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I shall rejoice, when I come home, to find them as much improved in knowledge as I have advanced them in station in the world: But take care they do not give themselves foolish airs. Their excellence should be in knowledge, in virtue, and benevolence to all; but most to those who are humble, and require their aid. This is true nobility, and is now become an incumbent duty on them. I am out of all patience with Bounce. The consequential airs he gives himself since he became a Right Honourable dog, are insufferable. He considers it beneath his dignity to play with Commoners' dogs, and, truly, thinks that he does them grace when he condescends to lift up his leg against them. This, I think, is carrying the insolence of rank to the extreme : but he is a dog that does it.-25th December. This is Christmasday; a merry and cheerful one, I hope, to all my darlings. May God bless us, and grant that we may pass the next together. Everybody is very good to me; but his Majesty's letters are my pride: it is there I feel the object of my life attained.”
And again, in the same noble spirit is the following to his father-in-law:
"I have only been on shore once since I left England, and do not know when I shall go again. I am unceasingly writing, and the day is not long enough for me to get through my business. I hope my children are every day acquiring some knowledge, and wish them to write a French letter every day to me or their mother. I shall read them all when I come home. If there were an opportunity, I should like them to be taught Spanish, which is the most elegant language in Europe, and very easy. I hardly know how we shall be able to support the dignity to which his Majesty has been pleased to raise me. Let others plead for pensions; I can be rich without money, by endeavouring to be superior to every thing poor. I would have my services to my country unstained by any interested motive; and old Scott and I can go on in our cabbage-garden without much greater expense than formerly. But I have had a great destruction of my furniture and stock; I have hardly a chair that has not a shot in it, and many have lost both legs and arms-without hope of pension! My wine broke in moving, and my pigs slain in battle; and these are heavy losses where they cannot be replaced. .
"I suppose I shall have great demands on me for patents and fees; But we must pay for being great. I get no prize-money. Since I left England, I have received only 1837., which has not quite paid for my wine; but I do not care about being rich, if we can but keep a good fire in winter. How I long to have a peep into my own house, and a walk in my own garden! It is the pleasing object of all my hopes."
In the midst of all those great concerns, it is delightful to find the noble Admiral writing thus, from the Mediterranean, of his daughter's sick governess, and inditing this postscript to the little girls themselves:
432 LORD COLLINGWOOD-TOUCHING LOVE OF FAMILY.
"How sorry am I for poor Miss I am sure you will spare no pains for her; and do not lose sight of her when she goes to Edinburgh. Tell her that she must not want any advice or any comfort; but I need not say this to you, my beloved, who are kindness itself. I am much obliged to the Corporation of Newcastle for every mark which they give of their esteem and approbation of my service. But where shall we find a place in our small house for all those vases and epergnes? A kind letter from them would have gratified me as much, and have been less trouble to them.”
"My darlings, Sarah and Mary,
"I was delighted with your last letters, my blessings, and desire you to write to me very often, and tell me all the news of the city of Newcastle and town of Morpeth. I hope we shall have many happy days, and many a good laugh together yet. Be kind to old Scott; and when you see him weeding my oaks, give the old man a shilling! "May God Almighty bless you."
The patent of his peerage was limited to the heirs male of his body; and, having only daughters, he very early expressed a wish that it might be extended to them and their male heirs. But this was not attended to. When he heard of his pension, he wrote, in the same lofty spirit, to Lord Barham, that if the title could be continued to the heirs of his daughters, he did not care for the pension at all! and in urging his request for the change, he reminded his Lordship, with an amusing naïveté, that government ought really to show some little favour to his daughters, considering that, if they had not kept him constantly at sea since 1793, he would probably have had half a dozen sons by this time, to succeed him in his honours!
It is delightful to read and extract passages like these; but we feel that we must stop; and that we have already exhibited enough of this book, both to justify the praises we have bestowed on it, and to give our readers a full impression of the exalted and most amiable character to which it relates. We shall add no more, therefore, that is merely personal to Lord Collingwood, except what belongs to the decay of his health, his applications for recall, and the death that he magnanimously staid to meet, when that recall was so strangely withheld. His constitution had been considerably impaired even before the action of Trafalgar; but in 1808 his health seemed en
DECLINING HEALTH-AND MARTYRDOM TO DUTY. 433
tirely to give way; and he wrote, in August of that year, earnestly entreating to be allowed to come home. The answer to his application was, that it was so difficult to supply his place, that his recall must, at all events, be suspended. In a letter to Lady Collingwood, he refers to this correspondence, and after mentioning his official application to the Admiralty, he says:—
"What their answer will be, I do not know yet; but I had before mentioned my declining health to Lord Mulgrave, and he tells me in reply, that he hopes I will stay, for he knows not how to supply my place. The impression which his letter made upon me was one of grief and sorrow: first, that with such a list as we have including more than a hundred admirals - there should be thought to be any difficulty in finding a successor of superior ability to me; and next, that there should be any obstacle in the way of the only comfort and happiness that I have to look forward to in this world."
In answer to Lord Mulgrave's statement, he afterwards writes, that his infirmities had sensibly increased; but "I have no object in the world that I put in competition with my public duty; and so long as your lordship thinks it proper to continue me in this command, my utmost efforts shall be made to strengthen the impression which you now have; but I still hope, that whenever it may be done with convenience, your lordship will bear in mind my request." Soon after he writes thus to his family: :-"I am an unhappy creature old and worn out. I wish to come to England; but some objection is ever made to it." And, again, "I have been very unwell. The physician tells me that it is the effect of constant confinement - which is not very comfortable, as there seems little chance of its being otherwise. Old age and its infirmities are coming on. me very fast; and I am weak and tottering on my legs. It is high time I should return to England; and I hope I shall be allowed to do it before long. It will otherwise be too late."
And it was too late! He was not relieved and scorning to leave the post assigned to him, while he had life to maintain it, he died at it, in March, 1810, upwards of eighteen months after he had thus stated to the
434 LORD COLLINGWOOD
government his reasons for desiring a recall. The following is the editor's touching and affectionate account. of the closing scene- full of pity and of grandeur-and harmonizing beautifully with the noble career which was destined there to be arrested:
DIED AS HE LIVED.
"Lord Collingwood had been repeatedly urged by his friends to surrender his command, and to seek in England that repose which had become so necessary in his declining health; but his feelings on the subject of discipline were peculiarly strong, and he had ever exacted the most implicit obedience from others. He thought it, therefore, his duty not to quit the post which had been assigned to him, until he should be duly relieved, - and replied, that his life was his country's, in whatever way it might be required of him.' When he moored in the harbour of Port Mahon, on the 25th of February, he was in a state of great suffering and debility; and having been strongly recommended by his medical attendants to try the effect of gentle exercise on horseback, he went immediately on shore, accompanied by his friend Captain Hallowell, who left his ship to attend him in his illness: but it was then too late. He became incapable of bearing the slightest fatigue; and as it was represented to him that his return to England was indispensably necessary, for the preservation of his life, he, on the 3d of March, surrendered his command to Rear Admiral Martin. The two following days were spent in unsuccessful attempts to warp the Ville de Paris out of Port Mahon; but on the 6th the wind came round to the westward, and at sunset the ship succeeded in clearing the harbour, and made sail for England. When Lord Collingwood was informed that he was again at sea, he rallied for a time his exhausted strength, and said to those around him, Then I may yet live to meet the French once more.' On the morning of the 7th there was a considerable swell, and his friend Captain Thomas, on entering his cabin, observed, that he feared the motion of the vessel disturbed him. No, Thomas,' he replied; 'I am now in a state in which nothing in this world can disturb me more. I am dying; and I am sure it must be consolatory to you, and all who love me, to see how comfortably I am coming to my end.' He told one of his attendants that he had endeavoured to review, as far as was possible, all the actions of his past life, and that he had the happiness to say, that nothing gave him a moment's uneasiness. He spoke at times of his absent family, and of the doubtful contest in which he was about to leave his country involved, but ever with calmness and perfect resignation to the will of God; and in this blessed state of mind, after taking an affectionate farewell of his attendants, he expired without a struggle at six o'clock in the evening of that day, having attained the age of fifty-nine years and six months.
"After his decease, it was found that, with the exception of the stomach, all the other organs of life were peculiarly vigorous and unimpaired; and from this inspection, and the age which the surviving members of his family have attained, there is every reason to conclude
that if he had been earlier relieved from his command, he would still have been in the enjoyment of the honours and rewards which would doubtless have awaited him on his return to England."
The remainder of this article, containing discussions on the practices of flogging in the Navy, and of Impressment, (to both which Lord Collingwood, as well as Nelson, were opposed,) is now omitted; as scarcely possessing sufficient originality to justify its republication, even in this Miscellany.