Sivut kuvina
PDF
ePub

DEATHS. the commander of the blockading witnessed the French vessels rise from squadron, had indeed refused to take their beds and gradually escape from upon himself the responsibility; but his grasp, may be imagined. The Lord Cochrane thought there were French fleet consisted of ten line-ofofficers in his fleet perfectly capable of battle ships, a 54-gun store-ship, four carrying out any design, however daring frigates, and other craft. These were and difficult, and to whom was justly assailed solely by frigates and smaller due the commission of a duty likely to vessels; and such was the vigour of the win so great renown. But the Admi. attack, that nearly all were driven on ralty were in great straits—their very shore, four were destroyed, and most of existence might be said to depend at the others so injured as to be unfit for this time on the success of their naval further service. The French Admiral, measures. There was no time for com Allemand, was sent to a court-martial, municating with the fleet and arranging and the captain of the Calcutta was with the officers. They knew Cochrane shot for having surrendered to the to be capable, and in the hour of their Imperieuse. The discreditable inneed they turned to the servant whom action of Lord Gambier was pro. they had persecuted, defrauded, and bably owing to infirmity of purpose vilified, and whom, when their turn rather than to any design of spoilwas served, they were about to perse. ing Cochrane's undertaking. Had he cute, defraud, and vilify again. They advanced his ships and completed the commanded Cochrane to undertake destruction of the enemy he would the duty; and Cochrane, probably with have reaped the chief glory of tbe vicno reluctance, undertook it. The tory, and Cochrane would have had the bomb-ships, mortar and rocket vessels, praise awarded to a brave subordinate. explosion and fire-ships, were prepared The Ministry also had need of a great in great profusion; and Cochrane, in success. Altogether, it is not probable the Imperieuse, sailed for the fleet. that the incompleteness of the blow is How gallantly he led the attack attributable to jealousy on the Admiin an explosion-ship charged to the ral's part. To some extent, however, it brim with destruction, how he dashed was so as regards the captains. Many at the boom and blew it to fragments, * were unquestionably angry at the slight how the fireships, when the boom was cast upon them in sending an officer rent asunder, were steered straight upon foreign to their squadron to plan and mighty line-of-battle ships, and not ex carry out an attack, which they thought ploded until the explosion blew their in justice should have been entrusted own crews into the sea ; how the panic- to themselves. Nor had they any perstriken Frenchmen ran themselves sonal interest in furthering the intera ground and liners struck to frigates, loper's plans. It is not improbable, and how a midshipman might have therefore, that at the council of war taken a 74, had he known her state;

some of these did not stimulate the how Cochrane, hot in action in the Admiral's ardour. For his heroic serImperieuse, threw out signal after sig. vices on this occasion the King connal to the fleet to come up and com

ferred on Lord Cochrane the Knightplete the conquest, and how Gambier,

hood of the Order of the Bath, instead of acting, called a council of

The imperfect victory of the Basque war, and then decided to postpone

Roads raised such a storm of indignation action--all these things have been told at home, that the Ministry were placed in many a naval tale, and are to be in a position of extreme embarrassment. found vividly narrated in the Annual It was necessary to support their AdRegister of 1809. The rage of Coch miral, and to support their Admiral it rane when he saw the tide rise and no was necessary to discard Cochrane. ships came to take possession, and

The indignation of the latter knew no bounds, and he was supported by the

popular voice. He was regarded as the * Lord Cochrane, in his Autobio. achiever of a noble deed, baulked of the graphy, claims to have effected the full fruits of his prowess by the jealousy destruction of the boom, thongh popu and imbecility of an official superior, lar history attributes it to the weight and (however unjustly) as the victim and impetus of the Mediator, conducted of the jealousy of the Government. by Captain Wooldridge.

The Ministry proposed a Vote of

DEATHS. Thanks to Lord Gambier, Lord Coch test, he allowed himself to be arrested rane, and the officers and seamen. on an illegal warrant by an illegal Cochrane refused to be included, and officer. The captive dictated the terms opposed the Vote with intense ve of his captivity, held ont until the hemence. The Ministry endeavoured Court became alarmed at detaining the to buy him off. They offered him the member for Westminster from his seat command of an independent squadron in the House, and made overtures of and a regiment. Cochrane was inflex- peace; Cochrane rejected them, and ible; and though the Vote was carried, made his escape. Lord Gambier was constrained to de Soon after his return to England, mand a court-martial. If all that has Lord Cochrane communicated to the since been said is true, the political Prince Regent a tremendous secret--a turpitude of those days was frightful. means of warfare so destructive that This court-martial was a packed tri- the souls of the Committee who were bunal, the witnesses summoned were entrusted with the inquiry shrank from either officers who had not been pre- it. Through all the vicissitudes of his sent or who had already expressed their subsequent career Lord Cochrane locked willingness to stand by the Admiral; the secret in his own bosom. He was the captains who were unfavourable resolved that if it were to be divulged were kept out of the way. The authen- at all, it should be divulged for the tic charts actually in the possession of benefit of England only. In 1846, the Admiralty were suppressed, and when a war with France seemed incharts known to be useless were pro- evitable, the secret plans were subduced, and that chart on which the de- mitted to another commission of the cision of the Court professed to be three most eminent Engineers of the founded was-Lord Cochrane asserts in time; and they also, as their predehis A utobiography-expressly fabricated cessors had done, were unanimously of for the occasion. Under such circnm- opinion that the adoption of the prostances there could be but one result. posed plans “would not accord with Gambier was acquitted. Another cir. the feelings and principles of civilized cumstance is alleged, of incredible base warfare." And for the same reason ness. In the first despatch of Lord their employment against Sebastopol Gambier, the Admiral spoke of Coch- and Cronstadt during the recent Rusrane's conduct in the terms it had so sian war was refused. nobly deserved. The Board of Admi In 1812 Lord Cochrane married. ralty directed Lord Gambier to make a This important event was characterized fresh report of the action. Accordingly by his usual fearlessness and contempt Lord Gambier forwarded a new de- of base motives. His uncle, Basil Cochspatch, in which Cochrane's services rane, who had acquired a large fortune were altogether passed over!

in India, and who had designated his Seeing that nothing was to be hoped gallant nephew his heir, wished him to from a Ministry to whom he had made marry a lady whose great fortune would himself so utterly obnoxious, Lord have restored the family to prosperity. Cochrane turned his assaults upon the Lord Cochrane not only refused, but monstrous abuses which then existed married a lady of respectable family, in naral administration; and not con but no fortune, but who in every other tent with the encounter of so terrible a respect was worthy of his choice. foe as the British Board of Admiralty, His uncle disinherited him, and abanhe attacked the Maltese Admiralty doned his cause to his adversaries. The Court, of the equity of whose proceed- Parliamentary year of 1813 was occuings an estimate may be formed from pied by a series of fierce and damaging the fact that they had actually brought attacks on the general and naval corhim in debt for the prizes he had taken ruption of the Administration. The in the Imperieuse. The Court had many Ministry were exasperated to the highinherent powers, and was sure of the est pitch, and an opportunity offered support of the Admiralty at home; but itself, on which they eagerly seized, its business had been so mismanaged and pushed on their revenge without that it was illegally constituted. Of scruple or remorse. The subject is a this Cochrane took as much advantage painful one, and difficult to tell in a as if he had been attacking a Spanish short compass; but there is a short ab. galleon on the sea. After a bitter con stract of the transaction and of the trial

DEATHS. in the Chronicle of the Annual Register dress he then wore-namely, a grey for 1814, pp. 19 and 324, and in the great coat, a green uniform, and a miliHistory of the same volume. Sir Alex- tary cap—departed. The allegation was ander Cochrane having been appointed that the whole scheme was a fraudulent to the North American station, ap- concoction (as no doubt it was) for pointed his nephew his flag-captain. the purpose of raising the funds, and Lord Cochrane was about to sail in the that Lord Cochrane was a party to it. flag-ship the Tonnant when the storm This charge, which rested mainly on burst upon him. He had unfortunately the circumstances that had occurred at engaged in speculations on the Stock his Lordship’s house, was supported by Exchange ; he had also unfortunately the fact that Lord Cochrane had on become acquainted with one Capt. De the 12th February purchased £139,000 Berenger. About midnight on the 20th omnium on a time bargain, and that of February, a person calling himself this stock was sold at an advance on Colonel de Bourg, aide-de-camp to the 21st, the day of the imposture. The Lord Cathcart, presented himself at other parties charged with complithe Ship Hotel, Dover, announcing city in the fraud besides De Berenger, that Bonaparte had been killed, that who appears to have played his part for the Allied armies were in full march for hire, were Cochrane's uncle, Mr. CochParis, and immediate peace was cer rane Johnstone, who held £420,000 tain. Having forwarded similar intel. omnium and £100,000 consols; and ligence by letter to the Port Admiral Mr. Butt, who held £200,000 omnium, at Deal, he started for London in a and £178,000 consols. The three perpost-chaise, exchanged it there for a sons accused held speculative stock to hackney-coach, and drove to Lord the amount of £1,600,000; and as such Cochrane's house. The funds rose an event as the defeat of the French when the intelligence reached town, armies, the death of Napoleon, and the But it was soon discovered that a

entry of the Allies into Paris, would gross imposition had been practised, cause an immense rise in the funds and the impostor was traced. Imme- (omnium was then as low as 275, and diately on learning the report in which consols at 67), the gain upon such a his name was involved Lord Cochrane sum might easily amount to £100,000. hastened to town from Chatham, and The same stock-broker dealt for all lost not a moment in publishing the the three persons, and sold their stock name of De Berenger, his unknown according to the market; the gain acvisitor of the 21st. This he did by an tually realized was calculated to exceed affidavit dated March 11th, in which, £10,000, and was admitted to have been contrary to the wishes of his legal ad- £6,500. It is certain that Lord Cochrane visers, he frankly accounted for all his shared in the vicious stock-gambling acts, and the occupation of his whole of those days, and that he had acted time on the 21st of February. He was frequently in conjunction with Cochrane engaged that morning at a lamp manu Johnstone and Butt; it may be taken as factory in Cock-lane-not at the Stock proved, that the two latter were parties Exchange or near it—when a note was to the fraud; the question now is, was brought him, the signature of which Lord Cochrane a confederate in or coghe could not decipher. His servant nizant of the fraud by which the others told him it was from an army officer; sought to raise the price of the funds! and thinking the writer might have A prosecution was instituted by the come from his brother, who was then Committee of the Stock Exchange dangerously ill with the army in against the parties accused ; and Lord Spain, Lord Cochrane hastened home. Cochrane, Cochrane Johnstone, Butt, There he found De Berenger, who de Berenger, and four understrappers entreated to be taken on board the in the plot, were tried in the Court of Tonnant, telling a piteous tale of his Queen's Bench before Lord Ellendebts and his distress. Lord Cochrane borough. It is impossible to go at refused; and De Berenger, having bor. length into the circumstances surroundrowed a civilian's hat and coat from ing the proceedings, especially as the Loi Cochrane, alleging that, being a onduct of the trial has been made the prisoner within the Rules of the Queen's occasion of the most bitter charges aud Bench, he could not, without exciting recriminations. It must suffice to say, suspicion, return to his lodgings in the that while the case against the other

DEATHS. accused was clearly proved, the circum from the Knighthood of the Bath stances which would involve the com (his banner was “kicked out of the plicity of Lord Cochrane were inferen- chapel, according to ancient form, tial merely, were weakly supported by by the king-at-arms "), and expelled evidence, that the case was pressed un the House of Commons by a majority fairly against him by the counsel for of 140 to 44-after a debate, in the prosecution, and mismanaged by which Lord Cochrane, who had made himself and counsel; that Lord Ellen a daring escape from his prison and borough (without charging against him appeared in his place in the House, was any corrupt motive in the exercise of permitted to make a statement in dehis judicial functions) so ruled the pro- fence. In the minority are to be found ceedings, and summed up the evidence the names of such men as Joseph Butin such terms, as to secure a conviction.* terworth, Lord Ebrington (now Earl The guilt of the other parties was Fortescue), Charles Grant, sen., J. Lamb. clearly proved, the transaction was such ton (Earl of Durham), Lord Nugent, as to admit of any number of confede Lord William Russell, the Marquis of rates and any degree of guilty know Tavistock, and Samuel Whitbread, men ledge; and the jury were, perhaps, unable second to none in sagacity and sense of to separate parties who had been allied honour. Sir Francis Burdett was also in so many transactions. The result one-a man who, however extreme his was a verdict of guilty against the radicalism, and however bound by selfwhole. The sentence on Cochrane was interest to support his colleague, was that he pay a fine of £1000, be im far too high-minded to support what he prisoned in the Marshalsea twelve thought to be wrong. The electors of months, and (with de Beranger and Westminster were of the same opinion; Butt) to stand one hour in the pillory for when the new writ was issued, no one before the Royal Exchange. The dis dared to offer himself in opposition to graceful part of this sentence was re Lord Cochrane, and he regained his mitted ; indeed, the popular feeling in seat in Parliament, though convicted favour of Lord Cochrane was so strong and a prisoner. At the time, and in that the Ministry dared not put it in subsequent years, Lord Cochrane made execution, and their object was better the most frantic efforts to show that secured by the sentence and remission this stain upon his honour had been than by an actual enforcement of the inflicted without grounds. His most sentence. There were, however, punish- intimate friends, who knew best his acments which the Ministry were able to tions and the motives that bad actuated inflict with safety as the natural conse his conduct, were persuaded of his innoquences of the conviction. Lord Coch cence; his counsel, Lord Brougham, rane was dismissed the Navy, degraded was, and is, firmly convinced of his

innocence ; Lord Campbell was, and is,

of the same conviction, and even says, * The charges raised against Lord in his “Lives of the Chief Justices," that Ellenboroughby Lord Cochrane and this trial caused “such uneasy reflechis friends are of a most damnatory tions in Lord Ellenborough's mind, as character. In calmer times, some of were supposed to have hastened his these have been disavowed ; e.g. Lord end." Lord Chief Justice Abinger was Brougham now admits that the Lord likewise convinced of Lord Cochrane's Chief Justice “tried the cause as he innocence. would have tried any other in which he With the catastrophe of his conthought there was conflicting evidence. viction closes his Autobiography, a I think he was wrong in the opinions he work of more exciting interest than had formed, but honestly wrong;" and any naval fiction that has been ima. the accusation that Lord Ellenborough gined. The very nature of such a was a member of the Ministry which work is to be egotistic; but beneath ordered the prosecution, and that he the intentional narrative of his own came down from the Cabinet to preside deeds, there lies a substratum of at the trial, is without foundation ; for which the noble writer was probably the “ Ministry of all the Talents," the unconscious, and in which is to be found only Ministry of which Lord Ellen a far better picture of himself than any borough was a member, had been broken laboured analysis of character could up seven years before.

produce. We see here an ardent, impe

DEATHS. tuous, generous nature, strictly logical 1818, Lord Cochrane, his wife, and when action was in question, but ut family, arrived at Valparaiso, and terly injudicial in self-guidance or in took the supreme command as Viceits relation to others; an excitable, Admiral of Chili. Space will not per. self-confident man of genius, in whom mit (even were the pursuit worth the the sense of a perpetrated or supposed pains) to trace the irregular operations wrong is quickly engrafted on the mind by which the liberation of these repuband becomes a fixed idea. His whole lies was effected; particular mention history is tinged with the colour of a can be made only of those brilliant perpetual grievance of some kind or achievements which added new rays to other. Those who are not with him are the circlet of fame which already sur. against him. Whatever is evident to rounded his brows. On the conquest him as truth is so self-evident as to of Spain by the French, the South force him to assume dishonesty on the American colonies of that kingdom part of all who hold the contrary. The refused submission to the usurper; and Autobiography also shows how insub- although, when the Spaniards rose ordinate Cochrane was to all authority against the French, the Spanish coloover him, and how generous and con nists acknowledged the sovereiguty of siderate to all who depended on him. Ferdinand, the lesson of liberty, once His fierce fights for the advancement of learned, was not forgotten; and almost his officers unconsciously testify the simultaneously Chili, Peru, and other guiltlessness of his mad adherence to provinces declared themselves indethe friends who were engaged in the pendent. They had, however, no confraud. The reader of this work will temptible enemy to deal with. In the readily perceive how such a man could contest with the French, veteran armies be made by others to put on the ap- had been enured to war, and officers pearance of complicity, and why he so had been trained into excellent comwildly and unnecessarily threw away manders; the tenacity of the Spaniards his chances of dissociating his conduct under disaster is a national character. from theirs.

istic. The Spanish armies in South When Lord Cochrane's term of im. America were numerous and disciplined, prisonment had expired, he issued and commanded by experienced officers. from the Marshalsca a disgraced man. The viceroys were in possession of all The final overthrow of the French Em the resources of the country, of all the peror had brought about a peace that principal towns, and of the seaports, was to endure for forty years, and had many of which-as Callao and ValCochrane been proved innocent, as divia-were remarkable examples of he was found guilty, there would have Spanish skill in fortification. But, been no field for his daring valour, his more than all, the Spaniards were in fiery energy, his cool calculation, and full command of the sea; and while impetuous execution. It was while reinforcements of disciplined troops, thus quivering under undeserved dis- munitions of war, and aids of every grace, and forbidden the service of his kind could be poured in at pleasure, own country, that overtures were made the success of the patriots was hopeless. to him to take the command of the It was the perception of this fact that naval force of the Republic of Chili. induced the insurgents of Chili and The circumstances were such that Coch- Peru to enlist Cochrane in their cause. rane accepted the offer with avidity. To any other man the case would have The Spanish provinces of South America, seemed desperate-to Cochrane diffioppressed by every form of misgovern culties were things to be overcome. ment, had risen to throw off the Spanish The Spanish fleet consisted of numerous yoke, and it was always Cochrane's fine frigates and brigs, and heavilypassion to combat on the side of free armed merchant ships, which were condom; it offered a field of action in tinually recruited from Europe. The which the fiery sense of disgrace might Squadron of the patriots consisted of a be drowned in new excitement-new 50-gun frigate, recently taken from the glories might be achiered to shame his Spaniards, a 56-gun and a 44-gun adversaries-and, above all, it removed frigate, both formerly merchant ships, him from that country where his un and a few sloops of war of 18 and 20 paralleled services had been returned guns. The equipment of these vessels by obloquy and shame. In November, was miserable in the extreme, and

« EdellinenJatka »