and Russia, attacking England sepa- inflates French failure into victory. rately, must be ultimately beaten. He writes with the calmness of a man America, even if she were a more in search of the truth; judges with formidable opponent than either, will every visible intention of impartiality; also be beaten, and for the same rea- examines the private documents of the A fleet is not essential to her; transactions; and pronounces a judg the undivided force of the States will ment which, though obviously and never be applied to her navy. The essentially French, is perhaps as national strength will be expanded honest an effort in pursuit of the over inland conquest; the sea-coast reality of things, as is compatible towns will be rapidly reduced to insig- with the nature of our clever and nificance by the superiority of the lively libellers on the other side of the great inland settlements; and the Channel. time will come, when the cities of New York, Philadelphia, and Boston, will have no more weight with the inland powers of Louisiana and the prairies, than Brighton or Broadstairs have with the power of London. They will be watering places, or, at best, warehousing places, and will be no more able to keep up a navy, than the Isle of Thanet would be able to keep up the Channel fleet. All this, however, tends only to show, that a fleet is the supreme instrument of British dominion; and that its strength, its skill, and its discipline, should employ the utmost activity, liberality, and vigilance of every Cabinet which desires to do its duty to the empire.

We now proceed to give some account of the interesting and intelligent work of which Captain Plunket has supplied the translation, accompanied with valuable explanatory notes of his own.

Some time since, there appeared in the well-known Parisian Revue des deux Mondes, articles on the English and French naval systems, by a French officer, Captain de la Gravière. The object of those papers was less to give a history of the naval war, than to ascertain the causes of that almost unbroken series of triumphs which made the fame of the British fleet; and, on the other hand, which ultimately extinguished the fleet of a nation so brave, ambitious, and enterprising as the French.

M. de la Gravière, to his credit, had not followed the usual " perfide Albion" style of the French journalists, nor exhibited that jesuitical evasion of fact, and the perpetual peevishness against England, which marks and disgraces French history. He never sinks English success into failure, or

Those volumes begin by some striking remarks of Napoleon at St. Helena. This extraordinary man never spoke of his defeat at Acre in 1799 but with bitter regret. He declared that it was his intention, had he taken that fortress, to have marched to Constantinople at the head of the tribes of Mount Lebanon, or to have followed the steps of Alexander to the Indus. His repulse from Acre, he always said, "marred his destiny."


All this verbiage of the great Captain, however, has been sufficiently exposed by the actual event. could no more have marched to Constantinople than he could have marched to the Indus, nor have marched to the Indus more than he could have marched to the Pole star. With but 40,000 men (the whole number which landed in Egypt), it would have been utterly impossible for him to have carried a force through Syria and Asia Minor equal to the attack on Constantinopleeven if the Russians were not at hand. The march to the Indus would have lain through the deserts of Arabia and Persia, and have stripped him down to a corporal's guard before he had got half-way. A French foot would never have been dipped in that farfamed river, which is now a British Canal. The tribes of Lebanon would no more have recruited his ranks, than they would have given him their sequins. His destiny lay in another direction. No man knew this better; and doubtless he rejoiced, when he found himself on board the frigate carrying him westward, and relieving him of the "glory" of being slaughtered by the Arabs and embalmed by the sands.

But the

inveterate hostility of


that of Jervis; the third, (from 1798 to 1805) belonging to Nelson, without an equal, without even a competitor-the most glorious series of successes ever won on the ocean.

Napoleon seemed to rage against of Hotham and Bridport; the second, England, with the ravening of a mad dog, who dies biting the club which has laid him on the ground. All his anti-English policy was a succession of gross and ruinous blunders. assail England without a fleet was naturally impossible. To form a fleet for the purpose of assailing her was, therefore, always a new temptation. If, after the First of June, which destroyed the Channel fleet of France, and the burning of the arsenals of Toulon, which destroyed her Mediterranean fleet, France had never built another vessel beyond the tonnage of a coaster, she would have shown her good sense. But Napoleon, when in the plenitude of power, went on building huge vessels, only to see them sent into English ports.

The waste of time, waste of thought, and waste of money, on those projects of English invasion, were among the most capital faults of his extravagant career. He might have made France the great corn country, or the great garden of Europe, with half the sums which he threw away only to be beaten. His fifty ships of the line which were to sweep the Channel, in the absence of our fleet-his one hundred and twenty thousand men on the shore of Boulogne-all only enhanced the naval glory of the great commander; who, after pursuing the French flying squadron of eighteen great ships, with ten, to the West Indies, finished in one day the naval war, extinguished the existence of the French and Spanish navies, and crowned his own gallant career.

The impolicy of these attempts was equally exhibited in another form they stimulated at once the power and the spirit of England. The monotony of a war of defence would have disgusted the gallantry of the nation, but the victories of the British navy continually cheered the people under the burdens of the war. What minister could have dared to propose a "compromising" peace, on the day after the battle of the Nile? What minister would have dared to propose any peace on the day after Trafalgar The war, too, broke down more than the French fleet-it buried the Opposition. The French author divides his history into three periods-the first that of the battles of Howe and Hood,

The true definition of these volumes is, in fact, a "Life of Nelson"-a hurried, but clear and animated memoir, on a subject which can never be too often repeated to the ear or the heart of Englishmen; but a subject which is here coloured with the inevitable, and yet not unamusing, prejudices of a Frenchman and an enemy. He admits Nelson to have been a naval hero, while he labours to show that his chief successes arose from a lofty disregard of circumstances, a native contempt of rule, a transcendental rashness, which, continually exposing him to the chance of utter ruin, strangely always issued in victory. But those views are wholly imaginary. It is the foreign habit, to be perpetually in pursuit of astonishment; to think nothing meritorious which is not magical; and to carry into the greatest and gravest operations of public life the passion for the harlequinades of the theatre. The supremacy of

Nelson arose from the more substantial grounds, of a thorough knowledge of his profession, of a strict deference for discipline, and a sort of instinctive and unhesitating determination to do the work set before him, with all the powers of his mind and frame. He, of course, possessed personal intrepidity in the most complete degree; but this amounted simply to the exposure of his life on all occasions where duty was to be done. Nelson was no fire-eater- no man of quarrel. We are not aware that he ever fought a duel. But he knew what was due to himself as much as any man-a fact shown by his answer to the Governor of Jamaica, who, having, on some remonstrances to him, rather haughtily observed, "that old generals were not accustomed to take advice from young captains." Nelson retorted by letter"That he was of the same age as the prime minister of England (Pitt), and that he thought himself as capable of commanding one of his Majesty's ships, as the premier was of governing the state."

But Nelson could not have gained

his glories alone: he made his cap. tains like himself; and every sailor in his fleet was ready to die along with him. His art in this was the simple one of justice. He acknowledged every man's merit. The officer who distinguished himself, was sure of receiving due honour from Nelson; promotion was regulated by service, and every brave man was confident in the recommendation of the admiral. He was also a kind man by nature: he hated punishment on board; he spoke good-naturedly to the sailors; he even gave way to any peculiarity which was not injurious to discipline. Some of his crew had become Methodists, and, offended with the general coarse conversation of the ship, desired to have their mess separate. Nelson immediately gave the required permission. The hearts of men naturally follow such a leader.

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It contains the whole theory of British battle. His I can see no signal," when he was told that Admiral Parker had made the signal for retiring at Copenhagen, would have been immor. talized, with the act which accompa nied it, among the most brilliant " sayings and doings" of ancient Greece. But his last and well-known signal at Trafalgar surpassed all the rest, as much as the triumph surpassed these triumphs. The addresses of Napoleon to his armies were unquestionably fine performances. They spoke to the Frenchman by his feelings, his recollections, his personal pride, and his national renown. But, with the animation of the trumpet, they had its sternness and harshness. They were invocations to the French idol, that was to be worshipped only with perpetual blood. But the signal at Trafalgar recalled the Englishman only to the feelings of home. The voice of war never spoke a language more capable of being combined with all the purposes of peace. England expects every man to do his duty" was fitted to bring before the Englishman the memory of his country, his home, his wife and children, all who might feel concerned in his conduct and character in the proud transactions of that great day. We think it the noblest appeal to national feeling ever made by a warrior to warriors.

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He had also the powerful sagacity which insures confidence; and no man doubted that, when Nelson commanded, he was leading to victory. He was, besides, a master of his profession -all his battles were the finest lessons of the tactician. He was never outmanœuvred; he was never surprised; he was never even thrown into any difficulty, for which he had not a ready resource. The Nelson touch' became proverbial; and the variety, completeness, and brilliancy of his plans for action sometimes excited the most Yet, what was the especial secret of extraordinary_emotion, even to tears, that supreme rank which Nelson held among his officers. Something of this over all the naval leaders of his time? kind is said to have occurred on the final Others may have been as intelligent, summoning of his captains into the and indefatigable, and, it is to be cabin of the Victory, and laying before hoped, all were as brave. The secret them his plan for the battle of Trafalgar, was-that Nelson was never satisfied Nelson had also the power, perhaps with what he had done, and that he the most characteristic of genius, of never half did anything. There was throwing his thought into those no "drawn battle" among his recolshapes of vividness which penetrate at lections. This is the more remarkable, once to the understanding. When, on as, for fifty years before, nearly all our steering down for the French line at naval battles had been drawn battles. Aboukir, some one observed to him Rodney's defeat of de Grasse was the that the enemy were anchored too great exception. British admirals, who near the shore, for the British to were afraid of nothing else, were pass within them;" Where a French afraid of losing their masts! and were ship can swing, a British ship can content with knocking down those of anchor," was his decisive reply; and the enemy. Great fleets met each he instantly rushed in, and placed the other, passed in parallel lines, fired French line between two fires. An- their broadsides as they passed, one other of those noble maxims was- to the north and the other to the "The captain cannot be wrong, who south. They might as well have been lays his ship alongside the enemy." firing salutes. The wind soon carried

them out of sight of each other; the admirals sat down in their cabins to write their respective histories of "the battle," which would have been only too much honoured by being called a brush; and the fleets went by mutual consent into harbour. In this sort of War! the French were as clever as we; and the Suffreins, di Guichens, d'Estaings, and Villeneuves, made their fame on this system of cannonading a mile off, and getting out of the way as quickly as possible.

Rodney first spoiled the etiquette of those affairs, by driving straight forward through the enemy's line, changing the easy parallel for the fighting perpendicular, and compelling at least one-half of the Frenchmen to come to close quarters. This was the method of Jervis, when his captain told him, that the fleet on which he was bearing down in the morning twilight were at least twenty. "If they were fifty," said the brave sailor," I'll drive through them." He drove through them accordingly, and beat the Spaniards, with half their numbers.

Wellington observed, in the Peninsula, that the generals commanding under him were afraid of nothing but responsibility. This fear arose from the ignorant insolence, with which the loungers of the legislature were in the habit of fighting campaigns over their coffee-cups. It is to be hoped that the fashion has since changed. But Wellington demurred to the authority, and Nelson seemed not to have thought of its existence. They both supplied the sufficient answer to the home compaigners, by beating the enemy wherever they met him.

We find a striking evidence of the hatred of "doing well enough" in one of Nelson's letters to his wife, on Hotham's battle with the French, under Martin, off Genoa, in 1795. Hotham was one of the old school, and though, in two awkward engagements, he had taken two of the French line, while a third had been burned, Nelson was indignant that the whole French fleet had not been captured. He had urged the admiral to leave the disabled ships in charge of the frigates, and chase the French. "But," says the letter, "he, much cooler than myself, said, we must be

contented-we have done very well." Nelson's evidently disgusted remark on this species of contentment is"Had we taken ten sail, and suffered the eleventh to escape, when we could have got at her, I could never have called it well done." In another part he says, "I wish to be an admiral, and in command of the British fleet. I should very soon do much, or be ruined. My disposition cannot bear tame and slow measures. Sure I am, that, had I commanded our fleet on the 14th, the whole French fleet would have graced our triumph, or I should have been in a confounded scrape." This was the language which, like the impulse of a powerful instinct, predicted the days of Aboukir, Copenhagen, and Trafalgar.

But the drag-chain on the progress of British intrepidity was at length to be taken off. Hotham was succeeded by Jervis. This eminent officer instantly reformed the whole condition of the Mediterranean fleet. He had evidently adopted the same conception of naval merit, which Nelson had so long kept before his eye. In selecting him for the command of the squadron sent to the Nile, Jervis wrote to the admiralty; Nelson is an officer, who, whatever you bid him do, is sure to do more." And, in this spirit, Nelson was not content with running to Alexandria, and returning to say, that he found no one there; his resolve was, to find the French wherever they were, and fight them wherever they were found.

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One word still for gallant old Jervis, the man who first confirmed the discipline of the navy. His firmness was the secret. When the Irish conspirators on board the Channel fleet had spread the spirit of mutiny in 1797, Jervis was warned from the admiralty that his fleet was in danger. It was suggested to him by some of his officers, to stop the letters from home:

No," said he, "the precaution is useless: 1 will answer for it that the commander-in-chief of this fleet will know how to maintain his authority, if it is threatened."

But he left nothing to chance; he prohibited communication between the hips he sent for the captains of marines, and ordered that their men should mess and sleep separately from

them; and, by thus ridding his fleet of a nest of villains, saved it from destruction, and perhaps, with it, saved not merely the lives of thou sands of brave men, whom their impunity might have debauched into conspiracy, but saved the honour of our naval name, and restored the enfeebled hopes of his country.

the sailors; that the sailors should not their wives and children, hanged be suffered to converse in Irish, and that the officers should be on the alert. He hanged the detected mutineers without delay. Forgiveness was out of the question. To Captain Pellew, who had interceded in favour of a mutineer, whose conduct had pre viously been irreproachable, he replied, "We have, we think, punished only the worthless. It is time, that our men should learn, that no past conduct can redeem an act of treason."

Nothing could be more rational, or even more necessary, than this determination; for treason is the most comprehensive of all crimes. The mere robber, or murderer, commits his single act of guilt-but the guilt of the traitor may cost the lives of thousands. The traitor is never to be regarded as a solitary criminal, and this maxim was never more necessary than at this moment. If laws are to be turned into sentimentality, and conspiracy is to be dealt with like the tricks of children, there must be an end of all security to honest men. If the villains who have been lately in flaming the Irish mind into madness, had been hanged by the sentence of the drum-head, within half an hour after their seizure, there would have been no necessity, at this moment, for keeping up a garrison of 45,000 men in Ireland. Martial law is the only law fit for the ruffians of the torch and pike, and the gibbet is the only moral which they will ever comprehend. To suppose that the Irish conspirators had ever entertained the expectation of forming an established government, or of being suffered by England to raise a republic-or that any man out of Bedlam could have dreamt of the possibility of waging a successful war against England, while her fleets might starve Ireland in a week, and nothing but English alms even now enables her to live-would be absolute folly. The true object of Irish conspiracy was, and is, and will always be, robbery and revenge; a short burst of rapine and blood, followed by again running away, again begging pardon, again living on alms, and again laughing at the weak indulgence and insulted clemency of England. Jervis, instead of listening to the cant of men of blood whining about


We here quote with pleasure from the Frenchman :- Jervis, in the face of those symptoms, which threatened the British navy with disaffection, sternly devoted himself to the establishment of implicit obedience. The efficient organization of the fleet was the labour of his life, and occupied his latest thoughts. Never rash himself, he nevertheless opened the way for the most daring deeds. Nel. son rushed into the arena, and, with the rapidity of lightning, showed the latent results of the change. The governing principle witnessed, rather than decreed the change. Its source, in fact, was not in the Admiralty, but in those floating camps, wherein the triumphs which astonish us are gradually elaborated. Official power

is but the inert crucible which transmutes the subsidies of Parliament into ships. But a quickening principle is wanting to those immense fleets, and the admirals supply it. Jervis and Nelson rapidly transmitted the creative spark, and bequeathed a certain sort of sovereignty under the distrustful eye of the English Admiralty-a kind of dynasty arosethe mayors of the palace took the sceptre from the do-nothing kings." "*

All this is comparatively just. But the Frenchman peeps out under the panegyrist, after all. Can it be conceived that any other human being, at the end of nearly half a century, would quote, with the slightest degree of approval, the report of Decrès, the French minister of the marine to Napoleon, in 1805, after all Nelson's victories, and just preceding the most illustrious of them all-Trafalgar?

"The boasting of Nelson," writes Decrès, "equals his silliness (ineptie), I use the proper word. But he has

one eminent quality-namely, that of aiming among his captains only at a character for bravery and good fortune. This makes him acces

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