And Others on Collingwood

“Your judgement on these points, and zeal for the Service, promise everything that can be expected, and no one more highly estimates both, than he who has the honour to be, Sir etc, Nelson and Bronte.”
Nelson to Collingwood (July 1805), Nicholas V:57.

“I found him already up and dressing. He asked if I had seen the French fleet; and on replying that I had not, he told me to look out at them, adding that in a very short time, we should see a great deal more of them. I then observed a great cloud of ships to leeward; but could not help looking with still greater interest at the Admiral, who, during all this time, was shaving himself with a composure that quite astonished me.”
Collingwood’s servant Smith, on the morning of 21st October 1805.

“See how that noble fellow Collingwood takes his ship into action.  Oh, how I envy him!”
Nelson, at the start of the Battle of Trafalgar, 21st October 1805. (Also inscribed on the Collingwood Monument, Tynemouth)

“I saw his tears with my own eyes, when the boat hailed and said my lord was dead.”
Sam, a seaman on board HMS Royal Sovereign at Trafalgar, October 1805.

“During upwards of the three years and a half that I was in this ship, I do not remember more than four or five men being punished at the gangway, and then so slightly that it scarcely deserved the name, for the Captain was a very humane man, and although he made great allowances for the uncontrolled eccentricities of the seamen, yet he looked after the midshipmen of his ship with the eye of one who felt it a duty to keep youth in constant employment…”
Baron Jeffrey de Raigersfeld, The life of a Sea Officer (published 1830).

“The Captain, a well read man as well as a clever seaman, took it into his head one day that he would like to see the midshipmen work their day’s-work from their own observations before him on the quarter deck; they did so, but only three or four out of twelve or thirteen could accomplish this with any degree of exactitude, so calling those to him who were deficient, he observed to them how remiss they were, and suddenly, imputing their remissness to their pigtails, he took his penknife out of his pocket and cut off their pigtails close to their heads above the tie, then presenting them to their owners, desired they would put them into their pockets and keep them until such time as they could work a day’s-work, when they might wear them again if they thought proper.”
Baron Jeffrey de Raigersfeld, The life of a Sea Officer (published 1830).

“A better seaman – a better friend to seamen – a greater lover and more zealous defender of his country’s rights and honour, never trod a quarterdeck.  He and his favourite dog Bounce were known to every member of the crew.  How attentive he was to the health and comfort and happiness of his crew!  A man who could not be happy under him, could have been happy nowhere.”
Landsman Hay, Memoirs of Robert Hay (published 1953).

“…I went to the masthead, and when the Captain came on deck, which he generally did at half-past seven, he very soon spied me out … and beckoned me to come down, when he put questions to me, how such and such ropes led at the mast head, their size as to others, and bade me point them out to him upon deck by taking hold of them; if I was not quick and expert in my answers I was sent again to the mast head, and desired in a quarter of an hour to come to him in the cabin, where, being at breakfast, sometimes he made me sit down and eat, but if I answered his questions well at first, I was not ordered to the mast head a second time, but was asked to breakfast at once.”
Baron Jeffrey de Raigersfeld, The life of a Sea Officer (published 1830).

“…at last discovered him with his gardener, Old Scott, to whom he was much attached, in the bottom of a deep trench, which they were busily occupied in digging.”
A fellow Admiral, who had called on Collingwood and been directed to the garden, where he failed to locate him for some time: Newnham-Collingwood 91 (published 1828).

“I think, since heaven made gentlemen, there is no record of a better (sometimes quoted as finer) one.”
William Makepeace Thackeray.

“I met Lord Collingwood in the Strand: he was a school-fellow of mine under Moises.  I had not seen him in many years – he had been so long on board Ship that he walked with difficulty – we shook hands – I observed that tears flowed down his cheeks – I asked him what so affected him – He said that a few days before, his ship’s company were paid off – that he had lost his children – all his family – that they were dear to him, and he could not refrain from what I had noticed.”
Lord Eldon’s anecdote book (1824-7).

…”on the 6th the wind came round to the westward, and at sunset the ship succeeded in clearing the harbour, and made sail for England.  When Lord Collingwood was informed that he was again at sea, he rallied for a time his exhausted strength, and said to those around him, ‘Then I may yet live to meet the French once more.’  On the morning of 7th there was a considerable swell, and his friend captain Thomas, on enterng his cabin, observed that he feared the motion of the vessel disturbed him. ‘No Thomas,’ he replied, ‘I am now in a state in which nothing in this world can disturb me more.  I am dying;  and I am sure it must be consolatory to you, and all who love me, to see how comfortably I am coming to my end.”
Newnham-Collingwood 1837:  ii, 427

“A mail from Gibraltar and Cadiz arrived on Tuesday; it has brought intelligence which will be received with the deepest concern, viz. the death of our highly distinguished and gallant townsman, Admiral Lord Collingwood.  His health had long been in a declining state, but he persisted in keeping the sea, being anxious to bring the Toulon fleet to action, and by the defeat of the last naval force of the enemy, to complete the destruction of the French navy.  He had not above once set his foot on shore since the great battle of Trafalgar.  At length his health declined so much that he was under the necessity of determining to return to England.  It pleased heaven, however, that he should see his native land no more.  On the 6th ult. he left Minorca, on board the Ville de Paris, and on the 7th he breathed his last.  The Ville de Paris brought his honoured remains to Gibraltar; and on Monday they arrived at Portsmouth on board the Nereus frigate.  His Lordship died of a stoppage of the Pylorus, or inferior aperture of the stomach.  For some time before his death he was incapable of taking any sustenance whatever.  Leaving only two daughters, the title dies with His Lordship; but his services will forever live in the memory of a grateful country.”
Newcastle Courant, Sat April 21st 1810.

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