103 years ago
On the Nelson Column in Trafalgar Square, on Wednesday, the various messages and wreaths showed even more clearly than ever how affectionately the memories are cherished in many an English home of the brave men who fought and fell with NELSON at Trafalgar.
The long list of ships that took part in the action was set on the plinth "lest we forget" and though the timbers of most of them have long since rotted, it is a splendid roll call.
The crowd was large all round the column throughout the day.
Special interest attached to a wreath from several descendants of Sir Thomas HARDY, and a wreath much noticed bore the, inscription: -
"In memory of Horatio Viscount NELSON, from Evangeline Nelson Humphrey DAVY, granddaughter of Captain Josiah NISBET. R.N, stepson of the Admiral, whose life he saved at the Battle of Tenerife."
In the same place was a tribute from the daughter and grandchildren of Sir Humphrey C. Fleming SENHOUSE. C.B, K.C.H, who fought as Lieutenant under Lord NELSON at Trafalgar.
An anchor was sent by descendants of officers who fell at Trafalgar.
Another tribute was: -
"From W. W. CHARD, Royal Fusiliers, great grandson of the late Captain John YULE [Lieutenant on His Majesty's ship VICTORY].
Miss La PENOTIERE, granddaughter of Captain La PENOTIERE, who brought home despatches from Trafalgar, sent a wreath.
In the same place was:-
"In honoured memory of our uncle Vice-Admiral Horatio Viscount NELSON. K.C.B, who fell in action with combined fleets of France and Spain, from his great nieces, Annie and Horatio MASON. "Palmam qui meruit ferat"
24th Feb 1849
Mr PETTIGREW connects and proves beyond a doubt that Horatia * * * * [the present Mrs WARD] about whose birth and parentage so many mysteries have been accumulated, and so many opinions maintained, was the child of NELSON and Lady HAMILTON. It is not worthwhile to go through the a priori argument, for one letter decides the whole.
"It says," Says Mr PETTIGREW truly, after proving his case conclusively by many preceding documents, and a resume of Lord Chancellor-like ability, ------it is, I imagine unnecessary to indulge in further extracts, and I shall therefore close this part of the evidence with the following avowal on the part of Lord NELSON in a letter to Lady HAMILTON, sent by private hand that could be depended on for its safe delivery :-
"March 1st 1801 - Now, my own dear wife, for such you are in my eyes and in the face of heaven. I can give full scope to my feelings for I dare say Oliver will faithfully deliver this letter. You know, my dearest Emma, that there is nothing in the world I would not do for us to live together and have our dear little child with us * * * I Love -----I never did love anyone else." * * * If she had three children to GREVILLE, a dozen years before, he must have been mistaken or not informed.
"No more! Where ignorance is bliss,
"Tis folly to be wise."
Lady Hamilton and NELSON'S brother - The manner in which the mother of Nelson's daughter, and the daughter herself, were neglected, is a sore disgrace to the country. But the greater disgrace fell upon the successor to his titles, who was the very realization of "the mildewed ear blasting his wholesome brother."
The despicable appearance of this selfish and sordid wretch upon the scene almost vilifies the name of NELSON. He got the grant of £120.000. He ought to have had a hangman's whip upon his back, and a brand, instead of a coronet upon his brow. And poor Emma, after all, had little to be thankful for, when her flattered and courted friend had gone. It is true that she was not utterly, deserted, and that some who owed much to her, and almost everything to NELSON, endeavoured to help her, and true, also, that her position rendered efficient help difficult. But she ought never to have ended life as she did - a beggared refugee at Calais on the 15th January 1815, not even.
"By strangers honoured, an by strangers mourned."
May 11th 1854
The last of Nelson's crew.
A Veteran sailor, named John GROOMSBRIDGE, above 100yrs of age, and said to be the last survivor of Nelson's crew at Copenhagen, made a call, a few days ago, upon some of his old Kentish friends.
It appears he was born in Yalding, was apprenticed at Chatham to a Quaker named WHITE, and was married at 20yrs of age, but on the day of his marriage was seized by a pressgang and hurried off to Hull, whence he was sent to sea, and remained in the service through the long succeeding wars, commenced with that of the revolted American Colonies, now the United States.
Amongst the engagements he took part was one against Paul JONES.
Subsequently he served under Nelson both a Copenhagen and Trafalgar, and has sailed with our present Baltic and Black Sea Admirals, NAPIER and DUNDAS, when the former was a boy Lieut.
He is now an in-pensioner at Greenwich Hospital, the oldest on the college books, and is, he says, the sole survivor of the crew sailing the Victory when Nelson met his death wound.
He retains a perfect command of all his faculties. He adds that he never saw his wife after the day that he was torn from her, fresh from nuptial rites at the church, by the ruthless pressgang, but she lived some 50yrs afterwards, and that he learned the particulars of her death shortly after it happened, some 30yrs ago.
Nov 22nd, 1865
How Nelson lost his eye
According to Senor D. Liberato Abarca, general of the republic of Nicaragua :- "About the year 1780 there cruised along the coast of Spanish America [Central America] a celebrated English seaman, reconnoitring those coasts, suing for sympathisers with the British trade, which was then forbidden, and inflicting all possible mischief on the Spanish colonies and on their material interests. In the discharge of such duties he entered the mouth of Juan de Nicaragua on the Atlantic, and, rowing up the river with an armed force consisting of various launches and other flat-bottomed boats came up within reach of the old castle. There he made his arrangements with the energy and activity characteristic of English sailors, and determined to take the castle by storm. The people who composed the garrison of the said castle, awed by so bold a resolution, made up their minds to abandon the place. It is not well known why they came to such a decision, but I may assert, as a faithful narrator of this event, who have had access to the official archives of the city of Granada, that the commander of the fort was seriously ill, and that his daughter or wife, Dona Rafaela Mora, being aware of the intention of the garrison, looked about the spot and without hesitation took up the still burning match which the soldiers on deserting the place had thrown on the ground, and fired all the cannons which she found loaded and pointed at the invading flotilla. One of the many projectiles fell on board the boat in which was the commander of the flotilla, and a splinter of the bulwark struck the bone below his left eye, knocking him down as if dead, whereupon the flotilla of boats rowed back down the stream in the greatest haste. They reached their ship without further accident and left those waters fleeing thus from danger the castle of San Carlos de Nicaragua, and covering with glory the heroine who had been able to save the honour of her father and illustrate the glory of Spanish arms, by repulsing the great Nelson the "God of the seas", the hero of Trafalgar. This is an authentic fact and rests on documentation in the archives of the city of Granada, of Nicaragua republic of Central America, of which now General Don Thomas M???NEZ descendant of the illustrious heroine who received by royal decree the brevet of a captain in active service, and permission to wear the uniform, together with the decree. She also enjoyed an annuity from the Government.
Nelson's Victory, killed and wounded, 1802
Nelson's Victory, killed and wounded, 1802
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