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CONTENTS OF THE FIRST VOLUME.
A Scene after the Storming of Badajos 7 The Siege of Badajos
Sir Cloudesley Shovel
ib. | Boasting of Kinsfolk
The Battle of Trafalgar (continued from p. 7.) 21 The Mutiny at Vellore
Biographical Sketch of Earl Howe
A Sailor's Pun
Henry and Maria; a Tale of the Peninsular The Horrors of War .
The Deserted Wife; a Faithful Narrative 59 off Camperdown
Biographical Sketch of Lieut.-Gen. Sir T. Sir Sidney Smith
Origin of being sent to Coventry
at the Battle of Waterloo.
84 English Resolution
Wonderful Escape of an Oficer, lost in the The Scar over the Forehead
Wilds of Caffraria
85 The Spirit moved .
87 The Battle of the Nile
Disasterat from Moscow
. 2 Example of British Courage and Seamanship ib.
Rodney's Defeat of De Grasse
A Bagpiper of the 78th Regiment
Loss of the Apollo Frigate
305 Will Block; a true Tale
THE EARLY LIFE AND SERVICES
WILLIAM THE FOURTH.
To her navy has Great Britain been pre-eminently indebted for her place among the political nations of the earth. Her insular position, her commercial genius, and her early and long attachment to the enterprises of navigation, all point out her navy as her appropriate defence, and the peculiar bulwark of her national glory. From the day when the hopes of Rome, and the ambition of Philip, were scattered by the thunders that strewed her insulted shores with the wreck of the invincible Armada, down to the extinction of the naval power of France and Spain, at the battle of Trafalgar, her maritime records contain a series of daring and brilliant achievements, of which the world affords no previous example. British sailors only ceased to fight when they ceased to have enemies to conquernot a fleet remained in Europe to contend with them the dominion of the seas; and Nelson had the glory, in the hour of death, to see the flag of a thousand battles float in undisputed sovereignty over the ocean.
That that naval superiority, and the heroism which inspired it, ought to be cherished with peculiar care by a people who owe more to the prowess of their fleets than any other people that ever existed, none will deny. With this feeling we have placed as a frontispiece to this volume a portrait of our revered King, with a memoir of his early life and services; and long, long may it be ere it shall devolve upon the historian to give to the world a consummated history of the life of one who is, in every sense, so dear to the British people.
WILLIAM HENRY is the third son of George the Third, who at a very early age destined the prince for the naval service. His present Majesty was born on the 21st of August, 1765, and was created, in 1789, Duke of Clarence and St. Andrews, and Earl of Munster. He was, in early life, remarkable for frankness and resolution, combined with great activity, and a robust frame. His manners and personal appearance, even in childhood, were much in his favour; he was athletic, well proportioned, and possessed a very agreeable countenance; and, as the developement of his mind progressed, his humour was rich and pleasant, his temper equal, and his demeanour plain and affectionate. There was no indication of pride of birth or of prospects, and upon all occasions he exhibited a determination to act like a sailor, and to maintain that character as a distinctive feature of his life.
From the first moment that the intention of his royal father was made known, Prince William Henry manifested the strongest desire and aptitude to devote himself to the profession of the navy; and throughout his career
he never showed the slightest aberration in his course, but continued steadily attached to that profession which is so peculiarly adapted to the genius and taste of Britons.
Among the anecdotes which are told of the prince's boyhood, there is one peculiarly expressive of his character and early attachment to the sea. The three brothers, George, Frederick, and William, received a weekly stipend from the hands of their royal mother, which they were at liberty to expend agreeably to their several tastes or inclinations—a mode well calculated to illustrate the tendency of individual genius. At four years of age, Prince William purchased a ship-perhaps the first act of free-will he exercised—and for some time he scrupulously appropriated his weekly allowance to the necessary completion of the embellishment, rigging, and furnishing of his vessel. When the gallant craft was deemed sea-worthy, the prince's maiden experiment in navigation was appointed to take place in a large swimming-bath at Kew Palace, and the Prince of Wales and the Bishop of Osnaburg (afterwards Duke of York), were invited to be present. When the ship was fairly launched on the miniature waters, Prince William, with an enthusiasm natural to his zest for the exhibition, expatiated with childish fondness upon certain parts of the nautical arrangements, and a slight contention, originating in some puerile difference of opinion, gradually arose between the brothers. As the dispute increased, the Prince of Wales haughtily reminded his younger brother, that, however assured he might be of the correctness of his assertions, he should at least utter them with more temperance before his future sovereign. Well, George,” retorted the young sailor, the blood mounting to his cheeks, who knows but I may be king as well as you; I'm sure I look as like a king as Frederick does a bishop. And if I ever should become a king, I'll have a house full of ships, and no other king shall dare to take them from me!”
Mrs. Chapone, niece to Dr. Thomas, Bishop of Winchester, says, when he was a child, His conversation was surprisingly manly and clever for his age; yet, with the young Bullers, he was quite the boy, and said to John Buller, by way of encouraging him to talk, · Come, we are both boys,
The evenness of his temper and the humanity of his nature, may be traced from childhood up to the present moment.
At the age of fourteen, William Henry was entered as a midshipman on board the Prince George, a new ship of ninety-eight guns, commanded by Admiral Digby. At this period of history the war with America raged with violence; the times were momentous, and fertile in warlike action. Our royal hero was, therefore, from the beginning, entered into active service, and was brought into immediate collision with the enemies of his country.
In 1780, the Prince George joined Admiral Rodney, when the royal midshipman had the satisfaction to be present at the capture of the Caraccas fleet. The Spanish admiral was introduced to the prince; but, during the conference between the two admirals, he withdrew; and when it was intimated that Don Juan Langara wished to return to his ship, the prince appeared in his uniform, and respectfully informed the admiral that the boat was ready. The Spaniard was surprised to see the son of his Britannic Majesty acting in the capacity of an inferior officer, and emphatically observed to Admiral Digby, “Well does Great Britain merit the empire of the seas, when the humble stations in her navy are filled by princes of the blood.”
As Admiral Digby was personally responsible for the care and well-being of his royal pupil, he naturally restrained his conversational intercourse within a certain limit; not so much as to curtail his freedom, but sufficient to preserve him from the moral dangers that frequently assail a young officer on ship-board. Some few escapades were unavoidable, and perhaps acted with a wholesome influence upon the mind of the prince. On one occasion, he and a brother middy had a quarrel upon the deck, the latter exclaiming, Only for your being a prince, I would give you a good thrashing." The former immediately tore off his jacket, which bore some distinguishing mark or ornament of lace on its collar, and replied, You give me a thrashing !” At the same moment throwing aside his jacket, he continued, “ There goes the prince—now then, try!” The combatants thereupon closed, when a few hard knocks were given and received ; but some officers, who objected to their mode of settling the argument, interfered, and separated them. Blood was lost, but no honour on either side ; and the opponents were subsequently better friends than before.
At a later period, a duel between Prince William Henry and a brother officer was prevented by the discovery that the cause of the supposed offence given by the former was, in reality, an act of generous interference with the Admiralty, to save the gentleman who challenged him from the consequences of a youthful error.
The following anecdote is characteristic of the King's reminiscences :A short time since, when the King had a dinner party, some of the company near him were speculating on the age of one of the oldest admirals on the list, who was sitting at the other end of the table. One of the company guessing him at a certain age, Oh,” said his Majesty,“ he must be more than that;” and then glancing down the table at the subject of the conversation, “ Let me see,” he continued, “it is now two-and-forty years since he mast-headed me one cold winter's night in the Channel ; and I recollect,” he added, " that I richly deserved it.”
There is no trait in the character of his present Majesty (one which has attended him through life) more conspicuous than that of humanity; which the following letter from a midshipman of the Torbay, dated April, 1783, fully illustrates :
“ Port Royal Harbour. “ The last time Lord Hood's fleet were here, a court-martial was held on Mr. B. Lee, midshipman, for disrespect to a superior officer, at which Lord Hood sat as president. The determination of the court was fatal to the prisoner, and he was condemned to death. Deeply affected as we all were at the dreadful sentence, we knew not how to obtain a mitigation of it, since Mr. Lee was ordered for execution, while we had not time to make an appeal to the Admiralty, and despaired of success in a petition to Admiral Rowley. However, His Royal Highness generously stepped forward, and drew up a petition, to which he first set his own name, and solicited the rest of the midshipmen to follow his example. He then himself carried the petition to Admiral Rowley, and in the most pressing and urgent manner, begged the life of our unhappy brother ; in which he succeeded, and Mr. Lee is released. We all acknowledge our warmest and most grateful thanks to our humane, our brave and worthy prince, who has so nobly exerted himself in preserving the life of his brother sailor.”
In the same year the prince, then a midshipman, was at Cape François, and the Havannah, where he again displayed the hunanity of his nature.