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In the December number of history as it is a tribute to the • Blackwood’ there appeared a memory of one who, like Henry brilliant article from the pen of Lawrence, was essentially a Sir Henry Brackenbury, him
“ tried to do his self soldier of mean duty.” Writing as I do, as eminence, setting forth the a naval officer and not as soldierly virtues and heroic professional critic, I
critic, I cannot deeds of Stonewall Jackson. undertake to lay down the The book that was the subject law as to whether Captain of Sir Henry's review was not Eardley-Wilmot's book is a litonly the biography of a soldier, erary success; but this I would but was written by a colonel in say to all those who are inthe army, who is at the same terested in the sea-power of our time a Professor of Military empire, read the book, and you Art and History at the Staff will get a clearer idea of the College. In such matters the kind of men upon whom under army is far ahead of the navy. God the wealth, peace, and It is not so much that there are safety of
empire does numbers of men in the army mainly depend.
For it has who can wield the
with been well said that amidst the grace and facility that few extraordinary changes which naval men possess; but the fighting ships and their navy itself scarcely recognises weapons have undergone withyet that there is such a thing in the last half-century, it is as naval history, or that the art a most remarkable fact that of naval war needs close and the men remain in all essentials earnest study by those who much what they were. It is hope to shine in their country's true that the modern seaman service. But in these last days knows more about hydraulic a change is becoming apparent buffers, and the latest dodge in Not only has that brilliant cam - levers, than he does of luminary Captain Mahan light- reefing a topsail or furling a ened the darkness with his clear topgallant sail in a breeze ; and terse writings, which even but at bottom he is much the the man in the street reads with same man,
—more self-controlled interest, and enters into the certainly, but the same cheerspirit of; but many others are ful, tireless, intrepid, resourceful following in his footsteps, and Jack Tar that he was of old. . the booki now before me is quite Before opening the book I as much a contribution to naval have a word to say to Captain
1 Life of Vice-Admiral Edmund, Lord Lyons, G.C.B., &c., with an Account of Naval Operations in the Black Sea and Sea of Azoff, 1854-56. By Captain S. Eardley-Wilmot, R.N. London: Sampson Low, Marston, & Co.
Eardley - Wilmot or his pub- his first start in the Service, lisher. Why make the book and had him entered in his so heavy? It surely is not cousin's ship, the Maidstone necessary that every naval frigate, at eleven years of age, book should come up to the just after the peace of Amiens weight of a 3-pounder shell! was signed. The Maidstone I know that there is good, or lay at Portsmouth for three shall I say weighty, precedent months getting her crew on for this procedure; am I not board, and we gain a little myself the happy possessor of insight into the kind of traina volume of Colomb’s ‘Naval ing that turned out the gallant Warfare,' which was considered and talented officer and accomby its purchaser too ponderous plished diplomatist that Lyons for a sea-going bookshelf? But afterwards became. . Captain surely it should be possible to Moubray, besides being captain cut down the displacement of of a frigate, was also practian interesting book like this, cally the head - master of a so that it can be read with school for young officers, his comfort when resting in an under-masters being the gunarm - chair during the watch ner, the carpenter, besides the below. Captain Eardley - Wil- clerk, who, young Lyons writes, mot does not profess to find “teaches us to read, write, sum, anything of the genius or of and spell.” The boy's letters the hero in Lord Lyons; his are naïve :book is rather the plain nar
“Captain Moubray intends taking rative of the life of a man who
me and some more of the younkers was born in stirring times, and in his cabin to teach us arithmetic who lived to be Naval Com- till he gets a schoolmaster. There mander-in-Chief in the Medi
were four more men hung on board terranean in time of war, and
some of the ships here yesterday.” though never called upon for The “four more great deeds, showed readiness gling at the yard-arm, and this and capacity in all that he at home in time of peace, was undertook.
a stern object - lesson for the Lyons was born in 1790, of younker, demonstrating forca good stock; his father owned ibly that discipline must be property both in Antigua and maintained. Before starting in Hampshire, and had lived for the Mediterranean the little in both places. It was at the boy of eleven writes, “I beg home in England that Lyons you will send me some money, was born. Being the fifth of as I have a great many things sixteen children, he had to push to buy." How far his bearhis own way without much leader the gunner, with whom help from home: he was, how- he was as happy as a king,” ever, the fortunate possessor of helped him in these purchases a childless godfather in Admiral we are not told.
He has, too, -then Captain-Sir Richard to exercise discrimination as to Bickerton, who gave the lad his messmates, for in those days
the youngsters were commonly intrusted her boy to some capin separate messes, not, as now, tain's care never saw him again. all messing together in the gun On arriving in the Mediter
So young Lyons writes ranean Lyons found the station to his mother :-
temporarily in command of his
godfather, Bickerton, and the “There are a great many wicked lad fared well and made friends. boys in this ship, but I do not associate with them. There is one
When he had been afloat some little boy about my age, who is a eighteen months war broke out very good-natured gentlemanly lad. again, and the crew of the There are likewise two or three Maidstone were turned over to young men who I associate with and like very much."
the Active, a larger frigate,
which ship was sent to watch The boy was anything but a Toulon under Nelson's orders, prig, and he was doubtless lay- he having come out as ing the foundation of a high mander-in-chief. Most unforcharacter in keeping clear of tunately, no letters are extant the “wicked boys.”
to tell us of the next two years, Later on, when Lyons is a which were spent at sea, always mid. of sixteen, we get another at sea, in fair weather or foul, glimpse of a man-of-war as watching first Latouche - Tréa training - school for young ville and then Villeneuve with gentlemen. This time it is the his growing force which never line-of-battle ship Ajax, under would put to sea. Captain Nelson's celebrated frigate cap- Eardley-Wilmot speaks of “the tain, Blackwood. The ship was excitement of blockading work.” unfortunately burnt at anchor As a matter of fact, there was off the Dardanelles, the fire little more excitement about it spreading with such rapidity than there is in a long and that in a few minutes, almost dreary night-watch. The weabefore the boats from other ther was often terrible, the ships could reach her, she was ships old and rotten, with crazy a mass of flames fore and aft. masts, threadbare sails, and no No less than 270 men perished. supplies of spare gear to fall Lyons tells his mother : “Cap- back upon. The Active, Phoebe, tain Blackwood had thirty little and Seahorse were the only mids. under his care, from the frigates which could be spared age of eleven to fifteen years. to watch Toulon; and this, too, Many of them, not being able when Nelson himself was writto swim, were lost.” Indeed ing: “I am kept in great disBlackwood himself had to jump tress for frigates and smaller overboard, and was picked up vessels at this critical moment. by a boat; so it is not to be I want ten more than I have.” wondered at that so many poor But Nelson did not get his friglittle lads went down with the ates. Our commerce cried out ship. Fire was a terrible enemy aloud for protection, and though in the ships of a hundred years we had some 400 frigates and ago, and many a mother who smaller craft actually in com
mission, no more could be spared meet Nelson, with the signal from their work of commerce flying, “The enemy is at sea.' protection. If this was the case Immediately the frigates apwith our limited trade of a peared, up anchor was the order; hundred years ago, what would but what of the falling darkness happen now, when our com- and the dangerous channel to merce has increased tenfold? be traversed? This was noth
But to return to the Active. ing to those well-tried seamen. Captain Moubray having Nel- Safely and swiftly the whole of son's written directions to per the fleet passed through the form the service of watching rock - bound straits between Toulon “with due caution," we Biche and Sardinia, and by 7 can well imagine young Lyons P.M. all were clear. But now as signal midshipman watching came bitter disappointment. Oh the enemy's frigates "cutting for more frigates to scour the capers off Cape Sepet,” and seas, for no trace of the French longing to have a go at them fleet could anywhere be found. —but no, the Commander-in- For the whole of the next Chief's orders are clear, due month Nelson, in an agony of caution must be exercised, and mind, was searching, searching, there is nothing to do but obey. searching,—now off Messina,
At last, after eighteen months Palermo, Naples, then to Greece of
weary watch, on January 18, and even Egypt, but no news of 1805, the word is passed from the French anywhere. At last, mouth to mouth, the French on February 19, on returning to are coming out. These weather- Malta, he learnt that the French worn frigates were prepared for had put back to Toulon. Once action always: there was little more, then, the frigates were to do, but a great exultation in left to their weary watch, and every heart, and high hopes that the ships of the line snatched through their untiring watch a little repose in Palmas Bay, fulness Nelson and his fleet Sardinia. would speedily be warned, and But the French really mean the day of action would come at business now, so that, on March last.
31 the dreary monotony of As night fell the wind rose, the never-ending watch was until it was blowing a hard gale. broken, and the Phoebe and On went the heavy French Active are again following the liners, and after them in the French fleet. As night falls darkness tore the two British the Phæbe is detached by the frigates Active and Seahorse, Active to carry the news to risking their shaky spars in the Nelson, and the Active folrising gale. Before morning lows through the night. Alas ! broke the two frigates hauled when day breaks the French their wind, with their lee guns have disappeared. No one has tearing through the water at been blamed for this, so we may every roll, and at their best be sure that Moubray did his speed made for Maddalena to best, and that it was impossible,
owing to the activity of the was constantly at sea, so that, French frigates, to follow more though young in years, he was closely; but we can well imagine already a thorough seaman, and the dismay on board, in which passed satisfactorily for lieuyoung Lyons, as signal mid., tenant. His next service must doubtless have shared. in the East Indies, where Once more the search for the he was at first employed in French is resumed, and for six commerce protection in the teen days no news of them is Caroline frigate. This obtained. Then it is discovered varied by attacks on the Dutch that they made for Gibraltar, settlements in Malay waters. which they passed eight days Here the garrisons were generbefore. Nelson is now terribly ally living quiet and secure, with delayed by foul winds, and does no thought of danger, when our not reach the Straits of Gib- expeditions swooped down upon raltar till May 7, by which them. Not that the ships carrytime the French, with nearly ing the attacking forces made
month's start, three- rapid passages—far from it; the quarters of the way across the voyage from Madras to Banda Atlantic. How Nelson finally Neera, which a cruiser could brought the French to book on now make in a fortnight, took the 21st October in Trafalgar three months. The attack was, Bay all the world knows; but however, a complete surprise, the Active took no part in this the place being successfully glorious work, she
assailed by night immediately weather-worn that it was neces the expedition made the coast. sary to send her home for re A force of 400 left the ship pairs. When she returned to at 11 P.M. ; but, as so often the Mediterranean she was rele- happens in boat - expeditions, gated to the humdrum duties of half the boats lost their way, commerce protection. In 1807 and only 180 seamen and soldiers young Lyons, still in the Active, reached the beach. Nothing was in Duckworth's expedition, daunted, this little force adwhich made a naval demonstra- vanced against a garrison of tion off Constantinople. This 1500. Two forts, including the was a failure, and simply re- principal work, were carried by sulted in our ships being severely surprise with scarcely any loss, handled by the Dardanelles forts and the following morning the as they returned. The Active Dutch, finding the key of the had eight men wounded — the position in the hands of theenemy, first casualties that had hap- surrendered. The stealthy appened on board that ship during proach by night, and the final four years of war. Bickerton rush upon the works, were exwas now at the Admiralty, and cellently planned and successyoung Lyons was sent home at fully carried out, Lieutenant the age of seventeen, after some Lyons being amongst the foresix years' knocking about in most of the stormers. frigates, during which time he Lyons was presently to take