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entire scope of his adored admiral's design for the attack, he exclaimed, in an extacy—“If we succeed, “ what will the world say?"_" There is no if in the " case,”: coolly replied the admiral: “ that we shall “ succeed, is certain; who may live to tell the story, “ is a very different question!” So positive was this great man of success, even before the battle commenced.
Though Lord Nelson had hitherto failed in taking the fugitive ships from Egypt, and the transports were not yet destroyed at Alexandria; he never relinquished the idea that some of his “ band of bro-“thers,” the heroic captains of the Nile, might finally fall in with, and either take or destroy, the two line of battle ships, and two frigates, which had alone escaped, and thus complete the destruction of all the ships of war. Nor had the comprehensive mind of our hero limited it's hope to these alone: he trusted that some of his brave band would at least assist in effecting the destruction of the transports; as well as in preventing every remaining Frenchman, who had been landed in Egypt, from ever returning to France. For this purpose, he had not only left . Captain Hood on the coast; but solicited, both at home, and of our allies, the requisite bomb-vessels, &c. by repeated most urgent . epistles
At length, the necessary preparations had been made, and dispatched from England, under the command of Sir William Sidney Smith, brother of the
English minister, Mr. Spencer Smith, at the Ottoman court. The high character of Sir Sidney Smith-as he is usually called—for intrepid gallantry, as well as for incomparable dexterity and address in that species of naval exploit which may be denominated incendiary warfare, seemed to justify sufficiently the judgment of the Admiralty in selecting a character so respectably enterprising for this service, and the measure was certainly extremely popular at home. Every thing, indeed, was expected from Sir Sidney Smith's ability: and truth requires the acknowledgment, that neither government, nor the people, were finally disappointed; as the history of the siege of Acre, where he commanded on shore, and fairly defeated Bonaparte, will for ever afford a most satisfactory and substantial proof.
A very obvious consequence, however, attended this appointment; which, strange as it may seem, undoubtedly escaped the attention of the Admiralty, as well as of the country at large: the former of whom, it is certain, would not have adopted, nor the latter have applauded, any act which they had foreseen could be liable to hurt the feelings of their chief favourite, the gallant hero of the Nile.
Not only did this measure introduce a new British hero to assist in the full accomplishment of the business originally committed, by the Earl of St. Vincent, to Admiral Nelson; appearing, to his lordship’s exquisite feelings, an implied defectiveness in his noble, band of brothers for the completion of the enterprise: but, by the circumstance of Sir Sidney Smith's authorization to take under his command Captain Hood, and the ships left with him in Egypt, Lord Nelson felt himself deprived of a part of his squadron, in favour of a junior officer, who would consequently be placed above his brave friends. j
The day after leaving Naples, his lordship had received dispatches from Sir Sidney Smith, then off Malta, in his way to Egypt, apprizing him of these intentions; and, on the 27th, at Palermo, others from the Earl of St. Vincent, who does not appear to have been previously consulted, respecting the appointment of Sir Sidney Smith. It is probable, therefore, that the noble earl might participate with his gallant friend in the unpleasant feelings thus excited. Unfortunately, too, Sir Sidney had written, about this period, to our hero's friend, Sir William Hamilton; in terms, as it should seem, of insufficient caution: originating, perhaps, merely in the ebullitions of an honest overflowing heart, alive to it's own importance. Be this as it may, that of Lord Nelson was fired with an indignation, which he thus vehemently expresses to his commander in chief.
“ MY DEAR LORD, « Palermo, 31st Dec. 1798.
“I do feel, for I am man, that it is impossible for me to serve in those seas, with a squadron under a junior officer. Could I have thought it; and, from Earl Spencer ? Never, never was I so astonished, as your letter made me. As soon as I can get hold of Troubridge, I shall send him to Egypt, to endeavour to destroy the ships in Alexandria. If it can be done, Troubridge will do it. The Swedish knight writes Sir William Hamilton, that he shall go to Egypt, and take Captain Hood, and his squadron, under his command. The knight forgets the respect due to his superior officer. He has no orders from you, to take my ships away from my command: but, it is all of a piece. Is it to be borne ? Pray, grant me your permission to retire; and, I hope, the Vanguard will be allowed to convey me, and my friends Sir William and Lady Hamilton, to England. God bless you, my dear lord ! and believe me, your affectionate friend,
“ Nelson.” “ Earl of St. Vincent.”
His lordship now, certainly, had it in contemplation to retire, as expressed in the above letter. He even went so far, as to request the Earl of St. Vincent's permission, that he might leave the command to his gallant and most excellent second, Captain Troubridge, or some other of his brave friends who so gloriously fought at the battle of the Nile—if his health and uneasiness of mind should not be mended. In the mean time, he resolved to send Captain Troubridge to Egypt, as he had before intended, that he might endeavour to destroy the transports in Alexandria; after which,
he was now to deliver up the Levant Seas to the care of Sir Sidney Smith.
Piqued as Lord Nelson evidently was, on this occasion, by what he felt as the obtrusion of Sir Sidney Smith, to the exclusion of his favourite band of brothers, he nevertheless wished him all possible success, and readily yielded him every requisite assistance in his power. At the same time, with abundant address, his lordship selected, from the dispatches which had been transmitted to him, an extract from Lord Grenville's instructions, which he transcribed into the following letter to Sir Sidney Smith, as a gentle hint that this officer's authority was not wholly without restriction.
“ Palermo, Dec. 31, 1798. “I HAVE been honoured with your letter from off Malta, with it's several inclosures : : viz. An extract of a letter from Lord Grenville to John Spencer Smith, Esq. &c.—“ And his majesty “ has been graciously pleased to direct, that your “ brother, Sir Sidney Smith, shall proceed to Con“stantinople with the eighty-gun ship Le Tigre. “ His instructions will enable him to take the com" mand of such of his majesty's ships as he may " find in those seas-unless, by any unforeseen “ accident, it should happen that there should be,
among them, any of his majesty's officers of “ superior rank; and he will be directed to act " with such force, in conjunction with the Russian