George the Third - from War with Republican France, A.D. 1792, to end of A.D. 1802.

We will briefly run over a few events which occurred previous to the breaking out of the first revolutionary war.

On May the 29th, 1782, the Royal George, of 100 guns, being heeled over at Spithead to repair a pipe which led under water, the lower-deck guns having been run out, the water rushed with such rapidity in at the port-holes that she filled and sank—Rear-Admiral Kempenfeldt, with more than half his officers, and four hundred persons, perishing, many of them the wives and children of the seamen and marines on board.

We are apt to consider that the uniform of the navy differed greatly from the army; but in an order dated the 11th of January, 1783, admirals, vice-admirals, and rear-admirals were directed to wear coats very similar to those worn by generals, lieutenant-generals, and major-generals respectively, in the army, with the exception of the crown and anchor buttons.

In the month of June, 1785, his Royal Highness Prince William Henry, who had now served his time as a midshipman, passed his examination, and was appointed third lieutenant of the Hébé frigate, of 40 guns.

In 1785 a debate arose in the House of Commons on the propriety of repairing the old 64-gun ships, and also suffering ships of war to remain in ordinary with the copper on their bottoms. Captain Macbride thought that the 64-gun ships should be either broken up or sold, and recommended in future none less than seventy-fours to be built for the line of battle. He also pointed out the mischievous effects that might ensue in suffering ships to be laid up with their copper on, alleging that the copper would in time corrode the bolts; in consequence of which the ships’ bottoms might drop out. He had examined a coppered ship under repair, and found the bolts corroded and eaten away. Ships had, however, before this time, been fastened with copper bolts, and probably those seen by Captain Macbride were either iron bolts cased only with copper or composition.

The supplies granted by Parliament for the sea-service for the year 1789 amounted to 2,328,570 pounds.

On the 24th of November, 1787, the Bounty, of 215 tons, commanded by Lieutenant William Bligh, sailed from Spithead, for the Pacific Ocean, to obtain a supply of the bread-fruit tree. On the 28th of April, 1789, some of his officers and crew mutinied, and took possession of the ship, casting the commander and those who remained firm to him adrift in an open boat. The hardihood and judgment he displayed in conducting his boat’s crew across the Pacific to Batavia are well known.

Many useful contrivances have been invented by inferior officers of the navy. Among others, Mr Hill, the carpenter of the Active, invented a machine for drawing bolts out of ships’ sides. He also invented a method for stopping shot-holes.

In 1791 some experiments were made on board a ship in Portsmouth Harbour, when he stopped a shot-hole on the outside of the ship, four feet under water, in the space of one minute, without the assistance of any person out of the vessel. He stopped in the same manner a space in the ship’s side, four feet under water, of four feet by four inches, in two minutes and a-half. During the time of effectually curing both leaks, the ship made only ten inches water in the well.

He also invented a wheel to work the chain-pump, which was much safer and less liable to get out of order than that before in use.

The French Revolution broke out in 1792. On the 21st of the following January, the French beheaded their king, Louis the Sixteenth; in consequence of which the French ambassador at the court of London was ordered to quit England. A short time before this the new Republic had exhibited its hostile spirit against England, and on the 2nd of January a shot had been fired from one of the batteries near Brest on the British 16-gun brig-sloop Childers. Though a 48-pounder shot struck her, no one was hurt.

On the 1st of February the National Convention declared war against Great Britain and the United Netherlands.

England at this time possessed nominally 135 ships of war in commission, and 169 in ordinary or under repair; 21 building or ordering to be built, and 86 harbour-ships; making in all 411 ships of 402,555 tons. Of these there was one of 100 guns, 12-pounders, of 2091 tons, in commission; two of 100 guns, 18-pounders, under repair; and two of 100 guns, 12-pounders, under repair. Of second-rates there were four 98-gun ships in commission, and eleven under repair; of 90-gun ships there was one under repair. Of two-deckers third-rate there was one 80-gun ship in commission and one under repair. Of seventy-fours there were 19 in commission and 61 under repair. Of sixty-fours there were only two in commission and 30 under repair, making a total of 113 line-of-battle ships. There were 75 frigates either in commission or under repair; but 23 of these carried 28 guns only. Of the most useless class of ships in the service, the 24 and 20 gun post-ships, there were 12 in commission or under repair. Of 18-gun ship-sloops and gun brigs there were altogether 40. Besides these there were 25 bomb fire-ships and cutters, either in commission or under repair, making a total of 304 vessels, exclusive of those building; but of these probably some were unseaworthy, and of those building or ordered to be built, many were not in a state to be launched for two or more years. However, in consequence of the expected rupture between Spain and Russia, in the previous two or three years upwards of 60 line-of-battle ships were in a condition speedily to go to sea, while the dockyards were well-stocked with imperishable stores. Thus, in a few weeks, 200 cruisers were commissioned and fit for use.

At that time we had admirals 17, vice-admirals 19, rear-admirals 19, post-captains 446, commanders 136, lieutenants 1417, and masters 197. The number of seamen and marines, including officers of all ranks, voted by Parliament for the service of the current year, was 45,000.

Portugal and Naples, who joined England, had the first six ships of the line and four frigates, and the latter four 74-gun ships.

The Spanish navy amounted to 204 vessels, 76 of which were of the line, carrying from 112 to 60 guns.

The Dutch navy at this time, though amounting nominally to 119 vessels, from a 74-gun ship to the smallest armed cutter, was of little use to England, a large number of the ships lying rotting in the different harbours, and those able to put to sea being of comparatively small size, and carrying but light guns.

The navy of France amounted to 250 vessels, of which 82 were of the line, nearly three-fourths in a serviceable state; and immediately on the outbreak of war, 71 new ships were laid down, including 25 of the line, and orders given to cast 400 brass 36-pounder carronades, the first guns of the kind employed by the French. One of the former was to mount 130 guns, and several old small-class seventy-fours were cut-down and converted into the most formidable frigates that had hitherto been seen.

Such was the French navy, with which the fleet of England was about to contend, not only for the dominion of the seas, but to protect the hearths and homes of the people from foreign invasion. Such, from the aggressive character of the French people, was the danger, it was soon seen, most to be apprehended. Never had the royal dockyards been so busy. Squadrons had to be sent off to reinforce stations at a distance from home, and to protect our colonies. Some months, therefore, elapsed before a fleet could be got ready to cope with the enemy. As soon as the ships could be fitted out, they were placed under the command of Admiral Lord Howe, who, on the 24th of July, set sail from Spithead with 15 ships of the line and a few frigates and sloops. For some weeks he cruised about in search of the French fleet, being joined in the meantime by more ships, till he had upwards of 30 under his command. He, however, was compelled to return to Spithead without meeting them.

In the meantime Lord Hood had proceeded to the Mediterranean and taken possession of Toulon. Before, however, we describe the events which took place there, we will follow Lord Howe, who, on the following May, received information that a valuable French convoy was expected from the West Indies, and guessing that the enemy’s fleet would sail out for their protection, put to sea in the hopes of intercepting them. His force now consisted of 26 sail of the line and 13 frigates and sloops. On the morning of the 28th, being about 140 leagues west of Ushant, the enemy were discovered at some distance to windward. On their perceiving the British fleet, they bore down in loose order, but soon after hauled again to the wind, and began to form in order of battle. Several of the British ships, at a considerable distance to windward of the fleet, approached the enemy’s rear. Lord Howe then made the signal for a general chase, and to engage the enemy. Rear-Admiral Pasley, of the Bellerophon, towards the close of the day, got up with the rear-ship of the enemy’s line, a three-decker, on which he commenced a firm and resolute attack, supported occasionally by the ships in his division. The Bellerophon, being soon disabled, fell to leeward. The Audacious came up just at that time, and continued to engage the same ship for two hours without intermission, when the enemy’s mizen-mast fell overboard, her lower yards and main-topsail yards shot away, and otherwise much shattered. The Audacious, however, having her rigging and sails cut to pieces, and the ship being for some time unmanageable, was unable to follow the Frenchman, who put before the wind and escaped. The night being dark, Captain Parker lost sight of the fleet, and being in too disabled a state to rejoin, was compelled to bear away for the channel. The next day a partial engagement took place between the two hostile fleets, which resulted in the British obtaining the weather-gage.

On the morning of the 1st of June, both fleets being drawn up in order of battle, at half-past seven Lord Howe made the signal for both fleets to bear up, and for each ship to engage her opponent in the enemy’s line. In a short time a tremendous cannonade commenced from van to rear, which raged with unceasing fury for about an hour. The enemy’s line having been forced through in many places, they began to give way, and their admiral, vigorously attacked by the Queen Charlotte, bore up, and was followed by all those of his ships that were able to carry sail, leaving the rest, which were dismasted and crippled, at the mercy of their enemies. Upon the clearing up of the smoke, eight or ten French ships were seen, some totally dismasted and others with only one mast standing, endeavouring to make off under their sprit-sails. Seven of these were taken possession of; one, Le Vengeur, sank before the whole of her crew could be taken out, not more than 280 being saved. A distant and irregular firing was continued at intervals between the fugitive and British ships till about four in the afternoon, when the French admiral, having collected most of his remaining ships, steered off to the eastward. The Queen Charlotte had lost both her topmasts, the Marlborough and Defence were wholly dismasted, and many of the other ships materially damaged. Earl Howe, therefore, brought to, in order to secure the prizes and collect his ships before dark. The loss sustained by the British in this action amounted to 281 killed and 788 wounded. Among the first was Captain James Montague of the Montague, while three admirals and four captains were severely wounded. The killed on board the enemy’s ships that were captured amounted to 690, and 580 wounded, exclusive of 320 lost in Le Vengeur when she sank, the greater number of whom were wounded.

So important was this action considered, that on the return of the fleet to Spithead, the king himself came down to Portsmouth and personally presented Lord Howe with a sword; while various honours were bestowed upon the principal officers engaged, gold medals being struck to commemorate the glorious victory of the 1st of June; a liberal subscription being opened likewise for the relief of the wounded officers, seamen, and marines, and also the widows and children of those who fell in the action.

This victory early in the war was of the greatest consequence, as it raised the spirits and confidence of the British, while it proportionably depressed the enemy, and proved the prelude of that succession of victories which at length crushed the power of France and secured the safety of England.

After the English had held Toulon for some time, in consequence of the large force of republicans collected round the city, it was found impossible to retain it. Several thousand French royalists having been embarked, it was resolved to destroy the arsenal and ships of war. This dangerous task was undertaken by Sir Sidney Smith, having under his command three English and three Spanish gunboats and a tender, with the Vulcan fire-ship. He proceeded into the harbour at dark; the fire-ship was first placed across the outer men-of-war in such a position that she was certain to do effectual execution. Scarcely had the signal been made for setting the trains on fire, than the flames rose in all directions; a magazine, filled with pitch, tar, tallow, oil, and hemp, was quickly in a blaze; while the guns of the fire-ship went off in the direction the enemy were approaching. The destruction would have been more complete had not the Spaniards set fire to two ships laden with powder, which they had been directed to sink; on board one of them, the Isis frigate, there were some thousand barrels. In a few moments the explosion took place; the air was filled with masses of burning timber, which fell in all directions, and two of the British boats were destroyed. The crew of one was taken up, but in the other, Lieutenant Young, with three men, perished, and many were badly wounded.

Notwithstanding this, Sir Sidney and his brave companions destroyed ten of the enemy’s ships of the line in the arsenal, with the mast-house, the great storehouse and other buildings.

After this, Lord Hood proceeded to Hieres Bay, leaving a small squadron to cruise before Toulon. Unfortunately, the Moselle, Captain Bennet, on her return from Gibraltar, passed through them, and not knowing that the place was evacuated, entered the harbour and was captured.

Some time after this, Captain Samuel Hood, in the Juno frigate of 32 guns, who had been sent to Malta for supernumeraries for the fleet—having been detained by a succession of foul winds—also ignorant of what had occurred, at ten in the evening stood into the outer road; not perceiving the fleet at anchor there, and concluding that they had taken shelter within the new harbour from a strong easterly gale which had lately been blowing, steered for it. Having no pilot on board, two midshipmen were stationed at each cathead to look out. Soon after, several lights were seen, which were supposed to be those of the fleet. The Juno accordingly stood on under her topsails till she made out a brig which lay off Point Grandtour, when the captain, finding that he could not weather her, set more sail. The brig, as he approached, hailed; but no one understood what was said. Captain Hood, in reply, gave the name and nation of his ship, upon which the people on board the brig shouted “Viva!” and soon after some one cried out “Luff.” The Juno’s helm on this was put a-lee, but before the ship came head to wind, she took the ground. Directly afterwards, a boat was observed to pull from the brig towards the town, but even then her object was not suspected. Happily, while the Juno’speople were still on the yards, a sudden flaw of wind taking the ship, drove her astern. To help her off, the driver and mizen-staysail were hoisted, and directly the ship lost her way, an anchor was let go, but she still touched the ground abaft. Accordingly, to get her off, the launch and cutter were ordered to carry out a kedge-anchor ahead. While the boats were still away, a boat from the shore came alongside, out of which several officers hurried on board. One of them informed Captain Hood that it was the commanding officer’s orders that the ship should go into another branch of the harbour to perform ten days’ quarantine. From some of the remarks now made, suspicions were aroused, and they were confirmed when, on a midshipman exclaiming, “Why, those are the national cockades,” the captain, looking at the Frenchmen’s hats, discovered by the light of the moon the tricolours of the republicans. The captain again asking where Lord Hood’s squadron lay, one of the French officers replied, “Soyez tranquilles. Les Anglais sont des braves gens; nous les traiterons bien. L’Amiral Anglais est sorti il y a quelque temps.”

“Be calm. The English are brave people; we will treat them well. The English admiral sailed some time ago.”

It may easily be conceived what were Captain Hood’s feelings on hearing this. The alarming intelligence ran through the ship; some of the officers hurried aft to inquire if it were true. Happily, at this moment a flaw of wind came down the harbour, when Mr Welby, the third lieutenant, said to Captain Hood, “I believe, sir, that we shall be able to fetch out if we can get under sail.” Captain Hood at once determined to try what could be done, and with great presence of mind immediately ordered the crew to their respective stations, and directed that the Frenchmen should be taken below. They at first began to bluster, but the marines appearing with their half-pikes, soon forced them down below. Such was the alacrity of the officers and crew, that in less than three minutes every sail in the ship was set, and the yards braced for casting. The cable, being hove short, was cut, the head sails filled, and the ship glided forward down the harbour. At the same time, her own boats and that of the Frenchmen were cut adrift, that they might not impede her progress. A favourable flaw of wind now coming, she got good way. The instant the brig saw theJuno under sail, she and one of the forts began to fire on her, and presently all the other forts, as their guns could be brought to bear, opened fire. Still the frigate stood undauntedly on; as she approached Cape Serpet, it was feared that she would not be able to weather it without making a tack, but the wind shifting so as to admit her lying up two points, she scraped clear of the cape, under a heavy fire from the batteries. As soon as Captain Hood was able to keep the ship away, he opened a brisk fire on the enemy, which he kept up till half-past twelve, when, being out of shot, he ceased firing.

Notwithstanding the heavy cannonade the Juno had passed through, not a man on board her was hurt; and though two 36-pound shot had struck her, no material damage had been inflicted, nor had her rigging and sails suffered much injury. Two days afterwards the Juno joined Lord Hood’s fleet in the Bay of Hieres. The coolness and presence of mind which have been so often exhibited by British naval officers was signally displayed on this occasion; and when we recollect that the Juno was actually within the enemy’s port, full of armed vessels, with formidable batteries on either side of her, we must acknowledge that the feat she accomplished is unsurpassed in naval annals.

We must pass over the numerous gallant actions between small squadrons and single ships. Great difficulties were experienced at this time in manning the navy; even the press-gangs failed to obtain a sufficient number of men. An Act was passed, therefore, on the 15th of March, 1795, for raising 10,000 men in the several counties of England, and on the 16th of April another was passed for procuring a supply from the several ports of Great Britain; and the more effectually to enforce the Act, an embargo was laid on all British shipping until the quota of men was raised. To encourage men to come forward, enormous bounties were offered by many of the counties and sea-ports, sometimes exceeding 30 pounds for each able seaman. An Act was also passed to enable those who came forward voluntarily to allot part of their pay to the maintenance of their wives and families. Seamen also were allowed to forward letters home on the payment only of a penny; half-pay officers and widows of officers were enabled to obtain their pay or pensions free of charge.

Early in January of the next year Sir Sidney Smith, while in command of the Diamond frigate, performed one of those exploits which made his name notorious. While attached to the squadron of Sir John Borlase Warren, he stood close into Brest, where he ascertained that the French fleet were at sea. As he was standing off, a corvette which was coming out of the harbour hove to and made a signal, which not being answered by theDiamond, she hauled her wind and worked in. Soon after this Sir Sidney passed within hail of a line-of-battle ship at anchor. She appeared to have no upper-deck guns mounted, and to be very leaky. He asked her commander in French if she wanted any assistance; to which he answered, “No, that he had been dismasted in a heavy gale, and had parted with the French fleet three days ago.” Some other conversation passed, after which, Sir Sidney crowded sail and stood out to sea. So completely had he disguised his ship, that the Frenchman had not the slightest suspicion of her being an English man-of-war.

The following year, however, being on a cruise off Havre-de-Grâce, he discovered a lugger in the outer road. Having taken her with the boats of his squadron, he attempted to tow her off, but the flood-tide setting strong in, he was compelled to anchor. In the night the cable either parted or was cut by one of the prisoners, when the lugger, driving a considerable way up the Seine, was attacked by several gunboats and other armed vessels; and Sir Sidney, after making a gallant resistance, was compelled to surrender. He was carried to Paris, and for long shut up in the Temple; but, with the aid of friends, he effected his escape from prison, and reaching Havre-de-Grâce, put off in an open boat, when he was picked up by the Argo frigate, and landed safe in Portsmouth on the 5th of March, 1798.

On the 1st of June, 1795, an alteration was made in the uniform of naval officers, which continued for many years afterwards. Those who can remember it can scarcely fail to consider it the most becoming worn at any time in the service. The rank of officers was now distinguished by epaulettes. An admiral wore two gold epaulettes, with three silver stars on each; a vice-admiral had two stars, and a rear-admiral one; a post-captain of above three years standing wore two gold epaulettes, under three years, one on the right shoulder, a master and commander, one on the left shoulder, captains wore blue lapels and cuffs, with lace as before, but on the undress coat neither lace nor embroidery.

On the 4th of June his majesty appointed seven superannuated or disabled lieutenants of the navy to be poor knights of Windsor. This institution was founded by Samuel Travers, who, in 1724, left a residuary estate in trust for building or buying a house for their reception near the castle of Windsor, bequeathing to each knight 60 pounds per annum, 26 pounds of which is to be applied only for keeping them a constant table. The first knight was William Hogarth, whose commission bore the date of 1757, so that he had been nearly forty years a lieutenant; while the next three had been thirty years lieutenants.

In the same year the masters in the navy received an increase of half-pay, and their position was otherwise improved.

Towards the end of the year an improved system of telegraph, the invention of Lord George Murray, was introduced on several heights leading from the coast to London.

Post-captains were appointed as governors to the royal hospitals of Haslar and Plymouth, and lieutenants to those of Deal and Great Yarmouth.

One of the most gallant actions of the war was fought at the commencement of this year in the West Indies. The Blanche, a 32-gun 12-pounder frigate, commanded by Captain Robert Faulkner, was cruising in the neighbourhood of Guadaloupe, when she chased a French armed schooner, under a fort within a bay in the island of Desiradé. The schooner brought up with springs to her cables; but, notwithstanding the fire of the fort and some troops on shore, Captain Faulkner cut the schooner out with his boats, and triumphantly carried her off. Manning his prize, he sent her away to an English port, and was next day joined by the Quebec frigate, which, however, parted company. On the 4th at daybreak Captain Faulkner discovered the French 32-gun frigate Pique, lying at anchor just outside the harbour of Pointe-a-Pètre in Guadaloupe. Finding the French frigate, however, did not appear inclined to come out from under the protection of the batteries, the Blanche made sail towards a schooner, which she captured and took in tow. She then stood over for Dominico with her prize. Late in the evening, however, the French frigate was seen about two leagues astern, upon which, Captain Faulkner, casting off the schooner, tacked and made sail to meet her. At a quarter-past twelve theBlanche tacked and came up with her. When within musket-shot the enemy wore; Captain Faulkner seeing his intention was to rake him, wore also, when the two frigates closely engaged broadside to broadside. A fierce action now ensued for an hour and a-half, when, as the Blanche, shooting ahead, was in the act of luffing up to rake the Pique, her main and mizen-masts fell over the side. Directly after this, the Pique running foul of the Blanche on her larboard quarter, the French made several attempts to board. They were, however, gallantly repulsed by the British crew, and the larboard quarter-deck guns and such of those on the main-deck as could be brought to bear, were fired into the Pique’s starboard bow, she answering in return with musketry from her tops, as also from some of her quarter-deck guns, which had been run in amidships fore and aft. The bowsprit of the Pique passing over the starboard-quarter of the Blanche, Captain Faulkner, aided by his second lieutenant and two others of his crew, was in the act of lashing the Pique’s bowsprit to her capstern, when he was shot by a musket-ball through the heart. Soon after this the lashings broke loose, when the Pique, as she was crossing the stern of the Blanche, which began to pay off for want of after-sail, again fell on board on the starboard-quarter, her hawser having just before been got on deck, the Pique’s bowsprit was lashed to the stump of the Blanche’smain-mast. The first lieutenant, Mr Frederick Watkins, now took command, and kept the Blanche before the wind, towing her opponent, while a hot fire was kept up by the British marines on the French seamen who attempted to cut away the second lashing. This was returned from the forecastle and tops of the Pique, as well as from the latter’s quarter-deck guns pointed forward. The Blanche having no stern-ports on the main-deck could only return the fire by two quarter-deck 6-pounders. Lieutenant Watkins accordingly resolved to venture on the somewhat hazardous experiment of blowing away part  of the stern to allow a couple of guns to be run out. The firemen were called with their buckets ready to extinguish the flames should they burst out, and two 12-pounders being pointed astern in the cabin, soon made a clear breach, through which a tremendous fire was opened on the Pique’s decks. The French frigate had already lost her fore and mizen-mast, and about three hours and a quarter after midnight, her main-mast fell over the side. Thus the Blanche continued towing along her antagonist, which, notwithstanding the raking fire to which she was exposed, held out two hours longer; when at length some of the French seamen who had climbed on to the bowsprit cried out that they had struck. Neither of the frigates being able to put a boat in the water, Mr David Milne, the second lieutenant, and ten men, endeavoured to gain the prize by means of a hawser still attached to her. Their weight, however, bringing it down, they were compelled to swim on board. When the Blanche commenced the action, she had but 198 men and boys on board; of these, besides her gallant commander, she lost a midshipman, 5 seamen, and I marine killed, and I midshipman, 4 petty officers, and 12 seamen, and 4 marines wounded. The Pique had 279 men on board, of whom she lost 76 officers and men killed and 110 wounded, her brave captain, who soon afterwards died from his hurts, being among the number. The Blanche measured 710 tons and the Pique 906, while the weight of her guns was slightly in excess of that of the victor. ThePique was added to the British Navy, and Lieutenants Watkins and Milne were deservedly promoted. About a quarter-of-an-hour after the action had ceased, just after daylight, a 64-gun ship, the Veteran, was seen approaching, and the French officers afterwards refused to sign the usual head-money certificate unless the Veteran was named as one of their captors, though they afterwards withdrew their objections, which were absurd, considering that though she had seen the flashes of their guns, she had not caught sight of the combatants until the Pique was in possession of her captors.

The change which had some time before been proposed in the armament of British ships of war had now taken place, though at first, as has been the case with other improvements, carronades were objected to on various grounds, there were now few ships in the navy without them. A whole class of ships, carrying 44 guns, were armed on the main-deck with 32-pounder carronades, instead of the long 6-pounders which they would otherwise have carried. A considerable increase was also made in the size of ships. The largest launched at this date, the Ville de Paris, to carry 110 guns, was somewhat smaller, however, than the French 80-gun ships. Fourteen ships of the line had been commissioned, and ten had been purchased from the East India Company and armed with 54 guns, but, though well fitted for merchantmen, were unsuitable for men-of-war. With one of them, however, one of the most gallant actions on record was fought, about the middle of this year, 1796. The Glatton, one of the purchased Indiamen, of 1256 tons, commanded by Captain Henry Trollope, and fitted on the main-deck with 28 carronades, 68-pounders, the rest of her guns being 32-pounders, making altogether 54 guns; but, as the ports were too small to allow the larger guns to traverse properly, and she had no bow or stern chasers, they could only be pointed right abeam. Having been appointed to reinforce the North Sea Fleet, under Admiral Duncan, she proceeded from Sheerness to Yarmouth Roads, whence, on the 14th of July, she was directed to sail to join a squadron of two sail of the line and some frigates, under the command of Captain Savage, of the Albion 64, cruising off the Texel. At one in the afternoon of the 16th, being about four or five leagues from Helvaetsluis, Captain Trollope discovered a squadron of ships of war, consisting of six large frigates, a brig, and a cutter. One of these, as far as could be made out, mounted 50 guns, two 36, and the other three 28. He was soon convinced, from the way in which they manoeuvred, and from not answering the private signal, that they were enemies. Not intimidated, however, by their vast superiority, he at once cleared for action, and bore down resolutely to attack them. The strangers on this shortened sail, backing their mizen-topsails, in order to keep their stations. At 10 p.m. Captain Trollope having got alongside of the third ship in the enemy’s line, hailed her, and finding that she was French, ordered her commander to strike his colours. Instead of doing so, he immediately fired a broadside, on which theGlatton poured into her antagonist, at a distance of thirty yards, such a shower of shot as perhaps no ship had ever before received. Her crew being insufficient to man her guns on both sides, the allotment to each gun was divided into gangs. One of these having loaded and run out the gun, left the most experienced hands to point and fire it, while they ran across and loaded and ran out the gun on the opposite side. The two headmost French ships then tacked, one placing herself alongside to windward, and the other on the Glatton’s bow, while the other ships engaged her on her lee-quarter and stern. A fierce cannonade was kept up, the Glatton engaging on both sides so near, that her yard-arms were nearly touching those of the enemy; the shrieks and cries which arose from them showing the terrible effect of the Glatton’s shot—though the French commodore, at all events, exhibited no want of courage in the way he fought his ship. Close to leeward was the Brill shoal, on which the van-ship of the French, now tacking, endeavoured to drive the Glatton. The French commodore, with whom Captain Trollope had at first engaged, was still on his lee bow, when the pilot exclaimed, that unless the Glatton tacked she would be on the Brill. “When the Frenchman strikes the ground, do you put the helm a-lee,” was the answer. Directly afterwards the commodore tacked, when, while he was in stays, the Glatton poured in a heavy raking fire, and then endeavoured to come about, but so damaged was she in her sails and rigging, that it was not without difficulty she could do so. Notwithstanding that her topmasts and yards were wounded, her crew, when ordered to shorten sail, flew aloft with alacrity, executing their task, in spite of the shot flying round them from the nearest of the Frenchmen able to continue the action. During this interval the Glatton’s fire had ceased, and one of the French ships stood towards her, in the hopes, probably, of making her their prize, but the British crew hurrying to their guns, soon undeceived them, and compelled their still remaining antagonists to follow their consorts. In attempting to wear after them, Captain Trollope found his masts, rigging, and sails so much injured that all his efforts were ineffectual, or his gallantry would probably have been rewarded by a complete victory. The remainder of the night was spent in strengthening masts and yards, and in bending fresh sails, and by seven o’clock the next morning the ship was in a fit state to renew the action. The enemy were at this time seen steering for Flushing; Captain Trollope continued to follow them till nine o’clock, when, as he had no hopes of being joined by any other ships, and the wind was blowing fresh on shore, he was compelled to haul off and steer for Yarmouth Roads, where he arrived on the 21st. It was afterwards discovered that the French ships had all, more or less, suffered, some of those that had taken the chief part in the action being tremendously knocked about, their decks being ripped up by the Glatton’s shot; one of them, indeed, sank on reaching Flushing harbour. The largest, with which the Glutton was chiefly engaged, was supposed to be the Brutus, armed with 46 24-pounders on the main-deck, and several 36-pounders on the quarter-deck and forecastle, while she was fully 300 tons larger than the Glatton. Though Captain Trollope might have relied on the weight of metal his ship carried, yet his courage and decision in sailing into the midst of six powerfully-armed opponents is worthy of all admiration, and justly entitled him to the honour of knighthood, which was conferred on him soon afterwards by the king, while the merchants of London presented him with a handsome piece of plate, to show their appreciation of his courage.

In September of this year, the Amphion frigate, of 32 guns, commanded by Captain Pellew, lay refitting at Plymouth. Her captain and two other officers were in the cabin at dinner, when a rumbling noise was heard. The captain, followed by his lieutenant, rushed into the quarter-gallery—the instant afterwards the ship blew up; the greater number of persons on board, amounting to nearly 300, perished, they and forty others only escaping with their lives, many of them being severely injured. Great as was the explosion, it had but a trifling effect on the ships near her. Her masts (excepting the mizen-mast) were shivered to pieces and forced out of the ship; four of her main-deck guns were cast upon the deck of the hulk alongside which she lay; and several bodies, pieces of the wreck, etcetera, were thrown as high as her main-topgallant mast-head.

Another gallant action was fought on the 13th of October by the Terpsichore frigate, of 32 guns and 215 men, commanded by Captain Richard Bowen. The Terpsichore having left thirty men at the hospital, the greater number being still dangerously ill on board, was cruising off Carthagena, when at daylight Captain Bowen discovered a large frigate to windward, apparently in chase of him. Though so near an enemy’s port, that even in the event of a victory he could scarcely hope to carry off his prize, trusting to his well-tried crew, he determined to meet the foe. At half-past nine the stranger came within hail, and hauled up on the Terpsichore’s weather-beam. A fierce action now ensued, and continued on both sides for an hour and twenty minutes, when the enemy’s fire began to slacken, and she attempted to make off; but the superior skill of Captain Bowen frustrated the attempt, and in less than twenty minutes compelled her to surrender. When taken possession of she proved to be the Mahonesa, a Spanish frigate of 36 guns, besides cohorns and snivels, manned with a crew of 275 men. She was completely disabled, her main-deck guns were rendered entirely useless, the booms having fallen down upon them, while her standing and running rigging was cut to pieces, she having also lost thirty men killed and as many more wounded. The Terpsichore had only the boatswain and three seamen wounded. Captain Bowen spoke of the gallant way in which the Spanish captain, Don Thomas Ayaldi, had fought his ship, having held out as long as he had the slightest prospect of victory. Notwithstanding her crippled condition, Captain Bowen succeeded in carrying his prize to Lisbon, but she was considered too much battered to be worth the cost of a thorough repair.

Soon afterwards, Captain Bowen captured a French 36-gun frigate, La Vestale, all her masts and her bowsprit being knocked away, and a large proportion of her crew killed and wounded. Being close to the shoals that lie between Cape Trafalgar and Cadiz, the prize, with the Terpsichore’smaster, one midshipman, and seven seamen, it having been impossible to remove the French crew, drifted towards the shore, where the master at length brought her up, and during the darkness the Terpsichore lost sight of her prize. While attempting to tow her off the next day, the towrope got foul of a rock and was cut. Soon after this the Frenchmen rose on the prize-crew and again anchored close inshore. The next morning, when Captain Bowen stood in to look for her, he had the mortification to see her standing in to Cadiz, some Spanish boats having come off and taken possession of her. La Vestale was, however, captured in the year 1799 by the gallant Captain Cunningham, of the Clyde.

Passing over many interesting events, we come to one which cannot be omitted in the history of the British Navy. English seamen had long undoubtedly been subjected to much ill-treatment. A large proportion of a ship’s company consisted of pressed men, compelled to serve against their will. They were often harshly treated by their officers; they were badly fed, and but poorly paid, and often punished; while their necessaries were embezzled, and they were cheated in a variety of ways. Towards the end of February, 1797, while Lord Howe was on shore, several petitions were sent up from the seamen at Portsmouth, asking for an advance of wages. They were forwarded to Earl Spencer, First Lord of the Admiralty, but as they were looked upon as forgeries, no notice was taken of them. Lord Howe being unable from sickness to go afloat, Lord Bridport took command of the fleet, when the seamen, supposing their complaints to be disregarded, refused to put to sea. On the 17th of March, every man in the fleet having sworn to support the cause, the mutiny broke out. Ropes were reeved at the foreyard-arms of the Queen Charlotte, and the mutineers were about to hang the first lieutenant of the ship, when Lord Bridport saved him. They, however, turned all the officers out of the fleet who had behaved in any way to offend them. Two delegates were appointed from each ship to represent the whole fleet, and the admiral’s cabin in the Queen Charlotte was fixed upon as the place for their deliberations. On the 21st Admirals Gardner, Colpoys, and Pole went on board theQueen Charlotte in order to confer with the delegates. These men assured the admirals that no arrangement would be considered as satisfactory till it should be sanctioned by the king and parliament, and guaranteed by a proclamation for a general pardon. So irritated did Admiral Gardner become on hearing this, that he seized one of the delegates and swore that he would have them all hanged with every fifth man throughout the fleet. This so exasperated the crew that it was with difficulty Admiral Gardner escaped with his life from the ship. The red or bloody flag was now seen flying from the Royal George, and that of Lord Bridport was struck. The mutineers also loaded all the guns, keeping a watch the same as at sea; every officer being detained on board his respective ship. In a few days, however, the seamen, hearing that their petitions were likely to be attended to, returned to their duty. Admiral Bridport rehoisted his flag on board the Royal George, and informed the seamen that he had brought with him the redress of their grievances and his majesty’s pardon for the offenders. It was now hoped that all matters in dispute were settled; but the seamen, fancying that notwithstanding the admiral’s assurances, they were to be neglected, again refused when ordered to weigh anchor. Admiral Golpoys, on this, ordered the marines to prevent the delegates from coming on board. The latter attempted to force their way, when the marines fired, and five seamen were killed and one of their officers wounded. On this the crew of the London turned the guns in the fore-part of the ship aft, and threatened to blow the officers, and all who stood by them, into the water. Seeing that resistance was hopeless, the officers surrendered, and the admiral and captain were confined in their cabins. Happily, on the 8th of May, a resolution of the House of Commons was passed, and the king’s free pardon being communicated to the seamen, they became satisfied, the red flag was struck, the officers were reinstated in their commands, and the whole fleet put to sea the next day to look out for the enemy. Lord Bridport had been ordered to keep at sea as much as possible, and only to return when necessary to refit or revictual. This plan succeeded, and the seamen generally obeyed their officers and conducted themselves properly.

At Plymouth the ships’ companies exhibited a mutinous disposition, but, after a time, they accepted the terms offered to the seamen at Portsmouth, and tranquillity was restored.

While these things were occurring at home, Sir John Jervis, with about 15 sail of the line, 4 frigates, 2 sloops of war, and a cutter, after putting into the Tagus, was cruising off Cape Saint Vincent. While there, a Spanish fleet of 25 sail of the line, 11 frigates, and a brig, came through the Straits of Gibraltar, bound for Cadiz. On the 14th of February, before dawn, a Portuguese frigate brought intelligence to the admiral that a Spanish fleet was about five leagues to windward. The English fleet was formed in two compact divisions; in one of them was the Captain, with the broad pendant of Horatio Nelson. It appeared that the Spaniards had at first supposed that the fleet in sight was part of a convoy. Some days before an American, which had passed through the British fleet before Admiral Sir Hyde Parker had joined with five ships of the line, while another, theCulloden, was absent in chase, had given the information that the English admiral had only nine sail of the line. The morning broke dark and hazy, and the Spaniards obtaining but a partial view of the British fleet, were fully confirmed in their mistake, and believed that they should surround the whole British squadron and carry them in triumph into Cadiz. Notwithstanding the more just estimate that Sir John Jervis had of his opponents, he lost no time in endeavouring to bring them to action. The main body of the Spanish fleet came down under all sail, with the wind on the starboard-quarter, while the ships to leeward, close-hauled on the same tack, were endeavouring to join them there. Admiral Jervis formed his line close-hauled on the starboard tack, steering straight for the opening between the two divisions of the Spanish fleet. The Culloden, the leading ship, commanded by Captain Troubridge, had the honour of commencing the battle about half-past eleven; the other British ships following, effectually cut off a part of the Spanish fleet from the main body, and compelled them to form on the larboard tack, with the intention of passing through or to leeward of the British line; but they were met with so warm a reception from the centre of the British that they were obliged to tack, and were unable again to get into action till towards the close of the day. Admiral Jervis now devoted all his attention to the main body of the enemy’s fleet to windward, which was reduced at this time, by the separation of the ships to leeward, to eighteen sail of the line. A little after twelve o’clock the signal was made for the British fleet to tack in succession, and soon after the signal for again passing the enemy’s line; while the Spanish admiral’s design appeared to be to join the ships to leeward by wearing round to the rear of the British line. The intention of the enemy was, however, soon perceived by Commodore Nelson, who, being in the rear, had an opportunity of observing this manoeuvre. In order to frustrate the design, he had no sooner passed the Spanish rear than he wore and stood on the other tack towards the enemy. In executing this bold and decisive manoeuvre, the commodore found himself alongside of the Spanish admiral in the Santissima Trinidad, of 136 guns. Notwithstanding this immense disparity, Nelson was not the man to shrink from the contest, though the Spaniard was ably supported by her two seconds ahead and astern, each of which was a three-decker. While Nelson sustained this unequal conflict, Troubridge in the Culloden, and Captain Frederick in the Blenheim, were coming to his assistance. Sir John Jervis had ordered Captain Collingwood in theExcellent to bear up, while he passed to leeward of the rearmost ships of the enemy. As he did so, he gave the San Ysidro so effectual a broadside that she was compelled to submit. Captain Collingwood then passed on to the relief of Nelson, but before he arrived, the Spaniard’s mizen-mast fell overboard and she got entangled with her second, the San Nicolas, a ship of guns. On this, Nelson determined to board the San Nicolas, and the Captain was so judiciously placed by Captain Miller, her commander, that he laid her aboard on the starboard-quarter of the Spanish 84, her spritsail-yard passing over the enemy’s poop, and hooking in her mizen-shrouds. Nothing can surpass Nelson’s own description of what now took place. Calling for the boarders, he ordered them on board:—“The soldiers of the 69th regiment, with an alacrity which will ever do them credit, and Lieutenant Pearson of the same regiment, were almost the foremost on this service. The first man who jumped into the enemy’s mizen-chains was Captain Berry, late my first lieutenant (Captain Miller was in the very act of going also, but I directed him to remain). A soldier of the 69th regiment having broken the upper-quarter-gallery window, jumped in, followed by myself and others as fast as possible. I found the cabin doors fastened, and some Spanish officers fired their pistols at us through the windows; but having burst open the doors, the soldiers fired, and the Spanish brigadier (or commodore) fell as he was retreating to the quarter-deck. I found Captain Berry in possession of the poop, and the Spanish ensign hauling down. I passed with my people and Lieutenant Pearson along the larboard gangway to the forecastle, where I met several Spanish officers prisoners to my seamen, and they delivered me their swords. At this moment, a fire of pistols or muskets opening from the admiral’s stern-gallery in the San Josef, I directed the soldiers to fire into her stern. Our seamen by this time were in full possession of every part of the ship. About seven of my men were killed, and some few wounded, and about twenty Spaniards. Having placed sentinels at the different ladders, and calling to Captain Miller, ordering him to send more men into the San Nicolas, I directed my brave fellows to board the first-rate, theSan Josef, which was done in an instant, Captain Berry assisting me into the main-chains.

“At this moment a Spanish officer looked over the quarter-deck rail, and said they surrendered. From this most welcome intelligence, it was not long before I was on the quarter-deck, when the Spanish captain, with bended knee, presented me his sword, and told me the admiral was dying of his wounds below. I asked him on his honour if the ship had surrendered. He declared she had; on which I gave him my hand, and desired him to call his officers and ship’s company and tell them of it, which he did; and on the quarter-deck of a Spanish first-rate, extravagant as the story may seem, did I receive the swords of vanquished Spaniards, which, as I received, I gave to William Fearney, one of my barge-men, who tucked them, with the greatest sang-froid, under his arm.”

Immediately on Nelson’s return on board the Captain, he made the signal for boats to assist in disengaging her from the prizes, and as she was rendered incapable of further service until refitted, he hoisted his pennant for the moment on board the Minerve frigate. In the meantime Admiral Jervis ordered the Victory to be placed on the lee-quarter of the rearmost ship of the enemy, the Salvador del Mundo, and threw in so effectual a broadside that the Spanish commander, seeing the Barfleur bear down to second the Victory, struck his flag. He was very nearly capturing theSantissana Trinidad, but the rest of the Spanish fleet, hitherto uninjured, coming down, he found it necessary to secure his prizes and bring to. All these ships did was to open an ineffectual fire, and then to sail away, leaving the British to carry off their prizes in triumph. The English ships lost in killed and wounded only 300 men, while on board the ships captured the Spanish killed and wounded amounted to 697. Just honours were showered on the victorious admirals and captains; Sir John Jervis was created a peer of Great Britain, under the titles of Baron Jervis of Meaford and Earl Saint Vincent; and among others, Commodore Nelson, who had just before been made a vice-admiral, received the insignia of the Bath.

It had been believed that the mutinous spirit of the seamen had been quelled by the concessions made to them, but such, it was soon found, was not the case. On the 20th of May most of the ships lying at the Nore, and nearly all of those belonging to the North Sea Fleet, hoisted the red flag. The mutineers at Sheerness, like those at Spithead, had chosen two delegates from every ship, and had appointed as a president over them a man of the name of Richard Parker; while on board each ship was a committee of twelve men, who decided on all the affairs relative to its internal management. They declared themselves dissatisfied with the terms accepted by the seamen of Portsmouth, and demanded a more just division of prize-money, more regular and frequent payment of wages, and also permission to go on shore when in port, with several other conditions. This statement they required Vice-Admiral Buckner, whose flag was flying on board the Sandwich, of 90 guns, to transmit without delay to the Admiralty, and they declared that only when its conditions were complied with would they return to their duty. So bold did they become that they went on shore without interruption, parading Sheerness with music and flags, inviting the crews of other ships to join them; while they had their headquarters in a public-house, above which a red flag was hoisted. To put a stop to this, some regiments were sent for, when they thought it prudent to keep to their ships. All communication with the shore being stopped, the mutineers supplied themselves with water and provisions from the merchant-vessels which they brought to, while they allowed none to proceed up to London, completely blockading the port. Throughout the whole of the mutiny the seamen behaved respectfully to their superior officers, while the strictest discipline was kept up on board all the ships. On the king’s birthday the seamen even exhibited their loyalty by firing a grand salute from all the ships, which were decorated in the manner usual on festive occasions.

Conciliatory measures for inducing the seamen to return to their duty were tried in vain. The Government, however, would not yield to any of their demands, and the seamen on board most of the ships at length finding their cause hopeless, hauled down the red flag. Some had previously made their escape from their midst. Ultimately, the crew of the Sandwich carried their ship under the guns of Sheerness, when a guard of soldiers coming on board, Parker, their ringleader, was delivered up. He, with the chief culprits, was tried, convicted, and executed; others were flogged through the fleet, and many were imprisoned for certain periods, a general pardon being granted to the seamen who had been misled by them.

Wide as was the spread of the mutiny, whole ships’ companies remained true to their colours. Among these crews who remained loyal, that of theSaint Fiorenzo deserves especially to be mentioned, and an account written by the late Admiral Mitford, who was then a midshipman on board her, cannot fail to prove interesting. “She was,” says Admiral Mitford, “the favourite frigate of his majesty George the Third, who, from his courtesy and kind manner towards the ship’s company, had endeared himself to them. This may in some degree account for the loyalty of the men, strengthened by their unbounded attachment to one of the most humane, brave, and zealous commanders that ever walked a deck—one to whom every man looked up as a father, the late Admiral Sir Harry Burrard Neale. A better lesson cannot be given to a young officer to show that by kindness and firmness that desirable object may be attained which was so eminently proved during one of the most eventful periods of this country. The Saint Fiorenzo was at Spithead when the first mutiny broke out, and the red flag was hoisted on board the Queen Charlotte. The day before that event the men came and informed Sir Harry of what was to take place, but that he might rely on their loyalty, and as far as was consistent with prudence, that they would obey every order from the officers, to which resolution they most scrupulously adhered. While such was the state of affairs, the Saint Fiorenzo having received orders to proceed to Sheerness for the purpose of fitting out to carry over the Princess Royal, then Duchess of Hesse-Homburg, to Cuxhaven, after her marriage, the mutineers allowed her to sail without attempting to stop her. Their demands having been acceded to by the Government, the men, just as we were sailing, returned to their duty. Notwithstanding the loyalty of our crew, two of the delegates, thoroughly trustworthy men, had been chosen, with Sir Harry’s permission, who regularly brought him all the information they could obtain. On our arrival at Sheerness, we found the red flag still flying on board the Sandwich guard-ship, and supposing that her crew had not been informed of what had taken place at Spithead, our delegates went on board to explain, and were surprised and disgusted to find that fresh demands had been made by the North Sea Fleet, and of so frivolous a nature, that from some remarks made by our men, perhaps not very courteous, their zeal in the cause was suspected, and consequently the mutineers were very jealous of our crew. On returning on board, our delegates immediately communicated with the Clyde, an old fellow-cruiser, commanded by Captain Cunningham, who also enjoying the confidence of his ship’s company, an agreement took place between the respective captains and their crews, that should the disaffection of the mutineers continue, they would leave them and run under cover of the forts at Sheerness. I should say that I believe a very small proportion of the men were disaffected, and, as on most public outbreaks, the majority were dictated to by a few desperate and disappointed men. Parker had been shipmate with a considerable number of the Saint Fiorenzo’s crew, and they had a great contempt for him. He had been acting-lieutenant in some ship with them, and was dismissed for drunkenness. If a little energy had been used on some of the opportunities that offered, the whole affair might have been quashed.

“Having got leave to go on shore from the delegates of our ship, I landed and passed through the dockyard, followed by the whole of the delegates of the fleet, Parker and Davis walking together in procession. When outside the gates, they saw the Lancashire fencibles coming to strengthen the garrison, to whom they offered every insult they could devise. On this the officer in command halted his men, and coming up to the admiral and commissioner, who were standing opposite the gates, asked, so I understood him, whether he might be permitted to surround the delegates, complaining of the insults offered to himself and his men. On this I involuntarily exclaimed, ‘Now’s the time;’ when the admiral asked me what I meant, and how I dared to speak? I said, ‘These are all the delegates,’ pointing out to them Parker and Davis and others. The fellows overheard me, and I have no doubt I became a marked man. I may congratulate myself on the event which carried us away from the fleet, otherwise I might have suffered what others did, and been yard-armed, tarred, and feathered; but I feel justified in saying that, had my suggestion been acted upon, there would have been an end of the mutiny at the Nore. Returning on board I found that every arrangement had been made, and the Clyde being the inshore ship, was to move first, which she did, and ran under the batteries; when, either from incompetency or fear, our pilot refused to take charge of the ship, and the tide being on the turn to ebb, Sir Harry Neale thought it advisable to wait for a more favourable opportunity. In the meantime we were visited by the delegates of some of the leading ships, who abused our crew for permitting theClyde to escape without our firing upon her. So incensed did the men become at this, that one of the quartermasters, John Ainslie, came aft, and asked the first lieutenant whether they might not throw the blackguards overboard, which, I doubt not, a nod of assent would have effected.

“The mutineers now gave orders to our crew to place the frigate between the Inflexible and Director, to send our gunpowder on board theSandwich, Admiral Parker as he was called, and to unbend our sails, with which orders our people agreed to comply. Sir Harry was immediately acquainted with the circumstances, and he at once arranged that the ship, instead of doing so, should run into Sheerness. When all was prepared, with springs to our cables to cast inshore, and we were ready to cut, in heaving the spring broke, and we cast outward. Sir Harry, whose presence of mind never forsook him, on this directed the quartermaster to take the command and he would dictate to him. All was sheeted home in a moment, and we stood in between the two line-of-battle ships, which had their guns double-shotted, their crews being all ready with lanyards in hand to fire upon us. The ship by that time had got good way, when Sir Harry gave the order to let fly all the sheets, which took the mutineers by surprise, and supposing that the ship was coming to an anchor, they did not fire. Sir Harry then ordered the helm to be put hard a-port, which caused the ship to shoot ahead of the Inflexible. He now came on deck and took the command, crying out to the ship’s company, ‘Well done, my lads!’ when a loud murmur of applause was heard fore and aft; but we had no time to cheer. ‘Now, clear away the bulkheads, and mount the guns,’ he cried. By this time the whole fleet of 82 sail had opened their fire upon us. The shot fell like hail, but, whether intentionally or not, few struck our hull. It was reported that the Director fired blank cartridges or she might have done us more injury; but I believe that her crew, struck with awe at the idea of firing on their countrymen, and also with admiration of their bravery, fired wide. In little more than two hours the bulkheads were cleared away from the cabin door to the break of the quarter-deck, the whole space having been fitted up with cabins for the suite of her royal highness, the guns on both sides being also down in the hold. The guns were mounted and we were ready for action. The men now came aft and begged that, should the mutineers come after them, they might go down with the ship rather than return to the fleet at the Nore. Our master, although a good pilot, did not feel himself justified in taking charge of the ship within the boundaries of a branch pilot. We were therefore on the look-out for a pilot-vessel, when a lugger was discovered on the lee bow, and we were on the point of bearing down on her, when we saw the North Sea Fleet coming with the red flag flying, having left their station in a state of mutiny, the admiral and all the officers being under arrest. A frigate bore down to us, when Sir Harry gave the speaking-trumpet to the quartermaster Stanley, and when she hailed as to what we were doing there, he replied that we were looking out to stop the ships with provisions for the fleet. She then proceeded, and joined the fleet again, and we made sail after the lugger. The necessary signals were made, but not being answered, we gave chase, and, after a run of four hours, captured the Castor and Pollux, a French vessel of 16 guns. We were proceeding to Portsmouth with our prize, when she, being to windward, spoke a brig, who informed us that the mutiny had again broken out at Spithead. Sir Harry on this thought it prudent to anchor under Dungeness until he could communicate with the Admiralty. During the night, as we lay there, a ship was seen bearing down towards us, which, however, answered the private signals; but that could not be depended upon, as it was probable that the mutineers would have possessed themselves of them. We accordingly beat to quarters. The men again repeated their request to sink rather than surrender to the mutineers. The stranger appeared high out of the water, and we could not be certain whether she might not be a line-of-battle ship. The wind being very light, she closed slowly. The suspense was awful. The springs were hove on to keep our broadside to bear. Sir Harry hailed, and her answer was, ‘TheHussar frigate, Lord Garlies, from the West Indies.’ Having come from a long voyage, her appearance was accounted for. Seeing the lights at all our port-holes, those on board the frigate could not understand the necessity of such extreme precautions, being, of course, ignorant of the mutiny. When her men wore acquainted with our situation, they were so struck with the bravery and determination of the Saint Fiorenzo’s ship’s company that they immediately said, should any ship be sent to bring us back, they would share our fate. None, however, came, and in a few days we heard that the mutiny was at an end, and we sailed, I think, for Plymouth, and another ship was ordered to take over the Princess of Hesse-Homburg.”

By the daring and determination of another captain, Sir Henry Trollope, he prevented his ship’s company from joining the mutineers. He had been removed from the Glutton to the Russell, 74, one of the North Sea Fleet, which lay in Yarmouth Roads. On hearing that his crew were about to join the mutineers, he came to the resolution of compelling them, by a proceeding of the most desperate character, to obey his orders. Providing himself with provisions and water, a compass and a chart, and a brace of pistols, he secretly entered the powder-magazine. Besides the door at the entrance, there was a grate,  through which he could look into the outer apartment. Seating himself with his pistols in his hand, he sent for the delegates, and ordered them at once to get the ship under way, to carry her out to sea. “You know me, my lads,” he said, calmly; “we have been ordered to proceed to the Texel, and these orders must be obeyed. Sooner than have her name disgraced, I will blow her and all on board up into the air. Return on deck and attend to your duty.”

The mutineers looked aghast, but they knew their captain, and of what he was capable, too well to disobey him. They could not have molested him, even had they dared. The crew, obeying their officers, while the captain sat far below in the magazine, their guiding spirit, got the ship under way, and stood out to sea—the rest of the ships, either not aware of what she was about, or not venturing to interfere with her. In a short time she joined Admiral Duncan, who, with his flag flying on board the Venerable, was blockading the Texel. He had been left with only his own ship and the Adamant, keeping in check a Dutch fleet of 15 sail of the line, under Admiral de Winter. In order to prevent the Dutch from coming out, Admiral Duncan made use of a ruse, frequently repeating signals, as if communicating with the main body of his fleet in the offing. At length he was joined by other line-of-battle ships, but his fleet, severely battered by bad weather, and being short of provisions, had to put back into Yarmouth Roads, while Captain Trollope remained with a small squadron to watch the enemy. He continued there till the 9th of October, when information was brought that the Dutch fleet was at sea. He immediately sailed, and having looked into the Texel, on the 11th the Russell and other ships were seen with the signal flying at their mast-heads that the enemy was in sight to leeward. The Dutch fleet stood away, however, towards the coast of Suffolk, when, finding that the English admiral was within seven leagues of him, he sailed back towards Camperdown, followed by the English look-out frigates. De Winter now formed a close line of battle, and resolutely awaited Admiral Duncan. The British fleet on this bore down on the enemy, with the signal flying for close action. The Monarch, leading the larboard division of the British fleet, first cut the Dutch line, pouring in well-directed broadsides on the ships on either side of her. The action soon became general; one after the other the Dutch ships were compelled to strike. One of them, the Hercules, catching fire, the crew threw overboard their powder, and were therefore obliged to surrender their ship. The Dutch admiral’s ship, the Vryheid, held out gallantly to the last, but was at length compelled to yield, when the rest of the ships which had not yet struck their colours, did their best to make off. By this time the English were in possession of two seventy-fours, five sixty-fours, two fifties, and two frigates. The escaping enemy could not be pursued, for the land was close aboard, and the fleet in nine fathoms water. All the victors could do, therefore, was to secure their prizes, and to endeavour to get clear of the shore before nightfall. The Dutchmen had fought gallantly, aiming at the hulls of the British ships, which were fearfully shattered, and in all of them numerous shots were found sticking; though the masts and rigging were but comparatively little injured. The English lost 228 killed and 812 wounded, including many officers, and the Dutch 540 killed and 620 wounded. Of the whole Dutch fleet seven only escaped, and five of these were afterwards captured. With regard to the number of their guns, the two fleets were almost equal—the English ships carrying altogether 1150 guns, and the Dutch 1034; besides which, the latter had some corvettes and brigs which took part in the action, and greatly annoyed their opponents, though their guns were not counted. The victory of Camperdown was gained by the very men who had taken part in the mutiny. On the news reaching England, all those still under sentence were pardoned.

During this year occurred the unfortunate attack on Santa Cruz, in the island of Teneriffe, when, in attempting to land on the mole, Nelson lost an arm, and the gallant Captain Bowen, with several lieutenants, was killed, many of the boats being sunk and their crews perishing.

In the year 1798 the French made three attempts to land armies in Ireland, but on each occasion their fleets were driven back, and many of their ships were captured. A previous attempt had been made in 1796, when they were scattered and discomfited by the weather. The second succeeded in landing a body of troops; the greater number were killed, and the survivors were made prisoners. In the third, the Hoche, under the command of Commodore Bompart, was captured, as were several frigates of his squadron; while the fourth, finding the warm reception the troops would meet with should they attempt to land, put back into port.

At this time there were no less than 30,000 French prisoners in England, and by an agreement with their own government, which was to support them, it was arranged they should reside at Portsmouth, Plymouth, Norman Cross, Liverpool, Edinburgh, Chatham, and Stapleton. Arrangements were made towards the end of the war for the exchange of prisoners, but it was found that there were only 2800 English in France. The French Directory now issued a decree declaring that all persons natives of, or originally belonging to, neutral countries, or countries in alliance with France, serving on board any English ship, should be tried as pirates. The English Government, in retaliation, threatened to treat all subjects of the French Republic in the same manner, should the savage order be carried out. This threat had the desired effect.

Bonaparte had been for some time planning a campaign in Egypt. Sailing with a large fleet from Toulon, he first captured Malta, and then proceeded to Alexandria, wonderfully escaping Earl Saint Vincent and Vice-Admiral Sir Horatio Nelson. Napoleon having landed, his fleet, under Admiral Brueys, brought up in Aboukir Bay. Here Nelson found the French on the 8th of August, drawn up at anchor in order of battle, and at 3 p.m. he threw out the signal to prepare for the fight, followed an hour afterwards with orders to anchor by the stern with springs to their cables. Another signal was shortly afterwards made to signify that the admiral meant to attack the enemy’s van and centre. At 6 p.m. Nelson signalised to the fleet to fill and stand on, which they did in admirable order, the Goliath leading; when, soon afterwards hoisting their colours, with the Union Jack in several parts of the rigging, the British ships took up the stations allotted to them. At 6:20 p.m. the Conquirant, followed by theGuerrier, opened her fire upon the Goliath and Zealous, which was quickly answered by those ships; but the sun had already sunk into the ocean before any other British ship had fired a shot. Loud cheers now burst from every ship of the English fleet, when the men, flying to their guns, opened their broadsides with a spirit which soon knocked away the masts and spars of their opponents, and spread death and destruction on board their ships. The action had continued for two hours, several French ships having struck, when a fire was perceived on board the Orient, which in an hour afterwards blew up with a tremendous explosion, the burning wreck falling far and wide around, and setting fire to several ships, friends and foes, in the neighbourhood. So awful was the effect, that for ten minutes not a gun was fired on either side. Thus the battle raged all night long, till soon after dawn the French frigate Artemise, after striking her colours, also caught fire, and with a terrific explosion blew up.

In the morning the enemy’s ships still in a condition to make sail got under way and endeavoured to escape. Of the thirteen French ships of the line, by this time, one had blown up, eight had surrendered, and two had escaped. Of the remaining two, one, the Timoléon, was on shore, with her colours flying; the other, the Tonnant, lay about two miles from her, a mere wreck, but also with her colours up. On the approach, however, of the Theseus and Leander, she hauled them down; while the crew of the Timoléon set her on fire, and she soon afterwards blew up. Thus, in the memorable “Battle of the Nile,” the French lost eleven line-of-battle ships, besides frigates. In this action the British lost 218 killed and 678 wounded. Among the latter was Horatio Nelson, who was struck above his already darkened eye by a splinter; while all the ships were considerably cut up. On board the Orient fell the Commodore Casa Bianca, as well as his gallant young son, who had refused to quit his post; and the French commander-in-chief, Brueys, who, after receiving two severe wounds, was nearly cut in two by a shot. While still breathing, he desired not to be carried below, but to be left to die upon deck, exclaiming in a firm voice, “Un amiral Français doit mourir sur son banc de quart.”

“A French admiral ought to die on his quarter-deck.”

While the ship was in flames, the boats of the British ships put off to save the hapless crew, seventy of whom were thus rescued. The heroic conduct of the captain of the Tonnant, Du Petit Thonars, deserves to be recorded. He first lost both his arms, and then one of his legs; even then, still able to speak, he gave his dying commands to his crew not to surrender the ship. Of the English fleet, the Culloden unhappily got on shore while going into action, and only by great exertions did she get off, after the battle was over. That the French fought with the utmost gallantry is acknowledged by all, while we must rank the victory of the Nile among the most brilliant achievements of the British Navy.

After the battle every effort was made to repair the damages the ships had received, and to fit the prizes for the voyage to England. Nelson sent the prisoners taken on board them on shore in a cartel, on their parole not to serve again during the war; but Napoleon, with his usual disregard for treaties, formed them into a battalion, which he called the “nautic.” Three of the prizes, being in too shattered a condition to be refitted, were burnt; another, the Peuple-Souverain, being considered unfit to proceed farther than Gibraltar, was there turned into a guard-ship. The five remaining vessels arrived safely at Plymouth; three of them being new and magnificent ships, the Tonnant, Franklin, and Spartiate, were added to the British Navy, the name of the former being changed to Canopus. Rewards were liberally bestowed upon the victors; Sir Horatio Nelson was created a peer of Great Britain by the title of Baron Nelson of the Nile and of Burnham Thorpe, while a pension was settled on him of 2000 pounds a-year by the English Parliament, and 1000 pounds a-year by the Irish; the East India Company presenting him with 10,000 pounds.

After the defeat of his fleet at Aboukir, Napoleon determined to invade Syria. His plans, however, were thwarted by Sir Sidney Smith, who having captured the fleet which was bringing the battering-cannon and ammunition from Damietta for the siege of Saint Jean d’Acre, made use of it to fortify that town, into which, with a small body of seamen and a few officers, he threw himself, and put it into a state of defence, while he organised the Turkish troops who formed its garrison. Napoleon, obtaining fresh guns, in a short time laid siege to Acre. Though he made several desperate attempts to storm it, they were on each occasion repulsed by the valour of the Turks, aided by the fire from the English and sultan’s ships. During one of the many engagements the Theseus frigate caught fire, and the poop and after-part of the ship was almost blown to pieces, several of her officers and men being killed. The fire was put out by the courage of the surviving officers and crew.

Napoleon, enraged at his defeat, made every effort to destroy Sir Sidney Smith. Two attempts to assassinate him, however, happily failed. At length an Arab dervish appeared with a letter to the pacha, proposing a cessation of arms for the purpose of burying the dead bodies, which in vast numbers were piled up under the ramparts. While this proposal was under consideration, with unexampled treachery, Napoleon attempted to storm the town; but the garrison were on the alert, and the assailants were driven back with great slaughter. The Arab tribes having been induced to cut off the supply of provisions for the French army, on the 20th of May Napoleon raised the siege, and leaving his guns behind him, precipitately retreated towards Egypt. Such is a brief outline of one of the most daring exploits ever performed by a naval man.

Of a very different character, though one in which consummate bravery was displayed, was the cutting-out of the Hermione frigate. She had been in the year 1799 under the command of Captain Hugh Pigot, one of those tyrant commanders who are truly said to make their ships “hells afloat.” While cruising off Porto Rico, as the crew were reefing top-sails, the captain shouted that he would flog the last man off the mizen-topsail yard. Two, in their attempt to spring over their comrades’ backs, missing their hold, fell on the quarter-deck and were killed. The captain, it is said, on seeing it, merely observed, “Throw the lubbers overboard.” The crew, who were probably a bad lot to begin with, for such a captain could not have obtained a good ship’s company, from a long succession of tyrannical acts, had become infinitely worse. The next day they rose on their officers, murdered the greater number, including the captain, and carried the ship into La Guayra, a port of the Spanish Main. Hearing that the Hermione, which had been fitted out by the Spaniards and strongly armed, was lying in the harbour of Puerto Cabello, Captain Hamilton, commanding theSurprise, a 28-gun frigate, determined to cut her out. Coming off the port on the 21st of October, he discovered her moored head and stern between two strong batteries on either side of the harbour, with her sails bent and ready for sea. After waiting off the port till the 24th without mentioning his intentions, he addressed his crew, reminding them of many enterprises they had undertaken, and pointing out to them that unless they should at once attempt the capture of the frigate, some more fortunate vessel would carry off the prize. Three hearty cheers showed him that he might depend on his crew. “I shall lead you myself,” he added. “Here are the orders for the six boats to be employed, with the names of the officers and men to be engaged on the service.”

Every arrangement had been judiciously made. The crew were to be dressed in blue; the password was Britannia, the answer Ireland. The boarders were to take the first spell at the oars; then, as they neared the Hermione, they were to be relieved by the regular crews. The expedition was to proceed in two divisions, the one to board on the starboard, the other on the larboard bow, gangway, and quarter. Sharp axes were provided for those who were to cut the bower cable, while others were told off to cut the stern cable, and certain men were to go aloft to loose the sails. In the event of their reaching the ship undiscovered, the boarders only were to board, while the boats’ crews were to take the ship in tow directly the cables were cut; but should they be discovered, the crews  of each boat were to board and all aid in the enterprise. The rendezvous was to be on the Hermione’s quarter-deck. At half-past seven the boats were hoisted out, the crews mustered, and away they pulled from the Surprise. As it happened, within a mile of the Hermione the expedition was discovered by two gunboats, and the alarm being given, firing commenced. Captain Hamilton on this pushed for the frigate, believing that all his boats would do the same, but some, misunderstanding his orders, engaged the gunboats. On approaching, lights were seen at every port, with the ship’s company at quarters. Captain Hamilton pushed for the bows, and climbing up, his foot slipped and his pistol went off; but he soon succeeded in gaining a footing on the forecastle, and those who had been ordered to loose the sails immediately got the foresail ready for bending and hauling out to the yard-arms, thus forming a screen to themselves, for not a Spaniard was there to interfere with them. On looking down from the forecastle, they saw the crew of the Hermione at quarters on the main-deck, firing away into the darkness, utterly unconscious that the enemy were on board. Captain Hamilton, with the gunner and fourteen men, now made his way to the quarter-deck—part of them, however, under the gunner, being driven back by the Spaniards, who gained possession of the forecastle. Another party of English also neglecting to rendezvous on the quarter-deck, the captain was left for some minutes to defend himself against the attack of four Spaniards, one of whom stunned him, when he fell. Happily, some of his men came to the rescue, and a party of marines climbing over the larboard gangway, now gave a favourable turn to affairs. The rest of the boats coming up, the marines formed, fired a volley, and ran down with fixed bayonets on the main-deck. About sixty Spaniards retreated to the cabin, and surrendered. For some time, however, fighting continued on the main-deck and under the forecastle. The cables were cut, the sails were loosed, while the gunner and two men, though severely wounded, standing at the helm, the boats took the frigate in tow, and she stood out of Puerto Cabello. The batteries immediately opened, and a Portuguese reported that he heard the Spanish prisoners threatening to blow up the frigate. A few muskets fired down the hatchway restored order, and in less than an hour after Captain Hamilton was on board, all opposition had ceased, and theHermione was his prize. By 2 p.m. the ship was out of gunshot of the batteries, the towing-boats were called alongside, and her crews came on board. In this wonderful enterprise the British had only 12 wounded, while the Spaniards, out of a crew of 365, lost 119 killed and 97 wounded, most of them dangerously. The cutting-out of the Hermione may well be considered one of the most desperate services ever performed, and no man was ever more deserving of the knighthood he received than Captain Hamilton, who had planned every detail, and personally led the bold attack. He himself was among the most severely wounded; besides a blow on his head, he received a sabre wound on the left thigh, another by a pike in his right thigh, and a contusion on the shin-bone by grape-shot; one of his fingers was badly cut, and he was also much bruised.

For some time previously to this, detectives, if they may be so-called, were stationed at each of the ports to discover the members of the crew who had been on board the Hermione at the time of the mutiny. No mercy was shown to those who had taken part in it. A large number were hung; it used to be said, indeed, that more suffered than actually then belonged to her, though they might have done so at some former period.

Sir Edward Hamilton long lived to enjoy his honours.

The days when fabulous amounts of prize-money were to be picked up had not yet passed by, although the rich Spanish galleons which went to sea in the times of Drake were seldom to be found. In October of this year, 1799, fortune smiled on the officers and ships’ companies of two British frigates. The Naiad, of 38 guns, Captain Pierrepoint, while cruising in latitude 44 degrees 1 minute north, and longitude 12 degrees 35 minutes west, came in sight of two frigates, to which, notwithstanding the disparity of force, he gave chase. They proved to be the Spanish 34-gun frigates Santa Brigida and Thetis, from Vera Cruz, bound to Spain. He followed them all night, when, early in the morning of the 16th, another ship was seen in the south-west, which hoisting her number showed herself to be the 38-gun frigate Ethalion, Captain James Young; and soon afterwards two other 32-gun frigates, the Alcmène, Captain Digby, and the Triton, Captain J. Gore appeared. The Spaniards, hoping to escape, steered different courses, but each were pursued by two British frigates, which, before long coming up with them, compelled them to haul down their colours. Fortunately, a breeze coming off the land, the captors with their prizes were enabled to stand off the coast, just in time to save themselves from being attacked by four large ships, which came out of Vigo. While the English frigates were preparing to receive the enemy, the four ships put back into port. The prizes were found to have on board a cargo of specie, besides other merchandise, to an amount which gave each captain upwards of 40,000 pounds, each lieutenant 5000 pounds, each warrant officer upwards of 2000 pounds, each midshipman nearly 800 pounds, each seaman and marine 182 pounds. Even the seamen and marines might have been well contented with the gold pieces they had to chink in their pockets; though in too many instances they were probably all dissipated before they had been many days on shore. Yet complaints were general of the uneven way in which prize-money was distributed. It was a common saying among sailors, that when the pay-clerk went on board ships to pay prize-money, he clambered with his money-bags into the main-top and showered down the money at random; all which remained upon the splinter-netting (a coarse rope netting spread as a kind of awning) was for the men, and all that went through for the officers. The captain of a ship not under the admiral’s flag received three-eighths of the net proceeds. In this instance the three-eighths were divided among the four captains who assisted in the capture of the two Spanish frigates. On the treasure being landed, it was escorted in sixty-three artillery waggons, by horse and foot soldiers, and armed seamen and marines, attended by bands of music, and a vast multitude, to the dungeons of the citadel of Plymouth, whence it was afterwards removed, much in the same style, and deposited in the Bank of England.

Still more fortunate, a few years later, was Lord Cochrane, when, in command of the Pallas, he captured three rich prizes in succession, of which the value could not have been far short of 300,000 pounds. As, however, he only took one fourth, his share amounted to about 75,000 pounds. As it was, however, he nearly lost not only a large portion of his booty, but his liberty, as, while returning home after he had taken the last prize, three of the enemy’s line-of-battle ships were seen. The wind freshening to half a gale, the Pallas was standing on, carrying all the sail she could, when it was found that the enemy were gaining on her. In this desperate emergency Lord Cochrane ordered every stitch of sail to be suddenly taken in, and the three ships of the enemy, one being on the weather, another on the lee beam, and the third nearly on the weather quarter, unable to get their canvas off and haul to the wind, shot miles away to leeward. The Pallas on this wore round and made sail on the opposite tack. The enemy, however, were soon again in chase, but night coming on, a lantern in a cask was put overboard, and the Pallas, altering her course, got clear of her pursuers, and reached Plymouth in safety. As he sailed up the harbour Lord Cochrane had a gold candlestick, five feet in height, fixed to the mast-head, and, as may be supposed, he never after this had any difficulty in manning his ship, when gold candlesticks were to be picked up, in addition to “pewter” and “cobs,” the nickname given by seamen to silver and dollars. They have always been found ready to volunteer on board dashing frigates sent to stations where such prizes were supposed to abound.

The last important action was that known as the Battle of the Baltic. Napoleon had induced the Northern powers of Denmark, Sweden, and Russia to form a league, denominated an armed neutrality, for the French being unable to keep the sea, he hoped under their flags to obtain provisions and ammunition for his armies. To counteract this formidable confederacy, the English sent a fleet of 18 sail of the line, with a few frigates, and a number of bomb-vessels and gunboats, in the first place to attack the Danish fleet, and then to take in hand the other two confederates. After many delays, and attempts to induce the Danes to come to terms, on the 2nd of April, 1801, a portion of the fleet, which had been intrusted by Sir Hyde Parker to Lord Nelson, appeared before Copenhagen, and commenced an attack on the floating batteries and forts prepared by the Danes for the defence of their city. There is not space to give the details of the battle. The Danes fought heroically, their floating batteries being remanned over and over again from the shore. After three hours’ cannonading, from which both parties suffered severely, Sir Hyde Parker, understanding that two of the British line-of-battle ships were in distress, threw out a signal for discontinuing the action. On its being reported to Nelson, he shrugged his shoulders, repeating the words, “Leave off action? Now, damn me if I do. You know, Foley, I have only one eye—I have a right to be blind sometimes;” then putting the glass to his blind eye, in that mood of mind which sports with bitterness, he exclaimed, “I really do not see the signal—keep mine for closer battle flying! That’s the way I answer such signals. Nail mine to the mast.”

At 1:30 p.m. the Danish fire slackened, and at 2 p.m. ceased along nearly the whole of the line. Among the British officers who fell was the gallant Captain Riou, who was cut in two while carrying his frigate, the Amazon, into action. After the flags of all the chief batteries had been struck, some of the lighter vessels that had got adrift fired on the boats which approached to take possession of them. Nelson prepared a letter to send to the Crown Prince of Denmark, threatening to destroy the prizes unless this proceeding was put a stop to. He concluded his letter, “The brave Danes are the brothers and should never be the enemies of England.” A wafer was then given him, but he ordered a candle to be brought from the cock-pit, and sealed the letter with wax, affixing a larger seal than is ordinarily used, remarking as he did so, “This is no time to appear hurried and informal.”

The remainder of the batteries having at length ceased firing, a flag of truce arrived from the shore, when the action, which had continued for five hours, was brought to a close, the total loss of killed being 255, and of wounded 688. The Danish loss amounted to between 1600 and 1800. The result of the victory was the secession of Denmark from the league, and the Emperor of Russia dying soon afterwards, the armed neutrality was dissolved.

Napoleon now began to hope more ardently than ever that he should ere long land his victorious legions on British ground. To carry them over, he had collected a large flotilla, chiefly at Boulogne. By Lord Nelson’s orders, a desperate attempt was made by the boats of the squadron to destroy them. Some were gun brigs of between 200 and 250 tons; others were flats, vessels capable of carrying a crew of 30 men and 150 soldiers, with either a mortar or a long 24-pounder, as well as swivels and small-arms. Though some few were captured, all attempts at their destruction failed. The British cruisers, however, kept too good a watch to allow them to put to sea.

Numerous cutting-out expeditions took place during the war, in which both officers and men displayed the greatest possible amount of courage and determination. One of the most daring and successful on record was the capture of the French 20-gun ship-corvette Chevrette, while lying under some batteries in Camaret Bay, by the boats of the Doris, Beaulieu, and Uremic, forming part of the Channel Fleet under Admiral Cornwallis, stationed off Brest Harbour. At the first attempt the boats were discovered, and the Chevrette ran a mile and a-half farther up the bay, and took on board a party of soldiers. Notwithstanding this, the next night, the 21st, the boats of the three frigates, joined by the barge and pinnace of the Robust, 74, amounting in all to 15, and containing about 280 officers and men, under the command of Lieutenant Losack, the second in command being Lieutenant Keith Maxwell of the Beaulieu, left their ships at 9:30 p.m. As they were pulling into the bay, Lieutenant Losack, with six boats, went in chase of a boat supposed to be sent as a look-out from the Chevrette, and as he did not return, Lieutenant Maxwell proceeded on without him. About 1 a.m. the flotilla coming in sight of the Chevrette, she opened a heavy fire on them of grape and musketry, and at the same time they were assailed by a fire of musketry from the shore. Undaunted by this, the British boarded the ship, some on the starboard bow and quarter, and others on the larboard bow, bravely opposed by the Frenchmen, who were armed with muskets and pistols, sabres, tomahawks, and pikes. Some, indeed, attempted to enter the boats, but were driven back by the British, who, having lost their pistols and muskets, made their way cutlass in hand. Some who had been directed to loose the sails, fought their way on to the corvette’s yards. Here they found the foot-ropes strapped up, but, notwithstanding every obstacle, the sails were let fall in less than three minutes after the boarders had gained the deck. The cable having, in the meantime, been cut outside, a light breeze blowing from the land, and the quartermaster of theBeaulieu, Henry Wallis, fighting his way to the helm, and though bleeding from his wounds, taking charge of the wheel, the ship drifted out of the bay. On seeing the canvas loose, some of the Frenchmen leaped overboard, and others sprang down the hatchways, thus allowing the British to gain possession of the quarter-deck and forecastle, now nearly covered with the bodies of the slain. For some time, however, the Frenchmen who had fled below kept up a sharp fire of musketry, but the English, firing down in return, compelled them to yield. On her way out the prize was exposed to a heavy fire of round and grape from the batteries, but, the wind increasing, she got out of grape-shot. Not till then did Lieutenant Losack and his companions get on board. Two officers were killed, one of whom was Lieutenant Sinclair of the marines, while defending Mr Crofton, a midshipman, who had been severely wounded while boarding. The other, Robert Warren, a midshipman. Another, Lieutenant Waller Burke, was mortally wounded. Altogether, 11 were killed and 57 wounded, and I marine drowned in the Beaulieu’s barge, which was sunk by a shot from the corvette. The gallantry of the boatswain of the Beaulieu, Mr John Brown, was also conspicuous. After attempting to force his way in to the Chevrette’s fore-quarter-gallery, he climbed up over the taffrail, when standing up for some time exposed to the enemy’s fire, waving his cutlass, he shouted out, “Make a lane there;” then, gallantly dashing among the Frenchmen, he fought his way to the forecastle. Here he continued driving back the French, who attempted to regain the post, all the time carrying out the orders he received from the quarter-deck, while he assisted in casting the ship and making sail as coolly as if he had been carrying on duty under ordinary circumstances.

During the war, which ended at the peace of Amiens, on the 27th of March, 1802, England had captured 80 sail of the line, and numberless other ships, besides various islands in the West Indies and other parts of the world, from the French, Spaniards, and Dutch. Though most of the latter were given up, the navy of England had gained a renown which can never be obliterated.