Before leaving Sweden he was waited on by Baron Essen, aide-de-camp to the Crown Prince, who presented him with a splendid sword, the hilt of which was set in diamonds, and said to be worth 2000l., as a testimony of the high sense his Majesty entertained of the important services he had rendered to Sweden and the good cause.
Among the many attached to the Court of Sweden, there was none who expressed himself more emphatically than his excellency Baron Platen. We shall give his letter, although it has already been published in substance.
At length I rejoice, my dear Admiral. You have been the guardian angel of my country; by your wise, temperate, and loyal conduct you have been the first cause of the plans which have been formed against the demon of the Continent. He was on the point of succeeding; folly and the want of confidence in some have made them doubt the success of the good cause. You have shared my anxiety, but it is now all over; two couriers have arrived this night from the head-quarters of the Emperor and the Prince. War was declared on the 24th of July; Austria is with us; thus, if Providence have not decided something against all probability, Buonaparte will be defeated, humanity will breathe again, and Europe be once more raised up. With Wellingtons, Moreaus, Bernadottes against him, what hopes! I shall not fail to communicate to you the first news of importance, for once more I must tell you, that you were the first cause that Russia had dared to make war against France: had you fired one shot when we declared war against England, all had been ended, and Europe would have been enslaved. I own to you, also, my satisfaction that our august Prince Royal has conducted himself in such a manner as to leave your excellency no cause to repent of that which some people were pleased to call "credulity," but which events have proved to be wisdom.
The expressions of the worthy and truly patriotic friends, Admiral Krusenstjerna and Count Rosen on taking final leave of the Admiral, were no less remarkable for sincerity and gratitude. The first has long since paid the debt of nature, universally and justly regretted; the latter in 1834 fell a sacrifice to his humane endeavours to arrest the progress of cholera, and both will long be remembered as two of the saviours of their country.
The Pyramus reached Yarmouth Roads on the 10th of November, when Sir James made immediate application to strike his flag, and had the satisfaction of receiving in answer the following letter from the Secretary of the Admiralty.
Admiralty, 20th Nov. 1812.
My Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty have been pleased to command me, in transmitting to you the accompanying order, to strike your flag and come on shore, to communicate to you their marked approbation of the zeal, judgment, and ability evinced by you during your late command in the Baltic. Your attention to the trade of his Majesty's subjects, and your conciliatory, yet firm conduct, towards the Northern Powers, have met the approbation of his Majesty's Government, and their lordships are glad to have observed that your services have been justly appreciated by the Courts of Sweden and Russia. I beg to add the personal satisfaction which I feel at being the channel of communicating to you this testimony of their lordships' approbation.
I am, &c. &c. &c. J.W. CROKER.
To Vice-admiral Sir James Saumarez, Bart., KB.
To this highly honourable testimonial Sir James made the following reply:
London, 23rd November 1812.
I have received your letter of the 20th inst., transmitting to me the order to strike my flag and come on shore, and also communicating their lordships' marked approbation of my conduct during my late command, in terms highly gratifying to myself. I am also peculiarly happy to find that the conduct I held towards the Northern Powers during a period of the utmost intricacy, has been honoured by the approbation of his Majesty's government, whilst it was duly appreciated by the Courts of Sweden and Russia. I take this opportunity to express my sincere acknowledgments for the unremitting attention I received from you during the period of my late command.
I have, &c. &c. JAMES SAUMAREZ.
To J.W. Croker, Esq.
After Sir James had arrived in London he continued to direct the proceedings of the fleet in the Baltic, and it was not until the good work he had begun was completely ended to the general satisfaction that he retired from actual service.
1813 to 1831.
State of the Continent after the defeat of Buonaparte.—Sir James's services in the Baltic no longer required.—Retires from service, but not from public life.—His various occupations.—His claims for a Peerage disregarded.—Correspondence and observations thereon.—His residence in Guernsey.—Visit to Oxford.—Letter from Lord Nelson.—Captain Miller's monument.—Political opinions.—Letter from Earl St. Vincent.—Is appointed to the command at Plymouth.—Speech of Earl Grey.—Receives a visit from Lord Exmouth.—Strikes his flag.—Claims for a Peerage again disregarded.—Returns to Guernsey.—His reception there.—Death of George IV.—Accession of William IV.—Is created Baron de Saumarez.—Letter from Lady de Saumarez.—His reception at the Island of Guernsey, and rejoicings there.
The defeat of Buonaparte and the disastrous retreat of his army released the countries which surround the Baltic from the oppression to which they had been subject, and an English fleet was no longer necessary in that sea. The enemy indeed had still possession of Dantzig, and Denmark held out during the year 1813; but a small squadron under Rear-admiral Sir George Hope acting now in conjunction with Sweden, the co-operation of Russia was all that was wanted to carry on the blockade in the Belt, and to protect the commerce.
The services of a full admiral not being required, Sir James remained at home, chiefly in his native island. The command in the Mediterranean, which he would have had, had he not been requested to continue on the command in the Baltic, was occupied by Sir Edward Pellew, which, as will be hereafter seen, was an unfortunate circumstance.
Although retired from active warfare, it cannot be said that Sir James had retired from public life;—he was the patron of every useful institution, not by mere nominal sanction, but also by very munificent pecuniary contributions. He was one of the oldest members (I believe, President) of the Society for promoting Christian Knowledge, having become a subscriber to that institution in the year 1789; he was also president of the Royal Naval Charitable Institution, and of the Naval and Military Bible Society, as well as a large contributor. He was, moreover, vice-president of the British and Foreign Bible Society, and of the Society for promoting Christianity among the Jews; patron of the National Schools of the Bethel Union; the Provident Society; the Church of England Sunday School; the Church of England Missionary Society, &c. His mind and his time, therefore, were employed in a manner no less honourable and useful than it had been in his Majesty's service; and it does not appear that he had taken any notice of the manifest neglect of his claims until the peace of 1814, when, at the conclusion of the war, peerages were conferred on those officers of the army and navy who had most highly distinguished themselves. He now found his name omitted; while Sir Edward Pellew, an officer junior to him on the list of admirals, who had never commanded a ship in a general action, and who was not even a Knight of the Bath, was raised to the dignity of baron.
Sir James could not but consider this circumstance as an injustice to his superior claims; and we know that Sir Edward Pellew, then created Baron Exmouth, admitted that Sir James's claims for that high honour were far greater than his own. We may add, that every officer of his Majesty's navy was of the same opinion. Feeling himself bound to remonstrate, a correspondence took place between Sir James and some of his Majesty's ministers on the subject, but without effect; and we believe that the only reason given by them for his having been passed over, was simply "that Sir James's flag was not flying at the conclusion of the war," while that of Sir E. Pellew was hoisted in the Mediterranean, where indeed Sir James ought to have been, and where he would certainly have been had he not accepted the command in the Baltic at the request of ministers, on the especial understanding that it was not to be prejudicial to his claims. The fact was, however, that he had no friends in power at that time; while Sir Edward Pellew had many claims on ministers for the support he gave them in Parliament.
It is needless to revert to the ungracious treatment he received, which can only be accounted for by his having refused a seat in Parliament, coupled with conditions to which his conscience would not allow him to accede, and from his diffidence in not putting forward his claims at an earlier period; too often the case with men who are truly brave, but which is injurious to the service, inasmuch as it induces a belief among the rising generation that even manifestly just claims may be entirely neglected.
On the 4th of June 1814, when the general promotion took place, Sir James was advanced to Admiral of the Blue, at which time his name on the list of the navy was the fourth above Lord Exmouth.
The following is the extract of a letter from Sir James to one of the family on the subject of the Peerage.
London, 16th May 1814.
"You will have seen that a Peerage has been conferred on Sir Edward Pellew; you may suppose that Sir John Duckworth and myself have taken the proper means with Lord Melville for our services being taken into consideration, for a similar mark of distinction, and there is every reason to believe we shall not be disregarded. I had a long interview with Lord Melville, who gave me to understand that he laid the subject as favourably as possible before Lord Liverpool. It is, I fear, very doubtful, but I cannot persuade myself so much injustice will be done to my services; and such is the opinion of all I meet."
Subsequently to this, Sir James received a letter from Lord Liverpool, which need not be inserted, as the substance is given in Sir James's answer, which we subjoin.
Date not exactly known, 1814.
I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your lordship's letter of this date, signifying that you have had an opportunity of communicating to his Royal Highness the Prince Regent my request for the honour of the Peerage, as well as some other applications for the same honour from several distinguished officers of the navy and army, and that your lordship was commanded by the Prince Regent to acquaint me that his Royal Highness does full justice to my services on the occasions to which I refer; but he feels it, nevertheless, quite impossible, under all the circumstances, to comply with my request, and that he has directed your lordship to return the same answer to those who have made similar applications to him upon the present occasion. Without presuming to inquire into the merits of those distinguished officers with whom your lordship may have been pleased to blend my services, your lordship will permit me to observe, that the grounds upon which I found my application for the Peerage, were not confined to my services during the whole period of the late and American war; but also to my services during the five years that I had the honour to command his Majesty's fleet upon the Baltic station with the fullest approbation of Government, particularly for my uniform conduct respecting Sweden, which prevented that nation from joining the common enemy against this country, and also in having detached a timely force to Riga under the order of Rear-admiral Martin, which proved the means of preventing that city from falling into the hands of the French, and also, through the exertions of that zealous and able officer, succeeded in checking an important branch of the enemy's army from penetrating towards St. Petersburg, for which important services I have been honoured with the thanks of his Imperial Majesty, communicated to me by his ambassador at this court. As your lordship may not have laid those interesting particulars regarding my services before the Prince Regent, I now most earnestly request you will be pleased to render me that justice. I owe it to myself, to my family, as well as to the naval service, to which I have had the honour to belong upwards of forty-four years, to take the proper means, with every due respect, that my long and most faithful services are laid before his Royal Highness, in the fullest confidence that they will be found deserving the same mark of distinction that has been conferred upon an officer junior to me in the list of admirals. I beg leave to express my unfeigned acknowledgments to your lordship for the polite manner in which you have been pleased to convey to me the sentiments of his Royal Highness.
I have the honour to be, With the greatest respect, My Lord, Your most obedient and humble servant, JAMES SAUMAREZ.
To the Right Hon. the Earl of Liverpool, &c. &c. &c.
On Sir James's return to Guernsey, after his unsuccessful application to ministers for a Peerage, he resumed the works of charity and benevolence which had already done so much good to his native island. The ground on which Sir James's church stands was his property; he made a free gift of it to the building committee, and subscribed one thousand pounds towards the construction of that place of public worship. He assisted in improving the salaries of the masters and mistresses of the parochial schools, and was principally instrumental in establishing the Sunday school in the town parish. He founded an exhibition in Elizabeth College, for the best classical and theological scholar. He gave three hundred pounds in the Catel parish, where his country seat was situate, for the payment of a salary to the mistress of the girls' school. He distributed at Christmas, every year, warm clothing to the poor of every parish in the island, and, conjointly with the late dean, the Rev. Mr. Durand, succeeded, after many fruitless attempts, in establishing a national school at St. Peter Port. It has been justly said that he considered the great wealth he possessed as "trust money," for which he would have to account to that Being who had confided it to his care.
Sir James's residence being in Guernsey, where he possessed both a town and country house, and considerable landed property, and where he found himself surrounded by the relations both of Lady Saumarez and himself, he was induced to visit England but seldom. After the hundred days' war, when the Continental Sovereigns came to London, he accompanied the Prince Regent and his august allies to Oxford, and assisted in the ceremonies observed on that memorable visit. Had hostilities continued, there can be no doubt that he would have had the command of the Channel fleet, and it is worthy of remark that he was told, on making application for the Victory as his flag-ship, that four or five admirals, who had sought employment, had applied also for that favourite ship, notwithstanding the Howe, Nelson, and St. Vincent, new ships of one hundred and twenty guns, were ready for commission. Sir James having been second lieutenant of the same Victory forty-seven years before he hoisted his flag in her, and being well aware of her excellent sailing qualities, will account for his desire for that ship to bear his flag, although it cannot be denied, that, having only one hundred guns, and her metal reduced to eighteen pounders on the middle deck, she was much inferior in force to those we have mentioned. The glorious victory of Waterloo, however, put an end to all speculations on that subject; and Sir James, having failed in an application for a similar reward to that conferred on others for his meritorious services, retired again to his native island. After Sir James and Lord Nelson had returned from the Mediterranean subsequently to the melancholy death of Captain Miller, they met at Sir Peter Parker's at dinner, when Sir James proposed that a subscription for a monument to Captain Miller's memory should be raised among the Captains who fought with his lordship at the Nile. This proposition was immediately adopted by Nelson, who volunteered to promote it; and the following is a letter on the subject from Nelson to Saumarez, which we insert here because it did not come to our hands until after the first volume had been printed.
MY DEAR SIR JAMES,—I have written so fully to Sir Edward Berry on the subject of dear Miller's monument, that I can only repeat my words. Sir E. Berry thought that a plain monument would cost only 200l. and be sufficient to mark our esteem, to which I am ready to agree, provided we are to have the honour to ourselves. I mean we, who fought with him on the 1st of August 1798; but if it is judged better to admit those who fought with him on the 14th February 1797, then I think that a less sum than 500l. would be highly improper for such a body to lay out on a monument. Flaxman is to be the artist employed, and Mr. Davison, if he will take the trouble, the manager of the whole business; for permission must be obtained from the Chapter of St. Paul's, &c. &c.
I wish we had all been off Brest when the squadron sailed; we might have had the good fortune to have seen them. The San Josef appears to answer very well; indeed, as far as we can judge at present, she is, take her altogether, the finest three-decker in this country. I am going, as you know, into the St. George, but I wish our Northern matters could be accommodated; however, we must face all our enemies, and, I trust, make them ashamed of themselves.
I know you have a lad of the name of Bate on board; if you wish to part from him, I am bound to take him.
With my best compliments to Lady Saumarez, believe me ever, my dear Sir James,
Your most obliged and affectionate, NELSON AND BRONTE.
To Rear-admiral Saumarez.
Although this letter has no date, it is clear that it must have been written just before the battle with the Danish fleet at Copenhagen in 1801; and it is evident that the merit of proposing a monument to the brave Captain Miller is due to Sir James Saumarez.
He seldom ventured an opinion on political subjects: considering himself a "friend to the King," it did not much concern him who his Majesty's ministers were, and his refusal to support either side was no detriment to his advancement during war, when his high character and skill as a naval officer ensured him an important command; but when peace came, and his services were no longer required, he was, like many other meritorious officers, thrown completely on the shelf. His son, the present lord, writes thus:—
Although Sir James was more than once offered a seat in Parliament, he always steadily declined it, from the idea that he could render better service to his country by remaining free from politics; or if ever the time did arrive when he might become a senator, he was resolved that whichever house he entered he would be free and unshackled.
On this subject Sir James writes a few lines to his brother when in the temporary command of the Channel fleet:
What you hint of a seat in Parliament has often occurred to me, but hitherto I should have found it an encumbrance. At some future period it may, perhaps, be more advisable; but you may rely on it that I never wish to have one without maintaining my independence, and being perfectly free and unbiassed by any party.
We are well assured that Sir James was decidedly against the Catholic Emancipation, although after he obtained a peerage he voted for the Reform Bill, being clearly of opinion that some reform of acknowledged and flagrant abuses was necessary. He did not, however, intend to go so far as many of his friends; he may be said to have nearly followed the politics of Earl Grey, after the retirement of whom he took no part in the affairs of the nation.
At every change which occurred in the Ministry, he sent a memorial of his services and claims, but without effect; and it is well known that he had a very unfruitful correspondence with the Duke of Wellington and other cabinet ministers. It was at this period that he suffered another indignity in being passed over, when the Major-generalship of Marines became vacant.
The following extracts from letters from Earl St. Vincent will show his lordship's opinions on this subject. The first is to a friend.
Rochetts, 8th May 1821.
I feel very much for Sir James Saumarez. I have lost no opportunity of stating his high pretensions, which in my judgment are very far superior to any other upon the list of flag-officers. When I gain a little more strength I shall be glad to see him.
The second is to Sir James,
MY DEAR SIR,—I cannot too highly appreciate the interest you take in a late event, and happy shall I be to greet you upon the reward due to your exalted and unrivalled services, a manifestation of which has on no occasion been let slip by your old and sincere friend,
On the 4th of April 1824, Sir James, then Admiral of the White, hoisted his flag on board the Britannia as Port Admiral at Plymouth. It was during his period of command that Earl Grey, who was fully sensible of the unhandsome and ungrateful manner in which he had been treated, visited Plymouth, and when his health was proposed by Sir James at the Royal Naval Club openly announced his sentiments in the following words:
I rise to offer my best thanks for the manner in which the president (Sir James Saumarez) has been pleased to propose my health, and for the assent which the gentlemen present have given to the gallant Admiral's favourable view of me as a public character. I cannot but remind those about me of the merits of my noble friend—[then correcting himself, Earl Grey went on]—I wish I could call him my noble friend (noble, I mean, in rank, as he is already noble in mind)—I wish I could see him ennobled by his Sovereign, as his services entitle him to be; for who would deny him that honour, who recollects the career which he has run from Rodney's glorious day, the battles off Cape St. Vincent and the Nile, down to his own brilliant exploits in the Crescent and as commander-in-chief at Algeziras, and not say, that if ever a name should or would have graced the peerage, it should have been that of Saumarez?
Ralfe, in his Naval Biography, after alluding to the above speech, justly remarks,—
Were it a matter of importance to adduce further proof of the high opinion entertained of Sir James's abilities, we believe we might name nearly the whole list of Admirals; for we never yet conversed with a single officer who was not loud in his praise, and who did not think the service neglected in his person.
At Plymouth, Sir James received a visit from Lord Exmouth, with whom he had had no personal communication since the time when they both commanded frigates on the Plymouth station.
Sir James struck his flag for the last time on the 10th of May 1827, after a most glorious career of nearly sixty years. His reiterated claims were still disregarded.
We have now arrived at the period when the great revolution in the affairs of the state brought Earl Grey into power, previously to which, his late Majesty William IV. had ascended the throne; and one of the first and most popular acts of the "Sailor King," who well knew the merits of Sir James, was to wipe off that slur on the national gratitude, by raising him to the peerage.
Sir James having arrived in London, had communication with Sir James Graham, then first Lord of the Admiralty, after which he wrote as follows:
London, 9th September 1831.
This morning, I had a long interview with Sir James Graham, who, I must say, is most favourably inclined towards me, and assures me that Earl Grey, with whom he has had frequent conversations, is equally so. I have an appointment with the latter to-morrow, but I do not anticipate any favourable result, and can only say, "God's will be done."
We need scarcely add, that his application was successful; Sir James was raised to the long-expected and well-merited dignity of a Baron on the first of October 1831. The following extract of a letter from Lady Saumarez to her son, describing the arrival of the first intelligence, we are sure will be perused with interest.
Saumarez, 4th October 1831.
I also remember, my dear James, that October is an eventful month to us all; that to-morrow is your wedding day, and Sunday is your birth-day,—and you may be sure we shall not fail to keep them both in remembrance, in our prayers and warmest wishes, that they may ever be numbered among those marked blessed. Our register has now to unroll a brilliant page, which, I trust, the same divine hand that inscribed it, will seal with that stamp.
Wonderful it is yet to me—so suddenly, so unexpectedly, did it come at last! I admit there is no excuse for my incredulity, except that of thinking your dear father had been so strangely deprived of his well-earned reward through the injustice of man on so many occasions, because, far better things than man could give were in store for him. And although I did not doubt, if any naval Peers were created at the coronation, he would be one, I did not allow my thoughts to dwell upon it; and when the Gazette arrived without his name, I gave it up altogether. You may therefore judge my surprise on Wednesday morning, when a tap at my door announced Betty Williams, who, in breathless agitation, came to my bedside to say, Mr. C. Lefebvre was below, to inform me "Sir James was made a lord!"
When I joined him at breakfast, an hour after, he gave me so many interesting particulars which he had heard, that the account could not be disbelieved; but the entrance of two letters removed every shadow of doubt. The accounts from England of the reception of this event everywhere, from all classes and parties, have no parallel; and it seems to me as if the dignity had been deferred to prepare it for greater glory and additional lustre. We must indeed, as you say, be more than mortals if we could be unmoved at such things; they are so great that we have need to pray for a humble spirit to keep us from being "exalted above measure,"—and to make us remember that this donation is an additional "talent," which we are bound to use by our influence and example, in the cause of "whatever is holy, just, and of good report."
When the intelligence was known to the inhabitants of Guernsey, that the Admiral had been raised to the peerage, by the title of "Baron de Saumarez of Guernsey," all classes of the community fully manifested the pleasure they enjoyed at this signal honour; he being the first native of that island who had taken his seat in the House of Lords. On the 6th October, 1831, the bailiff officially announced the joyful news in his Billet d'Etat, in the following words:
LORD DE SAUMAREZ.
The elevation of one of our citizens to one of the highest dignities of the kingdom, cannot fail to inspire us with the most lively gratification. His Majesty has rewarded, with the most distinguished honour, the eminent services which he has rendered to the country. Guernsey, which, besides the public man, recognises in him all the virtues which adorn a private station, ought, on this happy occasion, to testify how sincerely she honours his character. To mark our esteem, the authorities of the Bailiwick, at the head of the whole population, ought to crowd around him at his return and proffer their congratulations. I should fail in my duty to the States, were I to neglect affording them this opportunity.
In reply to this address, the States unanimously agreed to meet at the court-house on the day after the arrival of Lord de Saumarez, at eleven o'clock in the morning, and thence to repair to the residence of their noble fellow-citizen, and felicitate him on his elevation to the peerage.
Lord de Saumarez, after a tedious and stormy passage across the channel, arrived at Guernsey late in the evening of Tuesday, the 25th of October; but, notwithstanding the lateness of the hour, the pier was crowded with people, who cheered him as he landed, and who attended him with every demonstration of joy to the carriage which was in waiting for him; and it was with much difficulty the people could be prevented taking out the horses. He was very much fatigued, having embarked at Southampton on Friday evening in the packet. On Saturday morning, when in sight of Alderney, a gale overtook the vessel, and the captain was obliged to bear up for Weymouth roads, where he remained till Monday; but his lordship had not recovered the effects of the storm: a night's rest, however, completely restored him.
On the following morning (26th October) the States assembled at the court-house, and as soon as the names of the members were called over, the bailiff read the address, which he had prepared, and which was unanimously agreed to. And, after having ascertained that his lordship was ready to receive them, the States proceeded to his residence, where the address was delivered to him, surrounded by Lady de Saumarez and the members of his family then in the island.
1832 to 1836.
Political opinions and conduct of Lord de Saumarez.—Death of his second son.—His letter on that occasion.—Anecdotes of his carriage being robbed.—Of Sweden.—The King of Sweden presents him with his portrait.—Count Wetterstedt's letter and Lord de Saumarez's answer.—Lord de Saumarez's last illness and death.—His Christian fortitude.—His professional character.—Moral and religious character.—Remarks and conclusion.
After Sir James's elevation to the peerage, he came during the session from his residence in Guernsey to London, in order to attend his duty in Parliament, but did not join any party in politics. We have already said that he voted for the Reform Bill, being fully convinced that some reform was necessary; but we know that he was firmly attached to the Constitution and to the Established Church, and he may be said to have followed nearest to the opinions of Earl Grey, after whose retirement from office he did not appear in Parliament. When the Author paid his lordship a visit at Tunbridge Wells in the winter of 1833, he found him much altered, and it was but too evident that his constitution was broken. In the summer of 1834 he had to deplore the loss of his second son (Thomas), who died on the 4th of July, on which mournful occasion he wrote the following letter to his son.
In the heavy affliction with which it has pleased the Almighty to visit us, he has not left us without consolation; and our confidence in the Divine mercy, and the hope that your beloved brother is removed to a better world, in the enjoyment of the blessed, through the precious merits of our dear Redeemer, must tend to assuage our sorrow, and induce us to submit with due resignation to the divine will. It will be to me a source of the greatest consolation, as it must be to us all, my dear James, to have witnessed his meek and patient resignation during his severe illness. It has been to me, as yourself and your dear Mary will readily believe, a most distressing and truly painful trial; but it has pleased God to support me through the whole of this sorrowful time far beyond what I could ever have thought myself to have been equal to, and I trust that your dear mother and beloved brother and sister will continue resigned to the will of Providence.
Lord de Saumarez's amiable disposition afforded him support under severe and unexpected losses of every description, of which the following anecdote is a proof. In the spring of 1834 he met with a loss on his journey to visit Sir John Orde at Beckingham, which we will venture to say would have been borne in a very different way by many of his brother officers. His own carriage being under repair, he had borrowed one from the coachmaker, which could only take one trunk behind; in this trunk the female servant, who had lived a long time in the family, had deposited his valuable diamond star of the Order of the Bath, together with some costly jewels and trinkets belonging to Lady de Saumarez and her daughter. On their arrival at Sir John's mansion at Beckingham, it was discovered, to their utter consternation, that the trunk had been cut off by thieves and carried away with its contents, the value of which amounted to near 1000l. Sir James bore the loss with the most philosophic coolness; for, instead of finding fault with the servant for placing such valuable articles in so hazardous a situation, with his true habitual kindness, he used his utmost endeavours to soothe the distress she felt as having been the unintentional cause of the loss. Information was immediately given at the Police-office, but none of the property was ever heard of, excepting the trunk, which was found empty in a field by the road side.
In Sweden the name of Saumarez will be for ever spoken of with gratitude and respect, and all strangers who visit that country are sure in their memoirs to mention the services which he had rendered. In Mr. Lloyd's book we find:
To the good understanding which existed between Count Rosen and Sir James Saumarez, our admiral on that station, may be ascribed the flourishing trade which was afterwards carried on during a period of nominal war, and the re-establishment of peace between the countries which soon after followed. Of Sir James Saumarez the inhabitants still speak in the highest terms of respect and regard, for his mildness and moderation in command, and for the attention he invariably paid to their numerous applications and wants.
A tourist in Sweden writes as follows:
Stockholm, 22nd Jan. 1832.
To-day I shall again have the honour of dining with Count Wetterstedt. Many, many inquiries were made after the health and happiness of the gallant and amiable Lord de Saumarez, whose name is beloved and respected throughout the whole kingdom. I landed at Christiania and travelled by land within fifty miles of Stockholm, and even the peasantry are familiar with my Patron's excellent name and character, the great friend of Sweden.
In October 1834, Lord de Saumarez received the last mark of Royal favour from the King of Sweden, who sent him a splendid full-length portrait of himself, which was forwarded with the following letter from the late highly respected Count Wetterstedt, then Minister for Foreign Affairs at Stockholm:
Stockholm, le 7 d'Octobre 1834.
Depuis longtems le Roi mon auguste Souverain vous avait destine, Milord, son portrait en pied comme un temoignage de son estime des services signales que vous avez rendus a la Suede dans les annees 1810-12.
Divers incidens en avaient retarde l'expedition, d'autant plus regrettables au Roi, que sa Majeste avait appris l'interet que vous aviez attache a ce souvenir de sa part. L'occasion opportune qui se presente maintenant de pouvoir embarquer ce portrait a bord du batiment a vapeur, le Lightning, de la Marine Britannique, qui transporte ici Monsieur de Disbrowe, a ete saisie par le Roi, et j'ai l'honneur de vous annoncer en son nom que cette expedition vient d'etre effectuee.
En faisant placer sur ce portrait cette inscription, "Charles XIV. Jean, a James Lord Saumarez, au nom du Peuple Suedois," sa Majeste s'est plue a transmettre a la posterite une preuve eclatante des souvenirs qui restent chez elle, et chez la Nation qu'elle gouverne, des vues eclairees du Gouvernement Britannique a une epoque a jamais memorable, et de la noble loyaute que vous mites, Milord, dans leur accomplissement.
Il m'est d'autant plus agreable, Milord, d'etre aupres de vous l'organe de ces sentimens de mon Souverain, que je trouve une occasion d'y ajouter ceux de la haute consideration avec laquelle j'ai l'honneur d'etre,
Milord, Votre tres humble et tres obeissant Serviteur, LE CTE. DE WETTERSTEDT.
This portrait, which is the natural size of the illustrious donor, arrived safely at Guernsey, where the Author saw it, and can affirm that it is an excellent likeness of his Majesty, who was always grateful for the services which Lord de Saumarez had rendered to his adopted country. Not less so were the merchants in London, who were preparing a splendid piece of plate, which the noble admiral did not live to receive, but which was presented to his son, the present lord.
We now approach the last days of this great and good man. He had yet another contest to encounter, and he entered upon it with that same moral courage, which, being founded on his trust in the Almighty, had hitherto enabled him to overcome every difficulty, and to face every danger; he had yet another victory to achieve, in which he came off more than conqueror. We are now to behold him as no longer holding intercourse with earth, but rather standing on the confines of either world; not indeed as preparing to meet his God, for that had been the business of his whole life, but as ready to obey whenever his summons came.
With the exceptions of occasional attacks of gout, which in general were more tedious than severe, he may be considered to have enjoyed a good state of health; but for the last three years his friends perceived that advanced age was gradually bringing on its debilitating effects. He was no longer able to walk with that firm commanding step, and that erect posture of body for which he had always been noted; but his mind retained its usual energy, and when he fell in with any of his old companions he would converse on the deeds of his more active life with all the vigour and animation of youth. Notwithstanding he had nearly attained the latest of those periods assigned by the Psalmist as the general boundary of human life, his children had still fondly hoped that he might yet have been spared a few years; neither had she, who for forty-eight years had been the joy and solace of his existence, and who had watched over him with the most sincere and devoted affection, any particular reason to think that they were so soon to be severed. A few weeks before his death, his increasing debility; attended with loss of appetite and inability of retaining food, excited some slight apprehensions, which, though not sufficient to cause alarm on the first appearance of those symptoms, led, as they increased, to the conviction that the system was decaying.
On the 30th of September Lord de Saumarez seemed to have recovered his usual good looks, and appeared with the cheerfulness which, when in health, he always assumed. That day he received several friends, who congratulated him on his convalescence; but the members of his family who watched him most attentively, observed that he received their congratulations with distrust, as if conscious of his declining state; and, on their departure, calling one of them aside, he emphatically told him, that his looks were not to be depended on, for that he really felt ill. It is even said that he had already given directions to his confidential servants respecting some of the last duties. On the morrow his increased debility showed that his opinion of his own state was but too correct, and on the next day, which was Sunday, he awoke, after an uneasy night, under the pressure of distressing symptoms. Finding it was too late for his family to go to church, he requested they would read the service to him, and was afterwards much employed in meditation. It was now apparent that he was impressed with the belief, that the time of his departure was at hand, for he seemed as if taking a farewell of terrestrial objects and resigning his soul to his Maker and Redeemer.
More than once he exclaimed, "I am the resurrection and the life, saith the Lord; he that believeth in me, though he were dead yet shall he live, and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die." "What comfort, shall never die," he repeated, in a manner which showed the hope he himself entertained of a blessed immortality. He was well acquainted with every page of the sacred writings, the perusal of a portion of which, including the psalms of the day, had for many years formed part of his regular employment, and it was now he felt the comfort which they inspired and the support which they afforded under the near prospect of death and the grave.
Monday brought no amendment; it was evident that nature was sinking, and his medical attendants no longer concealed their apprehensions of the result. Those of his family, who had the privilege of attending him at this solemn period, while they were filled with sorrow at the prospect of losing one so deservedly dear to them, could not contemplate the calmness and composure with which he met the approaching change, without feelings of the most devout admiration.
Still seeking comfort from its only true source, Heavenly themes were the prevailing occupation of his thoughts. "The Lord," he said, "is my light and my salvation; of whom then shall I be afraid?" He also repeated from memory the 23rd and 34th Psalms, together with some other parts of the holy volume. On the Thursday, which may be considered as the last day on which he enjoyed the full power of speech and consciousness, his tongue was still employed in magnifying the God of his salvation: several times he repeated, "If God is for us, who can be against us?" sometimes adding, "Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect?" Once he said, "Oh, my poor mind!"—"Not a poor mind," was the reply, "but a rich one, stored as it is with such heavenly things:" when he meekly answered, "I have tried to make it so."
The two following days he felt increased difficulty in breathing, and though only able to give occasional utterance to his thoughts, the constant joining of his hands, and the devotion of his countenance, showed that his understanding was still able to unite in the supplications which his family offered up in behalf of the dying husband and parent. His recollection, however, was gradually leaving him; for, on Lady de Saumarez approaching his bedside on the morning of Saturday, he no longer recognised her; he appeared to be fast passing from this world to better and everlasting habitations. It was, as this excellent and truly Christian woman acknowledged, more than mortal strength which enabled her to contemplate without a murmur the separation that was so soon to take place, and which raised her mind above the distressing scene before her, to find utterance in prayer for herself and for the departing spirit of her husband. She was not sensible that she was heard, till, a few moments after she had concluded, he distinctly said, in the metrical version of the 122nd psalm, "It was a joyful sound to hear." It is uncertain whether this alluded to the words of the prayer just uttered, or whether the Almighty was already pleased to vouchsafe to him, as there is reason to believe he does to his faithful servants when approaching the great conflict, some assurance of his salvation, by admitting him to a distant sound of the Hallelujahs of those blessed spirits which surround the throne. From whatever source sprung this sentence, dear and precious must it ever be to those who loved him; for these were the last words he distinctly pronounced,—the last sound of his voice in this world!
The next day (Sunday) was the 9th of October, a day which had been one of peculiar interest to him, being the birth-day of his eldest son, who was unfortunately prevented by a weak state of health, attended with bodily infirmity, which would not admit of his crossing the water in the stormy weather then prevailing, from being present at the dying bed of his beloved parent.
His breathing now became very laborious, but his lordship was apparently at ease and free from pain. Sometimes it was thought a degree of consciousness existed; for when at noon his second son, who had just arrived from England, appeared in the apartment and spoke, a slight movement of the body was perceptible. Towards night the pulse rapidly declined, the breathing, which had been much relieved during the day, became gradually fainter, every limb was at rest, the whole body in repose, as if indicating the happy state of that spirit which was about to be resigned into the hands of Him that gave it.
A few minutes before midnight, the wise Disposer of all things was pleased to close the mortal scene; the cessation of the act of breathing was the only sign of dissolution; and even at that moment his countenance bore an expression no language can portray; unimpaired by illness, or the course of nearly fourscore years, time seemed to have restored to his features and complexion the freshness and bloom of the prime of life. In beholding such a blissful termination of mortal existence, we have here a happy illustration of the words of the prophet, "The work of righteousness shall be peace, and the effect of righteousness quietness, and assurance for ever."
 Isaiah, xxxii. 17.
In order to form a correct estimate of the merits of the late Lord de Saumarez, his character should be viewed under the opposite relations of life—professional and domestic; and very few who have belonged to the navy, or indeed any service, have been more distinguished in either. Rear-Admiral Sir Jahleel Brenton, Bart. &c. now Lieutenant Governor of the Royal Hospital at Greenwich, has given us the following sketch of his professional character, of which he must be admitted to be the best judge, having served several years as his captain under the most trying circumstances of his life.
I had frequent opportunities of observing him in both characters, and knew not which to admire most—that perfect enjoyment which he seemed to possess in the bosom of his family; that peculiar faculty of giving and receiving happiness in the truly happy circle of which he was the centre—or that energy of character which led him with enthusiasm into active service, and which made the good of his country paramount to every other consideration. Perhaps the most weary of all situations, to a naval officer, is, when placed in command of a squadron, watching an enemy's fleet, particularly on such a station as that of Brest; and there my noble friend was severely tried, first, as a captain with a squadron under his orders, and afterwards as a flag officer. The rapidity of the tides, as well as their irregularity, and the constant heavy gales from the westward, render the service a most anxious one; and he indeed felt the full force of the responsibility; but the determined resolution with which he maintained his position, under the most threatening circumstances, gave the fullest assurance to the commander-in-chief, that this most important post was in able and sure hands. All his officers and crew had their regular portions of repose; but sleep to the officer charged with this immense responsibility was almost impossible during the night, and a few transient snatches of rest through the day, when danger could be seen or avoided, were all that could be obtained, and these enabled him to sustain the fatigue to which he was exposed.
During the long winter nights, we could all observe the effects of this most trying situation upon the Admiral's appearance, who, having alone the responsibility for the safety of all the ships under his command, suffered in proportion to its amount. It was, at the same time, a subject of general remark, how every trace of fatigue and anxiety instantly vanished on the arrival of a letter from his family. It would have been natural to suppose that, deeply as he felt the happiness of home, so in proportion would have been his distaste for a service that deprived him of it; but the moment that he was assured of the welfare of the objects of his affectionate solicitude, his countenance was lighted up by the utmost gratitude to the Giver of all blessings, and he again devoted himself to the fulfilment of his arduous duties with renewed energy.
It was frequently said by Earl St. Vincent, that when an officer of the navy married, he lost much of his value in his profession. There are, doubtless, many exceptions to that rule, and Sir James Saumarez was a most striking one; for I believe he was most powerfully stimulated to great and good actions, by the consideration of the share those dear to him would enjoy in their results. And, certainly, no energy whatever was wanting to get his ship, or squadron, ready for sea, or to proceed with the utmost despatch in the execution of his orders, however it might curtail the period of his domestic enjoyments; everything gave way to duty, and every possible degree of energy and zeal was brought into action for the execution of it.
The lively sensibility, which formed so prominent a feature in the character of our lamented hero, was most remarkable. It was not only in the intercourse of private friendship and in acts of kindness and benevolence, that this feeling was evinced; but upon all occasions, public as well as private, he manifested how deeply his heart was engaged in events which might bear on the interests of his friends and his country. I well remember, when off the Black Rocks in April 1801, his coming on board, from a visit he paid to the commander-in-chief, and bringing a newspaper, containing an account of the landing in Egypt, and the attack on the Danish fleet at Copenhagen by Lord Nelson. He directed me to cause the hands to be turned up; but when they were assembled, his feelings had so completely overcome him, that he found it utterly impossible to read the account. Many instances of this peculiar depth of feeling and goodness of heart might be enumerated. I shall only add, that he was most exemplary in his conduct, and most exact in causing all the offices of religion to be performed on board his ship, allowing nothing short of the most imperative duties of the ship to interrupt divine service!
In conclusion, we must seriously recommend to our young readers, and particularly to those of the Royal Navy, to whom indeed the whole memoir is addressed, to read with attention the following remarks on the moral and religious character of the late illustrious and noble Admiral.
His lordship was a sincere Christian, in the most exalted sense of the word; his religion was a strong principle, pervading every decision and action of his long and distinguished life. It was a principle emanating from a sound knowledge and love of scripture truth; those who were honoured with his confidence, and who saw him at all times, and under different circumstances, particularly in the hour of sickness and in affliction, can testify with what earnestness he turned to the great source of strength and consolation, with what warmth of feeling he spoke of the redeeming mercies of God in Christ Jesus; it was a theme to which he delighted to give utterance, and in a way which convinced those who heard him, that it constituted the firm, prevailing, comforting belief and support of his own mind and heart. A friend, who visited Lord de Saumarez during a severe illness, was deeply affected on hearing him say, that he had passed a sleepless night, not so much from the bodily sufferings he endured as from the painful reflection of the misery and danger of the multitudes who were living without God in the world, particularly those who were opposed to the gospel of Christ, and that he had earnestly prayed to God on their behalf. It was a similar feeling which led him to employ himself with so much zeal, and such magnificent liberality for the erection of St. James's church in his native island: it owes its existence mainly to him. No sacrifice appeared too great to ensure the success of an undertaking which provided four hundred free sittings for the use of the poor population. More recently, in the same spirit, he became a bountiful contributor to another church, in a populous district of the island; and his last public act was laying the foundation-stone of that edifice. The multitudes who there saw his benign countenance, will not quickly forget the devotion which mingled with the performance of the ceremony. He ever liberally supported the schools and religious institutions; but indeed his charity was unbounded. In every case of public emergency, or of private distress, he was a sure refuge; and the hopes entertained of his assistance and sympathy were never disappointed. The success which attended his Lordship in his profession, has proved that moral and religious worth, far from unfitting men for the naval service, only qualifies them the more for the right discharge of their arduous duties. No commander ever possessed in a higher degree the confidence of the navy, the respect of the community at large, and the love and veneration of friends and relatives; and surely it is not too much to add, that this homage was paid, not more to his professional skill and valour, not more to the eminent services he had rendered to his king and country, than to the Christian excellency which ever adorned his life and actions.
BIOGRAPHICAL MEMOIR OF LIEUT. GENERAL SIR THOMAS SAUMAREZ.
In adding the following memoir of this distinguished officer, who is a younger brother of the late noble Lord, we feel confident that it will be read with interest, his services having been in some degree mixed up with those of his illustrious brother, in the prosecution of the American and the late Continental war. The author having been intimately acquainted with Sir Thomas, and having for many years kept up a constant correspondence with him, has peculiar satisfaction in discharging this duty of gratitude to a friend for whom he had always the highest regard and respect, and to whom he materially owes his advancement in the profession to which he has the honour to belong.
Lieutenant General Sir Thomas Saumarez entered the army in January 1776, at the early age of 15 years, when he purchased a second lieutenancy in the 23rd regiment or Royal Welsh Fusiliers. He was at the taking of New York Island, and assisted at the storming of Fort Washington and in capturing 3300 men.
In April 1777, he embarked on board transports with the regiment, and proceeded to destroy all the military stores and provisions the enemy had collected at Danburg in the province of Connecticut. He first distinguished himself in the action fought at this place, and in the actions of Ridgefield and Compo Point. Having obtained a lieutenancy in 1778 without purchase at Philadelphia, he soon after was selected to serve in the company of grenadiers which was then attached to the brigade, composed of more than fifty companies of grenadiers. He was in the severe action fought at Monmouth, in the Jerseys, when the captain, and more than one-third of the company to which he belonged, were killed or wounded. His services were volunteered with the regiment to serve as marines on board Lord Howe's fleet, destined to attack the French fleet, under Count D'Estaing, at Rhode Island, very superior in size and weight of metal to the British: a dreadful storm arose when the two fleets were within gun-shot of each other, which prevented the engagement. In 1779, he embarked and went up Hudson's River to East Chester, and Ver Plank's Point, and was at the attack of Fort La Fayette and other fortified places, which surrendered.
On the return of young Saumarez to New York in September 1779, he was strongly recommended by his commanding officer to General Clinton, the commander-in-chief, and, in consequence, was permitted to purchase a company in the Royal Welsh Fusiliers, although he was only 19 years of age. The day following, he embarked with several regiments, under the command of Earl Cornwallis, with the intention of attacking several French West Indian Islands. A few days after leaving New York, a frigate hove in sight, the captain of which gave information to Vice Admiral Arbuthnot, that two days before he had seen a large fleet of men-of-war, under the command of Count De Grasse, very superior in numbers to our convoy, and that he supposed the enemy to be within a day's sail of our ships. Upon this the Admiral made the signal for all the transports to return as expeditiously as possible to New York, where he disembarked.
In December, our young officer embarked with many regiments, under the command of Lieutenant General Clinton, and sailed for South Carolina, to besiege the city of Charlestown, which surrendered on the 12th of May 1780. Soon after this, he was detached with 4000 men, under the orders of Earl Cornwallis, and after marching upwards of one hundred miles took possession of Camden. At this place, our little army became so sickly that we had more than 1100 men in the hospital, which, with many detachments, reduced our number to less than 2000 effective men. The enemy being apprised of this, was induced to collect a force of more than 7000 men, with the intention of attacking and capturing our little army, under the command of General Gates. On the 15th of August, Lord Cornwallis was informed that the Americans were within twelve miles of Camden, and consisted of six to one in numbers more than we had to oppose to them. Upon this, his lordship considered it was too late to think of retreating to Charlestown, and not wishing to abandon our sick in hospital, decided at once that, by attacking the enemy, we had a great deal to gain and little to lose. He accordingly issued an order to march at nine o'clock the same evening. About two hours after, the advance guards of the British and of the Americans encountered each other, as the enemy had begun to march precisely at the same hour: after skirmishing some time, the firing ceased, and both armies waited most impatiently for the dawn of day of the 16th, when they formed, and immediately engaged; the Americans at the same time detaching troops on both the flanks of the British, to prevent their escaping, under the expectation of taking the whole prisoners. On the other hand, the British marched coolly to meet the enemy, although under a very heavy fire of cannon and musketry, until they came within twenty yards of their opponents. Here Lord Cornwallis took off his hat, which was a signal for the line to give three hearty cheers, advance, and, when within a few yards of the enemy, fire a well-directed volley and charge: this was done with such effect that the first line of the Americans ran away and overset their reserve; the result was, that the British killed (mostly with the bayonet), wounded, and took prisoners 300 more than they had men in the field, took seven pieces of brass cannon, 150 waggons, full of all sorts of military stores, camp equipage, &c.
About three weeks after this action, Lord Cornwallis, upon finding the greater number of the sick had left the hospital, issued an order for all the officers' baggage which could possibly be dispensed with to be destroyed immediately, as the little army was going by forced marches in pursuit of the enemy. The troops accordingly marched seventeen successive days, from five o'clock in the evening to eight or nine the following morning, oftentimes with a very scanty allowance, or no provisions, as it was through an exhausted country, without bread, (as the corn mills had been rendered unserviceable,) except some Indian corn used by the cattle, and this corn was taken from the fields. The troops were without tents or any covering to shelter them from the intense heat and heavy rains peculiar to the climate. They had to ford frequently four or five rivers and creeks in a day; some of these were deeper than their waist, and so rapid, that the officers and soldiers found it requisite to tie and support each other. Under these circumstances the men were frequently exposed to a most galling fire from the enemy, strongly posted: if a man was wounded, he was let go down the stream and drowned.
During a march of 1500 miles through South and North Carolina and Virginia, the officers and soldiers were subjected to the greatest sufferings, privations, and hardships, which, (as Lord Cornwallis frequently observed in his despatches,) could not be possibly exceeded, their clothes being worn out, especially their boots and shoes. They were, moreover, almost without wine or spirits, having destroyed the greater part when orders were issued at Camden to lessen the baggage as much as possible, which deprived the officers of the comforts they so much required, and which they had obtained with the greatest trouble and expense: for this sacrifice, they never received the smallest recompence. The officers having the rank of captain were allowed to ride on a march, but in consequence of a requisition made to Lord Cornwallis by Colonel Tarleton, commanding the cavalry, not only for the riding horses, but also for all the cart horses, which were most serviceable to mount his troopers, his lordship most reluctantly compelled every officer to deliver the best of the horses for the cavalry. The captains naturally lent their horses to the officers and men who might require them from illness or otherwise; it was soon found out that they could not be dispensed with, so that cast-off horses were substituted for those they had been obliged to give up.
The little army being nearly exhausted with fatigue, the officers and men became most anxious that, instead of the minor actions and skirmishes to which they were frequently exposed, the enemy would collect all his force and give them an opportunity to fight and end their labours.
On the 14th of March 1781, Lord Cornwallis received intelligence that General Green, with a force five times greater as to numbers than the British, was within ten miles. His lordship determined to attack them the day following, and put his little corps in motion at daybreak of the 15th of March. About noon, he fell in with the enemy most advantageously posted, and formed in three lines; the first, which was behind rails, kept up a most incessant fire, from four six-pounders and musquetry, upon the British troops as they advanced upon a ploughed field, which was very muddy from rain that fell the day before. Notwithstanding all these disadvantages, they marched coolly to the Americans without firing a musket until within a few yards, when they halted to fire a well-directed volley and charged. Upon this, they had to encounter the enemy's second and third lines, which were attacked in the same manner and totally dispersed, leaving their four six-pounders, the only guns they had, in the field, which were bravely taken by the brigade of guards: these four six-pounders were soon after retaken by a charge from Colonel Washington's cavalry, and two of these guns were ultimately taken by Captain Saumarez, who had the command of the left wing of the regiment from the commencement of the action, after Captain Pater, who commanded the royal Welsh Fusiliers, was wounded in the early part of the engagement, and the left wing had been separated from the right wing when in pursuit of the first line of the Americans. The other two six-pounders were also taken by Colonel Tarleton's cavalry: these four guns were all the Americans brought into the field.
The enemy's loss in killed and wounded was very considerable. The Welsh Fusiliers and most of the other corps of Lord Cornwallis's army had about one third of the officers and soldiers in the field killed and wounded, and most unhappily, during the action, the lighted paper of the cartridges set fire to the dried leaves, so that many of the unfortunate wounded, which could not be removed, belonging to the British and Americans, were burnt to death. Earl Cornwallis mentioned in his despatches, "that the conduct and actions of the officers and soldiers that compose this little army, will do more justice to their merit than I can by words. Their persevering intrepidity in action, their invincible patience in the hardships and fatigues of a march of many hundred miles, in which they have forded several large rivers and numberless creeks, many of which would be reckoned large rivers in any other country in the world, without tents or covering against the climate, and often without provisions, will sufficiently manifest their ardent zeal for the honour and interests of their sovereign and their country."
This engagement was generally considered to be the hottest and bloodiest, as well as the best fought throughout the war. The army marched from Guildford the 18th of March for Wilmington, where it arrived the 7th of April. At this place the officers and soldiers fortunately were enabled to supply themselves with a small quantity of wine and spirits, with which they had been without for some months, also with tea and sugar and some clothing, of which they began to be in the greatest need, in consequence of having been compelled to destroy the greatest part of their baggage twice for the good of the service, since they arrived at Camden in June 1780.
 The action of July 1779.
On the 25th of April 1781, he marched from Wilmington, North Carolina, for Petersburg, Virginia, a distance of 800 miles: here he arrived on the 20th of May, after undergoing the greatest privations and hardships, which Lord Cornwallis deplored, and felt the distresses of his little army so much that he became very ill with a fever, which prevented the possibility of his lordship's sitting a horse, and made it indispensably requisite for his being conveyed in a waggon over mountains, rivers, and creeks.
On the 4th of July the troops marched from Williamsburg, the capital of Virginia, for James Town, near which place there was a river three miles wide, which the army had to cross. On the 5th, the baggage of the army passed over the river, and some of the troops. The day following, Lord Cornwallis received intelligence that the Marquis De La Fayette with 2000 Americans were within a short distance of the British, with the intention of destroying the rear guard: upon this, his lordship prevented the main body of his little corps from embarking, and placed it in ambush behind a high hill to wait the attack of the enemy. About four o'clock in the afternoon, the Americans began to attack the piquets, which had orders to sustain their ground as long as possible; in consequence, several officers and soldiers were wounded: at length the main body of the enemy formed in front of the British, when the latter, after receiving the repeated discharges of the former from two six-pounders and musquetry, advanced, with the greatest impetuosity, fired a volley and charged, which completely dispersed the Americans, who were pursued until dark, the enemy leaving the two pieces of cannon and more than 300 killed and wounded on the field. Another hour of day-light would in all probability have prevented a single man of the Americans escaping.
Earl Cornwallis was so well pleased with his little army, that in his despatches he mentioned, that he could not sufficiently commend the spirit and good behaviour of the officers and soldiers. On the 25th of July the little corps marched for Portsmouth, and arrived at York Town and Gloucester on the 9th of August, when orders were issued to fortify both places as well as practicable. The Welsh Fusiliers were directed to erect a redoubt on the right flank of the town, more than five hundred yards in advance, there being a ravine between York and the position allotted. Lord Cornwallis declared that the Fusiliers would have to defend this post. On the 28th of September, 8000 French troops under the command of Count Rochambeau, and 1500 American troops under General Washington, with a large French fleet of ships of war, made their appearance, with the avowed intention of besieging the army under Earl Cornwallis, consisting of only 4017 men fit for duty: 1933 officers and soldiers were wounded and sick in hospital. The night following, the enemy broke ground within three hundred yards and continued their approaches.
On the 6th of October, 3000 French grenadiers made a most vigorous attempt to storm the right advanced redoubt, and were bravely repulsed by only 130 officers and soldiers of the royal Welsh Fusiliers, and 40 marines. Two other attempts were made by the French to take the redoubt, which proved equally unsuccessful. For the gallant defence made by the troops in the right redoubt, they received the particular thanks of Earl Cornwallis, and also the most flattering testimonials of approbation and of admiration from the general officers of the army, for their intrepid conduct during the siege, and upon all other occasions. Even the French general officers, after the termination of the siege, gave the Welsh Fusiliers their unqualified praises for their firmness and courage in repulsing the three attacks made by such vastly superior numbers on the redoubt, and could not be easily convinced that so few men defended it. Captain Saumarez was the second officer in command in the advanced right redoubt.
On the 19th of October 1781, the garrison of York Town capitulated. Lord Cornwallis having ordered that one captain and three subalterns of each regiment be required to remain with the prisoners, the captains drew lots, when Captain Saumarez proved so unfortunate as to be the one to remain with the regiment, in order to visit the non-commissioned officers and soldiers very frequently; to be an eye-witness of their treatment; to take care that the quantity and quality of the provisions issued to them were conformable to the terms of the capitulation; to distribute clothing and necessaries, and also to be of every other use and benefit to them in his power. On the 29th of October, he marched from York Town with the regiment, and arrived on the 15th November at Winchester, in the back settlements of Virginia, where the soldiers were confined in barracks, surrounded with a stockade. The 12th of January 1782, he marched with the regiment and a part of Lord Cornwallis's army from Winchester, through the State of Maryland to Lancaster in Pennsylvania, where they arrived the 28th following. The cold was so intense during the march, which proved so harassing and fatiguing, that many of the men were frost-bitten, and many others suffered exceedingly.
The 2nd of June 1782, Captain Saumarez and the other twelve captains taken prisoners with the army under Earl Cornwallis, were ordered by the American Congress and General Washington to assemble at Lancaster, in Pennsylvania; and to draw lots, that one might be selected to suffer death by way of retaliation, when the lot fell on Sir Charles Asgill, who was in consequence conveyed under a strong escort to the American army, stationed in the Jerseys, the place fixed upon for his execution. Here he remained in prison for six months, enduring the greatest hardships, expecting daily that his execution would take place. The manner adopted for drawing lots, was by placing the names of the thirteen captains in one hat, and in another twelve blank pieces of paper, beginning with the names one by one, and by each piece of paper, until the paper was drawn upon which was written the "unfortunate." It may be observed that Captain Asgill had to pass through Philadelphia, where the Congress was assembled; and he being attended voluntarily, and most humanely, by Major Gordon, of the 80th regiment, the senior officer of the British troops prisoners of war, he made it his business to wait upon the French Ambassador, and desired in the most impressive manner his Excellency's interference with the Congress, to prevent the execution of Captain Asgill. The Ambassador refused complying with the entreaty, but it was thought he afterwards relented, as he was seen going to Congress; and that his remonstrances, together with the strong representations of the captains, who wrote and applied in the most decided manner to General Count De Rochambeau, who commanded the French troops in besieging York Town, had the effect of at least suspending the sanguinary intentions of Congress and of General Washington, to put Captain Asgill to death, until the Government and the Queen of France, to whom application had been made to interfere in his behalf, and if possible save his life, were ascertained. The only reason alleged for the above transactions, was, that a rebel captain named Huddy, who was patrolling with Americans, fell in at night with another patrol of royalists commanded by Captain Lippencott, who was taken prisoner by Huddy, and who, without trial or any other cause but his being a loyalist attached to the British army, hung poor Lippencott. The latter's brother, shortly after this most infamous occurrence, was patrolling and took Huddy prisoner, upon which, to retaliate for the murder of his brother, he executed Huddy. The above transactions were made known to the thirteen captains whilst prisoners on parole, and credited by them. They were also informed very frequently, that General Washington had often declared, that of the two events of his life which grieved him and that he lamented most, one was his not having done his utmost to prevent the thirteen captains taken by capitulation drawing lots.
 Brigade of Guards:—Earl Ludlow, Sir Charles Morgan, Captains Eld, Greville, Asgill, and Perrin. Captain Saumarez, 23rd, or Royal Welsh Fusiliers. Captain Coote, 37th Regiment. Captains Graham and Barclay, 76th Regiment. Captains Arbuthnot and Hathorn, 80th Regiment. Captain ——, name unknown.
Captain Saumarez being the senior officer of the British troops, during the time they were prisoners at Winchester and at York Town, in Pennsylvania, had the charge and superintendence of 3000 men, stationed at each of these places during nineteen months, which caused the greatest anxiety, and often-times the utmost distress. In consequence of his unremitting zeal and exertions upon this arduous service for the comfort and welfare of the soldiers under his superintendence, as well as to prevent their deserting to the enemy, from whom they received every enticement to do so, he was frequently offered passports and encouragements to go to England, and abandon the soldiers, by the American authorities; but flattering himself that he was most useful to them, and being impelled by a sense of public duty, he voluntarily continued a prisoner on parole, until, in May 1783, he had the satisfaction at the end of the war of conducting the first division of the army to New York, where upon his arrival he was honoured in obtaining the thanks and approval for his conduct from Sir Guy Carleton, the Commander-in-chief, and also from the Field Officers of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers.
Soon after his arrival within the British lines, he was permitted to embark for England. On landing at Portsmouth, he had the mortification of hearing he had been placed on half-pay, in consequence of the army having been reduced, although he had fought in three general actions, several skirmishes, and two sieges, since he purchased his company in 1779. Having repeatedly offered his services, he was preferred to a company in the Royal Welsh Fusiliers in 1787, upon the augmentation of the army, and when war was expected to take place; but was unfortunately reduced three months after, as the peace continued. In 1789, he was appointed to a company in the 7th or Royal Fusilier regiment, and joined it in Scotland: soon after he embarked at Leith for Gibraltar, to join his colonel, his Royal Highness Prince Edward, who was pleased to form a company selected from all the bad and worst-behaved soldiers in the regiment, and appointed Captain Saumarez to command and take charge of them: some time after this, he was honoured with his Royal Highness's best thanks, for the reformation he had caused in the conduct and discipline of these men, and for doing this without corporal punishment. The Duke was pleased to honour him with the appointment of Equerry, and afterwards of Groom of the Chamber to his Royal Highness.
In 1791, he embarked with the regiment for Canada, and soon after this he was permitted to go to England. In 1793, on the declaration of war with France, he offered his services to raise a regiment, when Mr. Secretary Dundas and Major General Thomas Dundas, the latter being appointed to command-in-chief at Guernsey, earnestly solicited him to accompany the Major General to the island, on account of his knowledge of the language, the laws, and customs of the island, and of its inhabitants; and being informed that the enemy meditated to attack it, he was induced to accept the appointment of Major of Brigade to 2000 militia of the island: he besides voluntarily did the duty of the quarter-master-general's department to the troops. He also had the superintendence and examination of all strangers as they landed, which enabled him to cause many disaffected persons and rebels from Ireland to be apprehended: he had the selection and appointment of pilots to the ships of war requiring them, and otherwise rendered himself as useful as possible to the public service, without additional pay or emolument whatever, for the space of five years, and until the arrival of 7000 Russian troops, when he was appointed assistant quarter-master-general, and, upon four French corps arriving in the island, he was appointed their inspector.
Mr. Secretary Dundas, and Mr. Windham, secretary at war, were pleased to confide to him the secret correspondence with the enemy's coast, from Havre to Brest, when he obtained intelligence of the utmost importance, for which he repeatedly received the thanks of His Majesty's ministers. In 1794, he was deputed to carry an address from the States of the island, on the marriage of his Royal Highness the Prince Regent; and on this occasion Major General Small, who was the Lieutenant-Governor and Commander-in-chief, was pleased to recommend his services in so strong a manner to the King's ministers, that he had the honour of being knighted. In 1799 he was promoted to be inspector of the militia of the island, in which situation he continued to serve until June, 1811, when he obtained the rank of major general.
 In the year 1800, when the author was acting Lieutenant of H.M.S. Weasle, he had the misfortune to be taken prisoner in one of the boats, and was on the point of falling a sacrifice to the injustice of those in power at St. Malo, when Sir Thomas, who had the care of the French prisoners at Guernsey, being aware of his situation, sent in conjunction with the Governor, the late Sir Hew Dalrymple, an offer to the Prefect at St. Malo of forty men for his exchange, which, although it had not the effect of procuring his liberty, was certainly the cause of saving his life, at a period when the execution of a fellow-creature was a matter of little moment; and the author soon after found means to escape.
In February 1812, Sir Thomas was appointed commandant of the garrison at Halifax, Nova Scotia; and in August 1813 he had the honour of going as President of the Council, and to command in chief the province of New Brunswick. In July 1814, he returned to Halifax, and soon after he embarked for England.
Before his departure from New Brunswick, His Majesty's Council presented him the following address:
"To his Honour Major General Sir Thomas Saumarez, late President and Commander-in-chief of the province of New Brunswick.
"THE ADDRESS OF HIS MAJESTY'S COUNCIL.
"Fredericton, 6th July 1814.
"The unsettled state of the government in New Brunswick has long been a subject of general regret in the province, where the changes of President have occurred no less than nine times in the course of seven years. But although the period of your Honour's administration in particular has been short, it will not be soon forgotten; it has made a lasting impression on the minds of all such as have had opportunity to observe, and justly to appreciate, your vigilant and unwearied attention to the duties of your station, and your constant ambition, by every means in your power, to promote and secure the prosperity of the colony committed to your care. His Majesty's Council therefore request your acceptance of this address, not as a mere compliment, but as a sincere tribute of respect and esteem; which, together with their best wishes, they offer in the confident assurance that, on this occasion, they speak the sentiments of the province at large."
Sir Thomas Saumarez, who had long been the senior Lieutenant General in Her Majesty's army, was advanced to the rank of General at the Coronation of Her most Gracious Majesty Queen Victoria.
Sir Thomas has almost constantly resided in his native island, and no one has done more in promoting its improvement. Those who have visited Guernsey with an introduction to him, and even perfect strangers, will gratefully remember his hospitality. He was long the highly esteemed friend of Her present Majesty's illustrious father, his Royal Highness the Duke of Kent; and he is no less esteemed for the urbanity of his manners and kindness of heart. The author can testify, that those who know Sir Thomas Saumarez have a sincere and invaluable friend.
BIOGRAPHICAL MEMOIR OF CAPTAIN PHILIP DE SAUMAREZ.
The deeds of this brave and meritorious officer, who was the uncle of the noble Lord whose memoirs we have recorded in these volumes, would probably have been buried in oblivion, had not some official documents been discovered, of which we have gladly availed ourselves in presenting to the public a more full and authentic account of his glorious career than has hitherto been given.
Philip de Saumarez was the third son of Mathew de Saumarez of Guernsey, and Anne Durell, born at Guernsey 17th of November 1710. At an early age he was removed from his native isle to a grammar school at Jersey, where he continued under the immediate patronage of his aunt, Lady de Carteret, till the age of eleven, when with the view of making himself a proficient in mathematics and classics, as well as of acquiring the English language, which at that period was but partially spoken in these islands, he was sent to Southampton, and there placed under the care of Mr. Isaac Watts and Mrs. Kinsman. That he made considerable proficiency in learning, and employed the short time which in those days was devoted to education, preparatory to entering the service to advantage, may be justly inferred, if we may judge from the style of his letters, and from the precision and accuracy which mark the astronomical observations to be found in his journals.
At Southampton he remained about two years and a half, when he met with his uncle Captain James Durell, of the Royal Navy, a brave and distinguished officer, who took him to Greenwich, with the view of placing him in the Royal Navy, which he was soon after able to accomplish. Mr. Philip de Saumarez commenced his naval career on the 4th of February 1726, under Captain Charles Kendal, in his Majesty's ship Weymouth of fifty guns, then attached to the Baltic station, from whence she returned in November. In the spring of the year 1727, she was ordered to the Nore to attend his Majesty George II, then going to Holland, and in the month of August she sailed for Gibraltar and the Mediterranean station.
On the 1st December 1727, he was removed from the Weymouth to the Gibraltar of twenty guns, commanded by the Hon. George Byng, who was succeeded by Captain John Stanley, with whom our young officer served till the 20th December 1729, on which day he joined Captain Byng in the Princess Louisa, of sixty guns, and sailed under his command till the 7th July 1730, when Captain Byng, having been appointed to the Falmouth of fifty guns, removed into the latter ship, and took Mr. De Saumarez with him, who had now served the necessary time, and had received flattering testimonials from his respective captains. Captain Byng mentioning that he was deserving of promotion, he obtained leave to go to London to pass his examination, which he did on the 17th of October 1732, at which period he had served above six years and seven months.
After passing, he immediately rejoined the Falmouth, and continued to serve two years longer as midshipman and master's mate. He now became extremely anxious for that promotion to which his services and excellent conduct so justly entitled him. He therefore returned home to apply for it, receiving a very strong certificate from Captain Byng, dated 25th June 1734. In August following he arrived in London; and several officers, among whom Capt. Saunders appears to be foremost, having recommended him for promotion as a most deserving officer, he was placed on the Admiralty list, being appointed as midshipman and subsequently as master's mate to the Blenheim, of ninety guns, bearing the flag of Admiral Cavendish. Having arrived at the West Indies, he was appointed to the Dunkirk on the Jamaica station, anxiously waiting for promotion. He was above two years in that ungenial climate, where his health became much impaired before he received his commission. Several letters he wrote to his friends express his extreme desire to obtain it, as will be seen by the following short extract:
"12th January 1737—I wish I had it in my power reciprocally to enhance our satisfaction by acquainting you with my advancement; that period has not yet arrived; fortune seems in regard to me to be at a stand, and I find that I am obliged to fill the chasm by a constant perseverance of patience: probably this season may prove more auspicious, and I am in hopes of shortly seeing some revolution to my advantage."
The season after did indeed prove the fatal effects of the climate, on which subject he thus writes to his brother: "We have undergone a severe season this summer, heat being excessive, attended with calms that rendered it insupportable; this has occasioned a great mortality, and made death quite familiar to us, it being the usual thing to attend the funeral of the friends we conversed with the day before. Though this made us a kind of mechanic philosophers, (if I may use the term,) I do not observe that it contributes towards rectifying the morals of the inhabitants here, or making us better Christians."
On the 6th of August 1737, he at last succeeded in obtaining his long-expected promotion as lieutenant from Admiral Digby Dent, Commander-in-chief at Jamaica. This pleasing intelligence was communicated in a letter to Lady Carteret, dated the 10th of October 1737, which mentions that he was appointed lieutenant of the Kinsale of forty guns, and that the Admiral signed his commission only three hours before his death. On the 28th July, he was removed from the Kinsale by the Commander-in-chief, but on the 22nd of August he received his confirmation from the Admiralty to the Diamond, which confirmed also both the former. He returned to England in October 1739, when he visited his friends in Guernsey and Jersey, and recruited his health, which was naturally delicate, and had been seriously impaired by the West Indian climate; but the imperious demands of active service soon called him away.
It was in this year that the memorable voyage round the world was projected, and shortly after the command was given to Commodore Anson, who had the privilege of selecting the officers who were to serve under him on that interesting and important enterprise, when Mr. Saumarez was chosen as second lieutenant of the Centurion of sixty guns, his own ship; besides which the squadron consisted of the Gloucester, fifty guns, Captain Norris; the Severn, fifty guns, Captain Legge; of the Pearl, forty guns, Capt. Mitchell; of the Wager, twenty-eight, Captain Kidd; and the Tryal of eight guns, Captain E. Murray; besides the Centaur store-ship and two victuallers, the Anna and Industry Pinks.
From numberless delays injurious to the expedition, it was not before the 17th of September 1740 that the Commodore was able to leave St. Helen's, and proceed on his intended voyage.
As the account of the proceedings of Commodore Anson has been published in almost every naval history as well as in the biographical memoirs of that illustrious navigator, it need not be repeated here, and we shall therefore confine ourselves to the part in which the conduct of Lieut. Saumarez was conspicuous.
Lieut. Saumarez in 1741 was made acting commander of the Tryal, in the place of Lieutenant Saunders, who was appointed to the vacancy occasioned by the death of Captain Kidd, but who from ill-health was not in a state to be removed from the Centurion. In this situation he remained seven weeks, during which time he gave proofs of his consummate skill during a period of excessively inclement weather. Captain Saunders, on his recovery, assumed the command on the 19th February, when he returned to the Centurion as first lieutenant.