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 William Sidney Smith 
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Post William Sidney Smith
Sir Sidney Smith (SSS) is another man who deserves a thread of his own. An interesting figure to be sure.

I'm intrigued by his (rumored) affair with Caroline, Princess of Wales. It's interesting that he'd risk his career by fooling around with her. Then again...he was certainly a devil-may-care, eccentric fellow, so I suppose it shouldn't be surprising that he'd live a bit on the edge.

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susan


Wed Aug 16, 2006 9:05 pm
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Short comment from the editor of the United Service Journal in the July 1840 issue:

"Sir Sidney Smith has closed a long and distinguished career, more honoured apparently by the French, whom he so stoutly opposed and amongst whom he died, than by his own nation, which he served so well. We shall give a memoir of this remarkable man in a future number."

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susan


Thu Aug 30, 2007 5:23 pm
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I am not sure whether I should post this post on this thread or the one about clashing personalities. But since Sir Sidney Smith is one of my favourites too I decided to post it here.

I agree with you. Sir Sidney Smith deserves his own site and more attention/appreciation from us. I read on his Internet biographies that he did have a short relationship with Princess Caroline of Whales. Unfortunately Dutch bookshops don't have biographies of SSS. Although my other favourite Nelson and SSS did not really get on well together, according to this description of a dinner and letters from both Nelson and SSS. Most of the disliking seemed to have been from Nelson's side, I never read anywhere what SSS thoughts/feelings were about Nelson.

Sidney Smith was undoubtedly a very remarkable man.

In the book The terror before Trafalgar written by Tom Pocock it is said:

Not all Nelson’s public appearances were so successful. In June 1802 there had been the subscription diner at the London Tavern in the City to raise money for a naval orphanage, at which there had been another guest of honour, his former bete noir captain Sir Sidney Smith. Rising to address the 200 diners, Nelson spoke briefly, “thanking them for their attention to these brave men, who had died in the service of their Country”, as the Naval Chronicle reported: the orphanage was “an institution that could not fail, for it must be grateful to the Deity, who would bless and prosper so charitable an undertaking”
At this point, however, he was upstaged by the officer who had ridden up Whitehall to the Admiralty in Turkish robes and turban. The report continued that Sir Sidney Smith had spoken of the orphans’ dead fathers, saying that “unfortunately for him, too many were in the list of his dearest friends. (Here SSS feelings were too great for utterance -his head sunk- the big tear rolled down the hero’s cheek). A solemn silence prevailed for several minutes and soft sympathy filled many a manly bosom, until Sir Sidney was roused by the thunder of applause which followed. “He finally sat down to more applause, the choir sang “Rule Britannia” and the national anthem, and a choirboy recited a poem beginning.

Ah! Not in vain, their gallant blood they shed,
Since British bounty shrinks not from the dead……

Nelson put a brave face on it, congratulating Smith and inviting him to visit him at Merton.


In the Nicolas edition of the Dispatches and letters of Lord Nelson, volume 3 is this letter Nelson wrote about SSS to St. Vincent

Private
Palermo, March 8th, 1799

My dear lord,
The arrival of the Bonne Citoyenne enables me to send the Ministers letters from Constantinople; but, in truth, I am at a loss to guess when Sir Sidney Smith writes to me as a Minister or Captain in the Navy; as the latter, they are highly indecent to write to an officer of my Rank. You will agree with me, that the manner of saying the same thing makes it proper or otherwise; but Sir Sidney’s dictatorial way of writing is what I never before met with. I shall, my Lord, keep a sufficient force in the Levant for the service required of us, but not a ship for Captain Smith’s parade and nonsense -Commodore Smith- I beg his pardon, for he wears a broad pendant- has he any orders for this presumption over the heads of so many good and gallant Officers with me?
Whenever Sir Sidney Smith went on board the Tigre in state, as he calls it, the Royal Standard was hoisted at the mast-head, and twenty-one guns fired. The Turks, however, who love solid sense and not frippery, see into the Knight’s, and wonder that some of Sir Sidney’s superiors were not sent to Constantinople; but I have done with the Knight.


There are also parts of letters from SSS to Nelson in the Nicolas edition present, the ones Nelson felt so much offended with/about.

Three letters from SSS to Lord Nelson , dated on the 24th of January and the 6th and 18th of February are in the Nelson papers, an though from his strong feeling against Sir Sidney’s appointment, they may not have pleased him, as they are written in an independent and decided tone, neither of them deserves to be called “impertinent”. The letter partially alluded to, seems to have been that of the 6th of February, wherein Sir Sidney communicated the result of his conference with the Reis Effendi respecting the number of ships which were to be placed under Sir Sidney’s orders in the Levant. “It is easy” Sir Sidney said, “to answer the Reis Effendi’s remark on the small number of Line of Battleships destined for that service; but I found it impossible not to admit that a proportionate number of Frigates having been promised, the promise ought to be preformed, and it was agreed that the number should not be less than those which your Lordship supposed to be that of the enemy in Alexandria, whereas captain Hood’s list reported them to be eight, (in addition to the two Flutes)” …. “I find it difficult to limit the number to those. However, on the faith of your statement, I insisted that it would be sufficient; I suppose you reckon on the Junon, La Muiron, and La Carriere, which were stated to be fitting for a run to France, being already sailed from Alexandria, by your fixing the number so much lower than Captain Hood. Be this as it may, I trust to your Lordship’s enabling me to keep faith with the Turks, and thereby show ourselves to be more correct and liberal than those (the Russians) you allude to so justly in your dispatches to my brother”.

By the way it seems Sir Sidney Smith did visit Nelson in Merton, although I don’t know whether they had dinner together or not.

I thought this letters may be of interest for you.
Sylvia


Tue Sep 04, 2007 12:54 am
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Thanks for posting that information, Sylvia.

It's hard to picture Nelson and SSS dining together. If they did, I hope there were a lot of other guests to defuse the atmosphere. :)

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susan


Tue Sep 04, 2007 4:22 pm
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Susan,

If you, or one of the other posters, should be interested to read more letters written by lord Nelson, here is a link where you can read part of the hundreds letters Nelson left behind, including those about Sydney Smith.

Sylvia

http://books.google.nl/books?id=hlUBAAA ... #PPA273,M1


Sat Sep 08, 2007 2:51 am
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Google Books is great, isn't it? I've downloaded a couple of those Nelson Disptaches and Letters volumes, but I haven't really looked at them yet.

Edward Granville George Howard's two-volume Memoirs of Admiral Sir Sidney Smith, K.C.B., &c is also available through Google Books.

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Sat Sep 08, 2007 9:02 pm
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Thank you Susan for letting me know about the Memoirs of Sir Sidney Smith book. I have downloaded it, it will be very interesting to read on long and cold autumn/winter evenings.

Sylvia


Sat Sep 08, 2007 11:14 pm
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Sylvia, have you read Tom Pocock's Breaking the Chains?

There is quite a lot in there about SSS and the Congress of Vienna. It's an enlightening read in any event, even if not entirely about SSS.

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Sun Sep 09, 2007 5:50 am
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Milly, thank you for bringing the book Breaking the chains to my attention. I never heard of it. I have other books written by Tom Pocock, and I enjoy his writing style very much.

I will certainly buy the book if I get the chance.
Sylvia


Sun Sep 09, 2007 2:09 pm
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Perhaps Smith's most notable achievement of course was the heroic defence of Acre, in which he became the first man ever to defeat Napoleon on land, leading Boney to remark that "that man made me miss my destiny". When Napoleon's Egyptian campaign floundered Smith was sent home, to the delight of many, but the regret of a few. His good friend General Doyle wrote to him before his departure:

"You have too long known my sentiments upon those subjects, to make it necessary for me to trouble you with them at present; indeed it has been always a source of pride to me, that our ideas have constantly been in unison as to the mode of carrying on the war; but as those have been, for the most part, diametrically opposite to the opinions of some of the sober undertakers of the army, I begin to give some credit to the idea of your being in a certain degree mad; and therefore, if you are no longer allowed to animate us by your example, do, for heaven's sake, bite a few of us before you go"

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Sat Sep 15, 2007 8:26 am
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From The Times, March 16, 1795:


" .... the squadron of Gun-boats, &c. under the command of Sir Sidney Smith, now collecting at Sheerness, is to sail about Saturday next upon some important expedition. These gun-boats, some of which mount two sixty-eight pounders, caronades, two long twenty-fours, and several smaller pieces, do no not in general draw more than four feet water.

It is not for us to speculate on the object of this expedition which, when we consider the character of the Officer who is to direct it, and how much attention has been devoted to its equipment, may reasonably be expected to be successful ....."


I am no student of SSS but, presumably, these were the preparations for that which that lead eventually to his confinement in the Temple?

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Sun Oct 14, 2007 10:04 am
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From The Times, of November 26, 1805:

" .... The Hecla has towed into the Downs the Sagittarius, which she picked up on the night of the 21st inst off Boulogne, full of water. She was prevented from sinking, and the crew saved, by Sir Sidney Smith's plan of lining with cork, in imitation of the Life-boats. ....."



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Sat Feb 16, 2008 2:03 pm
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Post Re: William Sidney Smith
The Times, October 21, 1802:

" ........... Sir Sidney Smith is dividing his time between Walmer and Dover, where his pleasantry and affability gain him the admiration of those whose affections he has possessed from the first dawnings of his character. He has been peeping at the French coast in his schooner. ...... "

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