Imatges de pÓgina
PDF
EPUB

by the feeling expressions and the blessings of the soldiers as he passed. He was then put into a boat, accompanied by his aide-de-camp and esteemed friend, Sir Thomas Dyer, and conveyed to Lord Keith's ship.

On the evening of the 23rd, Sir Sidney Smith went with a flag of truce to the outposts, and demanded to be permitted to communicate with the commandant of Alexandria. An answer having been returned that no person could be permitted to pass the outposts, Sir Sidney sent in his letter, as from Sir Ralph Abercromby and Lord Keith, proposing an evacuation of Egypt by the French, by which they might return to France without being considered as prisoners of war; but that their shipping, artillery, and material must be placed in the hands of the allies. This was angrily refused.

On the 29th, Sir Sidney Smith again went with a flag of truce to the outposts, as on the part of the Capitan Pasha, Sir Ralph Abercromby, and Lord Keith. Admittance into the town was refused, and no answer was returned to the despatch.

It was on the morning of this day that the death of Sir Ralph Abercromby was known. He had borne painful operations with great firmness, but the ball could not be extracted. At

VOL. I.

U

1

length, mortification ensued, and he died on the evening of the 28th, having always expressed his solicitude for the army, and irritating his body, through his mind, from the first moment of his accident, with a desire to resume his command. He died as should a brave officer-at a good old age, loved and honoured. His fate was a happy

one.

On the 31st of this memorable March, eleven Arab chiefs came to Sir Sidney Smith. They were all very intelligent men, with uncommonly fine countenances, and they were well clothed. It was impossible to regard these chiefs without thinking of the wise men of the land, and to see the simplicity of their manners without remembering the patriarchs.

On the 13th of April, we find Sir Sidney, with a party of dragoons, reconnoitring a position, and shortly after proceeding up the Nile with an armed flotilla, so far as El Arisch. This ubiquity seems astonishing. On the 18th, we next meet with him cannonading Rosetta from four dgerms that he had equipped with wonderful despatch.

We now come to the termination of his invaluable services on shore in Egypt. Sir Robert Wilson thus pays an honest tribute to his merits:

“ Sir Sidney was endeared to officers and men

by his conduct, courage, and affability. With pride they beheld the hero of Acre ; with admiration they reflected on the convention of El Arisch; they had witnessed his exertions, and calculated on his enterprise. The Arabs regarded him as a superior being. To be the friend of Smith was the highest honour they courted, and his word the only pledge they required. No trouble, no exertions, no expense, had been spared by him to obtain their friendship, and to elevate, in their opinions, the national character. But the order was given, and remonstrance would have been unworthy ; it is true, as a seaman he could not complain of being ordered to reassume the command of his ship; but the high power he had been invested with, the ability he had displayed as a soldier and a statesman, entitled him to a superior situation in this expedition, and the interest of the service seemed to require that the connexion he had formed with the Mamelukes should, through him, be maintained. The army, therefore, saw Sir Sidney leave them with regret, but he carried with him their best wishes and gratitude.”

It is thus that General Hutchinson mentions Sir Sidney in his despatch :

“ Sir Sidney Smith had originally the command of the seamen who landed from the fleet

;

he continued on shore till after the capture of Rosetta, and returned on board the Tigre a short time before the appearance of Admiral Gantheaume's squadron on the coast. He was present at the three actions of the 8th, 13th, and 21st of March, when he displayed that ardour of mind for the service of his country, and that noble intrepidity, for which he has ever been so conspicuous.”

CHAPTER XIX.

Cursory sketch of the termination of the Egyptian cam

paign-Sir Sidney fêted by the Capitan Pasha—Anecdote of another similar honour-Bonaparte's impiety-Sir Sidney returns to England with despatches-Civic honours.

As we have thus far glanced at the military operations of the combined forces in Egypt, it will not be thought superfluous to give a rapid sketch of the proceedings of the allied army, up to the treaty for the evacuation of Egypt.

These proceedings were marked by most singular delays and procrastinations. After the battle of the 21st of March, which was fought about four miles distant from Alexandria, we waited until the 14th of April before we presented ourselves at the gates of Rosetta, which were flung open at our approach. We remained content with this advantage until the 5th of May, when we again commenced military operations

« AnteriorContinua »