Page images
PDF
EPUB

country, are remarkable. A small rill of water falls on a wheel, which sets in motion the mill-stones, simply supported by poles fixed in the ground: no flood can destroy these mills, since they are secured by merely taking the wheel with its axis out of the frame, which is done in a minute.

About ten wersts from Yusskut are the ruins of a fortress on a lofty cape; the Tartars now call it Tchaban-Kale (herdsmen’s fortress), because the herdsmen take refuge there in stormy weather. Twenty wersts farther, nature again assumes a rich and romantic appearance; shady fruit-trees line the road, which is wide enough for vehicles of every description.

Ssudak lies in a valley extending for ten wersts from north to south, and entirely planted with vines, interspersed with neat stone cottages and long wine-vaults above ground. The wine made in this valley is not good, owing to the practice which prevails almost universally throughout the Crimea, of watering the vineyards several times in the year, till the soil in which they stand resembles a marsh: another bad practice here is that, during the vintage, ripe and unripe grapes are mixed together. Carefully cultivated, the soil yields excellent wine, both white and red, as we found from experience at the house of the Dutch director of the imperial gardens.

Ssudak is entirely inhabited by Greeks, who, by their greediness after gain, formed a striking contrast with the frank hospitality of the Tartars, who, content with voluntary poverty, seem never happier than when they receive a stranger under their humble roof. This place, under the dominion of the Genoese, was a considerable city, then named Soldaja ; its trade was flourishing; but now the vineyards cover the site of the city. The only remains of it are the ruins of a fortress, standing on a pointed rock which rises 150 fathoms perpendicularly from the sea, and is only accessible on one side by means of a flight of steps cut in the rock. Another rock of a similar description, but exceeding all the others in height, is seen at some distance from it, and is remarkable for a number of large pillars of indurated clay on its brow.

The harbour is tolerably safe, except in being exposed to the southern gales. Nevertheless, by a perverse arrangement, the wine of this place, instead of being shipped direct for Cherson, is sent overland to Charkow at an enormous expense. The population does not exceed a hundred, mostly old soldiers; but in spring and autumn, about 2,000 labourers from the neighbourhood are employed in the vineyards,

Y. Z

THE SUICIDE.
A MARTYR, not a murderer, art thou !
Black perfidy provoked thy frantic mind
To plot against thy life: thou, ever kind
To others, could'st not be thy proper foe.
0, who can ample store of vengeance find
To blast the wretch that laid such beauty low !
Nor beauty only fell; but sense combined
With gentleness, with meekness, with a glow
Of charity, that seemed of heavenly birth.
Severe thy doom !-yet shall weak mortal eyes
Presume to scan heaven's deepest mysteries ?-
Since this world has no equal to thy worth,
Why weep we thy translation to the skies,

Where goodness meets its like, and never dies !
Asiatic Journ. VOL. XXI. No, 121. F

H.

NECROL O GY.

No. JX.

COMMODORE JOSEPH NOURSE, C.B.

LATE IN COMMAND OF THE NAVAL STATION AT THE CAPE OF GOOD HOPE.

We are happy to communicate to our readers the following brief memoir of this valuable officer, from the pen of one who intimately knew him.

Commodore Nourse began his naval career in 1793, under the command and auspices of Admiral Sir Alexander Hood, afterwards Lord Bridport, in the Royal George. With the intention of enabling him to see more service, the Admiral placed him on board the Audacious, under the command of his nephew. After a time, he returned to the Royal George ; and, in 1795, was in the battle off Port L'Orient, with Lord Bridport. The writer of this has frequently heard his deceased friend describe his feelings in that short, but sanguinary battle. The Royal George had two ships engaged with her at the same time, one of eighty, and one of ninety guns. The havoc and carnage must have been dreadful, and certainly not the most gentle introduction: the Admiral's Captain, now at or near the summit of the service, gave such an example of coolness and intrepidity, as in a moment to inspire every officer and man; he took out his watch, and informed them that he allowed twenty minutes for the unrigging of those two ships. The orders were received with cheers, and were very punctually obeyed. The appalling nature of my young friend's duty on board one of the prizes, immediately after such a work of death and destruction, may be easily conceived.

In 1796, or the beginning of 1797, he was acting lieutenant on board the Alcmene, Capt. Henry Browne. They took a small prize, on board of which he was sent with a few men ; and, as soon as the prize had parted company, the prisoners reported that Capt. Browne would never again see his officers or men, as there was an enemy on board who would rise up and devour them. The fact was, they had bored holes in the bottom of the ship, and it was with the greatest difficulty, pumping day and night, and almost starved, that the captors reached Lough Swilly, not their destined port-Capt. Browne having given up all hopes of their safety.

Before being confirmed as a lieutenant, he was for å time under the command of Lord St. Vincent, and then with Capt. Hood, in the Zealous ; he was with him in the engagement off Algeziras Bay. He also formed a part of the detachment from the fleet at Vigo Bay, on the expedition under Sir James Pulteney. He returned to England, and remained till the year 1802, when he had the command of the Advice brig, one of the tenders to Sir Samuel Hood, as naval commissioner at Trinidad, where he acted on shore as one of Sir Samuel's aides-de-camp. He was soon afterwards appointed to the Cyane, and was so active and successful in clearing those of French privateers, that the merchants of Barbadoes, having purchased the Brave, formerly a French privateer, presented her to Government, soliciting that Capt. Nourse might be appointed to her, as an acknowledgment and reward of his important services. This was confirmed by Sir Samuel Hood, then commodore on the West India station, and afterwards by the Admiralty. The vessel was called the Barbadoes, and he was made post captain into her.

The opinion which Sir Samuel Hood entertained of Capt. Nourse (and the opinion of such an officer must be a pledge of merit), may be collected from the

various

[ocr errors]

1

1

various opportunities he sought of attaching him to his service, whether at sea or on shore. He was also one of Sir Samuel's esquires when invested with the Order of the Bath at Barbadoes; and previously to his having the command of the Brave, above referred to, he wrote to Capt. Nourse in the following terms :

Centaur, February 18, 1804. My Dear Sir: You will have my letter of approbation of your conduct. I have a hint that the merchants of Barbadoes mean to ask for your appointment to the Brave. I do not know one I should give her to with such satis. faction as to you; and I shall be glad if you will give me your ideas of her wants," &c.

He continued in that service till 1805 or 1806, when he returned to England in ill-health. In 1808 he was appointed to the Fredericstein ; but, not being sufficiently recovered to join her, Capt. Searle had the temporary command: Capt. Nourse afterwards joined, and proceeded to the Mediterranean. He was appointed to the Severn in 1812 or 1813, and signalized himself in America, under Sir George Cockburn, from whose report of Capt. Nourse's conduct, in his public despatches, he had the honour, on his return to England, of being made a Companion of the Bath.

The peace with America was succeeded by the peace with all Europe; and it is no inconsiderable testimony to the professional character of Capt. Nourse, that, among so many distinguished officers, he should (in 1821) be appointed to the Andromache, in the naval command of the Cape of Good Hope station.

In March, 1822, he sailed with the rank of commodore; and, on his arrival at the Cape, he appears to have discharged the duties which devolved upon him with great spirit and judgment. They partook of a civil, as well as naval character;

and required that degree, as well as quality of talent; for which Capt. Nourse was eminent :--promptitude, without precipitation; decision, founded on reflection; and a consequent determination of conduct, though altogether remote from obstinacy.

As the period of Capt. Nourse's command was that of profound peace, his private instructions, no doubt, directed his attention to the cultivation of such connexions and relations with the settlements within the limits of his command, as might lay the foundation of respect and confidence towards the nation he represented: and, without meaning to insinuate a doubt, that very many brave and accomplished officers of the British navy would have discharged the duty as well, there is much reason to believe that few, if any, could better have represented the dignity and power with which England would protect her own rights; the respect she would always shew towards those of other nations, as well as her disposition to adjust and settle, by her friendly interference, the differences which might, and, in fact, did, exist between the various governments and people inhabiting the islands in those seas.

In the several cruizes which Capt. Nourse made, those were among the principal objects of his visits; it is, perhaps, not too much to say, that he probably fell a viction to the climate, and to the inconveniencies to which he was exposed. The following extract of a letter, from one who was witness to almost all that passed during those latter visits, cannot but be interesting :

“ You would have heard from of the sailing of our lainented friend, with the Andromache and Espiegle, on the 5th of July, in prosecution of his intended cruize. I followed in the Wizard, commanded by Lieut. Maynard, his nephew, on the 15th, and joined him in Bembatook Bay, Madagascar, on the 24th, with his whole squadron, having arrived on the 20th, all well, and

F 2

continued

continued prosecuting the object of his visit there ;-gratified with the favourable impression he had created with Radama the king, pleased with his personal intercourse with him, and satisfied of the importance of his proceedings in a public point of view. Here he exposed himself to much exertion, both of body and mind, receiving on board, and visiting in his camp up the country, about forty miles, going up the river and remaining absent about five days; but no ill effects were perceptible, beyond fatigue, either to him or any other of the party, except the German botanist, Mr. Boyer, who accompanied him : he was attacked with fever, to which his employment, and more than ordinary zeal and exertion, particularly exposed him; but he recovered in a few days. He left Madagascar on the 6th of August, and proceeded to Zanzibar, where we arrived on the 12th ; here we staid some days—the Commodore, as usual, pursuing his object with an anxious zeal ; his mind occupied and harassed to form a clear view and judgment of men, and circumstances of this place, as a basis of public representation in furtherance of the objects of his expedition, of which this island appeared minutely deserving. He was daily engaged on shore, holding conferences with the Governor, and in travelling the town and vicinity, occasionally riding out, having landed the horses he brought with him here. On one occasion a party was made to visit the country residence of the Governor, and the Arab Sallia, whom the Commodore on his former visit had nominated British agent, and who has introduced the growth of cloves here, and had ten thousand fine flourishing trees then in bearing, extraordinarily productive. This party consisted of the following persons :- :- the lamented Commodore; Mr. Lewis, of the engineers; Mr. Weatherall, of the artillery ; Mr. Boyer, the botanist ; Lieut. Grant, of the Espiegle ; Mr. Stretbury, the Commodore's secretary; myself, and Scrofton, the steward; and a servant to the botanist. These places are situated about nine or ten miles towards the centre of the island; and we were surprised at the extreme fertility and beauty of the country. The party dined at the Governor's, and were served separately with a variety of Arab mixtures, in their taste of the best--the Governor and his party dining on mats on the ground, according to their custom, close by : under the same overhanging palm leaves of the building we passed the evening, and all slept there, some inside the house, and some out. The next morning was employed in reconnoitring the country, and we all returned to the town, and on board, more or less fatigued. I have so far mentioned these particulars, because circumstances have caused some observations and feelings, which I cannot think well founded, however this expedition may have had its contributary effects. We left Zanzibar on the 19th of August, and on the morning of the 21st anchored at Pemba. The Commodore had here to undergo the same fatigue of receiving chiefs, arranging disputed claims, and settling mutual relations of intercourse for the people of Mombas (from whom this island had been recently taken by the Imaum of Muscat), for their government, pending the determination and arrangements of the government at home, with respect to them and it. Anxious to get away, and always moving with alacrity himself; limited to time, and punctual to his determination; regardless of the climate for himself, but anxious for every one under his cominand, to the meanest-he harassed himself to get the boats of the squadron off, evidently heated and uneasy. We arrived at Mombas on the 25th ; here some important and decided arrangements became necessary, in consequence of the cession of this island, and its dependencies, to Capt. Owen, of his Majesty's ship Severn, on behalf of his Majesty. He held conferences with the chiefs. A clear and substantial arrangement and understanding with this class of persons

(Moors (Moors and Arabs), whose language was not understood, required. months instead of days; and the period of his promised return, with a long beating passage to the Mauritius, was fast approaching. He was harassed by this : to fail in any point of duty he could not bear; and having given such instructions as he thought expedient for the guidance of those left in command, pending the receipt of advices from home, he announced his determination to: the chiefs on the 29th, and decided on his immediate departure. Here I parted from him. He was uneasy before I left him about his steward, Scrofton; and the botanist and Lieut. Grant were also ill : he was anxious for every one. I now believe that he entertained some apprehensions respecting himself, but would not allow that to interfere with the arrangements made. On the 31st, when at sea, he began a letter of instructions relative to the squadron, in the event of his demise, but which he never concluded. On the 1st of September he gave up the charge of the ship, and retired within himself :-when approached he would hold up his hands to negative an advance. To his officers his ideas of service would not, perhaps, permit him to express his feelings, and show weakness to those he commanded; but, calm and dignified, he submitted to what might be his fate with resignation. At half-past three P.M. on the 4th of September, he resigned his last breath, so calmly, so quietly, that those about him were for a time unconscious of it."

On the 24th of September the Andromache arrived at the Mauritius with his body on board ; and on the 1st of October the funeral took place. The customary honours were of course paid to his rank, but the more gratifying and consolatory expression of regard and regret arose from the spontaneous effusions of those sentiments through all the gradations of society there, from the Governor to every subordinate officer; and by all, of every rank, who had been, in any degree, acquainted with him. It need scarcely be added, that the officers and ship’s company of the Andromache manifested those feelings in a pre-eminent degree.

To whatever secondary causes his removal may be attributed, the event cannot have failed to produce very sincere and poignant regret. In all the relations of friendship, and the still nearer endearments by which he was connected, the writer of this paper can safely affirm, that it has inflicted a deep wound, and left a very important chasm. His professional character and talents are best shewn in the very honourable testimony which has always been borne to his conduct in the several gradations through which he passed. Since the earlier period of his professional life, he had not been much in action ; but the ardour of his attachment to the service, his deeply-rooted love of his country, and jealousy of every point connected with her honour and rank among nations, forbid any doubt of his devotedness to her cause, and to his own duty. No apology is offered by the writer for adverting to an instance which occurred at his own residence in the country, where Commodore Nourse was paying, as it unhappily proved, his last visit of friendship.

They were reading together the despatch from Admiral Collingwood, of the battle of Trafalgar; and, at that part which referred particularly to the death of Lord Nelson, the writer of this paper had made a quotation from Tacitus' Life of Agricola :-“ Thou hast been happy indeed, not only in the brilliancy of thy life, but even in the occasion of thy death:”—Tu verò felix non tantùm vitæ claritate, sed etiam opportunitate mortis.” He will not soon forget (for subsequent circumstances have given it additional force) the delight with which Commodore Nourse entered into the sentiment, and with what feeling he expressed the difficulty of such a life, and the glory of such a death.

It

« PreviousContinue »