Page images
PDF
EPUB

'. The eyes of the nation were again turned towards ths gallant officer, in the Spanish Armament of 1790, and during the Russian Armament of 1791 ; his Lordship being appointed commander in chief of squadrons, then destined, for particular services. In the month of June (1792) we again notice him as Port Admiral at Portsmouth, which he held together with his appointment as one of the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty.

On the commencement of the present War in (1793) Lord Hood was immediately called forth to command a powerful Aeet, destined for the Mediterranean ; where on his arrival such unprecedented events ensued, that we may venture to say, any more difficult, or more perplexing, never fell to the lot of a British Admiral. From respect unto those who are now living, and whose names would be introduced, were we to enter into a minute detail of the proceedings at Toulon, and Corsica, we shall at present only touch upon some of the principal leading features, and, having drawn the outline with truth and accuracy, shall leave it to a more distant period, to fill up the shades, and to insert the bold touches of history.

It had never formed a part of the responsibility of any officer, except the subject of the present memoir, to combine the momentous duties of a naval commander in chief, with the important ones of civil commissioner of the interests of one of the largest and most valuable ports in Europe ; and this at a nioment that was rendered particularly critical, from his being coalesced with the Spaniards, who were jealous of his authority, and who secretly endeavoured, as we shall now prove, to overthrow the good cause they openly professed to sápport.

Such was the task of difficulty, and danger, which Lord Hood bad to perform, with the eyes of all Europe watching the manner in which it was executed : nothing but firmness, and a zealous diligence, could have surmounted such a trial

* The details of a fleet consisting of upwards of thirty British ships, and vessels, with seven French ships armed, and manned, under the direction of the French

Although the task which Lord Hood had to fulfil was thus unexampled and difficult, the distinguished thanks which he received are public testimonies of its able accomplishments His Lordship's services were acknowledged by the Kings of Sardinia, and Naples, under their own hands; his Holiness the Pope also manifested, in the same manner, his deep sense of the important benefits he had derived from the zeal, and care of Admiral Lord Hood: a present of a very elegant set of the Pia Clementina *, which had hitherto been never given to any but crowned heads, was sent himn by his Holiness.

We shall now briefly state those interesting circumstances which led to the taking possession of Toulon, with some of the principal transactions of that short period, during which it remained under a British Admiral's government, and protection. This subject has never been correctly laid before the public; and we are happy in being able to state Facts, of the utmost importance to the history of the present war, which have hitherto been only confined to the knowledge of a few persons. In a future number will be published further documents, under the title of Toulon PAPERS, to which we can at present only refer.'

On the 23d of August (1793), Commissioners came on board the Victory, Lord Hood's flag-ship, from Marseilles, with full powers from the Sections of the departments of The Mouths of The Rhone, to treat for peace; and they declared that a Monarchal Govern. ment in France was the leading object of their negotiation. They

Rear Admiral Trogoffe :—the Correspondence with the Secretary of the Ad miralty, and Secretary of State ; with the several British Ambassadors, Mi. nisters, and Consuls, in Spain, Italy, Constantinople, the States of Barbary, and the islands in the Mediterranean; the Foreign Correspondence with the sections of Toulon, and Marseilles ; the negotiations, and correspondence, with the Auftrian minister, and generals; with the Tuscan minister, and governors ; with the Kings of Sardinia, and Naples, and their secretaries of state, generals, and naval commanding officers; with the Pope, and his secretary of state, Cardinal Zeladi; with the senates of Genoa, and Venice; with the grand master of Malta, and the Corsican General Paoli, and his adherents Scarce a day passed but the admiral received letters from one, or other, of the above great personages, written in French, Spanish, and Italian, which he answered in the most punctual manner.

In six large folio volumes, containing engravings of the statues, busts, and other antiques, at Rome. Bol. II.

E

expected to be met by commissioners from Toulon, deputed by the Sections of the Department of the Var, for the same purpose. Lord Hood sent on shore to Toulon, and Marseilles, a proclamation* and also a preliminary declaration t, which produced the desired effect, and made a favourable impression.

On the 25th of August, the deputies of all the sections at Toulon agreed to Lord Hood's proposal, and signed a declaration, consisting of eight articles, which was addressed to his Lordship, and invested him provisionally with the harbour, and forts of Toulon. On the 26th, Captain Imbert, commander of L'Apollon, 74 guns, and also a member of the general committee of the sections, came on board the Victory, as a special commissioner from the said committee to Lord Hood, ratifying what they had done. He gave in a general state of the French line of battle ships in commission, in the outer road, with remarks on the character of the officers, and men g. When Captain Imbert had given the strongest assurances that Louis XVII. had been proclaimed by the sections, that they had sworn to acknowledge him, and were resolved no longer to endure the despotism of their tyrants, bůt would use their utmost endeavours to restore Peace to their distracted country, Lord Hood resolved to land 1500 men, and to take possession of the forts which commanded the ships in The Road.

Rear-Admiral St. Julien, a turbulent spirit, to whom the Seamen had given the command of the French fleet, in the room of the former commander in chief, Trogoffe, had manned the forts on the left of the harbour, and threatened resistance; but Lord Hood, animated by the same bold enterprise for which he has always been distinguished, and impressed with the great importance of gaining possession of Toulon, and its dependencies, determined to make every effort that could be performed by the fleet which he commanded. Accordingly, at midnight, on the 27th, he made the necessary arrangements for disembarking the troops, as near as possible to the great fort, called La Malgue, without their being anoyed by those batteries in the possession of St. Julien, on the opposite shore ; and the following day (August 28), at noon, the Honourable Captain Elphinstone (now Lord Keith), entered the fort of La Malgue, at the head of the troops. In pursuance of Lord Hood's directions, he immediately took the command as governor, and sent a fag of truce, with peremtory notice to St. Julien, that such ships as did not proceed without delay into the inner harbour, and put their powder on shore, would

No. I. of the Toulon Papers to be inserted in a subsequent number. +: No. II. ibid. * No, IIIibid.

Vide Toulon Papers, No, IV.

be treated as enemies. St. Julien, however, was found to have escaped during the night, with the greater part of the crews of seven line of battle ships, which were principally attached to him : all but these seven ships removed into the inner harbour, in the course of the evening. The Spanish Fleet, under the command of Don Juan de Langara, appeared in sight, as the British troops were in the act of landing, to take possession of Fort La Malgue,

Having thus taken possession of Toulon, and the adjacent forte, Lord Hood issued on the same evening another proclamation, which greatly soothed the minds of the inhabitants. The English troops in Fort La Malgue received on the twenty-ninth of August a reinforcement of 1000 men, who were disembarked from the Spanish Fleet. On the same day the British Aleet turned into the outer road of Toulon, followed by the Spanish, and anchored at noon without the smallest obstruction, The junction of two such powerful fleets that had often met in fierce contention, but now rode peaceably at anchor in one of the finest harbours in the world, amid the glad acclamations of thousands, formed a most noble sight: as the flags of Great Britain, and Spain, waved promiscuously together in all their grandeur, they cheered the hearts of the gazing multitude, and seemed to promise a speedy termination to the Calamities of France, – The British feet had anchored but a short time in the outer road, when a bumerous deputation, from the civil and military departments, cama on board the Victory with an address t to his Lordship.

On the 30th of August Lord Hood judged it expedient, for the more effectual preservation of good order and discipline in the town; to appoint Rear Admiral Goodall governor of Toulon, and its dependencies. A part of Carteaux's army, consisting of 750 men, some cavalry, and ten pieces of cannon, approached the village of Ollioulle, near Toulon, on the same day; but Captain Elphinstone, governor of Fort La Malgue, immediately marched out at the head of six hundred troops, English and Spanish : he attacked the enemy with great spirit, and, soon making them abandon their posts on all sides, took four pieces of cannon, with horses, ammunition, two stand of colours, &c. as particularly stated in his letter I to Lord Hood, Our loss amounted to one captain killed, and nine men wounded. The Spaniards had three men killed, and as many wounded. In this attack Captain Elphinstone displayed a knowledge of military tactics, which was not expected from an officer in the British Navy. The particular obje&ts which the French general had in view are developed

[blocks in formation]

in an intercepted lettersent by him to Colonel Mouriel, who come manded the advanced part of his army, which Governor Elphinstone defeated. · Lord Mulgrave arrived at Toulon on the 6th of September, and, at the request of Lord Hood, accepted the command of the British troops, with the rank of brigadier general, until his majesty's pleasure was known. In consequence of the report, which bis Lordship made, respecting the forces necessary to defend the several posts in the vicinity of Toulon, Lord Hood dispatched a pressing letter to Sir Robert Boyd, governor of Gibraltar, requesting 1500 soldiers, with artillery-men, and an able engineer. During the short time Lord Mulgrave commanded the forces at Toulon, he gave on all occasions distinguished proofs of his intrepidity, and professional abilities. - By the middle of September, our posts began to be kept in a constant alarm, from the increasing numbers of Carteaux's army on the west, and that of Italy on the east ; each of them consisting nearly of 6000 men. At the same time, Lord Hood had apprehensions of some desperate attempt being made within, by upwards of gooo disaffected seamen ; the committee general of the sections, and the French Rear Admiral Trogroffe, represented the getting rid of them, as absolutely necessary for our own safety. This more especially was evident, as previous to Lord Hood's taking possession of Toulon, they had agreed that these men should be sent home ; provided they did not take any active part in abstructing the British fleet : they now in consequence began to be extremely clamorous and unruly; it was therefore, judged expedient to embark them in four of the most unserviceable ships, Le Patriot, L'Apollon, L'Orion, and L'Entreprenant, to each of which a passport + was given. These ships were totally dismantled of their guns, except two on the forecastle for signals, in case of distress; they had no small arms, and only twenty cartridges on board of each, and sailed as flags of truoc; two for Brest, one for Rochfort, and one for L'Orient.

In addition to the motives just related, which induced Lord Hood to act thus, and to adhere strictly to the Convention, previously formed with the Civil and Military Government of Toulon, there were also others that had a powerful influence on his mind, but which were only known to a few. Amid the mass of the gooo seamen, who were reputed turbulent, and disaffected, many were devoted to the cause of the inhabitants of Toulon, and were ready to make every sacrifice in favour of Monarchy: therefore, as it was confidently remoured that Brest, Rochfort, and the other sea ports of France,

[merged small][ocr errors]
« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »