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The Letter-Bag of Lady Elizabeth Spencer-Stanhope v. I. by A. M. W. Stirling (compiler)

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voted on the first charge & said Guilty, there was something like a
hiss from the House of Commons. I am glad it is over & I hope the
country will not be put to the expense of any more trials of the same
kind for many years. The Princes went and shook Lord Melville by the
hand as soon as it was over.

Thus it was that eight days after the Pitt dinner, Edinburgh felt itself
called upon to give another banquet, designed to celebrate the joyful
event of Lord Melville's acquittal. It was likewise proposed to illuminate
the city, but the Solicitor-General (Chief Magistrate in the absence of
the Lord Advocate) prohibited such a demonstration. He was, in
consequence, nicknamed, "The Extinguisher General," and the friends of
Lord Melville, to the number of five hundred, consoled themselves by
singing a song written by Walter Stanhope for the occasion, and entitled,
"A Health to Lord Melville." Each of the eight verses of which it is
composed proposes a toast that was staunchly drunk by all present; but
perhaps those in honour of the volunteers and of the luckless Princess of
Wales, afterwards Queen Caroline, are the most significant.

"Since here we are set in array round the table,
Five hundred good fellows well met in a hall,
Come listen, brave boys, and I'll sing as I'm able
How innocence triumphed, and Pride got a fall;
But push round the claret,
Come, Stewards, don't spare it;
With rapture you'll drink to the toasts that I give.
Here, Boys,
Off with it merrily,
Melville for ever and long may he live!

What _were_ the Whigs doing, when, boldly pursuing,
Pitt banished Rebellion, gave treason a sting?
Why, they swore on their honour, for Arthur O'Connor
And fought hard for Despard, 'gainst Country & King!
Well then, we knew, Boys,
Pitt and Melville were true Boys,
And tempest was raised by the friends of Reform.
Ah, woe!
Weep for his memory;
Low lies the Pilot that weathered the storm. [40]

* * * * *

They would turn us adrift, tho', rely, Sir, upon it,
Our own faithful Chronicles warrant us that
The free Mountaineer, and his bonny brown bonnet
Have oft gone as far as the Regular's hat.
We laugh at their taunting,
For all we are wanting
Is licence our life for our country to give;
Off with it merrily,
Horse, Foot and Artillery,
Each loyal Volunteer--long may he live!

* * * * *

And then our Revenue, Lord knows how they viewed it,
While each petty Statesman talked lofty and big,
And the Beer tax was weak as if Windham had brewed it,
And the Pig Iron Duty a shame to a pig;
In vain is their boasting,
Too surely there's wanting
What judgment, experience and steadiness give;
Come, Boys,
Drink about merrily,
Health to sage Melville, and long may he live!

Our King too,--our Princess--I dare not say more, Sir,
May Providence watch them with mercy and might;
While there's one Scottish arm that can wag a day more, Sir,
They shall ne'er want a friend to stand up for their right.
Be d--d he that dare not,
For my part I'll spare not
To beauty afflicted a tribute to give!
Fill it up steadily,
Drink it off readily,
Here's to the Princess and long may she live!

And since we must not set Auld Reekie [41] in glory,
And make her brown visage as light as her heart,
Till each man illumine his own upper storey
Nor _Law_ trash nor Lawyer shall force us to part.
In Grenville and Spencer
And some few good men, Sir,
High talents and honour slight difference forgive,
But the Brewer we'll hoax;
Tally ho! to the Fox;
And drink Melville for ever as long as we live!"




To a man far distant from the memorable scene of Lord Melville's trial,
the news of the verdict, sent by Mrs Stanhope, must have caused peculiar

Among her numerous correspondents at this date, probably few had been more
frequently in her thoughts during the past two years than her kinsman,
Cuthbert Collingwood. From her earliest days, indeed, he had occupied a
certain prominence in her horizon. Her mother, Winifred Collingwood, had
belonged to another branch of the Northumberland family which owned a
common ancestor with that of the afterwards famous Admiral, [1] and this
tie had been strengthened rather than diminished throughout the passing of
generations by the propinquity of the two branches.

In the commencement of his naval career, Cuthbert Collingwood, on board
the _Lennox_, had attracted the hearty approbation of Mrs Stanhope's other
relation, Admiral Roddam, [2] the grand old veteran who had been in the
service about thirty-seven years before his young neighbour from
Northumberland had become his midshipman. In 1787 he won as warm an
appreciation from her husband when he stayed at Cannon Hall and first made
the acquaintance of Walter Stanhope, who then formed for him a lifelong
friendship. During the all-too-brief period when Collingwood was on shore,
there occur entries in Stanhope's Journal recording many a quiet rubber of
whist played with the man whose harsh fate was to render such moments of
happy social intercourse a precious recollection through long, lonely
years. Returned to his post, Captain Collingwood's thoughts clung to that
family circle he had left-to the man who basked in the happiness of a home
life from which he, personally, was debarred. Year by year Collingwood
kept his kinsman Stanhope in touch with all his movements. Year by year,
Stanhope and his wife responded, supplying the absent seaman with news of
the chief events which were happening in the political world at home. And
the letters from Collingwood, with their stern grip of a strenuous life,
with their deep underlying tragedy of a profound loneliness, afford a
curious contrast to the shallow utterances of other correspondents. Over
the intervening miles of ocean, from that isolated soul on guard, they
reached the family in Grosvenor Square, bearing, so it seemed, something
of the freshness and the force of the wind-rocked brine which they had
traversed. Into that restless routine of London life, they carried the
echo of a distant clash of arms, the mutterings of a brooding storm. They
told how the sea-dogs upon the alert were playing a desperate game of
tactics with their country's foe, the outcome of which none could foretell
and the chances of which few dared to contemplate. And in the minds of
those to whom they were addressed they awoke an answering apprehension,
which entered into the heart of their home-life, for one of that circle,
little William Stanhope, was shortly to join his great kinsman at sea and
to play his small part in the fierce ocean drama which was going forward.

_Captain Collingwood to Walter Spencer-Stanhope_.
_"Dreadnought" off_ CADIZ, _July 10th, 1805._

I shall have great pleasure in taking your young sailor into my care,
whenever you chuse he should come--and you may assure yourself that I
will be as regardful of everything that relates to him as you yourself
could be. Considering how uncertain my situation is or where I may be
at any particular period, had I known your intention in March, I
should have recommended that he embarked then, and made his first
essay in a warm country and far from home....

When I sailed from England I had under my command a fine fleet, but
the change of circumstances since that has both altered my destination
and reduced my force. I am now blocking up the ports here. On my
arrival I found the Spaniards on the point of sailing, waiting only
for the Carthagena Squadron to join them, and _they_ were actually at
sea, in their way down, but recalled by a dispatch boat on our
appearance off the coast. We never know whether we go too fast or too
slow--had I been a few days later, we should probably have met them at
sea with their ten sail, and made a good day of it.

And he proceeds to append a comment on the news of Lord Melville's
impeachment which had just reached him from Mrs Stanhope.

Oh! how I lament the fall of Lord Melville! But I never can consent to
rank him amongst the herd of peculators who prey upon the publick. He
has been negligent in the economy and management of his office--he has
paid too little attention to the management of his own money affairs.
Had he been avaricious and greedy of wealth how many years has he been
in official situations wherein he might have enriched himself--and is
yet as poor as poverty, for I have it from good authority that his
patent of Nobility was several months in office before he could raise
L2000 to pay the fees of it, and Melville Castle must have been sold
if his son had not taken it.

Then the virulence with which he has been pursued from all quarters--
not merely submitting his case to the calm deliberations of
Parliament, or the lawful decisions of Courts of Justice, but made a
subject for Pot house discussion, where the snobby meetings of half-
drunk mechanicks have been convened to pass judgment on a man whose
whole life has been devoted to his country's service, and whose
conduct has been unimpeached till now. It is disgraceful to the
justice of the country, for it matters little what may be the decision
of a Court hereafter, when a man is already condemned in the publick
opinion. Those to whom Lord Melville was before indifferent and those
who blame the negligence of his office, have acquired a sort of
respect for his misfortunes, in being the object of such a factious
hue & cry.

I was very sorry to hear Mr Collingwood [3] had been so indifferent in
his health last spring, but I hope the warm weather will be of service
to him--the last I heard from his home he was better, I beg my best
and kindest regards to Mrs Stanhope & all your family and wishing you
& them health and every possible happiness.

I am, dear Sir,
Your faithful & most humble servant,

_The Same._
_Sept 23rd._

It is a long time since I have heard from England.... I have here a
very laborious and a very anxious time. You will have heard from my
wife, perhaps the narrow escape I have had from being cut off by the
combined fleet. At that time I had only three ships with me and a
frigate--they had 36 sail, and had they managed their affairs with the
least ingenuity, I should have found it a very difficult thing to have
fought my way through them, but we made good use of their want of
skill and after seeing them safe into Port, we continued on our
Station to blockade the town and prevent all commerce.

I hope the Admiralty will give me credit for maintaining my station in
the neighbourhood of so powerfull a fleet, for I never quitted them
for a day, though I had but four ships; but now that I am reinforced
by the squadron under Sir R. Calder, I have a fine fleet of 26 ships
of line and some small frigates; and hope every good--and with God's
blessing with me will do a good day's work for my country, whenever
they give me an opportunity. That done, I shall be glad to retire to
my home & enjoy the comforts of my family, for my strength fails, and
the mind being on the full stretch, sinks and needs relief.

I have a gentleman from Newcastle for my Captain, but he is a man of
no talent as a sea-officer and of little assistance to me.

How glad I shall be to get to my garden again at Morpeth and quitting
the foe, see for the rest of my life only friends about me.

Ever through the thunder of cannon or the stress of a watch which ceased
neither day nor night, through the threatenings of death or the
allurements of fame, one thought was paramount in Collingwood's mind. A
yearning for a peaceful garden he had left behind--to him a veritable
garden of Paradise--for the innocent prattle of his children, the sweet
companionship of his wife. A dream of reunion tormented and sustained him.
"Whenever I think how I am to be happy again my thoughts carry me back to
Morpeth," he wrote. Incapable of a dramatic appeal to sympathy, his
letters to Stanhope, in their strong self-repression, breathe a longing
the more profound. For that Paradise of his dreams Collingwood would have
joyfully bartered fame, emolument, all that the world could offer, had not
duty claimed from him a prolonged sacrifice of all which he held dear.
Whether, if he could have looked on through the few remaining years of his
life and have foreseen the end of that longing and those dreams, his weary
spirit could still have borne the burden laid upon it, none may say. But
buoyed up by that ever-present hope he faced the strain of his eternal
watching with an unflinching courage, which may have been occasionally
strengthened by a recollection which visited him, and the remarkable
circumstances of which cannot be ignored.

For the week before the war had broken out, Collingwood, in the peace of
that distant Northumberland home, had been elated by a vision which
contained for him a strange element of great promise. In his sleep he had
seen with extraordinary vividness the English Fleet in battle array; the
details of their position were clear to him, and, later, he beheld an
engagement in progress the incidents of which were extraordinarily
realistic. Finally, the glory of a great victory came upon him, to fill
his waking moments with delight and haunt his recollection. So minute, so
circumstantial had been the particulars of the dream, that, profoundly
impressed at the time, he had related them in full detail to his wife. In
much imaginative, Collingwood was not without the vein of superstition
which seems inseparable from his profession, and he had the simple faith
of a child. He believed in the ultimate fulfilment of that vision and the
thought pursued him.

Meanwhile, his letter to Stanhope of September 23rd, reached its
destination at a moment of increased national suspense. Napoleon's
elaborately planned ruse to entice Nelson to the West Indies had succeeded
only too well. And while Nelson sought his decoy Villeneuve off Barbadoes,
the French Admiral, as pre-arranged, was hastening back to effect, in the
absence of his dupe, the release of the French Fleet blockaded by
Cornwallis. But luck and wit saved England. Nelson chanced upon a ship
which had seen the returning enemy; he succeeded in warning the Admiralty
in time; Villeneuve, intercepted by Calder, suffered an ignominious
defeat, and Napoleon consummated his own disaster by the tactlessness of
his wrath against his unfortunate admiral who had thus succumbed to a
force inferior in numbers. Villeneuve, stung by the bitter taunt of
cowardice, rashly left Cadiz to fight Nelson--a manoeuvre which, at best,
could little advance the cause of the Emperor, which, as the event proved,
courted a catastrophe out of all proportion to any possible gain, and
which was undertaken by the luckless Frenchman for no other end save that
of disproving the imputation of cowardice under which he smarted.

Whether in the placing of the ships at the Battle of Trafalgar that vision
of Collingwood played any part, history will never know--whether it must
be regarded by the curious as in itself prophetic, or merely as a chance
occurrence, the suggestion of which was by chance adopted. Yet it is
obvious that the relation between this remarkable dream and its fulfilment
can scarcely be viewed merely as an interesting coincidence. The inference
is too strong that in any consultation between Collingwood and Nelson with
regard to the order of battle the recollection of the scheme of attack
which had so impressed the former must--even if unconsciously--have
coloured the advice given by him to Nelson. Moreover such reflections give
rise to a further curious speculation. To Nelson posterity is wont to
ascribe the entire merit of the order of battle on that memorable day; he,
it is held, was the active genius who conceived the plan of action,
Collingwood was the acquiescer, a passive though able coadjutor. Yet
Collingwood himself, the most modest of men and the least likely to make
an erroneous statement with regard to such a question of fact, expressly
asserts the contrary. "In this affair," he says, "Nelson did nothing
without my counsel, _we made our line of battle together_ and concerted
the attack." [4] On this point he also insists, in writing to Stanhope, to
whom, as to his wife, he incidentally recalled the circumstances of his
having foreseen the battle in a dream at Morpeth the week before the war
broke out.

Throughout this period, in England, news was awaited with increasing
anxiety. On October 31st, Mrs Stanhope wrote to her son John:--

The Papers are now quite alarming. I fear it is up with the Austrians
for the Russians cannot now join them. This horrid Bonaparte is a
scourge to the whole world. It is wonderful with what enthusiasm he
seems to inspire his men. They go where he likes and accomplish all
his plans.

Your father has written again to Admiral Collingwood to inform him
that if he does not return home, which, as he has changed his flag
from the Dreadnought, is not very probable, that he will send William
to him in the spring. Admiral Roddam, tho' he prefers a frigate,
approves of his going with Admiral C. as he is both a good man & an
excellent sailor, & will scrupulously perform that which he promises
to undertake.

_Nov. 2nd, 1805._

Not only Glyn, but all of us must shake with the horrid German
intelligence. I have little faith in the hope the papers hold out that
we may yet hear of a victory gained by the united Armies of Russia and
Austria--a few days must relieve us from our present state of
uncertainty--though I fear not of anxiety. How thankful I am that I
have no near connection going on the cruel expedition at this time.

A few days, and the great news came, with its conflicting elements of
glory and of grief.

_Walter Spencer-Stanhope to John Spencer-Stanhope._

My Dear John,

It is impossible to begin on this day any letter to any person without
most joyfully and most thankfully celebrating the glorious victory of
Lord Nelson. I cannot say that my triumph is so much alloyed as that
of many others seems to be and yet I trust I have as grateful a mind
and as high an admiration for Military renown as another man. No, it
is that I think that Nelson's glorious death is more to be envied than
lamented, and that to die wept by the land we perished for is what he
himself would have wished.

Would to God my little William had been on board Collingwood's ship on
that glorious day, whatever might have been the risque!

_The Same to the Vicar of Newcastle._

Although the death of Nelson is in my judgment more to be envied than
lamented, yet England secured by the loss of his life ought to feel,
bewail & reward it as far as posthumous honours and benefits to his
family and general Regret can do it. The late Victory affords peculiar
satisfaction to me from the brilliant Part that Admiral Collingwood
has had in it & the exquisitely good account he has given of it in his

_Mrs Spencer-Stanhope to John Spencer-Stanhope._
CANNON HALL, _November 9th, 1805._

Your father said he should write you a long letter this morning.... No
longer have we cause to talk and grieve about the Austrians, we may
now talk and rejoice at our glorious, and at the moment, unexpected
victory. What a day it was! but in the midst of our rejoicings we must
pause to shed a tear over the Hero who fell, though as every Hero must
wish to fall. Admiral Collingwood's dispatches do him honour, he at
all times writes well and this was a subject to draw out all his
powers and show the Feeling and Goodness of his Heart. Your father
wishes William had been with him. I am satisfied as it is!

_The Same._
_November 14th, 1805._

Your letter my dear John, arrived on Sunday, after mine was sealed,
and as the carriage was at the door to take us to church, I had not
time to open it, to add my thanks for your letter of Congratulations
on our great and glorious Victory. What has followed since, at any
other time would have been considered great, at all times must be
thought gallant.

Yesterday letters from Barnsley, reporting the capture of the
Rochefort Squadron, were so firmly believed that the Bells were

The tears of the Nation must be shed over the brave Nelson, but his
death was that of a Hero, and such he truly was. The Dispatches do
Admiral Collingwood great honor, and his bravery is already rewarded
with a peerage. I had a letter from his wife to-day, who says he wrote
in the greatest grief for his friend. She had not heard since the
Dispatches were sent, when the Fleet was in a miserable state, she, of
course, under great anxiety. The Euryalus has, I hope, brought further
accounts. Probably the funeral of Lord Nelson will be Publick--what a
thrilling sight it will be. Surely some mark of honour will be
bestowed upon his Widow. At present his Brother's wife has place of
her, and she has not been mentioned.

_Marianne Spencer-Stanhope to John Spencer-Stanhope._

I have made a vow not to name Lord Nelson or the Victory or Victories
in any of my letters, but postscripts are excluded. Every letter Mamma
has had has been full of nothing else; if care is not taken, it will
be like the invasion, a constant topick when you have nothing to say.
--I think it is a great proof of genius to have written a letter
without naming the event. What say you to Lord Collingwood? I would
rather have his patent of nobility than the longest pedigree in the
kingdom. I should glory more in his title than in the Duke of

Mamma had a letter from Lady Collingwood to-day, still very anxious
for his safety, as she had heard nothing since the Victory, and his
ship was then much disabled. He had written to her Lord Nelson's death
was a most severe blow to him, for he was his greatest friend. I
almost wish dear William had been with him.

_November 20th., 1805._

We begin to be impatient for more news. Think of poor Lady
Collingwood--she was in a shop in Newcastle when the Mail arrived
covered with ribbands, but the coachman with a black hat-band. He
immediately declared the great victory, but that Lord Nelson and all
the Admirals were killed. She immediately fainted. When she heard from
Lord Collingwood first he wrote in the greatest grief for his friend,
and said the fleet was in a miserable state. Perhaps that may bring
him home.

Are you not pleased with his being created a Peer in so handsome a
manner. Why has not Lady Nelson some honour conferred upon her? Surely
the Widow of our Hero ought not to be so neglected.

Yesterday we drank to the immortal memory of our Hero. Mr Fawkes has
got a very fine print of him.

The clock strikes ten which announces breakfast, therefore adieu, my
dear John.

The wish expressed in the last letter that more tidings would arrive
respecting the great event which had taken place, was speedily gratified.
A letter written by Collingwood to Sir Peter Parker on November 1st, was
sent _via_ Stanhope for his perusal, and he preserved a copy of it.

_Lord Collingwood to Sir Peter Parker._
_November 1st., 1805._

You will have seen from the public accounts that we have fought a
great battle, and had it not been for the fall of our noble friend who
was indeed the glory of England and the admiration of all who saw him
in battle, your pleasure would have been perfect.... It was a severe
action, no dodging or manoeuvres. They formed their line with nicety
and waited our attack with composure. They did not give a gun until we
were close to them & we began first. Our ships were fought with a
degree of gallantry which would have warmed your heart. Everybody
exerted themselves and a glorious day they made of it, people who
cannot comprehend how complicated an affair a battle is at sea and
judge of an officer's conduct by the number of sufferers in his ship,
often do him a wrong, and though there will appear great difference in
the loss of men, all did admirably well; and the conclusion was good
beyond description, eighteen hulks of the enemy lying amongst the
British fleet without a stick standing, and the French Achilles
burning.--But we were close to the rocks of Trafalgar [5] & when I
made the signal for anchoring, many ships had their cable shot & not
an anchor ready.

Providence did for us what no human effort could have done, the wind
shifted a few points and we drifted off the land. The next day bad
weather began and with great difficulty we got our captured ships
towed off the land. The second, Gravina, who is wounded, made an
effort to cut off some of the ships with a squadron of 9 ships with
which he retired. In the night the gale increased and two of his
ships, the "_Mayo_" of 100 guns and "_Indomitable_" of 80 were
dismasted. The "_Mayo_" anchored amongst our hulks and surrendered;
the "_Indomitable_" lost on the shore and I am told that every soul
perished. Among such numbers it is difficult to ascertain what we have
done, but I believe the truth is 23 sail of the line fell into our
hands of which three got in again in the gale of wind....

The storm being violent and many of our own ships in most perilous
situations, I found it necessary to order the captures,--all without
masts, some without rudders & many half full of water--to be
destroyed, except such as were in better plight, for my object was
their ruin & not what might be made of them. As this filled our ships
with prisoners and the wounded in a miserable condition, I sent a flag
to the Marquis of Solana [6] to offer him his wounded men, which was
received with every demonstration of joy and gratitude, & two French
Frigates & a Brigg were sent out for them. In return, he offered me
his Hospitals & the security of Spanish honour that our wounded should
have every care & every comfort that Spain could afford, so you see,
my dear Sir, though we fight them, we are upon very good terms.

But what most astonished them was our keeping the sea after such an
action, with our injured masts and crippled ships, which I did the
longer to let them see that no efforts of theirs could drive a British
Squadron from its station.

This letter is of exceptional interest since it throws fresh light on a
matter which has now afforded food for controversy for over a century.
Nelson's dying injunctions had been that the fleet was to anchor. Owing,
it was contended, to Collingwood having failed promptly to carry out these
instructions of the master mind, many prizes were lost. James, who in his
_Naval History_ is severe in his criticism of Collingwood's error of
judgment in this particular, has further pointed out that four ships which
did anchor on the evening of the engagement weathered the gale
successfully. This letter of Collingwood gives his reasons for his course
of action. It proves that although when he did give the order to anchor
its execution was impracticable, yet that he had strong reason for
destroying a number of the captured ships, which were all but worthless as
prizes. His assertion, "My object was their ruin and not what might be
made of them," bears out the verdict of Lord St Vincent, quoted by Lord
Eldon, that "Collingwood's conduct after the Battle of Trafalgar in
destroying under difficult circumstances the defeated fleet was above all
praise"; while the conclusion of Collingwood's letter contains a sentiment
at which few will cavil.

From Mrs Stanhope's Uncle, Edward Collingwood, in Northumberland, there
was subsequently forwarded to her a letter written by Collingwood in the
first glory of victory and the first bitterness of his grief for Nelson's

My dear friend received his mortal wound about the middle of the
fight, and sent an officer to tell me that he should see me no more.

His loss was the greatest grief to me. There is nothing like him for
gallantry and conduct in battle. It was not a foolish passion for
fighting, for he was the most gentle of human creatures, and often
lamented the cruel necessity of it; but it was a principle of duty,
which all men owed their country in defence of their laws and liberty.
He valued his life only as it enabled him to do good, and would not
preserve it by any act he thought unworthy. He wore four stars upon
his breast and could not be prevailed to put on a plain coat, scorning
what he thought a shabby precaution: but that perhaps cost him his
life, for his dress made him the general mark.

He is gone, and I shall lament him as long as I live.

To Walter Stanhope he wrote:--

_Queen, March 6th., 1806._

I thank you and Mrs Stanhope most sincerely for your kind
congratulations on the success of the Fleet, and the high honour his
Majesty has been graciously pleased to confer on me in testimony of
his approbation, which I am sure will be very gratifying to all my
friends, and that you will enjoy it as much as any of them.

I have indeed had a severe loss in the death of my excellent friend
Lord Nelson. Since the year 73 we have been on terms of the greatest
intimacy--chance has thrown us very much together in service and on
many occasions we have acted in concert--there is scarce a Naval
subject that has not been the subject of our discussion, so that all
his opinions were familiar to me; and so firmly founded in principles
of honour, of justice, of attachment to his country, at the same time
so entirely divested of everything interesting to himself, that it was
impossible to consider him but with admiration. He liked fame and was
open to flattery so that people sometimes got about him who were
unworthy of him. He is a loss to his country that cannot easily be

Thus in a few words, the very reticence of which enhances their
significance, did Collingwood sum up the greatness and the weakness of
Nelson. Gifted, brilliant, faulty by reason of his emotional temperament,
strong by reason of his enthusiasm--his all-enthralling sense of duty,
Nelson flashed like a meteor across the ken of his generation to vanish
in a haze of glory. He died at the psychological moment--his life,
according to this account, the sacrifice to a dazzling folly. And the
man whom he loved--the man whose sterling worth is swamped by Nelson's
more vivid personality, was left to battle on alone through the weary
years. The intoxication of victory did not blind Collingwood to the
colossal task which yet lay before him. To Stanhope he wrote with
undiminished anxiety:--

The idea that the Victory we gained has so entirely reduced the
enemy's fleet that no danger is now to be apprehended from them, ought
not to be encouraged. On the contrary, I believe they will make up for
their loss by extraordinary exertion. You see they have immediately
sent all their fleet to sea, and clean as they are from Port, they can
avoid an encounter when they are not very superior. The ships that I
have here are many of them the dullest in the British fleet, so that I
have little chance of getting near them until they come with double
our number, and when they do, I shall do the best with them I can.
Whatever their project is, it must be interrupted--defeated if
possible. Bonaparte seems determined to have the whole of the
Mediterranean, islands and all. Whenever he is prepared to take
possession he knows how to make a quarrel with the Court of Madrid.

A few months later he wrote:--

I have a laborious and anxious life and little time to write even to
my wife. The only comfort I have here is good health and the
consciousness that I am doing the best I can for my country--and a
good deal I believe we shall have to do before we can establish a
happy and secure peace--for I believe in the heart of the Tyrant
enmity is so deeply rooted towards England, that it will only be
extinguished with his natural life. I consider the contest with him
but in its infancy--our independence as a people is at stake. Wisdom
in our councils and fortitude in the field was never so necessary to
us, and I trust neither will be found wanting.

In every quarter the power of France is increasing,--here the
Spaniards are but his Puppets, his mandates come to Cadiz as they go
to Brest. His birthday is kept as that of their Sovereign, the French
flag is worn upon the Governor's house, upon rejoicing days, with that
of the Spanish. In Italy they hoist it upon the same staff as that of
the Pope--it will not be long before the Pope's is worn out with the
contentions of its bad neighbourhood. Sir Sidney Smith is doing what
he can to rouse the Calabrians to resistance--he gives them money and
the mob follow his officers--but the people of property have
universally attached themselves to the French-not from liking them--
but in the hope that in the end they may be left with the rag of their

At Cadiz they are making great progress in their equipment of a fleet,
they have 12 sail of the line ready for sea, two more well advanced in
their fitting,--I have 9, which I consider to be equal to beating
them, but whenever we meet I would do more-_not a shadow of one
should be left upon the face of the waters_. They will be cautious
whenever they come--and my ships sail but ill in general.

I heard from Lady Collingwood that she had the pleasure of visiting
you when in town.

And then comes a more personal note:--

I am totally at a loss about the obtaining my patent--from what
office does it issue and about what sum is the amount of the fees? I
suppose I shall be ruined by them. I will be much obliged to you for
any information you can give me on these subjects--that I may not, by
delaying to do what is proper, seem negligent of this high honour of
which I am (I hope) justly proud. Sir Isaac Heard sent me the form of
a letter which it was necessary to write to the Duke of Norfolk or
Hereditary Earl Marshal, for his Grace's patent to Garter, to grant me
supporters of armorial bearings appropriate. I suppose he will let me
know when that is done.

I hope you will forgive me, my dear Sir, for mentioning this subject
to you, but from my total ignorance of everything relating to it, I am
afraid of neglecting something which I ought to do.

Stanhope furnished his friend with all necessary information, and on the
following December 4th, Mrs Stanhope wrote to her son--

Lord Collingwood proves himself worthy of the great charge reposed in
him. Mr Stanhope says he thinks next to Pitt's his is the greatest
trust. His property must be small. He married a Miss Blackett whose
father was brother to the late Sir Edward and is Uncle to the present
Sir William Blackett, a man of large fortune in Northumberland. He has
two daughters, the eldest must be nearly fourteen. I had this morning
a long account from my uncle of a ball given by Lady Collingwood at
Newcastle, where 450 people sat down to supper. Unfortunately the
Mayor instead of giving Lord Collingwood's health, gave _The Memory
of Lord Nelson_, with a solemn dirge, which so affected Lady
Collingwood that she fainted, and was obliged to leave the room. She
had not heard from Lord Collingwood for some time which made it the
more affecting.

It was on December 23rd, that Nelson's body preserved in spirits arrived
at Greenwich, and forthwith the favourite toast in Yorkshire was one
perhaps peculiarly characteristic of the county, "Here's to the Hero who
died for his country and came home in spirits!" On January 9th, his
funeral took place at St Paul's Cathedral, and Stanhope, who attended it,
must have felt a tightening of the throat as he realised how soon his
small son was to face dangers such as had occasioned the death of the
gallant man whom all England mourned. Moreover, Lord Collingwood had
encouraged few delusions with regard to his own capability of aiding the
career of the future midshipman. "If Parents were to see how many of their
chicks go to ruin from being sent too early abroad they would not be so
anxious about it," he wrote on one occasion, while on another he pointed
out--"I need not say how glad I shall be to take all the care of William I
can, and do him all the service in my power, but it is rather late in my
day to be very useful to him as I shall be seeking to retire about the
time he is launching into the world." Still more did he emphasise his
inability to obtain promotion for those for whom he might have most
desired it. On one occasion when Stanhope enclosed a letter from his
friend Sir James Graham begging for the advancement of a young lieutenant,
Collingwood replied, "I would gladly show every attention in my power to
any friend of yours, but I have _no opportunity of advancing any officer
beyond a midshipman sometimes_"; and four years after the Battle of
Trafalgar he explained that he had still "some of the Lieutenants who were
with me in action a few years since and no prospect of providing for them
--I have little here but constant labour."

But what he could do in the way of protecting and befriending his little
kinsman he was eager to accomplish, and his letters show how much anxious
thought he devoted to the subject.

_Admiral Lord Collingwood to Walter Spencer-Stanhope._
_January 20th, 1806._

I shall be very glad to see your son William, and will take good care
of him, and give him the best introduction to this service that I can.
I hope he has got on a little in mathematicks, because I have not a
school master now in my ship--I had, but he got hurt in the
_Sovereign_ and went home. Lord Barham tells me a ship is to be
sent out to me soon--William might come out conveniently in her....

With respect to his equipment, do not burden him with baggage--if he
takes care of it, it is but a miserable occupation, and if he does not
it will be lost. Therefore, to keep him clean and above want is
enough; a comfortable bed, that his health requires; two or three Blue
jackets and waistcoats; his Navigation books that he has been taught
from--whether it is Robinson's Elements, or Hamilton's Moore; a
quadrant and a case of instruments. For his reading, you will give him
such books as you think proper and are least voluminous--a history of
England--of Rome--and Greece, with voyages or abridgment of them--but
his baggage must be _light_--for the moment he enters a ship he
must have no personal cares--all that relates to himself must be
secondary--or nothing.

With respect to his supply of money or anything else, when he comes to
me, he shall want for nothing. I will take care he is sufficiently
provided and whatever expenses he has, I will tell you that you may
repay me.

You would be delighted at the glorious fight we have had. Had but my
friends Lord Nelson & Duff lived through it, I should have been happy
indeed. Lord Nelson was well known and universally lamented; Duff had
all the qualities that adorn a great and good man but was less known.
He commanded the Mess, and stuck to me in the day's battle as I hope
my son would have done--it was however a great day, yet I feel we have
much more to do--the French are venturing out with their squadrons and
they must be crushed. The powerful armies that are opposed to them on
the continent will, I hope, do their part well, but I cannot say I
have a very high opinion of Austrian armies & Austrian generals; their
military education is good, but they yet seem to want that good &
independent spirit that should animate a soldier--they are all money-
making and _will_ trade--and a soldier that makes wealth his
object will sell an army whenever he can get a good price for it.

I have received letters from Mr Collingwood and Admiral Roddam and am
exceedingly happy to hear they were then in good health. The Admiral
by this time has taken up his quarters at Skillingworth.

I am rather upon the rack just now. Duckworth went after the French
Squadron that I had intelligence of near Teneriffe. I am afraid the
Frenchman has duped him, and by throwing false intelligence in his way
has sent him to the West Indies--or I ought to have seen him again
before this; but Sir John Duckworth who is a well-judging man ought
not to have been so deceived as to suppose that a squadron which had
been three or four months at sea were on their way to the West Indies
--but I do not despair of catching them yet, even without him.

Napoleon then believed that he had successfully duped Collingwood in this
manner; "Mon opinion est que Collingwood est parti et est alle aux Grandes
Indes," he wrote at this date, only to discover later that his enemy had
never been deceived.

Meanwhile Stanhope was devoting all his attention to a matter which he had
much at heart. So far Collingwood's great services to his country had been
rewarded with the barren honour of a peerage which had made an unwelcome
claim upon his slender means, and with regard to which his one petition
had been refused--that since he had no son to succeed him the title should
descend to one of his daughters. Stanhope was therefore anxious to procure
for Lord Collingwood a more substantial award in the form of an annuity
which might benefit his family. On February 11th 1806, Mrs Stanhope wrote
to her son--

News I have none for you to-day, further than that your Father is
delighted with having had it in his power to be of use to Lord
Collingwood. His Pension was granted for three generations in the Male
line; now, as he has no son nor ever likely to have any, it was really
only rewarding him for his own life. At the Duchess of Gordon's, where
your Father was last night, he saw Sheridan and Lord Castlereagh [7]
and he mentioned that if half was settled upon his widow and the other
half on his daughters after his death, it would be a real advantage to
him, which both said should be done, if he would attend the House to-
day. Most probably he will propose it in the House [8] and the
intelligence will be conveyed by William. I think I sent you word we
had heard from Lord Collingwood--the date the 20th., of January,
therefore I imagine he must have been off Cadiz.

Yet even this suggestion to reward the man to whom England owed so much
met with considerable opposition. "Lord Collingwood's Annuity Bill came on
again on Monday," wrote Mrs Stanhope on February 28th. "Your Father still
hopes it will be settled on Lady Collingwood and her daughters, tho' Lord
H. Petty does not approve of the change, Lord Castlereagh and Mr Sheridan
are both of your Father's opinion."

Stanhope, however, carried his point and earned the gratitude of the
family of the absent Admiral. It is true that when the news first reached
Collingwood of the discussion relating to his pension which had taken
place in the House, he was deeply wounded. Some of the speeches seemed to
him to imply that the representation of the slender state of his finances
had been made with his concurrence, and he felt, as he told his wife, that
he had been held up in the House as an object of compassion. "If I had a
favour to ask," he wrote emphatically, "money would be the last thing I
should require from an impoverished country. I have motives for my conduct
which I would not give in exchange for a thousand pensions." But when he
heard of Stanhope's amendment of the original proposition, and that Lady
Collingwood and his daughters would now profit by the thoughtfulness of
his kinsman, he wrote an acknowledgment of such efforts on his behalf with
a sincere gratitude in which pride still mingled.

I am much obliged to you Sir for your kindness in taking so much
trouble about my pension--it is a subject I had not thought of myself
--as my family are amply provided for I left the bounty of the King to
take its course, but this is so much in addition and I am very much
obliged for your consideration of what perhaps I should not have
thought of.

By a strange coincidence, at the very moment when the question of this
annuity was before the House, Collingwood and Stanhope may be said to have
benefited jointly by a legacy from a common kinsman. Edward Collingwood,
Mrs Stanhope's uncle before referred to, expired in February 1806, leaving
his estate of Chirton to Lord Collingwood and his estate of Dissington to
his niece Mrs Stanhope in trust for her third son. The Admiral, however,
expressed little satisfaction in the acquisition of his new property. "I
am sorry the possessor of it is gone," he wrote with his usual warmth of
heart, "for I have lost a friend who I believe sincerely loved me, and
have got an estate which I could have done very well without. I am told
poor Admiral Roddam laments him very much and I love him the more for it."
Much correspondence forthwith ensued between Collingwood and Stanhope with
respect to the distribution of the portion of the furniture and
personalties which had been bequeathed to Stanhope and which he was
anxious to place at the disposal of Lady Collingwood, who, nevertheless,
declined the offer. "Lady Collingwood informed me of your kind attention
to her," wrote Collingwood, gratefully, on hearing of it, "but I think she
judged right, considering the uncertainty at what time I should come to
live there, ... besides, if I should have a son to succeed me, I should
probably rebuild the house, and the present furniture would not be
suitable to the new one. But," he adds again, feelingly, "the subject of
it must become more indifferent to me than it now is before I can
determine anything about it: it never engages my attention but in sorrow.
I lost more real happiness in the death of my friend, whom I esteemed and
reverenced, than his estate can make me amends for--its greatest value to
me is that it is _his_ bequest."

Likewise with regard to Stanhope's proposition of leaving "the moiety of
the books at Chirton which by the will of Mr Collingwood were devised to
the possessor of Dissington," Collingwood decided--"I think in this, as in
every other respect, his will should be literally complied with and
nothing left to future arrangement." He therefore requested his brother-
in-law, Mr Blackett, to choose "some learned and competent gentleman" who
was to act for him in conjunction with any person Stanhope saw fit to
appoint, to make a just division between them "in all the branches of
learning and science and with respect to value." Referring to the fine
classical volumes in the library, he pointed out that this would be a
simple matter, as most of these had duplicates or triplicates, but "God
knows," he exclaimed, "whether any of my family may want any of them! To
me the English authors are valuable and whether I shall ever see any of
them is doubtful."

The amicable discussion with regard to this matter was still in progress
while little William journeyed out to join his kinsman. A month after
Nelson's funeral, Stanhope was taking the preliminary steps for his son's
departure. "I brought William home to be measured," he wrote on February
9th, "and sent him back yesterday in very good spirits. His mind certainly
appears to open very much and he is a good little fellow. At times he is
low and said the other day how odd he should feel to be entirely with

On February 26th, the embryo sailor set forth on his perilous adventures,
followed by the thoughts of his family, whose tender solicitude brings
very near that parting of a century ago. "I long to hear how the dear
little midshipman bears his departure," writes one of his brothers, "How
very pretty he will look in his uniform!" and the first details of the
little lad's arrival on board ship, of his quaint sayings and doings, and
how manfully he bore his separation from the last member of his family
circle have been faithfully preserved. But he soon pronounced a favourable
verdict on his new profession--"I like being on bord a ship very much, but
today it has bean a very ruf see," he wrote on March 10th, with a fine
discrimination of the advantages and disadvantages of a nautical career;
while, anxious to prove that he was now become a man of the world, who
could appreciate the exigencies of a situation which had been occupying
the attention of the public, he observes with sudden irrelevance--"What a
sad afair this seems, this deth of Mr Pit!"

Early in April, Collingwood wrote to announce the arrival of his new
midshipman, whom he describes as "a fine sensible boy with great powers of
observation," and William wrote, as he continued to write, gratefully and
enthusiastically of his treatment by Collingwood, whom he explains is "the
kindest and best man who ever lived." Thenceforward every item of
information respecting his son was sent by Collingwood to Stanhope, who in
return retailed to Collingwood everything which he could glean respecting
Lady Collingwood and her daughters. The latter came to London in May, with
a view to completing their education, and both they and their mother seem
to have turned to Stanhope and his family in every perplexity in life. "I
am greatly obliged to you for your account of my daughters," wrote
Collingwood, in a letter which shows how minutely he was kept informed of
every detail relating to them, even to their little tricks of speech and
manner. "I am not impatient for their going in to the North. I hope they
have lost much of their provincial dialect."

And still, at any mention of his home or of those dearest to him, there
breaks involuntarily into his correspondence that longing, which would not
be repressed, for a sorely needed respite from labour and for the balm of
reunion with those he loved. There were, perhaps, few people to whom he
ventured to unburden himself as simply and spontaneously as he did to
Stanhope, a man linked to him by the tie of kinship, yet not so closely as
to make any such self-revelation on his part a possible selfishness. Thus
it is that this hitherto unpublished batch of his correspondence betrays
ever more and more, with a pathos of which the writer was obviously
unconscious, how the strain of watching and of loneliness was undermining
an indomitable brain and soul.

Collingwood's existence, indeed, alternated between an eternal racking
anxiety and a monotony before which the imagination sinks appalled.
"Between days and nights I am almost wore out," he wrote briefly to
Stanhope on April 29th, 1806, "but I do not mean to quit my station while
I have health"; and on September 26th of that same year, after writing an
account of the situation in which he finds himself, he exclaims abruptly,
"It is the dullest life that can be conceived and nothing but the utmost
patience can endure it!" During long months of blockading, dawn after dawn
arose to reveal to his weary gaze the same boundless expanse of rocking
ocean, which he had well-nigh learnt to hate; the same restricted space of
deck to traverse; the same routine of action to contemplate; the same type
of food further to nauseate a reluctant appetite; the same complete lack
of mental and physical relaxation, which is, in itself, almost an
essential to sanity. Thus, soon, to the tension of that perpetual
guardianship was added the haunting dread that an existence which was
undermining his health might also impair his mental faculties, and this at
a time when he was aware that one false step, one error in strategy, and
ignominy might be his portion or the liberties of England herself be the

In a diary [9] in which, during the last years of his life, he entered
memoranda, ostensibly from which to compile his dispatches, there is
conveyed more eloquently than by any laboured insistence the ceaseless
fret of his guardianship and the impracticability which he experienced of
sifting the truth or falsehood of the information on which his line of
conduct was dependent. Incessantly do its pages recall, with elaborate
care, the details of reported engagements and of reported manoeuvres of
the enemy, supplied from some apparently unimpeachable source, and
incessantly are such memoranda revoked emphatically by a later entry.
Once, after retailing minutely the details of an assault undertaken by the
Portuguese and Spaniards against the French--which he was informed had
continued for six days and during which about 8000 of the former and 6000
of the latter had been killed--and subsequent to which all the inhabitants
of Elvas had been put to the sword by the French--he appends with
pardonable irritation--"_Not a word of this true--the whole a fabrication
for the amusement of country gentlemen and ladies._" Meanwhile he was
confronted by the knowledge that those who were most ready to criticise
his decisions, had least comprehension of the difficulties with which he
had to contend.

On May 15th, 1807, Mrs Stanhope writes:--

I have had letters from Lord Collingwood and William of so late a date
as the 29th of April. Lord C. writes out of Spirits, the recent great
losses have hurt him and the failure at Constantinople, tho' no blame
attached to him. He sent out one third more force than the Government
considered necessary and they were at the Dardanelles when they were
supposed to be with him; but the defences of Constantinople, both
natural and of art, were little known, the Castles as strong as Cannon
can make them and of that particular kind the Turks use and from which
they fire balls of granite or marble;--those would not go far, but
they do very well for a passage which is so narrow their object cannot
be far of. One which passed through the _Windsor Castle_ weighed
800 pounds. He thinks there will be an active campaign in Italy--
Sicily their object.

On December 19th, Marianne Stanhope retailed--

Papa has this instant received a most delightful account from Lord
Collingwood of William, everything that is satisfactory. He says
everything that we could wish both of his health, disposition and
capacity, the letter is dated October 13th, off Sicily. He mentions
his hopes of being able to catch the French if they come to Sicily,
but the difficulty will be, from the extent of the coast they will
come from all quarters. He said that the Sicilians finding that we
take the part of the Court who are most completely detested will make
for relief from any quarter. The Turks, he says, detest the Russians,
and lament much the misunderstanding with us, but are completely in
the power of the French past all relief. The Buenos Ayres expedition,
he says, he always blamed, and that it turned out exactly as he
predicted, and that we are most completely detested by the people who
formerly respected us.

On August 13th, 1808, off Cadiz, Collingwood learnt that the French
General, Dupont, and some officers who had capitulated, had been brought
to Port St Mary, for their better security to be embarked on board a
Spanish Man-o'-war. The mob, however, attacked and wounded Dupont before
he could be got on board, and on August 26th Collingwood relates to Mrs

The Mob of Port Santa Maria seized on Dupont's baggage, for the
Generals and Juntas may make Conventions as they please, but the
People is the only _real Power_ at the present moment, and they
will observe as much of them as they like. On breaking open the Trunks
they were found to be filled with plunder--Church Plate mostly--but
everything that was gold or silver was acceptable. I went to see it
yesterday at the Custom House, and an immense quantity of it there
was--from a silver Toy to the Crown of Thorns which they had torn from
the head of Jesus Christ. I heard at first that the mob had been
raised against the French by the black servant of a Frenchman having
part of the robe of a Bishop for his dress, but this was not the case.
The black man had the Bishop's Cross hung with a chain of gold round
his neck--it was of large amethysts and diamonds worth about 2000

Dupont was so very silly as to write to the Governor complaining of
the people who had _robbed_ him, saying that he felt sensibly for
the honour of Spain and desired that his "property" might be returned
to him. He had nothing but those trunks of plundered silver!

Collingwood's own reception by the Spanish people afforded a remarkable
instance of the estimation in which he was held and the extraordinary
recognition of his integrity even by a lawless, unreasoning mob. John
Stanhope, some years afterwards, recorded:--

"When, at an earlier period of the war, our expedition under the command
of General Spencer appeared off Cadiz, there prevailed so great a jealousy
against the English Army that the authorities refused to allow them to

"Such, however, was not the case with Lord Collingwood when he appeared
with his fleet.

"He was received by high and low with the greatest enthusiasm. A publick
fete was given to him, and my brother William who accompanied him on shore
described the scene as one of the most striking sights he ever witnessed.
One only feeling seemed to pervade the immense crowd of all ranks
assembled to receive the Admiral, the desire of showing their respect and
admiration for his character. What a triumph for one who, in the hour of
victory, had succeeded to the command of a fleet that had annihilated the
Spanish Navy, and since that time had been constantly blockading their
coasts! But what must have been Lord Collingwood's feelings _when the only
pledge required before they permitted an English force to land in a place
of so much importance, was his word of honour!_ They felt in him a
confidence which they denied to our Government."

But in the midst of a situation so unique, Collingwood ignored the
unparalleled homage paid to him, to revert persistently to each item of
news respecting his distant home. The splendid fetes of which he formed
the central figure, the adulation of an entire nation, find no mention in
his letters to Stanhope, and are of less account to him than the most
trivial circumstance regarding his family or his native county, on which
his thoughts dwell tenderly, lingeringly. From Cadiz, in August, he
laments the tidings conveyed to him by Stanhope of the death, at the age
of eighty-nine, of his former Commander and neighbour, in Northumberland,
Admiral Roddam.

Poor Admiral Roddam! I have indeed mourned his death, because I lost
in him a kind friend who had always taken a sincere interest in my
welfare; but he was become too infirm to enjoy comfort, and then to
die is a blessing. I am glad he left your son his estate, but it was
want of knowing the world if he thought of improving the Property by
keeping him out of it so long.

For little William, on attaining the age of twenty-five, was to succeed to
the estate of Collingwood's former Commander, and this must, if possible,
have strengthened the link between the Admiral and the midshipman in whose
progress he took a profound interest. Collingwood's own character is
perhaps never more clearly portrayed than in his criticism of the little
lad who had been committed to his care. "Of William," he wrote to
Stanhope, in 1808, "everything I have to say is good--and such as must
give you and Mrs Stanhope much satisfaction. He is the best-tempered boy
that can be--has a superior understanding, which makes everything easy to
him. He is very inquisitive in what relates to his duty, and comprehends
it with a facility which few boys do, at this time I believe he has more
knowledge than many twice his standing. He is never engaged in disputes,
and this not from a milkiness and yielding to others, but he seems
superior to contention, and leaves a blockhead to enjoy his own nonsense."
In December of the same year he reiterates, "Your son always gives me
satisfaction. He behaves well and always like a gentleman and I endeavour
to instil in him a contempt for what is trifling and unworthy. When I come
home I will leave him in a frigate and I hope I may soon, for I grow very
weak and languid."

It was to be regretted that while evincing to the utmost his own contempt
for what was "trifling and unworthy," it was impracticable for Collingwood
to follow the example of his small midshipman and contentedly "leave a
blockhead to his own nonsense." The realisation was torment to him that
the very conditions of his service were dictated by those who had only a
partial conception of his requirements, that his representations--his
advice--were alike incessantly ignored, yet, none the less, that his
tactics would subsequently be criticised pitilessly by men incapable of
appreciating the difficulties with which he had been beset at the time of
action. "I have lately had a most anxious and vexatious life," he wrote on
May 16th, 1808, "since the Rochefort ships came into the Mediteranean and
joined the Toulon, I have been in constant pursuit of them, but with bad
intelligence and never knowing whether I was going right or not." Yet
though compelled to act thus blindly, in that torturing uncertainty, the
eyes of the world were upon him, and men, wise in the cognisance of after-
events, would unhesitatingly judge him in the light of that knowledge.

More than once in his letters to Mrs Stanhope did the pent up bitterness
of this recognition find vent. On May 16th, 1807, he wrote:--

I am sorry to see Mr Pole's speech about the Rochefort Squadron and
Sir R. Strachan, insinuating that he was well provided with
everything--and that had he been in the station that it was expected
he should have held, they could not have escaped. The fact is they
came here destitute of everything, one of his ships had not 20 tons of
water, and none of them were in a condition to follow the enemy to a
distant point. Those insinuations, though they advance nothing
positive, are disgusting--the season of the year and the situation of
the fleet on such an errand were sufficient reasons. Let your
Politicians beware how they sour the minds of such men--men whose
lives are devoted to their country. If ever they accomplish that, your
State would not be worth half-a-crown.

And again, in December of that same year, on discovering that he,
personally, had been the subject of brutal slander, his indignation burst

_December 29th, 1808._

I have just seen in the newspapers what I conceive to be exceedingly
mischievous, and to officers who are bearing the brunt and severities
of war, is exceedingly disgusting, when the whole nation is clamorous
against the convention of Lisbon and the treaty which Sir Chas. Cotton
made with the Russian Admiral about the ships, it is stated that _I_
had made a proposition of the same kind to the Russian Commander at
Trieste which had been rejected. There is not a syllable of truth in
it. _I_ have had no correspondence with Russia, nor anything happened
that could have given rise to such a conjecture. It must therefore be
sheer mischief. There are such diabolical spirits, who, incapable of
good, cannot rest inactive but fester the world with their malignant

And meanwhile the ardent patriotism of Collingwood was deeply wounded by
the attitude of the politicians of his native land.

OCEAN, OFF TOULON, _May 16th, 1808._

The contentions in Parliament are disgraceful to our country and have
more to do with its reduction than Bonaparte has. They grieve my
heart; when all the energy and wisdom of the Nation is required to
defend us against such a Power as never appeared in Europe before--the
contest seems to be who shall hold the most lucrative office. I abhor
that kind of determined opposition; if the Ministers have not that
experience it were to be wished they had, they the more need support
and assistance. We have resources to stand our ground firmly, until
this storm is over--but it depends on the use we make of our means,
whether we shall or not.

It would appear to me good policy to make and preserve peace with all
the nations who have the smallest pretention to independence--we
should shut our eyes to many things which during the regular
Governments in Europe would deserve to be scrutinised--the laws and
rules of former times are not suited to the present--a man cannot
build a Palace during the convulsions of an earthquake, and I
sincerely hope our differences with America will be accommodated--if
favourable terms we can grant them. Are not _we_ constantly in
storms obliged to take in our topsail?--and even sometimes limit
ourselves to no sail at all? But our ship is saved by it and when the
storm is over we out with them again, and so should the State do.

The truth was that, in much, Collingwood was a more able diplomatist than
the men by whose authority he was circumscribed. His letters to Stanhope
prove that he was a more apt tactician and had a profounder grasp of the
political situation of his day than he has been credited with by
posterity. Again and again, does he foretell that a particular line of
action will be fraught with a particular result, or show how his
representations had been ignored until, too late, events had proved their
accuracy. Again and again, in some apparently trivial situation which he
had the insight to recognise was big with import, did his tactfulness
avert catastrophe which a lesser man would have hastened. "I have always
found that kind language and strong ships have a very powerful effect in
conciliating the people," he says in one letter to Stanhope, with dry
humour. And meanwhile the incompetency of many of those with whom he had
to work in alliance was a further source of trial to him. Only too
shrewdly did he recognise wherein lay the efficiency of Napoleon and the
incapacity of his opponents.

_October 7th, 1809._

Should the Austrians make their peace, which I am convinced they must,
the next object of Bonaparte will be Turkey, and probably the
Austrians be engaged to assist him in the reduction of it. All the
south part of Europe seems as if within his grasp the moment peace is
signed with Austria; he has long been intriguing with those countries,
sometimes with the Government, in other places with the people against
their Government; the arts, the dissimulations with which those
intrigues are conducted, avail him more than even the rapidity of his
armies--all the people he employs are equal to the task assigned them;
while in Austria and Spain, the operations are often directed by men
who, from Court favour, have got situations they are totally unfit
for. Catalonia has suffered much from this cause and everything has
gone wrong in Istria and Dalmatia, because there there was wanted a
man capable of conducting the war. It is true they have been removed,
but not until everything was lost by their want of skill.

And yet pitted against "such a Power as never appeared in Europe before,"
with the need of every faculty upon the alert, Collingwood was haunted
ever more and more by the dread that his increasing bodily weakness must
engender mental incapacity. A sinister note crept into his correspondence
and so early as August 26th, 1808, he wrote:--

_August 26th, 1808._

I have been lately unwell. I grow weak, and the fatigue and anxiety of
mind I suffer has worn me down to a shadow. I do not think I can go on
much longer, and intend, whenever I feel my strength less, to request
that I may be allowed to come to England. I have mentioned this to
Lord Mulgrave, but have not to the Admiralty Board.

Yet, determined not to abandon his duty, over a year later he was still at
his post.

"_Ville de Paris,_" PORT MAHON, _December 18th, 1809._

The truth is that I am so unremittingly occupied, that my life is
rather a drudgery than a service. I have an anxious mind from nature
and cannot leave to any what is possible for me to do myself. Now my
health is suffering very much, which is attributed to the sedentary
life I lead, and it may well be to the vexation my mind suffers when
anything goes counter. But when I _do_ come home, I hope I shall
not be thought to flinch, for I have worn out all the officers and all
the ships, two or three times over, since I left England.

Within a fortnight he wrote again:--

_December 29th._

I have no desire to shrink from a duty which I owe to my country, but
my declining health--the constant anxiety of my mind and fatigue of my
body--made me desire to have a little respite, and I asked to be
relieved from my command--a request which the Ministers seem to have
no disposition to grant to me, but if his lordship knew me personally
and was sufficiently acquainted with my sentiments he would know that
my request was not made without good reason. The service here requires
the most energetic mind and robust body--they cannot be hoped for in
an invalid, whose infirmities proceed from too long and unremitted
exertion of powers, but feeble at first.

Meanwhile, in Grosvenor Square, every item of news respecting the
intentions of Lord Collingwood was eagerly looked for, since on these were
dependent the movements of little William Stanhope. In the autumn of 1809
Mrs Stanhope wrote:--

William writes word that his height is 5 ft. 4 in., very fair for a
Stanhope of his age. What an affectionate creature he is, and how I
should delight in seeing him. I do not like the account he gives of
Lord Collingwood's health. If the French fleet would but come out and
he beat them, I doubt not he would then return immediately.

And on the 6th December she mentions an event which served to accentuate
the sadness of that protracted absence:--

Lord Collingwood has actually a daughter grown up. She has made her
appearance in Newcastle, very shy and distressed.

_February 27th, 1810._

We came to Town, Sunday Se'nnight. Since then Captain Waldegrave, who
was eleven months in the ship with William, and Dr Gray who was his
shipmate two years and like a Father to him, have both dined with us
and agree in their favourable accounts. He is quite well and
breakfasts every day with Lord Collingwood, with whom he also dines
three times a week, and he teaches William himself. Your father said--
"I fear he is a Pet!" To which Waldegrave answered--"It can never do
anyone harm to be Pet to Lord Collingwood!" As soon as the weather is
warm I suppose Lord C. will come back, in his last letter he said he
should leave William in a Frigate, but Dr Gray is inclined to think he
would bring him home. All the reports respecting the Toulon Fleet
being out, will, I hear, prove false.

On March 20th Mrs Stanhope wrote--"It is said that Sir C. Cotton is going
out immediately to take Lord Collingwood's command, for that he wrote word
if they did not supersede him quickly he should supersede himself. I fear
his health is very bad." Not till April, however, did this intelligence
receive confirmation--"At last Sir C. Cotton has sailed, so that, by the
end of June, Lord Collingwood may be back, having given up the command to
Sir C. Cotton. He was better the last account. Captain Waldegrave dines
here to-day, you would be exceedingly pleased with him, for his manners
are agreeable and his intelligence great."

Little did Mrs Stanhope, as she penned the reference to her dinner-party,
foresee the conditions under which this was destined to take place. Still
less did the authorities who were sending out that belated relief to the
wearied Admiral, or the family who now so joyously pictured his return,
dream how that service had been already superseded or in what guise that
return would take place. Weeks before, at Cadiz, the last act of a
prolonged tragedy had been performed. Still firmly refusing to forsake his
post till a competent successor had been appointed, Collingwood did not
surrender his command to Rear Admiral Martin till March 3rd, when a
complete collapse of strength made this imperative. Two days subsequently
were lost in the vain endeavour to leave port in the teeth of a contrary
wind, but on March 6th, the _Ville de Paris_ succeeded in setting sail for

The day of days in Collingwood's life had at last arrived--that day to
which he had looked forward throughout the weary years, when, his task
honourably concluded, he could know that every beat of the waves was
bearing him towards home and his loved ones. Yet as, prostrated with
weakness, he lay in his cabin, listening to the familiar fret of the
waters, he understood that the burden had been borne too long, the
promised relief had come too late.

With the same dauntless courage with which he had faced existence he now
accepted the knowledge that this day--the thought of which had sustained
him through loneliness and battle and tempest--was to prove the day of his
death. History indeed presents few events of an irony more profound. At
sunset on March 6th, Collingwood set sail for England; at sunset on the
7th, he lay dead, and that fortitude with which he met a fate, the
harshness of which must have cruelly enhanced his bodily anguish, presents
to all time a sublime ending to a sublime career.

Meanwhile in England those whom he had loved continued to count the
lessening days to his return and to plan with tender solicitude every
means for cherishing and restoring the enfeebled frame which they fondly
believed needed but care and happiness to endow it with renewed health.
Little as they recked of the burden which the waves were, in truth,
bringing them, the knowledge, when it arrived, came with a blow which
stunned. In the first announcement of the news, the very terseness of the
communication seems to recreate more vividly the intense feeling which the
writer knew required no insistence.

On April 17th, 1810, Stanhope wrote briefly to the Vicar of Newcastle:--



You are the fittest person I know at Newcastle to execute with
propriety a most painful & most melancholy office. I have only this
moment been apprised of the loss both the public and the Collingwood
family have sustained, and am so shocked with the intelligence that I
can hardly write legibly. I enclose the letter. I am sure you will
communicate it with all delicacy & due Preparation to Lady Collingwood
& Mr and the Miss Collingwoods. Mrs Stanhope will endeavour to see
Miss Collingwood to-morrow. Pray assure them of my readiness to be of
every assistance to them in my power.

Of the manner in which the news arrived, Mrs Stanhope furnishes more

GROSVENOR SQUARE, _April 23rd, 1810._


"I little thought when I wrote to you on Tuesday last that I should,
before that post went out, hear the afflicting intelligence of the
death of our great and valuable Friend, Lord Collingwood, whose loss
is a publick calamity. But I will enter into particulars.

"Just after I went out at three, a second post arrived from Captain
Thomas, desiring your father to communicate the dreadful tidings to
poor Lady Collingwood. It was five when we received the letter; your
father immediately enclosed the letter to the Vicar, to desire he
would break it to the family, and I wrote to the Mistress of the
School to acquaint the second girl. She wished to see no one or I
should have called the next day. Mr Reay heard of the event before we
did and recollecting that the Papers at Newcastle were delivered an
hour before the letters, wisely sent off an Express; therefore I trust
there was time for her to be somewhat prepared for the worst.

"With respect to ourselves, I need not tell you how shocked we were,
and unfortunately, we had not only a large party to dinner that night,
but some people in the evening. Amongst those who dined with us was
Captain Waldegrave, who had not heard of it till he came here, and I
never saw anyone so distressed, for Lord Collingwood had been a Father
to him as well as to William; and he is one of the most pleasing young
men I ever met with. Two days afterwards he brought here Mr Brown, the
flag-lieutenant of the _Ville de Paris_, who gave me many interesting
particulars, and spoke highly of William.

Your father has seen Lord Mulgrave twice, and it is settled that a
monument at the Publick expence shall be executed for Lord
Collingwood. He cannot have a publick funeral, but they wish the
family to bury him at St Paul's near Lord Nelson, which your father is
this day to write to propose, and I think it impossible Lady
Collingwood can have any objection, in which case it will be attended
by the Lords of the Admiralty & his own private friends. The Body is
now at Greenwich, for it arrived at Portsmouth as soon as the letters
announcing his death. He died like a hero, and when that character is
added, as it was in him, to the Christian, it is great indeed.

On the same date Mr Stanhope wrote to his son--"I saw Lord Mulgrave the
night before last, who desired I would inform Lady Collingwood and the
family that it was meant to move in the House for a monument for Lord
Collingwood in St Paul's, next to Nelson's. Of course the Body, which has
arrived in the Thames, will be deposited in that Church, and the funeral
must be splendid without ostentation--at the expense of the executors, or
rather of the family." It was not, however, till May 8th that Mrs Stanhope
was enabled to furnish her son with full details of the manner in which
the intended ceremony was to be performed.

GROSVENOR SQUARE, _May 8th., 1810._

I can tell you what Lord C.'s funeral is to be. It is to take place on
Friday at St Paul's. Mr C. and one of his sisters are in town. He is
anxious that it should be proper & your father has been his adviser,
but he was determined that it should be as private as possible, as
Lord Collingwood's wish on that subject was strongly expressed in his

The Body is now at Greenwich where the Hearse & ten mourning Coaches
will go. The company are to assemble at a room on the other side of
Blackfriars Bridge, where betwixt 20 & 30 are to get into the mourning
coaches, & their own are to follow, but no others. The company are, as
far as I can recollect, besides the ten relations & connections, the
first Lords of the Admiralty who have been in power since he had the
Command--Gray, Mulgrave, T. Grenville; Ld St Vincent declined on
account of health; the Chancellor & Sir Walter Scott; Admirals Ld
Radstock & Harvey, Capt Waldegrave, Purvis, Irvyn Brown, Haywood--
perhaps others; Doctors Gray & Fullerton, Sir M. Ridley & Mr Reay.

Government mean to vote him a national monument to be placed near Lord
Nelson & the Body will be placed as near his as it can be. You will be
glad to hear that there is a picture painted about a year & a half ago
which Waldegrave will get for Mr C. I therefore hope there will be a
print of him. His loss will be felt every day more & more. They say he
saved to the country more than any Admiral did before, in repairs of
the fleet; and to that country his life has been sacrificed.

A reference to Lord Collingwood written by the recipient of this letter,
John Stanhope, although it presents no new reflection upon his career, is
not without a peculiar interest in that it was a contemporary comment and
one of unstudied pathos.

Lord Collingwood, [he wrote in 1810] has sacrificed his life to his
country and to the full as much as has done his friend and commander
Lord Nelson. But Nelson's death was glorious; he fell in the hour of
victory amidst a nation's tears. Poor Collingwood resigned his life to
his country, because she required his services; he yielded himself as
a victim to a painful disease, solely occasioned by his incessant and
anxious attention to his duties, when he knew from his physician that
his existence might be spared if he were allowed to return to the
quiet of domestic life. Must not his mind have sometimes recurred to
his home; to his two daughters, now grown to the age of womanhood, but
whom he remembered only as little children; so long had he been
estranged from his country! Must he not have felt how delightfully he
could spend his old age in the society of his family, at his own house
at Chirton, the ancient possession of his ancestors, which had been
left to him by my uncle, and in the enjoyment of a large fortune,
which he had gained during his professional career! What a contrast
did the reverse of the picture show! A lingering disease, a certain
death. He repeatedly represented the state of his health to the
Admiralty, but in vain; his country demanded his services; he gave her
his life; and without even the consolation of thinking that the
sacrifice he was making would be appreciated. "If Lord Mulgrave knew
me," said he in one of his letters to my father, "he would know that I
did not complain without sufficient cause."

It was thus that Collingwood came home--that the long exile ended and the
tired frame attained to rest. On May 11th, he was laid by the side of
Nelson in St Paul's, and the comrades of Trafalgar were re-united in a
last repose. The ceremony on this occasion exhibited none of the pomp and
circumstance which attended the obsequies of the hero of Trafalgar. In
harmony with the wishes and the character of the dead man, so simple was
it that the papers emphasise in surprise that "not even the choir service
is to be sung on the occasion." And this, possibly, constitutes the sole
particular in which England endeavoured to fulfil any desire of the man
who had laid down his life in her service. His earnest request that the
peerage which had been bestowed upon him might descend to his daughter,
his pathetic representation that but for the unremitting nature of that
service he would presumably have had a son to succeed him, were callously
ignored. There were obvious reasons why Nelson's dying bequest to the
nation of the woman he had loved remained unregarded, there was none that
that of Collingwood should not have been granted and his barren honours
thus made sweet to him. But his generation mourned him with idle tears,
and succeeding generations have, possibly, done him scanty justice. Yet
one, a master-mind in English Literature, has raised an eternal testimony
to his worth--"Another true knight errant of those days," proclaims
Thackeray, "was Cuthbert Collingwood, and I think, since Heaven made
gentlemen, there is no record of a better one than that. Of brighter
deeds, I grant you, we may read performed by others; but where of a
nobler, kinder, more beautiful life of duty, of a gentler, truer heart?
Beyond dazzle of success and blaze of genius, I fancy shining a hundred
and a hundred times higher the sublime purity of Collingwood's gentle
glory. His heroism stirs British hearts when we recall it. His love and
goodness and piety make one thrill with happy emotion.... There are no
words to tell what the heart feels in reading the simple phrases of such a
hero. Here is victory and courage, but love sublimer and superior."

Nevertheless there is, in truth, little which appeals to the imagination
of posterity in the story of that drab martyrdom. Moreover Collingwood is
judged, not individually but by comparison. For ever he is obscured by the
more dazzling vision of Nelson. It weighs little in his favour that,
devoid of the vanity and the weakness which made of the latter a lesser
man even though a greater genius, Collingwood, throughout his life,
exhibited a nobility of soul which was never marred by one self-seeking
thought, one mean word, one base action. That very fact militates against
him. Collingwood had no dramatic instinct, and in the great issues of life
he never played to the gallery; he has not even attached to his memory, as
has Nelson, the glamour of a baffling and arresting intrigue. And there
remains eternally to his disfavour that he did not die at the
psychological moment. Whether he was, as some recent researches might lead
us to believe, a greater strategist than Nelson, as he was undoubtedly a
man of stronger principles and more disinterested motives, of wider
education and of profounder political insight, it is not our province here
to inquire. On his column in Trafalgar Square, to all time, Nelson stands
aloft surveying the generations who do him homage; far away, on the shores
of Tynemouth, a solitary figure of Collingwood, not erected till 1845,
gazes out across the ocean of his exile. It is as though the loneliness
which tortured that great soul in life haunts him beyond the grave, as the
adulation which was balm to Nelson's soul remains his portion to all
eternity. There might even be imagined an unconscious irony in the last
reference to Collingwood which occurs in the Stanhope correspondence,
wherein Mrs Stanhope, after the first horror which the news of her
kinsman's death had evoked, sums up thus the immediate effect of that
event upon her family life:--

_May 10th._

London is very gay now.... To give you some idea how we go on, I will
mention some of our engagements. To-night Opera; tomorrow, concerts at
Mrs Boehms and Lady Castlereagh's; Thursday, Dow. Lady Glyn, Lady de
Crespygny musick, and Lady Westmorland's; Saturday, Opera; 23rd., 24th
and 26th Balls. On Friday, of course, there are cards, but I shall not
go out on account of its being the funeral of our justly-lamented




Three years before his death, in the midst of the stress and labour which
was undermining his bodily strength, Collingwood had written with regard
to this same wearing anxiety--"My astonishment is to find that in England
this does not seem to enter into the minds of the people, or at least not
to interrupt their gaieties. England on the verge of ruin requires the
care of all; but when that _all_ is divided and contending for power, then
it is that the foundation shakes."

To the lonely Admiral tossing on the ocean of his exile, absorbed in that
mighty problem of England's defence, the attitude of his countrymen at
home--their callousness and absorption in trivialities--had seemed well-
nigh incredible. But propinquity affects proportion, and as a small object
close at hand looms larger to the eye than a vast object upon a distant
horizon, so the anomaly continued to be witnessed in England which has
often formed part of the history of nations. Possibly one of the strangest
phases of the French Revolution was that in which--while heads fell daily
and the land ran blood--the round of theatres continued without
interruption and the existence of a certain section of the public remained
undisturbed. Thus it is not surprising to find, after the storm of feeling
which was roused by the Battle of Trafalgar, how quickly personal
interests superseded national, and the social life of the country reverted
placidly to its normal groove.

True that Nelson's great victory, even while it had dealt a final and
shattering blow to Napoleon's maritime power, had not been fraught with
the vast consequences which in the moment of exultation it was fondly
believed had been achieved. Bonaparte's supremacy in Europe remained
unshaken, and his victory of Austerlitz, following hard upon Trafalgar,
minimised the latter, while it crushed with despair the dying heart of
Pitt. As we have seen, that year dawned darkly which was to witness the
death of two of England's foremost statesmen, the great Tory in January,
the great Whig in September; but while, big with import, history traced
the tale of such giant upheavals in the national life, in strange contrast
comes the quiet ripple of contemporary gossip.

"The Prince," wrote Mrs Stanhope from Yorkshire in the middle of
September, "returns to attend Fox's funeral & then has said he will
immediately come back to make his promised visits to Wentworth, Raby and
Castle Howard." On the 20th of September Marianne wrote to her brother an
account of H.R.H. attending Doncaster Races.

Doncaster Races were not near so splendid as they were expected to
have been, few south country people, none of distinction.

The Prince of Wales looked wretchedly; he is thought to be in a bad
state of health and was to be cupped last Monday. He arrived at
Doncaster about _two_ in the morning, and the yeomanry commanded by Mr
Wortley met by order to escort him into the town at _nine the next
morning_, so that was _manque_. The ball was very ill-managed, the
Prince arrived at the rooms before they were lighted, neither of the
stewards there to receive him--quite scandalous, I think.

_The Same._
_Nov. 16th._

The Royal visitors at Wentworth were magnificently received. Lord
Milton [1] exerts himself much in politicks, his only _forte_ perhaps,
however, that is better than if it were his only _foible_. Lady Milton
charms everybody, I have never met with one exception.

The Prince, of course you know, inspected the Cavalry at Doncaster and
complimented them much. They were out five days on permanent duty, on
one of which Mr Foljambe gave the whole regiment a dinner in the
Mansion House, a whole pipe of wine was consumed.

Lord Morpeth, [2] I am rejoiced to hear got his election. Mr Howard,
his brother, is a very gentlemanlike, very handsome young man, worthy
of his sister Lady Cawdor. [3] Would you believe it he has never been
at Stackpole.

We were much disappointed on Friday by the non-arrival of Mr
Wilberforce, [4] as I had promised myself much pleasure, even from so
short a visit from such an excellent man. I have been reading some of
his _Views of Christianity_, and tho' I believe it is in some
parts rather methodistical, I think it quite an angelic book. If he
talks as he writes he must be charming.

CANNON HALL _November 28th, 1806._

A most dreadful and fatal accident happened on Tuesday at Woolley [5]
about seven in the Evening. Mrs Fawkes, [6] Mother to Mrs Wentworth,
went to an unfinished window, fell out & was killed on the spot. She
fell eleven yards perpendicular height.

Mr Wentworth, and his brother Mr Armytage, were here. Mrs Wentworth
was not well, & had not accompanied them, therefore she was at home at
the Moment, & poor Mrs Farrer, sister to Mrs Fawkes was actually in
the room. They immediately sent for Mr Wentworth, & you may imagine
the distress in which he left us. Poor Mrs Wentworth had only just
recovered from the shock of her Governess dying after an illness of a
few days.

To turn to a more cheerful subject--as the occupations of this house
interest you, I must describe the present drawing-room trio. Hour
eight; tea ordered; at the top of the table, in a great chair, Anne,
reading the Roman history. At the bottom, Marianne with two folios,
making extracts from Palladio on Architecture. My occupation speaks
for itself. I greatly doubt whether a busier scene could be found at
Oxford at the same hour.

Miss Baker [7] mentions that Yarborough has been ill at Cambridge &
wishes to know whether it arises from their intense studying that the
young men at the Universities are so frequently indisposed.

_Mrs Stanhope to John Spencer-Stanhope._
GROVE, _January 26th, 1807._

We are now returning to town, your father arrived there last Thursday.
The waggon with our goods was overturned twice in going from Cannon
Hall to Wakefield....

This day se'nnight we left home, & called at Woolley, but Mrs
Wentworth was not well enough to see us. Thence we waded through the
worst possible road to Hensworth where we found Sir Francis (Wood)
with the gout and Lady Wood like a Ghoul....

More bad roads to Fryston where we found, including ourselves, a party
of seventeen, three less than was expected, among others Lord and Lady
Galway [8] and two Miss Moncktons.

The noise, riot and confusion of the house I shall not attempt to

On the following day they drove from Fryston to a ball in the
neighbourhood, of which Mrs Stanhope relates:--

We arrived about nine. The ball-room was beautiful. It was hung with
white Calico, with a wreath of evergreens round the top of the room
and festoons from it of the same all round; the only fault was _the
pure white of the Calico made all the ladies look dirty_. There
were 160 or 170 people, many I did not know, many Men, but where the
majority came from I cannot pretend to say; Darlingtons, Ramsdens,
Cookes, Taylors, etc, and our large party the chief from the

The dances were too long and too crowded, which made it not pleasant
for the dancers, but it was a fine ball, upon the whole, but much
inferior in every respect to Kippax.

Your sisters danced a good deal, and both of them with a Bond Street
lounger whose name was Carey. I believed he was rouged. He desired his
hostess to introduce him to a partner, stipulating--"_But let her be
charming!_" and as she had promised Anne, _she_ had the good fortune,
and I suppose he found her what he wished, for he afterwards honoured
Marianne, and they were both vastly amused at his conceit and folly.

Michael Angelo [9] was _superb_. Since the honour the Prince did
him, he has been obliged to part with many of his servants as they
would no longer work.

We arrived at Fryston from the Ball at 1/2 past six, the rest of the
party at 1/2 past seven, when they breakfasted before they went to

The next day was breakfast all the morning long, & very jolly they
were. Miles is as eccentric as ever. So odd a man I never saw.

Of their Yorkshire neighbours who did not live in the immediate vicinity,
the family at Cannon Hall saw but little during the winter months;
therefore, during their journeys to and from town, they invariably took
the opportunity of staying a few nights with those friends whose houses
happened to lie conveniently near the line of route. One of the places
thus constantly visited by them was Fryston, where at this date there
dwelt, with a numerous family, the widow of Richard Slater Milnes,
formerly M.P. for York.

The position of the Milnes in Yorkshire was almost unique. In Wakefield,
during the flight of years, there sprang into prominence certain merchant
princes whose names became household words throughout the county. The
Milnes, Heywoods and Naylors, in turn, rose to affluence; but foremost and
distinct among these remained the Milnes, who from 1670 owned the great
cloth trade of the North, and who, towards the close of the eighteenth
century, were represented by four brothers whose firm had secured a
monopoly of that trade between England and Russia.

These brothers, by reason of their wealth and influence, were received on
terms of intimacy by the older county families. They built themselves each
a substantial house in Wakefield, fashioned out of bricks which they
manufactured and timber which they had imported from Russia, with which
country they were naturally in constant communication in the course of
their business. These houses, which stood close together, facing the main
road through Wakefield, were handsome in construction and luxuriously
furnished; but, by and by, two branches of the family migrated from the
town of their birth; James Milnes built Thornes House, and Richard Slater
Milnes purchased the estate of Fryston, where he took up his residence
about 1790. His new possession was a larger and more comfortable home than
the dwelling he had quitted, and although standing in the centre of the
great West Riding industries, it was beautifully situated on the banks of
the river Aire. Besides extensive gardens and shrubberies, it was
surrounded by a fine park, while adjoining it were miles of beautiful
larch and beech woods. On the death of Richard Slater Milnes it passed
into the possession of his son, Robert Pemberton, who with his brother,
Richard Rodes, were the only two sons in a family of nine children.

The brothers, in some particulars, presented a marked contrast to each
other, though both were fascinating and clever.

Robert Pemberton was extremely eccentric, but brilliant. He was recognised
to be full of promise, and it was anticipated that he would one day make a
considerable stir in the political world. Writing of him many years later,
John Stanhope mentioned the following anecdotes:--

"Mr Milnes of Fryston was one of my earliest friends. After a sharp
contest with Mr Smyth of Heath he was returned for the Borough of
Pontefract. His Maiden speech in Parliament produced a very great
sensation; but a second speech which he made shortly after was considered
as a failure, though Mr Plummer Ward, himself no bad judge, declared it
was superior to the former and spoke highly of it. I rather think that
Milnes terminated it abruptly and was considered to have broken down. He
seems himself to have thought so for he made no further effort, and, soon
after, abandoning all political views, turned his mind entirely to

"At that date Milnes was a wild, unstable creature, at one time devoting
his days and nights to reading; at another giving them up to play; at
another engrossed entirely with shooting; always agreeable, clever and
sarcastick, he was everything by fits but nothing long, yet always dearly
loved by his friends and companions, always a straightforward man, full of
high feeling and honour.

"Perhaps nothing will give a better idea of the wild spirit of his
character than an occurrence that took place in his youthful days. At a
time when Battues and a system of the preservation of game as it is now
carried on in Norfolk were little known in this part of the country, he
undertook the entire management of the game at Fryston, and succeeded in
stocking the Plantations there with abundance of Pheasants. Not content
with giving his orders to the keepers, he used frequently to accompany
them in their nightly watches.

"On one of these occasions they fell in with a party of poachers, who took
to their heels.

"Milnes, who was the foremost in the chace, succeeded in grappling one of
the fugitives. The man struggled on to the brink of a deep quarry and
finding that Milnes did not slacken his grasp, determined to dare the
jump, calculating, as he afterwards confessed, that as his limbs were
strong and well knit, that he should suffer no damage, but that Milnes,
being slight, would break his leg. Milnes, nothing daunted, kept his hold,
and went down with the poacher, whose calculations were reversed, for _he_
broke his legs, and Milnes escaped, comparatively speaking, unscathed."

Rodes Milnes, the younger brother of Pemberton, though gifted with less
natural genius, at first bid fair to be of a more dependable character;
and while his mother retained an interest in the firm of Milnes, Heywood &
Co., he continued to go into Wakefield regularly two or three times a week
to look after the business, driving himself in a phaeton drawn by a pair
of beautiful black ponies. But later he became closely connected with the
turf, and many lively stories are attached to his name. He and Mr Peter of
Stapleton were racing associates, and their stable won the St Leger no
fewer than five times in eight years; he was also a turf comrade of Lord
Glasgow, and after a successful day at York Races, it is said that these
two friends would station themselves at the window of the inn where they
were staying and stop every passenger to insist that he or she should
drink a glass of wine with them.

Rodes Milnes was exceedingly handsome, but later in life became very
stout, after which he used to enjoy the pleasures of sport in a somewhat
original fashion. In the middle of the plantations at Fryston was a mound
on which he used to seat himself in a revolving chair; the keeper would
then beat the neighbouring woods in order to drive the birds in the
direction of the mound, and as they appeared, Rodes Milnes used to spin
round in his chair and take rapid shots at the flying game.

As the Milnes withdrew themselves more and more from their former
business, the Naylors came to the fore. For long this later firm was
represented by two brothers, John and Jeremiah. The former was the
ornamental partner, the latter the useful. John, clad in faultlessly cut
clothes and a carefully powdered wig, was an impressive figure, and was
well supported in his picturesque role by his wife, a handsome and stately
dame. Jeremiah, the working bee, was less polished in manner and more
careless in dress. As Rodes Milnes drove into Wakefield twice a week, so
did Jeremiah Naylor drive into Leeds Market regularly every Tuesday and
Saturday morning, in order to buy white and coloured cloth in its
unfinished state. Thence he would return followed by one or two large
waggons full of the cloth so purchased, which was subsequently finished,
partly at the works of his firm and partly by cloth dressers in the town.
Indeed, Jeremiah, who was noted for his shrewd business capacity and
frugal tendencies, was said to have bought one-third of all the cloth
manufactured in the West Riding.

Only on one occasion is it reported that the shrewd Yorkshireman was
outwitted in a bargain. The story is thus amusingly told by the late Mr
Clarkson of Alverthorpe Hall:--

"Mr Jeremiah Naylor had a favourite mare which used to take him to Leeds
twice a week; but at last, from age, she got past her work, and he
unwillingly consented to sell her. He drove her himself to Doncaster fair,
and early in the day met with a customer; but at a very low price. After
this shabby way of disposing of an old favourite he had to look out for a
successor, and after dinner went again into the fair where, after a
critical search, he saw for sale an animal likely to suit him, which took
his fancy from its resemblance to his old favourite of twenty years
before. The price was a stiff one, but the bargain was concluded at last,
and the new purchase put into the harness, which seemed exactly to fit.

"Mr Naylor was delighted with the pace at which his fresh steed took him
home to Wakefield; but on arriving at his house, was met by his old groom,
who, after scanning the new acquisition, said dryly: 'Well, Sir, you've
brought the old mare back again!' Mr Naylor rather rebuked the man, who
replied by loosening the mare from the harness, when she walked straight
to her own stand in the stable, and doubtless felt there was no place like
home. The poor thing had been cropped and docked and groomed so as
completely to deceive her old master."

As the Naylors waxed in wealth they considered themselves to be the
successful rivals of the former great merchants of Wakefield, the Milnes
and Heywoods, so that it is said a favourite toast of theirs was--"The
Milnes _were_, the Heywoods _are_; and the Naylors _will be_"; a toast
destined never to be realised, for in 1825 the mercantile house of the
Naylors collapsed.

* * * * *

Another Yorkshire neighbour whom the Stanhopes visited at this date was Mr
Beaumont of Whitley Beaumont, [10] and although on this occasion the entry
regarding their visit is scanty, a fuller description of their eccentric
host, written by Marianne the following autumn, may be here inserted:--

_Nov. 14th, 1808._

Last Monday we met the Mills' at Grange, she, delightful as usual. We
returned the next day, and in our road called on Mr Beaumont of

The master of Whitley is a strange creature, half mad. He leads the
life of a hermit, and has not had a brush, painter or carpenter in his
house since he came into possession many, many years ago.

It is more like a haunted house in a romance than anything I ever saw.
He is now an old man, and has never bought a morsel of furniture; half
the house never was finished; one of the staircases has got no
banisters. The stables were burnt down some time ago and have never
yet been rebuilt. The rooms he lives in have not been put to rights
for many years--a description of the things they contain would not be
easy,--hats, wigs, coats, piles of newspapers, magazines and letters,
draughts, bottles, wash-hand basins, pictures without frames, apples,
tallow candles and broken tea-cups.

The whole house looks like a place for lumber. There are some fine
rooms, but so damp and mouldy it is quite shocking. There is a chapel
completely filled with old rubbish and a plaid bed which was put up
for the Pretender.

In the room Mr Beaumont sleeps in I saw his coffin made of cedar wood.
He scarcely ever sees a living creature and quite dislikes the sight
of a woman. He does everything in the room, which no housemaid ever
enters, nor indeed any part of the house.

We saw there Jack Mills, the Democrat, and his little boy who is
christened Alfred Ankerstrom Mirabeau. Ankestrome was the man who
killed the King of Sweden; Mirabeau the chief author of the French
Revolution. He was godfather to this boy. Before you re-instate the
Bourbons, should you not extirpate such a man?

Shortly after the return of the Stanhopes to town in 1807 they entertained
a guest of a very opposite character, but nearly as remarkable for
eccentricity as was the hermit of Whitley. In Walter Stanhope's journal
for January 30th of that year is recorded a dinner party of strangely
incongruous elements. "This night there dined with us Wilberforce,
Wharton, Smedley, Skeffington, Sir Robert Peel and Ward."

John William Ward, afterwards Lord Dudley, was the son of a former
Yorkshire neighbour of the Stanhopes, Julia, second daughter of Godfrey
Bosville of Gunthwaite. As such he was an _habitue_ of their
entertainments both in London and the country, and was much liked by them
in spite of his peculiarities, which occasionally led to most awkward

An exceptionally brilliant man, agreeable, a profound scholar, a witty
_raconteur_ and noted for a remarkable memory, of which several surprising
instances are still recorded, Mr Ward, in common with so many of his
contemporaries, was also a celebrated _gourmet_, and experienced the
popularity of the host who provides dinners of unusual excellence for his
friends. In view of these recommendations, his eccentricities were treated
with leniency by those who suffered from them; none the less, they were
apt to occasion most of his acquaintances, including the Stanhopes,
considerable alarm. For, a singularly absent-minded man, Mr Ward was not
only in the habit of unconsciously uttering aloud his most secret
reflections in a voice which could not fail to reach the ears of those
most concerned, but his often uncomplimentary criticisms were sometimes,
in complete mental aberration, actually addressed to the subject of his
thoughts. At a dinner party this was extremely embarrassing, and when he
was seen, according to his usual habit, to be engaged in stroking his chin
contemplatively, preparatory to giving vent unwittingly to severe
strictures upon his host or his fellow guests, universal uneasiness might
be observed to prevail amongst all present.

Still more, such remarks on his part were apt to be uttered in a fashion
calculated further to upset the gravity of those who overheard them. Even
in ordinary conversation Mr Ward had a curious trick of employing two
voices of a totally different type--one, Marianne Stanhope described as
being drawn from the cellar, the other, as having its origin in more
celestial regions. At one moment he spoke in the deepest bass, and the
next in the highest tenor, these different tones sometimes succeeding each
other with a rapidity which was singularly disconcerting, and which
strangers found so perplexing that it was with difficulty they could
believe two different persons were not addressing them in such varied
notes. Yet, with all this eccentricity, his conversation was so well worth
listening to that the matter and not the manner of it remained in the
minds of his guests. Therefore, it was with universal regret that, during
his later years, and after he had been Foreign Secretary under Lord
Goderich, his friends learnt how his peculiarities had developed into
mania, and how he had been placed under restraint.

Nor was he the only guest destined afterwards to be the victim of a tragic
fate, amongst those present at the dinner party with which Mrs Stanhope
began the season of 1807. Another man, then in the heyday of popularity
and fame, was doomed to a yet sadder close to his meteoric career.

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