full time enough if this country should be obliged to enter into such stipulations; and observed that, although necessity might oblige them to act against their wishes, yet that they would always be honest. He likewise remarked that preliminary conditions were not at any rate to be put in force until the peace was ratified; and that, before that event should take place, arrangements were to be entered into relative to the ceded provinces, which would necessarily cause a very considerable delay; so that he would not look upon a final arrangement with Russia as being likely to ensue before the winter should set in, and render navigation impracticable.

The Swedish minister has frequently remarked to me, that, even if a treaty should be signed by which Sweden should bind herself to exclude us from her ports, such an obligation could only extend to those that were capable of defence; but that there were innumerable inlets and harbours which were not commanded by cannon, and which of course could not be included. One of the propositions to be put forward will, I have reason to think, be grounded upon this state of the coasts; and it will be offered to close the large harbours, mentioning them by name, leaving the rest open. I should be glad to know what you think of these speculations of the Swedish cabinet on so interesting a point. If the Earthholmes are taken, I suppose you will not be very anxious about them. I forward to you two German papers from Mr. Fenwick, and two of Pelletier's papers, which you may like to see, and have an occasion to forward to Mr. Drusina. The Hamburg Gazette says the armistice is broken in Germany, and there are reports of two battles.

I have, &c. &c. &c.

Augt. Foster.

Vice-admiral Sir James Saumarez. [Pg 174]

Victory, Gulf of Finland, 8th Sept. 1809.


I had the honour to receive yesterday your letter of the 2nd inst., and I am truly concerned to find the success of the Swedish expedition has been so very inadequate to what was reasonably to have been expected, and that the delay in endeavouring to cut off the retreat of the Russian troops will render it too late to make the intended attack upon Åland. The terms persisted in by Russia appear to be very severe; but I apprehend Sweden will be obliged to make the most of them, from the slender means she has of defending herself during the winter months, when the country will be exposed to danger of an invasion. It is a fortunate circumstance that the navigation has been so long protracted as to enable the trade to proceed hitherto out of the Baltic, and as considerable delay must still take place before the peace can be ratified, it will afford sufficient time for the ships that are loading in the Russian ports to assemble at Carlscrona before the exclusion can be enforced. The period agreed upon for the last convoy to sail from Carlscrona was fixed to the 15th Nov., till which time, at least, we must hope the ports will be open, both to ships of war and the trade. Should you think it advisable, it might be mentioned to the Swedish minister (Baron Engerstrom) that if the stipulation of exclusion is absolutely insisted upon, that it is hoped that it will not be put in force till the winter is too far advanced to admit any ships sailing from the ports of Russia.

It will be proper to know from Baron Engerstrom if the notice that was signified in the spring, of not allowing more than five or six pendants at a time at Carlscrona or other ports in Sweden, is insisted upon at present, in order that I may regulate myself accordingly. At the same time, as tempestuous weather in going down the Baltic, or other[Pg 175] circumstances, may render it advisable for the whole squadron to enter Carlscrona, I would wish orders to be given for that purpose, and that the pilots may be directed to go out to ships making the signal. I shall be obliged to you to let me know by the return of this vessel the determination of the Swedish government upon this point.

It is my wish to remain in the Gulf of Finland as long as is possible, consistent with the safety of his Majesty's ships; but as the equinoctial gales may soon be expected, and as it will become indispensable to withdraw the ships, particularly those stationed in Makelato Bay, I could wish to be informed whether it becomes of importance to Sweden for the squadron to remain in this sea any longer, and which I also request you will let me know, by the return of the vessel that conveys this, with as little delay as possible. I forward some papers I yesterday received from Pillau; you will find the armistice has been prolonged for a fortnight with fourteen days' warning, but it was expected hostilities would re-commence the middle of the present month.

I sincerely congratulate you upon the surrender of Flushing. I hope we shall soon hear that the other objects of the expedition have been accomplished, particularly as far as regards the capture or destruction of the enemy's ships in the Scheldt. I delivered to Captain Ross the Cross of the Order of the Sword, which was enclosed to me by Count de Mörner. He will be happy to avail himself of this signal mark of distinction, on receiving his Majesty's gracious permission. Permit me to request your having the goodness to forward the enclosed to Count Mörner.

I have, &c. &c. &c.

James Saumarez.

Augt. Foster, Esq.
&c. &c. &c. [Pg 176]

Stockholm, Sept. 7th, 1809.


Your private letter of the 5th inst. has reached me with extraordinary despatch. By this time you will, I trust, have had mine of the 2nd: I have nothing to add to the statement I then made to you of the appearance of affairs in Sweden, except that an armistice has been offered by General Kaminski, which will probably be accepted. Platen is in great despondency, and says he never will be sanguine about anything again. The generals have certainly not done as they might. As far as the council and the navy were concerned, all was well combined, but the army was ill posted, and Wachtmeister has shown that he has but a very poor head. Unless the Russians are disposed to change sides, the negotiation at Frederickshamn is not likely to be benefited by these events. You must calculate on this country yielding, if the ministers are pressed strongly, to the terms demanded. I see no means they have of resisting. It is a mutilated land, and the resources that remain are ill managed, while the debt is rapidly increasing.

Baron de Platen desires me to say he will send you the plan you demanded of St. Petersburg by the next opportunity; it is copying, and not quite ready. I have the honour to send to you a couple of the last French papers. Lieut. Allen delivered to me your letter, and I shall endeavour to get him a seat in the messengers' carriage to-morrow night.

I should be glad to know when you think of quitting the Gulf with the fleet, and how soon the navigation becomes dangerous. If an armistice between the hostile armies in West Bothnia takes place, in all probability the squadron in Åland's Haf will be no longer necessary there.

I have, &c. &c. &c.

Augt. Foster.

To Vice-admiral Sir James Saumarez.[Pg 177]

P.S.—I send you a paper of the 26th, a day later than any here, which I have got from the packets having been detained a day in Harwich. I hope you will be able to send the French papers to Mr. Drusina. I beg to submit the suggestion of the advantage of as frequent a return of the despatch vessel to Dalero, at this period, as is convenient to you.

The armistice between France and Austria appears to have been prolonged, some say twenty-eight days, some eighteen: it is said proposals have been made to us. I can think of none that would be palatable.

Stockholm, 15th Sept. 1809.


On the day before yesterday Mr. Reynolds delivered to me your letters of the 8th and 9th inst, as also a despatch containing three letters addressed to me from Pillau, for which I beg to return you my best thanks. I had already taken occasion, some days back, to prepare Baron d'Engeström for the moment, when, in consequence of the lateness of the season, a formal notification might be made to him, on your part, of the impossibility of your much longer keeping the seas you are in; and I lost no time in soliciting an interview of the Swedish Minister for the purpose of obtaining from him the information which you desire in your letter above mentioned.

I stated to his excellency that you were anxious to know whether it became of importance to Sweden that the squadron under your orders should remain in the sea in which it is any time longer. I laid stress upon the circumstance that the only object which you now had in remaining in the Gulf of Finland was the defence of Sweden, and to cover the expedition in West Bothnia; and I did not fail to remark upon the season being advanced, and the dangers to which his Majesty's ships might be exposed by a longer[Pg 178] stay in the Gulf of Finland, though at the same time I thought it advisable to dwell upon the sincere wish which I was sure you had to do everything in your power, short of endangering the safety of the fleet, that might be judged desirable by the Swedish Government for the further defence of this country.

Baron d'Engeström asked to consult his sovereign upon the answer to be made, and yesterday he appointed an hour in the evening for me to wait upon him. I had previously written to him in the morning a letter of which the enclosed is a copy, from the warmth with which he assured me that at all events, and under whatever stipulations, peace might be made between Sweden and her enemies. His Majesty's ships under your command, to whose efforts Sweden was so much indebted, should have no reason to dread the result, or your excellency have cause to be anxious, lest an article for the exclusion of British ships from the Swedish ports should be suddenly enforced, even if Sweden were finally to be under the necessity of agreeing to a treaty containing it. I was afraid that the Swedish Minister might labour under the mistake of imagining that a suspicion of such a state of things being likely to take place, might possibly be connected with your desire to withdraw from the Gulf of Finland at the present moment, and I therefore judged it advisable, without making an official note of it, to write the letter, a copy of which I enclose, and which I hope will meet with your approbation.

On seeing the minister I found he was fully sensible of the motives by which you were guided; he thanked you for the assistance you had given to Sweden on the part of his sovereign, who, he said, was penetrated with the delicacy of your conduct to this country. If you could not keep[Pg 179] your station in the narrow Gulf of Finland, he hoped that you might be able to remain at least in the Baltic, until the accounts from Fredericksham should become more decided; and as to the squadron in Åland Haf, he observed, that Admiral Puké was soon expected, when the service of that squadron would no longer be wanted; he wished it to remain till then, which would be a few days longer.

As I had demanded, in conformity with your desire, if the regulation of last spring, which limited the number of his Majesty's pendants that might be in Carlscrona or other ports of Sweden, was still to be considered in force, he answered me, that with respect to the ships under your orders, any number of them, or all, might enter into Carlscrona or any other port, and procure what they stood in need of; and he offered to give me a written engagement to that effect, which I expressed a desire to have, and it is for that I wait in order to despatch the Hero.

I have, &c. &c. &c.

Augt. Foster.

To Vice-admiral Sir James Saumarez,
&c. &c. &c.

Stockholm, Sept. 16th, 1809.


Lieut. Reynolds having been so long detained, without entering into particulars, I shall only mention that peace is on the point of being signed between Sweden and Russia; an officer arrived yesterday from Fredericksham, and on the 18th or 20th the signature is expected. The exclusion of British ships and merchandise is one of the articles; but those under your command, and the merchant ships now in the Baltic or at Gottenburg, M. d'Engeström has assured me, are to be excepted from its operations.

I have the honour to enclose to you a copy of the note which I have this moment received from the Swedish[Pg 180] minister, in answer to the propositions you had made. The minister remarked to me, that though he should not mention it in the note, yet that he trusted you, in using the ports of Sweden, would be cautious of committing the government of Sweden. Both he and Baron Platen are desirous that you should still keep the sea near the Gulf of Finland, in order to influence their negotiation; certain British goods are still to be admitted. I shall despatch a messenger to Captain Reynolds the moment Admiral Puké arrives.

I have, &c. &c. &c.

Augt. Foster.

To Vice-admiral Sir James Saumarez,
&c. &c. &c.

Victory, off Nargen, 19th Sept. 1809.


I had the honour yesterday evening to receive your letters of the 15th and 16th inst., enclosing the copy of one you had written to Baron d'Engeström, and of that minister's answer to your letter. It affords me great satisfaction to find that the Swedish government have so readily acquiesced in the representation you were pleased to make to them of the expediency of the squadron leaving the Gulf of Finland, in consequence of the present advanced state of the season, and also of the ready concurrence with the proposal that all the squadron, if required, should be admitted into the ports of Sweden, without adverting to the number that had been previously limited.

I request you will do me the honour to assure Baron d'Engeström, that I shall not withdraw the squadron from this station until the weather renders it indispensable for the safety of his Majesty's ships, and that, on my leaving the Gulf, I shall order a detachment to cruise between Daggerort and the Swedish coast, should it be further required. It is a fortunate circumstance that the preliminaries[Pg 181] of peace were so far advanced as not to give a pretext for their being hastened by the squadron having been withdrawn from the station, and it affords me singular satisfaction to find that the government appears so strongly impressed with the measures that have been pursued for the welfare of Sweden.

I shall detach vessels as frequently as possible to maintain the correspondence, and I beg to express my sincere acknowledgments for the punctuality you have shown in permitting me to hear from you by all opportunities that have offered.

I have, &c. &c. &c.

James Saumarez.

To Augt. Foster, Esq.
&c. &c. &c.

Stockholm, 1st Oct. 1809.


According to your desire I shall not detain Lieut. Reynolds. I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt from him of your letters of the 24th, 25th, 26th, and 28th ult., with their enclosures, which I have delivered as directed. I have given in charge to him your letters which came by the last two mails, bringing our accounts from London to the 19th ult. Another may be expected to-morrow or next day, as the wind was fair at Gottenburg; and according to your wish I shall forward whatever may come to your address by express to Carlscrona. I return you my best thanks for the newspapers and letter from Koningsburg and Pillau, which you were so good as to forward to me.

I have now received the assurances of the Swedish government that British ships of every kind will be received into the Swedish ports until after the 12th of November, the time fixed by them for putting into execution the stipulations contained in the 3rd article of their treaty of peace with Russia. This article does not at all refer to the departure[Pg 182] from Swedish ports of British ships, and therefore I conclude, as I am indeed warranted by the declarations of the ministry here, that the sailing of convoys from Sweden may continue up to any period of the year, but the English flag may not enter any port of the country after the 12th of November; you will, of course, be best able to judge how this will agree with your arrangements.

I had several days ago spoken to Admiral Stedinck about orders to the pilots to be ready at Carlscrona in case you should want any number of them, and I received his assurances that every necessary direction should be instantly given to that effect. The Mercurius has sailed with the Duke of Brunswick's chests. I understand a Swedish brig is off Dalerö to give convoy. The Hearty is not, owing to contrary winds. I shall inquire about the periods when convoys will be required, and let you know the results.

I have, &c. &c. &c.

Augt. Foster.

To Vice-admiral Sir James Saumarez.

Stockholm, 1st October 1809.


[Pg 183]I think it right you should be informed that the opposition here have raised some outcry on the invitation made to you to enter Carlscrona. I can perceive even that some of the members of the government do not wish your stay there to be long, for fear of their being committed, and I really believe, that provisions were collected for you in Gothland, in order to diminish the necessity of it: finding such to be the case, I intimated to Baron Platen, whose frankness and openness on all occasions I have the greatest cause to commend, that I would write to you, and that I was sure you would find means to avoid entering Carlscrona at all, if you heard that any ill-founded and unjust suspicions were entertained of your intentions, on which he conjured me not to do so; that on the contrary he wished you would come in, and that it would have the happiest effect if you were to stay there with a fleet a few days, and prove to the ill-minded that British honour was to be trusted.

I cannot but think so too, and therefore I was very glad to find that it was your intention to take at least some ships into Carlscrona. The fleet, of transports coming from England with the Russian seamen, described in the German papers as a formidable fleet, has also created some alarm among the ill-informed. Harassed and torn as this country has been, it is perhaps excusable that the people should be fearful and nervous to excess, as to the situation of the small remaining resources which they possess.

I hope to have the honour to hear from you from Carlscrona, and that your excellency has had everything you wished there.

I have, &c. &c. &c.

Augt. Foster.

To Vice-admiral Sir James Saumarez, Bart. K.B.

During the time the fleet lay at Nargen roads the ships were not molested by the Russians, who had marched 15,000 men to defend Revel. The poor inhabitants on the island were liberally paid for everything that was supplied to the fleet; some valuable trees were cut down, and the empty transports which had brought out stores and provisions were partly loaded with them.

On the 28th of September it became no longer necessary to blockade the Russians, who had now concluded an armistice; Denmark had done the[Pg 184] same. Sir James, therefore, proceeded to Carlscrona with three sail of the line only, the remaining ships being distributed in other places where anchorage could be found.

During the summer, Rear-admirals Bertie and Manley Dixon had been stationed to protect convoys, the former in the Sound, and the latter in the Belt. Nothing of any consequence happened except the capture of eighty men, who were surprised by a powerful body of Danes on the small island of Romsöe, where they had been to procure wood and water. The Minx gun-brig was taken off the coast of Norway. Anholt was placed in a state of defence, and garrisoned by a detachment of marines from England.

Having entered the harbour on the 5th October, Sir James wrote the following letter to Mr. Foster, which states a circumstance of rather a delicate nature, wherein he displayed both tact and prudence.

Victory, at Carlscrona, 7th October 1809.


I have the honour to acquaint you of my arrival at Carlscrona on Wednesday evening, with three sail of the line only, having thought it most advisable to order the others to the Belt and off Gottenburg. The permission to admit any number of ships was received by Vice-admiral Baron Palmquist as I was coming into the harbour, and every possible attention has been manifested by the Vice-admiral and all the other Swedish officers towards the squadron, which I cannot represent in too strong terms.[Pg 185] A circumstance of rather an untoward nature has occurred, with which I think right to make you acquainted, in case any explanation should be required. I was informed that with the order to admit any number of his Majesty's ships, Admiral Palmquist was also directed to invite me and the captains of the squadron to dinner on this day, being the anniversary of the King's birth-day. Knowing that government have not as yet acknowledged the present sovereign, it would have been improper for me to appear on so public an occasion: I accepted the invitation, intending to excuse myself as I might find necessary. On Baron Palmquist returning my visit yesterday he noticed it was the anniversary of his sovereign's birth-day. I have this morning sent him a note to excuse myself the honour of dining with him, on the footing that my official duties would not permit it.

Admiral Pickmore, Captain Hope, and all the captains dine with the Baron. I did not think it proper to prevent this, after the great attention paid upon every occasion to the officers of the squadron. The motive I have before mentioned must prevent the salutes that usually take place on similar occasions.

I enclose to you a despatch which I received from Pillau yesterday, and a German paper I received by the same opportunity. It was generally believed that hostilities would be renewed on the 5th inst.

The period of my remaining here is not yet fixed, but I shall have the pleasure of informing you the moment I can decide.

I have, &c. &c. &c.

James Saumarez.

To Augt. Foster, Esq.
&c. &c. &c.

[Pg 186] Nothing could surpass the kindness of the Swedes at Carlscrona, and Sir James left them after a stay of a few weeks with sincere regret. He proceeded through the Belt, affording protection to a large convoy, and visiting the different stations. The order not to admit any British ships of war or merchantmen after the 15th of November, was dated on the 25th October; but it was considered on both sides as a matter of form, it being notorious that the Swedes could not prevent English men-of-war from entering any of their ports if they chose; but out of delicacy to them, and that there should be no cause of complaint for not fulfilling the treaty, Sir James did not occupy any of their fortified harbours, and as little as he could the others. He touched at Gottenburg to give his final directions about the convoys, and at Christmas arrived and struck his flag in the Downs. Having received the high approbation of the Lords of the Admiralty for his judicious conduct under such extraordinary circumstances, and for the protection so successfully afforded to the trade, he returned to his native island, to enjoy for a few months the society of his family and friends.

[Pg 187]



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.

We must now revert to the state of affairs in the central continent of Europe, on which the fate of Sweden so materially depended. Buonaparte, having withdrawn the greatest part of his troops from Spain, had planted his eagles at Vienna, and, after the battles of Aspern and Wagram, had obliged the Emperor of Austria to sue for peace, which was concluded on the 14th October 1809; by this the whole sea-coast had been ceded to France, and Prussia was recompensed for her neutrality by the cession of a part of Galicia; while[Pg 188] Joseph Buonaparte was declared King of Spain, and acknowledged as such by the Emperor of Austria, who consented to the union of his daughter, the Arch-duchess Maria Louisa, with Buonaparte, as soon as he had divorced his wife Josephine, an event which took place in December.

Meanwhile, the ruler of France had proclaimed himself mediator of Switzerland, and declared that every port in Europe should be shut against British commerce. Early in 1810 he began to unfold his designs upon Holland, which, he gradually occupied and annexed to France, obliging his brother Louis to resign his throne. He subsequently took possession of the mouths of the Scheldt, the Meuse, the Rhine, the Weser, and the Elbe. Rome, Holland, Valais, and the Hanse Towns, with a population of thirty-eight millions, were added to France; while Hanover was given to the kingdom of Westphalia.

That the politics of Sweden should have undergone a change in consequence of the extraordinary success of Buonaparte, can hardly excite surprise; but another untoward circumstance took place, which seemed to militate against a continuation of an alliance with Great Britain, namely, the untimely death of the Danish prince, who had been unanimously elected to succeed Charles XIII, and who, having acted in Sweden as Crown Prince since the 21st of January 1810, had endeared himself to the nation as well by his amiable disposition[Pg 189] and the admirable regulations he had made, as by his conduct in Norway, while opposed to the Swedes, particularly in forbearing to attack them from Norway, where he commanded a Danish army during the revolution. It had been falsely and unfortunately circulated that he had been poisoned by Count Fersen, then Riks-Marskall (prime minister) of Sweden. On the arrival of the remains of the deceased prince at Stockholm, the Count fell a victim to the indignation of the lawless and infuriated populace. The following is an authentic account of that lamentable event.

21st June 1810.

All Stockholm was in an uproar! At noon, the corpse of the lamented Crown Prince entered the city by Horngatan, escorted by only a company of dragoons, and preceded by several members of the court, and finally by Riks-Marskall Fersen, Fabian Fersen, and Doctor Rossi. On entering the street, the mob began to insult the Riks-Marskall, and soon after to throw stones and other missiles. When the windows of his carriage were broken, the mob gave a loud hurrah. The people now followed the carriage into Nygatan, opposite the inn called Bergstratska Husset, into which Count Fersen jumped, already covered with blood, but followed by the infuriated mob, who first tore off his order riband and threw it into the street; then, having stripped him naked, they threw him out of the window into the street. Here the mob proceeded to beat him with clubs, and trample on him, until death put an end to his sufferings. In the mean time, General-adjutant Silversparre and Aldercreuts rode through the street, and[Pg 190] in vain talked to the people; they had no troops, and the assistance came too late, being only in time to preserve the lifeless body being torn to pieces.

The fury of the mob being now satiated, and the soldiers having fired a few shots among them, they began to disperse, but not before many were killed and wounded, and it is believed that the remainder of the suite which attended the lamented Prince at his death would have shared the same fate as Count Fersen, had the military not arrived in time to save them. The body of Count Fersen was with difficulty carried off on a sledge. In the night the windows of Count Ugglas and several others were broken, and it was not until some days that tranquillity was restored.

Buonaparte had now sent peremptory orders to enforce his commands that the port of Sweden should be shut against British commerce, but it was evident that these orders could never be carried into effect, unless they had a superiority by sea. The principal ports might, indeed, be nominally shut, but Sweden could neither prevent the British navy from entering her numerous unfortified harbours by her own army, or support troops sufficient for the purpose of defending them. It was therefore only necessary to make a show of compliance, in order to satisfy the despotic ruler of France, who had absurdly declared Great Britain to be in a state of blockade.

It was under these delicate circumstances that Sir James resumed the command of his Majesty's[Pg 191] fleet in the Baltic, and having rehoisted his flag on board the Victory on the 11th March 1810, he proceeded to Hawke Roads, which is the outer roadstead to Gottenburg, and was followed by Rear-admirals Reynolds, Dixon, and Morris. Before leaving England, Sir James had communicated with Lord Mulgrave, then first Lord of the Admiralty, on the relative situation of the two countries; and as it was the wish of his Majesty's ministers to avoid, as long as possible, committing any hostile act against Sweden, they confided in the tact of Sir James to pursue the course which he judged most advantageous to the interests of commerce, and at the same time to uphold the honour and naval superiority of the nation. The Swedes had already a sufficient knowledge of the British Admiral's high character, and our government could not have afforded them a more decisive assurance of their desire to remain on amicable terms with them than by sending Sir James with extraordinary powers to act according to circumstances. On the one hand, they knew that in all matters of a delicate nature they could place the utmost reliance on his word, and that they were treating with a person quite incapable of deception or intrigue; on the other, they were aware that if coercion became necessary, he would act with decision, and baffle every evasive manœuvre.

The following correspondence with Mr. Foster[Pg 192] and others, with some occasional remarks, will convey to the reader some idea of the important and difficult situation in which Sir James was placed.

Victory, Hawke Road, 21st May 1810.


I have the honour to acquaint your excellency of my arrival here with part of the squadron under my command, and of my intention to proceed into the Baltic as soon as the wind will permit. It will afford me the highest satisfaction to renew a correspondence from whence I derived such great benefit during the time I was employed upon this station last year; and although the unfortunate exclusion of British ships from the ports of Sweden will render it more difficult at this time, I hope it will not be the means of entirely depriving me of the honour of hearing from your excellency. As I propose calling off Ystad, on my getting into the Baltic, I shall detach a vessel to that place for any letters you may have done me the honour to write.

I have, &c.

James Saumarez.

The Victory arrived off Ystad on the 6th June, when Sir James received the following letter from Mr. Foster:

Stockholm, 25th May 1810.


I hasten to reply to the letter which you have done me the honour to write from Gottenburg, and to return you my best thanks for the communication of your arrival off the Swedish coast. It is with great pleasure that I renew a correspondence which, as you are kind enough to say, was of benefit to you last year, and from which I[Pg 193] certainly derived most important assistance, and the highest satisfaction.

I am afraid, however, that the opportunities of writing to you will be few. Ystad, from its neighbourhood to Denmark, seems to be too much exposed to observation, for this government to wink at the correspondence passing that way. It has been hinted to me, however, that it might proceed without difficulty through the small town of Sölvitzborg on the frontiers of Blekingen and of Scania, and I write to Mr. Fenwick by this day's post to recommend his making arrangements for the purpose.

Mr. Consul Smith has transmitted to me a copy of an article in your printed instructions, which he says you allowed him to make known at Gothenburg, and which, if acted upon, will strike at the coasting trade of this country in a manner that I scarcely think was contemplated by Government. Indeed it appears to me, particularly when I consider the previous notice that has regularly been given in Sweden, where measures have been taken against his Majesty's interests, that it will be liable to the imputation of unfairness, if acted upon immediately, vast quantities of Swedish shipping, which was sent to sea in the confidence of security from capture, being exposed to its operation. I was in hopes that I should have heard from you on the subject, and I cannot but flatter myself that his Majesty's Government will have forwarded to me explanations respecting it.

The Danes have annoyed the Swedish trade so considerably, that I understand strong representations will be made on the subject at Copenhagen, and possibly some retaliation may take place from this side of the water, if they do not cease their proceedings.

I trust you will have the goodness to let me know if it is your intention to order the capture of Swedish ships[Pg 194] of all kinds which shall be proceeding from one port of Sweden to another.

I am, &c.

A. Foster.

Sir James had made known at Gothenburg the article in his instructions referred to in Mr. Foster's letter, for the express purpose of giving the Swedes timely notice of the step Government had found it necessary to take; and being still in hopes that the order would be rescinded, he had not given directions to his squadron to act upon it, although it appeared from a communication of the same date from Mr. Foster that his recall was required by Buonaparte, and that his stay at Stockholm could not exceed six weeks.

The following is Sir James's reply to Mr. Foster:

Victory, off Ystad, 7th June 1810.


I had the honour to receive both your letters, dated 25th ult., on my arrival at this place yesterday evening, and I request you will accept my best thanks for them. I was much surprised, before I sailed from Hawke Road, to find from Mr. Consul Smith that you had not received from Government any communication relative to the restrictions upon the trade of Sweden, having taken it for granted, at the time I received instructions upon the subject, that intimation of it would have been made to you by the same conveyance. I trust that you have before this received explanations respecting it, and that they will prove as satisfactory to the government of Sweden as the circumstances will admit.

I have hitherto acted on that part of my instructions[Pg 195] with the utmost moderation; but, in conformity to these instructions, it will not be in my power to desist in future from allowing the cruisers to make captures of such Swedish vessels as they fall in with, who are not provided with licences from England. The depredations by the Danish armed vessels have determined me to give orders to his Majesty's ships stationed off Kioge Bay not to admit any vessels to enter the Sound, which I have signified to our Government.

The place you have been pleased to point out for the correspondence in future is perfectly well adapted, more particularly from its vicinity to Hano Bay, the rendezvous which I have appointed for the trade, and where I propose to proceed on receiving despatches which I daily expect from Gothenburg: I shall therefore hope to have the honour of hearing from you next by way of Sölvitzborg.

The information I have received from Mr. Fenwick of the lamented death of the Crown Prince must have thrown this Government under very considerable embarrassment, and possibly may lead to some change in the politics of the country.

I request you will favour me with any information you receive relative to the Russian fleet, as it will in a great degree decide the time when I may proceed towards the Gulf of Finland. It is with great satisfaction I have the honour to inform you that the numerous convoys that have sailed from Gothenburg have all cleared the Belt without loss, and the two homeward bound convoys are, I hope, by this time far on their way. The one under protection of the Edgar and Saturn was off Romsöe last Sunday, and the one which sailed more recently was yesterday off Dars Head.

I hope the time is yet very distant, but I trust you will[Pg 196] be pleased to signify to me the proposed period of your leaving Sweden. I will give directions for one of the ships under my orders to convey you and suite to Yarmouth, or any other port you prefer.

I have, &c.

James Saumarez.

The Author, then lieutenant of the Victory, was despatched to Sölvitzborg, where he made arrangements with the authorities for the correspondence between the Admiral and Mr. Foster, and also for a supply of fresh beef and vegetables for the fleet, which occupied the Roads of Hano, where the convoys assembled, the merchants having built store-houses on the island of Hano, previously inhabited by a few fishermen. The convoys at anchor there consisted of ships under various neutral flags, which had licences from Government. These entered St. Petersburg and every port in the Baltic with British manufactures or colonial produce, returning with timber, hemp, tallow, &c. the produce of Russia and Prussia. As soon as they had accumulated to about 500, and the wind came fair, they sailed from Hano under convoy to the Belt, where a strong force was always kept to protect them from the attacks of the Danish gun-boats. The tyrannical decrees of Buonaparte were thus rendered null and void on this part of the Continent.

The following letter from Mr. Foster to Sir James exhibits in strong terms the alarm excited[Pg 197] in Sweden by the communication of the Admiral, while it points but the excellent policy of his not acting under the circumstances upon his instructions.

Stockholm, 31st May 1810.


The situation in which this country has been placed by the publication of your orders to capture Swedish ships employed in the coasting trade, has created such an alarm that even private individuals are afraid to take their passage in the packet boats, between Sweden and Stralsund, without they have letters from me. Among the rest a M. de Bon, a merchant of my acquaintance, who is shortly to proceed to Germany in order to be married to a young lady, the sister of a friend of mine, has urged me to ask if your excellency means to include the Stralsund packet-boat in your general orders for capture, or if he can safely hire a vessel to take him there. Any information you can give me on the matter will be very agreeable to me. Swedish subjects are of course free from being made prisoners, as we are not declared at war with Sweden; but my assertion of the fact is not considered here of sufficient satisfaction without a particular letter to the commanders of his Majesty's ships.

I beg you will let me know if you can allow a young Swedish officer to serve on board any of the ships under your command, as application has been made to me on the subject.

Admiral Puké is directing all his attention to the defence of Carlscrona; sailors and soldiers have been sent there from hence, the latter belonging to the Queen's German regiment, in some transports, which it is feared may be captured by some of your cruisers. I had the[Pg 198] honour to write to you twice by the medium of this Government.

Mr. Jacobi will deliver to you a letter which Mr. Millander, a merchant of this place, has requested I would forward to your excellency.

I have the honour to be, &c.

A. Foster.

The letter conveyed by Mr. Jacobi respected his making a settlement in Gothland, which might be of use to the Admiral. This, however, became unnecessary, in consequence of the occupation of Hano, where supplies were plentifully obtained. Hano was also more convenient for convoys, and for communicating with England, &c.

Several letters passed between the Admiral and Mr. Foster on the same subject; at length Rear-admiral Krusenstjerna was deputed to communicate verbally what could not be committed to paper. This officer pointed out the harbour of Matwick, only a few leagues to the northward of Hano, as the situation most suitable for the collection of convoys under the circumstances. This, being surveyed, was found to be safe and capacious. It was formed by a number of small islands, while it was impossible for any power, unless with a superior naval force, to molest the ships in the harbour.

On the 6th of June directions to rescind the orders to capture Swedish ships were given. These reached Sir James in a week, after which things[Pg 199] went on smoothly and agreeably, no captures of any consequence having been made during the time the order was in force. Buonaparte, finding that his views of restricting British commerce were frustrated, insisted that the British minister should quit Stockholm; and Mr. Foster, having only forty hours' notice, arrived at Gothenburg on the 14th June. Here he wrote the following letters to Sir James, which will show the state of affairs, and the propriety of the steps the Admiral had hitherto taken.

Gothenburg, 14th June 1810.


I should have written from Stockholm to inform you of my being obliged to quit that capital; but the Swedish minister's letters to me, conveying the wish of the Government that I should depart, gave me but forty hours to prepare myself, and I had scarcely time for any other occupation than that of getting ready during so short a period. I left Stockholm on the morning of the 8th inst. and arrived at Gothenburg this evening. I am anxiously waiting to receive orders from home, in order to take my departure.

The Swedish Government has now notified in London its intention to shut the ports of Sweden to his Majesty's packet-boats; therefore, I expect from day to day that an order will arrive for their exclusion. Captain Honeyman of his Majesty's ship Ardent has been kind enough to offer me a passage on board the Chanticleer, if she can be detained a few days, and I shall very willingly and thankfully accept of the offer.

Baron d'Engeström considered my departure, and the[Pg 200] cessation of the correspondence between England and Sweden, as a necessary consequence of the treaties of peace lately concluded by this country, and therefore as not likely to produce any change in the present relations with Great Britain; indeed they have both long been announced as being to take place. The communication, therefore, will still be winked at, as I have reason to believe, by the Swedish Government, but it must be done privately.

I have, &c. &c.

Augt. Foster.

The next letter was dated Gothenburg, 16th June; and after reiterating the above and acknowledging a despatch from Sir James, he adds,—

I am sincerely rejoiced at the modifications which have been made of your original instructions how to act towards the Swedes, and I have great satisfaction in telling you that, even previously to my leaving Stockholm, your conversation with Mr. Brinkman had been reported to the Swedish minister, and the language you had held, and your moderate conduct subsequently, in regard to their trade, had made upon his mind the most favourable impressions. Both he and the rest of the cabinet of Stockholm seemed convinced that you had executed your orders with as much mildness and consideration for this country as could possibly be expected.

The following is Sir James's reply to these letters:

Victory, Hano Bay, 20th June 1810.


I have received the honour of your letters dated the 14th and 16th inst., informing me of your sudden departure[Pg 201] from Stockholm, of which I had been previously apprised by Admiral Krusenstjerna. However deeply I must regret being deprived at this crisis of your important communications, I hope your arrival in England will be the means of furnishing Government with information relative to the state of Sweden, of which they could not otherwise have been in possession.

The instructions I have received, containing the modifications upon the coasting trade of this country, have given me infinite satisfaction; and I am happy to find, from what you have been pleased to mention on the subject, that the moderation with which I have acted has been highly approved of by the Swedish Government.

Having written my last courier to Captain Honeyman, senior officer in Hawke Road, directing him to appropriate one of the ships upon the station to convey you and your suite to Yarmouth, or any other port you desired, I trust he will be able to accommodate you to your satisfaction.

With my best wishes for your speedy and safe passage.

I have, &c. &c.

James Saumarez.

To his Excellency Augt. Foster,
&c. &c. &c.

The following farewell letter, written by Mr. Foster to Sir James on leaving Sweden, gives a more decided opinion on the state of Sweden than has hitherto been offered. It concludes the correspondence.

The politics of Sweden have necessarily undergone a great change. The death of the Crown Prince has completed the disasters of the nation, and such is its present[Pg 202] state of weakness and discouragement, that I cannot consider the Swedes as having any longer a shadow of independence. Their exposed local situation, will prevent their taking any offensive measures of hostility against us; the futility of any effort of the sort prevents its being exacted from them by Buonaparte; but I have recommended strongly to the merchants here, who have British property, to place it under neutral cover, and by no means to expose themselves in any way through a want of proper precaution. I have had the satisfaction to find they have attended to my advice.

Give me leave, sir, to repeat my best thanks for the communications you continued to honour me with during my residence in Sweden, and to assure you that I am, with great regard and esteem,

Sir, &c. &c.

A. Foster.

To his Excellency Admiral Sir James Saumarez.

Some false reports having been circulated that the cruisers under the orders of Sir James had captured several Swedish ships bound to England and other ports, from which the English flag was not excluded, the Right Hon. Charles Yorke, then first Lord of the Admiralty, wrote a private letter to Sir James accompanying the modification of the order already alluded to, and directing that any captures made under its operation might be restored. To which communication Sir James made the following reply:[Pg 203]

Victory, 20th June 1810.


I have this morning received the honour of your letter on the subject of the trade of Sweden, in which you are pleased to observe that the Marquess of Wellesley had communicated to you that he had received information that some of the ships under my orders have detained and captured some ships from a Swedish port destined to the port of London, to which I beg leave to state that the information must have been incorrect, the detention or capture of any vessel of that description being contrary to the orders I have given to the cruisers on this station, and no report having been made to me of any having been detained. I beg further to observe, that to every application made to me by any of the merchants, I gave my decided opinion that Swedish ships trading to England, or to those countries where Swedish produce was admitted, were not liable to detention, and that they would not be molested by the cruisers under my orders. Knowing the extreme distress that Sweden must suffer from the interruption of her coasting trade, I acted upon the instructions I received with the utmost possible moderation, consistent with the tenor of those instructions. They were not acted upon until I had an opportunity of communicating with the Consul at Gothenburg, and some of the principal merchants, who appeared perfectly satisfied with the indulgence I allowed to the trade of Sweden under the existing circumstances, and the same has been signified to me by the Swedish Government, who have expressed themselves satisfied with the mildness and consideration with which I have uniformly acted to this country. I shall therefore feel most sensibly, if any unfavourable cases have been made by misstatements upon any part of my conduct since I came upon this station.[Pg 204] There being no immediate appearance of the Russian fleet putting to sea, I propose to remain here some time longer, for the greater facility of communicating with England, as well as for accelerating the trade from this rendezvous.

I have the honour to be, with great regard, &c.

James Saumarez.

To the Right Hon. C. Yorke.

Everything being now adjusted to the satisfaction of both Governments, the trade was carried on by means of licences to the ports in Russia and Prussia, while the Swedish coasters and packets met with no interruption. The Swedes began to look for a successor to the throne to fill the place of the late lamented Crown Prince. The candidates were the King of Denmark, the Prince of Oldenburg, and the French General Bernadotte, the Prince of Ponte Corvo. The last was proposed by Count Mörner, to whom he had shown much kindness when a prisoner. In order to secure his election he sent over a large sum of money by means of the Swedish Stralsund packets, which performed their voyage unmolested; and the first intimation of this event was obtained by the author about the 15th of August, when he met the waggons loaded with specie on their route from Ystad to Stockholm. Soon after which he was informed that Admiral Krusenstjerna was to arrive at Carlsham on the 20th, and he accordingly met him with Sir James's assurance,[Pg 205] that he would be received on board the Victory and permitted to depart after having made his communication to the Admiral.

This will be best explained by Sir James's public despatches to the first Lord of the Admiralty, of which the following is a copy.

Victory, Hano Bay, 21st Aug. 1810.


Admiral Krusenstjerna has done me the honour this morning to come on board the Victory, with a verbal communication which he has been charged to make to me from the King of Sweden relative to the election of an heir apparent to the throne. After expressing to me the regard and confidence of his Swedish Majesty for my services to Sweden, Admiral Krusenstjerna signified to me that he was desired by his Swedish Majesty to communicate to me his Swedish Majesty's intentions to maintain the harmony and good understanding that subsist between the respective nations, in which the interest of Sweden is so particularly concerned. In order to the maintenance of that harmony, as well as for the existence of Sweden, it was indispensable that the Government should be headed by a person who was independent, and not liable to submit to the will of others. He was directed to inform me that of the four persons who have been proposed to be successor to the throne of Sweden, the Prince of Augustenburg had declined the acceptance of that distinction, in favour of his Majesty the King of Denmark, but who, from political circumstances, was not considered eligible. The Prince of Oldenburg had also been mentioned, but insuperable objections also arose to prevent the choice fixing upon his Serene Highness. The Prince of Ponte Corvo, through the medium of the Swedish minister at Paris, had offered[Pg 206] himself a candidate for the high situation, and was the person recommended by the King of Sweden to the Diet now assembled at Orebro, to be successor to the late Crown Prince.

Admiral Krusenstjerna was also instructed to signify to me that the Prince of Ponte Corvo, in offering himself for this distinction, had professed his firm intentions, as far as depended on him, to maintain the relative situations between England and Sweden, and that his proposing himself was without the participation of Buonaparte. He further mentioned that he was of all others the person who would have the firmness to oppose the intentions of Buonaparte, or his agents and ministers, in the intercourse with other countries.

The Admiral was further directed to signify to me that the King of Sweden earnestly hoped that this communication would be acceptable to the King, my august sovereign, and that it would be considered as an additional proof of his earnest wish to preserve the harmony and friendship that have so long subsisted between the two nations.

I requested that Admiral Krusenstjerna would put down in writing the substance of the communication he had to make to me, which he declined, being contrary to the instructions he had received. I have, however, stated the particulars of the whole communication, as nearly as I possibly can from memory.

I have the honour to be, &c.

James Saumarez.

To the Right Hon. C. Yorke,
&c. &c. &c.

The Swedish Government, aware that objections would probably be made by the English ministers to the election of a French general in the service[Pg 207] of Buonaparte, as successor to the throne of Sweden, had so managed that the above communication should not be made until too late for any remonstrance. The following message from the King to the Diet had been delivered, and their decision was expected before Admiral Krusenstjerna could return to Orebro.

"His Royal Majesty Charles XIII, King of Sweden, &c. Our most gracious proposition and message to the Diet now assembled respecting the election of a successor to the Crown of Sweden," &c.

Orebro, 10th August 1810.

At this crisis the States of Sweden having met, and since the last Diet more than three months having elapsed, every good Swede must have reflected on his situation. After great misfortunes and innumerable troubles, the kingdom appeared to be a little calm. Three treaties of peace which have taken place have unfortunately diminished the territory of Sweden. A noble Prince at the side of the throne, by his virtue, talents, and abilities, promised new regulations and orders, which the King and the people had already forwarded. His manner of appointing the army gives an excellent proof of the good choice made by our native country; but a great national misfortune occurred, by which our hopes were destroyed.

His Royal Majesty dwelt on that hope, and overwhelmed with grief, his sorrowful heart beheld Sweden's last misfortune. The Crown Prince, Carl August, is no more, and a cloud has overcast the joyful and bright days of our native country. With a heart rent by sorrow and affliction, his Royal Majesty has assembled the Diet, on[Pg 208] this occasion to repair the loss. His Royal Majesty sees on our side endless disputes and disturbances throughout the realm. His Royal Majesty's years are far advanced, and he wishes to employ his last days for his people's repose. He will be happy when he has seen his people unanimous, and their swords sheathed, and the laws and constitution kept sacred; then he will end his days happily, and at the present time will give them a proof of his love for his native country by proposing a successor to the throne, whose talents, virtues, and abilities are universally admitted.

With the utmost tenderness for the welfare of his subjects, he now recommends a prompt decision on the choice of an heir to the Crown, and offers to the voice of his people, as his choice, the Prince of Ponte Corvo, whose name is brightened by his glorious deeds and laurels of honour, and whose unparalleled services deservedly obtained them. His renowned knowledge as a statesman has astonished every body; his mildness and compassion, even to an enemy, have gained him the respect and affection of all ranks. Separated from the misfortunes which have hitherto attended Swedish warriors, we must judge of the Prince with the most tender sensations, and with them he will use the sword. Indeed, all the circumstances have convinced his Royal Majesty, and having maturely considered the nation's public and secret affairs, his Royal Majesty recommends him to be elected as his heir.[11]

According to this recommendation the Prince of Ponte Corvo was elected on the 21st of August, the very day on which the communication was made by Admiral Krusenstjerna, but, as it was reported, not without opposition by the[Pg 209] friends of the son of the deposed King, Gustavus the IVth, Adolphus, and it was even said that had the numbers on each side been counted the majority would have been in his favour.

After Sir James had sent off the despatch of the 21st, he had another conference with the Swedish Admiral, who then returned with Sir James's assurance that the conference should be faithfully reported. On the 22nd he sent off another courier with a despatch, of which the following is an extract:

Victory, Hano Bay, 22nd August 1810.


Having heard the various motives assigned by Admiral Krusenstjerna for the election of the Prince of Ponte Corvo to be the successor to the Crown of Sweden, I observed to him that I extremely regretted that this communication had not been made in time to enable me to obtain the sentiments of my Government, previous to the election taking place. That it was probable the election of a general officer in the service of the most inveterate enemy that England had to oppose would be highly obnoxious to his Majesty's Government, and I earnestly urged him to entreat the King of Sweden to delay the election until I could receive a return to the letters I would immediately send to England by an express. I repeatedly pressed this point to Admiral Krusenstjerna, who intimated that the election would be decided before he could return to Orebro, as it was understood to take place during the present week.

On his observing that Prince Ponte Corvo was the only one of the four candidates that could be accepted by[Pg 210] Sweden, and requesting me who, in my opinion, ought to be elected, I immediately replied that I considered the son of the deposed monarch, Gustavus Adolphus, was the person who naturally presented himself as the most proper successor to the throne of Sweden, and that the age and state of health of the reigning monarch led to the expectation that he would live until the Prince became of age. He stated that the King at this time required the aid and assistance of a military character, possessed of strength of mind and energy to govern the country, and who also would have the spirit to maintain her in her foreign relations, and in resisting the power of Russia and France, which he said Bernadotte had faithfully promised to do.

Admiral Krusenstjerna expressed repeatedly his confidence in my reporting the communication in the most favourable terms to his Majesty's ministers, adding, that on this would greatly depend the light in which it would be considered. I uniformly replied, that was not in my power, but that his Swedish Majesty might be assured of my transmitting a faithful report of what he had done me the honour to communicate.

In a Postscript to this letter, which was addressed to the Right Hon. Charles Yorke, he says,—

[Pg 211]

Lieutenant Ross of the Victory, who went on shore with the Swedish Admiral, was requested to inform me, that he had omitted to mention, that the Prince of Ponte Corvo had promised to invest all the property he possessed, said to amount to eight millions sterling, in Sweden, as a pledge of his intentions to maintain the country in her foreign relations.

The next packet from England brought the accounts of Sir James's promotion to the rank of Vice-admiral of the Red, and also the confirmation of several appointments made by the Admiral on the station. We may now mention the answer given by Mr. Yorke to the two last despatches, although dated on the 18th of September. After acknowledging the receipt of them, communicating the election of Bernadotte as successor to the Crown of Sweden, he says,—

These interesting papers, which confirmed accounts that had been previously received of this extraordinary transaction, have been communicated to the King's ministers. I have at present only to express to you my sense of the prudent and proper manner in which you appear to have conducted yourself on this occasion in your conversation with the Swedish Admiral, and to acquaint you that the earnest desire entertained by his Majesty's Government of preserving the relations of peace and amity with Sweden, as long as possible, remains unalterable.

About this time two untoward events took place, which threatened a commencement of hostilities between the two nations. The one was the attack of the Hero's boats on a Danish privateer lying in the Swedish harbour of Marstrand, in which a midshipman was killed, and others wounded; and the second was the conduct of Captain Acklom, of the Ranger, in spiking the guns of the Swedish armed schooner Celeritas.[Pg 212] On these, however, concessions were made on both sides; Captain Newman, of the Hero, was wrong in attacking an enemy's vessel under the guns of a Swedish fortress without apprising the Governor of his intention, while the Governor was no less so in giving protection to an enemy's vessel which came there with the avowed intention of attacking the Hero's convoy. Capt. Acklom, though not justified in his proceeding, did it under the impression that she was affording protection to an illicit trade, and to French vessels fitting in neutral ports; while on the other hand it was notorious that such trade was carried on.

To return to the correspondence. The following letter was received from the Swedish Admiral, dated

Orebro, 29th August 1810.


I have the honour to inform your excellency of my arrival at this town on the 24th, and that on the following day I was introduced to his Majesty, who graciously permitted me to relate the contents of the conference with your excellency, which I had the honour to hold on the 21st. His Majesty, of whose particular regard I have been intrusted verbally to assure your excellency, expressed to me even on this occasion his most sincere wishes and his firm resolution to maintain, as much as will depend on him, the moderate system and good harmony which still subsist between our respective nations.

The election of a successor to the Swedish throne was executed on the 21st, three days before my return.[Pg 213] I do myself the honour to enclose for your excellency's information a true copy of the act of election. The obligation therein prescribed the successor to turn over to the religion of this country, and to resign all his foreign titles and employments, will, I hope, serve as a proof to convince your excellency that no French interest can have directed or imposed upon the free choice of the representatives of the nation. The Prince of Ponte Corvo is really; in my private opinion, the only man who, at the head of the Swedish Government, will be capable to oppose the despotic influence of Buonaparte and his agents, to maintain the independence, and promote the true interest of the Swedish nation.

I have, &c. &c. &c

M.P. Krusenstjerna.

The rest of the correspondence related to the adjustment of the differences before mentioned. Sir James was satisfied with the declaration on the part of the Swedish Government that no protection should be afforded to Danish and French armed vessels, while on the other hand the Swedes were satisfied with Sir James's disapproval of the conduct of Captains Newman and Acklom, requesting that no further notice might be taken of these officers. In like manner were adjusted the differences occasioned by the legal capture of a vessel loaded with drugs and medicines, and another with oil and tallow from St. Petersburg; the former had been sent to England, but was released, the latter was given up on security being pledged for her cargo, which was eventually repurchased[Pg 214] by the owners: on all these occasions the author was employed confidentially.

Sir James now rendered a great service by prevailing on Government to allow the trade of Sweden and Swedish Pomerania to remain unmolested, on condition that French armed vessels should not be fitted out at Stralsund and other ports on that coast; he also granted licences for ships to import medicines and grain into Sweden, without which the country must have been reduced to great misery.

The Russian fleet, which consisted of about eight sail of the line, made no disposition of moving from Cronstadt; it was therefore unnecessary for the fleet to proceed to the Gulf of Finland, and Sir James directed the whole of his attention to the protection of the commerce, in which he completely succeeded by the judicious arrangements and the disposition of the naval force under his command.

Towards the close of the season, and in compliance with the wishes of the Admiralty, he despatched three sail of the line to England, and left Hano Bay in the Victory on the 10th of October, only two days previously to the return of Admiral Krusenstjerna, a circumstance much regretted by both.

On arriving in the Belt, with a convoy of no less than a thousand sail homeward bound, it was intimated that the French Prince of Ponte Corvo, the[Pg 215] newly elected successor to the throne, was at Nyborg, and permission to cross the Belt was demanded and obtained from the Admiral for his yacht to pass unmolested, which he did on the 14th of October at the time this immense fleet was at anchor off Spröe. A scene so novel to a French general, and so interesting to his Royal Highness under the present circumstances, could not but make a deep impression, while it conveyed some idea of the wealth and power of the British nation; and he has subsequently told the author that it was the most beautiful and wonderful sight he had ever beheld, being one of which he had never formed an idea. The day was very fine; the fleet was anchored in a close compact body, with the Victory in the centre, bearing the Admiral's red flag at the fore, surrounded by six ships of the line, and six frigates and sloops disposed for the complete protection of the convoy.

The yacht, with a Swedish flag containing the Crown Prince, passing within a mile of the Victory, was distinctly seen, and escorted by some barges from the men-of-war until past the whole of the ships; the convoy soon after weighed anchor, when the Royal stranger had the pleasure of seeing them all under sail and proceeding to their destination, regardless of the enemies who occupied the adjacent shores.

The Victory arrived at Gothenburg on the[Pg 216] 18th October, and thence despatched the large convoy to England. On Sir James's arrival he received despatches informing him of the probability of the Franco-Dutch fleet at the Scheldt attempting, if they escaped the north sea fleet under Admiral Pellew, to force their way into the Sound; at the same time it was not yet certain that the Russian ships at Archangel would not try to effect a passage into the Baltic. Sir James therefore found it necessary to concentrate his force in Hawke Roads, and felt confident that he could still protect the trade, if not prevent the superior fleet from entering the Sound, to Copenhagen.

An event now took place which occasioned considerable embarrassment, namely the escape of the deposed King of Sweden, Gustavus IV, (Adolphus) who got on board the Tartarus, from Riga, and, after calling at Matvick, came through the Belt and arrived at Gothenburg before Sir James could have an answer from Government as to his permission to go to England, which was his avowed intention. Sir James, after paying his respects to him, complied with his urgent request to be sent in the Tartarus to England, and Sir James, without waiting longer, ordered Captain Mainwaring to take his Majesty to Yarmouth. The Swedes were much pleased at this, as they dreaded the consequences of his remaining long on board an[Pg 217] English ship of war at Gothenburg. His arrival and residence in England need not be further referred to: the anxiety of the Swedes on his account was soon relieved by the intelligence that it was not the intention of Government to interfere in his behalf, or with the internal Government of Sweden.

The new Crown Prince arrived safely at Stockholm, and contrary to the expectation of every officer on board the fleet, excepting Sir James, gave manifest proofs of his independence of French influence, and of his intentions to cultivate the friendship of Great Britain, although he could not be pleased that the Swedish Government Stock, into which he had placed so large a sum when at a high rate, fell again to par, as it was before. It would appear, however, that Buonaparte, who had given his sanction to the advancement of Bernadotte with great reluctance, was displeased at the beginning with his conduct, and he consequently gave an order for the confiscation of all British property in the Swedish harbours. Notwithstanding the earliest information of this decree was given by the Swedes, a considerable number of shipping and merchandise came under it, and Sir James having withdrawn his force from within the Baltic, owing to the lateness of the season, it was no longer in his power to rescue it in that quarter; but he had still a sufficient[Pg 218] force in Hawke Roads, and might, had he been compelled to retaliate, have totally destroyed the city of Gothenburg.

On this occasion the author was sent to communicate with Count Rosen, the worthy governor of that city, whose word and honour could be fully depended on, and he received his solemn assurances that it was not the intention of the Swedish Government to act upon the declaration which it had been forced to make, contrary to the wishes of the Swedish nation, and particularly offensive to the Crown Prince. He had represented to Government the incalculable injury which the British Admiral, with the force still at Hawke Roads, might do to the city and the commerce, and recommended that every facility should be given to the English merchants to cover and remove their property.

The following are the declarations and explanation of them given by Count Rosen.

1st. The Swedish Government declares war, it is true, against Great Britain; but it is not said that any measures of active hostility are to be had recourse to.

2nd. Should it be found that there are any British merchant ships in Swedish ports they are to be detained (no mention is made of confiscation or even sequestration). It will be recollected that the declaration of the 24th April prohibited the entry of British vessels, and we believe there are none in Swedish ports.

3rd. It is declared that there is a sufficient quantity of colonial produce now in Sweden for the internal consumption of the country; no more shall be allowed to be imported,[Pg 219] nor shall any be exported from Sweden to the Continent; but nothing is said of the trade with the islands or with America, nor is it stated that a fresh supply shall not be imported when the stock at present on hand is consumed, and we apprehend that it will be difficult to fix the precise quantity necessary for the home consumption, without leaving any surplus for exportation. It is understood that the communication with England will be continued, but it is necessary it should be done with caution, and the Government recommends it should be weekly, and that the mails and passengers should be landed at a place to be pointed out.

Count Rosen assured the Admiral, both through the author, Consul Smith, and others, that he was instructed by the Swedish Government to inform Sir James Saumarez that it was not their intention to follow up the declaration by any act of hostility.

Having received these assurances, Sir James, notwithstanding that the officers with whom he was surrounded were of a different opinion, conceived he could rely on the sincerity of the Swedes, and determined that, at all events, he would not commit the first hostile act. With his usual moderation he therefore remained quiet at anchor until he had given time to the merchants to do all that could be done, and then prepared to leave Sweden without firing a shot against her.

In the mean time Sir James received the approbation of Government for his judicious, firm, and moderate conduct, which was fully acknowledged[Pg 220] on all sides to have been hitherto the means of preserving peace and good will between Sweden and England. Mr. Yorke says in his last letter,—

I embrace this opportunity of expressing the high approbation of the Board, as well of the steps you have taken for receiving and sending to England the King of Sweden (Count Gottorp) as of those for collecting such a force in Hawke Roads for the purpose of checking the enemy.

Admiral Krusenstjerna concludes his farewell letter to Sir James in the following words:

I am perfectly persuaded that my Royal sovereign will enjoy the greatest satisfaction in accepting the assurances your excellency has been pleased to communicate, of his Britannic Majesty's intentions to preserve the harmony and good understanding that exist between both nations, intentions which, for the benefit and prosperity of both countries, it has been an object of his Swedish Majesty's earnest wishes and most studious endeavours to inspire in the British Government. The zealous support which your excellency has been pleased to give for promoting this great interest, entitles your excellency to the gratitude of the Swedish nation and the most distinguished regard from its sovereign. It is with sentiments of the most perfect esteem and consideration that I have the honour to be, &c.


Sir James had now received accounts from England that the enemy's fleet in Holland had moved up the Scheldt for the winter, and that[Pg 221] the Russians had abandoned their project of bringing their ships from Archangel. Peace had been made between Russia and the Porte, and their troops were withdrawing towards Poland. The Victory sailed from Gothenburg on the 28th of November, and on the 3rd December arrived safely in the Downs, whence Sir James proceeded to London to receive the thanks of his Majesty's ministers and the nation for his zealous, able, judicious, and temperate conduct, and for the important services he had rendered to his country during this eventful period.

[Pg 222]



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.

The beginning of the year 1811 was remarkable, as being the period at which the tyrant of France had arrived at the summit of his career. He had seized upon Hamburg and every other[Pg 223] place on the Continent, whence a seaman could be procured, and had declared that with one hundred and fifty sail of the line he would humble the navy of England and conquer a "Maritime Peace." The disasters of 1810, that ended with the loss of his Majesty's ship Minotaur, and a large convoy on the Haake Sands, and the illness of his Majesty George the Third, which terminated only with the life of that excellent Monarch, threw a damp on the spirits of the nation, and caused a suspension of all Royal functions until the appointment of the Regency, on which his Royal Highness the Prince of Wales took the reins of government at one of the most eventful periods that ever occurred in the history of the empire.

Sir James, immediately after his communications with the Admiralty and the Ministers, applied for and obtained leave of absence. His ship, the Victory, with seven sail of the line under Sir Joseph Yorke, was employed in transporting troops to Lisbon, which was surrounded by Massena's army; but she returned in time to receive Sir James's flag, which was hoisted on the 2nd of April.

The island of Anholt, which had been garrisoned by seamen and marines under the command of Captain James W. Maurice, of the Royal Navy, was attacked on the 23rd of March by a body of Danish troops, amounting to 1600 men; but they were so well received by the Governor and his[Pg 224] brave crew (for the island was on the establishment of a vessel of war) that they were forced to capitulate, with the loss of their leader Major Melstedt, two officers, and 500 of their people in killed, wounded, and prisoners; while Capt. Baker, of the Tartar, and Captain J.P. Stewart, of the Sheldrake, chased and took several of their gun-boats employed on that expedition.

Sir James had finished his three years in the Baltic, the time generally prescribed for an Admiral commanding-in-chief to remain on one station, and it was now his turn to have a command in the Mediterranean, which was considered more lucrative; but his conduct during his command in the Baltic had so completely gained the confidence and good-will of the Swedes, and it had now become of such importance to keep them, with such a general as Bernadotte at their head, on good terms, that he was requested to continue on that most important command, as the only chance of accomplishing the desirable object of a Northern coalition. Nothing could be more delicate or more difficult than the situation in which Sir James was now placed, for while it required firmness to uphold the dignity of the empire which he represented, as the only diplomatic functionary as well as commander-in-chief in the North, tact, wisdom, and forbearance were equally indispensable. These qualities Sir James possessed in a[Pg 225] superlative degree, and the Author, who from his knowledge of the Swedish language was employed confidentially on all the communications which subsequently took place, can testify that it is to the wise policy of the Admiral that the nation owes the success of these negociations. It is the opinion of Swedish and Russian diplomatists that had Sir James not been employed, the Northern Coalition, which was so fatal to the ambitious views of Buonaparte, never would have taken place; and for such a service no reward which it was in the power of Government to bestow on him would have been too great. There can be no doubt, had the lamented Perceval not met with an untimely end by the hand of an assassin, that he would at the close of 1812 have been rewarded by the Peerage which was so long unaccountably withheld.

Sir James was still in London when he received the statement of the discomfiture of the Danish attack on Anholt, a particular account of which may be seen in James's Naval History.

The following letters on this gallant affair, which have not yet been published, will be perused with interest.

London, 10th April 1811.

My dear Sir,

I most heartily congratulate you on the brilliant success of the brave garrison under your command in having repulsed[Pg 226] an attack of the enemy's select troops, consisting of as many thousands as the whole band opposed to them amounted to hundreds, and by the gallantry and intrepid conduct of your valiant heroes, succeeded in taking a greater number of prisoners than your whole collected force. Mr. Yorke having signified to me that he should write to you, I can only assure you that this gallant affair is the theme of every one's praise, and has excited the admiration of all, and I have no doubt but your services upon this occasion will be duly appreciated by the Admiralty. I have great pleasure in adding that Lieutenant Baker is made a commander, and that Captain Torrens and Lieut. Fisher are recommended to his Royal Highness the Prince Regent for Brevet rank.

I have, &c. with high regard,

James Saumarez.

Captain Maurice, Governor of Anholt.

In Captain Maurice's letter the Danish force was estimated at 4,000 men, but it does not appear that their numbers exceeded 3,000, including the crews of the gun-vessels. Sixteen hundred men only were landed, and the defence which these made was highly creditable to them. It has therefore been justly said, that "if the British gained honour by their victory, the Danes lost none by their defeat." The unexpected arrival of the Tartar frigate and Sheldrake sloop turned the scale; the Danish gun-boats being unable to cope with that naval force, abandoned the brave troops they had landed as soon as the frigate and sloop were discovered.[Pg 227] Before the fleet left England, Sir James received the following letter from his Serene Highness the Duke of Brunswick:

Great George Street, London, 6th April 1811.


I take the liberty to recommend to your kindness Major Nordenfeldt, who is gone to Germany on private affairs of my family. I imagine that the difficulties he has met with in returning to England are the cause of his having been more than six months absent. If circumstances should allow him to pass from Colberg to this country, I request your interference on his behalf, and that you would have the goodness to communicate to him the inclosed order of Government[12] for landing either at Portsmouth or Yarmouth.

I am, &c.

William, Duke of Brunswick.

To Vice-admiral Sir James Saumarez.

To this letter Sir James wrote the following answer:

St. James's Place, London, 6th April 1811.


I have received the honour of your Serene Highness's letter respecting Major Nordenfeldts, and inclosing one from Mr. Harrison of the Treasury, which I shall have great pleasure in delivering to Major Nordenfeldts, should I meet with him on his way from Colberg, and I shall also use my endeavours to facilitate his means of returning to England.

I have the honour to be,
With the highest respect, &c.

James Saumarez.

To his Serene Highness the Duke of Brunswick.

[Pg 228] The deposed King of Sweden, after having spent the winter in England, was embarked on board the Horatio to return to the Continent, but choosing to remain longer than necessary on board that ship, Sir James wrote instructions how to act respecting him; but he had fortunately disembarked before Sir James's arrival in the Baltic. He sailed from the Downs on the 28th of April and arrived at Gothenburg on the 2nd of May 1811, where he was received joyfully by the Swedes, although they could not publicly give vent to their feelings.

On Sir James's arrival he wrote the following letter to the Admiralty:

Victory, in Wingo Sound, 3rd May 1811.

I have the honour to acquaint you with my arrival here yesterday morning, after a short passage of only four days from the Downs. Admiral Reynolds arrived here with the detachment from Hosley Bay ten days before, and Admiral Dixon yesterday evening. The weather proving unfavourable, I have received no communication from Gothenburg, except by a letter from Mr. Consul Smith, informing me that, on his having signified my arrival to the Governor, he immediately despatched a courier to Stockholm, agreeably to orders he had received from thence, and that when the courier reached Stockholm, it would determine the commander-in-chief Count Essen's journey to Gothenburg, which had been postponed until the account of my arrival was received.

The Consul adds, that everything was very tranquil hitherto, and that I should see him soon on board the Victory.[Pg 229] I received letters from Mr. Fenwick informing me that the Danes were fitting out more than double the number of privateers and armed vessels than they did last year, intending, if possible, to obstruct the passage of the convoys through the Belt. This is a service that I fear will be attended with much hazard and difficulty, if the trade is carried on to any considerable extent.

The island of Anholt is threatened with a second attack, and will require stationary force for its protection.

I am, &c.

James Saumarez.

To the Right Hon. C. Yorke,
&c. &c. &c.

On the 4th of May Sir James received the alarming intelligence that the cargoes of both goods and colonial produce at Carlshamn, were ordered by the Governor of Carlscrona to be discharged and conveyed up the country. Admiral Puké had also ordered three of the largest merchant ships to be fitted as block ships for the additional defence of Carlshamn, which was considered as a bad omen.

No one, excepting Sir James, doubted that this was an act of hostility, and that a retaliation on our part would speedily take place. The Admiral, however, judged that it was only to keep quiet the French agents. He accordingly forbore to proceed to hostilities, and wrote the following letter to Mr. Yorke:

Victory, Wingo Sound, 11th May 1811.


I received two days ago the enclosed from Mr. Fenwick, informing me of the unloading of the cargoes on board[Pg 230] the neutral vessels at Carlshamn, and that the British goods and colonial produce had been conveyed up the country. Although Mr. Fenwick appears under very considerable alarm at the circumstance, I do not believe it to have been with any hostile views against our commerce, although it certainly requires explanation, and I have written to Mr. Smith upon the subject.

I expected to have received some communication from Stockholm, in consequence of the courier which was despatched upon my arrival; but nothing has as yet reached me. This is rather a dubious crisis, and I trust soon to be better informed of the sentiments of the Swedish Government towards us; at the same time, I have no reason to believe they are more hostile than last year.

I have the honour to be, &c.

Jas. Saumarez.

To the Right Hon. C. Yorke,
&c. &c. &c.

At the same time Sir James wrote the following letter to Rear-admiral Reynolds, who had been ordered to Hano, the place of rendezvous, which is only six leagues from Carlshamn.

Victory, in Wingo Sound, 11th May 1811.

My Dear Reynolds,

This will be delivered to you by Mr. Wilkinson, the gentleman I mentioned to you on leaving the Victory: he proposes establishing himself upon Hano Island for the furtherance of commercial arrangements, and as he is well known as a person of respectability, I beg leave to introduce him to your friendly offices.

I have not been able as yet to obtain any explanation of the extraordinary circumstance that has taken place at Carlshamn, and I am as yet uninformed whether it has[Pg 231] been a business of the merchants only, or by direction of the Government. As soon as I can receive any information, I shall write to you by a courier; in the mean time, we cannot act with too great moderation in the present state of affairs.

Believe me,
With the highest regard, &c. &c. &c.

James Saumarez.

To Rear-admiral Reynolds,
&c. &c. &c.

Meanwhile Sir James, instead of making any hostile demonstration, most readily complied with the request of Count Rosen, the Governor of Gothenburg, to grant him a licence for a vessel to sail to Lubeck for medicine and drugs for the use of Sweden, and enclosed him passports for Baron Stedinck for the purpose of allowing two vessels to proceed to St. Petersburg, to convey his excellency from thence to Stockholm. He concludes his letter thus: "I take this opportunity to express the satisfaction it affords me to have it in my power to comply with your wishes," &c. (14th May) making no mention of the affair at Carlshamn.

On the 17th Mr. Smith came on board the Victory, being desired by Count Rosen to inquire whether, in the event of differences between Sweden and Norway, the hostile measures of Sweden would be opposed by Sir James, to which he replied that he was not authorised to make any opposition to such an attack, but that he did not consider himself justified in supporting it without[Pg 232] having instructions from Government; at the same time Sir James received information by an officer who had been some time a prisoner at Christian Sand, representing that place as open to an attack in order to capture the merchant vessels therein, as well as the flotilla.

It was evident that the Swedes were very intent on the possession of Norway, either by negotiation or otherwise; but it was questionable whether such an addition would be advisable. Sir James was of opinion that if Norway could be rendered independent of Denmark or of any other country, it was not improbable that the inhabitants of that country would accede to proposals to that effect, if assured of the support of our Government and the advantage of our trade to them. Sir James both personally and by letter, previously to his coming on board, had expressed to Mr. Smith that the sequestration of the British property at Carlshamn had been by no means satisfactorily explained, and requested that an account of this apparently unjustifiable measure should be speedily given, assuring them that nothing short of the full restitution of the property would be accepted, and requiring that his strongest remonstrances should be transmitted to Stockholm without delay. The consequence was the appearance of the Baron Tawast, who came with a flag of truce ostensibly to treat for the exchange of prisoners, but virtually to explain the affair of Carlshamn. The usual articles for[Pg 233] the cartel were exchanged, ratified, and published, and need not be inserted here; but the true mission of the Swedish general will be best understood from the following letter, which Sir James wrote immediately after the conference.

Victory, in Wingo Sound, 23rd May 1811.


I request you will please to inform the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty that Major-General Baron Tawast, commander-in-chief of the Swedish forces at Gothenburg and the coast adjacent, in the absence of his excellency Count Essen, having yesterday come on board his Majesty's ship Victory, under a flag of truce, for the purpose of entering into an arrangement with me for the exchange of prisoners, and other points connected with the present state of affairs between our respective nations, informed me, that he was instructed to communicate to me, in the most confidential manner, that it was the earnest wish of the Swedish Government to keep up the most amicable terms with Great Britain; and that it was not intended, under any circumstances, to commit any acts of hostility whatever; that the supplies of water and fresh provisions for the use of the squadron should be facilitated both at Hano Bay and Gothenburg, for which purpose picquets should be withdrawn from the points the most convenient for these articles to be received; that the correspondence, both by post or by courier, should be continued unmolested; and that, in the event of any British subjects being made prisoners on any part of the coast, they would be immediately liberated, for which purpose the cartel intended to be ratified had been proposed. That the appearance of any hostile measure was only intended for[Pg 234] demonstration, and in order to elude the vigilance of French spies, who might be dispersed in the country.

With respect to the late transaction at Carlshamn in landing the cargoes from the Russian or Danish vessels, it was in retaliation for the Swedish property sequestered last year in the ports of those nations, but that the measure was not intended to operate against merchandise belonging to British merchants under any other flag, the whole of which would be secured, and the underwriters, secretement, indemnified for the value of the cargoes that were insured in England.

I strongly represented to Baron Tawast that the merchandise and colonial produce on board the Russian vessels were positively the property of British merchants trading to the Baltic, under licences from one of his Majesty's principal Secretaries of State, and which had been left in one of the ports of Sweden upon the strength of the declaration made to me in the month of November last year, that the property of British merchants would be secured to them, notwithstanding the imperious necessity which Sweden had been under of declaring war against England; and that his Majesty's Government would doubtless expect the same to be restored; or that the merchants would be indemnified for the full value of the cargoes landed from the vessels under the Prussian flag; and I requested him to put in writing what were the real intentions of the Swedish Government upon that subject; but this he positively declined, nor would he allow Mr. Consul Smith, who was present when this discussion took place, to insert any part of it in writing. I signified to Baron Tawast, for the information of the Swedish Government, that it was far from my intention to commit any act of hostility against Sweden, and that I was confident it was the wish of my Government to keep upon an[Pg 235] amicable footing as long as circumstances would possibly admit; that I received instructions to allow the coasting trade of Sweden to pass unmolested, and that I had reason to hope it might be extended to the ports in Swedish Pomerania, on which the Baron laid so great a stress, but that I was very apprehensive that the late measures adopted against the British property at Carlshamn, and the want of more satisfactory explanations than he appeared instructed to make to me upon that subject, could not fail being very ill received by my Government.

Baron Tawast was particularly solicitous that the communication which he made to me should be considered in the strictest confidence, and expressed his hopes that the whole of the conference would be kept a profound secret, which I assured him I should take particular care to signify in the statement I transmitted for the information of Government.

I have, &c. &c. &c.

Jas. Saumarez.

To J.W. Croker, Esq.
&c. &c. &c.

On the 24th May, the Author being sent confidentially by the Admiral to insist on some written document to explain the views of the Swedish Government in the sequestration of British property at Carlshamn, he obtained a promise, in presence of Mr. Smith, that the demand should be complied with after the arrival of the Stockholm post that evening; and accordingly on the following day the Baron Tawast transmitted what he termed the substance of his verbal communication with Admiral Saumarez.[Pg 236]

1. That the ships under Prussian colours loaded with colonial produce were detained as reprisals for Swedish ships detained and confiscated in Prussian ports.

2. That the same step has been taken with the Danish ships, in consequence of their having captured vessels belonging to Sweden.

3. That Sweden has been forced by imperious demands to confiscate all colonial produce found at Carlshamn under whatever flag, that the cargoes are put into safe stores, and that the ships are permitted to depart paying nothing, and that these steps are taken to avoid great inconvenience and to hope for better times.

4. We engage to indemnify all merchandise insured in England, therefore, only those merchants who have neglected to insure will lose.

5. Colonial produce belonging to Swedish subjects will not be seized or confiscated.

6. Ships having made false declarations, and found loaded with warlike stores, will be confiscated, as also in time of peace.

7. It is engaged to give every possible facility for watering and supplying the English fleet with provisions: the same shall be given to Admiral Reynolds at Hano.

The above explanations stating the substance of the conference, according to Baron Tawast, being by no means satisfactory to Sir James, and indeed at variance with what he had inferred from it, he wrote the following letter to Mr. Smith:

Victory, in Wingo Sound, 25th May 1811.


I have to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of this date, enclosing Baron Tawast's explanations of the late[Pg 237] transactions at Carlshamn. With regard to the first article, it does not appear that any indemnification is held out for the property landed from the vessels under the Prussian flag at Carlshamn, which is represented as an act of retaliation for similar cargoes, belonging to Sweden, having been confiscated in the Prussian ports. Neither does the 4th article hold out any indemnification but to such property as may have been insured in England, it stating that the loss would fall only upon those merchants who have neglected to insure their cargoes. I request you will be pleased to report to Baron Tawast, what I had before the honour of stating to him, that Government will naturally expect that the British merchants will be indemnified for whatever property belongs to them which has been landed from vessels in Sweden, trading under licences from one of his Majesty's principal Secretaries of State, at the same time informing him that I shall transmit by the earliest opportunity to Government, under strict secrecy, a copy of the document you enclosed to me, and you will also be pleased to express to him my acknowledgments for the facility with which the supplies are proposed to be conveyed to the squadron at this anchorage and in Hano Bay.

I have, &c. &c. &c.

James Saumarez.

To J. Smith, Esq. Gothenburg.

Sir James at the same time enclosed the document to the Secretary of the Admiralty, as a confidential communication to the Board. He also wrote a private letter to Mr. Yorke, which we prefer inserting, as it gives a more full and explicit detail of all the circumstances of the[Pg 238] transaction, and because it is an answer to the following letter from him which precedes it, and which was received by Sir James at that moment.

Admiralty, 21st May 1811.


I had the honour to receive your letters of the 3rd, 4th, and 11th inst. and am glad to hear that the first divisions of your squadron made so favourable a passage to their rendezvous in Wingo Sound. The four ships with Linzee, which have been ready for some days, have been detained by the strong easterly winds; and though they sailed from St. Helen's the day before yesterday, I should not wonder to hear that they have put back again. Impetueux is getting forward, and we shall send her to you as soon as we can spare her from the reserve. Fisguard ought to be ready, but is to call at Deal for M. de Begenhas, Minister from Portugal to Russia, whom you will have the goodness to land as well as you can at Gothenburg, that he may find his own way forward.

I think we ought not to listen for a moment to any Swedish projects on Norway; my own opinion is that Bernadotte is playing us false, and at any rate I, for one, should dread to see a consolidation of the Swedish and Norwegian power, such as it is, in his, or indeed in any hand.

Since the arrival of the accounts of the landing the cargoes at Carlshamn, and the accompanying measures, considerable distrust appears to prevail here about alternate views of the Swedish Government. A little more time will develop their plans in all probability; in the mean time it seems very desirable that the bulk of your efficient force should remain where it is (in the Sleeve) to be ready to receive the requisite orders. Admiral[Pg 239] Young has taken his station off West Cassel, and has fifteen sail of the line. Enemy, eleven in the Scheldt, three in Texel, and two at Helvoet. When the Impetueux joins, you will have eighteen, which is as many as we shall be able to give you for some time at least.

The public letters will have apprised you of the views of the Board of Trade and of the Government in the several points on which it was important that you should be informed. The Swedes should be gently but steadily convinced that it is in our power to resent this ill usage, and to turn the consequence of perfidy on the inventors; but the evil day should be postponed as long as possible and every practicable chance should be given them of remaining in the right path.

Accounts have been received this morning from Oporto via Bristol in eight days, which give us reason to suppose that Massena has had a good beating near Almeida on the 3rd, 4th, and 5th inst., and has been obliged to retire towards Salamanca, with the loss of four thousand killed, and seven hundred prisoners. The British loss is stated at twelve hundred. It is very probable, as when the last accounts came away a battle was shortly expected.

I have, &c. &c. &c.

C. Yorke.

To Vice-admiral Sir James Saumarez, Bart., K.B.
&c. &c.

Victory, in Wingo Sound, 28th May 1811.

Dear Sir,

I have received the honour of your letter of the 21st, and I beg to assure you that I shall pay particular attention to that part of it which relates to the measures to be pursued with this country. With the exception of the affair at Carlshamn, which took place previously to my arrival, nothing has occurred to cause any interruption to the same intercourse as was held last year. The usual[Pg 240] supplies are continued, and the places pointed out whence they can be most readily received. There certainly appears great prevarication on the part of the Swedish Government relative to the property landed from the neutral vessels at Carlshamn; and in an object of such importance, I beg to suggest the expediency of one or two persons, duly authorised by the merchants and underwriters concerned in the Baltic trade, repairing to Stockholm for the purpose of asserting their claims, and seeing how far this Government may be disposed to indemnify them for the property sequestered. The sooner such a measure is adopted the better, as should it be delayed, and any alteration take place betwixt the two Governments, the whole will be lost. From what passed between Baron Tawast and myself, I have reason to believe that Sweden would accede to this proposal.

In my letter to the Board I have recommended that the two bomb vessels that were intended for this station, should be expedited; their appearance alone would have the best effect in intimidating the Swedes to a compliance with our just demands. I am in hourly expectation of seeing the ships from Spithead; the addition of the Impetueux will, I hope, make us sufficiently strong in line-of-battle ships, but two or three good frigates are much required.

I beg to offer you my sincere congratulations on the continued success of the army under Lord Wellington, and I trust the accounts from Spain will prove equally splendid.

With the highest regard,
I have, &c. &c. &c.

James Saumarez.

The Right Hon. Chas. Yorke.[Pg 241]

P.S.—I have received no further accounts from Mr. Smith relative to the rupture between Russia and France, which makes me apprehend that the reports have not been confirmed.

It now became Sir James's duty to make a strong remonstrance to the Swedish Government. Anticipating the worst, he had made dispositions of the force under his command, which were at least sufficient to ensure respect. This was well known to Baron Tawast, whose visit was probably, in addition to other objects, to ascertain whether or not resistance could be effectually made in the event of hostile measures being taken. The following is the remonstrance alluded to.

His Britannic Majesty's ship Victory, Wingo Sound,
30th May 1811.


I have the honour to inform your excellency that intelligence having been received by his Majesty's Government, that the cargoes belonging to British subjects, and that have been insured to a considerable amount in England, embarked in vessels belonging to Prussia, Denmark, Mecklenburg, and other States, have been landed in Sweden by order of the Swedish Government, under pretext of making reprisals for the Swedish property said to have been confiscated in Prussia and Denmark,—I have been directed to remonstrate in the strongest manner against measures so deeply affecting the interest of his Majesty's subjects, and at the same time to signify to the Swedish Government that I cannot permit such proceedings, under whatever pretext they may be disguised, and that if acts of so injurious a tendency are persevered in, I shall be obliged to depart from[Pg 242] that indulgent course I have hitherto pursued towards Sweden.

In requesting your excellency will be pleased to make known the above communication to your Government, I beg to renew the assurances of the perfect consideration with which I have the honour to be, Sir, &c.

James Saumarez.

To his Excellency M. General Baron de Tawast,
Commander-in-chief,&c. Gothenburg.

Baron Tawast's reply to this letter was a simple assurance that no hostile act was intended, and that the Swedish Government had been compelled to act as it had done. He had no doubt but eventually the English merchants would be indemnified, and he trusted that Sir James would not insist on sending his remonstrance to Government as he had no doubt that Baron Von Essen, who was expected in a few days, would explain all to his satisfaction, and that a rupture would thereby be avoided. The same assurances were given to Mr. Consul Smith, but their proceedings had so evidently the appearance of gaining time that Sir James firmly insisted that his remonstrance should be transmitted to Government through the medium of Baron Essen, and in reply to a note from Consul Smith and Baron Tawast he wrote the following:

Victory, in Wingo Sound, 6th June 1811.


I request you will signify to Baron Tawast, that I can have no objection to the letter I had the honour to address[Pg 243] to him on the 30th ultimo being communicated to the Swedish Government through the means of his Excellency Count Essen; but having received directions from England to make the remonstrance it contained on the very unexpected measures adopted against the property of the British, I hold it my indispensable duty to require that it should be transmitted to the Government at Stockholm.

It could never be expected by this country that England would pass with indifference a measure so seriously affecting the interests of British merchants; and Government will naturally expect some satisfactory explanation upon the subject. Those made to me by Count Rosen and Baron Tawast have been transmitted without delay, and I hope those in reply to the remonstrance I have made by order of Government will prove of a satisfactory nature.

I have, &c. &c. &c.

James Saumarez.

To J. Smith, Esq., Gothenburg.

P.S.—You will be pleased to signify to his Excellency Count Rosen and General Baron Tawast, that I have not replied to the confidential communications they have done me the honour to make, as you would more fully convey to them any sentiments upon the subject to which they relate, and at the same time express to them my most ardent hope that the amicable intercourse that has existed between both countries, may not be interrupted by the present unfortunate altercation.

His Britannic Majesty's ship Victory, in Wingo Sound,
6th June 1811.

Vice-admiral Sir James Saumarez has the honour to signify to M. General Baron Tawast that he has lost no time in transmitting to his Government the note his[Pg 244] excellency has been pleased to address to him on the 4th inst. in reply to his letter of the 30th ultimo, remonstrating by order of his Government against the late measures pursued in Sweden upon the British property landed from the neutral vessels in the Swedish ports, and which Baron Tawast was requested to communicate to his Government.

Notwithstanding the reasons assigned by Baron Tawast for wishing to delay transmitting to Stockholm the remonstrance above mentioned, the Vice-admiral thinks it his indispensable duty (having received instructions from his Government to that effect) to request that it should be communicated either through the means of his Excellency Count Essen, or direct to the Ministers at Stockholm, according as Baron Tawast may judge most advisable; and the Vice-admiral hopes that the reply from the Swedish Government will be of a nature to convince England of the uprightness of its intentions in the proceedings adverted to, and that the amicable course hitherto pursued will meet with no further interruption.

The Vice-admiral requests Baron Tawast will receive the assurance of his perfect consideration.

At the same time Sir James sent a detail of his proceedings to the Admiralty, with a disposition of the fleet, which was now prepared for the worst. He recommended that proper persons should be sent to Sweden for the purpose of making claims for the merchants and underwriters, and he also desired that bomb-vessels might be sent to him, which would show that his remonstrance was serious. By letters from[Pg 245] Mr. Foy at Stockholm, and from Mr. Consul Fenwick at Helsingburg, Sir James learnt that the amount of property confiscated at Carlshamn amounted to 500,000l., about half of which was insured; that the measure of confiscation was very unpopular in Sweden, but that every one relied on his moderation and forbearance. From this time forward the situation of Sweden was extraordinary beyond precedent, as fully represented in the following extract of a letter which the Swedish Admiral Krusenstjerna subsequently wrote to the Author:

I know nothing, says he, of politics, but I find our situation very singular. Our friends the French and Danes express their friendship to us with unremitted zeal in capturing and robbing from us our merchant vessels, whilst our enemies the English let them pass unmolested from one port to another. We did not suffer by one hundred times as much from these two nations, the time we were at war against them, as we do now when they call themselves our friends and allies.

The Danes, not content with attacking ships passing through the Sound and Belt, had the audacity to send their privateers to the coast of Sweden, only eight leagues to the southward of Wingo, where the Victory was at anchor. Information being given of their position, a small one was surprised and taken without resistance by two of the Victory's boats under Lieutenants Ross[Pg 246] and Brenton. In September, accounts were obtained that two of superior force had taken a position among the small islands ten leagues to the southward of Gothenburg, when Lieut. D. L. St. Clair and Mr. E. Purcell, midshipman, were detached from the Victory in search of them. The Danes, not calculating on the prowess of British officers and men, left their vessels in a small creek, probably as a decoy, landed their guns, and planted them on an eminence which commanded them, and on the approach of the Victory's boats had promised themselves the capture of a part of the crew and the boats of the English commander-in-chief. But Lieutenant St. Clair, to the astonishment of the enemy, pushed directly for the battery, and ascending the hill gallantly stormed and carried it at the point of the sword, the Danes having fled on the approach of the assailants. Few prisoners were made, but both privateers were taken and carried to the Victory on the following morning.

Sir James duly appreciated the bravery of these officers, and having represented their gallant conduct to the Lords of the Admiralty, Lieut. St. Clair was promoted to the rank of commander, and subsequently employed in the Baltic and coast of Spain. Mr. Purcell, who had particularly distinguished himself, was made Lieutenant, and is now a Captain of the Royal Navy.

Sir James's remonstrances had at length the[Pg 247] desired effect. After several confidential interviews which the Author had with Count Rosen, it was agreed that the Count should come privately on board the Victory, to explain everything to the commander-in-chief, which he did on the 25th of June. The following letter to Mr. Yorke will show the happy result of Sir James's wise conduct and well-timed firmness in this important crisis.

Victory, Wingo Sound, 26th June 1811.

Dear Sir,

If I could have had any further doubts upon my mind relative to the sincerity of the intentions of this Government, they have been perfectly removed by the conversation I had yesterday with Count Rosen, who came on board the Victory, by desire of the Crown Prince, in consequence of my remonstrance upon the affair at Carlshamn, as will appear by my public letter. Count Rosen assured me that it was the earnest desire of the Crown Prince to render Sweden independent of France whenever he could do so consistent with her security, but they are so apprehensive that, in the event of the difference between Russia and France being settled, Bonaparte will bring that country to act against Sweden, they dare not openly avow that sentiment. I informed Count Rosen that so long as Sweden acted up to the system he mentioned to be intended towards England, I had every reason to believe that his Majesty's Government would be satisfied with it; but that if it should be deviated from, I had the authority, and they might be assured I would exert the utmost in my power to resent any aggression on the part of Sweden, with which he was perfectly satisfied, and informed me that he would communicate to the Crown Prince precisely what I[Pg 248] stated to him. There have been very serious commotions in Scania on account of the conscriptions, wherein several of the peasantry have lost their lives, and about three thousand guards under the Prince, and a strong body of troops, have been ordered to that province to restore order. I have had the honour to receive your letter of the 14th by the Impetueux, and since that one of the 8th, with a commission for Mr. Delisle, for which I beg to return my thanks.

I have, &c. &c. &c.

James Saumarez.

To the Right Hon. Chas. Yorke,
&c. &c. &c.

Soon after this letter was despatched, Sir James received information that Russia had determined not to accede to the terms of Bonaparte, and that a rupture was likely to take place; the situation of Sweden, therefore, became every day more critical. She had now to determine whether she would throw herself into the arms of France for protection, or still depend on England for independence, Had hostilities actually commenced, the former would, doubtless, have been her decision, and it is impossible to say what might have been the consequences. On the one hand the restoration of Finland was the probable result of an alliance with France, while the whole force of Russia was employed in repelling the invaders; and on the other hand, Norway might be added, as an indemnification for the loss of Pomerania.

Trusting in the honour of the British Admiral,[Pg 249] the Crown Prince of Sweden did not hesitate to place the most implicit confidence in Sir James. The negotiation for a treaty of peace, and for a coalition against the tyrant of France, only wanted the presence of an accredited Plenipotentiary to make it complete.

The Oberon sloop of war arrived with an officer of distinction, who proceeded through Sweden to the Continent, and soon after several Russian noblemen arrived from St. Petersburg with despatches of importance. The despatches received by the Oberon contained instructions respecting the affair of Carlshamn; and notwithstanding the opinions and assurances of Sir James to the contrary, the Ministers continued to suspect the Crown Prince of Sweden to be insincere. Being, however, still desirous of remaining at peace with Sweden, Sir James continued his friendly and courteous policy. The bomb-ships he sent for had arrived, and his force, both within and without the Baltic, being formidable, gave Sweden a good excuse for not proceeding to hostilities, although she had declared war.

Sir James having declared that he "would not fire the first gun," things went on as usual, and the restrictions which he found necessary to put on the Swedish trade, to prevent supplies being thrown into Norway, was also a good proof to Bonaparte that Sweden was not favourable to England.[Pg 250] During this summer the Tartar frigate was lost, and two gun-brigs were captured by the Danes, from whom several privateers and gun-boats were taken, and an exchange of prisoners was made. At length it was communicated that war between France and Russia was inevitable, and Sweden having refused to permit French troops to pass into Norway, ostensibly for the invasion of Scotland, determined to join England; but it was advisable to keep this state of affairs a profound secret.

In the mean time the negotiations for an offensive and defensive alliance continued, and were ready for ratification when the Oberon arrived with Mr. (now Sir Edward) Thornton. This ship, on leaving Portsmouth, was supposed to be bound for the West Indies, and letters were actually on board her for the Leeward Islands; but on opening her sealed orders, Capt. Murray, her commander, found he was destined for Gothenburg, and that he was to have no communication on his passage with any other ship. Being unacquainted with the coast of Sweden, and having no pilot on board, his ship unfortunately ran on shore in a thick fog; the guns were thrown overboard, and every exertion made in vain to get the ship off. It is scarcely possible to describe the anxiety of Mr. Thornton (who had been hitherto supposed to be a passenger for the West Indies) until the morning[Pg 251] gun of the Victory informed them that their ship was on the rocks to the northward of Wingo Beacon, over which the flag of the Victory (white at the fore) could be plainly distinguished, and in an hour afterwards he was safe in the Admiral's cabin.

The utmost caution was still necessary in communicating with Count Rosen, and so strictly were the orders given by the commandant of the castle complied with, that several attempts to get Mr. Thornton on shore were unsuccessful. He was at length smuggled into the fort as a servant of the Author, who had, from his knowledge of the Swedish language, no difficulty in passing the gates as a Swedish officer. Thus were all differences happily adjusted: it was determined to keep up the appearance of war without committing any act of hostility on either side.

We shall now turn to the situation of the fleet. Admiral Reynolds had been stationed at Hano, which is near Matvick, where the convoys assembled, and which were with very little loss protected through the Belt. On the 9th of November, the St. George sailed from Hano with the last homeward bound convoy, which had been put back by a gale on the 1st.

The account of the disasters that befel this unfortunate fleet, which, as a prelude to the losses which afterwards took place, must be interesting to every reader, will be best given from the[Pg 252] lamented Admiral's own report to Sir James, which has not before appeared in print.

St. George, off Nystad, bearing N.N.E. 1/4 E.,
19th November 1811.


It gives me inexpressible concern to inform you of the sad disaster which has befallen his Majesty's ship St. George, bearing my flag. I have already detailed to you, sir, the gale of the 1st instant, which caused the merchant ships to return to Matvick for shelter, and transmitted you convoy lists of one hundred and twenty sail, which sailed from Hano Bay with us on the 9th instant, besides twelve more which had no instructions.

On the evening of the 10th we had severe weather, and anchored between Moen Island and Dars Head. On the morning of the 12th we weighed, and (the wind heading us before dark) anchored off Nystad with the convoy pretty well collected. At the close of the evening of the 15th, the weather was remarkably fine, but about ten at night it began to blow strong with a heavy, swell from W.S.W., and we veered to a cable and half on the small bower. The gale increasing, we veered to two cables, and should probably have rode the gale out safe had not a large ship of the convoy drove athwart hawse and parted our cable. The best bower was immediately let go, and veered to two cables, which did not check her. We then let go the sheet anchor and gave her two cables on that also, but she would not look at it. By this time we had shoaled our water from ten to eight fathoms, and the fury of the gale increasing, we continued to shoal into seven and six fathoms, when the pilots and officers advised the cutting away the masts as the only means of saving the ship and the lives of the people. I resisted[Pg 253] their advice for some time, in hopes that a favourable lull might bring the ship up; but when she had drifted into a quarterless five, and still driving before a tempest of wind and rain, I ordered the axe to be laid to the mast, and soon after they were over the side: the ship struck violently several times, and the rudder was torn away with a tremendous crash. About four in the morning the strength of the gale abated, and her shocks were less violent. Every officer and man in the ship were now employed erecting jury-masts, hoping that by lightening her we should be able to float her off; and at daylight I telegraphed Captain Pater of the Cressy to prepare us a Pakenham rudder; and it still blowing too strong for boats to come to us, I made signals for the Rose and Bellete to anchor a cable's length from us and from each other, upon our larboard bow, that when it moderated we might send hawsers to them to endeavour to heave us off. Nystad now bore N.N.E. 1/2 miles, and Skielbye church E.N.E., and the ship lay in four fathoms water. On the 16th we were busily employed rigging jury-masts. Towards the evening it moderated, and about four in the morning of the 17th we had the cheering happiness to find she had swung to her anchor. The hands were instantly turned to the capstan, and we hove short on the sheet cable. The night signal was then made for the assistance of boats, and having happily succeeded in warping her into deep water, we made sail (with which we steered her) with a fine breeze from the eastward, and anchored near the convoy in eleven fathoms.

I have much pleasure in acquainting you, sir, that the officers and ship's company merit my warmest praise for the constant exertions and cheerful obedience with which they conducted themselves throughout this distressing scene.[Pg 254] Captain Guion was unwearied and indefatigable, and his abilities could never have been better shown than on this trying occasion. It is no small consolation to me that in the awful moment of the masts going over the side, and throughout the whole terrific gale, not a man was hurt.

I have now, sir, to acquaint you that out of one hundred and twenty sail which were at anchor here when the gale began, only seventy-six are now remaining; twelve are seen wrecked upon the Danish coast and in the enemy's possession; two ran foul of each other, and both went to the bottom, and in the midst of the gale several of the smaller vessels were observed dismasted, and the sea making an entire breach over them; it is much to be feared they foundered at their anchors. Many remaining here are so much disabled that I doubt whether they will be able to proceed with us, although they have had every assistance from his Majesty's ships which could be given them.

I am happy, sir, to tell you that the St. George has her jury-masts rigged, and her rudder hung, and is in every respect as complete to proceed with the convoy (the first favourable wind) as hands can make her in our present situation.

Before I conclude this narrative, permit me to insert my public acknowledgments of the prompt and timely assistance I received from every Captain of his Majesty's ships under my orders, which accelerated our equipment much sooner than otherwise could be expected.

I have, &c. &c. &c.

R.C. Reynolds.

Vice-admiral Sir James Saumarez, Bart. K.B.
&c. &c. &c. [Pg 255]

James received the above letter on the 29th of November, when he despatched a vessel with the disastrous intelligence to England. In his answer to Admiral Reynolds we find the following paragraph:

Greatly as I lament the severe injury sustained on board the St. George, and the melancholy loss of so many vessels of the convoy by the tempestuous weather, I am fully persuaded that every possible means, which judgment and skill could dictate, were employed by you for the safety of his Majesty's ships and the preservation of the convoy under such perilous circumstances, and I highly applaud the good conduct manifested by the officers and men of the St. George during the whole of so trying an occasion, and the alacrity and exertions displayed by them in having jury-masts erected during the continuance of the gale, which reflects the highest credit on Captain Guion, for the good order and discipline preserved in the ship. I also feel great satisfaction in observing your marked approval of the prompt and ready assistance you received from all the Captains of his Majesty's ships and vessels under your orders.

Accounts from Captain Dashwood informed Sir James that thirty out of the fifty-six vessels supposed to be lost had reached Matvick with the loss of their anchors and cables, and that he would take them under his convoy as soon as they could be got ready to sail.

Admiral Reynolds received assistance from Admirals Dixon and Bertie, who were stationed[Pg 256] in the Belt, and the St. George with her convoy reached Wingo Sound in safety on the 2nd of December. As the season was so far advanced, it was proposed to leave the St. George at Gothenburg during the winter, but Admiral Reynolds entreated that he might be permitted to navigate the ship to England, which, he said in hearing of the Author, was "as fit to make her passage with the assistance of another ship of the line as any in the fleet." Sir James did not accede to his wishes until he had also taken the opinion of Capt. Guion; and it was at length determined that she should be attended by the Cressy, Capt. Pater, and the Defence, Capt. Atkins, while the Hero, Capt. Newman, took charge of the convoy.

During the stay of the fleet in Wingo Sound, court-martials were held on the Commanders and crews of the Manly and Safeguard gun-brigs, which had been captured by the Danes, and the crews exchanged; also on the boatswain of the Anholt Island, which had been considered a ship, but as the pendant had not been flying in the island, doubts had arisen in the minds of the members of the court, and reference was made to the Admiralty, with a request that the law officers of the Crown might be consulted as to the legality of holding a naval court-martial on the accused.

The St. George had topmasts as lower masts, and top-gallant masts as topmasts. Her temporary[Pg 257] rudder was well fitted and secured. The Cressy, which had towed her from the Belt, was ordered to take her again in tow. Everything was prepared for the departure of the whole, but the wind and weather continued unfavourable, and Sir James again repeated his wish that the St. George should remain instead of the Ardent, into which Sir George Hope had hoisted his flag, having orders to remain in Wingo Sound until the Pyramus, Captain Dashwood, and Ranger, Captain Acklom, should arrive with the last convoy, which Captain Dashwood subsequently succeeded in bringing safely through the Sound, much to his credit, at that late season of the year.

On the 18th of December the wind came from the N.E. when the whole fleet weighed and made sail. The first squadron consisted of the Victory, Vigo, Dreadnought, Orion, Mercury, and Snipe; the second comprised the St. George in tow of the Cressy, the Defence, and Bellete, and the third the convoy under the Hero and the Grasshopper; but the wind coming too far to the northward to enable the convoy to weather the Scaw, the signal was made from the Victory for it to return into port. At sunset on the 19th the St. George was seen well to windward of that dangerous headland; but it appeared that she, with her division, bore up during the night, when the wind came to the westward of north, as will be seen by the following account of the[Pg 258] proceedings of H.M.S. Cressy, given officially to Sir James by Captain Pater.

Narrative of the circumstances relating to the St. George since parting company with the Victory, on the 19th December 1811.

On the night of the 19th December, lost sight of the Victory, Dreadnought, Vigo, and Orion. On the 20th at half past eight a.m. signal from the St. George to wear; at ten a.m. the St. George cast off the tow rope; moderate breezes and hazy weather; hauled up to the S.E. to get soundings on the Jutland shore, in order to round the Scaw the better. During the night fresh breezes and hazy weather; a strong current from the S.W. setting to the N.E. swept the squadron close to Salö beacon, on the Swedish coast. On the morning of the 21st light airs and hazy, a strong current setting about north at the rate of three miles per hour: very great difficulty in keeping the ships from falling on the rocks, they not being further than three miles off, with a heavy swell right on, and no wind to command the ships, or stem the current. Telegraph from the St. George to the Cressy about half past eleven, a.m. "What shall we do this night?" Cressy's answer, "In a few minutes I will give my opinion." At three quarters past eleven, a.m., telegraph from Cressy to St. George, "Anchor in Salö if possible." About noon got a Swedish pilot from Salö, brought by the Bellete. At one p.m. a strong breeze sprung up from N.N.E. and N.E. St. George, Cressy, Defence, and Bellete made sail (close-reefed the topsails, reefed courses, top-gallant masts struck) to the westward, and continued our course all night through the Sleeve. St. George steered and sailed very well about five knots per hour. At ten a.m. on[Pg 259] the 22nd, saw the land on the lee beam, distance eight leagues; made the same known to the St. George. At half-past eleven made the signal to the St. George for the Holmes, bearing S.S.W. distance six or seven leagues. At four p.m. Bovenbergen bore south about seven leagues; stood to the westward all night; moderate weather, wind about N. or N. by W. On the 23rd, at nine a.m., Cressy to the St. George by signal, "Shall I take you in tow?" answered with the negative flag: observed one of her rudder guys gone, and the people repairing it. Wind had shifted to N.W. by W. the squadron wore about seven hours thirty minutes a.m. and stood to the N.E., with a view to open the Sleeve, the weather appearing to indicate a gale of wind from that quarter. At ten a.m. strong gales and squally with rain; St. George close-reefed courses and topsails, then stood to the N.E. At half-past eleven p.m. very strong gales split our foresail; St. George took in topsails and courses. At one p.m. strong gales; St. George set her foresail. At half-past two p.m. strong and heavy squalls of wind and rain from the N.W. with a heavy sea; observed the St. George to labour very much and roll very deep. St. George shortened all sail except the mizen-staysail and try-sail; St. George drifting to leeward so much as to oblige us to bear up three or four times in a watch, each time one mile, or three quarters at least, in order to keep to leeward of her; the land of Bovenbergen on her lee bow about three points, the Holmes right a head of her. The wind had at four p.m. shifted to the N.N.W.; the land on her lee beam, nine leagues, was that part of Jutland a few miles to the southward of Bovenbergen. At eight o'clock the Horn Reef, bearing S.S.W. distance forty miles; at this time a tremendous heavy sea was setting on the shore in the direction[Pg 260] of E.S.E. At six lost sight of the Bellete; the last sight we had of the Defence she was standing with her head in shore, E.N.E. under storm mizen-stay-sail and try-sail. At nine p.m. the gale still increasing; St. George, as before, drifting about N.E. or N.E. by E. with storm mizen-stay-sail and try-sail only, appearing from some cause to be unable to wear, as she never attempted it, although it was the most safe and profitable tack to be upon, there being no possibility of getting off on the larboard tack, but on the contrary must inevitably go on shore; this I particularly remarked with great anxiety and concern from three o'clock that afternoon, and was constantly in expectation of his wearing, and carrying what sail he could on the starboard tack, in order, if possible, to clear the Horn Reef: although the clearing of the reef might be doubtful, it was the only chance left, and would at least have given him a longer drift; but from his not doing so, I am of opinion his masts had complained and were unable to carry any more sail, as well as the rudder, which certainly wanted securing. At ten p.m. as no steps were taken by the St. George to wear, and finding from our soundings and reckoning we were only nine leagues from the land on our lee beam, that we could not possibly clear the land on the larboard tack, and having drifted so far to the eastward, it became a doubt whether we should be able to clear the Horn Reef, and that there was no time to lose, on which to resolve either to cut away all our masts and try to hold on by our anchors, after having run into shoal water, which we have reason to believe was nearer than our reckoning gave us. Had we taken such a step our success would have been very doubtful, although we might previously have cut away our masts,[Pg 261] and made the ship a complete wreck for that purpose, as we had only two bower anchors and two cables on each, (the bower cables in each being half worn,) no spare anchor to trust to, the sheet anchor being broken in the shank, and only an old worn-out bower cable (kept to be surveyed) which was bent to it. The Defence, I believe, was differently situated in this respect; but that is a mere conjecture. Thus the situation of the Cressy was very alarming, which had most sensibly struck every individual on board; the officers particularly, who had been so strongly impressed with our perilous situation for some time before, lamenting and verbally stating to me their opinion of our inability and impossibility of being able to render any service to the St. George, even in any way whatever, risk the Cressy as much as I would. I desired them all to consult and let me know their opinion in writing, which they did in the accompanying hasty scrawl: No. 1, delivered about ten o'clock, and No. 2, about quarter before eleven. Their sentiments and opinion being the same as my own on the subject, namely, that we could not be of any service to the St. George or to any person on board, whatever might be her fate under the existing circumstances, and that our destruction was certain if we lost any time in getting on the other tack,—I then (after having ordered every thing to be ready to cut away our masts) embraced the alternative to wear and carry sail to save the ship, which I did at half-past ten p.m. and passed close to the St. George with our reefed fore-sail only, in order to induce him to wear, and give him the opportunity of signifying his wish for me to remain with him, if he did not approve of what we did, which he might have done by four lights, in a diamond signal No. 30, or by firing three guns, also night signal No. 30, "Keep your wind on the[Pg 262] larboard tack." Heavy and severe as the gale was, there was considerable light, as we had a moon; although not seen, yet it enlightened the atmosphere so as to enable us to see every mast, sail, or any object that was above her hammocks: we were so close in passing, that we could in moderate weather, at such a distance, have conversed with great ease; and were about a quarter of an hour in passing her; so that his not making any signal, and his still keeping the St. George's head on the same tack, I considered I had his approbation to use every endeavour to clear the land and save the ship from being wrecked on the lee shore.

The remainder of Captain Pater's narrative need not be given, as it relates only to the proceedings in his own ship, and his arrival in the Downs on the 30th December; neither need we give the opinions alluded to, as they are a repetition of that of the Captain, and signed by the five lieutenants, the master, the pilot, and the purser. The first account of the wreck of the St. George and Defence was received by a flag of truce, sent by the Danish General Tellequist from Randers, that on the night between the 23rd and 24th of December, a few miles to the southward of the Holmes, the fatal catastrophe took place. The Danish commander-in-chief, after expressing much sympathy and feeling on the sad disaster, informs Captain Maurice that the bodies of Captain Atkins and other officers had been found and interred with military honours, but they had not then discovered the body of the Admiral.[Pg 263] It appeared from the account of the survivors, eighteen in number, (twelve belonging to the St. George and six to the Defence,) that the St. George struck about one o'clock on the morning of the 24th, and soon afterwards the Defence, a short distance to the northward of her. The anchors in both ships were immediately let go, and the masts cut away; the St. George came for a short time head to wind. About four she parted in the middle; the sea making a fair breach over the ships, many of the crew were washed overboard, while others were killed or frozen to death where they had tied themselves to the weather-railing, among whom were the Admiral and his young and gallant friend Captain Guion. It is related that one tremendous sea struck the Defence with such inconceivable force that it lifted the spare anchor out of its berth, threw it upon end, and in its fall it killed about thirty men! The fury of the waves had swept all before them; two of the men were saved in a little Norway yawl belonging to the Author, which his lamented friend Captain Guion had offered to take home for him, and which was the only boat that reached the shore; some were saved on the poop of the St. George when torn from her about five o'clock.

Captain Atkins and Mr. Royston, Secretary to the Admiral, were both picked up by the Danes ere life was quite extinct, but all the kindness and humane endeavours of that hospitable people[Pg 264] failed in keeping up animation. It was affirmed by the survivors of the Defence, that on the Cressy wearing, the master went to Captain Atkins, and reported that the St. George must inevitably be wrecked, and that destruction would also attend the Defence if she did not follow the Cressy! To this Captain Atkins said, "Has the Defence's signal been made to part company?" and being answered in the negative, he replied, "Then I will not leave him." Such heroic sentiments, however worthy of the gallant Captain, cannot be justified when it was impossible to render assistance, and the sacrifice not only of his own men, but the valuable lives of seven hundred others, must have been the well-known consequence.

Captain Pater's conduct became the subject of a court-martial, by which he was honourably acquitted. Could he by staying longer with his Admiral have rendered him any relief he never would have quitted him, nor did he do so until it became his bounden duty to preserve his own ship and the gallant crew he commanded.

From the testimony of the survivors of the St. George, who arrived on board the Victory in April 1812, we learnt that the St. George lost all her jury-masts and rudder before midnight, that she was many hours in nine fathoms water, and that the anchors were not let go until she struck the ground. We do not mean to argue on the probability,[Pg 265] if she had anchored, that she would have brought up or rode out the gale, but after masts and rudder were gone, surely there was a chance. We mention it to call the attention of those who may be at some future period in a similar situation, and as a circumstance which appears by the following extract of a letter to have struck Sir James, who had often successfully depended on his anchors under trying occasions.

After a minute perusal of Captain Pater's narrative, I cannot but express my serious apprehension for the safety of the St. George upon so dangerous a coast and under such perilous circumstances; at the same time there still exists a hope that she may have been brought up at her anchors, and weathered the severity of the gale, of which I fervently pray their lordships may soon receive information.

We have dwelt longer on the mournful subject than we intended to do, in consequence of opinions having been entertained that Sir James had not consulted Admiral Reynolds and Captain Guion on the subject of the return of the St. George from Gothenburg, and that therefore some blame might be attached to him as commander-in-chief. Now, we are not only able from personal knowledge to contradict these reports, but to assure our readers that the opinions of these experienced and gallant officers were actually taken, and likewise those of Captains Pater and Atkins, immediately[Pg 266] on the arrival of the ship at Gothenburg. The fleet having been detained at Wingo Sound by storms and westerly winds until the 18th, Admiral Reynolds repeatedly entreated Sir James to permit the ship to cross the North Sea, and in a conversation the Author had with Captain Guion, there was in his opinion not the smallest doubt of her capability of performing the voyage. So well did she sail that she beat many of the ships of the convoy that sailed at the same time, and on the morning of the 19th she was still in sight of the squadron. The loss of the Hero and her convoy, on the Hawk Sands off the Texel, took place on the same disastrous night, and with no less fatal consequences.

It appears from letters received from Sir George Hope, that this convoy returned to Wingo Sound in obedience to signals from the Victory, but sailed on the 21st with the same breeze, which induced the St. George to leave Salö. She succeeded in getting out of the Sleeve, and having a fair N.W. gale, unfortunately shaped her course too far to the eastward. Captain Newman and all the crew, excepting about forty men, perished.

The account of this event, having been published by Capt. Brenton and other naval historians, need not be further dwelt on. The loss of the three ships and convoy, as well as that of the Saldanha, in which not less than five thousand men[Pg 267] perished, was made a question in the House of Commons, when Mr. Yorke, first Lord of the Admiralty, touched on the mournful subject with so much feeling that it drew forth an elegant and well-merited expression from Mr. Whitbread, who observed, that "the calamities were the effect of misfortune alone, and that it was a consolation to reflect that no blame could be imputed to any one."

Although Sir James was conscious that such was really the case, it need scarcely be added that his mind was deeply affected when the melancholy news arrived, nor could he for many months conceal his affliction.

The last convoy under Captain Dashwood of the Pyramus, arrived safely. Instead of passing through the Belt as intended, he availed himself of a strong S.S.W. wind, and boldly pushed through the Malmö Channel, led by the Ranger, Captain Acklom, who so much distinguished himself on this occasion as to gain his promotion to the rank of post-captain as a reward for his services.

This convoy consisted of one hundred and twenty sail, leaving only twelve vessels at Carlshamn, which were a part of the St. George's convoy that could not obtain anchors and cables. They were off Falsterbo on the 20th of December, when the wind, which had been northerly, shifted to the S.W.; on the 23rd they reached Elsineur[Pg 268] Roads, and on the 28th Gothenburg, whence they sailed in company with Rear-admiral Hope in the Ardent, who had thus finished the service of the Baltic for the season.

Colonel Dornberg, who had been employed on the Continent confidentially, had ascertained that Prussia would be forced to join France against Russia, therefore the Government transports with arms intended for their assistance were sent back, and formed part of the Hero's unfortunate convoy.

The Victory, after parting with the St. George, was detained by baffling winds and thick weather. Fortunately on the 21st good altitudes of the sun were obtained for the chronometers, and thereby the situation of the fleet was determined before the storm began on the 22nd: at noon it blew a strong gale from N.W. (by compass); Leostoff bore N. 31, W. 203 miles, the Texel S. 136 miles; but an allowance of two points was made for what was called indraft, and the course steered was S.W. by W. On the 23rd the storm increased with inconceivable violence: the Victory was scudding under close-reefed main-top-sail. At noon the signal was made for longitude, when it appeared that the reckoning of the whole fleet was much to the westward of the Victory, particularly the Vigo, no less than eighty-four miles; but none of the ships had observations for the chronometers, and therefore the commander-in-chief[Pg 269] determined on running by the reckoning of his own ship; and had he not done so, the whole fleet would have shared the fate of the Hero in the same spot! At ten p.m. soundings were struck on the broad fourteen, which cleared up all doubts on the subject; on the next day the gale moderated, the fleet passed the Gallopere light and anchored to stop tide; on Christmas-day passed down Channel, and in the evening anchored in St. Helen's.

I may here observe with propriety, that I have since found the deviation from the true course, which by pilots and masters of ships had been attributed to indraft, &c. was occasioned entirely by the deviation of the magnetic needle when steering to the S.W. the point on which the attraction found in almost every ship was, by a series of experiments, established to be, from one to two points; (see Ross's voyage 1818;) while it is notorious that if the ship was standing N.E. the opposite point, it had been always found that not only no allowance for indraft was necessary, but that the error in the reckoning was on the opposite way; and we therefore conclude that many ships have been lost for want of making the necessary allowance for the deviation of the compass in steering across the North Sea, in a storm from N.W.

A correspondence was carried on with the Captains of this squadron without leading to any satisfactory reason for the extraordinary[Pg 270] errors in the reckonings of each ship, and it is mentioned here to warn those who may be in a similar situation, and to induce them to obtain the errors of their compasses, for which plain rules have been given, if they are not provided with Professor Barlow's apparatus.

On the arrival of the Victory at Spithead, Sir James applied for leave of absence, and arriving in town received the unqualified approbation of Ministers, and of his Royal Highness the Prince Regent, for his wise and firm conduct on this critical situation of affairs in the Baltic, and for the important service he had rendered the country in maintaining peace, and in supporting the dignity of the Crown and the best interests of the community.

[Pg 271]



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.—L. 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 Åbo 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.

The state of Europe at the commencement of this year left no doubt that a severe struggle for independence was approaching. It was evident[Pg 272] that under the pretence of conquering a maritime peace, Buonaparte's ambition was nothing short of continental empire; his armies had been gradually advancing, and, under various pretexts, taking possession of every fortress in Prussia, and towards the frontiers of Russia. Supposing himself in a position to enforce the ruinous demands which he well knew could not be granted, he looked forward with confidence to the subjugation of Russia, after which Sweden would become an easy conquest. Alexander saw that the existence of his empire depended on the exertions he was now compelled to make, and before the conclusion of the last year, his intentions of resistance were secretly made known both to the British and Swedish cabinets. It was now deemed fortunate that the wise and temperate policy of Sir James had been the means of forming that coalition, which was subsequently the saving of Europe.

So important did Government consider the continuation of Sir James as commander-in-chief in the Baltic, that while in London, at Tunbridge Wells, and other places where he resided, the whole of the correspondence passed through him, and as the spring advanced he was again entreated to finish the good work he had begun. As his force was now to consist of only ten sail of the line, he did not judge a Captain of the fleet to be necessary; but Rear-admirals Byam Martin and J.N. Morris were at his request[Pg 273] appointed to serve under him, and it may be truly added that two officers better qualified to support his plans could not have been found.

Early in the spring, Captain Dashwood, who had so highly distinguished himself in carrying a valuable convoy through the Sound at the close of last year, was sent with a squadron of sloops to afford protection to the island of Anholt, which was again threatened by the Danes, but on the appearance of this detachment, the attempt, if ever intended, was abandoned. On this service the Fly sloop was unfortunately lost on Anholt Reef.

In April, Rear-admiral Morris was despatched with the advanced squadron and arrived at Wingo Sound about the middle of April, having been previously informed of the state of affairs in Sweden, and instructed to keep up the appearance of hostility without committing any positive act; in the mean time a fleet of line of battle ships was fitting out at Carlscrona, and strict orders were issued that in the event of their putting to sea they were not to be molested by his Majesty's ships. A correspondence was entered into with the Danish auditor-general respecting the exchange of prisoners, in which a demand was made for the release of all the Danish prisoners in lieu of all English, which would have been ten to one in favour of Denmark; but the chief object was the[Pg 274] release of a Danish officer, who, after having struck his colours, attempted to destroy his ship, contrary to the laws and usages of war, and who had been detained in consequence. This request was at first refused, but in consequence of the kind treatment of the unfortunate crews who suffered shipwreck, and who were unconditionally liberated, the exchange took place.

Sir James hoisted his flag in the Victory on the 14th of April, and on the 28th sailed from the Downs. On the 3rd May he arrived at Gothenburg, having then under his command ten sail of the line, seven frigates, and fourteen smaller vessels. Admiral Morris, with a strong detachment, passed through the Belt to Hanö, where he carried on the service relating to convoys, and the prevention of troops being sent across the Belt to the Danish islands, which were no doubt intended to menace Sweden into compliance with the demands and views of Buonaparte.

This campaign commenced with several brilliant naval actions, among which the following is most worthy of being recorded. During the spring the Danes had succeeded in stationing a large frigate and six large brigs on the coast of Norway, for the purpose of attacking our convoys in passing through the Cattegat, which, in order to protect the trade, had obliged Sir James to station the Dictator of sixty-four guns, and three brigs, off that part of the coast. The result cannot[Pg 275] be more fully given than in the following extract of Captain Stewart's letter to Sir James:

H.M.S. Dictator, Sleeve, 7th July 1812.


I have the honour to inform you, that yesterday evening being off Mardoe, with the Podargus, Calypso, and Flamer, the mast-heads of the squadron were seen over the rocks, and Captain Robilliard of the Podargus, in the most handsome manner, volunteered to lead the squadron in to attack them, he having a man on board acquainted with the place; and as neither the pilots nor masters of either of the ships conceived themselves equal to the charge, I did not hesitate to accept his kind offer, well knowing the British flag would meet nothing but honour in such hands.

In the entrance of the passage the Podargus unfortunately took the ground, by which circumstance I was deprived of the valuable and gallant services of her commander during the remainder of the day, and was in consequence obliged to leave the Flamer to her assistance; but in Captain Weir, of the Calypso, I found everything that could be wished for, which in a great measure made up for the loss I had sustained in the Podargus and Flamer.

By this time, seven hours thirty minutes p.m. we had arrived within one mile of the enemy, who were running inside of the rocks under a press of sail. The Calypso, which had also grounded for a short time, was now leading us through the passage, and both she and ourselves engaged with the squadron and numerous gun-boats; however, at nine hours thirty minutes, I had the satisfaction, after sailing twelve miles through a passage in some places scarcely wide enough to admit of our studding-sail booms being out, of[Pg 276] running the Dictator's bow upon the land with her broadside towards the enemy (within hail) as per margin, (Nayaden, Laaland, Samsœ, and Kiel,) who were anchored with springs on their cables close together, and supported by gun-boats, in the small creek of Lingöe, the Calypso most nobly following us up. In half an hour the frigate was literally battered to atoms, and the flames bursting forth from her hatchways; the brigs had also struck, and most of the gun-boats were completely beaten, and some sunk.

The action had scarcely ceased and the ship afloat, than we found ourselves again attacked by gun-boats, which had retreated on seeing the fate of their squadron, and were again collecting from all quarters; but Captain Weir, of the Calypso, having taking a most advantageous position, engaged them with the greatest gallantry and effect. Indeed I am at a loss how to express my approbation of the prompt exertion of this gallant and meritorious officer. The Podargus and Flamer, in the mean time, were warmly engaged with numerous batteries and gun-boats, both brigs being aground; but by the uncommon exertion and extreme gallantry of Capt. Robilliard, and the officers and crews of the brigs, they at last got afloat, very much cut up. On this occasion Lieut. England particularly distinguished himself.

At three a.m. having got the Dictator, Calypso, and prize brigs in the fair way, we attempted to get out through the passage, when we were assailed by a division of gun-boats from behind the rocks, so situated that not a gun could be brought to bear on them from either vessel. In this situation the prize brigs grounded, and notwithstanding every exertion on the part of Lieut. James Wilkie of this ship, who was on board the Laaland, and had extinguished a fire on board her, which was burning with great fury, and Lieut. Hooper of the Calypso, in the Kiel, we had to abandon them[Pg 277] complete wrecks, humanity forbidding us setting them on fire, owing to the number of wounded men they had on board.

Captain Stewart's letter concludes with the highest praise on all the officers and men in the squadron he commanded, and subjoins a list of nine men killed, and thirty-seven wounded and missing. The enemy admitted that they had lost three hundred men, but it was supposed that five hundred was nearer the number. We are sorry to record that some of the Danish officers violated their parole and treacherously rose on their protectors, after medical aid had been afforded them under the sacred sanction of a flag-of-truce!

Sir James enclosed Captain Stewart's narrative in the following letter to the Secretary of the Admiralty:

Sir,—I have the highest satisfaction in transmitting to you, to be laid before the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty, the inclosed letter, which I have this day received from Captain Stewart, of H.M.S. Dictator, detailing the particulars of a most gallant exploit, performed by him and the two sloops and the gun-brig named on the margin (Podargus, Calypso, and Flamer,) upon the Danish frigate Nayaden, three large sloops of war, and numerous gun-boats, within the Rocks of Wardoe, on the coast of Norway, supported by batteries on the shore; in which the enemy's frigate has been totally destroyed, and the sloops of war completely disabled, besides several of the gun-boats sunk.[Pg 278] It is impossible to express in an adequate manner the undaunted spirit displayed by Captain Stewart, and all the officers and men under his orders, in this arduous enterprise, which, I am assured, will be duly appreciated by their Lordships. Captain Stewart speaks in the strongest terms of the gallantry and zeal of Captain Robilliard, of the Podargus; Captain Weir, of the Calypso; and Lieut. Thomas England, of the Flamer gun-brig; he also recommends Lieut. Buchanan, first of the Dictator, to their Lordships' favourable notice.

I have, &c. &c. &c.

James Saumarez.

J.W. Croker, Esq.

To this their lordships expressed their high approbation, and promoted Captain Stewart, Weir, and Lieutenant England immediately, and Capt. Robilliard soon after, for the gallantry, zeal, and judgment they displayed.

The following letter from Captain J. Ross, of the Briseis, gives an account of a gallant exploit performed by the boats of that ship.

Briseis, off Pillaw, 29th June 1812.


I have the honour to inform you that, in pursuance of your orders, I stood in yesterday to communicate with the merchant vessel Urania, in Pillaw Roads, when I perceived her to be in possession of the French troops, and that it was intended to destroy her on our approach. I therefore tacked and stood off, judging it the most likely way to save the ship (which was employed by Messrs. Solly and Sons on the part of government) from destruction, and the remainder of her cargo from falling into the hands of the enemy. I resolved, however, to surprise her in the night.[Pg 279] Lieutenant Thomas Jones, first of the Briseis, Mr. Palmer, midshipman, and eighteen men, were sent in the pinnace on that service. At midnight, when within pistol shot, they were hailed and fired upon by the enemy, who had six guns and four swivels on board the Urania, which was surrounded by craft and smaller boats; but every obstacle was overcome by Lieutenant Jones and his crew, who gave three cheers, boarded over the craft, and drove the enemy off deck into their boats on the opposite side, leaving behind part of their arms. The cable was then cut, and she was brought out, together with a French scout, that was employed unloading her.

On our side I have to regret the loss of one seaman killed; the sergeant of the Royal Marines badly wounded; Mr. Palmer, midshipman, and one seaman, slightly wounded; but the enemy must have suffered far more severely from being exposed in their turn to the fire from the Urania after they had abandoned her.

My pen cannot do sufficient justice to the merit of Lieut. Jones, who has on a former occasion received the approbation of the commander-in-chief, for his gallantry and zeal; but when I leave the plain statement of this to recommend him, I am happy in the conviction that his valour will be duly appreciated by yourself and the commander-in-chief. Lieutenant Jones informs me that Mr. Palmer, who has passed for Lieutenant, behaved in the most gallant manner, and I think him also highly deserving promotion.

I have the honour, &c.

John Ross, Commander.

To Rear-admiral Martin,
&c. &c. &c.

The above was transmitted by Admiral Martin to the commander-in-chief, who, after expressing his admiration of the conduct of Lieut. Jones and[Pg 280] the rest, forwarded the letter to the Admiralty. The following answer was received from the Secretary:

Admiralty, 16th July 1812.


I have received and laid before my Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty your letter of the 10th instant, transmitting a report from Captain Ross, of the Briseis, of the re-capture of the merchant ship Urania, in Pillaw Roads, by the boats of that sloop, under the orders of Lieutenant Jones and Mr. Palmer, midshipman, and I am in reply commanded to express their Lordships' approbation of the gallantry displayed by the officers and men on this service.

There can be no doubt but promotion would have followed this valiant and successful affair, but Lieut. Jones being unfortunately obliged to return home in consequence of pressing family affairs, and having not rejoined his ship, lost his well-merited advancement in the navy, while Mr. Palmer obtained his promotion.

The Briseis was subsequently appointed to carry the joyful news of peace to Libau, where Captain Ross was received with demonstrations of joy. The hatred the oppressed inhabitants manifested towards their oppressors the French, who had just vacated the place, was beyond expression; and a Russian squadron had now ventured out of the Gulf of Finland to join in the general rejoicing.

Steps were taken by the Admiral to remove the supplies of corn and provisions at that place, to[Pg 281] prevent their falling into the hands of the advancing enemy.

Rear-admiral (now Admiral Sir Byam Martin, G.C.B.) was detached in the Aboukir, his flag-ship, and a numerous squadron and flotilla, to assist in the defence of Riga, which, as soon as war was declared, would be exposed to the attack of Macdonald's and Oudinot's divisions of the French army. In the mean time, peace between Great Britain and Russia took place on the 18th July, and this happy event was announced to the Admiral in the following letter from Mr. Thornton, General Suchtalen having previously arrived in Sweden with full powers from the Emperor of Russia.

Orebro, 17th July 1812.


I have the honour of informing your excellency that I have this day signed a treaty of peace with the Swedish and Russian plenipotentiaries, and you will receive under this cover a packet containing those for his Majesty's principal Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, which I will request your excellency to deliver to the care of a confidential officer, to be conveyed to England. Should you think that the King's service will not be promoted by detaching a vessel of war with him, I see no impropriety in the officer's sailing in the packet-boat and making the best of his way to England.

I leave it to your excellency's judgment to give what publicity you think proper to this important intelligence. It should, I think, certainly be communicated to all the commanders of his Majesty's ships in the Baltic, for the[Pg 282] purpose of regulating their conduct towards Swedish and Russian ships of war, but I know not that any alterations ought to be made in commercial arrangements until after the confirmations of the peace by exchange of the ratifications. I may have opportunities of writing again on these points.

I have the honour to be, &c.

E. Thornton.

To Admiral Sir Jas. Saumarez.

Sir James immediately despatched his nephew, Flag-lieutenant Dobree, in the Drake sloop of war, with this important despatch, and with the intelligence that the French army had passed the frontiers of Russia on the 24th of June, being the first act of hostility. Lieutenant Dobree arrived at the Admiralty on the 31st July, for which and other services he was promoted to the rank of commander. In the mean time, and in anticipation of this joyful event, Earl Cathcart had been nominated as Ambassador to the Court of St. Petersburg, and had sailed from England in the Aquilon.

Admiral Martin's arrival at Riga was extremely well-timed: his judicious operations in concert with Generals Essen, Ems, and Lovis, were the means of saving that city, which was in July and August besieged by Macdonald, when General Lovis was obliged to retreat within the walls. The suburbs were burnt rather hastily, but the arrival of a reinforcement of both English and Russian gun-boats, not only raised the siege, but impeded the advance of that division of the enemy towards[Pg 283] the great scene of action in the vicinity of Moscow.

A well-timed feint concerted by Admiral Martin on the heel of Dantzig had the desired effect of retarding the advancement of a strong reinforcement, so as to prevent it reaching the main army in time to take part in the battle of Borodino. To effect this a number of small merchant vessels were seized in the harbour of Riga, and by the prompt exertions of British seamen were converted into transports, on board which were embarked four hundred troops and other people of all classes, a sufficient part of which were clothed in regimentals to deceive a spectator. This formidable-looking armament having entered the Bay of Dantzig under Swedish colours, created such a degree of alarm, as to induce the troops which were marching to join Buonaparte to halt for no less than fourteen days, during which time proclamations in the German and Swedish languages were landed on the coast, while demonstrations for landing troops, ostensibly for the purpose of an attack on the city, were occasionally made, and shells thrown into the lower forts. After a sojourn of three weeks in the bay the borrowed ships were sent back to Riga, and the Aboukir and part of the squadron joined Rear-admiral Morris at Hanö, where that excellent officer had been most successfully protecting the commerce of both nations.[Pg 284] On the 9th of October a large convoy, which had long been detained at Matvick and Hanö, was about to sail, when it was ascertained that several French privateers had passed through the canal of Kiel, in order to attack it, and the Briseis was consequently sent in the disguise of a merchant bark in advance of the convoy. The plan succeeded; one of the privateers came alongside of the Briseis, and was easily captured, while the other three having taken refuge under the batteries in Hammarhus Bay, on the N.W. side of Bornholm, were attacked and destroyed. In this affair the Briseis had her main-mast badly wounded. Lieutenant Jones, who commanded the boats, particularly distinguished himself; but on his approach the enemy, having cut their cables, and run their vessels on the rocks, they were instantly wrecked and could not be carried off.

Sir James had detached Captain Stewart of the Dictator with several small vessels, to the Belt, to cut off the communication with Zealand, and in the course of this service Lieutenants Wilkie, Douell, and Petley particularly distinguished themselves. The Attack gun-brig was taken, and Lieutenant Craufurd, of the Wrangler, made a gallant but ineffectual attempt to retake her. The Mars, and Courageaux, and Orion, had the arduous duty of protecting the trade through the Belt, and excepting on one occasion, when five merchant vessels were driven on shore in a storm, their efforts were[Pg 285] successful. Owing partly to the negotiations and to the expectation that an enemy's fleet might escape from the Scheldt, the commander-in-chief was detained at Wingo Sound, the outer Roads of Gothenburg. The merchant ships which had been detained at that port and Carlshamn, as also the colonial produce and other British property, had been by his firm and temperate conduct released and sent under licence to various ports on the Continent.

Mr. Thornton, who had been on board the Victory on the 11th of July, had proceeded to Orebro, where he signed the treaty of peace already mentioned; returned on the 7th of August, sailed in the Tweed for England on the following day, but fortunately meeting with the Aquilon to the eastward of the Scaw, he returned with Lord Viscount Cathcart; and after a consultation with Sir James and Count Rosen, the Governor of Gothenburg, the ambassador set out for Orebro to ratify the coalition of the three nations against the common enemy.

An expedition was now planned for an attack on Zealand, the object of which was to force the King of Denmark to join the coalition, and 7,000 Swedes were collected; these were to be joined by 20,000 Russians; but the latter were so tardy in their motions that the plan was abandoned, as well as another for the descent on the coast of Norway; but the armament itself had a good effect by detaining the troops necessary for the defence of[Pg 286] Denmark from joining the main army of the French, while it gave a more serious aspect to the feint made by Rear-admiral Martin in the Bay of Dantzig.

Soon after the ratification of peace the Swedish Monarch conferred on Sir James the high honour of the Commander of the Grand Cross of the Order of the Sword of Sweden,[13] which corresponds to that of the Bath in England, and the decorations were sent in the following handsome letter from his Majesty:

Monsieur le Vice-amiral Saumarez,

Mon Conseiller intime d'Etat, le Baron de Platen, se rendant auprès de vous pour concerter sur des mesures à prendre contre l'ennemi commun, je profite avec plaisir de cette occasion pour vous envoyer ci-incluses les décorations de Commandeur Grand Croix de mon Ordre de l'Epée. Les services distingués que vous avez déjà rendu à mon royaume, et ceux que vous lui rendez maintenant, le zèle que vous avez constamment déployé pour le succès de nos entreprises, tous ces motifs réunis vous avaient acquis depuis longtems des droits à mon estime et à ma reconnaissance; et j'éprouve une satisfaction toute particulière de pouvoir vous en donner aujourdhui un gage solennel. Je vous félicite de l'avantage remporté le 7 de ce mois par une partie de votre escadre; et vous devez être bien persuadé, qu'il ajoute encore au prix que j'attache à vos[Pg 287] efforts pour assurer la defense des côtes de la Suède. Et sur ce je prie Dieu qu'il vous ait, Monsieur le Vice-amiral de Saumarez en sa sainte et digne garde; etant votre affectionné,


Au Château de Stockholm, le 19 de Juillet 1809.

Permission to accept and wear the decorations were subsequently granted by the Prince Regent.

The defeat of Oudinot at Polotzk, the junction of Begration and Barclay de Tolly with the grand Russian army under Kutusoff, and the battle of Borodino, gave a favourable turn to affairs, but not such as to dispel every apprehension, and it was determined by the Emperor Alexander to send the whole Russian fleet to winter in England. Admiral Crown was expected from Archangel with eight sail of the line, and Admiral Tait with ten, and six frigates from Cronstadt. The former having sailed from Wingo before this had been determined on, it became necessary for Sir James to delay his return. The Aquilon, which had been sent through the Belt to meet Lord Cathcart at Dalerö, and convey his lordship to Åbo, where he was to have a conference with the Emperor Alexander, met with some damage and returned to Wingo.

Mr. James Saumarez, eldest son of the Admiral, who had accompanied his lordship, made a tour and visited the Swedish, Finland, and Russian capitals; he returned on board the Victory on the 9th of October, when the afflicting intelligence arrived[Pg 288] of the sudden death of his sister, the eldest daughter of the Admiral, whose loss was deeply regretted by all who knew her excellent disposition. The shock, as may be imagined, was deeply felt by Sir James; but it will be seen by the following correspondence that his mind was supported under this severe trial, and much as his presence was required at home he regarded his duty to his country to be paramount to every other consideration, and unflinchingly remained at his post. His son (the present Lord de Saumarez) who had just finished his education for the Established Church, was indeed a great comfort to his suffering parent.

In a letter, dated 13th October, to the Secretary of the Admiralty, he says,—

There has been no ship in the Hawke Roads into which I could have shifted my flag, since the receipt of their Lordships' letter to send the Victory to Spithead, and the present afflicting state of my domestic concerns renders it of the utmost consequence that I should repair to England immediately; but I have suffered my private feelings to give way to the public service, and have to request that I may receive their Lordships' permission to proceed to England upon the receipt of this letter.

In his letter to Lord Cathcart, dated on the following day, he writes,—

Although the afflicting state of my domestic concerns requires my return to England with as little delay as possible, I sacrifice my private feelings to a sense of my[Pg 289] duty to the public service, and I have signified to his Majesty's Government my intention to remain here until I receive the pleasure of H.R.H. the Prince Regent upon the above measures (respecting the Russian fleet), when I hope to receive permission to return to England.

Sir James having given the necessary directions to Rear-admiral Morris for sending pilots to, and conducting the Russian fleet through the Belt, shifted his flag to the Pyramus and despatched the Victory to England. He was preparing to sail homewards, when to his surprise Rear-admiral George Hope arrived to supersede him; he, however, did not give up the command until everything was completed, and until he had received the following despatch from Lord Cathcart:

St. Petersburg, 26th Oct. 1812.


I had the honour of receiving yesterday by the Briseis your letter of the 10th ult., duplicates of your two letters of the 2nd, and triplicates of your letter of the 4th.

I lost no time in laying the three last-named despatches before the Emperor, and his Imperial Majesty desired me to take the first opportunity of expressing his entire approbation of everything you have done and promised for his squadrons, together with his best thanks for the exertions you have made in meeting and assisting the squadron under Admiral Crown, to refit so as to pursue the voyage to the Baltic, as well as for supplying an officer and pilots for the passage of the Belt.

His Imperial Majesty learned with great concern the[Pg 290] afflicting loss you have sustained, and was duly sensible of the efforts you made for the public cause, by remaining at Gothenburg under the pressure of so much grief.

Admiral Crown has afforded an example of the uncertainty of calculations of time and of meeting at sea, in regard to the sailing of men-of-war; for this squadron outstripped all the vessels and cruisers you sent, and, missing all the copies of the Emperor's orders, arrived at Sweaborg, I think, on the 10th. The Emperor sent immediate orders for this fleet to prepare to return forthwith to Wingo. Vice-admiral Crown has sent up no details whatever to the Minister of Marine concerning the state of the squadron, but that minister, the Marquis Traversay, has sent a superior officer of known activity, to hasten the supply of everything necessary for them, and to repeat the order for the immediate sailing of the whole squadron, or of as many ships as can be ready; the remainder to follow.

The wind being fair, it is expected that Admiral Tait is under sail with a division as per enclosed list, and it is probable he may be the first to reach you. I have not failed to communicate your idea in regard to the road at Dantzig to the Minister of Marine.

The Snipe will sail with the last division, &c.

I have the honour to be,
With truth and regard,


To Vice-admiral Sir James Saumarez, Bart. K.B.

Here follows a list of one ship of one hundred guns, one of eighty, five of seventy-four, and three frigates, under Admiral Tait; seven of seventy-four, and three frigates, and four smaller vessels, under Admiral Crown; and three of[Pg 291] seventy-four, two frigates, a brig, and four English transports, under Rear-admiral Karobka. Sir James at the same time received details of the proceedings at Riga, which have already been mentioned.

The following passage relative to the death of his daughter is extracted from a letter from Sir James to his brother.

At a time I was buoying myself up with the expectation of soon returning to England, and affording that consolation to my beloved wife and to those dear ones whom the Almighty yet spares us, which they so greatly need, I received despatches which rendered it impossible for me to leave the station; I most fervently implore the all-gracious Providence to enable me to submit to its divine decree with patience and due resignation.

If I could be assured of Lady Saumarez's welfare, I should feel more tranquil, but I know too well the keenness of her feelings. The anxiety she suffers on my account will, I fear, put to the test her practice of those pious virtues we all know her to possess, and of which she sets so bright an example. James's presence is of the greatest comfort to me, and alone enables me to make my cabin supportable. He returned most opportunely from St. Petersburg the day on which the news of this affliction arrived, and it was he that communicated it to me. He was the bearer of Lord Cathcart's despatches, which I have forwarded, for I could not spare him from me.

We shall now continue the narrative of Sir James's operations at this eventful period, when[Pg 292] the tyrant of France received his first effectual check, followed by the disastrous retreat of the French army from Russia, and the liberation of Europe.

Besides twenty thousand stand of arms which had been supplied to the Swedish army and landed at Gothenburg, the Snipe gun-brig, Lieut. Champion, had been sent to St. Petersburg with four transports laden with sixty thousand stand of arms. On opening the arm-chests it was found that they contained muskets, but no bayonets, and the indignation of the Russians at this circumstance may be better imagined than described, when they exclaimed, "What! do the English think we do not know how to use the bayonet?" On searching, however, the last ship, the bayonets were found, to the inexpressible joy of these people; and it cannot be denied that they did make use of them with fearful effect.

The Briseis was sent with the Admiral's last despatches to Lord Cathcart, and Captain Ross had the honour of returning with the important intelligence of the re-capture of Moscow, the defeat of Murat, and that the French were in full retreat. The Russian fleet had, however, sailed from Cronstadt and Sweaborg, and it was now too late to stop them: the accounts reached London on the 8th of November, and it was a satisfaction to Sir James that he had retained the command until the overthrow of the invading army.[Pg 293] Mr. Saumarez went home in the Aquilon, but the Admiral remained in the Pyramus at Gothenburg until the 5th of November, at which time he had delivered the various papers and instructions to Rear-admiral Hope necessary in giving up the command to that officer.

Before leaving Sweden he was waited on by Baron Essen, aide-de-camp to the Crown Prince, who presented him with a splendid sword, the hilt of which was set in diamonds, and said to be worth 2000l., as a testimony of the high sense his Majesty entertained of the important services he had rendered to Sweden and the good cause.

Among the many attached to the Court of Sweden, there was none who expressed himself more emphatically than his excellency Baron Platen. We shall give his letter, although it has already been published in substance.

At length I rejoice, my dear Admiral. You have been the guardian angel of my country; by your wise, temperate, and loyal conduct you have been the first cause of the plans which have been formed against the demon of the Continent. He was on the point of succeeding; folly and the want of confidence in some have made them doubt the success of the good cause. You have shared my anxiety, but it is now all over; two couriers have arrived this night from the head-quarters of the Emperor and the Prince. War was declared on the 24th of July; Austria is with us; thus, if Providence have not decided something against all probability, Buonaparte will be defeated, humanity[Pg 294] will breathe again, and Europe be once more raised up. With Wellingtons, Moreaus, Bernadottes against him, what hopes! I shall not fail to communicate to you the first news of importance, for once more I must tell you, that you were the first cause that Russia had dared to make war against France: had you fired one shot when we declared war against England, all had been ended, and Europe would have been enslaved. I own to you, also, my satisfaction that our august Prince Royal has conducted himself in such a manner as to leave your excellency no cause to repent of that which some people were pleased to call "credulity," but which events have proved to be wisdom.

The expressions of the worthy and truly patriotic friends, Admiral Krusenstjerna and Count Rosen on taking final leave of the Admiral, were no less remarkable for sincerity and gratitude. The first has long since paid the debt of nature, universally and justly regretted; the latter in 1834 fell a sacrifice to his humane endeavours to arrest the progress of cholera, and both will long be remembered as two of the saviours of their country.

The Pyramus reached Yarmouth Roads on the 10th of November, when Sir James made immediate application to strike his flag, and had the satisfaction of receiving in answer the following letter from the Secretary of the Admiralty.

Admiralty, 20th Nov. 1812.


My Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty have been pleased to command me, in transmitting to you the accompanying[Pg 295] order, to strike your flag and come on shore, to communicate to you their marked approbation of the zeal, judgment, and ability evinced by you during your late command in the Baltic. Your attention to the trade of his Majesty's subjects, and your conciliatory, yet firm conduct, towards the Northern Powers, have met the approbation of his Majesty's Government, and their lordships are glad to have observed that your services have been justly appreciated by the Courts of Sweden and Russia. I beg to add the personal satisfaction which I feel at being the channel of communicating to you this testimony of their lordships' approbation.

I am, &c. &c. &c.

J.W. Croker.

To Vice-admiral Sir James Saumarez, Bart., KB.

To this highly honourable testimonial Sir James made the following reply:

London, 23rd November 1812.


I have received your letter of the 20th inst., transmitting to me the order to strike my flag and come on shore, and also communicating their lordships' marked approbation of my conduct during my late command, in terms highly gratifying to myself. I am also peculiarly happy to find that the conduct I held towards the Northern Powers during a period of the utmost intricacy, has been honoured by the approbation of his Majesty's government, whilst it was duly appreciated by the Courts of Sweden and Russia. I take this opportunity to express my sincere acknowledgments for the unremitting attention I received from you during the period of my late command.

I have, &c. &c.

James Saumarez.

To J.W. Croker, Esq.[Pg 296]

After Sir James had arrived in London he continued to direct the proceedings of the fleet in the Baltic, and it was not until the good work he had begun was completely ended to the general satisfaction that he retired from actual service.

[Pg 297]



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.

The defeat of Buonaparte and the disastrous retreat of his army released the countries which surround the Baltic from the oppression to which they had been subject, and an English fleet was no longer necessary in that sea. The enemy indeed had still possession of Dantzig, and Denmark held out during the year 1813; but a small squadron under Rear-admiral Sir George Hope acting now in conjunction with Sweden, the co-operation of Russia was all that was wanted to[Pg 298] carry on the blockade in the Belt, and to protect the commerce.

The services of a full admiral not being required, Sir James remained at home, chiefly in his native island. The command in the Mediterranean, which he would have had, had he not been requested to continue on the command in the Baltic, was occupied by Sir Edward Pellew, which, as will be hereafter seen, was an unfortunate circumstance.

Although retired from active warfare, it cannot be said that Sir James had retired from public life;—he was the patron of every useful institution, not by mere nominal sanction, but also by very munificent pecuniary contributions. He was one of the oldest members (I believe, President) of the Society for promoting Christian Knowledge, having become a subscriber to that institution in the year 1789; he was also president of the Royal Naval Charitable Institution, and of the Naval and Military Bible Society, as well as a large contributor. He was, moreover, vice-president of the British and Foreign Bible Society, and of the Society for promoting Christianity among the Jews; patron of the National Schools of the Bethel Union; the Provident Society; the Church of England Sunday School; the Church of England Missionary Society, &c. His mind and his time, therefore, were employed in a manner no less honourable and useful than it[Pg 299] had been in his Majesty's service; and it does not appear that he had taken any notice of the manifest neglect of his claims until the peace of 1814, when, at the conclusion of the war, peerages were conferred on those officers of the army and navy who had most highly distinguished themselves. He now found his name omitted; while Sir Edward Pellew, an officer junior to him on the list of admirals, who had never commanded a ship in a general action, and who was not even a Knight of the Bath, was raised to the dignity of baron.

Sir James could not but consider this circumstance as an injustice to his superior claims; and we know that Sir Edward Pellew, then created Baron Exmouth, admitted that Sir James's claims for that high honour were far greater than his own. We may add, that every officer of his Majesty's navy was of the same opinion. Feeling himself bound to remonstrate, a correspondence took place between Sir James and some of his Majesty's ministers on the subject, but without effect; and we believe that the only reason given by them for his having been passed over, was simply "that Sir James's flag was not flying at the conclusion of the war," while that of Sir E. Pellew was hoisted in the Mediterranean, where indeed Sir James ought to have been, and where he would certainly have been had he not accepted the command in the Baltic at the request of[Pg 300] ministers, on the especial understanding that it was not to be prejudicial to his claims. The fact was, however, that he had no friends in power at that time; while Sir Edward Pellew had many claims on ministers for the support he gave them in Parliament.

It is needless to revert to the ungracious treatment he received, which can only be accounted for by his having refused a seat in Parliament, coupled with conditions to which his conscience would not allow him to accede, and from his diffidence in not putting forward his claims at an earlier period; too often the case with men who are truly brave, but which is injurious to the service, inasmuch as it induces a belief among the rising generation that even manifestly just claims may be entirely neglected.

On the 4th of June 1814, when the general promotion took place, Sir James was advanced to Admiral of the Blue, at which time his name on the list of the navy was the fourth above Lord Exmouth.

The following is the extract of a letter from Sir James to one of the family on the subject of the Peerage.

London, 16th May 1814.

"You will have seen that a Peerage has been conferred on Sir Edward Pellew; you may suppose that Sir John Duckworth and myself have taken the proper means with Lord Melville for our services being taken into consideration, for a similar mark of distinction, and there is every[Pg 301] reason to believe we shall not be disregarded. I had a long interview with Lord Melville, who gave me to understand that he laid the subject as favourably as possible before Lord Liverpool. It is, I fear, very doubtful, but I cannot persuade myself so much injustice will be done to my services; and such is the opinion of all I meet."

Subsequently to this, Sir James received a letter from Lord Liverpool, which need not be inserted, as the substance is given in Sir James's answer, which we subjoin.

Date not exactly known, 1814.

My Lord,

I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your lordship's letter of this date, signifying that you have had an opportunity of communicating to his Royal Highness the Prince Regent my request for the honour of the Peerage, as well as some other applications for the same honour from several distinguished officers of the navy and army, and that your lordship was commanded by the Prince Regent to acquaint me that his Royal Highness does full justice to my services on the occasions to which I refer; but he feels it, nevertheless, quite impossible, under all the circumstances, to comply with my request, and that he has directed your lordship to return the same answer to those who have made similar applications to him upon the present occasion. Without presuming to inquire into the merits of those distinguished officers with whom your lordship may have been pleased to blend my services, your lordship will permit me to observe, that the grounds upon which I found my application for the Peerage, were not confined to my services during the whole period of the late and American war; but also to my services during the five years that I had the honour to command[Pg 302] his Majesty's fleet upon the Baltic station with the fullest approbation of Government, particularly for my uniform conduct respecting Sweden, which prevented that nation from joining the common enemy against this country, and also in having detached a timely force to Riga under the order of Rear-admiral Martin, which proved the means of preventing that city from falling into the hands of the French, and also, through the exertions of that zealous and able officer, succeeded in checking an important branch of the enemy's army from penetrating towards St. Petersburg, for which important services I have been honoured with the thanks of his Imperial Majesty, communicated to me by his ambassador at this court. As your lordship may not have laid those interesting particulars regarding my services before the Prince Regent, I now most earnestly request you will be pleased to render me that justice. I owe it to myself, to my family, as well as to the naval service, to which I have had the honour to belong upwards of forty-four years, to take the proper means, with every due respect, that my long and most faithful services are laid before his Royal Highness, in the fullest confidence that they will be found deserving the same mark of distinction that has been conferred upon an officer junior to me in the list of admirals. I beg leave to express my unfeigned acknowledgments to your lordship for the polite manner in which you have been pleased to convey to me the sentiments of his Royal Highness.

I have the honour to be,
With the greatest respect,
My Lord
Your most obedient and humble servant,

James Saumarez.

To the Right Hon. the Earl of Liverpool,
&c. &c. &c.[Pg 303]

On Sir James's return to Guernsey, after his unsuccessful application to ministers for a Peerage, he resumed the works of charity and benevolence which had already done so much good to his native island. The ground on which Sir James's church stands was his property; he made a free gift of it to the building committee, and subscribed one thousand pounds towards the construction of that place of public worship. He assisted in improving the salaries of the masters and mistresses of the parochial schools, and was principally instrumental in establishing the Sunday school in the town parish. He founded an exhibition in Elizabeth College, for the best classical and theological scholar. He gave three hundred pounds in the Câtel parish, where his country seat was situate, for the payment of a salary to the mistress of the girls' school. He distributed at Christmas, every year, warm clothing to the poor of every parish in the island, and, conjointly with the late dean, the Rev. Mr. Durand, succeeded, after many fruitless attempts, in establishing a national school at St. Peter Port. It has been justly said that he considered the great wealth he possessed as "trust money," for which he would have to account to that Being who had confided it to his care.

Sir James's residence being in Guernsey, where he possessed both a town and country house, and considerable landed property, and where he found[Pg 304] himself surrounded by the relations both of Lady Saumarez and himself, he was induced to visit England but seldom. After the hundred days' war, when the Continental Sovereigns came to London, he accompanied the Prince Regent and his august allies to Oxford, and assisted in the ceremonies observed on that memorable visit. Had hostilities continued, there can be no doubt that he would have had the command of the Channel fleet, and it is worthy of remark that he was told, on making application for the Victory as his flag-ship, that four or five admirals, who had sought employment, had applied also for that favourite ship, notwithstanding the Howe, Nelson, and St. Vincent, new ships of one hundred and twenty guns, were ready for commission. Sir James having been second lieutenant of the same Victory forty-seven years before he hoisted his flag in her, and being well aware of her excellent sailing qualities, will account for his desire for that ship to bear his flag, although it cannot be denied, that, having only one hundred guns, and her metal reduced to eighteen pounders on the middle deck, she was much inferior in force to those we have mentioned. The glorious victory of Waterloo, however, put an end to all speculations on that subject; and Sir James, having failed in an application for a similar reward to that conferred on others for his meritorious services, retired again to his native island.[Pg 305] After Sir James and Lord Nelson had returned from the Mediterranean subsequently to the melancholy death of Captain Miller, they met at Sir Peter Parker's at dinner, when Sir James proposed that a subscription for a monument to Captain Miller's memory should be raised among the Captains who fought with his lordship at the Nile. This proposition was immediately adopted by Nelson, who volunteered to promote it; and the following is a letter on the subject from Nelson to Saumarez, which we insert here because it did not come to our hands until after the first volume had been printed.

My Dear Sir James,—I have written so fully to Sir Edward Berry on the subject of dear Miller's monument, that I can only repeat my words. Sir E. Berry thought that a plain monument would cost only 200l. and be sufficient to mark our esteem, to which I am ready to agree, provided we are to have the honour to ourselves. I mean we, who fought with him on the 1st of August 1798; but if it is judged better to admit those who fought with him on the 14th February 1797, then I think that a less sum than 500l. would be highly improper for such a body to lay out on a monument. Flaxman is to be the artist employed, and Mr. Davison, if he will take the trouble, the manager of the whole business; for permission must be obtained from the Chapter of St. Paul's, &c. &c.

I wish we had all been off Brest when the squadron sailed; we might have had the good fortune to have seen them. The San Josef appears to answer very well; indeed,[Pg 306] as far as we can judge at present, she is, take her altogether, the finest three-decker in this country. I am going, as you know, into the St. George, but I wish our Northern matters could be accommodated; however, we must face all our enemies, and, I trust, make them ashamed of themselves.

I know you have a lad of the name of Bate on board; if you wish to part from him, I am bound to take him.

With my best compliments to Lady Saumarez, believe me ever, my dear Sir James,

Your most obliged and affectionate,

Nelson and Bronte.

To Rear-admiral Saumarez.

Although this letter has no date, it is clear that it must have been written just before the battle with the Danish fleet at Copenhagen in 1801; and it is evident that the merit of proposing a monument to the brave Captain Miller is due to Sir James Saumarez.

He seldom ventured an opinion on political subjects: considering himself a "friend to the King," it did not much concern him who his Majesty's ministers were, and his refusal to support either side was no detriment to his advancement during war, when his high character and skill as a naval officer ensured him an important command; but when peace came, and his services were no longer required, he was, like many other meritorious officers, thrown completely on the shelf. His son, the present lord, writes thus:—

Although Sir James was more than once offered a seat in Parliament, he always steadily declined it, from the idea[Pg 307] that he could render better service to his country by remaining free from politics; or if ever the time did arrive when he might become a senator, he was resolved that whichever house he entered he would be free and unshackled.

On this subject Sir James writes a few lines to his brother when in the temporary command of the Channel fleet:

What you hint of a seat in Parliament has often occurred to me, but hitherto I should have found it an encumbrance. At some future period it may, perhaps, be more advisable; but you may rely on it that I never wish to have one without maintaining my independence, and being perfectly free and unbiassed by any party.

We are well assured that Sir James was decidedly against the Catholic Emancipation, although after he obtained a peerage he voted for the Reform Bill, being clearly of opinion that some reform of acknowledged and flagrant abuses was necessary. He did not, however, intend to go so far as many of his friends; he may be said to have nearly followed the politics of Earl Grey, after the retirement of whom he took no part in the affairs of the nation.

At every change which occurred in the Ministry, he sent a memorial of his services and claims, but without effect; and it is well known that he had a very unfruitful correspondence with the Duke of Wellington and other cabinet ministers. It was at this period that he suffered[Pg 308] another indignity in being passed over, when the Major-generalship of Marines became vacant.

The following extracts from letters from Earl St. Vincent will show his lordship's opinions on this subject. The first is to a friend.

Rochetts, 8th May 1821.

I feel very much for Sir James Saumarez. I have lost no opportunity of stating his high pretensions, which in my judgment are very far superior to any other upon the list of flag-officers. When I gain a little more strength I shall be glad to see him.

The second is to Sir James,

My Dear Sir,—I cannot too highly appreciate the interest you take in a late event, and happy shall I be to greet you upon the reward due to your exalted and unrivalled services, a manifestation of which has on no occasion been let slip by your old and sincere friend,

St. Vincent.

On the 4th of April 1824, Sir James, then Admiral of the White, hoisted his flag on board the Britannia as Port Admiral at Plymouth. It was during his period of command that Earl Grey, who was fully sensible of the unhandsome and ungrateful manner in which he had been treated, visited Plymouth, and when his health was proposed by Sir James at the Royal Naval Club openly announced his sentiments in the following words:[Pg 309]

I rise to offer my best thanks for the manner in which the president (Sir James Saumarez) has been pleased to propose my health, and for the assent which the gentlemen present have given to the gallant Admiral's favourable view of me as a public character. I cannot but remind those about me of the merits of my noble friend—[then correcting himself, Earl Grey went on]—I wish I could call him my noble friend (noble, I mean, in rank, as he is already noble in mind)—I wish I could see him ennobled by his Sovereign, as his services entitle him to be; for who would deny him that honour, who recollects the career which he has run from Rodney's glorious day, the battles off Cape St. Vincent and the Nile, down to his own brilliant exploits in the Crescent and as commander-in-chief at Algeziras, and not say, that if ever a name should or would have graced the peerage, it should have been that of Saumarez?

Ralfe, in his Naval Biography, after alluding to the above speech, justly remarks,—

Were it a matter of importance to adduce further proof of the high opinion entertained of Sir James's abilities, we believe we might name nearly the whole list of Admirals; for we never yet conversed with a single officer who was not loud in his praise, and who did not think the service neglected in his person.

At Plymouth, Sir James received a visit from Lord Exmouth, with whom he had had no personal communication since the time when they both commanded frigates on the Plymouth station.

Sir James struck his flag for the last time on[Pg 310] the 10th of May 1827, after a most glorious career of nearly sixty years. His reiterated claims were still disregarded.

We have now arrived at the period when the great revolution in the affairs of the state brought Earl Grey into power, previously to which, his late Majesty William IV. had ascended the throne; and one of the first and most popular acts of the "Sailor King," who well knew the merits of Sir James, was to wipe off that slur on the national gratitude, by raising him to the peerage.

Sir James having arrived in London, had communication with Sir James Graham, then first Lord of the Admiralty, after which he wrote as follows:

London, 9th September 1831.

This morning, I had a long interview with Sir James Graham, who, I must say, is most favourably inclined towards me, and assures me that Earl Grey, with whom he has had frequent conversations, is equally so. I have an appointment with the latter to-morrow, but I do not anticipate any favourable result, and can only say, "God's will be done."

We need scarcely add, that his application was successful; Sir James was raised to the long-expected and well-merited dignity of a Baron on the first of October 1831. The following extract of a letter from Lady Saumarez to her son,[Pg 311] describing the arrival of the first intelligence, we are sure will be perused with interest.

Saumarez, 4th October 1831.

I also remember, my dear James, that October is an eventful month to us all; that to-morrow is your wedding day, and Sunday is your birth-day,—and you may be sure we shall not fail to keep them both in remembrance, in our prayers and warmest wishes, that they may ever be numbered among those marked blessed. Our register has now to unroll a brilliant page, which, I trust, the same divine hand that inscribed it, will seal with that stamp.

Wonderful it is yet to me—so suddenly, so unexpectedly, did it come at last! I admit there is no excuse for my incredulity, except that of thinking your dear father had been so strangely deprived of his well-earned reward through the injustice of man on so many occasions, because, far better things than man could give were in store for him. And although I did not doubt, if any naval Peers were created at the coronation, he would be one, I did not allow my thoughts to dwell upon it; and when the Gazette arrived without his name, I gave it up altogether. You may therefore judge my surprise on Wednesday morning, when a tap at my door announced Betty Williams, who, in breathless agitation, came to my bedside to say, Mr. C. Lefebvre was below, to inform me "Sir James was made a lord!"

When I joined him at breakfast, an hour after, he gave me so many interesting particulars which he had heard, that the account could not be disbelieved; but the entrance of two letters removed every shadow of doubt. The accounts from England of the reception of this event everywhere, from all classes and parties, have no parallel;[Pg 312] and it seems to me as if the dignity had been deferred to prepare it for greater glory and additional lustre. We must indeed, as you say, be more than mortals if we could be unmoved at such things; they are so great that we have need to pray for a humble spirit to keep us from being "exalted above measure,"—and to make us remember that this donation is an additional "talent," which we are bound to use by our influence and example, in the cause of "whatever is holy, just, and of good report."

When the intelligence was known to the inhabitants of Guernsey, that the Admiral had been raised to the peerage, by the title of "Baron de Saumarez of Guernsey," all classes of the community fully manifested the pleasure they enjoyed at this signal honour; he being the first native of that island who had taken his seat in the House of Lords. On the 6th October, 1831, the bailiff officially announced the joyful news in his Billet d'Etat, in the following words:

Lord de Saumarez.

The elevation of one of our citizens to one of the highest dignities of the kingdom, cannot fail to inspire us with the most lively gratification. His Majesty has rewarded, with the most distinguished honour, the eminent services which he has rendered to the country. Guernsey, which, besides the public man, recognises in him all the virtues which adorn a private station, ought, on this happy occasion, to testify how sincerely she honours his character. To mark our esteem, the authorities of the Bailiwick, at the head of the whole population, ought to crowd around[Pg 313] him at his return and proffer their congratulations. I should fail in my duty to the States, were I to neglect affording them this opportunity.

In reply to this address, the States unanimously agreed to meet at the court-house on the day after the arrival of Lord de Saumarez, at eleven o'clock in the morning, and thence to repair to the residence of their noble fellow-citizen, and felicitate him on his elevation to the peerage.

Lord de Saumarez, after a tedious and stormy passage across the channel, arrived at Guernsey late in the evening of Tuesday, the 25th of October; but, notwithstanding the lateness of the hour, the pier was crowded with people, who cheered him as he landed, and who attended him with every demonstration of joy to the carriage which was in waiting for him; and it was with much difficulty the people could be prevented taking out the horses. He was very much fatigued, having embarked at Southampton on Friday evening in the packet. On Saturday morning, when in sight of Alderney, a gale overtook the vessel, and the captain was obliged to bear up for Weymouth roads, where he remained till Monday; but his lordship had not recovered the effects of the storm: a night's rest, however, completely restored him.

On the following morning (26th October) the States assembled at the court-house, and as soon[Pg 314] as the names of the members were called over, the bailiff read the address, which he had prepared, and which was unanimously agreed to. And, after having ascertained that his lordship was ready to receive them, the States proceeded to his residence, where the address was delivered to him, surrounded by Lady de Saumarez and the members of his family then in the island.

[Pg 315]



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.

After Sir James's elevation to the peerage, he came during the session from his residence in Guernsey to London, in order to attend his duty in Parliament, but did not join any party in politics. We have already said that he voted for the Reform Bill, being fully convinced that some reform was necessary; but we know that he was firmly attached to the Constitution and to the Established Church, and he may be said to have followed nearest to the opinions of Earl Grey, after whose retirement from office he did not appear in Parliament.[Pg 316] When the Author paid his lordship a visit at Tunbridge Wells in the winter of 1833, he found him much altered, and it was but too evident that his constitution was broken. In the summer of 1834 he had to deplore the loss of his second son (Thomas), who died on the 4th of July, on which mournful occasion he wrote the following letter to his son.

In the heavy affliction with which it has pleased the Almighty to visit us, he has not left us without consolation; and our confidence in the Divine mercy, and the hope that your beloved brother is removed to a better world, in the enjoyment of the blessed, through the precious merits of our dear Redeemer, must tend to assuage our sorrow, and induce us to submit with due resignation to the divine will. It will be to me a source of the greatest consolation, as it must be to us all, my dear James, to have witnessed his meek and patient resignation during his severe illness. It has been to me, as yourself and your dear Mary will readily believe, a most distressing and truly painful trial; but it has pleased God to support me through the whole of this sorrowful time far beyond what I could ever have thought myself to have been equal to, and I trust that your dear mother and beloved brother and sister will continue resigned to the will of Providence.

Lord de Saumarez's amiable disposition afforded him support under severe and unexpected losses of every description, of which the following anecdote is a proof. In the spring of 1834 he[Pg 317] met with a loss on his journey to visit Sir John Orde at Beckingham, which we will venture to say would have been borne in a very different way by many of his brother officers. His own carriage being under repair, he had borrowed one from the coachmaker, which could only take one trunk behind; in this trunk the female servant, who had lived a long time in the family, had deposited his valuable diamond star of the Order of the Bath, together with some costly jewels and trinkets belonging to Lady de Saumarez and her daughter. On their arrival at Sir John's mansion at Beckingham, it was discovered, to their utter consternation, that the trunk had been cut off by thieves and carried away with its contents, the value of which amounted to near 1000l. Sir James bore the loss with the most philosophic coolness; for, instead of finding fault with the servant for placing such valuable articles in so hazardous a situation, with his true habitual kindness, he used his utmost endeavours to soothe the distress she felt as having been the unintentional cause of the loss. Information was immediately given at the Police-office, but none of the property was ever heard of, excepting the trunk, which was found empty in a field by the road side.

In Sweden the name of Saumarez will be for ever spoken of with gratitude and respect, and all[Pg 318] strangers who visit that country are sure in their memoirs to mention the services which he had rendered. In Mr. Lloyd's book we find:

To the good understanding which existed between Count Rosen and Sir James Saumarez, our admiral on that station, may be ascribed the flourishing trade which was afterwards carried on during a period of nominal war, and the re-establishment of peace between the countries which soon after followed. Of Sir James Saumarez the inhabitants still speak in the highest terms of respect and regard, for his mildness and moderation in command, and for the attention he invariably paid to their numerous applications and wants.

A tourist in Sweden writes as follows:

Stockholm, 22nd Jan. 1832.

To-day I shall again have the honour of dining with Count Wetterstedt. Many, many inquiries were made after the health and happiness of the gallant and amiable Lord de Saumarez, whose name is beloved and respected throughout the whole kingdom. I landed at Christiania and travelled by land within fifty miles of Stockholm, and even the peasantry are familiar with my Patron's excellent name and character, the great friend of Sweden.

In October 1834, Lord de Saumarez received the last mark of Royal favour from the King of Sweden, who sent him a splendid full-length portrait of himself, which was forwarded with the following letter from the late highly respected Count Wetterstedt, then Minister for Foreign Affairs at Stockholm:[Pg 319]

Stockholm, le 7 d'Octobre 1834.


Depuis longtems le Roi mon auguste Souverain vous avait destiné, Milord, son portrait en pied comme un témoignage de son estime des services signalés que vous avez rendus à la Suede dans les années 1810-12.

Divers incidens en avaient retardé l'expédition, d'autant plus regrettables au Roi, que sa Majesté avait appris l'intérêt que vous aviez attaché à ce souvenir de sa part. L'occasion opportune qui se présente maintenant de pouvoir embarquer ce portrait à bord du bâtiment à vapeur, le Lightning, de la Marine Britannique, qui transporte ici Monsieur de Disbrowe, a été saisie par le Roi, et j'ai l'honneur de vous annoncer en son nom que cette expédition vient d'être effectuée.

En faisant placer sur ce portrait cette inscription, "Charles XIV. Jean, à James Lord Saumarez, au nom du Peuple Suédois," sa Majesté s'est plue à transmettre à la posterité une preuve éclatante des souvenirs qui restent chez elle, et chez la Nation qu'elle gouverne, des vues éclairées du Gouvernement Britannique à une époque à jamais mémorable, et de la noble loyauté que vous mites, Milord, dans leur accomplissement.

Il m'est d'autant plus agréable, Milord, d'être auprès de vous l'organe de ces sentimens de mon Souverain, que je trouve une occasion d'y ajouter ceux de la haute considération avec laquelle j'ai l'honneur d'être,

Votre très humble et très obéissant Serviteur,

Le Cte. de Wetterstedt.

This portrait, which is the natural size of the illustrious donor, arrived safely at Guernsey, where the Author saw it, and can affirm that it is an excellent[Pg 320] likeness of his Majesty, who was always grateful for the services which Lord de Saumarez had rendered to his adopted country. Not less so were the merchants in London, who were preparing a splendid piece of plate, which the noble admiral did not live to receive, but which was presented to his son, the present lord.

We now approach the last days of this great and good man. He had yet another contest to encounter, and he entered upon it with that same moral courage, which, being founded on his trust in the Almighty, had hitherto enabled him to overcome every difficulty, and to face every danger; he had yet another victory to achieve, in which he came off more than conqueror. We are now to behold him as no longer holding intercourse with earth, but rather standing on the confines of either world; not indeed as preparing to meet his God, for that had been the business of his whole life, but as ready to obey whenever his summons came.

With the exceptions of occasional attacks of gout, which in general were more tedious than severe, he may be considered to have enjoyed a good state of health; but for the last three years his friends perceived that advanced age was gradually bringing on its debilitating effects. He was no longer able to walk with that firm commanding step, and that erect posture of body for which he had always been noted; but his mind[Pg 321] retained its usual energy, and when he fell in with any of his old companions he would converse on the deeds of his more active life with all the vigour and animation of youth. Notwithstanding he had nearly attained the latest of those periods assigned by the Psalmist as the general boundary of human life, his children had still fondly hoped that he might yet have been spared a few years; neither had she, who for forty-eight years had been the joy and solace of his existence, and who had watched over him with the most sincere and devoted affection, any particular reason to think that they were so soon to be severed. A few weeks before his death, his increasing debility; attended with loss of appetite and inability of retaining food, excited some slight apprehensions, which, though not sufficient to cause alarm on the first appearance of those symptoms, led, as they increased, to the conviction that the system was decaying.

On the 30th of September Lord de Saumarez seemed to have recovered his usual good looks, and appeared with the cheerfulness which, when in health, he always assumed. That day he received several friends, who congratulated him on his convalescence; but the members of his family who watched him most attentively, observed that he received their congratulations with distrust, as if conscious of his declining state; and, on their departure, calling one of them aside, he[Pg 322] emphatically told him, that his looks were not to be depended on, for that he really felt ill. It is even said that he had already given directions to his confidential servants respecting some of the last duties. On the morrow his increased debility showed that his opinion of his own state was but too correct, and on the next day, which was Sunday, he awoke, after an uneasy night, under the pressure of distressing symptoms. Finding it was too late for his family to go to church, he requested they would read the service to him, and was afterwards much employed in meditation. It was now apparent that he was impressed with the belief, that the time of his departure was at hand, for he seemed as if taking a farewell of terrestrial objects and resigning his soul to his Maker and Redeemer.

More than once he exclaimed, "I am the resurrection and the life, saith the Lord; he that believeth in me, though he were dead yet shall he live, and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die." "What comfort, shall never die," he repeated, in a manner which showed the hope he himself entertained of a blessed immortality. He was well acquainted with every page of the sacred writings, the perusal of a portion of which, including the psalms of the day, had for many years formed part of his regular employment, and it was now he felt the comfort which[Pg 323] they inspired and the support which they afforded under the near prospect of death and the grave.

Monday brought no amendment; it was evident that nature was sinking, and his medical attendants no longer concealed their apprehensions of the result. Those of his family, who had the privilege of attending him at this solemn period, while they were filled with sorrow at the prospect of losing one so deservedly dear to them, could not contemplate the calmness and composure with which he met the approaching change, without feelings of the most devout admiration.

Still seeking comfort from its only true source, Heavenly themes were the prevailing occupation of his thoughts. "The Lord," he said, "is my light and my salvation; of whom then shall I be afraid?" He also repeated from memory the 23rd and 34th Psalms, together with some other parts of the holy volume. On the Thursday, which may be considered as the last day on which he enjoyed the full power of speech and consciousness, his tongue was still employed in magnifying the God of his salvation: several times he repeated, "If God is for us, who can be against us?" sometimes adding, "Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect?" Once he said, "Oh, my poor mind!"—"Not a poor mind," was the reply, "but a rich one, stored as it is with such[Pg 324] heavenly things:" when he meekly answered, "I have tried to make it so."

The two following days he felt increased difficulty in breathing, and though only able to give occasional utterance to his thoughts, the constant joining of his hands, and the devotion of his countenance, showed that his understanding was still able to unite in the supplications which his family offered up in behalf of the dying husband and parent. His recollection, however, was gradually leaving him; for, on Lady de Saumarez approaching his bedside on the morning of Saturday, he no longer recognised her; he appeared to be fast passing from this world to better and everlasting habitations. It was, as this excellent and truly Christian woman acknowledged, more than mortal strength which enabled her to contemplate without a murmur the separation that was so soon to take place, and which raised her mind above the distressing scene before her, to find utterance in prayer for herself and for the departing spirit of her husband. She was not sensible that she was heard, till, a few moments after she had concluded, he distinctly said, in the metrical version of the 122nd psalm, "It was a joyful sound to hear." It is uncertain whether this alluded to the words of the prayer just uttered, or whether the Almighty was already pleased to vouchsafe to him, as there is reason to believe he does to his faithful servants when approaching the great conflict, some assurance[Pg 325] of his salvation, by admitting him to a distant sound of the Hallelujahs of those blessed spirits which surround the throne. From whatever source sprung this sentence, dear and precious must it ever be to those who loved him; for these were the last words he distinctly pronounced,—the last sound of his voice in this world!

The next day (Sunday) was the 9th of October, a day which had been one of peculiar interest to him, being the birth-day of his eldest son, who was unfortunately prevented by a weak state of health, attended with bodily infirmity, which would not admit of his crossing the water in the stormy weather then prevailing, from being present at the dying bed of his beloved parent.

His breathing now became very laborious, but his lordship was apparently at ease and free from pain. Sometimes it was thought a degree of consciousness existed; for when at noon his second son, who had just arrived from England, appeared in the apartment and spoke, a slight movement of the body was perceptible. Towards night the pulse rapidly declined, the breathing, which had been much relieved during the day, became gradually fainter, every limb was at rest, the whole body in repose, as if indicating the happy state of that spirit which was about to be resigned into the hands of Him that gave it.

A few minutes before midnight, the wise Disposer of all things was pleased to close the mortal[Pg 326] scene; the cessation of the act of breathing was the only sign of dissolution; and even at that moment his countenance bore an expression no language can portray; unimpaired by illness, or the course of nearly fourscore years, time seemed to have restored to his features and complexion the freshness and bloom of the prime of life. In beholding such a blissful termination of mortal existence, we have here a happy illustration of the words of the prophet, "The work of righteousness shall be peace, and the effect of righteousness quietness, and assurance for ever."[14]

In order to form a correct estimate of the merits of the late Lord de Saumarez, his character should be viewed under the opposite relations of life—professional and domestic; and very few who have belonged to the navy, or indeed any service, have been more distinguished in either. Rear-Admiral Sir Jahleel Brenton, Bart. &c. now Lieutenant Governor of the Royal Hospital at Greenwich, has given us the following sketch of his professional character, of which he must be admitted to be the best judge, having served several years as his captain under the most trying circumstances of his life.

I had frequent opportunities of observing him in both characters, and knew not which to admire most—that perfect enjoyment which he seemed to possess in the bosom of[Pg 327] his family; that peculiar faculty of giving and receiving happiness in the truly happy circle of which he was the centre—or that energy of character which led him with enthusiasm into active service, and which made the good of his country paramount to every other consideration. Perhaps the most weary of all situations, to a naval officer, is, when placed in command of a squadron, watching an enemy's fleet, particularly on such a station as that of Brest; and there my noble friend was severely tried, first, as a captain with a squadron under his orders, and afterwards as a flag officer. The rapidity of the tides, as well as their irregularity, and the constant heavy gales from the westward, render the service a most anxious one; and he indeed felt the full force of the responsibility; but the determined resolution with which he maintained his position, under the most threatening circumstances, gave the fullest assurance to the commander-in-chief, that this most important post was in able and sure hands. All his officers and crew had their regular portions of repose; but sleep to the officer charged with this immense responsibility was almost impossible during the night, and a few transient snatches of rest through the day, when danger could be seen or avoided, were all that could be obtained, and these enabled him to sustain the fatigue to which he was exposed.

During the long winter nights, we could all observe the effects of this most trying situation upon the Admiral's appearance, who, having alone the responsibility for the safety of all the ships under his command, suffered in proportion to its amount. It was, at the same time, a subject of general remark, how every trace of fatigue and anxiety instantly vanished on the arrival of a letter from his family. It would have been natural to suppose that, deeply as he felt the happiness of home, so in proportion[Pg 328] would have been his distaste for a service that deprived him of it; but the moment that he was assured of the welfare of the objects of his affectionate solicitude, his countenance was lighted up by the utmost gratitude to the Giver of all blessings, and he again devoted himself to the fulfilment of his arduous duties with renewed energy.

It was frequently said by Earl St. Vincent, that when an officer of the navy married, he lost much of his value in his profession. There are, doubtless, many exceptions to that rule, and Sir James Saumarez was a most striking one; for I believe he was most powerfully stimulated to great and good actions, by the consideration of the share those dear to him would enjoy in their results. And, certainly, no energy whatever was wanting to get his ship, or squadron, ready for sea, or to proceed with the utmost despatch in the execution of his orders, however it might curtail the period of his domestic enjoyments; everything gave way to duty, and every possible degree of energy and zeal was brought into action for the execution of it.

The lively sensibility, which formed so prominent a feature in the character of our lamented hero, was most remarkable. It was not only in the intercourse of private friendship and in acts of kindness and benevolence, that this feeling was evinced; but upon all occasions, public as well as private, he manifested how deeply his heart was engaged in events which might bear on the interests of his friends and his country. I well remember, when off the Black Rocks in April 1801, his coming on board, from a visit he paid to the commander-in-chief, and bringing a newspaper, containing an account of the landing in Egypt, and the attack on the Danish fleet at Copenhagen by Lord Nelson. He directed me to cause the hands to be turned up; but when they were assembled, his feelings had so completely overcome him, that he found it utterly impossible[Pg 329] to read the account. Many instances of this peculiar depth of feeling and goodness of heart might be enumerated. I shall only add, that he was most exemplary in his conduct, and most exact in causing all the offices of religion to be performed on board his ship, allowing nothing short of the most imperative duties of the ship to interrupt divine service!

In conclusion, we must seriously recommend to our young readers, and particularly to those of the Royal Navy, to whom indeed the whole memoir is addressed, to read with attention the following remarks on the moral and religious character of the late illustrious and noble Admiral.

His lordship was a sincere Christian, in the most exalted sense of the word; his religion was a strong principle, pervading every decision and action of his long and distinguished life. It was a principle emanating from a sound knowledge and love of scripture truth; those who were honoured with his confidence, and who saw him at all times, and under different circumstances, particularly in the hour of sickness and in affliction, can testify with what earnestness he turned to the great source of strength and consolation, with what warmth of feeling he spoke of the redeeming mercies of God in Christ Jesus; it was a theme to which he delighted to give utterance, and in a way which convinced those who heard him, that it constituted the firm, prevailing, comforting belief and support of his own mind and heart.[Pg 330] A friend, who visited Lord de Saumarez during a severe illness, was deeply affected on hearing him say, that he had passed a sleepless night, not so much from the bodily sufferings he endured as from the painful reflection of the misery and danger of the multitudes who were living without God in the world, particularly those who were opposed to the gospel of Christ, and that he had earnestly prayed to God on their behalf. It was a similar feeling which led him to employ himself with so much zeal, and such magnificent liberality for the erection of St. James's church in his native island: it owes its existence mainly to him. No sacrifice appeared too great to ensure the success of an undertaking which provided four hundred free sittings for the use of the poor population. More recently, in the same spirit, he became a bountiful contributor to another church, in a populous district of the island; and his last public act was laying the foundation-stone of that edifice. The multitudes who there saw his benign countenance, will not quickly forget the devotion which mingled with the performance of the ceremony. He ever liberally supported the schools and religious institutions; but indeed his charity was unbounded. In every case of public emergency, or of private distress, he was a sure refuge; and the hopes entertained of his assistance and sympathy were never disappointed.[Pg 331] The success which attended his Lordship in his profession, has proved that moral and religious worth, far from unfitting men for the naval service, only qualifies them the more for the right discharge of their arduous duties. No commander ever possessed in a higher degree the confidence of the navy, the respect of the community at large, and the love and veneration of friends and relatives; and surely it is not too much to add, that this homage was paid, not more to his professional skill and valour, not more to the eminent services he had rendered to his king and country, than to the Christian excellency which ever adorned his life and actions.

[Pg 332]



In adding the following memoir of this distinguished officer, who is a younger brother of the late noble Lord, we feel confident that it will be read with interest, his services having been in some degree mixed up with those of his illustrious brother, in the prosecution of the American and the late Continental war. The author having been intimately acquainted with Sir Thomas, and having for many years kept up a constant correspondence with him, has peculiar satisfaction in discharging this duty of gratitude to a friend for whom he had always the highest regard and respect, and to whom he materially owes his advancement in the profession to which he has the honour to belong.

Lieutenant General Sir Thomas Saumarez entered the army in January 1776, at the early age of 15 years, when he purchased a second lieutenancy in the 23rd regiment or Royal Welsh Fusiliers. He was at the taking of New[Pg 333] York Island, and assisted at the storming of Fort Washington and in capturing 3300 men.

In April 1777, he embarked on board transports with the regiment, and proceeded to destroy all the military stores and provisions the enemy had collected at Danburg in the province of Connecticut. He first distinguished himself in the action fought at this place, and in the actions of Ridgefield and Compo Point. Having obtained a lieutenancy in 1778 without purchase at Philadelphia, he soon after was selected to serve in the company of grenadiers which was then attached to the brigade, composed of more than fifty companies of grenadiers. He was in the severe action fought at Monmouth, in the Jerseys, when the captain, and more than one-third of the company to which he belonged, were killed or wounded. His services were volunteered with the regiment to serve as marines on board Lord Howe's fleet, destined to attack the French fleet, under Count D'Estaing, at Rhode Island, very superior in size and weight of metal to the British: a dreadful storm arose when the two fleets were within gun-shot of each other, which prevented the engagement. In 1779, he embarked and went up Hudson's River to East Chester, and Ver Plank's Point, and was at the attack of Fort La Fayette and other fortified places, which surrendered.

On the return of young Saumarez to New York in September 1779, he was strongly recommended by his commanding officer to General Clinton, the commander-in-chief, and, in consequence, was permitted to purchase a company in the Royal Welsh Fusiliers, although he was only 19 years of age. The day following, he embarked with several regiments, under the command of Earl Cornwallis, with the intention of attacking several French West Indian Islands. A few days after leaving New York, a frigate hove in sight, the captain of which gave information to Vice[Pg 334] Admiral Arbuthnot, that two days before he had seen a large fleet of men-of-war, under the command of Count De Grasse, very superior in numbers to our convoy, and that he supposed the enemy to be within a day's sail of our ships. Upon this the Admiral made the signal for all the transports to return as expeditiously as possible to New York, where he disembarked.

In December, our young officer embarked with many regiments, under the command of Lieutenant General Clinton, and sailed for South Carolina, to besiege the city of Charlestown, which surrendered on the 12th of May 1780. Soon after this, he was detached with 4000 men, under the orders of Earl Cornwallis, and after marching upwards of one hundred miles took possession of Camden. At this place, our little army became so sickly that we had more than 1100 men in the hospital, which, with many detachments, reduced our number to less than 2000 effective men. The enemy being apprised of this, was induced to collect a force of more than 7000 men, with the intention of attacking and capturing our little army, under the command of General Gates. On the 15th of August, Lord Cornwallis was informed that the Americans were within twelve miles of Camden, and consisted of six to one in numbers more than we had to oppose to them. Upon this, his lordship considered it was too late to think of retreating to Charlestown, and not wishing to abandon our sick in hospital, decided at once that, by attacking the enemy, we had a great deal to gain and little to lose. He accordingly issued an order to march at nine o'clock the same evening. About two hours after, the advance guards of the British and of the Americans encountered each other, as the enemy had begun to march precisely at the same hour: after skirmishing some time, the firing ceased, and both armies waited most impatiently for the dawn of day of[Pg 335] the 16th, when they formed, and immediately engaged; the Americans at the same time detaching troops on both the flanks of the British, to prevent their escaping, under the expectation of taking the whole prisoners. On the other hand, the British marched coolly to meet the enemy, although under a very heavy fire of cannon and musketry, until they came within twenty yards of their opponents. Here Lord Cornwallis took off his hat, which was a signal for the line to give three hearty cheers, advance, and, when within a few yards of the enemy, fire a well-directed volley and charge: this was done with such effect that the first line of the Americans ran away and overset their reserve; the result was, that the British killed (mostly with the bayonet), wounded, and took prisoners 300 more than they had men in the field, took seven pieces of brass cannon, 150 waggons, full of all sorts of military stores, camp equipage, &c.

About three weeks after this action, Lord Cornwallis, upon finding the greater number of the sick had left the hospital, issued an order for all the officers' baggage which could possibly be dispensed with to be destroyed immediately, as the little army was going by forced marches in pursuit of the enemy. The troops accordingly marched seventeen successive days, from five o'clock in the evening to eight or nine the following morning, oftentimes with a very scanty allowance, or no provisions, as it was through an exhausted country, without bread, (as the corn mills had been rendered unserviceable,) except some Indian corn used by the cattle, and this corn was taken from the fields. The troops were without tents or any covering to shelter them from the intense heat and heavy rains peculiar to the climate. They had to ford frequently four or five rivers and creeks in a day; some of these were deeper than their waist, and so rapid, that the[Pg 336] officers and soldiers found it requisite to tie and support each other. Under these circumstances the men were frequently exposed to a most galling fire from the enemy, strongly posted: if a man was wounded, he was let go down the stream and drowned.

During a march of 1500 miles through South and North Carolina and Virginia, the officers and soldiers were subjected to the greatest sufferings, privations, and hardships, which, (as Lord Cornwallis frequently observed in his despatches,) could not be possibly exceeded, their clothes being worn out, especially their boots and shoes. They were, moreover, almost without wine or spirits, having destroyed the greater part when orders were issued at Camden to lessen the baggage as much as possible, which deprived the officers of the comforts they so much required, and which they had obtained with the greatest trouble and expense: for this sacrifice, they never received the smallest recompence. The officers having the rank of captain were allowed to ride on a march, but in consequence of a requisition made to Lord Cornwallis by Colonel Tarleton, commanding the cavalry, not only for the riding horses, but also for all the cart horses, which were most serviceable to mount his troopers, his lordship most reluctantly compelled every officer to deliver the best of the horses for the cavalry. The captains naturally lent their horses to the officers and men who might require them from illness or otherwise; it was soon found out that they could not be dispensed with, so that cast-off horses were substituted for those they had been obliged to give up.

The little army being nearly exhausted with fatigue, the officers and men became most anxious that, instead of the minor actions and skirmishes to which they were frequently exposed, the enemy would collect all his force[Pg 337] and give them an opportunity to fight and end their labours.

On the 14th of March 1781, Lord Cornwallis received intelligence that General Green, with a force five times greater as to numbers than the British, was within ten miles. His lordship determined to attack them the day following, and put his little corps in motion at daybreak of the 15th of March. About noon, he fell in with the enemy most advantageously posted, and formed in three lines; the first, which was behind rails, kept up a most incessant fire, from four six-pounders and musquetry, upon the British troops as they advanced upon a ploughed field, which was very muddy from rain that fell the day before. Notwithstanding all these disadvantages, they marched coolly to the Americans without firing a musket until within a few yards, when they halted to fire a well-directed volley and charged. Upon this, they had to encounter the enemy's second and third lines, which were attacked in the same manner and totally dispersed, leaving their four six-pounders, the only guns they had, in the field, which were bravely taken by the brigade of guards: these four six-pounders were soon after retaken by a charge from Colonel Washington's cavalry, and two of these guns were ultimately taken by Captain Saumarez, who had the command of the left wing of the regiment from the commencement of the action, after Captain Pater, who commanded the royal Welsh Fusiliers, was wounded in the early part of the engagement, and the left wing had been separated from the right wing when in pursuit of the first line of the Americans. The other two six-pounders were also taken by Colonel Tarleton's cavalry: these four guns were all the Americans brought into the field.

The enemy's loss in killed and wounded was very considerable.[Pg 338] The Welsh Fusiliers and most of the other corps of Lord Cornwallis's army had about one third of the officers and soldiers in the field killed and wounded, and most unhappily, during the action, the lighted paper of the cartridges set fire to the dried leaves, so that many of the unfortunate wounded, which could not be removed, belonging to the British and Americans, were burnt to death. Earl Cornwallis mentioned in his despatches, "that the conduct and actions of the officers and soldiers that compose this little army, will do more justice to their merit than I can by words. Their persevering intrepidity in action, their invincible patience in the hardships and fatigues of a march of many hundred miles, in which they have forded several large rivers and numberless creeks, many of which would be reckoned large rivers in any other country in the world, without tents or covering against the climate, and often without provisions, will sufficiently manifest their ardent zeal for the honour and interests of their sovereign and their country."

This engagement was generally considered to be the hottest and bloodiest, as well as the best fought throughout the war.[15] The army marched from Guildford the 18th of March for Wilmington, where it arrived the 7th of April. At this place the officers and soldiers fortunately were enabled to supply themselves with a small quantity of wine and spirits, with which they had been without for some months, also with tea and sugar and some clothing, of which they began to be in the greatest need, in consequence of having been compelled to destroy the greatest part of their baggage twice for the good of the service, since they arrived at Camden in June 1780.

On the 25th of April 1781, he marched from Wilmington, North Carolina, for Petersburg, Virginia, a distance of 800 miles: here he arrived on the 20th of May, after[Pg 339] undergoing the greatest privations and hardships, which Lord Cornwallis deplored, and felt the distresses of his little army so much that he became very ill with a fever, which prevented the possibility of his lordship's sitting a horse, and made it indispensably requisite for his being conveyed in a waggon over mountains, rivers, and creeks.

On the 4th of July the troops marched from Williamsburg, the capital of Virginia, for James Town, near which place there was a river three miles wide, which the army had to cross. On the 5th, the baggage of the army passed over the river, and some of the troops. The day following, Lord Cornwallis received intelligence that the Marquis De La Fayette with 2000 Americans were within a short distance of the British, with the intention of destroying the rear guard: upon this, his lordship prevented the main body of his little corps from embarking, and placed it in ambush behind a high hill to wait the attack of the enemy. About four o'clock in the afternoon, the Americans began to attack the piquets, which had orders to sustain their ground as long as possible; in consequence, several officers and soldiers were wounded: at length the main body of the enemy formed in front of the British, when the latter, after receiving the repeated discharges of the former from two six-pounders and musquetry, advanced, with the greatest impetuosity, fired a volley and charged, which completely dispersed the Americans, who were pursued until dark, the enemy leaving the two pieces of cannon and more than 300 killed and wounded on the field. Another hour of day-light would in all probability have prevented a single man of the Americans escaping.

Earl Cornwallis was so well pleased with his little army, that in his despatches he mentioned, that he could not sufficiently commend the spirit and good behaviour of the officers and soldiers.[Pg 340] On the 25th of July the little corps marched for Portsmouth, and arrived at York Town and Gloucester on the 9th of August, when orders were issued to fortify both places as well as practicable. The Welsh Fusiliers were directed to erect a redoubt on the right flank of the town, more than five hundred yards in advance, there being a ravine between York and the position allotted. Lord Cornwallis declared that the Fusiliers would have to defend this post. On the 28th of September, 8000 French troops under the command of Count Rochambeau, and 1500 American troops under General Washington, with a large French fleet of ships of war, made their appearance, with the avowed intention of besieging the army under Earl Cornwallis, consisting of only 4017 men fit for duty: 1933 officers and soldiers were wounded and sick in hospital. The night following, the enemy broke ground within three hundred yards and continued their approaches.

On the 6th of October, 3000 French grenadiers made a most vigorous attempt to storm the right advanced redoubt, and were bravely repulsed by only 130 officers and soldiers of the royal Welsh Fusiliers, and 40 marines. Two other attempts were made by the French to take the redoubt, which proved equally unsuccessful. For the gallant defence made by the troops in the right redoubt, they received the particular thanks of Earl Cornwallis, and also the most flattering testimonials of approbation and of admiration from the general officers of the army, for their intrepid conduct during the siege, and upon all other occasions. Even the French general officers, after the termination of the siege, gave the Welsh Fusiliers their unqualified praises for their firmness and courage in repulsing the three attacks made by such vastly superior numbers on the redoubt, and could not be easily convinced[Pg 341] that so few men defended it. Captain Saumarez was the second officer in command in the advanced right redoubt.

On the 19th of October 1781, the garrison of York Town capitulated. Lord Cornwallis having ordered that one captain and three subalterns of each regiment be required to remain with the prisoners, the captains drew lots, when Captain Saumarez proved so unfortunate as to be the one to remain with the regiment, in order to visit the non-commissioned officers and soldiers very frequently; to be an eye-witness of their treatment; to take care that the quantity and quality of the provisions issued to them were conformable to the terms of the capitulation; to distribute clothing and necessaries, and also to be of every other use and benefit to them in his power. On the 29th of October, he marched from York Town with the regiment, and arrived on the 15th November at Winchester, in the back settlements of Virginia, where the soldiers were confined in barracks, surrounded with a stockade. The 12th of January 1782, he marched with the regiment and a part of Lord Cornwallis's army from Winchester, through the State of Maryland to Lancaster in Pennsylvania, where they arrived the 28th following. The cold was so intense during the march, which proved so harassing and fatiguing, that many of the men were frost-bitten, and many others suffered exceedingly.

The 2nd of June 1782, Captain Saumarez and the other twelve captains[16] taken prisoners with the army under Earl Cornwallis, were ordered by the American Congress[Pg 342] and General Washington to assemble at Lancaster, in Pennsylvania; and to draw lots, that one might be selected to suffer death by way of retaliation, when the lot fell on Sir Charles Asgill, who was in consequence conveyed under a strong escort to the American army, stationed in the Jerseys, the place fixed upon for his execution. Here he remained in prison for six months, enduring the greatest hardships, expecting daily that his execution would take place. The manner adopted for drawing lots, was by placing the names of the thirteen captains in one hat, and in another twelve blank pieces of paper, beginning with the names one by one, and by each piece of paper, until the paper was drawn upon which was written the "unfortunate." It may be observed that Captain Asgill had to pass through Philadelphia, where the Congress was assembled; and he being attended voluntarily, and most humanely, by Major Gordon, of the 80th regiment, the senior officer of the British troops prisoners of war, he made it his business to wait upon the French Ambassador, and desired in the most impressive manner his Excellency's interference with the Congress, to prevent the execution of Captain Asgill. The Ambassador refused complying with the entreaty, but it was thought he afterwards relented, as he was seen going to Congress; and that his remonstrances, together with the strong representations of the captains, who wrote and applied in the most decided manner to General Count De Rochambeau, who commanded the French troops in besieging York Town, had the effect of at least suspending the sanguinary intentions of Congress and of General Washington, to put Captain Asgill to death, until the Government and the Queen of France, to whom application had been made to interfere in his behalf, and if possible save his life, were ascertained. The only reason alleged for the[Pg 343] above transactions, was, that a rebel captain named Huddy, who was patrolling with Americans, fell in at night with another patrol of royalists commanded by Captain Lippencott, who was taken prisoner by Huddy, and who, without trial or any other cause but his being a loyalist attached to the British army, hung poor Lippencott. The latter's brother, shortly after this most infamous occurrence, was patrolling and took Huddy prisoner, upon which, to retaliate for the murder of his brother, he executed Huddy. The above transactions were made known to the thirteen captains whilst prisoners on parole, and credited by them. They were also informed very frequently, that General Washington had often declared, that of the two events of his life which grieved him and that he lamented most, one was his not having done his utmost to prevent the thirteen captains taken by capitulation drawing lots.

Captain Saumarez being the senior officer of the British troops, during the time they were prisoners at Winchester and at York Town, in Pennsylvania, had the charge and superintendence of 3000 men, stationed at each of these places during nineteen months, which caused the greatest anxiety, and often-times the utmost distress. In consequence of his unremitting zeal and exertions upon this arduous service for the comfort and welfare of the soldiers under his superintendence, as well as to prevent their deserting to the enemy, from whom they received every enticement to do so, he was frequently offered passports and encouragements to go to England, and abandon the soldiers, by the American authorities; but flattering himself that he was most useful to them, and being impelled by a sense of public duty, he voluntarily continued a prisoner on parole, until, in May 1783, he had the satisfaction at the end of the war of conducting the first division of the[Pg 344] army to New York, where upon his arrival he was honoured in obtaining the thanks and approval for his conduct from Sir Guy Carleton, the Commander-in-chief, and also from the Field Officers of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers.

Soon after his arrival within the British lines, he was permitted to embark for England. On landing at Portsmouth, he had the mortification of hearing he had been placed on half-pay, in consequence of the army having been reduced, although he had fought in three general actions, several skirmishes, and two sieges, since he purchased his company in 1779. Having repeatedly offered his services, he was preferred to a company in the Royal Welsh Fusiliers in 1787, upon the augmentation of the army, and when war was expected to take place; but was unfortunately reduced three months after, as the peace continued. In 1789, he was appointed to a company in the 7th or Royal Fusilier regiment, and joined it in Scotland: soon after he embarked at Leith for Gibraltar, to join his colonel, his Royal Highness Prince Edward, who was pleased to form a company selected from all the bad and worst-behaved soldiers in the regiment, and appointed Captain Saumarez to command and take charge of them: some time after this, he was honoured with his Royal Highness's best thanks, for the reformation he had caused in the conduct and discipline of these men, and for doing this without corporal punishment. The Duke was pleased to honour him with the appointment of Equerry, and afterwards of Groom of the Chamber to his Royal Highness.

In 1791, he embarked with the regiment for Canada, and soon after this he was permitted to go to England. In 1793, on the declaration of war with France, he offered his services to raise a regiment, when Mr. Secretary Dundas[Pg 345] and Major General Thomas Dundas, the latter being appointed to command-in-chief at Guernsey, earnestly solicited him to accompany the Major General to the island, on account of his knowledge of the language, the laws, and customs of the island, and of its inhabitants; and being informed that the enemy meditated to attack it, he was induced to accept the appointment of Major of Brigade to 2000 militia of the island: he besides voluntarily did the duty of the quarter-master-general's department to the troops. He also had the superintendence and examination of all strangers as they landed, which enabled him to cause many disaffected persons and rebels from Ireland to be apprehended: he had the selection and appointment of pilots to the ships of war requiring them, and otherwise rendered himself as useful as possible to the public service, without additional pay or emolument whatever, for the space of five years, and until the arrival of 7000 Russian troops, when he was appointed assistant quarter-master-general, and, upon four French corps arriving in the island, he was appointed their inspector.

Mr. Secretary Dundas, and Mr. Windham, secretary at war, were pleased to confide to him the secret correspondence with the enemy's coast, from Havre to Brest, when he obtained intelligence of the utmost importance, for which he repeatedly received the thanks of His Majesty's ministers. In 1794, he was deputed to carry an address from the States of the island, on the marriage of his Royal Highness the Prince Regent; and on this occasion Major General Small, who was the Lieutenant-Governor and Commander-in-chief, was pleased to recommend his services in so strong a manner to the King's ministers, that he had the honour of being knighted. In 1799 he was promoted to be inspector of the militia of the island, in[Pg 346] which situation he continued to serve until June, 1811, when he obtained the rank of major general.[17]

In February 1812, Sir Thomas was appointed commandant of the garrison at Halifax, Nova Scotia; and in August 1813 he had the honour of going as President of the Council, and to command in chief the province of New Brunswick. In July 1814, he returned to Halifax, and soon after he embarked for England.

Before his departure from New Brunswick, His Majesty's Council presented him the following address:

"To his Honour Major General Sir Thomas Saumarez, late President and Commander-in-chief of the province of New Brunswick.

"the address of his majesty's council.

"Fredericton, 6th July 1814.


"The unsettled state of the government in New Brunswick has long been a subject of general regret in the province, where the changes of President have occurred no less than nine times in the course of seven years. But although the period of your Honour's administration in particular has been short, it will not be soon forgotten; it has made a lasting impression on the minds of all such as have had opportunity to observe, and justly to appreciate, your vigilant and unwearied attention to the duties[Pg 347] of your station, and your constant ambition, by every means in your power, to promote and secure the prosperity of the colony committed to your care. His Majesty's Council therefore request your acceptance of this address, not as a mere compliment, but as a sincere tribute of respect and esteem; which, together with their best wishes, they offer in the confident assurance that, on this occasion, they speak the sentiments of the province at large."

Sir Thomas Saumarez, who had long been the senior Lieutenant General in Her Majesty's army, was advanced to the rank of General at the Coronation of Her most Gracious Majesty Queen Victoria.

Sir Thomas has almost constantly resided in his native island, and no one has done more in promoting its improvement. Those who have visited Guernsey with an introduction to him, and even perfect strangers, will gratefully remember his hospitality. He was long the highly esteemed friend of Her present Majesty's illustrious father, his Royal Highness the Duke of Kent; and he is no less esteemed for the urbanity of his manners and kindness of heart. The author can testify, that those who know Sir Thomas Saumarez have a sincere and invaluable friend.

[Pg 348]


The deeds of this brave and meritorious officer, who was the uncle of the noble Lord whose memoirs we have recorded in these volumes, would probably have been buried in oblivion, had not some official documents been discovered, of which we have gladly availed ourselves in presenting to the public a more full and authentic account of his glorious career than has hitherto been given.

Philip de Saumarez was the third son of Mathew de Saumarez of Guernsey, and Anne Durell, born at Guernsey 17th of November 1710. At an early age he was removed from his native isle to a grammar school at Jersey, where he continued under the immediate patronage of his aunt, Lady de Carteret, till the age of eleven, when with the view of making himself a proficient in mathematics and classics, as well as of acquiring the English language, which at that period was but partially spoken in these islands, he was sent to Southampton, and there placed under the care of Mr. Isaac Watts and Mrs. Kinsman. That he made considerable proficiency in learning, and employed the short time which in those days was devoted to education, preparatory to entering the service to advantage, may be justly inferred, if we may judge from the style of his letters, and from the precision and accuracy which mark the astronomical observations to be found in his journals.

At Southampton he remained about two years and a half, when he met with his uncle Captain James Durell, of the Royal Navy, a brave and distinguished officer, who took him to Greenwich, with the view of placing him in the Royal Navy, which he was soon after able to accomplish.[Pg 349] Mr. Philip de Saumarez commenced his naval career on the 4th of February 1726, under Captain Charles Kendal, in his Majesty's ship Weymouth of fifty guns, then attached to the Baltic station, from whence she returned in November. In the spring of the year 1727, she was ordered to the Nore to attend his Majesty George II, then going to Holland, and in the month of August she sailed for Gibraltar and the Mediterranean station.

On the 1st December 1727, he was removed from the Weymouth to the Gibraltar of twenty guns, commanded by the Hon. George Byng, who was succeeded by Captain John Stanley, with whom our young officer served till the 20th December 1729, on which day he joined Captain Byng in the Princess Louisa, of sixty guns, and sailed under his command till the 7th July 1730, when Captain Byng, having been appointed to the Falmouth of fifty guns, removed into the latter ship, and took Mr. De Saumarez with him, who had now served the necessary time, and had received flattering testimonials from his respective captains. Captain Byng mentioning that he was deserving of promotion, he obtained leave to go to London to pass his examination, which he did on the 17th of October 1732, at which period he had served above six years and seven months.

After passing, he immediately rejoined the Falmouth, and continued to serve two years longer as midshipman and master's mate. He now became extremely anxious for that promotion to which his services and excellent conduct so justly entitled him. He therefore returned home to apply for it, receiving a very strong certificate from Captain Byng, dated 25th June 1734. In August following he arrived in London; and several officers, among whom Capt. Saunders appears to be foremost, having recommended him for promotion as a most deserving officer, he was placed[Pg 350] on the Admiralty list, being appointed as midshipman and subsequently as master's mate to the Blenheim, of ninety guns, bearing the flag of Admiral Cavendish. Having arrived at the West Indies, he was appointed to the Dunkirk on the Jamaica station, anxiously waiting for promotion. He was above two years in that ungenial climate, where his health became much impaired before he received his commission. Several letters he wrote to his friends express his extreme desire to obtain it, as will be seen by the following short extract:

"12th January 1737—I wish I had it in my power reciprocally to enhance our satisfaction by acquainting you with my advancement; that period has not yet arrived; fortune seems in regard to me to be at a stand, and I find that I am obliged to fill the chasm by a constant perseverance of patience: probably this season may prove more auspicious, and I am in hopes of shortly seeing some revolution to my advantage."

The season after did indeed prove the fatal effects of the climate, on which subject he thus writes to his brother: "We have undergone a severe season this summer, heat being excessive, attended with calms that rendered it insupportable; this has occasioned a great mortality, and made death quite familiar to us, it being the usual thing to attend the funeral of the friends we conversed with the day before. Though this made us a kind of mechanic philosophers, (if I may use the term,) I do not observe that it contributes towards rectifying the morals of the inhabitants here, or making us better Christians."

On the 6th of August 1737, he at last succeeded in obtaining his long-expected promotion as lieutenant from Admiral Digby Dent, Commander-in-chief at Jamaica. This pleasing intelligence was communicated in a letter to Lady Carteret, dated the 10th of October 1737, which[Pg 351] mentions that he was appointed lieutenant of the Kinsale of forty guns, and that the Admiral signed his commission only three hours before his death. On the 28th July, he was removed from the Kinsale by the Commander-in-chief, but on the 22nd of August he received his confirmation from the Admiralty to the Diamond, which confirmed also both the former. He returned to England in October 1739, when he visited his friends in Guernsey and Jersey, and recruited his health, which was naturally delicate, and had been seriously impaired by the West Indian climate; but the imperious demands of active service soon called him away.

It was in this year that the memorable voyage round the world was projected, and shortly after the command was given to Commodore Anson, who had the privilege of selecting the officers who were to serve under him on that interesting and important enterprise, when Mr. Saumarez was chosen as second lieutenant of the Centurion of sixty guns, his own ship; besides which the squadron consisted of the Gloucester, fifty guns, Captain Norris; the Severn, fifty guns, Captain Legge; of the Pearl, forty guns, Capt. Mitchell; of the Wager, twenty-eight, Captain Kidd; and the Tryal of eight guns, Captain E. Murray; besides the Centaur store-ship and two victuallers, the Anna and Industry Pinks.

From numberless delays injurious to the expedition, it was not before the 17th of September 1740 that the Commodore was able to leave St. Helen's, and proceed on his intended voyage.

As the account of the proceedings of Commodore Anson has been published in almost every naval history as well as in the biographical memoirs of that illustrious navigator, it need not be repeated here, and we shall therefore[Pg 352] confine ourselves to the part in which the conduct of Lieut. Saumarez was conspicuous.

Lieut. Saumarez in 1741 was made acting commander of the Tryal, in the place of Lieutenant Saunders, who was appointed to the vacancy occasioned by the death of Captain Kidd, but who from ill-health was not in a state to be removed from the Centurion. In this situation he remained seven weeks, during which time he gave proofs of his consummate skill during a period of excessively inclement weather. Captain Saunders, on his recovery, assumed the command on the 19th February, when he returned to the Centurion as first lieutenant.

The following account given by Lieutenant Saumarez of the action with the Spanish Galleon, off Manilla, cannot be read without much interest. It is dated on board the Centurion, 1742.

"I shall run over briefly the dates of our voyage, and give you a rude sketch of our proceedings: to enlarge on particulars would exceed the limits of a letter.

"You will recollect our squadron left England on the 18th September 1740. We had a tedious passage of forty-one days to Madeira, the usual one being ten; to this accident several secondary ones succeeded, as loss of time, and the season proper for navigating the Southern seas, and declining health of the men, especially the soldiers. We stayed a month at this island, employed in watering, and taking in our stock of wine. It is highly probable that we narrowly escaped a squadron of the enemy, which were discovered from the mountains, cruising off the west end of the island, and which, if the commanders had behaved like disciplinarians, might have intercepted us, and it would have fully answered the designs of the Spanish court if they had disabled us from pursuing our voyage,[Pg 353] which must have been the consequence of an engagement. They had also the advantage of being double our number; but, leaving them to their reflections, we pursued our course, and crossed the line and tropic without any remarkable accidents occurring, excepting that fever and fluxes began to attack us, especially the soldiers; and in forty-four days we arrived at the island of St. Catherine, on the coast of Brazil, on the 19th March 1740.

"We stayed at St. Catherine's twenty-eight days, employed in recovering our sick, who lived on shore in tents, and in making preparations for doubling Cape Horn in a tempestuous and advanced season.

"We sailed hence on the 18th of January 1741, and soon after began to meet with uncertain, stormy weather, in which the Tryal sloop lost her mainmast, and was towed by one of the squadron; the rest separated from us, but as our rendezvous was at St. Julien's, a port on the coast of Patagonia, or, as others term it, Terra Magellanica, in 49° 30' South, we rejoined them there, by which we heard of Pizarro's squadron, from whom we narrowly escaped off Pepy's Island. We stayed here eight days, employed in putting all our lumber on board the store-ship, and were in hopes of meeting with the Spanish squadron.

"The coast here is a sulphureous and nitrous soil, abounding with salt lakes, but destitute of verdure, shrub, tree, or fresh water, and seems the seat of infernal spirits; nor indeed was there the trace of any animals, besides seals and birds. We here took in salt and refitted the sloop.

"Captain Kidd's death made a revolution by promotion amongst us, and I was appointed first lieutenant of the Commodore; but my predecessor, to whose command the sloop descended, was taken dangerously ill, and became incapable of taking possession of his charge. I was ordered[Pg 354] to take the command until his recovery; and here I must confess to you, I was sanguine enough to flatter myself with the same addition of good fortune, some favourable crisis in my behalf: but I was born to be unfortunate.

"We sailed hence on the 27th of February 1741: my station was a-head of the squadron, to keep sounding and make timely signals of danger.

"The 4th of March we discovered the entrance of the Strait of Magellan, and on the 7th passed through the Strait le Main, lying at the extremity of Terra del Fuego, between that and Staten Land.

"This day was remarkably warm and favourable, and though in latitude 55° 50' South, we began to look on the conquest of the Peruvian mines and principal towns in the Pacific sea as an amusement, which would naturally occur. From this time forward, we met with nothing but disasters and accidents. Never were the passions of hope and fear so powerfully agitated and exercised; the very elements seemed combined against us. I commanded the sloop at the time of the separation of the ships that returned home, being stationed to look out for islands of ice; and had to endure such fatigue from the severity of the weather, and the duty which the nature of the service necessarily brought on me, that really my life was hardly worth preserving at the expense of such hardships. Our own ships had several miraculous escapes, which, in the obscurity of the night and the violence of the weather, often endangered foundering the sloop.

"Having had the command of the sloop several weeks, I was at length superseded by her proper captain, who had recovered on board the Commodore's ship; and I returned to my post.

"During this time, the scurvy made terrible havoc among us, especially the soldiers, who, being either infirm[Pg 355] old men or raw inexperienced youths, soon lost their spirits, grew sick and disabled, and from the stench they occasioned, contributed to infect our seamen.

"This distemper is the consequence of long voyages, and exhibits itself in such dreadful symptoms as are scarcely credible, viz. asthma, pains in the limbs and joints, blotches all over the body, ulcers, idiotism, lunacy, convulsions, and sudden death. Nor can the physicians, with all their materia medica, find a remedy for it equal to the smell of turf, grass, or a dish of greens. It is not my province to account for what is a matter of much doubt and perplexity even to the most learned, but I could plainly observe that there is a je ne sais quoi in the frame of the human system, that cannot be removed without the assistance of certain earthy particles, or, in plain English, the landsman's proper aliment, and vegetables and fruits his only physic. For the space of six weeks we seldom buried less than four or five daily, and at last it amounted to eight or ten; and I really believe, that, had we stayed ten days longer at sea, we should have lost the ship for want of men to navigate her.

"At length we arrived at the island of Juan Fernandez, in the South Sea, after having had several imminent dangers of shipwreck on the coast of Chili, off which the nature of our rendezvous required us to cruise, in hopes of rejoining the squadron.

"We anchored here on the 16th June 1741, as we subsequently learned, just ten days after the departure of a Spanish ship of war, which was sent by the Admiral of these seas to gain intelligence, himself having cruised with his squadron of four sail a considerable time, in hopes of meeting with us, well judging the condition our ships might be in. You will be surprised to hear that in a sixty gun ship, on our arrival at this island, we mustered[Pg 356] but seventy-two persons, including officers and boys, capable of appearing on deck; the rest being all sick, having lost 228 since our leaving England, which includes nine months.

"We were joined by the Gloucester and Tryal sloop, (vide Anson's Voyage, p. 114,) the crews of which vessels had suffered still more, so that had there been an experienced enemy to have dealt with us, they might have made a very easy conquest of us all. But, 'whatever is, is right.' They gave us time to recover our spirits and rally our forces, for which we visited them afterwards and shut up their ports.

"I shall not attempt a description of this island at present, but only tell you it is the most romantic and pleasant place imaginable, abounding with myrtle trees, and covered with turnips and sorrel. Its bays, teeming with all kinds of fish, seem calculated for the reception of distressed seamen. We stayed here three months, employed in refitting our ships, and restoring the health of the sick, and this without any loss of time to us, it being the winter season, in which, from April to September, navigation is judged unsafe by the Spaniards. In the beginning of this month (September) we were agreeably surprised by the sight of a sail, to which we immediately gave chase, slipping our cable; but night intervening, we lost her. We soon after fell in with another, who was her consort, of 500 tons, and much richer, having about 18,000l. in money on board, besides a cargo, which would have been valuable (being chiefly sugar) could we have brought it to a proper market; but in these parts it is a misfortune that nothing but money is truly valuable, having no ports whereat to dispose of anything. Here I commenced captain again, in the Tryal's prize, having twelve guns, besides swivels, with thirty men,[Pg 357] and had a separate cruise ordered me with Captain Saunders. (Vide Anson's Voyage, p. 114.) She was a ship he had taken in the sloop, which then proved so leaky and disabled in her masts by a gale of wind, that she was sunk, and her prize commissioned in her room. As nothing appeared on our station, which was to leeward of Valparaiso, we had no opportunity of exerting ourselves. We next proceeded along the coast of Peru, and took two prizes, both very valuable to the Spaniards, the one being loaded with ship timber, and the other with iron bars, but to us of no great service; by the latter, (viz. the Nuestra Senora del Carmin, 250 tons of cargo, value 400,000 dollars,) we had information of a rich vessel in the road of Paita, bound to Lousuata on the coast of Mexico, the money being still in town. This was a chance worth pursuing; and having arrived off the port in the night, we sent in all the boats manned and armed, with fifty men, surprised and took the town with scarcely any resistance or loss, except one killed and one wounded on our side; the inhabitants abandoning their houses, and retiring to the neighbouring mountains.

"This event happened on the 15th of November 1741. (Vide Anson's Voyage, p. 149.) We kept possession of the town two days and a half without any disturbance from the natives, and, having plundered it, set it on fire, but spared the two churches.

"We found here about 30,000l. besides jewels; there was much more, but the inhabitants carried it off. We sunk two galleys and two snows, and carried away with us the small ship that was to have carried the money. We departed hence on the 16th, and some days after joined the Gloucester, which had been ranging the coast, and intercepted some vessels, though not so valuable as ours. We then proceeded along shore, burning some of our prizes,[Pg 358] which proved dull sailers, and arrived at the island of Quibo, 17th December 1741, a delightful uninhabited place, abounding with wild deer and other refreshments. Having watered here with all imaginable expedition, we sailed hence on the 19th December, with a design to cruise off Acapulco, on the coast of Mexico, for a rich ship that was expected from Manilla, on the island of Luconia, in the East Indies.

"There is a yearly ship whose cargo amounts to an immense sum, and could we but have had a favourable passage thither, she must indubitably have been ours; but we were disappointed, having been seventy-nine days in effecting a passage which has been performed in twenty, meeting with a long series of calms and uncertain weather. Hence we arrived five weeks too late, and therefore hoped to speak her on her return, which generally is in March; she would then have been laden with money to purchase another cargo. We cruized off this port and the coast of Mexico two months, at a distance not to be discovered from the shore, and having intelligence, by a boat we took, of the day of her sailing, we made no doubt of her being ours. We were five sail in all, with our prizes, and lay at three leagues distance from each other, and ten from the port. During this time we lived on turtle, which we caught daily in our boats. Our squadron described a half moon, our boats being at the same time three leagues from the shore within us to watch the port. The disposition was so just and regular, it was impossible she could have escaped. I was so curious as to calculate my share, which would have amounted to 10,000l.; but Providence ordained it otherwise.

"I should have told you that that ship mounted sixty guns. Having cruised till our water was almost all expended, and having an enemy's coast whereon to replenish,[Pg 359] we were obliged to depart, but left a boat behind to watch her motions. After many searches, we found a convenient bay for watering called Chequetan, where Sir Francis Drake had refitted. We sunk and burnt all our prizes, in order to cross the great Southern Ocean, and, with the Gloucester in company, go to the East Indies. We learned afterwards that this rich ship was detained, having had information from the coast of Peru of our being on the coast. We left Acapulco on the 6th of May 1742; and here begins another series of misfortunes and mortality surpassing the first. We had a passage of three months and a half to the Ladrone Islands, which is generally made in two; yet it was a vulgar opinion amongst our people that we had sailed so far as to pass by all the land in the world! Length of time and badness of the weather rendered both our ships leaky; this, joined to our mortality, the scurvy raging amongst us as much as ever, obliged us to destroy the Gloucester, which ship was ready to founder, and receive the men on board, who were all sick and dying. It is impossible to represent the melancholy circumstances wherein we were involved previous to our arrival at these islands. We anchored at one called Tinian, uninhabited, but abounding with wild cattle, hogs, fowls, and fruits: we could not have fallen in with a better place. I am convinced, had we stayed out ten days longer at sea, we should have been obliged to take to our boats, our leak increasing so fast, and our people being all infirm and disabled. We immediately sent all our sick on shore, and began to hope for better times, feeding plentifully on roast beef, when an accident fell out, on the 22nd September 1742, which nearly ruined us all.

"My post as first officer generally confined me on board the Commodore, whilst most of the officers and men were on shore for the recovery of their health, when a storm[Pg 360] came on and rose so mountainous a sea as none of us ever saw before. The ship was in danger of being pooped as we lay at anchor; at last we parted both our bower-cables and drove out to sea, with the sheet-anchor hanging in the hawse, a whole cable and three quarters of another out (excuse these barbarous sea terms), and narrowly escaped driving on a ledge of rocks, that was near, and leaving the Commodore and all the rest behind. The ship, by her labouring in such a troubled sea, made so much water that I was in doubt whether she would not have foundered; our ports and the guns were but ill-secured, owing to the suddenness of the storm, which also upset the long boat. Under these circumstances we drove to sea with one hundred men and boys on board, not knowing whether I should not at last be a captain in spite of my teeth. In this manner I drove seventy leagues, and was fifteen days before I recovered land, beating up against a fresh trade and the current. The Commodore, you may imagine, was overjoyed at my return, as were all the rest. They were very busy in building a vessel to carry them all to China, as they preferred venturing to sea in it to remaining in an uninhabited island, or to be exposed to the cruelty of the Spaniards who live in the neighbouring islands, the Commodore concluding that either the ship was lost, or that I should never be able to beat to windward. At last, after many hazards, we sailed on the 22nd of October 1742, and met with a tolerably good passage to the island of Macoa, a Portuguese settlement on the coast of China, where we arrived on the 11th November, having buried one hundred and sixty men since our leaving Acapulco, or four hundred and twenty since we left England, including Indians and negroes, whom we detained as prisoners."

Commodore Anson arrived at Macoa, and having careened[Pg 361] and repaired the ship, and been reinforced by some Lascars or Indian sailors, and by some Dutchmen, he sailed from Macoa on the 1st May, giving out that he was bound to Batavia, Captain Saunders of the Gloucester having gone to England in a Swedish ship; but when fairly at sea he made known to his crew that he was going to cruise off Manilla for the purpose of intercepting the two galleons expected there, one of which he ultimately took on the 20th June, just a month after they arrived off the station, after a severe action, in which the galleon, which was called the Nostra Signora Cabadonga, commanded by General Don Jeronimo de Montivo, had sixty-seven killed and eighty-four wounded, while the Centurion had only two killed, and a lieutenant and sixteen men wounded. Lieut. Saumarez, who had highly distinguished himself in this action, was now made Post Captain of the prize, which he safely conducted to Canton. She had on board 400,000l. in specie, besides property estimated at 600,000l. which was destroyed; he had now therefore obtained his rank, and a considerable share of prize money.

On the 7th of December 1743, they sailed from Canton, and arrived in England, to be welcomed by their families and friends, on the 15th June 1744, after an absence of four years, wherein they had endured hardships of every description. Captain Saumarez went to Bath for the recovery of his health. He subsequently served in the Sandwich, York, and Yarmouth: in the York he encountered a heavy gale, in which his superior seamanship was severely put to the test. He was subsequently removed to the Nottingham, of sixty guns, and on the 11th October 1747 fell in with the Mars, a French sixty-four gun-ship, with five hundred men, commanded by M. de Colombe, being one of the ships that had separated from D'Anville's fleet in the storm off Newfoundland. She was returning to Brest.[Pg 362] The Nottingham had sixty guns and four hundred men. After an engagement of two hours within pistol shot, in which the Mars had twenty-three killed and nineteen wounded, she struck. On board the Nottingham only three men were killed and nine wounded, which was attributed to the superior seamanship of the Captain, who obtained an advantageous position in the battle.

Captain Saumarez had been often heard to say that his highest ambition was to fall in with an enemy of equal force, and on this occasion his honourable feelings were completely gratified. He received congratulations from all his friends, and particularly from the Lords of the Admiralty, who expressed their highest approbation of the skill and courage he displayed on this occasion; but his mild, liberal, and generous treatment to a vanquished enemy was no less conspicuous in this instance than his bravery; it was indeed one of the strongest traits in his character. On this subject he received the following letter from the Secretary of the Admiralty:—

"The Chevalier de Crenay, late Captain of the Mars, having taken notice to the Lords of the Admiralty, in a letter their lordships received from him and his officers and company, I am commanded to let you know, that your civil treatment of them after they were taken, has been no less satisfactory to their lordships than your resolution and success in taking them.

"I am, sir, &c. &c.

"Thos. Corbett, Sec."

A letter from Chevalier Crenay himself is written in the strongest terms of gratitude and regard; after enumerating many civilities, he declares that every article had been restored, even to a box of porcelain, and that his officers and men all joined in offering their grateful thanks. It may be added, that Captain Saumarez did all in his[Pg 363] power to obtain Captain Crenay's exchange. The Mars was carried into Plymouth, and being found worthy of repair, was, from the representation of Captain Saumarez, taken into his Majesty's service: she was nearly 300 tons larger than the Nottingham, and found afterwards to be an excellent ship.

Captain Saumarez' ship was speedily refitted, and on the 3rd May 1747, he joined Lord Anson's squadron, which obtained a complete victory over the French fleet, commanded by M. Jonquière, taking six men-of-war and three East Indiamen. After the engagement, the Nottingham, with two more ships, was detached to pursue the convoy, and had the good fortune to capture four very valuable vessels from St. Domingo.

Captain Saumarez afterwards cruised under Admiral Warren, and on the 10th of September following he was ordered to join Admiral Hawke: he remained with that officer until the 14th October, when the Admiral came up with a French fleet, commanded by Monsieur De l'Etendiere, off Cape Finisterre, which he defeated, and took six of the enemy's ships; but the Tonnant, an 80 gun ship, with the Intrepide, 74, having escaped, Captain Saumarez, with the Yarmouth and Eagle, immediately gave chase to them. Having come up with the Tonnant, although the Nottingham was so unequal in size and number of guns, he gallantly engaged her before the other two English ships joined. After about an hour's close action, a shot from the enemy put an end to the existence of this brave officer, who, during his whole life, had served his king and country with honour and zeal; he died lamented by all those to whom he was known.

The following is an extract from the Rear-admiral's despatch: "Having observed that six of the enemy's ships[Pg 364] had struck, and it being very dark, and our own ships dispersed, I thought it best to bring to that night, and seeing a great firing a long way astern of me, I was in hopes of seeing more of the enemy's ships taken in the morning; but, instead of that, I received the melancholy account of Captain Saumarez being killed, and that the Tonnant had escaped in the night, with the assistance of the Intrepide, who, by having the wind of our ships, had received no damage that I could perceive."[18]

The last will of Captain Philip Saumarez is an interesting document, inasmuch as it portrays his true character as an officer and a Christian, impressed with the uncertainty of human life, and almost anticipating the glorious fate which ultimately befel him; and as it is also replete with piety, morality, gratitude, and the other virtues which adorn the life of a hero, we shall conclude this memoir with some extracts taken from the original, which begins thus:

"I, Philip Saumarez, commander of H.M.S. Nottingham, from a reflection of the uncertainty of human life in general, particularly when engaged in a military profession: in order therefore to face death cheerfully, whenever duty or nature shall call upon me, I hereby dispose of whatever Providence has blessed me with, in the following manner:

"To my honoured mother, I bequeath the sum of 1500l. to be paid after my father's death, and until then to remain at interest; if she dies before him, to be divided equally among my eldest brother John's children.

"To my sister Anne, 300l. To my sister Elizabeth, 300l.

"To my brother John, 1000l. all my silver plate, and a diamond ring, formerly belonging to Lady Carteret.[Pg 365]

"To my niece and godchild, Carteret Saumarez, my brother John's daughter, I bequeath 1000l.

"My brother Matthew Saumarez, 1500l. and all my books; and to his daughter, 500l.

"My brother Thomas Saumarez, 1000l. with all my linen, liquors, furniture, and apparel.

"My brother-in-law, Philip Durell and his wife, I bequeath 50l. each, their fortunes being sufficient: his wife to buy mourning.

"To my aunt Durell, at Westminster, 100l.

"My aunt Sauvaine, 10l. to buy mourning.

"Mr. Solomon Durell, 40l.

"To my worthy friend James Wallace, commissioner of the victualling office, 100l.

"To my steward, 30l. besides a suit of mourning; and to my other servants, 5l. each.

"In case I am killed in action, or die whilst I command the Nottingham, to the three lieutenants a suit of mourning each, which I beg they will accept; and to Mr. Surroude, my chaplain, I bequeath the sum of 100l. in regard to his large family; and to Mr. Redley, my clerk, the sum of 30l. for the trouble of making up my accounts.

"To Admiral Anson and Sir Peter Warren, I desire they will accept a mourning ring each, my executors to lay out 30l. in each ring; and to the former I recommend my brother Tom.

"I likewise desire that 300l. may be laid out to purchase a handsome monument, made in London, to the memory of my late aunt, the Lady Carteret, to be erected in the church where she is interred, and a due epitaph, enumerating her exemplary virtues and life, to be inscribed on it in French and English, and recorded to posterity; and this I desire my brother John will see duly performed, as well as my other executors, with expedition; this piece[Pg 366] of gratitude to her memory having been neglected by all her relations.

"In case it should not be attended with any inconvenience, the surgeon to preserve and embalm my corpse, to be interred in a military manner on shore, in whatever port the ship may put in; and the surgeon to be presented with 30l. for his trouble. I bequeath to my brother officers, Captains Thomas Coates, Martyn, Keppel, Rodney, and Timothy Brett, a mourning ring of 10l. value each; the same to Mr. Logie, first lieutenant of the Nottingham.

"To the poor of the parish in the island of Guernsey, where I was born, 100l. to be distributed: the remainder of what fortune I may have to bequeath, to my honoured father. And I do hereby constitute and appoint my worthy friend Pussey Brook, Esq., James Wallace, Esq., and my eldest brother John Saumarez, Esq., executors of this my last will and testament, revoking all former wills by me heretofore made. In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal, at sea, this 30th day of June, and in the twenty-first year of the reign of our sovereign Lord George the Second over Great Britain, France, and Ireland, &c., and in the year of our Lord 1747.

"Philip Saumarez." (L.S.)

"Signed in the presence of,
Robert Richards, Master.
Alexander Gray, Gunner."

The wishes expressed in the will of this brave officer were implicitly complied with; his body was embalmed and sent to Plymouth by the admiral, in the Gloucester, commanded by Captain Durell, (afterwards Admiral Durell,) his brother-in-law, and was buried in the church at Plymouth with military honours. A neat tablet is erected in the said church, with the following inscription:[Pg 367] "Near this place lies the body of Philip Saumarez, Esq. commander of H.M.S. Nottingham. He was the son of Matthew de Saumarez, of the Island of Guernsey, by Anne Durell, of the island of Jersey, his wife, families of antiquity and respectability in those parts. He was born 17th November 1710, and gloriously but unfortunately fell by a cannon-ball, 14th October 1747, pursuing the ships of the enemy that were making their escape, when the French were routed by Admiral Hawke."

Out of respect to his memory, his brothers and sisters caused a plain monument to be erected to him in Westminster Abbey, with the following inscription:


"Sacred to the memory of Philip De Saumarez, Esq., one of the few whose lives ought rather to be measured by their actions than their days. From sixteen to thirty-seven years of age, he served in the navy, and was often surrounded with dangers and difficulties unparalleled: always approving himself an able, active, and gallant officer. He went out a lieutenant on board His Majesty's ship Centurion, under the auspicious conduct of Commodore Anson, in his expedition to the South Seas: he was commanding officer of the said ship when she was driven from her moorings at the island of Tinian.

"In the year 1747, being captain of the Nottingham, a sixty gun ship, he (then alone) attacked and took the Mars, a French ship of sixty-four guns.

"In the first engagement in the following year, when Admiral Anson defeated and took a squadron of French men-of-war and Indiamen, he had an honourable share; and in the second, under Admiral Hawke, when the enemy, after an obstinate resistance, was again routed, in pursuing two ships that were making their escape, he gloriously but unfortunately fell.[Pg 368]

"He was the son of Matthew De Saumarez, of the island of Guernsey, Esq. by Anne Durell, of the island of Jersey, his wife.

"He was born November 17th, 1710;
killed October 14th, 1747;
buried in the old Church at Plymouth,
with all honours due to his distinguished merits;
and this monument is erected, out of
gratitude and affection,
by his Brothers and Sisters."

[Pg 369]


The first of the De Sausmarez (Saumarez) family found on the public records of the metropolis, is Nicholas, the son of Matthew de Sausmarez, who in 1331 made application for a confirmation of his rights and prerogatives as formerly enjoyed by his ancestors, and whose son Thomas was Lord of the Seigneurie of Sausmarez in the year 1481. Thomas married Colishe, daughter of Nicholas Fonachin, bailiff of the island of Guernsey, and had two sons and two daughters; one of whom, Michael, inherited the estate, and was succeeded by his eldest son John, who in 1543 was jurat of the island of Guernsey, and married Margaret, daughter of James Guille, then bailiff. John was succeeded by his son Thomas, also a jurat of the Royal Court, who married Rebecca Hancock; and the property descended to his son, likewise a jurat of the Royal Court, who married Bertrand, daughter of Cardin Fautrart: he was succeeded by his son Thomas, who married Martha Nicholi, and does not appear to have been of any profession. His only son, Michael, who was married to Charlotte, daughter of James le Marchant, jurat of the Royal Court in 1681, became the next heir, and was succeeded by Matthew de Sausmarez, his only son, who was the eleventh in the direct line since the year 1331. This Matthew was born at Guernsey on the 4th June 1685, was colonel of militia of the island, and married Anne, daughter of John Durell, Esq. lieutenant-bailiff of the island of Jersey, on the 1st of January 1705. By this, his first wife, he had—first, John de Sausmarez, who was born on the 12th January 1706, and died 4th April 1774. He was Attorney General in the island of Guernsey; and married first, Martha, daughter of Daniel Delisle, Esq. of Guernsey, and the lady who repossessed the estate, which had become the property of John Andros, in right of his wife, Judith de Sausmarez. The second son died an infant. The third son was Philip de Sausmarez,[Pg 370][19] born on the 17th November 1710. He was first lieutenant with Commodore Anson, and commanded the Nottingham 64, when that ship captured the Mars, French 74. Anne married Captain Philip Dumaresq; Elizabeth, Margaret, and Magdalen, died unmarried. Matthew Saumarez was the fourth son; he was born on the 10th October 1718; and was the father of the late Lord de Saumarez. He was drowned on his passage to England in March 1778. Thomas, the fifth son, born 20th April 1720, is particularly mentioned in the commencement of this work. William, the sixth son, was born 29th April 1722, and died in the East Indies; and Michael, the seventh and last son, was born on the 8th October 1725, and died an infant.

We now come to the brothers and sisters of the first Lord de Saumarez, children of Matthew, the fourth son, already mentioned as remarkable for his urbanity of manners and hospitality, particularly to strangers.

By his first wife, daughter of Thomas Dumaresq, Esq. of Jersey, Matthew Saumarez had issue Susannah, an only child, who married Henry Brock, Esq. of Guernsey: by his second wife, Carteret, daughter of James le Marchant, Esq. he had a numerous family. First,—Anne, the eldest daughter, was married to Isaac Dobree, Esq., and is now living a widow: she has four daughters, all married. Charlotte, second daughter, married Nicholas Peter Dobree, rector of St. Mary. Mary, the third daughter, is unmarried. Carteret, fourth daughter, married Peter Lihou, Esq. colonel of militia. Philip, the eldest son, was a lieutenant in the Royal Navy, and died at Gibraltar, 1774. John, the second son, surgeon-general to His Majesty's forces on the island, became heir to his father; he married Judith, daughter of William Brock, Esq. sister of Harriet, wife of Sir Thomas. James, was the third son, and first Lord de Saumarez. Sir Thomas, the fourth son, was born at Guernsey, 1st July 1760, and entered the army at the age of 15.[20] He married Harriet, daughter of William Brock, Esq. of Guernsey.


[Pg 371]


"Fortitude, at Sea, 6th August 1781.


"Yesterday we fell in with the Dutch squadron, with a large convoy, on the Dogger bank: I was happy to find I had the wind of them, as the great number of their large frigates might otherwise have endangered my convoy. Having separated the men of war from the merchant ships, and made the signal to the last to keep their wind, I bore away with the general signal to chase. The enemy formed their line, consisting of eight two-decked ships; ours, including the Dolphin, consisting of seven. Not a gun was fired on either side until within the distance of half-musket shot; the Fortitude being then abreast of the Dutch Admiral, the action began and continued with unceasing fire for three hours and forty minutes: by this time our ships were unmanageable. I made an effort to form the line, in order to renew the action, but found it impracticable; the Bienfaisant had lost her fore-topmast, and the Buffalo her fore-yard; the rest of the ships were not less shattered in their masts, rigging, and sails. The enemy appeared to be in as bad a condition; both squadrons lay a considerable time near each other, when the Dutch with their convoy bore away for the Texel. We were not in a condition to follow them.

"His Majesty's officers and men behaved with great bravery, nor did the enemy show less gallantry. The Fortitude was extremely well seconded by Captain Macartney in the Princess Amelia, but he was unfortunately killed early in the action; Lieutenant Hill has great merit in so well supporting the conduct of his brave Captain.

"As there was great probability of our coming into action again, Captain Macbride very readily obliged me by taking command of that ship, and I have appointed Mr. Waghorne,[Pg 372] my first lieutenant, to the command of the Artois. This gentleman, although much hurt in the action, refused to leave my side while it lasted. Captain Græme, of the Preston, has lost an arm.

"Inclosed, I transmit a list of the killed and wounded, and an account of the damage sustained by the ships.

"The enemy's force was, I believe, much superior to what their Lordships apprehended; and I flatter myself they will be satisfied that we have done all that was possible with ours.

"I am, Sir,
"Your most obedient and most humble servant,

"H. Parker.

"P.S. The frigates this morning discovered one of the Dutch men-of-war sunk in twenty-two fathoms water; her top-gallant masts were above the surface, which Captain Patton has struck and brought to me on board: I believe she was the second ship of the line of 74 guns."

Return of killed and wounded on the action
of the 5th of August 1781.

English Fleet.

Ships' Names. Guns. Men. Killed. Wounded. Total.
Fortitude 74 620 20 67 87
Bienfaisant 64 500 6 21 27
Berwick 74 600 18 58 76
Princess Amelia 74 620 19 56 75
Preston 50 300 10 40 50
Buffalo 50 450 20 64 84
      —— ——
      93 306 399[Pg 373]

Dutch Fleet.

Ships' Names. Guns. Commanders. Killed. Wounded.
Admiral General 74 Com. J.S. Kinsbergen 7 41
Admiral de Ruyter 68 Rear-admiral Zoutman 48 90
Hollandia 64 Capt. Dedel 25 45
Erfprins 54    "    J.S. van Braak 23 42
Batavier 54    "    J.W. Bentinck 18 49
Admiral Piet Hein 54    "    W. van Braam 9 58
Argo 54    "    E.C. Staringh 11 87
Medenblik 54    "    D.G. Rynveld No returns.
      —— ——
      141 412

From the most authentic accounts, however, the Dutch were known to have lost 1,100 men, although their published report was for only half that number.

[Pg 374]



"Sunday, August 5th, 1781, at break of day, between the hours of three and four in the morning, we saw a great number of strange ships to the N.N.W. of us; we got everything ready for an engagement: the wind was N.E. and our course was N.W. We made the signal to form the line of battle at a cable's length distance from each other as we advanced. The Ajax cutter, Captain Count Welderen, came up in the mean time to make a report that the fleet he saw was a convoy of the enemy, which had sailed on the 26th through the Sound, escorted by eleven English men-of-war and four cutters. At seven o'clock the ships-of-war hoisted their English colours, among which was a Vice-admiral's flag, and bore down upon us, their convoy remaining to windward. I made the signal to tack, and we came up thus in order of battle, and took our station to the E.S.E., and ordered our merchantmen to the westward. We saw that the eight English men-of-war that bore down upon us in a line, were sixty, seventy-four, ninety, and one of forty guns. At eight the English Vice-admiral being abreast to windward of me, they turned with us, and the action began. At that instant the fire was very brisk on both sides, and the whole line was engaged. I was constantly and very briskly cannonaded by two large ships. The engagement lasted till half-past eleven, and was very bloody. Our ships, mine included, were greatly disabled, and received so much damage that they could not be worked any longer. The English Admiral must have equally suffered, for he wore to the eastward. At noon we took down the signal to engage, and bore away to the westward to repair our ships as much as possible, all being extremely crippled by the constant fire of so long an engagement. We perceived also that the English Vice-admiral tacked about half-past twelve with his ships, and stood to the N.W., where he remained floating[Pg 375] to repair also their damage. Among their ships we saw also a three-decker, whose main topmast fell by the board.

"We found ourselves at noon in fifty-five degrees, fifty-six minutes N. and consequently the point of Ternaus in Norway, N.N.E. 1/3 N. thirty leagues from us. All the ships-of-war were become unserviceable: we made the signal for the convoy to run it, with the frigates the Medenblik and Venus, and put themselves according to circumstances out of danger, to avoid being taken, or falling into the hands of the enemy.

"In bearing away the Batavier, whose mizen-yard was turned upside down, and who had lost her mizen topmasts, she almost fell on her side: one of her officers cried out to us her captain was wounded, and the ship so disabled she was no longer manageable. I sent two frigates to assist and take her in tow; but before they could come up with the Batavier, she drove before the wind, and came up to us.

"Captain Kinsbergen sent a boat with Captain Abreson and Captain Staring to report their situation, and that they were much crippled. I told them that as soon as we should be a little refitted and able to manage the ships, I would make the signal to return to port. Captain Dedel made the signal of being greatly damaged; Captain Van Braam that he was much embarrassed. I made the signal for the Zephyr frigate to come alongside. She reported having spoken to Captain Van Braam, and that his ship had some shots under water; I sent her off immediately to give all possible assistance to Captains Van Braam and Dedel.

"In the mean time Captain Dedel fired guns of distress, and steered his course southward towards the coast of Holland. I made the signal for Captain Van Weenzel to come to speak to me, and I despatched him to assist Captain Dedel, with orders to stay with him and to seek a port. Between four and five p.m. I made signal to sail, upon which all the ships near us repeated the signal to Captain Kinsbergen, and bore away as well as they could with what they could make use of. I came near to Captain Van Braam, who cried out to me that he had[Pg 376] several shots under water; that his ship made much water, but was now much diminished by the help of the pumps. In the evening we saw all the ships under sail with us.

"The Admiral de Ruyter has many killed and wounded, and is, as well as the ships in general, damaged in their hull, masts, and rigging; but I hope, with the help of God, we shall be able to gain a port of the republic.

"I send this despatch by Count de Welderen, who can in person make a more ample report to your Serene Highness.

"I have the honour to commend myself to the gracious protection of your Serene Highness; and to subscribe myself with respect,

"Your Serene Highness's
"Most humble and obedient servant,

"J.A. Zoutman."

"Dated on board the Admiral de Ruyter, 7th August 1781,
Kykduyn, bearing south eighteen miles from us.

"N.B. All the officers and men on board the ships displayed a constant courage, fought like lions, as well as my own people, all of whom, I am extremely well satisfied with, from all the information I have received at present."

[Pg 377]



"Noble, respectable, virtuous, well-beloved, and trusty subjects!—We have learnt with the highest satisfaction that the squadron of the State under Rear-admiral Zoutman, although much inferior in ships, guns, and men, to the English squadron of Vice-admiral Parker, did, on the 5th instant, so valiantly resist its attack, that the English fleet, after an obstinate engagement, which lasted from eight in the morning till half an hour past eleven, was obliged to cease firing and retire. The heroic courage with which Rear-admiral Zoutman, the captains, officers, and subalterns, common sailors, and soldiers, concerned in the action, and who, through the blessing of Almighty God, so well discharged their duty during the engagement, merits our particular approbation and praise; therefore we have thought proper, by this present, to write, to thank publicly, in our name, the said rear-admiral, captains, officers, subalterns, sailors, and soldiers, by causing it to be read on board every ship which partook in the action, and whose captains and crews fought with such valour; and that an authentic copy of it be delivered by the secretary of the fleet to the State, as well as to the said Rear-admiral Zoutman, as the commander of the ships under his orders with whose conduct the said admiral has reason to be satisfied; further testifying that we doubt not that they, and all the officers of the state, sailors and soldiers, will, on every occasion that may offer, give proofs that the State wants not defenders of their dear country and its liberty; and that the ancient heroic valour of the Batavians still exists, and will never be extinct.

"Wherefore, noble, respectable, virtuous, and well-beloved subjects, we recommend you to the Divine protection.

"Your affectionate friend,

"G. Pr. d'Orange."

[Pg 378]



"You are with the utmost despatch to proceed with his Majesty's ship under your command to Barbadoes, and if any ships-of-war are there, you are to deliver to the senior officer one of those letters addressed to the commander of any of his Majesty's ships, acquainting him that you have one to the same purpose to the commander-in-chief, following such directions as he may think proper to give you.

"If none of his Majesty's ships should be at Barbadoes, you are then to inform yourself where the commander-in-chief is, and proceed with all diligence in quest of him.

"You are carefully to avoid coming near any vessel you may see on your passage.

"You are to communicate to all King's ships you meet with, or others of our nation, as also to all governors of islands you may touch at, the intelligence you are charged with, in order to its being as speedily and generally dispersed as possible.

"Richd. Kempenfelt.

"Dated on board his Majesty's ship Victory,
at sea, 15th December 1781.

"To Capt. Saumarez, H.M.S. Tisiphone."

(circular letter.)

"Sir,—Having fallen in on the 12th instant (Ashurst bearing N. sixty-one degrees E. distance fifty-three leagues) with a squadron of the enemy's ships-of-war with about two hundred transports, having on board 12,000 troops, 10,000 of which, the prisoners I have taken inform me are designed for the West Indies, with such ships of the line as are marked in the enclosed list, I have therefore thought it expedient to despatch this intelligence to you. I am, sir, your obedient servant,

"R. Kempenfelt."

"To the senior Officer," &c.[Pg 379]

List of ships of the line with the French convoy (agreeing with Admiralty intelligence).

La Bretagne 110 Capt. Mons. Le Comte de Guichen.
L'Invincible 110  
Le Majestueux 110    "    Mons. Le Comte de Rochoin.
Le Royal Louis 112    "    Mons. de Bausset.
Le Terrible 110  
La Couronne 84    "    Mons. de la Mothe Piquet.

Go as far as Madeira, then to Cadiz.

Le Triomphant 84 Capt. Le Marquis de Vaudreuil.
Le Pégase 74
Le Magnifique 74
L'Actif 74
Le Dauphin Royal 70
Le Bien-Aimé 74
Le Zodiaque 74
Le Brave 64.
Le Robuste 74

To separate off Madeira with convoy for the West Indies.

Le Fendant 74
L'Argonaute 64
Le Hardi
} Jamaica fleet.

Bound to the East Indies with 3,000 troops.

Le Lion 64
L'Indien 64

To go to Cadiz with de Guichen.

[Pg 380]



"On the 5th of April I received intelligence that the enemy were embarking their troops on board the ships-of-war, and concluded that they intended to sail in a few days. Captain Byron of the Andromache, an active and diligent officer, watched their motions with such attention, that on the 8th inst. at day-light he made out the enemy's signal of coming out and standing to N.W. I instantly made the signal to weigh, and having looked into the Bays of Fort Royal and St. Pierre, I made signal for a general chase, and before day-light came up with the enemy under Dominique, where both fleets were becalmed, and continued so for some time. The enemy first got the wind, and stood towards Guadaloupe.

"My van division, under that gallant officer Sir Samuel Hood, received it next, and stood after them. At nine the enemy began to cannonade my van, which was returned with the greatest briskness. The baffling winds did not permit part of the centre division to get into action with the enemy's rear till half-past eleven; and then only the ship next me in line of battle, &c. The enemy's cannonade ceased upon my rear's approach, but not before they had done considerable damage to the ships in the van, and disabled the Royal Oak and Montague, &c.

"The night of the 9th inst. the fleet lay-to to repair their damages. The 10th they continued to turn to windward under a very easy sail, the enemy continuing to do the same; and always had it in their power to come into action, which they cautiously avoided, and rendered it impossible for me to force them in the situation they were in, between the Saints and the island of Dominique.

"On the 11th, the enemy having gained considerably to the windward, and the wind blowing a fresh steady gale, I made the signal for a general chase to windward, which continued the[Pg 381] whole day; and towards sunset one of the enemy's ships, damaged in the late action, falling to leeward, the Count de Grasse bore down with his whole fleet to her protection, which brought him so near that I flattered myself he would give me an opportunity of engaging him next day. With that view I threw out the signal for the form of sailing, and stood with the whole fleet to the southward till two in the morning, then tacked, and had the happiness, at day-light, to find my most sanguine desire was near being accomplished, by my having it in my power to force the enemy to battle."

Note from Lord Rodney's narrative contained in a private letter.

"The 10th of April and the 11th were employed in endeavouring to bring the enemy to battle, and on the 11th, late in the afternoon, the enemy bore down to protect two of their own ships, who were in danger of being cut off. This brought them to the position the Admiral wished; he instantly issued orders to sail during the night in the order of sailing; to put out all lights; to stand to the southward till two in the morning, and then the whole fleet to tack without signal. This deceived the enemy, who had no conception that the British fleet should be so near them at day-light: we instantly formed the line of battle on our starboard tack, the enemy formed theirs on the larboard tack, and had made the signal to wear; but the nearness of the British squadron prevented its being put into execution; and the British fleet taking the lee gage, the Admiral made the signal to engage and close."

List of the French fleet commanded by the Comte de Grasse in order of battle 9th and 12th April, 1782.

white and blue squadron.

First Division Flag, half White half Blue at the Fore.

  Ships. Guns.  
Le Souverain 74 Le Commandeur de Glandive.
L'Hercule 74   "     La Clochetterie.
L'Auguste 80   "     Bougainville.
Le Northumberland 74   "     De St. Cézaire.[Pg 382]

Second Division, half White half Blue at the Main.

Le Zélé[21] 74 Chev. Gras. Preville.
Le Duc de Bourgogne 80 Commandeur Espinose.
Le Conquérant 74   "     De la Grandière.
Le Marseillois 74   "     Lombard.

Third Division, half White half Blue at the Mizen.

L'Hector[22] 74 Com. La Vicomté.
Le César[22] 74   "     Marigny.
Le Magnanime 74   "     Comte le Besgue.
Le Diadème 74

white squadron.

Fourth Division, White at the Fore.

Le Glorieux[22] 74 Com. Comte d'Escar.
L'Eveillé[22] 64   "     Rilly.
Le Sceptre 74   "     Comte de Vaudreuil.

Fifth Division, White at the Main.

Le Languedoc 80   Com. d'Arros.
La Ville de Paris 100 { Le Comte de Grasse
Com. La Villeon.
La Couronne[23] 80     "     Comte de Mithon.

Sixth Division, White at the Mizen.

Le Réfléchi 64 Com. Chev. de Boades.
Le S. Esprit 80   "     Marquis de Chabert.
Le Scipion 74   "     Grimouard.
Le Palmier 74   "     Martelli.[Pg 383]

blue squadron.

Seventh Division, Blue at the Fore.

Le Jason[24] 64 Com. Chev. de Villages.
Le Destin 74   "     Goimpy.
Le Citoyen 74   "    Comte d'Ethy.
Le Dauphin Royal[23] 74   "     Montpéroux.

Eighth Division, Blue at the Main.

L'Ardent[22] 64 Com. Gourillon.
Le Triomphant[23] 80   "     Marquis de Vaudreuil.
Le Neptune 74   "     De Touches.
Le Bien-Aimé[23] 74  

Ninth Division, Blue at the Mizen.

Le Caton[23] 64 Com. Comte de Fremond.
Le Brave[23] 74   "     Marquis d'Amblimont.
La Bourgogne 74   "     Champmartin.
Le Pluton 74   "     D'Albert de Rions.

Frigates attached to each Squadron.

white and blue squadron.

L'Experiment 50 Com. De Langle.
La Sagittaire 50   "     La Villebrune.
La Résolue 32   "     La Pérouse.
La Hypocrite 32
Le Cornwallis 20
La Concorde 36   "     Launay Tromlin.
L'Engageante 36   "     La Taille.

white squadron.

Le Richmond 32
La Médée 36 Com. Marquis de Kerquiron.
L'Iris 32
Le Clairvoyant 20   "    " Le Grass Simeront.
La Galathée 36[Pg 384]

blue squadron.

La Friponne 36
L'Astrée[24] 36
La Cérès[24] 16
L'Amazone 36

Le Fier and Le Minotaure armé en flute.

Total, thirty-four sail of the line, two of fifty guns, thirteen frigates, seven armed brigs, two fire-ships, and one cutter.

The Ville de Paris had 1,300 men on board at the commencement of the action on the 9th.

List of Swedish Officers on board the French Fleet on the 12th April 1782.

Le Conquérant   Lieutenant Blessing.
Le Magnifique   Montell.
Le Destin   Toll.
Le Glorieux   Baron Rebinder.
Le Sceptre   Baron Cederström.
La Couronne   Baron Palmquist.
La Ville de Paris   Rosenstein.
Le Languedoc   Wergus.
L'Auguste   Hohenhausen.
Le Northumberland { Nauckhoff.
Le Palmier   Lieutenant Brunmark.
Le Souverain   Baron Rayalin.
Le Hercules   Zachan.
L'Astrée (frigate)   Schults and Deborabur.

Memorandum of the author made at Carlscrona in 1808.

Captain Tornquist said, that after the Russell gave the Northumberland her first broadside, the helm was put up, and a great number of the crew ran from their quarters; the Couronne bore up also at the same time, and left the Ville de Paris, which had exchanged broadsides with several ships, but was never closely engaged but by the Russell. He says that the Barfleur did not fire a shot at the Ville de Paris.[Pg 385]

Squadron sent under command of Rear-admiral Kempenfelt, to intercept the French West India convoy, which had sailed from Brest, under M. de Guichen, December 1781.

Names. Guns.   Commanders.
Victory 100 { Kempenfelt, R.A. of the Red,
Captain Cromwell.
Britannia 100   Capt. James Bradby.
Queen 98   " Hon. F. Maitland.
Duke 98     "     Sir Walter Stirling.
Ocean 90     "     George Ourry.
Namur 90     "     John Dalrymple.
Edgar 74 { John Elliot, commodore.
Captain Thomas Boston.
Alexander 74   Capt. Lord Longford.
Couragueux 74     "     Honourable Charles Phipps.
Valiant 74     "     Samuel C. Goodall.
Agamemnon 64     "     Benjamin Caldwell.
Medway 60     "     Henry Harmood.
Renown 50     "     John Henry.
Arethusa 38     "     Sir Richard Pearson.
Monsieur 36     "     Honourable W.C. Finch.
La Prudente 36     "     Honourable Wm. Waldegrave.
Tartar 28     "     Robert M. Sutton.
Tisiphone fire-ship     "     James Saumarez.

French fleet under M. de Guichen, when it fell in with Admiral Kempenfelt, on the 12th of December 1781.

Names. Guns.   Commanders.
La Bretagne 110   Com. Le Comte de Guichen.
Le Majestueux 110   Le Comte de Rocheaut.
Le Royal Louis 110     "     M. de Beausset.
L'Invincible 110
Le Terrible 110
La Couronne 84     "     Mons de la Motte Piquet.
Le Triomphant[22] 84     "     Mons. de Vaudreuil.
Le Pégase [Pg 386] 74
Le Magnifique 74
L'Actif 74
Le Dauphin Royal 74
Le Bien-Aimé 74
Le Zodiaque 74
Le Robuste 74
Le Fendent 74
Le Brave[22] 74
L'Argonaute 64
Le Lion 64
L'Indien 64
L'Alexandre armée en flute.
Le Hardi do.   do.

A List of the British Fleet in the action of the 9th and 12th April 1782, commanded by Sir George Bridges Rodney, Bart. K.B.

Red Division.

Ships. Guns. Men.   Commanders.   Killed. Wound.
Royal Oak[25] 74 600   Capt. T. Burnet   8 30
Alfred 74 600     "     W. Bayne   12 40
Montague 74 600     "     G. Bowen   12 31
Yarmouth[25] 64 500     "     A. Parry   14 33
Valiant[26] 74 650     "     S.C. Goodall   10 28
Barfleur 98 767 { Sir S. Hood, Rear-adm.
of the Blue
Capt. John Knight
} 10 37
Monarch 74 600     "     F. Reynolds   16 33
Warrior[22] 74 600     "     Sir J. Wallace   5 21
Bellequeux 64 500     "     A. Sutherland   4 10
Centaur 74 600     "     I.H. Inglefield      
Magnificent[25] 74 600     "     Robert Linzee   6 11
Prince William 64 500     "     A. Wilkinson   0 0
Bedford 74 617 { E. Affleck, Esq. Com.
Capt. Thomas Graves
} 0 16
Ajax 74 550     "     N. Charrington   9 40
Repulse[25] 64 500     "     T. Dumaresq   3 11[Pg 387]

White Division.

Canada 74 600   Capt. Hon. W. Cornwallis   12 23
St. Albans 64 500     "     C. Inglis   0 6
Namur 90 750     "     R. Fanshawe   6 25
Formidable[25] 98 780 { Sir G.B. Rodney, Bart.
  Admiral of the White.
1 Capt. Sir Charles Douglas,
2 Capt. J. Symonds.
Lord Cranstoun, Volun.
} 15 39
Duke 98 750   Capt. A. Gardner   13 60
Agamemnon 64 500     "     B. Caldwell   14 24
Resolution 74 600     "     Lord R. Manners   4 35
Prothée[25] 64 500     "     C. Buckner   5 25
Hercules[25] 74 600     "     H. Savage   7 19
America 64 500     "     S. Thompson   1 1

Blue Division.

Russell 74 600   Capt. James Saumarez   10 29
Prudent 64 500     "     A. Barclay (not in action)
Fame[26] 74 600     "     R. Barber   3 12
Anson[26] 64 500     "     W. Blair   3 13
Torbay 74 600     "     Lewis Gideon   10 25
Prince George 98 750     "     W. Williams   9 24
Princessa 70 577   { F.S. Francis Drake, Esq.
  Rear-adm. of the Blue
Capt. C. Knatchbull.
} 3 22
Conqueror[26] 74 600     "     G. Balfour   7 23
Nonsuch 64 500     "     W. Truscott   3 3
Alcade 74 600     "     C. Thompson
Arrogant[26] 74 600     "     S. Cornish   0 0
Marlborough[26] 74 600     "     Tay. Penny   3 16

[Pg 388]

frigates attached to each division.

Red Division.

Ships. Guns. Commanders.
Lizard[27] 28
Le Nymphe[27] 36 Capt. J. Ford.
Champion (repeat signals) 24   "     A. Hood.
Alecto, fire-ship     "     W. Fisher.

White Division.

Convert 32 Capt. H. Hervey.
Endymion 44   "     E.T. Smith.
Alarm 32   "     C. Cotton.
Andromache 32   "     J.A. Byron.
Flora (to repeat signals) 36   "     S. Marshall.
Alert, brig 14
Sibyl 28   "     Rodney.
Pegasus[27] 28   "     S. Stanhope.
Salamander, F.S.[27]
Fortune[27] 38   "     H.C. Christian.
Zebra[27] 14   "     J. Boucher.

Blue Division.

Germain[27] 14
Blast, F.S.[27]
Eurydice (to repeat) 24   "     G. Wilson.
Santa Maria[27] 32   "     J. Linzee.

[Pg 389]

List of officers killed and wounded on the 9th and 12th April 1782.

Royal Oak
Mr. Gwatkin, 1st lieutenant, killed; Captain of the marines wounded.
Captain Bayne killed on the 9th.
Mr. William Code, master, killed; Lieutenants Briedan and Buchan, R.M.,
Mr. R. Wimbleton, 2nd lieutenant, killed; Mr. W. Brown, 5th lieutenant, Mr. Backhouse,
master, wounded.
Mr. Stone, master, wounded.
Captain Bagg, of marines, wounded.
Mr. John Elliot, 1st lieutenant, and Mr. Thomas Rositer, pilot, wounded.
Captain of marines and master wounded.
Lieutenant Hall killed; Captain Bell and Lieutenant Harris of marines wounded.
Lieutenant Cornish, Mr. Cooper, master, Mr. Scott, boatswain, wounded.
Lieutenants Incledon and Brice wounded, the latter since dead.
Thomas Love, master, wounded.
Lieutenant Hobart killed; Captain Savage wounded.
Lieutenant Colbonhill killed; Lieutenant Trelawney wounded.
Captain Blair killed.
Lieutenant Monier, of marines, killed.
Lieutenants Dundas, McDonald, and Laban, of marines, wounded.
No return.
No return.[Pg 390]

extract from the log of the russell.

Russell, 12th April 1782,
off Dominica, E.S.E. 4 or 5 leagues.

Wind, East by North.

Friday 12th, fresh breezes and fine weather. At five p.m. the Admiral made the signal to close in the order of sailing. At six, the America's signal to go ahead and carry a light during the night. At half-past seven saw the flashes and heard the report of several guns to windward, supposed to be from the French fleet. At half-past one a.m. the Admiral made the signal to tack. At sunrise saw the French fleet to the northward about three leagues. At half-past five the Admiral made the signal to form a line ahead, and for the blue division to lead. At six, the Conqueror's signal was made to chase to the N.W. At half-past six the Admiral made the signal for the line to form N.N.E. and S.S.W, two cables' length asunder, and for the third in command to lead; the French fleet to windward forming the line ahead, standing to the southward. At seven the Admiral made the signal for all cruisers to come in and to close the line one cable's length asunder. At thirty-eight minutes past seven the Admiral made our signal for being out of our station; forty minutes past, the signal for the fleet to close in a line of battle; forty-three minutes past, repeated it; our fleet in a line ahead standing to the southward. At three quarters past seven the enemy began firing on our van. The Admiral made the signal for action—our van began to engage the enemy's van. Fifty minutes past seven we backed the main topsail, and began to engage. Fifty minutes past eight, engaging the enemy very close, backed and filled occasionally; at nine luffed up and backed the main topsail, and raked the enemy's sternmost ships. Having passed all their line, ceased firing, the centre and rear still engaging as they passed the enemy. Our masts, yards, sails, and rigging, very much damaged; the mizen-mast, dangerously wounded, struck the mizen yard, and sent topgallant-masts and yards down upon deck, unbent the mizen topsail, a spritsail, topsail, and a jib for a mizen. At twenty-five minutes past nine saw the Prince[Pg 391] George to leeward without a fore-mast. Employed fishing the fore and mizen topsail yards, and fitting the rigging, and shifting powder from forward to aft, and cleared the decks up ready for action. At half-past nine wore to stand for the enemy. At ten the Admiral made the signal for the commander of the third post to tack and gain the wind of the enemy; the signal for engaging flying, and the signal for the line, hauled down. At three minutes past eleven the Admiral made the signal for the van to tack: saw one of the enemy's ships with all her masts and bowsprit shot away; Sir Samuel Hood's division and part of the centre still engaging the enemy's fleet: the rear, having been broke through, bore away.

13th p.m. Body of Dominica E.S.E. 9 or 10 leagues, Wind, Noon, E.S.E.

The van and centre, engaging at forty minutes past seven, wore to the southward. The topsail-yard being fished, set the fore topsail standing for the enemy's fleet; people employed repairing the rigging. At half-past one the Admiral made the Alert's signal to come within hail. At twenty minutes past two he made the Royal Oak's signal to take the French ship in tow that was dismasted, part of the fleet still engaging. The Admiral made the Bedford's signal to get into her station. One of the French ships struck to the van. Coming up with the enemy's fleet, beat to quarters. Forty minutes past three we began to engage some of the enemy's ships to leeward on contrary tacks. At ten minutes past four, having passed them, ceased firing and hauled up the courses; wore ship ahead of the Formidable two of the enemy's ships struck their colours. At half-past four the Admiral made the Conqueror's signal to make more sail. At a quarter past five he made the signal to close in line of battle; set the foresail. At six bore down, and ran under the Ville de Paris' stern, raked her, then hauled up after her; at twenty minutes past six saw her strike her colours. At seven p.m. the Admiral made the night-signal for the fleet to bring-to on the starboard tack; shortened sail, hauled our wind, and[Pg 392] backed the main topsail, some of the fleet engaging to leeward. During the action we had ten men killed and twenty-nine wounded; the French fleet going away with all sail set to the N.W. At half-past eleven, saw a ship on fire blow up.

On the 4th of March, at half-past three, the Russell struck on a rock and damaged her rudder and stern frame; at eight weighed and run further out. On the 5th, at four, made the signal for assistance, and went to the Carenage. On the 6th, warped in and unhung her rudder, sent it on shore, and found that all the lower pentles were broken off. 11th, came out of the Carenage; fifteen men deserted; in coming out, she again struck on a rock. Before the action, she received twenty-three men from the Shrewsbury.

Signed on the 23rd September 1782, by

James Saumarez.

Lord Rodney's Victory.—Canada's Log, 12th April 1782.

April 12th, at daylight, six, moderate and cloudy. Quarter past seven the Admiral made the signal to call in all cruisers. At twenty-five past seven he made the signal for the line of battle ahead a cable's length asunder. The enemy formed a line of battle ahead on the larboard tack, standing to the south, and we formed the line of battle ahead on the starboard tack, and stood to the northward. At eight the Admiral made the Russell's signal to get into her station; at five past eight, he made the signal to close. At fifty past seven, the van of our fleet began to engage, as did all the other ships as they came abreast of enemy. There was a great interval in the enemy's line; our fleet cut through to windward about twelve ships of them. At twenty past eight the enemy's ships, as they passed, began firing at us; at twenty-five past eight we began to engage. At twenty past nine one of the enemy's ship's main and mizen-masts went over the stern just as she got abreast of our quarter, and soon after our fore-mast and bowsprit went also. At twenty-five past nine, having passed the enemy's fleet, some of[Pg 393] whom went to leeward of us, the Admiral made the signal to tack. At thirty-eight past ten he hoisted signal for the commander of the third post to make more sail; observed the Duke's main topmast go over the side. At fifty past ten, observed the Prince George with her fore topmast gone. We ceased firing, as did most of the ships on both sides, except Sir S. Hood and some of the squadron who were to windward, who exchanged a good many shots with the enemy, as he bore down. At eleven, observed that the Admiral had hauled down the signal for the line; at five past eleven the Admiral made the signal to tack; wore at three quarters past eleven. We fired several shots at the enemy, to try the distance, but finding they did not reach, ceased firing. At fifty past eleven the Admiral made the Conqueror's signal to tack, and made and shortened sail occasionally. Wind, E. p.m. E.S.E. 13th (at noon) p.m., moderate and clear, inclinable to calm. At five p.m. the Admiral made the Endymion's signal to stay by a disabled ship in the N.W. At ten p.m. one of our ships ahead fired a good many shots at a frigate, which had a disabled ship of the enemy in tow; and soon after the frigate cast her off. We fired several shots, at times, to try the distance. At twenty-three, p.m. the Admiral made the signal that the van were at too great a distance from the centre; the ships astern exchanged a good many shots with the enemy as they came up with them. At fifty p.m. the Admiral made the Alcides and Marlborough signal to make more sail; at fifty-three, p.m. to engage close; fired several shots, at times, to try the distance. At a quarter past one, two of our ships to windward exchanged a good many shots with the enemy. At half-past one the Admiral made our signal to close; twenty-five past one, we began to engage; at fifty past one the Admiral made the signal to the Monarch to get into her station. At twelve past two he made the Alert signal to come within hail; half-past two he made the Royal Oak's signal to take the ship in tow that had struck her colours. At twenty-two past two the Admiral made the Resolution signal to tack, and we discontinued engaging. At twenty-three[Pg 394] past two some of our ships upon our larboard beam began firing, as did the rest of the ships as they came up with the enemy. At three quarters past three the Admiral made the Repulse and Alcides signal to bear down. At four the Admiral made the signal to veer; at seven past four the Admiral made the Torbay signal to veer; at twenty past four a French line-of-battle ship struck to us after engaging her eighteen minutes. At a quarter past four the Admiral made the Repulse and Resolution signals to make more sail; at three quarters past, Sir S. Hood steering after some enemy's ships to the N.W. About this time the firing ceased on both sides. At fifty past four the Admiral made the signal for the first ships to bear down. At five we began to engage; at a quarter past five our ships engaging as they came up; at fifty-five past five observed another French line-of-battle ship had struck her colours. At five past six the Admiral made the signal to the Princess and Bedford to get into their stations. At thirty-five past six observed that the Ville de Paris had struck her colours. At forty past six discontinued the engagement. At seven beat the retreat. At nine, saw a ship on fire, and another soon after blow up, all without the main topsail. Wind, E.S.E.

(A true copy.) J. Ross.

Although in the above logs, and in several others which we have examined at the depôt, by permission from the Lords of the Admiralty, it does appear that the Canada was engaged with the Ville de Paris, yet we have no doubt of the fact, having the testimonies of Sir L. Halsted and Admiral Giffard, who were in the Canada on the 12th of April, extracts of whose letters we subjoin, which also prove that the Canada was not the ship that was engaging the Ville de Paris when the Barfleur came up, and when the French Admiral struck his colours. Sir Lawrence Halsted, in his letter to us, after giving a brief account of the capture of the Hector, and of the Canada's previous and subsequent attack on the Ville de Paris, relates, that the Canada, on seeing some ships bearing down[Pg 395] on the Ville de Paris, of which, he believes, one was the Russell, "bore up in pursuit of a French Rear-admiral in the Triomphant 84;" and he concludes, "I trust that that part in Lord de Saumarez' letter is satisfactorily answered, as it is quite clear that the Canada was not near the Ville de Paris at the time she surrendered." Admiral Giffard, in answer to our application, says,

"I am of opinion the Canada was engaged with the Ville de Paris earlier in the day than the Russell."

Extract of a letter from Capt. G.W.H. Knight, R.N., son of the late Admiral Sir John Knight, K.C.B., who was captain of the Barfleur on the 12th April, 1782.

"I have never been able to lay my hand on my father's letter, wherein he gave me some account of the 12th of April 1782, but this I recollect quite well, that he said, 'he accompanied Sir Samuel (afterwards Lord Hood) on board Lord Rodney's ship the day before the battle of the 9th of April, (my father being captain of the Barfleur, Sir Samuel's flag ship,) and on that occasion not one word was said, or order given, for any attempt to break through the enemy's line in the expected engagement, nor was any order afterwards given previous to the 12th of April. That on the 9th, the van squadron, commanded by Sir S. Hood, which was most engaged, made no attempt to break the line, nor did the van or centre (the line being inverted) on the 12th make any such attempt; and my father attributed the Formidable, and those that followed her, getting through, to the circumstance of a change of wind, which brought those ships up with the rest of the rear of the British fleet, while it broke off the ships in the French line, and consequently left openings.' He further said, 'that from the density of the smoke they could see nothing, and that the first intimation they had (the Barfleur) of passing through the enemy's line was, from receiving fire on both sides.' He gave another reason for supposing it was altogether accidental, which[Pg 396] was, that no attempt was made or order given by signal to double on the enemy, and that the advantage gained by passing through the line was never made use of when my father took possession of the Ville de Paris, and received Count de Grasse's sword, and afterward conveyed him to his Admiral; no remark was made upon any circumstance having taken place different from the usual practice. These are the heads of what I recollect."


List of the English squadron, commanded by Vice-admiral Sir J. Saumarez, off Port Baltic, 1st September 1803.

Capt. B. Martin, 1 Capt.

Ships. Guns.   Captains.
Victory 100 { Dumaresq.
Sir S. Hood.
Centaur 74   Webley.
Implacable 74   Pipon.
Goliath 74   Puget.
Mars 74   Lukin.
Africa 64   Barrett.
Salsette 32   Bathurst.
Ariel 18   T. White.
Rose 18   T. Mansell.
Cruiser 18   McKenzie.
Erebus 18
Baltic 10
Thunder Bomb.

List of the Swedish fleet, commanded by Rear-admiral Nauckhoff.

Ships. Guns.
Gustaf IV. Adolf 78
Adolf Frederick 74
Manligheten 74
Dristigheten 74
Tapperheten 74
Forsigtigheten 74
Gustaf den Tredje 74
Fäderneslandet 74
Uladesloff 74
Frederick Adolf 64
Bellona 40
Camilla 40
Euridice 40
Yarramus 32
Wänta Litet 18
Komma Straxt 18[Pg 397]

Russian Fleet.

Ships. Guns.   Commanders.
Blagadod. 110   Admiral Henikoff.
Angel Gabriel 100   Rear-admiral Müller.

Ships. Guns.
Amgallen 74
Boreas 74
Eagle 74
Michael 74
North Star 74
Sewolod (taken) 74
Argus, Hero, and Rapid 50


List of the French Fleet opposed to the English, 23rd June 1795.

Ships. Guns.
Le Peuple 120
Le Nestor 80
Le Redoubtable 80
Le Mucius 80
Le Tigre (taken) 80
Le Fougueux 80
Le Zélé 74
Le Formidable (taken) 74
Le Jean Bart 74
Les droits de l'homme 74
L'Alexandre (taken) 74
Name unknown 74
Le Brave, rasé 56
Le Scævola, rasé 56

La Virgine 44
La Fidelle 44
L'Insurgente 44
La Fortitude 44
La Régénéré 44
La Naute 44
La Fraternité 44
La Proserpine 36
La Cocade 36
La Dryade 36
Le Renard 36

La Constance 22
La Talente 18
La Senseure 22
Le Papillon 18[Pg 398]

List of the Fleet under the command of Admiral Lord Bridport, June 23rd 1795, with the number of killed and wounded.

Ships. Guns.       Killed. Wound.
Royal George 110 { Lord Bridport, Admiral
of the White.
Captain Domett.
} 7
Queen Charlotte 110   Capt. Sir A.S. Douglas   4 32
London. 98     "     E. Griffiths   3
Queen. 98 { Sir A Gardner, Bt. Vice
Admiral of the White:
Captain Wm. Bedford
Prince of Wales. 98   Capt. J. Bazely.
Prince George. 98     "     W. Edge.
Barfleur 98     "     J. Richard Dawes.
Prince 98     "     C.P. Hamilton
Sans Pareil 80 { Lord Hugh Seymour,
Rear Adm. of the Blue.
Capt. H. Browell
} 10
Orion 74   Capt. Sir James Saumarez.   6 18
Valiant. 74     "     Jos. Larcom (acting).

  Killed. Wounded.
Orion 6 18
Irresistible 3 11
Queen Charlotte 4 32
Sans Pareil 10 2
Colossus 6 30
Russell 3 10
London 0 3
Royal George 0 7
Total 31 113

The above statement shows the total numerical loss sustained by each of the ships that were so fortunate as to get into action.

[Pg 399]


Orion, St Helen's Roads, 30th December 1796.

My Lord,

I have had it in contemplation for some time past, to lay before your Lordships the enclosed plan for the establishment of a Marine Artillery for the service of the Navy, but was prevented from doing it by the late prospect of a peace; at present, as the haughtiness of our enemies seems to have removed that desirable object to a distant period, and as a further augmentation to our forces may in consequence take place, it may not appear unseasonable.

If it has the good fortune to meet with your Lordship's approbation, I shall think myself amply recompensed for the time I have bestowed upon it.

I have the honour to be,
My Lord,
Your Lordship's most obedient
And very humble servant,

James Saumarez.

a plan for forming a corps of artillery for his majesty's naval service.

"In consequence of the present great increase of the royal navy, it becomes from time to time necessary to augment proportionably that very useful body of men, the Marines,—but that very respectable corps would be rendered of far greater importance to the service, were they trained up and exercised in the management of the great guns; for which purpose it is humbly submitted, that a division be established at either Woolwich or Deptford, to be composed of drafts from the divisions of Portsmouth, Plymouth, and Chatham, in order to be instructed in the exercise and use of artillery; and thereby become expert gunners when ordered to be embarked on board His[Pg 400] Majesty's ships; their numbers to consist of one man to every four guns in each line-of-battle ship, which would compose about one third of their present complement. In addition to which, two companies should be quartered at the other three divisions, to complete such vacancies as occasionally would occur on board the fleet.

"The great utility of this corps must appear obvious when it is considered that the only person supposed to be qualified and experienced in gunnery on board His Majesty's ships, is the gunner, who, too often ignorant of his own duty, is totally unable to instruct others. In the quarter bills of most ships, it is well known that a very small proportion of the marines are reserved for musketry, the greater part being in general divided on the different batteries. With what advantage would they not go to their quarters, after having been well practised and exercised as artillery-men; and how soon would not the rest of the ship's company become also expert gunners in emulating their example.

"These men would also be found particularly useful on expeditions abroad, in landing or making a descent on the enemy's coast, when a well-served artillery is often of the greatest importance.

"The officers might be appointed from the other divisions, and should consist of those who, from their age and services, were incapable of being engaged in actual duty;—they would here find a comfortable asylum during life, and end their days in the service of their country.

"The expenses incurred by this establishment would be inconsiderable; and no doubt can be entertained of its proving a lasting advantage to His Majesty's service, and adding strength to the great bulwark of this country,—the Royal Navy.

"James Saumarez, Orion."

"The Right Honourable Earl Spencer,
&c. &c. &c."[Pg 401]

"Admiralty, 2nd January 1797.

"Dear Sir,

"I hazard a line in the uncertainty whether you may not have sailed before this reaches Portsmouth, to thank you for your paper on the establishment of a Corps of Artillery for the naval service. The idea is one which I have often heard discussed, and in many points of view a very good one; but I fear that there would be so many difficulties in point of official arrangements to overcome in carrying it into execution, that no very sanguine hopes can be entertained of its succeeding.

"It is, however, a subject well worthy of attention, and which, at a less pressing moment, it may perhaps be worth while to renew.

"I am,
"Dear sir,
"With great regard,
"Your very obedient, humble servant,


"To Sir James Saumarez."

[Pg 402]


"Madrid, 10th March 1797.

"The following account of the action with the British squadron, on the 14th day of February last, has been received by D. Juan de Langara, in a letter addressed to his Excellency by D. Joseph de Cordova, commander-in-chief of the Squadron, dated del Oceano, the 2nd of March, at the entrance of Cadiz Bay.

"From the instant of my proceeding to sea, after securing the gun-boat at Algeziras, I had the winds E.N.E. to S.E. that drove me to the latitude of Cape St. Vincent; however, on the morning of the 14th, it changing to the west, I steered to the E.S.E., and formed in three separate columns, in the order of sailing with convoy. Several vessels from the left, at nine o'clock in the morning, observing a strange sail, I ordered the Principe de Asturias to chase; shortly after, the St. Firmin and the Pearl frigate discovered the number to increase to eight sail, and although the foggy weather prevented their being seen from the Trinidad, I forced the whole squadron to a press of sail; but counting already at ten o'clock from fifteen to eighteen of the enemy's ships, besides several frigates, I ordered our squadron to form immediately the line of battle, in the best manner possible, on the larboard tack, to maintain the weather gage. In tacking, the ships Principe, Conde-de-Regla, and Oriente, fell so much to leeward, that they were unable to join in the line without the risk of being cut off by the enemy, that now, but at a short distance and under a press of sail, met us in the most regular order: in consequence, I ordered these vessels to tack that they might fall in the rear of the line, which, although done by the two first, could not be effected by the Oriente, and she ran to leeward of the enemy.

"At a quarter before eleven, from the position of the squadron, the enemy's headmost ship commenced the action with the[Pg 403] nearest situated to her ahead of the Trinidad, running along the whole of our rear, and successively bearing up before the wind. The Trinidad happened to be the last of our line, and consequently the centre and van remained out of the action.

"The rear of the enemy sailed but slowly, and for this reason, as well as to benefit by some means the fire from our van, I made a signal at half-past eleven for all the ships ahead to tack, in order to come round the enemy and attack their rear. My ordering this manœuvre appeared the most opportune for many weighty reasons; but, misunderstood by the ships to which it was directed, I now looked upon the loss of the Principe, Regla, and the whole of our rear, as unavoidable. The favourable moment for this movement being lost, I made a signal for the whole squadron to bear up at the same time, with a view to contract our distance with the enemy, and to bring into action several other ships in our centre and van. At the time of bearing up, the Trinidad was ahead in close action with the enemy, within musket-shot, and having been engaged by the whole English line, was very much damaged.

"So soon as their headmost ship had passed athwart our stern, she tacked, followed by five or six others passing our line to windward; the remaining ten ships, that were before on our larboard side, then bore up at the same time, and passed through our line in different positions, and consequently remained on the other tack fighting us in great order, with a heavy and well-directed fire: this manœuvre decided the action in their favour. I did not fail to guard against this from the commencement, and anticipated it by ordering the ships ahead to tack and gain the enemy's rear to leeward; and if the commanders of the Principe, Regla, Oriente, and Firmin had availed themselves of the opportunity to join six or eight ships of the van, they would have placed the enemy between two fires, and terminated the action in a very different manner.

"Although the Principe and Regla were not able to fall into the rear of our line, they notwithstanding did their utmost from their situation, engaging the enemy at the time of passing[Pg 404] our line, till they had obtained the weather gage. The attack of the enemy was now principally on the Trinidad, which, from the crippled situation of her mast and rigging, fell to leeward. By word of mouth, and by signals, the Salvador, San Josef, Soberano, and San Nicholas were ordered to shorten sail, and to form in our rear, which they executed with celerity, maintaining a severe action. The van continually remaining to windward, at two I made them a signal to shorten sail, and bear down for a general attack.

"The Mexicano formed upon our bow about three in the afternoon, and engaged the foremost ship of the enemy's line; they now for the remainder of the day fixed their whole attention against the San Josef, Mexicano, San Nicholas, and San Yisidro, which were the only ships that bore the principal and hottest part of the action against the whole enemy's squadron.

"In this situation it would have been highly expedient that our centre and van should have come to our support, but it was out of my power to intimate to them the necessity of this movement, the ships being in want of masts, rigging, and every necessary for making signals. I cannot refrain from giving due praise to the valour of the above-mentioned ships formed at my stern, and expressing the gallant manner in which they behaved during the engagement: but at length, being dismasted and destroyed, some struck, and others left the action. The Trinidad was attacked the whole afternoon by a three-decker, and three ships of 74 guns, that raked her fore and aft at pistol-shot; and notwithstanding her having upwards of two hundred men killed and wounded, she still continued the action for a full hour longer. Such was the dreadful situation of the Trinidad at six o'clock, after an uninterrupted engagement, when the San Pablo and Pelayo, that in the morning had been detached by my orders, and crowded every sail from the moment of observing the action, now reached the squadron.

"The reinforcement of these two ships happened at the opportune junction of the Conde-de-Regla; the Principe arrived shortly after, and the enemy, observing our van standing towards[Pg 405] them, immediately retired together, covering the captured ships San Josef, Salvador, San Yisidro, and San Nicholas.

"No one will be surprised at the ultimate consequences of the action, when the series of misfortunes and unforeseen events from the moment of our seeing the enemy is considered; and further, that when cruising, they should sail in a readier condition to form the line of battle than could be performed by our squadron, in the order of sailing with convoy, with the wind on our quarter. For the above reason, scarcely were they discovered, than they formed in regular order of battle, and so near as to oblige my forming the line hastily, without attention to posts, or the consequences that might result from this bad position of the ships and commanders; to which must be added, that the Pelayo and San Pablo were ahead by order,—that the Firmin and Oriente remained to leeward of both lines,—that notwithstanding the exertions made by the Principe, Regla, and Firmin, they did not enter into the line till the afternoon, the latter wanting a foretop-mast. So that of all the ships of my squadron, only seventeen formed in the line of battle, the St. Domingo included in the number, loaded with quicksilver, and of very inconsiderable force. Of the seventeen above mentioned, some were in action only at intervals, and many did not fire a gun; resulting from the circumstance of the enemy's line being entirely engaged against six Spanish ships, and their defence is the more praiseworthy, as they were all in want of men. The Trinidad remaining entirely dismasted, without the power of making signals with flags or lights, I desired Lieutenant General D. Juan Joachim Moreno to reestablish the line of battle close on the larboard tack, and gave orders that jury-masts should be fixed on the Trinidad and the Moredes frigate, to protect her to Cadiz, profiting by the wind and the situation of the enemy at night-fall.

"I embarked in consequence, with my Major General and Adjutants, on board the Diana frigate, and ordered several frigates along the line, that they should observe the order given,[Pg 406] and repair the damages with all haste in order to return again to action. The squadron remained the whole night on the larboard tack, with the wind at W. to W.N.W. till six o'clock a.m. of the 15th, when I formed on the other tack, close hauled to the wind.

"My next attention was to inquire by signal the situation of the ships for action,—and it proved that the Concepcion, Mexicano, and Soberano were not in a state to renew the action; and that the Regla, Oriente, San Pablo, Pelayo, and San Antonio could enter into action, without my being able to gain any information regarding the others. Nevertheless I continued my course towards the enemy, that to the number of twenty ships had been seen since eight o'clock at S.S.W. My opinion as to the state of the ships of the squadron remaining still indecisive, in the afternoon I desired to know if it was advisable to attack the enemy; the ships Concepcion, Mexicano, San Pablo, Soberano, San Domingo, San Ildefonso, Nepomuceno, Atlante, and Firmin replied in the negative; the Gloriose, Pablo, Regla, and Firmin, that it was advisable to delay the attack; and only the Principe, Conquistador, and Pelayo, positively asserted that the attach was advisable. From the diversity of opinion, and considering the reply of each commander as an indication of the true state of his respective ship, I did not think it proper to force a press of sail towards the enemy, having likewise been informed that the Mexicano, San Domingo, and Soberano were considerably damaged, and the Atlante in want of men, which was general in every ship.

"At three o'clock in the afternoon the enemy was still to the E.S.E. I directed our course S.E. and varied it at five, to S.E. 74 S. to double Cape St. Vincent; and that every exertion should be made by day and night to repair the ships that were not very considerably damaged, I ordered the line at half-past eleven to close on the starboard tack. On the 16th some of the enemy's cruisers were seen to the S.E. 74 S. which route I followed at seven o'clock in the evening, with light winds at S.W. with hopes to see them again the next day,[Pg 407] supposing their destination for Gibraltar. But at ten o'clock in the morning the Concepcion made a signal that the enemy were at anchor on the left side of the coast, and informed me she had seen four large ships in Lagos Bay. Believing that all the enemy's squadron might be likewise there, I ordered the line to form close on the starboard tack, and then despatched the Brigida frigate to reconnoitre; she returned, acquainting me that she had counted the whole force of the enemy at anchor in the bay.

"The squadron remained, close in-shore the whole afternoon, and part of the night, when the wind changing to S.E. I left it under an easy sail.

"No regular account has been received of the killed and wounded, not having obtained the respective returns from the commanders at the time of writing: but it was known that in the Conde-de-Regla a cannon ball at the commencement of the action killed the Xefe de Esquadra, Conde d'Amblemont, and the splinters wounded the commander, Brigadier D. Geronime Bravo, and H.D. Cadlos Sellery.

Killed, Captain de Fragata D. Francisco Luis,
Lieutenant Bernardino Antillon, and another
officer, name unknown.
Mortally wounded, and died on the 4th day, her
Commander, Brigadier D. Fernando Herravay
Killed, second Lieutenant D. Herculas Guchi, and
a Midshipman; wounded, Captain of Fragata,
D. Franco Alvarez, two Lieutenants de Fragata,
the Master, and an inferior officer."

"By advices from Brigadier D. Pebra Poneda, late Commander of the San Josef, the following account is likewise received relating to the captured ships:—

San Josef
Killed, second Lieutenant D. Miguel de Doblas.—
Mortally wounded, Xefe de Esquadra, D. Francisco Wenthysen,
who lost both legs ten minutes
after the action commenced, and died the same night;
the Master D. Santiago Campomar.
Slightly wounded, two second Lieutenants,
and 152 seamen killed and wounded. [Pg 408]
Killed, the Commander, Brigadier Antonio de Tepes,
two Lieutenants, and two other officers.
Wounded, Captain de Fragata D. Manoel Rinz,
and an inferior officer;
200 seamen killed and wounded.
San Nicholas  
(boarded by one of the enemy's ships that engaged her.)
Killed, the Commander, Brigadier
D. Tomas Geraldino, two second Lieutenants, one Midshipman.
Wounded, three Lieutenants of Infantry;
120 seamen killed and
San Yisidro  
Killed, one Lieutenant and an inferior officer.
Wounded, the Commander D. Teadoro Argunato;
his second, D. Telepe Tournelle,
two Lieutenants, and two second Lieutenants;
mortally, one first Lieutenant;
104 seamen killed and wounded.

[Pg 409]


london gazette extraordinary.

"Vanguard, off the Mouth of the Nile,
3rd August 1798.

"My Lord,

"Almighty God has blessed his Majesty's arms in the late battle by a great victory over the fleet of the enemy, whom I attacked at sunset on the 1st of August, off the mouth of the Nile. The enemy were moored in a strong line of battle for defending the entrance of the bay of shoals, flanked by numerous gun-boats, four frigates, and a battery of guns and mortars on an island in their van; but nothing could withstand the squadron your lordship did me the honour to place under my command. Their high state of discipline is well known to you; and with the judgment of the captains, together with their valour, and that of the officers and men of every description, it was absolutely irresistible. Could anything from my pen add to the characters of the captains, I would write it with pleasure, but that is impossible.

"I have to regret the loss of Captain Westcott of the Majestic, who was killed early in the action, but the ship continued to be so well fought by her first lieutenant, Mr. Cuthbert, that I have given him an order to command her till your Lordship's pleasure is known.

"The ships of the enemy, all but their two rear ships, are nearly dismasted, and those two, with two frigates, I am sorry to say, made their escape; nor was it, I assure you, in my power to prevent them. Captain Hood most handsomely endeavoured to do it, but I had no ship in a condition to support the Zealous, and I was obliged to call her in.

"The support and assistance I received from Captain Berry cannot be sufficiently expressed. I was wounded in the head, and obliged to be carried off deck, but the service suffered no loss by that event. Captain Berry was fully equal to the[Pg 410] service then going on, and to him I must beg to refer you for every information relative to this victory.

"He will present you with the flag of the second in command. That of the commander-in-chief being in the L'Orient.

"Herewith I transmit you lists of the killed and wounded, and the lines of battle of ourselves and the French.

"I have the honour to be, &c.

"Horatio Nelson."

"To Admiral the Earl of St. Vincent, Commander-in-chief,
&c. &c. &c. off Cadiz."

The Rear-admiral was created Baron Nelson of the Nile, and of Burnham Thorpe, in the county of Norfolk. The thanks of both Houses of Parliament were voted to him, the officers and crews, in the usual manner. Gold medals were presented to each of the Captains. A pension of 2000l. a year for life was settled on Nelson. The Irish Parliament voted him 1000l.; the East India Company 10,000l.; the city of London a sword, value two hundred guineas, and a sword to each of the Captains; that to Sir E. Berry was accompanied by the freedom of the city in a gold box. But Sir James Saumarez received no distinguished honour, as has been usual, for being second in command, although no one ever more highly deserved such a mark of approbation.[Pg 411]

on the 1st of August, 1798.

British Commanded by Sir Horatio Nelson, K.B. Rear-admiral of the Blue.

Abbrevations used in the table below:
O = Officers
S = Seamen
M = Marines

                  Killed Wounded  

No. Ships' Names.   Captains   First Lieuts. Remarks Guns Men O S M O S M Total

1 Culloden   T. Troubridge   Chas. Bullen not in action 74 584 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2 Theseus.   R.W. Miller.   R. Hawkins. –     –  74 584 0 5 0 1 24 5 35
3 Alexander   A.J. Ball   John Yule –     –  74 584 1 13 0 5 48 5 72
4 Vanguard { R.A. Sir H.
Nelson. E. Berry
} Edw. Galwey starboard squadron 74 589 3 20 7 7 60 8 105
5 Minotaur   Thos. Louis   C. M. Schomberg –     –  74 643 2 18 3 4 54 6 87
6 Swiftsure   B. Hallowell   J.L. Waters –     –  74 584 0 7 0 1 19 2 29
7 Audacious   Davidge Gould   Thos. White –     –  74 584 0 1 0 2 31 2 36
8 Leander   T.B. Thompson   W. Richardson where most efficient 50 338 0 0 0 0 14 0 14
9 Defence   John Peyton   Richard Jones –     –  74 584 0 3 1 0 9 2 15
10 Zealous   Samuel Hood   W.H. Webley –     –  74 584 0 1 0 0 7 0 8
11 Orion   Sir J. Saumarez   J. Barker –     –  74 584 1 11 1 5 18 6 42
12 Goliath   Thomas Foley   G. Jardine –     –  74 584 2 12 7 4 28 9 62
13 Majestic   G.B. Wescott   R. Cuthbert –     –  74 584 3 38 14 3 124 16 193
14 Bellerophon   H.D.E. Darby   R. Cathcart –     –  74 584 4 32 13 5 126 17 197
  Mutine brig.   T.M. Hardy   –     –  assisting the Culloden 14 70 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
            Total 1066 8064 16 161 46 37 562 78 895

  T.M. Waller.
W.H. Gage
W. Brown
} not in the action.

[Pg 412]

French, commanded by Admiral Gantheaume.

No.   Ships' Names.   Captains.   Guns. Men.   Remarks.

1   Le Guerrier.   J.F.T. Trullet (sen.)   74 700   Taken and burnt by the British.
2   Le Conquérant.   E. Dalbarde.   74 700   Taken.
3   Le Spartiate.   M.J. Emerine.   74 700   Ditto.
4   L'Aquilon.   H. Alex. Thevenard.   74 700   Taken and called the Aboukir; Captain killed.
5   Le Peuple Souverain.   P.P. Racoora.   74 700   Taken and called Le Guerrier.
6   Le Franklin.   Blanquet (Rear-admiral)   90 800   Taken and called the Canopus.
7 { L'Orient (formerly)
Le Sans Culottes.
{ Brueys (Admiral)
Gantheaume (R.A.)
Casa Bianca, Captain.
} 120 1010 { Blown up: the Admiral and the whole crew,
excepting seventy men, perished.
8   Le Tonnant.   Du Petit Thouars.   80 800   Taken; her Captain killed.
9   L'Heureux.   J.P. Etienne.   74 700   Taken and burnt by the British.
10   Le Timoléon.   Trulet (jun.)   74 700   Driven on shore, and burnt by her own people.
11   Le Mercure.   Cambon (acting).   74 700   Taken and burnt by the British.
12   Le Guillaume Tell. { Villeneuve, (R.A.)
Captain Sinclair.
} 80 800 { Escaped; taken in 1800 by Foudroyant, Lion,
and Penelope.
13   Généreux.   Le Joille.   74 700 { Escaped; taken in 1800 by the squadron under
Lord Nelson, off Malta.
    La Sérieuse.   Clavele Jean Martin.   36 250   Sunk by a broadside from the Orion; crew saved.
    L'Artémise.   Pierre Jean Standelet.   36 250 { Struck her colours, and burnt by her crew, who
escaped in their boats.
    La Diane.   R.A. Decrès, Capt. Soleil   48 300   Escaped, but taken in 1801 off Malta.
    La Justice.   — Villeneuve.   44 300   Escaped, but taken in 1801 at Alexandria.
                  Besides bombs, brigs, gun-boats, and batteries.
            —— ——
    Total. { French
            —— ——
            134 2764

Thus it appears that the French were superior by more than a fourth to the British, and certainly still more in weight of metal; and when the size of the shot is taken comparatively into consideration, and that a French eighty is equal to a British ninety-eight, the superiority in the broadsides would be even greater.

[Pg 413]


Letter sent by Captain —— Gage.

"Orion, off Pantalaria, 27th Sept. 1798.

"My Dear Admiral,

"Captain Gage has this instant joined and communicated to me his orders to proceed off Malta for intelligence; my letter, of yesterday's date, with which I have charged him, so fully answers the purport of his mission with respect to that island and the Colossus, with the store ships and victuallers, that I have directed him to return to join you at Naples with all possible despatch. I shall send the Minotaur and Audacious the moment we are clear of the west end of Sicily.

"The proposals to the French Garrison were first written by me, but it being thought advisable to send them in the French language, they underwent some alteration in the translation; but upon the whole, I hope they will be approved of. I laid a great stress with the Marquis, before I left him, of the practicability of the William Tell escaping, and wished much I could have left two of our ships off the island to watch her and the two frigates more closely. There exists no doubt of the Genereux being lost. I am all anxiety to hear from you to know that you approve of my different movements; at all risk, you will do me the favour to let me hear from you either at the Flat, or in England.

"James Saumarez."

"To Sir Horatio Nelson, &c.
Bay of Naples."

[Pg 414]


The Portuguese squadron consisted of the Principe Réal, Rainha de Portugal, San Sebastian, and Alphonso Albuquerque, of 74 guns, under the Marquis of Niza, a Rear-admiral, Captain Puysigur; Captains Stone, Michell, and Campbell (English officers), commanded the other three; to which were added, the Lion, 64, Captain Manley Dixon; the Incendiary, fire-ship, George Barker (English); and the Portuguese brig Falcao, Captain Duncan. Sir James having fallen in with them off Malta, it fell calm, when a deputation from the principal inhabitants of the island waited on them to request a supply of arms and ammunition, and having informed the Commodore that the French garrison at Valetta were subjected to great distress, and that there was reason to believe that the appearance of the combined squadron would induce the French to surrender, if summoned, accordingly, on the 25th of September 1798, with the concurrence of the Marquis of Niza, a flag of truce was sent in, with the following formal summons.

"Une division de l'armée de sa Majesté Britannique dans la Mediterranée, commandée par le Contre-Amiral Sir Horatio Nelson, étant arrivée devant Malte sous les ordres de Sir James Saumarez, et reunie à l'escadre de sa Majesté Très-fidelle, commandée par le Contre-Amiral le Marquis de Niza; dans le dessein de rétablir les habitans de l'isle de Malte et dépendances dans la libre jouissance de leurs isles, sommons conjointement la garnison Françoise de la ville et ports de Malte de nous remettre la ville et les ports et dépendances, ainsi que les vaisseaux, frégates, et batimens de quelques especes qu'ils soyent et qui peuvent s'y trouver, à fin que les habitans de l'isle de Malte puissent se mettre en possession de leurs villes et ports, et rentrer dans leurs droits de propriétés. En consequence, le Contre-Amiral Marquis de Niza, au nom de sa Majesté Très-fidelle la Reine de Portugal, et Sir James Saumarez, au nom[Pg 415] de sa Majesté Brittanique le Roy d'Angleterre, s'engagent et promettent de laisser à la garnison Françoise la liberté de retourner en France sur les batimens qui leur seront procurés à cet effet, de les convoyer et escorter; sous la condition que cette même garnison ne servira pas dans cette guerre contre les deux puissances dénommées et leurs alliés, jusqu'au moment où elle seroit regulièrement changée contre les sujets des deux puissances denommées ou de leurs alliés. La garnison Françoise maintenant enfermée dans les murs de la ville de la Cité Valete doit mûrement refléchir aux conséquences funestes qu'entraineroit pour elle un refus à cette sommation, puisqu'il la laisseroit à la merci des traitemens que peut inspirer au peuple de l'isle de Malte la haine et l'animosité que leur a fait naître les mauvais traitemens qu'ils ont éprouvés des François; et la garnison, après avoir éprouvée les horreurs de la famine, seroit forcée de s'en remettre à la discrétion d'un peuple qui ne montrera que les sentimens de sa vengeance. La garnison Françoise doit savoir que les escadres ne cesseront de bloquer l'isle de Malte; qu'une autre est devant Alexandrie, employée à aider les forces navales et de terre du Grand Seigneur à réduire les troupes Françoises que la disette et les maladies ont pu épargner en Egypte; et qu'enfin une autre escadre est devant Toulon, dont il ne peut venir aucun secours.

"A bord du vaisseau le Prince Royal, le 25 de Septembre 1798.

"Signé, Le Chef de Division,   Sir James Saumarez."
"Le Contre-Amiral,     M. de Niza."

"Copie de la Réponse à la Sommation du 25 Septembre.

"Vous avez oublié sans doute que ce sont des François qui sont dans Malte; le sort de ses habitans ne doit pas vous regarder. Quant à votre sommation, les François n'entendent pas ce style.


"Le Général Commandant en chef des Iles de
Malte and de Goza, le 4 Vendémiaire, An 7 de la
République une et indivisible."

[Pg 416] Sir James having the prizes under his protection, with orders to convey them to Gibraltar, had no alternative but to proceed, leaving the Marquis de Niza and his squadron to blockade the port; but before leaving he supplied the inhabitants with 1500 muskets and a suitable quantity of ammunition, to which seasonable supply the success which attended the Maltese in their subsequent efforts to recover their liberty was mainly attributable.

Translation of Don Mazarredo's Letter.

"My Dear Sir,

"In your letter of yesterday, you were pleased to inform me of the orders which you have received from his Excellency Sir John Jervis, to deliver the officers and prisoners who came from the frigates Ninfa and Helena to the person appointed by me. I name for this purpose Don Juan Deslobbes, lieutenant in the Royal Navy, who will appear before you, sir, with this credential, in order to treat and settle respecting the disembarkation of the said prisoners: he will make the proper report and give a receipt for them on board. I assure you, sir, that the said officers, or men, shall not serve in war until they shall be legally allowed. Of this, the officers may pledge their word of honour on board, or I will receive it when they appear before me.

"You will imagine, sir, much better than I can express, the sense of gratitude which I feel in hearing of the kind assistance and attention which you show to the brave men who were wounded, and of the good accommodation which the officers and men in general have met with. Together with my gratitude on this account, do me the honour, sir, to receive the real estimation and respect with which I offer myself to your services. God guard you, sir, many years!

"Your respectful obedient servant,

"Jos. de Mazarredo."

"Ship Concepcion, at Cadiz,
29th April 1797."

[Pg 417]


James, (now the Right Honourable and Reverend Baron de Saumarez,) eldest son of Lord de Saumarez, was born at Guernsey on the 9th October 1789. Being brought up, almost from infancy, under the impression that he was intended for the church, and being naturally of a mild disposition, no idea of any other profession ever entered his mind—a circumstance which has excited general regret and considerable surprise in the naval service; as there can be no doubt that, instead of being at this day rector of a small living, he would have been at the very top of the profession of which his heroic father had been so bright an ornament. Although of the profession which was chosen for him, and in which his family had little interest, he has proved himself an excellent and useful member; still it must be confessed that there is a general feeling of disappointment among the officers of the navy, that the eldest son of their "acknowledged chief" had not embraced that honourable service.

In consequence of his father's frequent absence, and change of station with his ship, it became necessary to send him to a place of instruction at an earlier age than usual, to avoid the danger of his being carried about from port to port,—a circumstance which could not but be felt severely by his mother. He was accordingly placed at Newport, in the Isle of Wight, with the Rev. George Richards, where he remained till the commencement of 1799. It was, however, before he was sent to school, in the year 1793, that the following occurrence took place, which will give the reader some idea of the feelings of such a family, under such circumstances, in time of war. The happiness that the gallant captain felt in visiting[Pg 418] his family when obliged to put into port, can only be justly appreciated by the affectionate husband and father who knows the value of such happy moments, snatched as it were from the fatigue of service, and how great and substantial is the relief they afford to the anxiety of a naval life! Lady Saumarez was at this time living at Stonehouse, that she might be at hand to receive her husband when he put into Plymouth; their eldest son was his mother's companion. One evening, tidings were brought to her that the Crescent had arrived and anchored in Cawsand Bay; the boy was playing in the passage with his nurse, awaiting the appearance of his father, when at length the short hasty rap was heard! All ran to the door, and in the hurry of opening it the light was extinguished, and total darkness obscured the objects of his affection; but the eager, parental tone with which the words "Where art thou, my darling boy?" were uttered, left such an impression on the mind and feelings of the son as never to have been forgotten.

Early in 1799, young Saumarez was removed to the Rev. Mr. Morgan's grammar school at Bath. Mr. Morgan had the reputation of being an excellent master to boys of any promise; it may be inferred that he was of this denomination, as his pupil not only left the school with an excellent character, but on his going to Harrow, in the autumn of 1801, he was immediately placed on the fourth form, which had the privilege of being exempt from fagging. We have heard him express the highest gratification at having been there with Lord Byron and Sir Robert Peel, who were in the form above him.

At Harrow he employed his time so well, that he reached the head of the school; having throughout conducted himself to the satisfaction of Dr. Drury, and afterwards of Dr. Butler, who succeeded as head-master, for both of whom he entertained a sincere regard.

In the year 1807 he went to Christ Church, Oxford, where, after three years, he passed his examination for academical[Pg 419] honours in a manner which not only gained him great credit, but, we were told, would have ensured him the honours of the first class if he had aimed at obtaining them. In December 1812 he was admitted into deacon's orders by Dr. Bathurst, bishop of Norwich; and in the year following the Bishop of Oxford ordained him priest.

In the interval he did duty as curate of Bicester, and afterwards in the same capacity at Benson; at both which places he so endeared himself to the parishioners, that the late Dr. Barrington, the revered and excellent bishop of Durham, told his father that "he had not left a dry eye in the place." Nor was he less respected and beloved at Ewelme, where he lived after his marriage, than he was at Staverton, in Northamptonshire, to which place he removed, and where he resided several years surrounded by a flock for whom he had the sincerest regard, preferring to labour in his sacred profession as a curate than to remain an idle servant in his Master's vineyard. His health becoming impaired, he was on the point of quitting Staverton, when he was appointed by Lord Eldon to the living of Huggate in Yorkshire.

His gallant father once paid him a visit at Oxford, when he was an under-graduate of Christ Church, on which occasion he called on the celebrated Doctor Jackson, then dean, who manifested great pleasure at seeing Sir James; and on parting, took him by the hand, and, shaking his full-bottomed wig, said, "Mind, Sir James, that you act up to your instructions, and burn, sink, and destroy every Frenchman you meet with."

On the 5th October 1814, the present Lord de Saumarez married Mary, the amiable daughter of the late Vice-admiral Lechmere.

Thomas Le Marchant Saumarez, the second son, was born at Teignmouth, on the 2nd September 1799, and died 2nd November following.

The Honourable Thomas Le Marchant Saumarez, third son, was born at Guernsey, 30th October 1803; he was educated for the army, and was a lieutenant in the seventy-first[Pg 420] regiment. He was married, on the 1st October 1829, to Catherine Spencer Beresford, youngest daughter of Colonel Spencer Thomas Vassall, and died 4th July 1834, without issue.

The Honourable John St. Vincent Saumarez, the fourth son, was born at Guernsey on the 30th May 1806; he was named after the illustrious and distinguished Admiral Earl St. Vincent, at a time when his lordship's friend, the heroic father, was named to command the Channel fleet.

He chose the army for his profession, in which he has served in America, and other places, and is now a Captain in the Rifle Brigade. Married on the 2nd July 1838, to Caroline, eldest daughter of William Rhodes, Esq. of Bromhope Hall, and Kirskill in the county of York.

Mary Dobrée Saumarez, the eldest daughter, was born at Bath on the 7th December 1792. This beautiful and accomplished young lady was cut off in the twentieth year of her age, in September 1812, to the inexpressible grief not only of her affectionate and disconsolate parents, but of all who had the happiness to be acquainted with her amiable and excellent qualities.

The Honourable Martha Harriett, second daughter, was born at Bath, and is residing with her now only parent.

Carteret, the third daughter, was born at Bath the 26th November 1796, and died young.

The Honourable Amelia, the fourth daughter, was born at Dartmouth, and was married on the 3rd September 1822, to William Young Herries, Esq. of Spotts, in Kirkcudbrightshire; they have one son (Alexander), who is now ten years of age, and is the only grandchild of the illustrious lord.


[1] The letters, which have already appeared, were received on the 31st of August.

[2] It was reported that the San Antonio had struck before the Cæsar came up, but this cannot be true; because, when the Cæsar came up, both ships were still before the wind, firing at each other, and the Cæsar had her cross-jack-yard shot away.

[3] Before commencing the bombardment, Sir James sent in a flag of truce, to inform the governor of it, and requesting that he would send the women, children, and inoffensive inhabitants away from the scene of action.

[4] It is worthy of remark, that the French commanding officer, who was killed, had in his pocket a watch belonging to the commander of the Carteret, of which he had been robbed when taken prisoner in 1800.

[5] See APPENDIX G, for a list of the English, Swedish, and Russian ships.

[6] The lamented Mr. Canning was then secretary of state for foreign affairs; and it was a seaman of the Victory of the same name that franked the shot: sailors having an idea that to stop a letter post-paid, or franked, is death by the law.

[7] The Erebus sloop and Baltic, besides a brig, were converted into fire-ships.

[8] In Sweden the high officers of state carry a staff, which is in fact their commission; therefore the staff of power was that of the commander-in-chief of the army, which the King always kept; but, when seized by another, he lost the power, every person by the law of Sweden being obliged to obey whoever is in actual possession of this staff.

[9] Sir James, before leaving Wingo Sound, sent Captain Acklom home with the following letter, and a detailed account of the capture of the island, which will be found in the Appendix:

Victory, Wingo Sound, 24th May 1809.

My dear Lord,

It is with great satisfaction I have the honour to inform your lordship of the capture of the island of Anholt, which, although not a very productive island, will prove of great importance for the purposes as stated in my public letters, more particularly when excluded from the ports of Sweden. Captain Acklom is a very deserving officer, who has been on the station all the winter; being known to his grace the Duke of Portland, he flatters himself with the hope of promotion.

Lieutenant Daniel Ross, acting on board the Kangaroo, is an old follower of mine, and a most deserving man. I shall feel greatly obliged to your lordship for his promotion.

I hope to be enabled to sail for the Baltic this evening; but the late calms and baffling winds have proved against us, and delayed the ships getting through the Belt.

I have, &c. &c. &c.

Jas. Saumarez.

The Right Hon. Lord Mulgrave.

[10] It has been already mentioned that a reinforcement was granted to Admiral Puké's expedition; but Lieutenant John Ross being at that time acting in command of his Majesty's sloop Ariel, and detached on a particular service, the request that he might be again appointed as adjutant to the Swedish fleet could not be complied with.

[11] Translated from the Swedish by Lieutenant J. Ross.

[12] The order alluded to was from the Treasury to the Customs, desiring the officers to transmit the effects of the Duchess of Brunswick to London under the office seal.

[13] The Order of the Sword, fourth class, was conferred on Captains Hope, Reynolds, Mansell, and John Ross, and the Order of Wasa on Dr. Jameson.

[14] Isaiah, xxxii. 17.

[15] The action of July 1779.

[16] Brigade of Guards:—Earl Ludlow, Sir Charles Morgan, Captains Eld, Greville, Asgill, and Perrin. Captain Saumarez, 23rd, or Royal Welsh Fusiliers. Captain Coote, 37th Regiment. Captains Graham and Barclay, 76th Regiment. Captains Arbuthnot and Hathorn, 80th Regiment. Captain ——, name unknown.

[17] In the year 1800, when the author was acting Lieutenant of H.M.S. Weasle, he had the misfortune to be taken prisoner in one of the boats, and was on the point of falling a sacrifice to the injustice of those in power at St. Malo, when Sir Thomas, who had the care of the French prisoners at Guernsey, being aware of his situation, sent in conjunction with the Governor, the late Sir Hew Dalrymple, an offer to the Prefect at St. Malo of forty men for his exchange, which, although it had not the effect of procuring his liberty, was certainly the cause of saving his life, at a period when the execution of a fellow-creature was a matter of little moment; and the author soon after found means to escape.

[18] Ships taken:—Le Terrible; Le Monarque, 74; Le Neptune, 70; Le Trident; Le Fougueux, 64; Le Severn, 50.

[19] See a biographical notice of this distinguished officer, page 348.

[20] See a separate notice of this distinguished officer in page 332.

[21] Disabled on the night of the 11th, and returned to Guadaloupe.

[22] Taken on the 12th of April.

[23] Joined at St. Kitt's.

[24] Not in the Fleet on the 12th.

[25] Came from England with Sir G.B. Rodney.

[26] Joined the fleet off Antigua.

[27] Not with the fleet in the action.

[Pg 421]



























Dorset Street, Fleet Street.

Transcriber's note:
On page 373, the following printer's errors were corrected in the table of the Dutch fleet to the well-documented correct historical names:
"Erst Prince" to "Erfprins"
"Batavia" to "Batavier"
"Mendenblink" to "Medenblik"
"Brank" to "van Braak"
"Bentick" to "Bentinck"
"Rijnevald" to "Rynveld"

The following ship's and Officer's names were stardardized in the tables of the French fleet:
Page 373:
"Pegasse" or "Pegase" to "Pégase"
"Bien Aimé" to "Bien-Aimé"
"L'Argenault" or "Argenaut" to "L'Argonaute"

Page 381:
(Commandeur) "La Clocheuerie" to "La Clochetterie"

Page 382:
"Le Zèlé" or "Zéle" to "Zélé"
"Bourgoyne" to "Bourgogne"
"Conquerant" to "Conquérant"
"Diademe" to "Diadème"
"Cæsar" to "César"
"L'Eville" to "L'Eveillé"

Page 383:
"Resolue" to "Résolue"
"Medée" to "Médée"

Page 384:
"Ceres" to "Cérès"
"Conquerant" to "Conquérant"

Page 385:
"Mons. de Vaudrieul" to "Mons. de Vaudreuil"
"Le Leon" to "Le Lion"

Page 386:
"L'Hardie" to "Le Hardi"

Page 397:
"Mutius" to "Mucius"
"Coçade" to "Cocade"

Page 412:
"Trulet (jun.) to "Trullet" (jun.)
"Pieree" to "Pierre"
"Capt." to "Capt. Soleil"
"R.A. Deérès" to "R.A. Decrès"

End of the Project Gutenberg EBook of Memoirs and Correspondence of Admiral
Lord de Saumarez. Vol II, by Sir John Ross


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