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The Life of Admiral Viscount Exmouth   By: (1798-1863)

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First Page:

THE LIFE

OF

ADMIRAL VISCOUNT EXMOUTH

BY EDWARD OSLER, ESQ.

For every virtue, every worth renowned, Sincere, plain hearted, hospitable, kind; Yet like the mustering thunder when provoked, The dread of tyrants, and the true resource Of those who under grim oppression groaned.

THOMSON.

A New and Revised Edition.

LONDON: GEO. ROUTLEDGE & CO., FARRINGDON STREET AND 18, BEEKMAN STREET, NEW YORK. 1854

London: Printed by STEWART and MURRAY, Old Bailey.

TO

THE NAVY,

The Bulwark of their Country,

AND

WHOSE TRIUMPHS ARE THE PRIDE OF HER HISTORY,

THIS WORK

IS MOST RESPECTFULLY INSCRIBED.

PREFACE.

At the commencement of hostilities, whose extent and duration none can foresee, it is the wisdom of those to whom England will hereafter commit the honour of her Flag to study well the example of the great sea officers whose services illustrate the annals of their country.

Among these bright examples, none is more worthy of careful study than Admiral Lord Exmouth. Entering the service a friendless orphan, the success which he achieved by merit alone is most encouraging to all who must rise by their own deserts. In his perfect seamanship, his mastery of all that relates to his profession, his zeal and energy, his considerate forethought, his care to make his crews thorough seamen, and the example by which he spurred and encouraged them, the secret may be found, not less available to others, of his many brilliant successes, and of the little loss with which he obtained them. His truly parental care for his young officers to train them to their duties and to advance their interests, as conspicuous when commander in chief as in his first frigate, is a lesson for all in authority. Nor will his personal qualities be less admired: the honourable independence which he maintained as an officer and a peer, and the moral excellence which marked his life, and was finally proved on his death bed.

And here I may relate an anecdote, as the praise it gives is only for the subject of the biography, and for which I am indebted to Vice Admiral Sir Fleetwood Pellew. Soon after the first appearance of this work, one of the first officers in the French navy, Vice Admiral Bergeret, whose name appears more than once in the following pages, presented a copy to a young relative he was sending to sea, and bade him to learn from the example it afforded to become all that his friends and his country could desire.

Lord Exmouth's attack on Algiers, the most memorable occasion on which men of war have attacked fortifications, is peculiarly instructive now. The immediate destruction of the enemy's works opposed to the Queen Charlotte , and the comparative impunity she thus obtained, shows the wisdom of laying the ships as close as possible, where the concentrated fire of her batteries may overwhelm the enemy, and destroy the few guns which alone can be opposed to her; whereas, by anchoring at a distance, the enemy's guns from a great extent of the works may be trained to bear on her, while her own shot strike with uncertain aim and diminished effect. The results of this latter course may be learnt from the fate of the floating batteries at the siege of Gibraltar, and from the Impregnable at Algiers; the ships having anchored at too great a distance, were exposed to a destructive fire, while their own attack was comparatively harmless.

This biography of Lord Exmouth was written at the desire and under the eye of his eldest brother; in youth his second father, and through life his confidential friend. Every incident relating to points of service was supplied or corrected by officers personally engaged; and the whole was finally revised by four officers who were the most constantly and intimately acquainted with the Admiral Mr. Gaze, master of the fleet in the Mediterranean and at Algiers, and who sailed with him in every ship from 1793 to the last day of his command; Sir Christopher Cole and Captain Crease, his intimate friends; and his only surviving sailor son, Captain, now Vice Admiral Sir Fleetwood Pellew... Continue reading book >>




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