’This, Sir, is nobly alleviating the rigours of war, as the Christian heroes of your country and mine were wont to do in these seas, before a considerable portion of European intellect was corrupted by false philosophy. Captain Colville will communicate to the Right Honourable the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty, your proposal for an exchange of prisoners. Accept my sincere thanks, and the assurance that I am, &c. &c.
‘(Signed) T.M. RUSSEL.’
On the 31st of December, Captain Colville, the officers and ship’s company of H.M. (late) ship Romney were tried by a court-martial on board the Africaine at Sheerness, for the loss of their ship off the Tezel on the 19th of November.
It appeared to the court, that the loss of the ship had been occasioned by the thickness of the fog and the ignorance of the pilots; that the utmost exertions had been used by the captain, officers, and crew, to save the vessel after she struck, and to prevent the ship’s company becoming prisoners of war. The sentence of the court was to this effect: that the captain, officers and crew were fully acquitted of all blame, but that the pilots should forfeit all their pay, and be rendered henceforth incapable of taking charge of any of his Majesty’s ships or vessels of war, and that they should be imprisoned in the Marshalsea—one for the space of twelve, and the other, of six months.
In 1805, Captain Colville was appointed to the Sea Fencibles, at Margate. In 1807, he obtained the command of L’Hercule, a 74-gun ship, on the coast of Portugal, and subsequently commanded the Queen on the North Sea Station.
He succeeded to his title (Lord Colville) on the death of his father in 1811, and was advanced to the rank of rear-admiral in 1819. On the 10th of November, 1821, he hoisted his flag on board the Semiramis, as commander-in-chief on the Irish station. Lord Colville died an Admiral of the White, in 1849.
We are aware that the foregoing narrative may appear deficient in novel and striking incidents, but we have introduced it for the sake of exhibiting some of the best and noblest attributes of the true-hearted sailor—courage, patience, and perfect obedience under the most trying circumstances, and generous kindness towards an unfortunate enemy. It is well to think of these things, and the more we read of the details of naval life—its sufferings, dangers, and trials, the more fully shall we be persuaded that true courage is ever generous and unselfish. In the words of the quaint old song—
Says the captain, says he,
(I shall never forget it,)
’If of courage you’d know, lads, the true from the sham,
Tis a furious lion in battle, so let it,
But, duty appeased, ‘tis in mercy a lamb.’