« 이전계속 »
and whose son, Admiral Alexis Gregg, is the worthy representative, in all his estimable qualities, of his excellent father.
The year 1790, when Catherine was disappointed in ber aim of crushing the Turks, by the vexatious interposition of Gustavus of Sweden, rallied round her flag a bevy of as distinguished a set of young English officers* as could well be assembled ; their own country being then in a state of profound repose, their ardent spirits could not submit to the inglorious routine and slow progress of promotion in time of peace, and they therefore were readily allured by the offer of one step of added rank held out by Catherine; while her fascinating condescension and profuse dispensation of honours inspired them with genuine zeal in her cause.
The effect of the Swedish war was to save Turkey, but the naval engagements in the Baltic were otherwise indecisive, although on every occasion the English officers, as far as their personal influence or example could extend, amply sustained the national character, and several fell in exertions of beroism worthy of a better cause. Capt. Treveneu, a name still remembered and regretted in the British service, fell in one engagement, while within a few days his brother-in-law, Capt. Denni. son, was killed in an attack of gun-boats, while serving under the famous Prince of Nassau, against the Swedish galley-fleet, commanded by the king in person.
Capt. Marshall also lost his life on the same occasion; being mortally wounded, his ship sunk under him, and went down, colours flying: and I well remember the dread experienced at St. Petersburg, on account of the tremendous roar of cannon distinctly heard there, with all the fearful speculations it gave rise to, and sometime afterwards I witnessed a portion of the effect of it on Capt. Elphinston's ship, which was towed into Cronstadt harbour, perforated with balls, many of which were to be seen embedded in her sides. In the battle of the galley-fleet, a spirited young Irishman of the name of Macarthy was second in command of one of the Russian galley frigales (commanded by Commodore Dennison, who was killed, as before alluded to, in the same engage
* To enumerate the list would, at this time, be no easy task; it comprised, among others, Captains Candler, Green, Hamilton, Aikin, (son of the very respectable actor of that name,) Halliday, Rider, and Thesiger, the three latter of whom afterwards returned to the British service, and were deservedly promoted to rank and active service. Captain Nicholas Tomlinson, then a lieutenant in the English navy, also went to St. Petersburg, being recommended to that court by the Russian Ambas. sador, and made a tender of his services, which were accepted, but owing to some demur on his part as to taking the oaths required, his engagement was not completed. although his name was immediately included in the Russian navy list, and he was therefore fortunately at liberty to return to England at the compencement of the French war; and having succeeded, in 1793, in obtaining the command of a small vessel, distinguished himself by his extraordinary activity and enterprise on many occasions, as recorded in the Gazettes of that period, particularly in the recapture of the Oporto Convoy, and other services, for which a piece of plate was voted to him by the Committee of Underwriters at Lloyd's, promotion rapidly followed, and he is now as a Post Captain, high on the list, intitled to look forward to no distant day for the honourable rank of a British admiral, as the well earned reward of his labours.
(This anticipation has been verified, and Admiral Tomlinson at a green old age is enjoying in the bosom of his amiable family, and in a circle of attached friends, the most pleasing solace for his past labors.-ED. N.M.]
ment,) which entered so warmly into the action that she found herself surrounded by the whole of the Swedish galleys, on board of one of which, was the King of Sweden, and Sir Sydney Sinith; in this situation 219 men out of her complement of about 300, were killed and wounded before she struck-a carnage so tremendous, that when Sir Sydney boarded her, he reproached Macarthy with not having sooner surrendered, upon which that gallant officer observed, that it never should be said that an Englishman was the first to strike a Russian flag, and that he would sooner, than have done so, perished with every soul on board. This gallant reply was so much admired by Sir Sydney, that he desired Macarthy to consider him for the future as his friend, and that should they ever meet in the British service, he would use his best endeavours to forward his promotion, and which he was afterwards enabled to do. By a singular concatenation of events, this same Macarthy was the means of introducing the celebrated Capt. Wright (who was originally sent out to St. Petersburg by the house of Longman and Broderip, as a vendor of music and musical instruments on commission) to Sir Sydney Smith, by whom they were both received as midshipmen on board the Diamond frigate, commanded by him, at the commencement of the revolutionary war, and both afterwards died prematurely ; Wright being murdered in the temple at Paris, and Macarthy being lost while cruizing off Jersey, in a gun-vessel under his command. It may be necessary here to observe, that Wright, although on a mercantile mission at St. Petersburg, had before duly served as a midshipman in the British service, and had been an acting lieutenant at the siege of Gibraltar, where he was particularly noticed for his personal strength, and daring courage.
Admiral Tate was at this period the senior British officer in the Russian service, and was highly respected for his private worth and professional talents. He died full of years and honor, and was succeeded by Admiral Crown, whose more active service had obtained for him greater distinctions than any ever hitherto bestowed by Russia on a foreign officer, he being at that time full Admiral of the Imperial Fleet, and decorated with almost all the orders of the empire. I feel persuaded that neither yourself or your readers will consider a page or two misapplied, in giving some details of the honorable manner in which Admiral Sir Robert Crown has thus raised himself from a compara. tively humble origin, to rank and honors, without exciting displeasure in his own, or jealousy in his adopted country.
Admiral Crown was originally from Scotland, and at a very early period of his life entered into his Britannic Majesty's service in India, where he served as master, first in 1778, under the command of Capt. Williamson, in the Cormorant sloop, in the Red Sea, and afterwards under command of Sir Charles Maurice Pole, on her voyage from Madras to England.
Commodore Johnstone who had opportunities of ascertaining the zeal and intelligence of the young candidate for naval honours, gave him a commission as lieutenant of the Diana frigate, in which capacity he served under Captains Home, Edwards, and Calder, nearly three years, part of that time as first lieutenant. Great interest was exerted by all who knew him, to induce the Lords Comunissioners of the Admiralty
to confirm his commission, or even to permit him to serve as a midshipman, for which he himself earnestly petitioned, but these applications were peremptorily rejected by Lord Howe, the then first lord ;* and Mr. Crown felt himself thus compelled, as tbe only alternative left to him for pursuing the profession of his choice, to make a tender of his services to the empress of Russia, who readily accepted them, and immediately gave him a commission equal to that of commander in the English navy, and appointed him to the command of the Morewry, a boat of twenty-two carronades, in which after a very close and sharp engagement, he captured the Venus, a Swedish frigate of forty-two guns, on which occasion the empress bestowed on him the rank of post captain, with the command of that frigate, and conferred on him the order of St. George. Whilst in the Venus, he distinguished himself in a particular manner in the action of the galley fleets before alluded to, and was very near taking the king of Sweden himself, prisoner, as he captured the galley in which the king had embarked, and which his majesty only left at the suggestion of Sir Sydney Smith, who said he was sure, from the gallant seaman-like style in which she bore down upon them, that the Venus was commanded by an Englishman, and that the king would do well to avoid the consequence, upon which they took boat and went on board another galley.
Soon after this, Capt. Crown took the Rhetvizan of sixty guns, also two cutters, eight row-boats, and four galleys, and burnt and sunk sereral others; for which he was promoted out of rotation to the rank of Post Captain of the first class. He likewise captured thirty-seven mer. chantmen, some of them richly laden, and brought them all safe into Elsineur: for these essential services he was rewarded with the third order of St. Vlademir, and an annual pension of 1000 silver roubles
• The unabated affection entertained by Admiral Crown for his native country, and his deep sense of the neglect experienced by him at his first outset in life, are forcibly expressed by him in a letter to a valued friend, from wbich the following is an extract.
“My wife is become feeble; I will not say peevish, from experiencing a decay of those natural advantages attached to youth and strength ; she is less a philosopher than I am, and often calls me an iron man; well she may, for I have bad many a hard stroke on the anvil of fate. A pilot who last sailed with me used to exclaim that he had never seen a man so grey endure so much fatigue. You were right in your conjecture relative to my son Plato, who was one of the boarders who carried the French schooner off the coast of Africa. I am very proud of my son having done his duty, and hope he will not be wholly like his father, though I have infinite reason to be grateful to his Imperial Majesty, when I compare his great goodness to me with the injustice done to my services by the country which gave me birth. After having most faithfully served it in the East and West Indies during the American war, in the most perilous and difficult duties, sometimes without a shoe to my foot on pointed rocks, sometimes nearly naked on the burning sands of the shore of the Red Sea, leaving deep traces of the effect of these hardships on my body and limbs, being the only vouchers remaining to me of my indefatigable endeavours to serve my country, which, when it had no farther use for me, flung me on shore naked and poor on Portsmouth beach, and told me afterwards by the voice of Howe, that I might go and seek my bread so I could. This was all the humanity, justice, and mercy, which a happy :
Ha nappy country would bestow on one who in his stations of master and lieutenant, had served it'faithfully, and who still loves it dearly and forgives it freely. .6 I fervently adore the kind Providence which
vidence which conducted me to this land where, though a foreigner, I
Ener, I was esteemed worthy of confidence beyond my merits, which, feeble as they are, have ever constituted my only means of advancement."
was bestowed upon his wife, who had been his faithful companion in his various engagements and cruises ; and who with a presence of mind and intrepidity uncommon in a female, had frequently taken upon herself to fulfil the functions of a surgeon when, as was often the case, there was no such officer on board, in alleviating the distresses of the sick and wounded, - prisoners as well as those of her own ship.
On the accession of Paul, Capt. Crown was promoted to the rank of a Rear-admiral, and received the decoration of the third order of St. Anne, and the order of Malta. Under this sovereign he was placed for a time in the delicate situation of holding a commission under a power at war with England ; but neither himself nor any of his countrymen hesitated for a moment in their duty to their still beloved king and country. Paul, with all his eccentricity of character and temper, attempted no violence on their feelings, and the only privation they underwent was that of command during the short period of the unnatural difference between the two countries.
On the happy accession of Alexander, Admiral Crown was fortunate enough to conciliate the particular favour of his Imperial Majesty, who has successively conferred on him the first order of St. Anne, the second of Vlademir, and the full order of Alexander Nefsky. The Admiral had the command of the fleet that transported the Russian contingent in June 1817, from Calais to St. Petersburg, in effecting which an opportunity occurred of evincing his prompt and decided character, and unshaken attachment to his native country. · On his arrival with the squadron in Calais Roads, he sent large orders for provisions, good porter in particular, to various contractors on the opposite coast, who had supplied him while lying in the Downs, in the year 1814. The contractors, not forgetting the handsome manner in which, on that occasion, they had been paid, were not tardy in executing his orders; and, accordingly, a flotilla consisting of almost every description of small craft, was soon collected to convey the provisions to the Admiral's fleet, and they arrived off the fleet the day on which the orders were given; but as the weather was squally, they could not that night venture alongside the respective ships, and consequently, as was naturally to be expected, took shelter in Calais harbour. In the morning, as soon as the tide served, they weighed anchor in order to depart, when they were immediately surrounded by a great number of custom-house boats, and notice was given them, that not one of them would be allowed to leave the port without first paying the duties on the cargoes, the same as if they had been landed. This unexpected demand created amongst the victuallers the greatest consternation; they, however, contrived to despatch a six-oared cutter to the Admiral, to whom they communicated the intelligence, and requested his interference. Admiral Crown instantaneously despatched an officer on shore, with a letter to the Governor, demanding the immediate liberation of his victuallers, threatening, in the event of a refusal, to bombard the town; and gave the Governor one-quarter of an hour to consider of it. The Governor requested an hour, in order to send a telegraph despatch to Paris, for instructions how to act on so novel an occasion; to this the Admiral would not agree, and instantly made (clapping springs on his cables) preparations for bombarding the town; the Governor perceiving this, ordered the victuallers to be released.
Admiral Crown came to London to meet his Imperial Majesty and the Duchess of Oldenburg, on whom he was in constant attendance, and was made known by them to the Prince Regent, by whom he was most graciously noticed, and his foreign titles recognized by being introduced and addressed as Sir Robert Crown.
On his return fresh honours awaited him, as appears by the folloiving extract from a letter written by him to a brother officer in this country, and which at the same time gives some further account of his family:
“I think that I mentioned to you last year, that his Imperial Majesty had been graciously pleased to decorate me with the first order of St. Anne, and the second order of St. Vlademir, and that I had the bonour of H. I. Mi's company, accompanied by his amiable consort, and the Empress Dowager, with all the Imperial family, who dined on board my ship, before I went to sea this year,--a distinction never before conferred on any naval officer.
“ The Emperor has again done me that honour, accompanied by the King of Prussia, and the Prince Royal, with their suite; and I was delighted to see the Imperial and Royal visitors, on both occasions highly pleased with their reception. Soon afterwards, while I was at sea, a courier came on board with the order of Alexander Nefsky addressed to me, and I felt sensibly how inadequate was my merit for these honourable distinctions. His Imperial Majesty is all goodness to me, and his favourable opinion of my professional services far exceeds all the efforts of my poor abilities to deserve; the only return I can make for these distinguished favours, in addition to the acknowledgements of a grateful heart, is to be ready at all times to expose my hoary locks to war or tempest in his service, in the hope of being able to achieve something that may justify his Imperial Majesty's condescending partiality.
“ In answer to your friendly enquiries respecting my children, I bare to inform you that my eldest son George is on the balf-pay list as a Lieutenant of Marines in your service. Plato Valerian, my second son, is a mate in the Cherub sloop, stationed off the coast of Africa, and I trust in the benevolence of Lord Viscount Melville, that he will soon have a commission. Edmund, my youngest son, is on board the Phælon frigate, Capt. Dillon, as Midshipman ;-be, poor boy, has a very distant view for promotion, being in his nineteenth year, and having served only four years. My only daughter Anna has lately married a physician, a native of Russia, and attached to the naval service. I had one other son of very superior abilities, and the most promising and sweetest boy that ever blest a parent's care; my Camperdown fell by the blast of that cruel disorder the yellow fever, on the island of Trinidad, at seventeen years of age, while serving as a Midshipman on board the Scamander English frigate."
Nothing remains to be added to these particulars, except that the Admiral's son Plato Valerian has al o since fallen a victim to the vellow fever, on board the Cherub, on the coast of Africa; and that Bis lady died lately. He suffered most acutely in mind from these clicting dispensations, but happily his own health was unimpaired, and he enjoyed until his death, what he valued still more, the undiminished favour of his munificent Patron.