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Title: Memoirs and Correspondence of Admiral Lord de Saumarez, Vol. I
Author: Ross, John, Sir, 1777-1856
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Memoirs and Correspondence of Admiral Lord de Saumarez, Vol. I" ***

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Transcriber's note: Minor spelling inconsistencies, mainly hyphenated
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repaired. The Latin number (i) in the text refers to a transcriber's
note at the end of this e-book.








Publisher in Ordinary to her Majesty.

Dorset Street, Fleet Street.

   Transcriber's note: Minor spelling inconsistencies--mainly
   hyphenated words--have been harmonised. Obvious printer errors
   have been corrected, but the original spelling has been

   The Latin number (i) behind a word refers to the transcriber's
   notes at the end of this e-book.



   Genealogy of the family of Saumarez.--Curious Record.--Branches of
   the late family.--Marriage of the late Lord de Saumarez.    Page 7


   Commencement of his Career.--His Education.--Visit of the Duke of
   Gloucester to Guernsey.--Decides for the Navy.--Is put on the
   Solebay's books.--School at London.--Embarks in the
   Montreal.--Winchelsea, Pembroke, Levant.--Smyrna.--Returns
   home.--Passes for Lieutenant.--Embarks in the Bristol.--Proposal to
   leave the Navy.--Attack on Fort Sullivan.--Gallant Conduct.--Is made
   Lieutenant.--Bristol, Chatham, Lady Parker.--Commands the
   Spitfire.--Rhode Island.--Many Engagements.--War with
   France.--Appearance of the French Fleet under D'Estaing.--Spitfire
   burnt.--Appearance of Lord Howe.                            Page 14


   Serves ashore.--Returns to England in the Leviathan.--Providential
   escape from shipwreck.--Visits Guernsey.--Joins the Victory.--A
   journey to London.--Joins the Fortitude.--Battle off the Dogger
   Bank.--Anecdotes of Admiral Parker.--Lieut. Saumarez promoted to the
   rank of Master and Commander.--Appointed to the Tisiphone.--Sails for
   the West Indies with Admiral Kempenfelt.--Action with Comte de
   Guichen.--Captures a French ship of thirty-six guns.--Is despatched to
   Sir Samuel Hood.--Arrives at Barbadoes.--Escapes from two French
   men-of-war.--Passes through an intricate channel.--Joins Sir Samuel
   Hood.--Gallant conduct in cutting out a vessel.--Tisiphone ordered
   home.--Fortunate exchange with Captain Stanhope.--Takes command of the
   Russel.                                                     Page 41


   Situation of the Hostile Fleets.--Surrender of Brimstone
   Hill.--Junction of the Fleets.--Antigua.--St. Lucia.--Sailing of the
   French Fleet under Comte de Grasse.--Action of the 9th of April.--12th
   of April.--Gallant conduct of the Russel.--Captain Saumarez returns to
   Jamaica.--Comes to England with Convoy.--Is paid off at Chatham, and
   confirmed a Post-captain.                                   Page 65


   Captain Saumarez returns to Guernsey.--His exemplary Conduct.--Visits
   Cherbourg.--Is introduced to the French King.--Returns.--Changes at
   Guernsey.--Prince William Henry visits the Island twice.--His
   Reception.--Appearance of Hostilities in 1787.--Captain Saumarez is
   appointed to the Ambuscade, and pays her off.--His Letter on his
   Marriage.--Remarks thereon.--Armament of 1790.--Saumarez commissions
   and pays off the Raisonable.--War of 1793.--Appointed to command the
   Crescent.--First Cruise; takes a prize and saves Alderney.--Second
   Cruise; captures a cutter.--Third Cruise.--Return.--Crescent docked
   and refitted.                                               Page 84


   Crescent refitted.--Sails for the Channel Islands.--Falls in with the
   French frigate La Réunion.--Particular account of the action.--Letters
   from Captain Saumarez to his brother.--Brings his prize to
   Portsmouth.--Official letters.--Letters from various persons.--Ship
   refitting.--Captain Saumarez obtains leave of absence.--Is knighted
   for his gallant conduct.                                    Page 99


   Sir James Saumarez is placed under the orders of Admiral McBride.--Is
   detached, and attacks an Enemy's squadron.--Narrow Escape from
   Shipwreck.--Off Havre.--Cherbourg.--Private letters relating the
   particulars of several Cruises on the French coast.--Gallant Action
   with a French squadron of superior force off Guernsey.      Page 119


   Sir James commands a Squadron of Frigates, in the Channel.--Visit to
   Weymouth.--Joins the Channel Fleet.--Black Rocks.--Private Letters and
   Instructions.--Appointed to the Orion.--Crescent's Officers and Crew
   volunteer to follow him.--Appointed to the Marlborough (_pro
   tempore_).--Commands a detached Squadron.--Returns to the Orion,
   attached to the Channel Fleet.--Private Letters.--Lord Bridport's
   Action.--Orion, the headmost Ship, begins the battle.--Official
   Letter.--Two private Accounts.--Returns to Portsmouth.--Expedition to
   Isle Dieu.--Returns to Spithead.                            Page 143


   Orion taken into dock.--Is refitted, and joins the Channel
   Fleet.--Detached on a particular service.--Returns.--Proceeds to
   reinforce Sir John Jervis.--List of his fleet.--Battle with Spanish
   Fleet off Cape St. Vincent described in a private letter.--Conduct of
   Saumarez in the action.--Salvador del Mundo strikes to the Orion, and
   is taken possession of by her Lieutenant.--Engages the Santissima
   Trinidada.--She strikes to the Orion.--Remarks on that
   occasion.--Lagos Bay.--Lisbon.--Sir James sails on a cruise with
   Admiral Sir H. Nelson.--Returns.--Commands the advanced
   squadron.--Several private letters.--Commands the advanced squadron
   off Cadiz.--Mutiny in the fleet.--Anecdote and remarks thereon.
                                                               Page 164


   Sir Horatio Nelson resumes the command of the advanced
   squadron.--Bombardment of Cadiz.--Nelson sails for
   Teneriffe.--Saumarez resumes the command.--Escorts a convoy to
   Gibraltar.--Refits at Lisbon, and returns.--Conducts the
   negotiation for exchange of prisoners.--Sir W. Parker relieves
   Sir James.--He arrives at Gibraltar.--Is attached to Nelson's
   squadron.--Proceeds off Toulon.--A storm.--Vanguard
   dismasted.--Great exertions of the Orion and Alexander in
   refitting the Vanguard at St. Pierre.--Sailing of the Toulon
   fleet.--Nelson reinforced by ten sail of the line.--Pursues the
   enemy unsuccessfully.--Proceedings of the fleet in a journal
   addressed by Sir James to his family.--French fleet discovered
   in Aboukir Bay.--Battle of the Nile.--Diagram of ditto.--Conduct
   of the Orion.--Saumarez wounded.--Writes to Nelson.--Goes on
   board the Vanguard.--Occurrences there.--Remarks on the name of
   the second in command being left out in Nelson's despatches.--On
   the mode of attack.--Various letters and orders.--Sir James's
   account of the battle, in a letter to Lady Saumarez.        Page 189


   Fleet repair damages.--Sir James receives orders to take a detachment
   of six ships of the line, and five prizes, under his command.--Sails
   for Gibraltar.--Journal of his tedious voyage.--Arrives off
   Candia.--Decides to pass through a perilous passage, and escapes the
   dangers.--Falls in with the Marquis of Nisa, and summons the French
   garrison at Malta.--Puts into Port Auguste, in Sicily.--Sails from
   thence.--Tedious passage.--Letters from Earl St. Vincent and
   Nelson.--Arrives at Gibraltar.--Reception there from the Admiral,
   Governor, &c.--Sails thence.--Arrives at Lisbon.--Sails
   thence.--Arrives at Spithead.--Paid off at Plymouth.--Remarks on his
   treatment, and explanation of it.                           Page 231


   Sir James writes to Earl Spencer.--Is appointed to the Cæsar, of 84
   guns.--Joins the Channel fleet.--The Brest fleet having escaped,
   proceeds to the Mediterranean.--English fleet at Bantry Bay.--Return
   of the French fleet.--Cæsar at Lisbon.--Sir James returns to
   Spithead.--Rejoins the Channel fleet.--Earl St. Vincent takes the
   command.--Appoints Sir James to command the advanced squadron.--Black
   Rocks.--Earl St. Vincent's letter of approbation.--Douvarnenez
   Bay.--Various letters.--Complete success of the blockade.--Enemy's
   fleet laid up.--Sir James returns to Spithead.--Conclusion of 1800.
                                                               Page 287


   Sir James Saumarez is promoted to the rank of Rear-admiral.--Appointed
   to command the advanced squadron.--Proceedings at the Black
   Rocks.--Douvarnenez Bay.--Returns to England.--Appointed to command a
   squadron on a very particular service.--His secret orders, &c. and
   letter of approbation.--Ready for sea.--Is created a Baronet of the
   United Kingdom.                                             Page 321


   Sir James sails from England in command of a squadron of six sail of
   the line on a particular service.--Arrives off Cadiz.--Attacks a
   French squadron at Algeziras.--Captain Brenton's account of the
   battle.--Loss of the Hannibal.--Colonel Connolly's statements.--Logs
   of the Cæsar and ships of the squadron.--Sir James proceeds to
   Gibraltar.--Remarks.--Flag of truce sent to Algeziras.--Correspondence
   with Linois.--Squadron refit at Gibraltar.                  Page 337


   Observations on the Battle of Algeziras.--Copies of the Journals of
   the Spencer, Audacious, and Venerable.--Remarks on them.--Further
   particulars.--The Spanish account.--The French account.--Bulletin from
   the Moniteur.--Anecdote of an occurrence at St. Malo.--Sword presented
   to Linois.--Lines on the occasion.--His improvement of Naval
   tactics.--Epigram.--Anecdote of the intrepidity of one of the Cæsar's
   men.                                                        Page 363


   Mole of Gibraltar.--Negotiation for the exchange of prisoners
   unsuccessful.--Captain Ferris and the officers of the Hannibal
   return on parole.--They sail for England in the Plymouth lugger,
   which carries home despatches and private letters.--Despatch
   sent to Lord Keith.--Admiral Saumarez shifts his flag to the
   Audacious.--Extraordinary exertions of the crew of the
   Cæsar.--Their admirable conduct.--Captain Brenton and the
   garrison.--Arrival of the Spanish squadron at
   Algeziras.--Increased exertions of the crews of the
   squadron.--Private letters.--Preparations to attack the enemy.

                                                               Page 383


   Occurrences at Gibraltar.--Determination of Sir James to attack the
   combined squadron.--Cæsar rehoists the Admiral's flag.--Sir J.
   Brenton's description of that interesting scene.--His account of the
   battle.--Destruction of two Spanish three-deckers.--Capture of the St.
   Antonio.--Action between the Venerable and Formidable.--Public
   letters.--Private letters.--French details of the battle.--Spanish
   ditto.--Orders of sailing.--Remarks.                        Page 401


   Portrait of Rear-admiral Sir James Saumarez, taken after
   the battle of the 12th July 1801                 _Frontispiece._

   Action with the Crescent and Réunion taken at the time
   the latter surrendered                                      Page 103

   Commencement of the action between the Crescent and
   her squadron, with the French squadron of superior
   force off Guernsey                                               131

   Close of the action when the Crescent retreated among
   the rocks at Guernsey                                            134

   Chart of the island of Guernsey, showing the positions of
   the English and French squadrons                                 135

   Diagram of Algeziras and Gibraltar Bay                           346


   Page 86, l. 26, _for_ "present" _read_ "late."

       142, l.  4,--"ninety-second" _read_ "ninety-two."

       166, l. 23,--"Towny" _read_ "Towry."

       198, l. 19,--"Marcon" _read_ "Marcou."

       215, l. 14,--"Collossus" _read_ "Culloden."


In perusing the following Memoir, the reader must not be surprised if
he finds that the accounts of the several battles in which the
illustrious Saumarez was engaged, differ in some degree from those
previously given to the public. Every circumstance connected with them
has been carefully examined, and whatever statements are now advanced
can be borne out by documentary evidence. The career of Saumarez was a
long and eventful one: he entered the Navy while the nation was at
peace; he subsequently served during the American War of
independence, and throughout the late continental war, in both of
which he was in more engagements with the enemy than any other
officer. He was the last of the heroes of the 12th of April 1782.





   Genealogy of the family of Saumarez.--Curious Record.--Branches
   of the late family.--Marriage of the late Lord de Saumarez.

Admiral the Right Honourable James Lord de Saumarez, of Guernsey, was
born, on the 11th March 1757, in the parish of St. Peter-Port, the
principal town of that romantic island. The family, whose original
name was _De Sausmarez_, is of Norman extraction, and of great
antiquity in the island of Guernsey, where their lineage can be traced
almost to the Norman conquest.

Their remote ancestor received from the Dukes of Normandy a fief of
the district of Jerbourg, and was appointed hereditary captain (or
chatelain) of the castle of that name, which lies within the limits of
the fief, and is situated in the parish of St. Martin.

Among the records of the island, we find the following interesting
particulars:--In the twenty-seventh year of the reign of Edward the
First, at a court of chief pleas held at Guernsey, in the presence of
the judges of assize, Matthew de Sausmarez made homage for his fief;
which appears to have been acknowledged by an act of Edward the Second
in the year 1313: and in the reign of Edward the Third, in the year
1331, an application was made by Matthew de Sausmarez for a
confirmation of his rights and prerogatives, as formerly enjoyed by
his ancestors.

On receipt of this petition, his Majesty sent an order to John de
Roches, guardian of the Channel islands, to make a perquisition
thereon; authorising him to give to it his royal assent if not found
to be prejudicial to the rights of the Crown or the privileges of the
inhabitants, who had, by consent of his Majesty's father, fortified
the castle of Jerbourg as a place of retreat and protection, as also
for the security of their effects in case of invasion by the enemy.

In pursuance of his Majesty's order, the guardian appointed twelve of
the most respectable inhabitants of the island to be examined before
the bailiff or chief magistrate, who declared upon oath that the
predecessors of Matthew de Sausmarez held that appointment from the
Crown, with sundry appurtenances and privileges, which, in
consideration of their services as hereditary keepers of the castle,
had always been, and ought to be, inseparable from the fief of
Jerbourg; and they further deposed, that these were not in any respect
detrimental to the prerogative of the Crown, or injurious to the
rights of the inhabitants, who still retained the advantage and
privilege of retreating into the castle, with their effects, in every

The following curious and interesting fact, as attached to this
ancient fief, has been also recorded in a Guernsey periodical:
"Whenever the lord had occasion to go to Jersey, his tenants were
obliged to convey him thither, for which they received a gratuity of
_three sous_, or a dinner; but they were not obliged to bring him
back." And this exemption may be thus explained:--The lord, or captain
of Jerbourg, in those days held a fief in Jersey, called by the same
name, which no longer belongs to the De Saumarez family; but formerly,
when it was possessed by the same individual, the same rights and
privileges were attached, so that when the affairs of the lord called
him to Jersey, he was conducted to that island by his Guernsey
tenants, and brought back by those of Jersey.

It is indeed certain, that, during many years after the Norman
conquest, several gentlemen possessed estates in both islands, more or
less considerable in one than in the other. The fief of Jerbourg
remained in the family of De Sausmarez till about the year 1555, when
it became the property of Mr. John Andros, in right of Judith de
Sausmarez: but it has since reverted to the descendants of the old
family, and belonged to Thomas de Sausmarez, his Majesty's late
attorney-general in the island of Guernsey, who died lately at a very
advanced age,--the father of twenty-eight children!

The genealogy of the family between the year 1481, and the birth of
the grandfather of the late Lord de Saumarez on the 4th June 1635,
will be found in the Addenda, as also that of the subsequent members
of the family who are not mentioned here; but, in proceeding, we
cannot pass over the names of Captains Philip and Thomas Saumarez,
uncles of the late lord, who were two of the bravest and most
meritorious officers of their time. The former, who was first
lieutenant with Commodore Anson, afterwards commanded the Nottingham,
sixty-four, captured the French seventy-four, Mars, and was killed in
action 1747;[1] and the latter, when in command of the Antelope, of
fifty guns, captured the French sixty-four, Belliqueux, in the
following extraordinary manner:

   [1] See Addenda.

In the month of November 1758, Captain Saumarez was stationed in the
Bristol Channel for the protection of the trade, and, the wind blowing
strong from the westward, had anchored his ship, the Antelope, of
fifty guns and three hundred and fifty men, in King Road; and there
being little probability of the appearance of an enemy under such
circumstances, he had repaired to Bristol to partake of the
hospitality of his friends in that prosperous city. While sitting at
dinner, an express came from Barnstaple to inform him that a large
ship, supposed to be an enemy, had anchored under Lundy Island.

Captain Saumarez immediately repaired on board his ship, weighed
anchor, and, notwithstanding the contrary wind and fresh gale, he beat
down the channel, and in the morning saw her at anchor off Ilfracombe.
On discovering the Antelope, the enemy weighed and stood towards her,
and, on coming near, hoisted French colours and seemed prepared to
engage. As soon as the Antelope came within gun-shot, she opened her
fire, when the Frenchman immediately hauled down his colours without
returning a shot. Captain Saumarez now sent his boat with the first
lieutenant to know if she had surrendered; but finding that the boat
did not return, he bore down under her stern, and asked if they had
struck. The answer was in the affirmative, and she was immediately
taken possession of. She proved to be the Belliqueux, of sixty-four
guns and five hundred men.

When the captain came on board the Antelope, and found that he had
surrendered to a ship so much inferior in force, both in men and
weight of metal, his chagrin and mortification knew no bounds. He
exclaimed that he had been deceived, and actually proposed to Captain
Saumarez that he should allow him to return to his ship, and that he
would fight him fairly; to which the English captain replied that he
must keep possession now; that he had obtained it, but he had no
objection to his going back to France and getting another ship of the
same kind to try the fortune of war. He conducted his prize back to
King Road, and returned to Bristol with his French guest to enjoy the
hospitality and hearty welcome of his friends, after an absence of
only eighteen hours!

Matthew de Saumarez, father of Lord de Saumarez, being brought up to
the medical profession, arrived at considerable practice and high
respectability. He was remarkable for his urbanity of manners and
hospitality, particularly to strangers. He married, first, Susannah,
daughter of Thomas Dumaresq, Esq. of Jersey, and by her had Susannah
(an only child), who married Henry Brock, Esq. of Guernsey: his second
wife was Carteret, daughter of James Le Marchant, Esq. of Guernsey,
and by her he had a numerous family, who are brothers and sisters of
the late lord.[2]

   [2] See Addenda.

The family of De Sausmarez, a branch of which changed the spelling of
the name to Saumarez about the year 1700, was not only one of the most
ancient and respectable, but the members of it successively held the
highest situations, and were connected with the first families
residing in the island of Guernsey, which has always been
distinguished for its loyalty and patriotism: indeed, it has not only
produced several of our bravest and greatest warriors, but its
inhabitants have ever manifested themselves to be proof against every
attempt to seduce them from their allegiance. The opinions which have
been entertained unfavourable to this fact,--arising no doubt from the
proximity of the island to the coast of France, and the general use of
the French language, but, most of all, from its having at one time
been infested by adventurers,--are totally without foundation.

Having been many years stationed at this island, we have witnessed the
loyalty and intrepidity of the natives: and could give several
instances where the Guernsey pilot was the _first_ to board the enemy.

Lord de Saumarez was married at Guernsey, on the 27th October 1788, to
Martha, only daughter and heiress of Thomas Le Marchant, Esq. by
marriage with Miss Mary Dobrée, two of the most ancient and
respectable families in the island. This marriage was the consequence
of a long and mutual attachment: it need scarcely be added, that it
completed the happiness of both. They became the parents of eight
children, whose biography will be found in the Appendix.


1767 to 1778.

   Commencement of his Career.--His Education.--Visit of the Duke
   of Gloucester to Guernsey.--Saumarez decides for the Navy.--Is
   put on the Soleby's books.--School at London.--Embarks in the
   Montreal.--Winchelsea, Pembroke, Levant.--Smyrna.--Returns
   home.--Passes for Lieutenant.--Embarks in the Bristol.--Proposal
   to leave the Navy.--Attack on Fort Sullivan.--Gallant
   Conduct.--Is made Lieutenant.--Bristol, Chatham, Lady
   Parker.--Commands the Spitfire.--Rhode Island.--Many
   Engagements.--War with France.--Appearance of the French Fleet
   under D'Estaing.--Spitfire burnt.--Appearance of Lord Howe.

The illustrious admiral, of whose ancestors a biographical sketch has
been briefly given in the preceding chapter, and in the Addenda to
this work, and whose glorious career is the subject of this record,
passed from the first rudiments of learning, under a dame, to the more
manly tuition of Elizabeth College, in Guernsey, where his brother,
fifteen months his senior, was receiving his education.

Although he always said that his brother was a much better scholar in
both Latin and Greek than himself, his taste for poetry, and his
discrimination in that refined branch of literature, must have
appeared at a very early age, as, when he was only seven or eight
years old, he surprised his mother by reciting to her several lines
from the first pages of Milton's Paradise Lost, which he had learnt of
his own accord,--a foretaste of the gratification which he derived
through life in reading that noble poem. His mother was so delighted
with this unexpected discovery of his taste, that she could not
forbear making it known to her friends; especially to a literary
gentleman of her acquaintance, who sent young Saumarez a present of
the Golden Verses of Pythagoras, which he also committed to memory,
and retained throughout his life.

But the great sensibility of his heart was most apparent in his
attachment to all his relations: their pleasures and their pains were
always _his_; and it is therefore not surprising that he was a
favourite with them all. In those days, Guernsey was, as it were, a
large family; and the society of the upper classes was linked in a
small, but a select and happy, circle, interested in each other's
welfare. The communication with England not being, as now, kept up by
regular packets, the arrival of a stranger was an event of some
importance, and mostly occurred through the visits of the king's ships
going on foreign stations, which put into Guernsey for wines and
other stores: on these occasions the captains and officers were
constant guests at the hospitable mansion of our hero's father, and it
was usually the province of young Saumarez to look out for and report
their appearance.

In July 1767, this little community was surprised by an occurrence
which to this day is related among the events of "olden times," as
having made a great, and certainly a lasting impression. His royal
highness the Duke of Gloucester, on his return from a tour in France,
anchored in Guernsey roads. At two in the morning, the hostess of the
only inn in the town was awakened by a call that the Duke of
Gloucester had landed, and was coming there: not supposing this
possible, she for a long time refused to rise; but, being at
length convinced, she directed the party to the house of the
lieutenant-governor, who was as incredulous as the good woman of the
Ship Inn.

At last he appeared at the window in his dressing-gown and _bonnet de
nuit_, and finding whom he was called upon to receive, he exclaimed,
in the trepidation of the moment,--"My house is not fit for the duke;
go to my friend, Doctor Saumarez." There at last his royal highness
found entrance, and a hearty welcome; but it may be conjectured that
no little surprise and bustle spread through the house at the
unexpected arrival at such an hour of the illustrious guest. The blue
damask room was, however, soon prepared, with other apartments for the
aides-de camp, Sir Henry Clinton and another.

Young Saumarez and his brother were sent off, as soon as the sun rose,
to inform their uncle the attorney-general, who resided some distance
from the town, that the royal visitor had arrived. On their return the
streets were decorated with crowns, festoons, and garlands of flowers,
which had risen as from the wand of a magician; the bells were
ringing, the populace were in holiday suits, and the whole effect was
so animated, that the more splendid scenes of after-life never erased
it from the mind of Saumarez.

The duke, on rising, was surprised at the quick display of loyalty he
beheld, and expressed himself much gratified at the proofs he received
of respect and attachment which these faithful islanders evinced in
his person towards the king and the royal family. His royal highness
condescended to honour a ball in the evening; and often did young
Saumarez hear his aunt (a sister of his mother, married to Major
Brabazon of the 65th regiment,) relate her having opened the ball in a
minuet with his royal highness.

Young Saumarez had long and constantly cherished a decided
predilection for the navy. Accustomed as he had been from childhood to
hear of the fame which his valiant uncles, Captains Philip and Thomas
Saumarez, had acquired, his mind was early inspired with a desire to
tread in their path, and to acquire for himself a name which might
emulate theirs. His eldest brother was already in the navy; but his
father having six sons, when he found that James had evinced such a
desire for the sea, and having connexions in the service, probably
considered that he could not place another more advantageously than in
a profession which had already afforded an honourable and glorious
career to two of his family. Accordingly he accepted the offer of
Captain Lucius O'Bryen, of his majesty's ship Soleby, who entered his
name on the books of that ship on the 20th September 1767 as
volunteer, where it remained until the 3rd of June 1770, having been
there two years and nine months. During this time, however, he never
joined the ship, but was for a part of it at a school in the vicinity
of London, which had been recommended to his father by a naval friend,
who appears to have been ill qualified to make the selection, if we
may judge from the amusing account which Saumarez gave in after-life
of his acquirements in that seminary. Fortunately, as he said, when he
had been there ten months, his father being in London, sent for him,
and to his great joy took him home, and with this portion of education
he was launched into the world; as a few months after he went to
Portsmouth to join the Montreal, Captain Alms, who had been a friend
of his uncles, and who had visited his father at Guernsey.

On the 9th of August 1769, the ship sailed for the Mediterranean.
Great pains were taken by the captain to improve the talents of young
Saumarez, which soon became apparent: but the commodore being obliged
to return home on account of ill health, he placed him in the
Winchelsea; and we find that he went on board the Pembroke, bearing
the broad pendant of Commodore Proby, and commanded by Captain Durell,
who was a relative of the family, on the 14th August 1770, and joined
the former ship on the 28th September following.

Nature happily had endowed young Saumarez with talents, and qualities
of mind and heart, which in a great measure repaired the want of a
regular and more enlarged education: a sound judgment and quick
sensibility soon led him to perceive his deficiency in acquired
knowledge; and he was inspired with a laudable ambition, to remedy it
by every exertion the feeble means within his reach could accomplish.
When, indeed, it is considered that only a few volumes of the
Spectator and Idler, with some stray volumes of the Roman History,
composed his little library, it may justly be inferred that it was no
ordinary capacity or moderate application which could form a character
such as was manifested by him.

Frigates, in those days, had neither chaplains nor schoolmasters; and
the "young gentlemen," when off duty, were left to spend their time as
they thought fit. The midshipmen of the present day can have but a
faint idea of the hardships and privations of a naval aspirant's life
at the period Saumarez entered the service. Biscuits with insects, and
tainted meat, was the usual fare when at sea at their mess-table; and
none would have thought of procuring such _luxuries_ as are now
indispensable _necessaries_ to their successors in the service. While
there is great cause to rejoice in the change which has taken place,
it should not prevent the expression of just and well-founded regret
that the amelioration has spread to the opposite extreme; the placing
a son in the navy being now a heavy tax instead of a relief, which we
know is felt severely by old naval officers on half-pay, who naturally
wish to employ a son in the service to which they belong.

With grateful remembrance, Saumarez has often been heard to say, that,
on his departure from home, his affectionate father put a purse
containing fifteen guineas in his hand; observing that, as he knew he
had a large family, he trusted that he would use it with economy, but
that when he wanted more he might draw on his banker. So strictly,
however, did he fulfil this recommendation, that his father said, the
sight of his drafts gave him pleasure.

His first journal is of the Winchelsea, Captain Samuel Cranston
Goodall, and commences on the 8th November 1770, at which time he was
first rated a midshipman: he remained in that ship until the 14th
February 1772. During these seventeen months he gained a valuable
friend in Captain Goodall, whose regard he preserved to the end of his
life. Saumarez had constant access to his cabin: he allowed him to
write there, and make extracts from the best authors in his
possession, which was of great service in improving his acquaintance
with modern literature. This ship had been cruising in the
Mediterranean, and visited most of the interesting ports there; and,
in February 1772, the Winchelsea was ordered to England,--an account
joyfully hailed by all on board, but by none more sincerely than by
Mr. Saumarez, whose heart panted to see his dearest friends. What,
then, must have been his feelings, on the arrival of the Levant to
relieve the Winchelsea, when he was sent for by Captain Goodall, and
apprised that Captain Thompson would receive him?--and as it was of
importance that he should finish his time before going home, he
strongly recommended his stay, especially as it was his father's wish.
Although it was as if a sword had pierced his heart, he calmly
submitted to the decision, and he saw the worthy Captain Goodall and
his messmates depart without a murmur.

This self-denial was not wholly unrewarded. The Levant was a larger
ship, affording much better accommodation to the midshipmen; and Mr.
Saumarez, having been nearly three years at sea, became of some
consequence with his messmates. The date of his joining the Levant was
the 15th February 1772, having been discharged on the preceding day
from the Winchelsea. He soon formed a close friendship with Mr. Samuel
Thompson, the captain's son; which continued unshaken till the death
of the latter in 1782.

The British merchants having petitioned for a ship of war to be
stationed in the Mediterranean for the protection of the trade, the
Levant was ordered on that service, and for fourteen months remained
in that inactive position, which young Saumarez used to say he
considered a blank in his existence. Having no books to relieve the
spirits, no letters to cheer the heart, life wasted away without
profit or satisfaction. There must, however, have been a few bright
days; for he often mentioned with pleasure the hospitality of the
English families settled in Smyrna, of which he occasionally partook
when Captain Thompson allowed it. This was the more frequent on
account of his thorough knowledge of the French language, which was
the means of procuring him attentions rendered doubly acceptable by
the dulness of that anchorage: such were the advantages he derived
from his familiarity with that language, that he never failed to
recommend the study of it to all his young _protégés_ before going to

On the 28th of May 1773, the Levant was at length released, and sailed
for Gibraltar; from which place she proceeded to Port Mahon, to be
repaired. On the 28th of May 1774, she resumed her old station in
Smyrna harbour, (in consequence of an insurrection, in which several
Christians had been massacred, owing to the destruction of the Russian
fleet in the Bay of Chisma, on the contiguous coast,) having been away
precisely one year. She again left that station, on the 19th of
September, for Gibraltar; and finally for England in March 1775, on
the 29th of which month she arrived at Spithead. On the 14th of the
following April, Mr. Saumarez was discharged from the Levant; and had
at length the long-wished-for happiness of seeing again his native
land, and the friends from whom he had been for more than five years

The Levant, being paid off, was recommissioned by the Honourable
Captain Murray, who used every persuasion to induce Mr. Saumarez to
remain in the ship; but, after an absence of five years, he was too
anxious to spend some time with his family, to accede to his proposal,
and the moment he was at liberty he set off for Guernsey.

Taking into account the time his name had been on the books of the
Solebay, he had now served more than the required six years of
service: and as the regulations for age were at that time not strictly
enforced, after a few weeks of rest he went to London to pass his
examination for lieutenant; but owing to the commissioners being on
their annual visits to the dock-yards, and their return being
protracted, two months elapsed before the object was accomplished.
This enabled him again to return to his friends, but he was not then
permitted long to enjoy their society.

In the year 1775, on the breaking out of the war with the American
colonies, Commodore Sir Peter Parker being appointed to the command of
a squadron, with his broad pendant on board the Bristol, of fifty
guns, Mr. Saumarez, then eighteen years of age, was ordered to join
that ship, through the recommendation of Admiral Keppel, who, having
been the friend and contemporary of his uncles, ever evinced an
interest in his advancement. After an interview with Sir Peter in
London, he embarked, on the 9th of October, at Sheerness, whence the
Bristol proceeded to the Nore at the end of November. After passing a
short time at Spithead and Plymouth, which they left on the 21st of
December, the squadron sailed for Cork, the last rendezvous of the
expedition destined for South Carolina. This consisted of six
frigates, two bombs, and two hundred transports, containing seven
regiments of infantry and two companies of artillery, under the
command of that distinguished nobleman, the Earl Cornwallis, and the
Honourable Brigadier-general Vaughan. These two chiefs, with their
aides-de-camp, Lord Chewton and Captain Eustace, were embarked on
board the Bristol: they sailed about the middle of January 1776.

On the passage out, which was remarkable for stormy weather, and for
the consequent dispersion of the convoy, the activity and zeal of
young Saumarez not only attracted the attention, but gained the esteem
of the noble earl; who, by offering to make him his aide-de-camp and
take him by the hand, had nearly persuaded him to leave the naval
service, and enter the army, offering him a commission in the 33rd,
his own regiment. We have heard him relate, that, after he had more
than half consented, he went below and told his messmates, who
immediately jeered him so much about "turning soldier," that he
returned to the quarter-deck and gave a positive refusal to the earl,
who could not help expressing his disappointment and chagrin on the

There can be no doubt that he would have highly distinguished himself
in the army, or wherever he was placed; but, happily for the nation,
and for the honour of the profession which he had first chosen, he was
destined to display his bravery and splendid talents in a sphere where
there happened to be a much greater range for them, than if he had
followed the fortunes of the noble earl in the other honourable
service. Many years after, when Saumarez's career had proved the
wisdom of his decision, he met Lord Cornwallis at dinner at Lord
Spencer's, then first lord of the admiralty; who, on hearing this
anecdote, observed, "Lord Cornwallis would have deprived the naval
service of one of its best officers."

The Bristol arrived off Cape Fear early in May, where they found
General Clinton; and, having repaired their damages, reached
Charlestown in the beginning of June. The troops were landed on the
island, at a low, sandy spot, in the midst of a heavy surf, and the
guns of the Bristol and the Experiment were put on board the Harcourt
East-indiaman, to enable them to get over the bar.

One of the transports, called the Friendship, having been fitted as a
ship of war to be taken into the service, was commissioned by
Lieutenant Charles Hope, first of the Bristol, an excellent officer,
and he selected Sir James Barclay and Mr. Saumarez to be his officers;
but, after a few days, he prevailed on Captain Hope to allow him to
return to the Bristol, which he did only two days previously to the
attack on Fort Sullivan, which, after passing the bar, it became
necessary to silence and take possession of. This fortress was
considered the key of the harbour, and the fortifications of it were
constructed with great skill: the works being formed of cabbage-tree,
a kind of wood peculiarly calculated, by its porous and elastic
quality, to resist the effects of shot; and, from its not being liable
to splinter, the troops in the batteries were secured from what is
deemed one of the principal means of destruction; while the Bristol's
crew were fully exposed to the fatal effects of the enemy's fire. The
guns being taken on board on the 28th of June 1776, at 8 A.M. the
squadron began the attack by a furious and incessant cannonade, which
continued with little intermission until nine o'clock at night. Never
did British valour shine more conspicuously, nor did our ships in an
engagement of the same nature experience so serious an encounter: the
squadron could not approach within grape-shot of the enemy, and
therefore could not clear the batteries; and the spring of the
Bristol's cable being cut by the shot, she swung so as to get
dreadfully raked. Mr. Saumarez was employed in replacing this spring
three times in the Mercury's boat, assisted by the captain of that

The brave Captain Morris, after receiving a number of wounds, with a
noble constancy disdained to quit his duty; until, his arm being shot
off, he was carried below in a condition which did not afford any
probability of recovery. At one time, the quarter-deck of the Bristol
was cleared of every one except the commodore, who stood on the
poop-ladder alone; a spectacle of intrepidity and firmness which has
been seldom equalled, never exceeded. It is said, that Mr. Saumarez
seeing him in this situation, requested him to come down; when he
replied with a smile, "What! you want to get rid of me, do ye?" while
he well knew that the reverse was the fact.

The loss sustained by the squadron in general, and by the Bristol in
particular, in an action unexampled in point of duration, and in which
it was finally repulsed, was very great: she had alone one hundred and
eleven killed and wounded, including her gallant captain and several
other officers.

During this severe conflict, Mr. Saumarez had a very narrow escape: at
the moment he was pointing a gun on the lower-deck, of which he had
the command, a shot from the fort entered the port-hole, struck the
gun, and killed seven out of eight men who were stationed to work it.
Some time afterwards, being called on deck to execute certain orders
respecting the replacing the spring on the cable, he was standing
close to Mr. Darley, a midshipman, for whom he had the greatest
regard, when a shot took off the young man's head and covered Mr.
Saumarez with his blood.

Captain Morris, after being carried below, lingered contrary to
expectation, and hopes were formed that he would survive; when,
unfortunately, his attendant being overcome with sleep, it is supposed
the captain's bandages gave way, and, not having strength to awake
him, he was found in the morning bathed in his blood. His dissolution
becoming inevitable, one of the officers asked him if he had any
direction to give with respect to his family; to which he nobly
replied, "None! I leave them to the Providence of God, and the
generosity of my country," and soon after expired. This engagement
lasted thirteen hours: it was the first in which Mr. Saumarez had been
present; and, after the very many in which he was subsequently
engaged, he has been heard to declare it to have been one of the most
severe he ever witnessed. Captain Scott, of the Experiment, lost his
arm; and there were several death-vacancies for lieutenants.

Mr. Saumarez's conduct during the whole of this obstinate and bloody
contest was deemed so especially meritorious, that the commodore
expressed his highest approbation of it in the warmest and most
flattering terms, and soon after the battle he promoted him to the
rank of lieutenant. The following is a copy of his first acting

   "By Sir Peter Parker, Commander-in-chief of a squadron of his
   Majesty's ships to be employed on a particular service.

   "Whereas I think it necessary for the good of his Majesty's
   service to have an Acting-lieutenant on board his Majesty's ship
   the Bristol, you are hereby required and directed to take upon
   you the office of Acting-lieutenant of his Majesty's ship
   Bristol; strictly charging and commanding all the officers and
   company of the said ship to behave themselves jointly, and
   severally, in their respective employments, with all due respect
   and obedience unto you their said LIEUTENANT; and you are
   likewise to observe and execute the GENERAL PRINTED
   INSTRUCTIONS, and such orders and directions as you shall from
   time to time receive from your captain, or any other your
   superior officer, for his Majesty's service.

   "For which this shall be your Order. Dated on board his
   Majesty's ship Bristol, in Five-fathom Hole, off Charlestown,
   the 11th day of July 1776.

   "To Mr. James Saumarez, hereby
   appointed to act as Lieutenant on
   board his Majesty's ship Bristol,
   until further orders.
   "By command of the Commodore.

In this ship Acting-lieutenant Saumarez remained until the 23rd
September; serving often with the army on shore, and on all occasions
taking a distinguished part. He was actively employed in the boats of
the Bristol on every landing that took place, from the first
disembarkation of the troops in Gravesend Bay, to the landing at
Rochelle from Frog's-neck. Lord Howe then commanded in person on this
expedition, and hoisted his flag in the Carysfort, the gallant Captain
Fanshawe. His lordship appointed Mr. Saumarez his aide-de-camp, and
selected him to convey General Clinton, commanding the troops, to the
vicinity of Rochelle, when he had the satisfaction of receiving the
thanks of his lordship for his zealous exertions. All the boats were
then ordered to join their respective ships off New York; an order,
it may be supposed, not unwelcome after an absence of several weeks,
during which officers and men had been subject to all the privations
consequent on such a service, sleeping in boats, and scarcely having
any change of clothing.

Saumarez was afterwards on duty up the North River, and had the honour
of conveying Lord Cornwallis and his staff on board his boat in the
first landing in the Jerseys; and on several occasions he was actively
useful to his lordship, who repeatedly acknowledged his services.
Being employed in the disembarkation of troops newly arrived, he
discovered that his brother's regiment, the twenty-third Welsh (now
Royal Welsh) Fusileers, was one of them; and soon after he had the
happiness of meeting him, who, on his part, was not less agreeably
surprised at the welcome and unexpected encounter.

Being at head-quarters when Fort Washington surrendered, the garrison,
consisting of two thousand seven hundred men, having laid down their
arms, Lieutenant Saumarez was the bearer of the tidings to the
Bristol; but they appeared so incredible, that it was some time before
Sir Peter Parker could be persuaded of their authenticity.

Rear-admiral Lord Shuldham, having on the 6th September, shifted his
flag to the Bristol, Lieutenant Saumarez followed his commander, who
then hoisted his broad pendant in the Chatham. He was therefore
removed by Lord Viscount Howe, vice-admiral of the white, and
commander-in-chief of all his Majesty's ships and vessels in North
America, to the Chatham, as fifth lieutenant "for the time being." In
this situation Lieutenant Saumarez so often and so particularly
distinguished himself in the boats, and in command of the Lady
Parker schooner, tender to the Unicorn, Captain Ford, that, on
the 17th February 1778, he was appointed lieutenant commanding
the Spitfire, a schooner-rigged galley, by special direction of
the commander-in-chief, as will appear by the following order:

   "By Commodore Hotham, on board the Preston.

   "The Viscount Howe having directed that you shall command the
   Spitfire galley, in the room of Lieutenant Scott; you are hereby
   directed to repair on board the said galley, and take the
   command of her accordingly, using the utmost despatch in
   preparing and fitting her for a passage to Rhode Island.

   "Given on board the Preston,
   off New York, 17th February 1778.

   "To Lieut. Saumarez, hereby
   appointed to command
   H.M. galley, the Spitfire.
   "By command.

Our young hero, who had been far less actively employed than he
wished, had now obtained almost the height of his ambition,--in other
words, a situation where he could have an opportunity of displaying
his talents and intrepidity. He found his new vessel in the king's
yard; and, having taken charge from her former commander, proceeded
to fit out with surprising diligence. On the 23rd February he received
twenty-three seamen from the Preston; and on the 27th a sergeant and
eleven marines completed his complement of thirty-seven men, including
himself and the carpenter; when he immediately weighed and made sail.
It soon after blew a gale, but he succeeded in reaching the Brothers,
where he anchored, and found H.M.S. Sphinx, and some traders: the
next morning he weighed, and falling in with H.M.S. Falcon and
convoy, they proceeded on their voyage. On the 4th of March strong
gales obliged the convoy to put into Huntingdon Bay, where they were
detained by stormy weather till the 13th of March. On the 15th the
convoy reached Oyster-pond Bay, and on the 16th anchored off Fort
Island, in company with the Eagle, Nonsuch, Apollo, Mermaid, Unicorn,
Ariel, Maidstone, Grampus, and Stromboli; and here their active
operations began. On the 28th of March an enemy's frigate was chased
and run on shore in the Narraganset Passage, when Lieutenant Saumarez,
together with the boats of the squadron, went to destroy her, she
being protected by a battery on shore; the Spitfire was anchored about
four hundred yards from this battery in twelve feet water, and, having
got her long-bow gun to bear, engaged it while the boats boarded and
set fire to the frigate: this occupied more than an hour, during
which time the battery was silenced, but a brisk fire of musketry was
kept up by the rebels; and the service being performed, the galley was
towed out with little damage, five men being wounded: at nine she
anchored in safety off Newton's Point. Soon after this a gale came on;
the galley drove towards the rocks, and it was supposed she must be
lost; but Lieutenant Saumarez cut his cable, and by a masterly act of
seamanship saved his vessel, and gained the admiration of the whole
squadron. During this period, Lieutenant Saumarez was under the orders
of Commodore Griffith, of the Nonsuch, senior officer of his Majesty's
ships and vessels at Rhode Island; and it will appear by the following
secret order, that he was kept at the most important point in advance.

   "By Walter Griffith, Esq. Commander of a division of his
   Majesty's ships and vessels at Rhode Island.

   "The employment of the galley under your command being necessary
   in the Seakonnet Channel, with the intention to intercept any
   armed vessels fitted by the rebels for putting to sea from the
   harbours or creeks communicating therewith; but more
   particularly to defeat any attempts they may propose for making
   a descent in force, or attacking the post occupied by the king's
   troops on the eastern shore of Rhode Island; you are therefore
   to proceed to the aforesaid channel, and put yourself under the
   command of the superior officer there, for those purposes
   accordingly: but you are, nevertheless, at liberty to move the
   galley (under the orders of the commanding officer there) from
   time to time, to prevent the enemy from being able to ascertain
   the position thereof, either for executing any meditated insult
   on the galley, or to pass you unobserved during the night;
   taking care, however, to keep as much as may be within such
   limits, as will fully enable you to effect the principal object
   of your appointment as aforesaid.

   "It will become requisite for this end, to have your boats (or
   other better-appointed craft, with which you can in future be
   supplied), advanced at seasonable lines, both for the earlier
   discovery of any ships or vessels attempting to pass your
   station in the night, and preventing any other advantages
   attempted by the enemy under cover thereof.

   "The crews of the boats so directed should be prudently cautious
   in boarding vessels of inconsiderable appearance, that they may
   not be exposed to suffer by the treacherous practice of the
   enemy in different modes to blow up and destroy your men; but a
   suitable discretion will be no less requisite on your part,
   that, in warning them of these hazards, they are not induced to
   become remiss in their exertions in the essential services.

   "If the enemy should attempt to pass your station with any ship
   of apparent force, great attention will be requisite that you
   may not be misled by such not improbable expeditions to draw you
   from your station, and thereby facilitate the means to succeed
   with less risk in a meditated descent on the eastern shore of
   the island; which is to be at all times the object of your chief
   care to resist and oppose, by endeavouring to destroy the boats
   of the enemy employed on that occasion, or otherwise to prevent
   the further use of them in the attempt.

   "It will therefore be incumbent on you, in conjunction with
   other armed vessels stationed with you in Seakonnet Channel, to
   intercept the said armed vessels (if possible) before they have
   advanced below your first anchoring station, and to keep secret
   such directions as the senior officer at the said anchorage may
   propose to adopt for that intent.

   "You are to continue on this service until further orders; and I
   am to recommend your attention, that a careful watch is kept in
   the galley at all times, conformable to the tenour of the
   printed instructions given in that respect; and that every other
   precaution is taken to guard against the attempts of the rebel
   for the annoyance of the galley, wherein it is to be observed of
   all such enterprises, that those which are the least suspected
   are ever the most likely to be attended with success.

   "Given on board H.M.S. Nonsuch,
   at Rhode Island, 21st May 1778.

   "To Lieut. Saumarez, &c."

It should be mentioned here, that Rhode Island was taken possession of
by his Majesty's forces under General Clinton and Sir Peter Parker on
the 9th December 1776; and some description of it is necessary to show
the arduous as well as perilous nature of the service on which our
young hero was now employed. This island takes its name from the
province, and lies in Narraganset Bay: it is fifteen miles in length
from north to south, and three miles and a half broad; the north end
is only three miles from Bristol, to which there is a ferry. The
Seakonnet Passage separates it from the main on the north-west side,
and the islands of Conanicut and Prudence lie in the passage on the
south-east side, the town of Newport being in the south-east part of
the island.

The Seakonnet Passage was in consequence of the above order allotted
to the Spitfire. Lieutenant Saumarez was now under the orders of
Captain Græme, and proceeded to his station: it appears from his
journal, now in our possession, that he was constantly on the alert,
and almost daily skirmishing with the enemy. On the 24th he had to
sustain the attack of three armed boats which came off from Point
Judith, and had nearly decoyed them on board; but they found their
mistake in time to escape after a good drubbing. On the same evening
he joined a detachment of five hundred men, which, under cover of the
Flora, had landed above Bristol and burnt one hundred and twenty-five
batteaux-plats, an armed galley, and a privateer of fourteen guns,
besides destroying the greatest part of the town. On the 30th April a
firing was heard in the direction of the Taunton: the Spitfire
immediately weighed, and ran over to the enemy's shore, where
Lieutenant Saumarez opposed his vessel to a field-piece, which
returned his fire without doing any injury for a considerable time;
this was meant as a diversion to enable the 54th regiment to attack
unobserved, which in the mean time landed up the Taunton, destroyed
eight sawmills and several flat-boats, and came off by the assistance
of the Spitfire with inconsiderable loss.

On the 1st of May the Spitfire weighed, and was beating against the
wind to obtain her station, when, by the vessel missing stays, she got
aground on Sandy Hook. On this, the enemy immediately brought down a
gun, but without effect. An anchor was carried out; the vessel was
hove off without damage, and reached Fogland Battery, off which she
anchored, and the next day reached her former station.

It will be needless to notice every occasion wherein the Spitfire was
engaged with the enemy, which, while Lieutenant Saumarez commanded
her, was no less than forty-seven times! but we shall proceed to the
period when his operations in that vessel were drawing to a close. The
Americans, who had publicly declared their independence on the 4th
July 1776, had concluded a treaty with the French on the 13th March
1778, which was considered by the British government as a declaration
of war; and the French ambassador being directed to withdraw, the
following orders were issued to the squadron at Rhode Island by
Commodore John Brisbane, who had now taken the command:

   "By Captain John Brisbane, Captain of H.M.S. Flora, and senior
   officer of his Majesty's ships and vessels at Newport, Rhode

   "In pursuance of an order from the Lord Viscount Howe,
   vice-admiral of the white, and commander-in-chief of his
   Majesty's ships and vessels employed on a particular service,
   you are hereby required and directed to MAKE WAR UPON, take, or
   destroy any part of the French squadron lately arrived on the
   coasts of this continent, as well as other ships of war of that
   nation appearing on the coasts of North America, to the utmost
   of your ability, until further orders, keeping this secret.

   Dated on board H.M.S. Flora, at Newport, Rhode Island, 26th
   July 1778.

   "To Lieutenant Saumarez, commanding
   the Spitfire, galley."

This order was transmitted with an enclosure, designated "Copy of a
paragraph of a letter received from Lord Viscount Howe, dated off
Sandy Hook, 19th July 1778."

   "As there is not a sufficient naval force for the defence of
   Rhode Island, and none can be sent while the French squadron, at
   anchor off Sandy Hook, continues so much superior to that under
   my command, it may not be unseasonable to remind you that you
   are at liberty to apply the force under your direction, by
   landing of guns and men for the service of the batteries;
   dismantling, and even destroying the ships, to strengthen the
   defences of the post in the most effectual manner, in case of an
   attack upon the post, more especially when no longer in prospect
   of rendering better assistance under the same circumstances, or
   preventing the capture of the ships.

   "Every captain or commander is therefore directed to attend to
   the foregoing paragraph, and act from circumstances, in the best
   and most effectual manner possible for the defence of the post,
   and ship or vessel under his command, so as to answer the
   intention of his lordship. Dated on board H.M.S. Flora,
   Newport Harbour, 27th July 1778.

   "To Lieutenant Saumarez, commanding
   H.M. galley Spitfire."

The French, who had secretly been assisting the Americans, and had
long been preparing for war, sent a powerful fleet from France, which
arrived, and anchored off Sandy Hook, while Lord Howe was within the
harbour with a very inferior force, but could not be attacked: they
therefore bent their course to reduce Rhode Island. On the 29th of
July they were discovered; and, on the 4th of August, two ships of the
line and two frigates entered the passage, where the Kingfisher sloop,
the Alarm and Spitfire, galleys, were stationed; and it being no
longer possible to prevent them from falling into the hands of the
enemy, their stores, guns, and crews were landed, and the vessels set
on fire.


1778 to 1782.

     Serves ashore.--Returns to England in the
     Leviathan.--Providential escape from shipwreck.--Visits
     Guernsey.--Joins the Victory.--A journey to London.--Joins the
     Fortitude.--Battle off the Dogger Bank.--Anecdotes of Admiral
     Parker.--Mr. Saumarez promoted to the rank of Master and
     Commander.--Appointed to the Tisiphone.--Sails for the West
     Indies with Admiral Kempenfelt.--Action with Comte de
     Guichen.--Captures a French ship of thirty-six guns.--Is
     despatched to Sir Samuel Hood.--Arrives at Barbadoes.--Escapes
     from two French men-of-war.--Passes through an intricate
     channel.--Joins Sir Samuel Hood.--Gallant conduct in cutting
     out a vessel.--Tisiphone ordered home.--Fortunate exchange with
     Captain Stanhope.--Takes command of the Russell.

After the destruction of his little vessel, the Spitfire, Lieutenant
Saumarez was attached to the division of sailors under Commodore
Brisbane, to whom he became aide-de-camp. This division consisted of
the crews of the frigates and other vessels which had been destroyed,
on the following day in the southern passage, to prevent their falling
into the hands of the enemy. The vessels destroyed, in addition to
those mentioned in the last chapter, were, the Juno, Lark, Orpheus,
and Flora of thirty-two guns, and the Cerberus of twenty-eight.

The artillery and stores had been in part landed, and mounted in
various positions on the island; while the seamen and officers,
amounting to above a thousand men, were actively employed there during
the whole of the siege. Lieutenant Saumarez was stationed latterly in
command of one of the advanced posts, and had several opportunities of
distinguishing himself in repulsing the repeated assaults of the
enemy, and in attacking them in return.

The plans of the French for the reduction of Rhode Island having
failed, and their fleet having been dispersed in a storm, during which
some were disabled, and others captured, and finally the appearance of
Lord Howe with a reinforced but still inferior squadron, induced them
to abandon the project, and, after refitting at Boston, to steer for
the West Indies.

The officers and seamen, being now no longer wanted, were ordered a
passage home in the Leviathan of fifty guns, on board which ship
Lieutenant Saumarez embarked, in company with Captains Dalrymple,
Smith, Hudson, Brisbane, Symons, and Græme, whose ships had also been
destroyed. As she was approaching the English Channel, the Leviathan
was overtaken by a violent storm, and most providentially saved from
shipwreck by the clearing up of a thick fog just in time to avoid the
danger, when they found the ship close to the Rocks of Scilly, near to
the spot where Sir Cloudesley Shovel was lost. This circumstance has
been attributed to a strong northerly current, but it was probably
from the position of these dangerous islands being inaccurately laid
down in the charts; it is indeed an extraordinary fact, that an error
of no less than three leagues in their situation was first discovered
by the Swedish surveyor, Nordenanker, about the commencement of last
war. The Leviathan, nevertheless, arrived safely at Portsmouth about
the beginning of the year 1779, when Lieutenant Saumarez had again an
opportunity of visiting his family and friends in Guernsey.

He had, however, resided there but a short time, when he was appointed
first lieutenant of the Edgar of seventy-four guns, then fitting at
Woolwich for the broad pendant of Commodore Elliot. After receiving
his letter of appointment, he was obliged to wait some time for an
opportunity to cross the channel; but at length availed himself of the
Ambuscade, which touched at Guernsey. Having arrived at the Isle of
Wight, Captain Phipps, her commander, ascertained that the squadron
under Admiral Drake, to which he belonged, had sailed from Spithead;
therefore without touching at Portsmouth to land Lieutenant Saumarez,
he proceeded to join the Channel fleet, which he found twenty leagues
to the westward of Scilly, having on the way retaken the Helena sloop
of war; to command which Sir John Warren, then first lieutenant of the
Victory, was appointed, and Mr. Saumarez was ordered in his stead to
join the Victory, then bearing the flag of Sir Charles Hardy, at whose
request he was continued in that ship, where he was third lieutenant
in seniority, but supernumerary on the books. Besides the
commander-in-chief of the Channel fleet, Rear-Admiral Kempenfelt, as
first, and Captain Collings, as second captain, were both on board the
Victory detached to cruise off Brest, commencing in June 1779, and
returning occasionally to port until May 31st, 1780. After the death
of Sir Charles Hardy, which took place on the 9th May 1780, Admiral
Geary, and then Sir Francis Drake, succeeded to the command, with
Captain Clayton as captain.

The Victory continued on the same service until the spring of 1781,
when Admiral Hyde Parker hoisted his flag, and Mr. Saumarez now became
first lieutenant. He had been so zealously attentive to his duty, that
for several months he never went on shore, till at length he yielded
to the persuasion of his messmates. On arriving at Point Beach,
Portsmouth, he was accosted by a person in French, who demanded the
way to the admiral's house, and at the same time informed him that he
had just landed with the intelligence that Jersey had been attacked
by the French. Mr. Saumarez immediately went with the messenger to
the admiral, who despatched him as a courier to town, and he returned
in a remarkably short time with orders respecting it. In short, his
diligence and zeal were so manifest in every service on which he was
employed, that he soon gained the esteem and friendship of
Vice-admiral Hyde Parker, who, in June 1781, was appointed to the
command in the North Seas, and shifted his flag into the Fortitude,
Captain Robertson. The squadron in those seas, when under command of
Commodore Keith Stewart, was of inconsiderable strength, but had now
risen to a force of five ships of the line, besides one fifty, one
forty-four, and three frigates. Notwithstanding the desire of Lord
Sandwich, then first lord of the admiralty, to provide for his own
friends, the admiral succeeded in carrying with him, from the Victory,
Lieutenants Waghorne and Saumarez. On the 3rd of June they sailed from
Spithead to Sheerness, and, after refitting and touching at Leith,
sailed to bring home the Baltic convoy from Elsineur, about the
beginning of July.

The squadron, which might have been made much stronger, consisted of
the Fortitude, seventy-four, Captain Robertson; the Princess Amelia,
eighty, Captain Macartney; the Berwick, seventy-four, Captain
Fergusson; the Bienfaisant, sixty-four, Captain Braithwaite; the
Buffalo, sixty, Captain Truscott; the Preston, fifty, Captain Græme;
the Dolphin, forty-four, Captain Blair; the Latona, thirty-eight, Sir
Hyde Parker (the admiral's son); the Belle Poule, thirty-six, Captain
Patton; the Cleopatra, thirty-two, Captain Murray; and the Surprise,
cutter, Lieutenant Rivett.

The Dutch by this time had declared war, and, being perfectly aware of
the force of Admiral Parker's squadron, sailed with a large convoy for
the Baltic, under command of Admiral Zoutman, whose squadron was one
ship of the line superior; it became, therefore, necessary to take the
Dolphin, of forty-four guns, into the line, although she had only
eighteen-pounders on the lower deck.

But before entering into the details of the action which took place on
the 5th of August 1781, it is proper to give some of the particulars
of each squadron. That of Admiral Parker was totally unfit for the
line of battle; the ships had been but a short time together, and had
only two or three times practised the usual manoeuvres of forming
the line, &c. The Fortitude was a small seventy-four, but well manned.
The Princess Amelia was an old eighty-gun ship, with reduced metal and
masts. The Berwick was a good ship, and, in addition to her metal, had
two sixty-eight-pounder carronades on the poop; but next to her was
the Dolphin, forty-four, with only twenty twelve-pounders on the
lower-deck, which could not be expected to make any impression on a
sixty-four. The Buffalo was formerly the Captain, of seventy guns;
but, in the commencement of hostilities, not being thought efficient
as a ship of war, she was fitted up as a mast-ship and her name
changed; but, probably for want of vessels, she was again equipped for
war with sixty guns, but only with eighteen-pounders on the lower
deck. The Preston was a good fifty-gun ship, with her proper metal,
twenty-four-pounders on the lower, and twelve-pounders on the upper
deck. The Bienfaisant had the metal on her lower deck reduced. The
Artois, which afterwards joined the squadron, was the finest frigate
then known; had twenty-eight, eighteen-pounders on her main deck,
with, in addition to her complement of guns, heavy carronades on the
quarter-deck and forecastle; she was manned with three hundred
men. The Latona was a fine thirty-eight gun frigate, with
eighteen-pounders; the Belle Poule and Tartar were excellent of their

The Dutch squadron consisted of one seventy-four, one sixty-eight, one
sixty-four, and five fifty-fours. In the action there were five
frigates, the other five having gone off with the convoy; the list of
both will be found in the Appendix to this volume, with that of the
killed and wounded.

The Dutch squadron and convoy, which were bound to the Baltic, were
discovered at four o'clock in the morning about six leagues to
leeward; and there being a fine commanding breeze and smooth water,
everything was favourable, as well for detaching the convoy, which was
immediately done by signal to the Tartar, as for making dispositions
to attack the enemy. The admiral seeing that they had their own port
(the Texel) directly to leeward, and being doubtful that they would
run in there for shelter, or at least go nearer to the shore, made the
signal to chase at thirty-five minutes past four, which obliged every
ship to make sail instead of preparing for action with a superior
enemy. At five, Admiral Zoutman hoisted Dutch colours, and his
men-of-war drew out from the convoy, which took their station under
the lee to await the event. At half-past five, the admiral made the
Tartar's signal to stay by, and part company with the convoy, which
then hauled their wind, made sail to the south-west, and was soon out
of sight and danger.

At ten minutes past six, the signal for the line of battle abreast was
made, which allowed the headmost ships to take in small sails; and
immediately after another signal was given for the Dolphin and Preston
to change stations; this was a serious mistake, as it led our squadron
to believe that the admiral meant to engage the ship ahead of the
Dutch admiral, and not that of the latter, which was actually his
intention. This unfortunately placed the Dolphin in opposition to one
of the largest of the enemy's vessels; and while it left the rear-ship
(the Bienfaisant) for some time without an opponent, the van-ship
Berwick and the Dolphin had to engage three of the enemy.

In the mean time, the Dutch were regularly drawn up in a line of
battle ahead, on the larboard tack, the ships being about a cable's
length apart, and keeping a point from the wind, with their sails well
proportioned to each other. They appeared in excellent order, their
hammocks stowed, and marines drawn up on the poop.

At fifty-six minutes past seven, the signal for close action was made,
and, to the astonishment of our squadron, the enemy never fired a
shot, although they might have done considerable damage to our ships
had they opened their fire on them as they approached end on to them,
on their weather beam. Not a gun was fired on either side until within
half-musket shot, when the red flag was hoisted on both ships. Up to
that moment all was silent, and it is scarcely possible to conceive a
silence more solemn and impressive! At the same instant, they saw the
signal go to the mast-head of Zoutman's ship. The dreadful silence was
now broken by the tremendous roar of cannon when within pistol-shot,
and the battle raged with the utmost fury for three hours and forty

At ten o'clock, the signal for close action which had been made, was
repeated. The Berwick, having forced the van-ship of the enemy to
edge off, fell to leeward of the line, and was consequently obliged to
make sail, tack, and regain her station in support of the Dolphin,
which had then two ships on her, and was also thrown to leeward. The
admiral, having now slackened the Dutch admiral's fire, passed ahead
of the Buffalo, on which the ships astern closed up to the Buffalo;
and the Berwick took the station ahead of the admiral. At thirty-five
minutes past eleven, the ships became unmanageable; and, the Dutch
dropping to leeward, the action ceased.

By some it has been affirmed that Admiral Parker should have renewed
the action: Lieutenant Saumarez says, it was certainly his intention
to do so; but the state of his own ship, and the reports he received
from others, rendered it quite impossible.[3]

   [3] When the action had ceased, Sir Hyde Parker,
   captain of the Latona and son of the admiral, bore down on the
   Fortitude, and affectionately inquired for his brave parent, of
   whose gallantry he had been an anxious eye-witness. The admiral,
   with equal warmth, assured his son of his personal safety, and
   spoke of his mortification at being unable, from the state of
   his own ship, and from the reports he had received of the other
   ships, to pursue the advantage he had gained, in the manner he
   most ardently desired.

The Dutch convoy had about the middle of the conflict bore up for the
Texel. The protection of them was no longer an object, and Admiral
Zoutman, as soon as he could possibly get his ships collected and put
before the wind, made the best of his way into the port; but during
the night the Hollandia, Dutch seventy-four, was seen sunk in
twenty-two fathoms water, and her pendant was hauled down by Captain
Patton, of the Belle Poule, and brought to the admiral. As no ship was
taken, both claimed the victory: but, the convoy being sent back into
port and one ship sunk, should certainly decide it to Admiral Parker;
and had the English admiral not inadvertently rendered his van too
weak by the mistake in the signal which also extended his line beyond
their rear, thereby rendering one ship for a time useless, he would
have obtained a decisive victory.

While Admiral Zoutman must be admired for his cool intrepidity, it
must be admitted that he was much to blame in forbearing to avail
himself of the opportunity of attacking and disabling the approaching
fleet, which he might have done with great effect. After the Fortitude
had been put into a condition to make sail, Lieutenant Saumarez was
sent to conduct the Preston, one of the disabled ships, into port; her
commander, Captain Græme, having lost his arm in the action. When
Admiral Parker arrived at the Nore, his Majesty paid the squadron a
visit; but the veteran commander, indignant at the conduct of
ministers, who, he conceived, ought to have reinforced his squadron
instead of allowing some fine ships to lie idle in port, received the
King with that rough _hauteur_ peculiar to himself, observing, "I wish
your Majesty better ships and younger officers. As for myself, I am
now too old for the service."

On this occasion Lieut. Saumarez was presented to George III. The King
inquired if he was related to the captains of the same name one of
whom had circumnavigated the globe with Anson, and who had fallen
gloriously in the service of their country: the admiral replied in the
affirmative, saying, "Yes, please your Majesty; he is their nephew,
and as brave and as good an officer as either of them."

In consequence of the bravery and skill he displayed in this action,
Lieut. Saumarez was promoted to the rank of commander, although only
second lieutenant; the first being wounded early in the action, the
duty had fallen on our hero: and he was immediately appointed to the
Tisiphone, a fire-ship constructed on a new plan, and armed with
carronades, which was then fitting at Sheerness; his commission as
"master and commander," bearing date for that ship, the 23rd August

When lieutenant of the Fortitude, with Admiral Sir Hyde Parker,--who,
from his acerbity of temper, was distinguished from others of the same
name by the sobriquet of "Vinegar Parker,"--the old admiral betrayed
his ill-humour by unwarrantably finding fault with him one morning
when Mr. Saumarez commanded the watch; but soon after, probably to
make amends for such hasty and unguarded conduct towards an officer
for whom he had the greatest regard, he sent to invite him to dinner,
an honour which the young lieutenant declined in terms sufficiently
strong to indicate that his feelings had been hurt. On this, the
admiral sent for him and exclaimed, "What! can't you put up with the
fractious disposition of an old man?" The admiral, who could not bear
to be, even for a day, at variance with Lieutenant Saumarez, would do
anything to serve him; and, when he obtained the command on the East
India station, offered to take him with him in the Cato, which sailed,
and was supposed to have foundered off the Cape of Good Hope, as she
was never afterwards heard of; and he happily escaped sharing the fate
of that gallant chief and unfortunate crew.

The Tisiphone having been fitted out at Sheerness, and the complement
of men having been filled up by supernumeraries from the Conquestadore
at the Nore, Captain Saumarez, by order from Admiral Roddam, placed
himself under the command of Captain Allen, of the Sceptre, on the 6th
September 1781, from whom he received the following order:

   You are hereby required and directed to put yourself under my
   command, and to follow all such orders and directions as you
   shall from time to time receive from me for his Majesty's
   service, and to hold yourself in constant readiness to sail at a
   moment's warning; and in case of separation by any unavoidable
   accident, you are to make the best of your way without loss of
   time to Torbay, and put yourself under the command of Admiral

   (Mem.) In case of your parting company with his Majesty's ship
   Sceptre, and falling in with any ships or vessels belonging to
   France or French subjects, Spain or Spanish subjects, the States
   General of the United Provinces, or to his Majesty's rebellious
   subjects in the colonies of North America, that you can cope
   with, you are to use your best endeavours to take, seize, sink,
   burn, or destroy the same: giving me an account of your arrival
   at Torbay, and of anything you may have so taken or destroyed.


In pursuance of these orders Captain Saumarez sailed from the Nore,
and, arriving at Torbay on the 17th, found that Admiral Darby had
sailed in the Britannia on the 15th, after having left orders for the
Tisiphone to cruise a week off the Lizard. Here he was directed to
proceed for Plymouth, where he arrived on the 1st of October; and
having received further orders to repair to Spithead without loss of
time, he arrived there on the 13th October, to fit for Channel
service. He now joined the fleet under Lord Howe, and, after a cruise
off Brest, returned to Portsmouth on the 21st of November: his ship
was found to sail extremely well.

Captain Saumarez was now ordered to place himself under the command of
Admiral Kempenfelt, who, with a detachment of twelve sail of the
line, was destined to intercept Count de Guichen, who had put to sea
from Brest, after having returned from his last severe campaign. The
count had been ordered to use every exertion to refit and prepare the
French fleet for sea, notwithstanding the lateness of the season. The
objects in view could be accomplished only by extreme diligence and
the most profound secrecy, as it was absolutely necessary to reinforce
Count de Grasse, with both ships and troops in the West Indies, as
also M. Des Ornes and Admiral Suffrein in the East. It was evident
that De Grasse, after his hard service on the coast of North America
during the preceding campaign, must stand in need of a vast supply of
naval and military stores; and the service he was about to undertake
in the West Indies would increase the want of provisions, and almost
every necessary of life and of warfare: neither was the demand for
naval and military stores in the East Indies less urgent. Accordingly,
a numerous convoy of transports, store-ships, and victuallers were
prepared and equipped at the same time as the fleet, which was now
extended to such a number of men-of-war as was considered sufficient
for the protection of the convoys until fairly out of reach. This part
of the service, as well as the charge of the whole expedition, was, as
we have stated, confided to Count Guichen; and the command of the
squadron and fleet destined to the West Indies, to M. de Vaudreuil.
The Tisiphone was the look-out ship of the squadron, which sailed from
Spithead at the end of November.

At day-break on the 12th December, Captain Saumarez, being the first
to discover the enemy, made known his situation to the admiral; which
was, that the men-of-war were too far ahead and too much to leeward of
the convoy to afford any protection to it. The admiral, with that
decision and professional skill by which he was so eminently
distinguished, determined to profit by their situation, and boldly
pushed between the convoy and the greater part of the enemy's
line-of-battle ships, and succeeded in capturing twenty sail. In this
affair Captain Saumarez had a noble opportunity of distinguishing
himself, by attacking the ship of war, of thirty-six guns, which was
bringing up the rear of the convoy, and capturing her after an action
of twenty minutes.

Besides those captured, many others had struck; but, the weather at
this time becoming thick and squally, the admiral discontinued the
chase of those which had been cut off, and which made sail in every
direction, that he might collect his squadron before dark, many of his
ships being at a great distance astern with the prizes. At daylight
next morning, the enemy's ships of war, twenty-one sail of the line,
were seen formed to leeward; but their force was so much superior,
that the admiral did not think it advisable to risk an action. The
captured ships consisted of twenty-one sail of transports, having on
board eleven thousand troops, besides their crews of seven thousand
seamen; the greatest part of which were taken by this squadron, and
the Agamemnon, which picked up five or six more.

It was now evident that the force under Count Guichen, destined to
assist Count de Grasse in the capture of the valuable island of
Jamaica; was much greater than had been supposed by the English
government; and, consequently, it became of the utmost importance to
give the earliest information of the approach of such a formidable
enemy to Sir Samuel Hood. Accordingly, Captain Saumarez, whose gallant
conduct and zeal had been so manifest, was selected for this service.
His men were returned to the Tisiphone from the captured ships; and he
was detached with orders to push past the French fleet, and make the
best of his way to Barbadoes, (see Appendix) where he arrived on the
28th of January; and finding the Pegasus, Captain John Stanhope, he
delivered his despatches, and received the following orders from that

   You are hereby required and directed to proceed (without a
   moment's loss of time) to the island of Antigua, where, on your
   arrival off English Harbour, you are to send a boat in for
   intelligence respecting Sir Samuel Hood and the fleet under his
   command; which having received from the senior officer in that
   port, you will proceed in search of the commander-in-chief, and
   deliver him the despatches you are charged with from
   Rear-admiral Kempenfelt, as also those you will receive

   Given on board his Majesty's ship Pegasus,
   Carlisle Bay, this 28th Jan. 1782.

   (Mem.) I recommend that particular attention may be paid to
   keep well to windward of the French islands.


   To Captain Saumarez, H.M. fire-ship Tisiphone.

In pursuance of these orders, Captain Saumarez sailed from Barbadoes
on the 28th of January. In the mean time, the Comte de Grasse, who had
been beating to windward for some days with the intention of attacking
Barbadoes, but without gaining ground, had abandoned his plan, and
bore away for St. Kitts. On his arrival there, he landed eight
thousand men, and took possession of greater part of the island:
General Frazer, with a small party of six hundred men, was obliged to
retire to Brimstone Hill Fort.

Sir Samuel Hood, notwithstanding the superiority of the enemy,
(twenty-nine sail of the line,) resolved on a sudden and unusually
bold manoeuvre, namely, to sail and attack the enemy's fleet at
anchor. It was for this purpose that he had put to sea with twenty-two
sail of the line, and proceeded to Antigua, where he took in
provisions, and embarked the twenty-eighth and two companies of the
thirteenth regiment, under command of General Prescott.

Captain Saumarez, according to the orders he had received, proceeded
for Antigua, and keeping "well to windward," as he had been directed
to do, fell in with the Triumphante and Terrible, two French
line-of-battle ships, of the squadron which had been attacked by
Admiral Kempenfelt on the 12th December, and which had been detached
by Comte de Guichen to Martinique. These ships immediately gave chase;
but, night coming on, Captain Saumarez had recourse to stratagem in
order to effect his escape, which would otherwise have been impossible
in consequence of the Tisiphone having carried away her fore-top-mast
in a squall, an accident which was fortunately not observed by his
pursuers: he now made night-signals by hoisting lights and burning
false fires; which having led the enemy to suppose he was
communicating with an English squadron, they abandoned the pursuit
after a chase of half-an-hour.

At the moment the fore-top-mast was carried away, Mr. Robb, one of the
midshipmen, who was looking out at the fore-top-gallant-mast-head,
fell on the forecastle without receiving any injury. This young
gentleman was an _elève_ of Captain Saumarez, continued with him to
the end of that war, and embarked with him on board the Crescent in
1793. After the capture of _La Réunion_, he was promoted to the rank
of lieutenant.

The fore-top-mast of the Tisiphone was soon replaced; and next day, on
reaching English Harbour, he learned that Sir Samuel Hood, with his
squadron was at anchor in Basseterre Roads, St. Kitts, where he had
three times repulsed the enemy of a much superior force, but which had
now taken up such a position as rendered it impossible for him to
communicate with the admiral; for, unless he would venture to push
through the intricate channel between Nevis and St. Kitts, he would
run the greatest risk of being captured. Undismayed, however, at the
danger of navigating an unknown passage, he fearlessly proceeded where
no ship had ever before ventured; and by sounding as he advanced, and
by the dexterous management of his ship, he succeeded in carrying the
Tisiphone to the anchorage at St. Kitts in safety; and delivered his
despatches to Sir Samuel Hood, who informed him that the intelligence
was of such importance, that it was necessary it should be immediately
sent on to Sir Peter Parker at Jamaica. But when the admiral proposed
to send the Tisiphone on with it, Captain Saumarez, desirous of
remaining at the seat of warlike operations, represented to him that
the Tisiphone was a fine fast-sailing ship on a new construction, that
in the existing state of affairs she might be useful, and that he
should be happy to contribute by his own personal exertions to the
promotion of the public service; whereas any vessel could run down
with the trade-wind to Jamaica. Sir Samuel, no less pleased with the
proposal, and the manner in which it was made, than convinced of the
advantage he would derive from having with him a fast-sailing vessel
commanded by so zealous an officer, whose tact and intrepidity had
already been manifested, determined to keep the Tisiphone with his
squadron, and send a less useful vessel with the intelligence to
Jamaica. The admiral soon reaped the advantage of this decision.
Captain Saumarez, during the time the fleet remained there and at
Antigua, was the most active in harassing the enemy. He commanded
several boat expeditions, and cut out a vessel in a most gallant style
from Basseterre Roads and several other small vessels from the back of
the island.

The time, however, had now arrived when it was absolutely necessary to
send another despatch to England; and the admiral had no other small
vessel remaining but the Tisiphone. On the 7th February 1782, the
signal was made for an opportunity of sending letters to England, and
subsequently for the captain of the Tisiphone: Captain Saumarez had
been dining with his friend, Captain Charrington, on board the Ajax,
and it was some time before he reached the Barfleur; when he found to
his dismay and mortification that he was ordered home! In a short
time the despatches were ready, and he had taken his leave. He
described this interesting circumstance, on which it may be said his
fortune was founded, in the following manner to us, and we cannot do
better than give it in his own words.

"I was," says he, "in my own boat, with the despatches in my hand; and
with a heavy heart had ordered the bow-man to shove off, when Captain
Stanhope, of the Russell, came alongside, and seeing me called:
'Hollo! Saumarez, where are you going?'--'To _England_', said I, 'I am
sorry to tell you!'--'Sorry,' replied Stanhope; 'I wish I was in your
place; I want to go home on account of my health; and, if I had known,
I would have exchanged with you.'--'Perhaps it is not too late,' said
I.--'Hold on then,' said he, 'till I speak to the admiral, since I
have your leave.'"

By this time the Russell's boat was alongside the admiral's ship; and
at the word "Hold on!" which was emphatically repeated by Saumarez,
the bow-man hooked the quarter of the Russell's barge, and he remained
but a few minutes in breathless suspense; after which Captain Stanhope
appeared at the gangway, and called, "Come up, Saumarez." He was on
deck in an instant, and found that, on Captain Jackson being asked to
submit the proposal to the admiral, he said, "Let Captain Saumarez do
it himself, he is the fittest person."

When Sir Samuel Hood heard the application, he was silent, and after
reflecting for a few minutes he said, "Captain Saumarez, you know not
how much I wish to serve you; Captain Stanhope shall go home as he
desires, and you shall have command of the Russell." Accordingly,
before the close of that day, Captain Stanhope was on board the
Tisiphone on his way to England; while her late commander was in
possession of his post-rank, and captain of one of his Majesty's ships
of the line of seventy-four guns; and all this effected in less than
two hours!

We cannot forbear making honourable mention of a trait of attachment
manifested on this occasion by the first lieutenant, a Scotch baronet
of an ancient family, who had not been at sea for twenty-two years,
when he was appointed to the Tisiphone. The conflict of this officer's
feelings between joy for his captain's promotion and regret at losing
so excellent a friend was far beyond description; but, as the moment
of parting approached, he selected what he considered most valuable,
and so earnestly did he press Captain Saumarez to accept some
testimonial of his esteem, that, finding a refusal would deeply wound
his feelings, he accepted a silver ladle marked with his initials,
which has ever since been carefully preserved in memory of its former

The same night Captain Saumarez took command of the Russell, he had
cause to find that promotion and honours bring cares. A report was
made to him that the ship was in a state of mutiny, and that a shot
had been thrown at one of the officers. He soon found, indeed, that he
had a most disorderly ship's company; but the firm, prompt, and
judicious regulations which Captain Saumarez immediately established,
brought the crew so effectually into order, that two months after, at
the memorable battle of the 12th April 1782, no ship was in a higher
state of discipline than the Russell.



   Situation of the Hostile Fleets.--Surrender of Brimstone
   Hill.--Junction of the Fleets.--Antigua.--St. Lucia.--Sailing of
   the French Fleet under Comte de Grasse.--Action of the 9th
   April.--12th of April.--Gallant conduct of the Russell.--Captain
   Saumarez returns to Jamaica.--Comes to England with Convoy.--Is
   paid off at Chatham, and confirmed a Post-captain.

It has now become necessary to give a brief account of the situation
of the hostile fleets at the seat of war in the West Indies. While the
enemy's troops were prosecuting the siege of Brimstone Hill, the fleet
under the Comte de Grasse had been reinforced, and either continued at
sea, near to Basseterre, or anchored in the old road. On the 13th, a
practicable breach being made in the works, the general and governor
having given up all hopes of succour, and his brave garrison being
reduced to five hundred men, they embraced the proposals of a
capitulation made by the Marquis de Boullie, who on the same day
proclaimed the surrender of Brimstone Hill to the admiral by a flag of
truce, which had been previously agreed upon. The British fleet,
which had till this time continued at the anchorage in which it had so
bravely resisted the attacks of the Comte de Grasse, who on the 14th
anchored off Nevis with thirty-four sail of the line, was now in a
perilous situation, especially as the enemy were erecting mortar
batteries on the hill opposite to the shipping; and as it was no
longer necessary for him to continue there, Sir Samuel Hood issued
orders to slip or cut cables _without signal_ at eleven o'clock at
night, the sternmost and leeward-most ships first, and so on in
succession, and proceed under easy sail until directed otherwise by
signal. That this order might be punctually executed, the captains
were ordered to set their watches by the admiral's timepiece. The
movement was performed with the utmost order and regularity. Not one
ship was molested or pursued by the French fleet, which was lying
within five miles, and must have been astonished at this excellent
manoeuvre of the British admiral, wherein the Russell had a
distinguished share. Soon afterwards, Nevis and Montserrat fell into
the hands of the French.

On the 19th February, Sir Samuel Hood anchored in St. John's Road,
Antigua; and on the same day, Sir George Rodney arrived at Barbadoes
from England with several sail of the line. On the 25th, he joined Sir
Samuel Hood off Antigua; and, three days after, three more sail of the
line arrived from England. Thus fortunately united, the admiral
proceeded to St. Lucia, to refit and complete with water. On the 14th
of March he put to sea, with a view of intercepting a large French
convoy which was expected to arrive from Europe; but, notwithstanding
the vigilance of the frigates, the enemy, by keeping close to
Guadaloupe and Dominique, effected their escape into Fort Royal Bay,
on the 20th and 21st, unperceived by any of our ships. When this
unlucky event was made known to Sir George Rodney, he returned to St.
Lucia, to watch the motions of the enemy. In the mean time the
Russell, which had been damaged by striking on a rock, was repaired at
the Carenage.

The Comte de Grasse was equally active in the equipment of his fleet,
in order to proceed to leeward and form a junction with the Spaniards,
for the purpose of carrying into execution their grand object--the
reduction of Jamaica, with an overwhelming force of sixty sail of the
line and twenty thousand troops.

At daylight, on the 8th April, Captain Byron, of the Andromache,
communicated to the admiral by signal the anxiously-expected
intelligence that the enemy's fleet, with their large convoy, were
coming out of Fort Royal Bay, and standing to the north-west. Sir
George Rodney first made the signal for all boats, and persons who had
been necessarily employed in watering, &c. to repair on board, and
immediately after to weigh. Before noon the whole fleet were clear of
Gros Islet Bay: Sir George stretched first over to Fort Royal, and
then made the general signal to chase north-eastward.

The enemy's lights were distinctly visible during the night; and as
their ships-of-war, though better sailers than the English, were
delayed by the convoy of transports, there was little doubt of
overtaking them. Accordingly, at daylight on the morning of the 9th,
some of the advanced ships were close up with their convoy under
Dominique, while their men-of-war seemed much scattered: fourteen of
the latter were between Dominique and the Saints, with a breeze from
east-north-east; but the rest were becalmed under the land about St.
Rupert's Bay, and one ship was observed at some distance in the

About half-past seven, the van division, commanded by Sir Samuel Hood,
got the breeze; while the centre and rear, in which was the Russell,
continued to be becalmed. This of course caused a separation, but did
not deter Sir Samuel Hood from advancing, although he had only eight
ships to fourteen of the enemy. In the mean time, the French ship seen
in the north-west, which had got the breeze, boldly stood on and
weathered the Alfred, the van-ship of Sir Samuel Hood's division,
which bore up to allow her to pass; and, no signal having been made to
engage, not a shot was fired.

At nine o'clock the action began, and was maintained with determined
bravery for upwards of an hour, the enemy's ships which had the breeze
having borne down upon and engaged this division; the Barfleur and
others had, at times, three to one opposed to them; and in this attack
there can be but one opinion, that the Comte de Grasse displayed great
professional ability. At length the leading ships of the centre got up
with the enemy's rear, and were followed by the Duke, Formidable, and
Namur; the Arrogant lost her main-top-mast, as well as the Royal Oak.
The rear squadron, commanded by Admiral Drake, now came up, and the
Comte de Grasse prudently hauled his wind; and as his ships sailed
better than the English, he succeeded in gradually drawing off, and by
half-past one his fleet were all out of the reach of shot.

Captain Bayne, of the Alfred, lost his life in this his sixth
encounter with the enemy; and it is said that he bled to death after
his leg was shot off, before he was carried to the cockpit.

In the action of this day the Russell had only a small share, as she
belonged to the rear division of the fleet, and, being becalmed, could
not get up until the enemy had hauled off. The Royal Oak, Montagu, and
Alfred were the ships which suffered most, but not so much as to
prevent their being repaired at sea; while two of the enemy's ships
were so materially disabled as to oblige them to bear up for
Guadaloupe. The necessary repairs of these ships were not completed
before the 11th, during which time the enemy, by carrying a great
press of sail, had gained so far to windward as to weather the Saints,
and were nearly hull down; and, as it was supposed that the Comte de
Grasse meant to abandon to their fate two of his ships of the line
that had been so much damaged in the late action as not to be able to
keep company, all hope of being able to come up with them seemed now
to vanish.

In the mean time the line had been inverted, which brought
Rear-admiral Drake's division in the van, and that of Rear-admiral
Hood, which had been engaged, in the rear. The signal having been made
for a general chase, the two ships above mentioned would have been cut
off, had not De Grasse been induced to bear down to their relief. This
brought the enemy so far to leeward, that the hope of forcing them to
engage was revived.

As soon as the commander-in-chief saw that the enemy's fleet was
sufficiently to leeward, he recalled the chasing ships, formed a close
line of battle, and carried sail to windward all night; during which
the French line-of-battle ship Le Zélé, whether from injuries received
in action, or in running foul of another ship, lost her bowsprit and
fore-mast, and at daylight on the morning of the 12th was seen in tow
of a frigate, both carrying all the sail they could, and steering for
Basseterre. Sir Samuel Hood being in the rear, and consequently
nearest these ships, was directed to detach some of his division in
chase of them; and the Comte de Grasse, seeing that they must be
inevitably taken, bore up with his whole fleet for their protection.
It was now impossible to avoid an action.

The ships which had been recalled from chase resumed their stations,
and a close line ahead was formed on the starboard tack, the enemy
being on the larboard. Having hauled their wind after they had
perceived the chasing ships recalled, they thus endeavoured to avoid
an action; but the English fleet could now fetch near the body of the
French. At half-past seven, therefore, the engagement began by Admiral
Drake's division, led by the Marlborough and Arrogant, fetching the
fifth ship from the van, and bearing up in succession. The Honourable
Hugh Lindsay, who was a midshipman in the Arrogant, informed us that
in that part, and in the whole of the action, the enemy fired so high,
that the three _trucks_ of the Princessa's mast-heads were shot away,
and the consequence was that very few men were killed or wounded. The
Duke lost her main-top-mast, as she approached the centre of the
enemy's fleet.

At half-past nine the action became general: Admiral Drake's division,
in which was the Russell, had now passed the rear of the enemy on the
opposite tack; and Captain Thompson, of the America, seeing that he
could fetch to windward of the enemy's line, wore without waiting for
the anxiously-expected signal, as did also the Russell; and we have
reason to know that Captain Saumarez rejoiced at this circumstance.
Captain Thompson, being an experienced officer and second in command,
gave a sufficient authority to any other officer to follow his
motions, and they now stood to the southward. The America, however,
did not continue long on that tack, and the Russell was consequently
separated from her and the whole division; as the signals to tack, and
soon after to wear, were not made and put in execution for an hour
afterwards by Sir Francis Drake, who was then considerably to the

In the mean time the Russell continued, and got up with the rear ship
of the enemy's centre division about eleven o'clock, with which she
exchanged broadsides. At noon, the wind, which was very light, changed
to the south, throwing both fleets into confusion; but this gave Sir
George Rodney, and three of the centre division, an opportunity of
passing through an opening it occasioned in the enemy's line, and
doubling on its rear division: all their attempts to form again were
in vain; the enemy's van could never come into action. After this, the
remainder of the day was spent in desultory actions of single ships,
without regard to the motions of each other; the signals to chase and
for close action being visible only at intervals.

It is here unnecessary to give a particular account of the events
which took place on this memorable day, or to allude to those
circumstances which have been so fruitful in controversy; more
especially as Rodney's public letter, and other official records, will
be found in the Appendix to this volume. We shall, therefore, confine
our observations to the positions and conduct of the Russell,
commanded by Captain Saumarez.

The Russell was the only ship belonging to the van (Admiral Drake's)
division, which had wore and continued her course soon after she had
passed the rear of the enemy. By standing to the southward again,
Captain Saumarez brought his ship into action, but to _windward_ of
the enemy; and, at the time the wind shifted to the southward, Sir
George Rodney, in passing through the enemy's fleet, was surprised to
find an English ship to _windward_ of the French. Having ascertained
it was the Russell, he declared emphatically that the captain had
distinguished himself more than any officer in the fleet.[4] By this
favourable position, which he had thus gallantly obtained, after
receiving the more distant fire of several of the enemy's ships, about
three o'clock he was able to come up with and closely engage a French
seventy-four, and after exchanging broadsides with three others,
pushed up to the Ville de Paris, and after raking her, having
maintained a position on the lee quarter, poured in a most destructive
fire, until the Barfleur, Sir Samuel Hood's flag-ship, came up.

   [4] Ralfe's Naval Biography, Vol. ii. p. 378.

Sir Gilbert Blane, in his account of this period of the battle, says:
"It was late in the day when the Ville de Paris struck her colours:
the ships immediately engaged with her at that moment were the
Barfleur, the flag-ship of Sir Samuel Hood, and the Russell, commanded
by Captain Saumarez. The Formidable (in which was Sir Gilbert) was
right astern, and, having come within shot, was yawing in order to
give the enemy a raking broadside, when Sir Charles Douglas and I
standing together on the quarter-deck, the position of our ship opened
a view of the enemy's stern between the foresail and the jib-boom,
through which we saw the French flag hauled down." This fact has not
been generally stated.

But the anecdote which we are now about to relate, must remove every
doubt on the subject. In the autumn of 1808, when the Baltic fleet,
under command of Vice-admiral Sir James Saumarez, returned from the
Gulf of Finland, in company with the Swedish fleet, to the harbour of
Carlscrona, the Swedish commander-in-chief, Admiral Palmquist,
Rear-admiral Nauckhoff, Commodore Blessing, Captain Tornquist, and
others, came on board the flag-ship, Victory, to pay their respects to
the admiral: they were of course asked to take some refreshment in the
cabin: on which, as on all other occasions where an interpreter was
wanted, we were of the party. The conversation naturally turned to the
actions wherein they each had served in early life, when it appeared
that the whole of the four officers mentioned had been brought up in
the French service, and had actually been in the battle of the 12th of
April 1782. When we acquainted them that Sir James Saumarez commanded
a ship in that action, they eagerly inquired the name; and being
informed it was the Russell, Captain Tornquist, who was in the
Northumberland, rising from his chair and seizing Sir James's hand,
exclaimed, "Mon Dieu! Monsieur l'Amiral, nous avons brulé le poudre
ensemble; allons boire un coup."

It is impossible to do justice to the scene which followed. The old
Swedish officer's joy at this discovery knew no bounds; they
completely "fought the battle o'er again;" and we found it distinctly
proved that it was the Russell, commanded by Captain Saumarez, which
gallantly engaged several of the enemy's ships for two hours, and at
six, P.M. pushed on to the Ville de Paris. Baron Rosenstien, who was
on board that ship, and Baron Palmquist, who was on board La Couronne
stationed next to her, declared that the Compte de Grasse, who was
then attempting to escape to leeward, would have succeeded had it not
been for the Russell. During our sojourn among the Swedes in that and
another winter, we often heard the history of that memorable battle
repeated; and they never ceased to maintain the circumstance we have
stated, of which we made a memorandum at the time.[5]

   [5] See Appendix for this memorandum, and for extracts from the
   Russell, Canada, and Barfleur's logs; also Captain White's
   reply, and extracts of letters from Sir Lawrence Halsted and
   Admiral Gifford, who were in the Canada, and Captain Knight's

We took leave on that occasion to say to Sir James, that we believed
the credit had been given to another ship; to which he replied, "Yes,
it was; but what Admiral Palmquist and Captain Tornquist has told you,
is true: it _was_ the Russell that engaged the Ville de Paris until
the Barfleur came up." But such was the extreme sensibility of
Saumarez, that he could not persuade himself to correct the error,
from an idea that such an interference might argue a desire to sound
his own praise; and, but for the circumstance we have now related, the
truth might never have come to light.

In answer to a letter from Captain Thomas White, which he sent to Lord
de Saumarez with a copy of his publication, called "Naval
Researches," written in 1836, to defend the gallant Rodney from
certain attacks and allegations which had been published, _not_ to
give a "full and perfect account of the battle, but," says Captain
White, "more particularly that part where your lordship so ably
commanded the Russell, which portion of our fleet the tongue of
calumny has never ventured to assail," Lord de Saumarez wrote the
following letter:

   Guernsey, 13th June 1836.


   I BEG to acknowledge the receipt of your letter, accompanying
   your interesting publication, which you have done me the favour
   to send for my acceptance, and which has been forwarded to me by
   Lord Amelius Beauclerc.

   I regret that you have (inadvertently, I am persuaded) fallen
   into the same error as some of your predecessors, in detailing
   the account of Lord Rodney's victory of the 12th of April, by
   ascribing to the Canada what is alone due to the Russell, which
   ship I commanded.

   I shall for your information briefly state the circumstance to
   which I allude. After passing the sternmost of the enemy's
   ships, the America, the ship astern of the Russell, wore to
   stand after them: I was glad to have the example of an old
   experienced officer, and wore also; but Captain Thompson,
   finding there was no signal, shortly after wore again, to join
   Sir Samuel Drake's division. I stood on, till passing a division
   of four of the enemy's ships, I exchanged broadsides with them,
   and finally came up with the Ville de Paris, wore under her
   stern and engaged her on the quarter for some time, when the
   Barfleur came up, and the Comte de Grasse hauled down his

   Even at this distant period, I have a perfect recollection of
   the transactions of that day. I shall only add, that I am
   convinced that no officer who was on board the Canada in the
   victory of the 12th of April, will assert that she was engaged
   with the Ville de Paris at the time stated. The present Admiral
   Giffard was, I believe, one of the lieutenants, to whom I wish
   to refer you.

   I am, &c.

Captain White, as well as other officers, is of opinion that Admiral
Drake's division should have tacked sooner; and, as circumstances
happened, it would doubtless have been better if he had done so; but
probably the admiral, in continuing to stand on the same tack, had
calculated that the wind would continue in the same direction, or
alter to the northward; in either case he would have weathered the
whole of the enemy's fleet, besides giving time to his division to
repair damages. The wind veering to the southward immediately after
his division had wore, had unfortunately the effect of throwing them
to leeward; whereas the Russell, which wore as above stated, was by
the same change of wind far to windward of his division and nearer the

No sooner had the Ville de Paris struck her colours, which "went down
with the setting sun," than the Russell made sail in chase of one of
the French ships which had deserted her chief, as also did Sir Samuel
Hood; but their noble efforts were arrested by the night signal to
bring to, which put an end to the battle in that quarter: and although
Commodore Affleck in the Bedford, and three others, who did not see
the signal, continued the chase, they were unable to come up with the
enemy, who escaped to leeward in small divisions and single ships,
leaving the Ville de Paris, the Glorieux, the Hector, and Cæsar, in
possession of the English.

On the morning of the 13th no enemy was in sight, and the ships which
had been in chase returned to the fleet. Admiral Rodney, with his
prizes and the fleet, remained three days under Guadaloupe to repair
damages, which afforded the flying enemy an opportunity to escape;
but, on the 19th, the Caton and Jason, of sixty-four guns each, with
the Astrée and Ceres, frigates, were added to the list of prizes by
the exertions of Sir Samuel Hood, Captains Goodall, and Linzee. On the
23rd of April, Sir Samuel Hood rejoined the fleet off Tiberoon;
whereupon Sir George Rodney proceeded to Jamaica with those ships most
disabled, among which was the Russell and the prizes, leaving Sir
Samuel Hood with a strong squadron to watch the enemy, should they
venture out and attempt to prosecute their attack on Jamaica.

Nothing could be more flattering than the reception that Sir George
Rodney met with at Jamaica from the inhabitants, whose anxiety was so
suddenly supplanted by unbounded joy; and who not only found
themselves freed from the danger of invasion, but beheld the principal
commander of that overwhelming force which had caused them so much
alarm a prisoner within their harbour, and six of his principal ships
having the English colours triumphantly waving over the fleur-de-lis
of France.

It is worthy of remark that, down to this period, the Ville de Paris
was the only _first-rate_ man-of-war that had ever been taken and
carried into port by any commander of any nation! The Ville de Paris,
in the capture of which Captain Saumarez had a distinguished share,
was the largest ship in the French navy: she had been a present from
the city of Paris to Louis XV. and no expense had been spared to
render the gift worthy of the city and of the monarch. Her length was
185 feet 7-1/2 inches, her breadth 53 feet 8-1/2, depth 22 feet 2, and
2347 tons' measurement; and the expense of building her and sending
her to sea is said to have been 156,000_l._ On board her at the time
of capture were found thirty-six chests of money intended for the pay
and subsistence of the men who were to be employed in the expedition
against Jamaica; and she had on board, at the commencement of the
action on the 9th, 1,300 men: in the other captured ships, the whole
train of artillery, the battering cannon and carriages meant for the
expedition, were found.

The loss of men in the British fleet in both actions was very small,
amounting to only two hundred and thirty-seven killed, and seven
hundred and seventy-six wounded; while the loss of the French was
computed to be three thousand slain, and double that number wounded.
In the Ville de Paris alone three hundred were killed.

In the engagement on the 9th of April, the French fleet consisted of
thirty-four sail of the line, and the British of thirty-six; but in
that engagement, two of the enemy's ships having been disabled, their
numerical force was reduced in the battle of the 12th to thirty-two
sail of the line: on the other hand, the French ships were much larger
than the British; and it was calculated by Sir Charles Douglas, that
the broadside of the French fleet exceeded that of the British in
weight by 4396 pounds, and their numerical superiority in men was much

On the 13th of April, the Comte de Grasse was removed to the
flag-ship; and, some days after, when Captain Saumarez went on board
the Formidable after the action, and several times after their arrival
at Jamaica, the Comte de Grasse acknowledged that the Ville de Paris
suffered very severely from the well-directed fire of the Russell.

Among the instances of heroic submission and perseverance under the
severest suffering, may be recorded the conduct of the captain of the
main-top of the Russell, who having received a shot that carried off
one of his arms, instead of requesting the assistance of his
companions to take him below, insisted that they should continue at
their stations, and let himself down by one of the backstays. After
suffering amputation, he persisted in going again on deck, where he
remained encouraging the men till the action terminated.

On the arrival of the fleet at Jamaica, the Russell was found to be in
so disabled a state, that Sir George Rodney intended to send her home
with the Ville de Paris and the other prizes, and arrangements were
made for that purpose accordingly. His old friend, Sir Peter Parker,
who had held the command at Jamaica, sailed in the Sandwich, on board
which ship was the Comte de Grasse, for England, with a convoy of
merchant-ships. After having been at sea three days, the Ajax, one of
the ships under his command, sprang a leak, returned to Bluefields
Bay, and the Russell was ordered to follow the fleet in her stead. The
exertions which Captain Saumarez used to refit his ship obtained the
commander-in-chief's highest approbation. In two days he was ready,
and immediately joined the Sandwich and Intrepid, which now sailed
with the trade under convoy, and preceded the prizes, which were not
yet ready to undertake the voyage to England; and it was owing to
this interposition of Providence, that the Russell escaped the
melancholy fate which afterwards befel the unfortunate fleet, in which
the ill-fated Ville de Paris was lost with all her crew. The Russell
had on board three hundred French prisoners and twenty-two officers,
and arrived at the Downs on the 29th July 1782. She was ordered to be
paid off at Chatham, to which port she proceeded. On her arrival
there, an order came from the Admiralty to draft her crew into a ship
which was under order to sail for the East Indies. This excited a
general murmur, and at length the men refused to obey. On Captain
Saumarez being informed of it, he went on board and remonstrated, when
they unanimously declared that, although they had but just returned
from a long voyage, they would follow him all the world over. Before
he left the ship, however, he prevailed on them to resume their duty;
and these orders were subsequently altered. After returning her
stores, the Russell was paid off on the 24th of September. Captain
Saumarez' acting commission as a post-captain, dated on the 8th of
February 1782, was confirmed by Earl Howe; and no officer in his
Majesty's service more richly deserved his promotion.


1784 to 1793.

   Captain Saumarez returns to Guernsey.--His exemplary
   Conduct.--Visits Cherbourg.--Is introduced to the French
   King.--Returns.--Changes at Guernsey.--Prince William Henry
   visits the Island twice.--His Reception.--Appearance of
   Hostilities in 1787.--Captain Saumarez is appointed to the
   Ambuscade, and pays her off.--His Letter on his
   Marriage.--Remarks thereon.--Armament of 1790.--Saumarez
   commissions and pays off the Raisonable.--War of
   1793.--Appointed to command the Crescent.--First Cruise; takes a
   prize and saves Alderney.--Second Cruise; captures a
   cutter.--Third Cruise.--Return.--Crescent docked and refitted.

Captain Saumarez having paid off the Russell, and distributed his crew
into different ships according to the final orders he had received
from the Admiralty, repaired to London, and after paying his respects
to Earl Howe, proceeded to Guernsey to receive the congratulations of
his numerous friends; but these were far from altering "the natural
bent of his disposition to do good." Instead of becoming elevated by
prosperity, his sincere and unaffected piety induced him to take a
leading part in the establishment of charitable institutions, and in
his own person to give "a striking and useful example of moral and
religious life." But his noble mind was never diverted from the
service and the good of his country; he was constantly attentive to
every circumstance that concerned the duties of his profession, and an
event occurred about this time that peculiarly interested him.

Although this was a period of profound peace, the ambition of France
was constantly awake. It had long been the object of the French
government to form a naval port in the British Channel, for the
evident, if not avowed, purpose of annoying our trade in time of war,
and disputing with us the dominion of the British seas. No labour
however arduous, and no expense however great, could check this
favourite design. The port of Cherbourg, which had long been fixed
upon as being immediately adjacent to our great arsenal at Portsmouth,
became the point of attraction. The unfortunate Louis XVI. had
determined to stimulate this grand undertaking by his presence, when
the first _cone_ was submerged.

The assemblage of the French court opposite our own coast naturally
attracted a number of our countrymen, among whom was Captain Saumarez,
who was induced to cross the Channel probably by a secret wish to
examine the nautical projects of our rivals, to counteract which,
might at some future period become his duty. This was eventually the
case in 1793, when he captured the French frigate Réunion off that
very harbour, from which she had sailed only a few hours before the

Captain Saumarez was present at the above imposing ceremony, and had
the honour of being introduced to the French king, by whom he was
treated with the greatest attention. It is worthy of remark, that this
was the only time during his long life that he ever set his foot in
France, and he returned directly to Guernsey much gratified by his

Between the period of Captain Saumarez' departure from Guernsey in
1776, and his return in 1782, the island of Guernsey had undergone
great and important changes. The war with America had brought an
influx of strangers; wealth and its attendant luxuries had superseded
the simple mode of living of its inhabitants; society had extended;
and when the peace took place, at the close of 1782, no spot of its
size could display a greater appearance of prosperity, civilization,
and beauty.

Between the years 1785 and 1787, the island was twice honoured with a
visit from Prince William Henry, our present most gracious sovereign;
and, however great the change had been in men and manners since it had
beheld a prince of the blood on its shores, the loyalty of the
islanders had sustained no diminution, and the arrival of the prince,
then a lieutenant of the Hebe, Captain Thornborough, excited the most
unbounded joy. Every one's heart glowed at seeing the son of a monarch
whom they were accustomed to regard with veneration and love; and as
people who lived in the habitual belief that to "fear God and honour
the King" is a "united precept," every mark of respect and attachment
was exhibited on both occasions. When his Royal Highness came the
second time, as captain of the Pegasus, the homage, which had been
paid to him at the first visit, as son of their sovereign, was mingled
with respect to himself. Some there are who yet remember, and still
delight to relate, the account of the elegant _dejeuné_ with which the
illustrious prince entertained a party on board the Pegasus; after
which his Royal Highness honoured Captain Saumarez and his brothers
with his company at dinner, and attended a ball in the evening at the

In 1787, when Captain Saumarez had nearly attained his thirtieth year,
peace seemed to be completely established. At an early age he had
attained, by his own merit, the highest rank to which an officer could
be advanced: he had fully established a character equally exalted for
courage and professional talent; and having been, wherever Fortune had
placed him, always in the best society, his manners as a gentleman
were no less elegant than his person, which was tall and graceful,
while his handsome features denoted a heart susceptible of the
dictates both of humanity and love. It is not then to be wondered at,
when he returned to his native island, that he still cherished an
attachment which he had long formed; especially when he found her on
whom he had fixed his affections, possessed of every quality which
could ensure mutual happiness; neither can it appear surprising that
on her part the regard should be equally warm and sincere.

The appearance of hostilities in the same year, however, occasioned a
suspension of his matrimonial arrangements, as he was then appointed
by Lord Howe to the command of the Ambuscade frigate, which he had
scarcely fitted before she was ordered to be paid off, the hostile
differences having been adjusted. He now returned to Guernsey, and, on
the 8th October 1788, was united to Miss Martha Le Marchant, only
daughter and heir of Thomas Le Marchant, Esq. by his marriage with
Miss Mary Dobrée, to the entire satisfaction of the families and
relations on both sides.

The following extract of a private letter to his brother Richard,
written a few days after his marriage, will give the reader a just
idea of the feelings which occupied his mind on this happy occasion:

"It is needless," he says, "to attempt giving you any idea of my joy
on this occasion. The abundant blessings which Providence is pleased
to pour down on me, who am ever unworthy the least of its favours,
makes my heart glow with boundless gratitude and love, which I hope
ever to testify by a life strictly devoted to His service. To have the
power of making her happy who has ever been the joy and delight of my
soul, far surpasses all that I had ever formed of felicity in this
world. I must also acknowledge the affectionate kindness of her
relations, who have for ever attached me to them by the confidence
they have placed in me."

These self-congratulations were, indeed, fully confirmed in after
life; for few husbands have ever been blessed with such a devoted
wife, or children with such an affectionate mother. During their
younger days, and when their gallant father was at sea, Mrs. Saumarez
lived retired, giving up her whole time to their instruction; and we
can most fully testify that gratitude for her maternal anxiety, both
for their spiritual and temporal welfare, has been indelibly impressed
on all their hearts.

After passing some time at Guernsey, Captain Saumarez removed to the
neighbourhood of Exeter, where he resided two years. In 1790,
appearances of hostility took place. The Spanish armament was not to
be lightly regarded. Captain Saumarez was appointed to command the
Raisonable of 64 guns; but he never went to sea in this ship, the
differences between the two nations having been amicably settled. It
seemed to show, however, that, in the event of war, he was one of
those who were to be actively employed.

Captain Saumarez remained on shore until the war occasioned by the
French revolution broke out in 1793, when he was appointed to command
the Crescent of 36 guns. His commission was dated on the 24th January,
and he hoisted his pendant in her at Portsmouth on the 28th of the
same month, receiving, at the same time, orders to place himself under
the command of Commodore Sir Hyde Parker. No sooner was it known at
Guernsey, and in Devonshire, that the Crescent was commissioned by
Captain Saumarez, than a number equal to half the complement of seamen
volunteered for the Crescent; and, on the 1st of February, the
Tisiphone sloop was sent to bring the men from Guernsey, while the
rest, from Exeter, were sent by the way of Plymouth to join the ship.
It could not but be highly gratifying to his feelings when he found
that so many of his countrymen had chosen to devote themselves to his
service; and he was soon able to report his ship ready for sea.

On the 10th of February 1793, in common with other officers, he
received the following intelligence that war had been declared against

   By Sir Hyde Parker, Knt. &c.

   Accounts having been received that war was declared at Paris, by
   the National Convention of France, against Great Britain and
   Holland; you are, in pursuance of the King's pleasure, signified
   to the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty by the Right
   Honourable Henry Dundas, one of his Majesty's principal
   secretaries of state, hereby required and directed to seize or
   destroy all ships and vessels belonging to France that you may
   happen to fall in with.

   Given under my hand, on board the Victory,
   this 10th day of February 1793.

   To Captain Saumarez, R.N.

The Crescent having been reported ready for sea on the 1st of March,
Captain Saumarez received orders to proceed to Guernsey with his ship,
accompanied by the Liberty brig, and three transports under convoy, to
reinforce the garrisons of the Channel islands. He had also sealed
orders, which were to be put in execution when the troops were landed
at Guernsey and Jersey. The following account of this cruise was sent
to his brother, on the ship's return to Guernsey Road.

   H.M.S. Crescent, Guernsey, 18th March 1793.


   As the detail of our proceedings on our first cruise cannot but
   be acceptable to you, I take up my pen to communicate them. We
   anchored in this road on Sunday morning, the day after we had
   sailed from Spithead. The independent companies and invalids for
   this island were immediately disembarked. The wind being too
   much to the southward for the transports to proceed to Jersey,
   they remained till Thursday following, when I sent them under
   convoy of the Liberty brig.

   On Thursday morning, intelligence was brought to me that a
   French brig was seen to the northward of the island, standing
   for the Casketts. I immediately got under way, and directed the
   Drake to do the same. We pushed through the Race of Alderney
   during the night, and at day-break found ourselves close to the
   brig, off Cherbourg. She is about 100 tons, from Vannes, loaded
   with salt, for Havre. Seeing another brig and a galliot to the
   N.W. from us, I ordered the Drake and Cockatrice to chase, and I
   have hopes they are also prizes.

   About three o'clock, it blowing very hard, I was much surprised
   at an express joining me from Alderney, with a letter from the
   governor, addressed to the commander of H.M. ships off
   Alderney, mentioning that he had positive information that the
   enemy meant to attack the island this or the following night;
   and as there was no ship of force at Cherbourg but an old 64,
   with frigate's masts, he was certain that the appearance of a
   man-of-war off Cherbourg would preserve Alderney, and baffle the
   expedition. Chance having thrown me off Cherbourg, within sight
   the whole day, I was happy the purport of this letter was so
   fully answered. Expecting further intelligence, I waited till a
   cutter hailed us that he was going express to Plymouth. No other
   vessel appearing, I made sail for this island, and anchored in
   the road this morning. I have scarcely a doubt that what caused
   your brother[6] to be alarmed was the appearance of this ship,
   the Drake and Cockatrice, with another small vessel in the Race
   of Alderney; and I am sorry it was not in my power to acquaint
   him with it, as the vessel he sent me returned immediately.

   [6] Governor Le Mesurier was brother to Mrs. Richard Saumarez.

Captain Saumarez, on his return to Guernsey, wrote to Governor Le
Mesurier, and, in reply to his letter, informed him that the
appearance of the Crescent and squadron off Cherbourg had the desired
effect of baffling the meditated attack on Alderney; nevertheless, the
Crescent was detained on that station until the 25th, in consequence
of other reports of the enemy's intentions to attack either Jersey or
Alderney, and his squadron therefore was reinforced. In the mean time
he succeeded in filling up the complement of his crew at Guernsey, and
at length returned to Spithead, when some alteration took place in the
armament of his ship: having there completed his stores and
provisions, Captain Saumarez' next employment was to take a convoy of
transports with troops to Cork, and bring from thence two regiments to
Guernsey. This service occupied his ship until the 4th of May, when
she arrived off the Lizard, and, having sent part of his convoy into
Falmouth, he anchored at Guernsey on the following day.

He left Guernsey on the 15th of May, having six transports with French
prisoners on board, and arrived at Spithead on the 17th.

On the 22nd Captain Saumarez received orders from the Admiralty to
take the Hind, Captain Cochrane, under his command, and proceed with
the Crescent and that ship to cruise between lat. 51° and 47° N. and
long. 10° to 16° W. for the protection of the trade, and continue on
that service for three weeks. The account of this cruise, in which
two prizes were taken, is given in the following letter to his

   Crescent, Spithead, 26th June 1793.


   I have the pleasure to acquaint you with our return from a
   cruise which has been rather unsuccessful, having only taken
   (besides the brig I informed you of) a cutter called "Le Club de
   Cherbourg," of ten guns. She sailed from Brest on the 20th
   instant, and was found on the coast of Ireland, where she had
   done much mischief on her former cruise, having taken four
   vessels within a few days. I find by the prisoners that the
   French have only eighteen sail from Brest in readiness for sea.
   They rendezvous in Quiberon Bay as soon as they are equipped. I
   hope Lord Howe will soon give a good account of all of them. I
   anchored at Guernsey for a few hours, where I left the cutter
   for my brother's disposal.

   As we have been parted from the Hind since the 8th instant, I
   hope to find she may have met with success. We are under
   agreement to share till the expiration of our cruise. As I write
   before we anchor, you cannot expect I should give you an account
   of my further destination; but, from what they informed me in
   the island, we are to go with Lord Howe, which hurried me from
   there. All the family were in perfect health at six o'clock on
   Tuesday evening, when I left them. We must now console ourselves
   with the hope that we shall soon terminate the business. I think
   this year will nearly do it. We anxiously sought for an
   opportunity similar to the Nymphe. We traversed the bay (Biscay)
   in every direction, without the appearance of a French ship; and
   on Monday we were all day in sight of Ushant, but could never
   meet with any but neutral vessels. Our next cruise may probably
   prove more fortunate. With my affectionate love to my sister
   and the children, I am, my dear Richard,

   Yours truly,

It will be seen by the date of this letter, that the Crescent had
arrived at Spithead on the 26th, which is the date of his official
letter to the Admiralty, giving an account of the capture of Le
Club, which, being the same as already given, need not be repeated.

The Crescent, being replenished with water and provisions, was
directed on the 4th July to take on board a quantity of specie for
Plymouth, to which he sailed on the 5th, and, having delivered it
there, took a convoy from thence to the Downs, where he arrived on the
18th July, and, according to further orders, returned with the trade
under convoy from thence to Spithead on the 20th.

The following order, which Captain Saumarez received from the Lords of
the Admiralty, will show the nature of the service on which he was now

   By the Commissioners for executing the office of Lord High
   Admiral of Great Britain and Ireland, &c.


   You are to take his Majesty's ships named on the margin
   (Concorde and Thames) under your command, (their captains being
   directed to follow your orders,) and putting to sea with them
   and the Crescent, the moment the wind and weather will permit,
   proceed and cruise between the latitudes of 49° and 50° 30'
   north, and from sixty to one hundred leagues to the westward of
   the Scilly Islands, for the protection of the trade of his
   Majesty's subjects, and the annoyance of the enemy, taking all
   possible care of the above-mentioned frigates; and diligently
   looking out for, and using your best endeavours to fall in with,
   the homeward-bound convoys from Jamaica and the Leeward Islands,
   which are daily expected, and which are to be the principal
   objects of your attention.

   In case of falling in with either of the said convoys, you are
   to see, or cause to be seen, such of the merchant ships or
   vessels as may be bound to Ireland, or into the Bristol Channel,
   as far as may be necessary for their security, and those bound
   into the English Channel, as far as the Start; and, having so
   done, return with the frigates under your command to the
   above-mentioned station, to look out for the other convoy; and,
   having met with it, to see, or cause to be seen, such of the
   merchant vessels as may be bound to Ireland, and into the
   Bristol Channel, as before directed, and to see those bound up
   the English Channel off their respective ports, as high as
   Spithead, where you are to remain until further orders, sending
   to our secretary an account of your arrival and proceedings.

   You are to continue on the above-mentioned service until the
   20th of next month, unless you shall have fallen in with both
   the said convoys sooner; when you are to make the best of your
   way to Spithead, and remain there as above directed.

   Given under our hands, this 18th day of July 1793.
   J. SMYTH,
   CHs. S. PYBUS.

   To James Saumarez, Esq. &c.
   By command of their lordships.

Captain Saumarez received at the same time information of the number
of ships expected from the different islands in both the convoys, took
the Concorde and Thames under his command, and sailed from Spithead on
the 26th of July 1793.

Next to the command of a fleet, that of a squadron of frigates was at
this period of the war considered the most important, and it could not
but be highly gratifying to Captain Saumarez to find himself selected
again for such a desirable command; but Fortune did not favour his
little detachment. The convoys, which they had been sent to look out
for and protect, had arrived safely at the respective ports before the
squadron reached their destination, and they continued to cruise in
vain within the prescribed limits of their station, till at length
they were assailed by a tremendous gale from the south-east on the
17th of August, in which the Concorde parted company, the Thames lost
her bowsprit and bore up for England, while the Crescent sprung her
main-yard, and by a sudden shift of wind to the northward carried away
her main-top-mast, and, her orders for returning into port having
expired, she arrived at Spithead after an unsuccessful cruise.

The Crescent had not been in dock since the year 1785, and required
much refitting: Captain Saumarez, therefore, on reporting his arrival
to the Secretary of the Admiralty, sent also a statement of the
ship's defects; in consequence of which, an order was sent for her to
be docked at Portsmouth, and refitted for Channel service, while one
hundred of her crew were lent to the Vanguard. As this process
required a considerable time, Captain Saumarez sent for his family;
and, having taken apartments at Ryde, had a few weeks of enjoyment in
their society, and of relaxation from the arduous duties of his
profession. The Crescent was received into dock on the 25th August,
and was again fit for sea on the 10th October, when he received orders
to hold himself ready to proceed at a moment's notice.



   Crescent refitted.--Sails for the Channel Islands.--Falls in
   with the French frigate La Réunion.--Particular account of the
   action.--Letters from Captain Saumarez to his brother.--Brings
   his prize to Portsmouth.--Official letters.--Letters from
   various persons.--Ship refitting.--Captain Saumarez obtains
   leave of absence.--Is knighted for his gallant conduct.

The Crescent being now ready for sea, but with thirteen men short of
her complement, Captain Saumarez applied to have the number filled up,
as her masts and yards were of the same dimensions as those of a
frigate of thirty-eight guns; he also requested such increase as the
Lords of the Admiralty thought proper: but these applications were
unsuccessful, and on the 10th of October he received orders from Sir
Peter Parker, the port-admiral, to "hold himself in constant readiness
to put to sea at a moment's warning;" and it was not long before the
following order was received from the Admiralty.

   By the Commissioners for executing the office of Lord High
   Admiral, &c.

   You are hereby required and directed to proceed in the ship
   under your command, without a moment's loss of time, to the
   islands of Guernsey and Jersey; and so soon as you shall have
   delivered the pacquets you will herewith receive, addressed to
   the commanding officers of his Majesty's troops serving in these
   islands, you are to repair with the said ship off St. Maloes,
   and use your best endeavours to obtain such information of the
   enemy's forces there, as circumstances will admit.

   Having so done, you are to return with the said ship with all
   possible despatch, for further orders, transmitting to our
   secretary, for our information, by post-office express, an
   account of your arrival and proceedings.

   Given under our hands, this 18th October 1793,
   J. SMYTH.

   To Captain Saumarez, R.N.

For several days previously to the 19th, it had been reported that a
French frigate usually quitted the port of Cherbourg at night, and
returned next morning with what prizes she had picked up: this,
together with the information that an armament was preparing for the
invasion of Jersey, caused Captain Saumarez to make extraordinary
exertions to get to sea; and, although the wind was light, he
fortunately succeeded in getting round St. Helens before night. Early
on the morning, on the 20th, he was close to the light-house off Cape


This gallant action, which we are now about to describe, having been
misrepresented in every account yet published, we have, in order to
make the circumstances attending it more easily understood,
illustrated the positions by a diagram, showing the masterly
manoeuvre performed by the Crescent, and the relative situation of
the ships at the commencement and the end of the conflict. The
engraving shows the state and situation of the two ships at the time
the Réunion surrendered.

During the night, the wind had been so far to the westward as to
enable the Crescent to fetch Cape Barfleur, while the Réunion, which
left Cherbourg in the evening, stood to the northward, in hopes of
meeting with merchant-ships coming up Channel. The two frigates,
therefore, must have crossed each other at no great distance; but the
wind having changed towards the south about daylight, and the French
frigate being unable to fetch back to Cherbourg, broke off with her
head to the eastward, while the Crescent, by coming up on the opposite
tack, was enabled to weather and get in shore of the enemy.

Shortly after day-break Captain Saumarez saw two sail standing on the
starboard tack towards the Crescent, and it appears that they had
approached her within two miles before they discovered themselves to
be under the lee of an English frigate: they then tacked and made all
sail, either for the purpose of trying to escape, or to approach
nearer to Cherbourg, that they might have the assistance of their
consort then in the harbour with her sails hoisted up. It was soon
evident that the Crescent, now "clean out of dock," had the advantage
in sailing; and, by half-past ten, Captain Saumarez, by edging down,
took his position on the enemy's larboard quarter within pistol-shot,
when the action began.

Captain John Tancock, who was then a midshipman stationed on the
main-deck, says that the men had directions to fire at the rudder of
their opponent, which was very soon disabled, while the
main-topsail-yard and fore-yard were both shot away. The enemy fired
so high that scarcely any shot struck the hull of the Crescent; but,
consequently, her fore-topsail-yard, and soon afterwards her
fore-top-mast, fell over the starboard gangway. Hitherto the ship had
been kept in her first position by backing and filling the
mizen-topsail, but now she came to, and eventually _came round_: but
Captain Saumarez, whose presence of mind never forsook him, brailed up
the mizen, and, by keeping all the square-sails aback, gave the ship a
_stern-board_; at the same time, by keeping the _helm up_, she wore
round on her heel, obtaining a position under the stern and on the
starboard quarter, while the enemy was lying with his yards square and
totally unmanageable. This manoeuvre is shown in the diagram, to
which an explanation is added.


C. The Crescent. R. The Réunion. 1. Commencement of the
action. 2. The Crescent's track in wearing on her heel. 3. The
position when the Réunion struck.

In passing under the enemy's stern, it was observed that his colours
had been shot away, and, supposing he had struck, the firing ceased;
but, on coming round on the starboard quarter, the enemy again opened
his fire. The Crescent, having now got her larboard guns to bear,
returned his broadside with such effect, that at twenty minutes past
noon the officers of the Réunion waved their hats and flags to
indicate that they had surrendered. The engraving represents the
situation of the two ships at this moment; and Captain Sir Thomas
Mansel, who was then a midshipman, declares it to be correct.

The combat now ceased, and the prize was taken possession of by
Lieutenant (now Admiral) Sir George Parker, who received the usual
order to carry her into port. The French captain being sent on board
the Crescent, they began to remove the prisoners and repair damages.
When the action began, a ship had been seen under the land to the
eastward, about four leagues distant; this was supposed to be an
enemy: but it turned out to be the Circe, Captain Yorke, who joined
four hours after the action, and took part of the prisoners. In the
mean time the cutter made off towards Cherbourg, out of which harbour
the wind and adverse tide prevented the other frigate, said to be La
Semillante, from getting to assist the Réunion.

The following very concise official letter to the Secretary of the
Admiralty from Captain Saumarez, supplies the rest of the detail.

   Crescent, off Cherbourg, 20th October 1793.


   I have the honour to acquaint you, for the information of my
   Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty, that this morning, being
   off Cape Barfleur in his Majesty's ship Crescent, under my
   command, I fell in with a French frigate, which, after a close
   action of two hours and ten minutes, struck to his Majesty's
   colours: she proved to be the Réunion, mounting thirty-six guns,
   and manned with three hundred and twenty men.

   I am singularly happy in being able to inform their lordships
   that she has been obtained without the loss of a single man, or
   even any wounded, although her own loss has been very
   considerable indeed, having, as the prisoners informed me, one
   hundred and twenty killed and wounded.

   I must beg leave to render the most ample justice to the
   officers and ship's company of the Crescent, for their cool and
   steady behaviour during the action; and I take this opportunity
   to recommend to their lordships' notice the three lieutenants,
   Messrs. Parker, Otter, and Rye: their conduct has afforded me
   the utmost satisfaction.

   I have the honour to be,
   With the greatest respect, sir,
   Your most obedient and very humble servant,

   To Philip Stephens, Esq. Admiralty.

   P.S.--The Réunion was accompanied by a cutter, which did not
   attempt to come into action, but made for Cherbourg.

Captain Saumarez was now on his passage to Portsmouth, where he had
left his wife and infant children only two days before, in pursuit of
an implacable enemy known to be not many leagues distant! It was the
first battle he had fought since he became a husband and a father; and
his feelings, as he returned triumphantly to the bosom of his family,
can be easier imagined than described.

The anxiety and excitement inseparable from the day of battle had
subsided, the prisoners had been removed, the captive Frenchmen with
whom he had been sympathizing had retired, and he was at length left
alone to meditate on that remarkable dispensation of Divine favour
which had been so fully and especially manifested towards him: he had
gloriously wrested from an enemy, fighting under the proud banner of
liberty, a ship equal to his own in weight of metal and superior by
seventy men in numbers, after a furious contest of above two hours,
without a man being hurt by his opponent, who lost one hundred and
twenty men killed and wounded: a fact unparalleled in the page of
history. With the generality of mankind, such circumstances were well
calculated to raise feelings of proud exultation; but these were never
cherished in the breast of Saumarez. Having done all in his power to
soothe the affliction of his vanquished enemy, his first impulse was
to offer up his thanksgivings and acknowledgments to the great GIVER
of all victory, and to implore that his mind might not be too highly
elevated by his glorious success. After despatching his unpresuming
letter to the Admiralty, which has been already given, he wrote to his
brother, in London, the following letter:

   Crescent, 21st Oct. 1793.


   You will rejoice with me at the success that has attended our
   short cruise. On Saturday evening we sailed from Spithead; and
   the next morning, being about three leagues from Cape Barfleur,
   we saw two sail standing towards us from under Cherbourg, which
   I soon discovered to be a French frigate and a cutter. We were
   on the larboard tack with the wind off shore; I was happy in
   being able to keep between them and the land. When about two
   miles from us, the frigate tacked with all her sail set, and the
   cutter made sail to windward: we edged down to her, and at a
   cable's distance, at half-past ten, began the action, which
   continued with scarcely any intermission two hours and ten

   Both ships were soon cut up in their sails and rigging, our
   fore-topsail yard being shot away, and soon after the
   fore-top-mast; the ship came to, and wearing on the other tack,
   gave us an opportunity to fire our guns, which were so well
   served that the French ship soon became unmanageable, and
   enabled us to rake her fore and aft; in which situation she
   struck her colours. I must observe that they had been before
   shot away, and, imagining she had struck, I gave orders to cease
   firing; she, however, soon relieved us of our suspense by giving
   us her broadside: we were so well prepared, and kept up so good
   a fire, that in a short time after they waved their colours and
   made signs from the gunwale with their hats that they had

   I immediately sent Mr. Parker to take possession of the ship,
   and send the first and second captains on board the Crescent.
   They informed me that the ship they had surrendered was La
   Réunion, mounting thirty-six guns and three hundred and
   twenty-one men. When we came into action, another frigate was in
   sight to the eastward, which we took to be her consort; we
   therefore lost no time to exchange prisoners, and repair our
   damages, in the best manner we could: she, however, proved to be
   the Circe, and joined us four hours after the action ceased.

   The circumstance that has made me most happy from this
   engagement is, that we have not had a single person hurt by the
   enemy, and but one man injured, who had his leg fractured by the
   recoil of a gun. There being little wind the sea was perfectly
   calm; and I had the satisfaction to observe that most of our
   shot were perfectly well directed. The enemy's frigate is indeed
   most sadly a wreck, thirty-four men killed and eighty-four
   wounded, many of them mortally; one officer only has suffered,
   being badly wounded. She was commanded by Citizen Denain,
   capitaine de vaisseau, to whose obstinacy they ascribe the
   sacrifice of many lives.

   It is unnecessary for me to observe, my dear Richard, the great
   happiness I derive from the consciousness that this event will
   afford you and all our friends particular satisfaction. My dear
   Martha, too,--I scarcely know how I shall disclose the
   circumstance to her; it embarrasses me as much as if it were a
   mournful subject. One observation is incumbent on me to make,
   namely, that Captain Yorke used every possible exertion to join
   us sooner, and that he has most readily afforded us every
   assistance we required,

   I now remain, your ever affectionate brother,

Captain Saumarez had now realized his ardent desire for an opportunity
of distinguishing himself, such as was afforded to his gallant
brother-officer of the Nymphe; and it is a singular coincidence that
each should have written to his brother on the day of action, under
similar circumstances of triumph and excitement. These interesting
documents seem to have decided the superiority of the British over the
French navy, at the commencement of the French revolution, and in
reference to that of Saumarez, we cannot but dwell with admiration on
the humility and acuteness of feeling with which it is replete!

The Circe, which had joined four hours after the action, was
despatched to Guernsey to execute the service on which Captain
Saumarez had been ordered; but the Crescent and her prize, in
proceeding to Spithead, were detained by light winds and calms. On the
22nd, she arrived off the Isle of Wight, when Lieutenant Otter was
sent to Portsmouth in the boat with the following official letter:

   Crescent, off the Isle of Wight, 22d Oct. 1793.


   I BEG you will be pleased to inform my Lords Commissioners of
   the Admiralty, that, being unable to gain Spithead from the
   prevailing calms, I have thought it expedient to despatch
   Lieutenant Otter with the intelligence I have the honour to
   convey to their lordships.

   Having been prevented by the action with La Réunion from
   complying with their lordships' orders, I directed the Hon.
   Captain Yorke, who joined me in his Majesty's ship Circe, to
   proceed with the pacquets I was charged with for the commanding
   officers of his Majesty's troops at Guernsey and Jersey, and
   from thence to proceed to St. Maloes, and return to Spithead,
   agreeable to their lordships' orders.

   I beg to observe, that Captain Yorke gave me every possible
   assistance, and has taken one hundred and sixty prisoners from
   the Réunion, which I directed him to land in the island of

   I have the honour to be, sir,
   Your most humble servant,

   To Philip Stephens, Esq.

The Crescent arrived at Spithead on the following day, and with her
prize was ordered into harbour; the former to have her damages
repaired, and the latter to be surveyed and purchased for his
Majesty's service.

Before we submit the interesting official and private letters which
Captain Saumarez received on his arrival, and which may be considered
as the best proof of the sensation which this gallant action created,
it becomes our duty to state the comparative force of the two
      _Crescent._  No. Size. No.  Size.    No. Size. Total. metal.
    Broadside guns 13  18pr. 4  18pr. car. 1    9pr.  36   315lbs.
    Broadside guns 13  14pr. 3  40pr. car. 4    7pr.  40   330lbs.
     Difference of guns, and of weight of shot in favour
     of La Réunion                                     4    15lbs.
        _Crescent._               Men   257     Tons 888
        _Réunion._                Men   320     Tons 951
     Difference in favour of La
     Réunion                             63           63
     N.B. The weight has been reduced to English pounds.

The Crescent lost her fore-top-mast; her sails and rigging were much
damaged, but very few shot struck her hull; and the only man hurt was
at the first broadside, when his leg was fractured by the recoil of a

La Réunion, on the contrary, had many shot in her hull, and her stern
was very much shattered. After she was in dock, we saw where a shot
had entered the starboard quarter, and made its way out of the
larboard bow. It was said to have killed and wounded twenty-one men!
The head of her rudder and wheel were shot away, and the fore-yard and
main-topsail-yard came down early in the action: she was, in short, a
complete wreck, as represented in the plate. The hopes that the ship
seen to the eastward under the land was a friend, induced the French
captain to delay surrendering after defence could no longer be

The head-money was only paid for three hundred men; but there was no
doubt that three hundred and twenty-one were on board at the
commencement of the action, as many of the slain were thrown
overboard, and the French officers, for obvious reasons, wished to
make their force less than it was. According to Captains Tancock and
Mansell, forty men were killed, and eighty wounded. The cutter which
was in company, believed to be L'Espérance, mounting fourteen guns,
made off for Cherbourg with sweeps and sails as soon as the firing
commenced. La Réunion's consort, believed to be the Semillante, made
an attempt to get out of Cherbourg, but was prevented by the tide,
when she sent a boat full of men, it was supposed, to reinforce the
former, but which returned when it was observed that her fate was
decided. The French shore, only five miles distant, was crowded with

There is no action between two single ships on record, where
consummate skill in naval tactics has been so brilliantly and
successfully displayed as in that which we have just described. The
patriotic reader must not imagine that, because the Crescent had
"none" either killed or wounded, the captain and officers of La
Réunion did not do their utmost, and far less that they were deficient
in courage. The severe loss they sustained, and the obstinacy with
which their ship was defended, has fully proved their bravery. Had the
Crescent at once boarded the Réunion, which was in her power, and
carried her sword in hand, as in the case of the Nymphe and Cléopâtre,
it would have been perhaps better calculated to excite feelings of
admiration in the general reader, who is not acquainted with naval
affairs; but this mode of attack is one which, we must acquaint them,
might readily be made by any officer moderately skilled in naval
tactics. It is where the commander of a ship, by his presence of mind
and skilful manoeuvring, succeeds in the defeat and capture of an
enemy, that the superiority is manifest; and it is to him who has thus
proved that he possesses the _tact_ to accomplish his object, and yet
spare the valuable lives of his men, that the meed of praise is most
justly due.

   Crescent, Spithead, 23rd October 1793.


   I beg you will be pleased to inform my Lords Commissioners of
   the Admiralty of my arrival at Spithead in H.M. ship Crescent,
   under my command, and the prize La Réunion, and from thence into
   Portsmouth Harbour, conformable with orders from Sir Peter

   I have the honour to be,
   Your obedient humble servant,

   To Philip Stephens, Esq.

   Admiralty, October 24th, 1793.


   I learnt yesterday with great satisfaction the account of your
   action with the French frigate La Réunion, and beg to
   congratulate you very sincerely on your success on this
   occasion. The greatest praise seems due to the bravery and good
   conduct of the officers and men of the Crescent. I shall be
   extremely happy, as soon as it is convenient to you, to have the
   pleasure of seeing you in town, and of presenting you to his
   Majesty on an occasion so highly honourable to you. I am, sir,

   Your very faithful humble servant,
   (First Lord of the Admiralty.)

   To Captain Saumarez.

   Admiralty, 24th October 1793.


   I was this morning so happy as to receive your letter, conveying
   the agreeable account of your having captured the French frigate
   La Réunion, and which I lost no time in communicating to Lord
   Chatham, who will himself express to you his very high sense of
   your distinguished conduct, as well as his great satisfaction at
   the account you have given of the exemplary and gallant
   behaviour of your officers and men. I beg, my dear sir, to
   congratulate you most sincerely on an event which adds such
   lustre to your professional character, at the same time that it
   entitles you to every reward from your country, and

   I remain, with great regard,
   Your very faithful
   and obedient humble servant,
   J. HUNT.
   (Private Secretary.)

   To Captain Saumarez, &c.

   St. James's-square, 24th October 1793.


   Lord Chatham was so obliging as to acquaint me yesterday with
   your success, and at the same time with his fullest approbation
   of your conduct, which you may be assured gave me great
   pleasure. I have this day the favour of your letter, and thank
   you for your kind attention in informing me of what you might be
   confident would give me particular satisfaction.

   I am, with great regard, sir,
   Your obedient humble servant,

   To Captain James Saumarez.

   28th October 1793, Middleham, Yorkshire.


   Accept my warmest congratulations on your late very
   extraordinary and glorious success, which I consider as a signal
   favour and blessing upon you from the God of armies, whom I
   invoke, and shall ever, on your behalf, that the path of
   happiness and glory, temporal and eternal, may be successfully
   trodden by you, and that you may long live an example of the
   blessings that Heaven has for a Cornelius. Continue me in your
   friendly remembrance, which I shall ever consider as an honour.

   I am, dear sir,
   Your most affectionate
   and most obedient humble servant,

   To Captain Saumarez, &c.

   Portsmouth, 30th October 1793.


   I am infinitely obliged to you for your kindness and attention
   to George Parker. I have not as yet heard from Lord Chatham, but
   suppose I shall in a day or two. This morning I reckon you will
   kiss hands, and return home "Sir James." Such an honour obtained
   on such an occasion is worthy the solicitation of a duke. If
   anything material occurs, be so good to favour me with a line.
   Lady Parker unites in every good wish for your rib and yourself,

   Yours, most sincerely,

   To Captain Saumarez.

Captain Saumarez, after a happy visit to his family at Ryde, repaired
to London, on leave of absence; and, on being presented to his
Majesty, received the well-merited honour of knighthood, and his first
lieutenant (now Admiral Sir) George Parker, was promoted to the rank
of master and commander. Sir James, having applied for an extension of
his leave, enjoyed the society of his friends in London until the
14th of November, when he and Lady Saumarez returned to their family
at Ryde. The following letter to his brother, descriptive of other
marks of respect which had been paid to him, will be read with

   Ryde, Isle of Wight, 16th Nov. 1793.


   It was not before yesterday that we were enabled to return to
   our little treasure in this island, owing to official business
   and the badness of the weather. We found all in perfect good
   health except our little girl, who has been for some time very
   unwell, and has suffered exceedingly; she is at present rather
   better, and we hope her disorder is past its height. Mr. Le
   Marchant has fixed for next Monday to leave the island. I shall
   endeavour to accompany them to Southampton, and, after that,
   trust to opportunities hereafter offering to enable me to see
   them at Bath.

   I do not expect the Crescent will be ready to leave the harbour
   before the middle of next week; what our destination will then
   be must remain uncertain. Sir John Jarvis has this morning made
   the signal for sailing, and it is expected will put to sea on
   Monday or Tuesday next. I mean to return to Portsmouth to-day or
   to-morrow, that I may have an opportunity of seeing General
   Dundas before his departure.

   Our last letters from the island (Guernsey) are of the 6th; no
   particular news. You will be concerned to hear of the fate of
   the unlucky Thames; when the particulars are received, I am
   persuaded it will be found that the ship has not been given
   away. The report is, that, after a severe action with a
   six-and-thirty, she was next day attacked by the Carmagniolle,
   to which ship she struck. Sir E. Pellew is cruising with the
   Circe off St. Maloes; the French have no ships at present at

   Yesterday I received a very polite letter from Mr. Marsham,
   inclosing the resolution of the 14th instant from the committee
   for encouraging the capture of French privateers, voting me a
   piece of plate, value one hundred guineas, which I consider a
   very high compliment paid to my earnest endeavours. But I am not
   quite so well pleased with a letter from Mr. Cooke, who has the
   distribution of the fees which he says are due from those who
   receive the honour of knighthood, and which amount to 103_l._
   6_s._ 8_d._ In reply to this, I have referred him to whoever
   paid the above fees for Sir E. Pellew, on whom that honour was
   conferred on a similar occasion. I fear it may not be taken
   well; at the same time, I think it hard to pay so much for an
   honour which my services have been thought to deserve.

   Captain Parker came down to Portsmouth last Thursday, without
   having obtained an interview with Lord Chatham. I am, however,
   persuaded he will soon get a ship. The other arrangements are
   not yet made. Mr. Warren has gone to London, to endeavour to get
   over the difficulty of not having served his rated time; if he
   does, he is to be third lieutenant.

   You must now permit me to return you and my dear sister our most
   sincere thanks for the kind hospitality we experienced under
   your roof; we not only ate of your board and drank of your cup,
   but you gave us your very bed to repose on: when shall we have
   it in our power to requite such goodness? At any rate, receive
   this tribute of our warmest gratitude.

   I hope your dear children, whom we almost considered as ours,
   are very well: bestow on them a thousand kisses from us. With
   our most sincere love, I remain, my dear brother,

   Ever affectionately yours,

On the 22nd of November, the Crescent came out of harbour, and was
reported ready for sea; and Sir James Saumarez was now ready to
proceed, and to add fresh laurels to those he had so gloriously gained
in the service of his king and country.


1793, 1794.

   Sir James Saumarez is placed under the orders of Admiral
   McBride.--Is detached, and attacks an Enemy's squadron.--Narrow
   Escape from Shipwreck.--Off Havre.--Cherbourg.--Private Letters
   relating the particulars of several Cruises on the French
   coast.--Gallant Action with a French squadron of superior force
   off Guernsey.

Sir James was now placed under the orders of Admiral McBride, who gave
him the command of a squadron, consisting of the Crescent and Druid,
frigates, Liberty brig, and Lion cutter. The first service he had to
perform was to carry a small convoy of transports with troops, &c. to
Guernsey and Jersey, and furthermore to obtain pilots for the
admiral's squadron.

We shall not attempt to describe the enthusiastic reception which Sir
James and his gallant crew received from their loyal and patriotic
countrymen in these islands; but his stay was short. Despatching the
Liberty to reconnoitre St. Maloes, he proceeded to Jersey, and, having
reconnoitred Granville, returned to Guernsey Roads on the 28th of
November, when he detached the Lion with pilots to the admiral; and,
pursuant to orders, sailed to the adjacent coast of France to assist
the royalists.

The following is his account of an attempt to attack a French squadron
in the bay of Brehat.

   Crescent, off Guernsey, 7th Dec. 1793.


   I have the honour to acquaint you, that pursuant to your orders
   I sailed from Guernsey Roads the night of the 5th instant, in
   his Majesty's ship Crescent, under my command, together with the
   Druid frigate and Liberty brig. The wind being to the southward,
   we were unable to fetch to windward off Cape Frehel in the
   morning; and observing several sail at anchor off the isles of
   Brehat, particularly two large ships and a brig, in a bay to the
   northward, which there appeared a great probability of attacking
   with success, I stood in for them; but the tide of ebb setting
   us to the westward, prevented our fetching into the bay, and
   enabled the enemy's ships to get under way with the first of the
   flood, and save themselves between the rocks. We were however in
   time to fire several shot at the largest, which, as well as the
   others, appeared armed _en flute_ and deeply laden.

   Finding it impossible to follow them without endangering his
   Majesty's ships, I stood out of the bay through a passage which
   both the pilots I had on board assured me was perfectly safe.

   We soon found ourselves deceived, perceiving several rocks which
   we with difficulty cleared. Unfortunately the Druid, (which I
   hailed to acquaint her of the danger,) in wearing, tailed on a
   sunken rock; and, although she floated in a few minutes, she has
   I fear received so much damage as to require her to be taken
   into dock.

   I have directed Captain Ellison, whose activity and exertions
   cannot be too highly praised, to proceed to Plymouth, and the
   Liberty to accompany him into the Sound, and rejoin you without
   loss of time.

   I am, with every respect, sir,
   Your obedient and most humble servant,

   Rear-admiral John McBride.

On Sir James's arrival at Guernsey, he addressed the following letter
to his brother in London, which continues the narrative of his
proceedings on that dangerous coast.


   I take the first opportunity to send you an account of an
   enterprise which, had it been attended with success, would have
   proved fortunate indeed. Not having time to send you the
   particulars, I have enclosed a copy of my letter to the admiral,
   which you will show to M. Le Mesurier. I have only to add, that
   the object in view justified the attempt; but, as the world too
   often forms its judgment from events, I fear we shall not
   acquire much credit for the attempt.

   At midnight, we providentially escaped getting wrecked on the
   Rocks Douvre, in steering after the Druid. We were warned of our
   perilous situation by the noise of the breakers, and had only
   time to avoid them. In short, my dear friend, when I consider
   our disappointment, and the very wonderful escapes we have had,
   it is almost too much for me, and I can only be thankful things
   are not worse.

   Accounts have lately arrived from the army of the royalists,
   that they are in possession of Rennes, and we have reason to
   expect soon to hear of their having a seaport wherein we can
   land the reinforcement. Four French frigates have been in sight
   of the island these two days; the more mortifying as we cannot
   detach after them without leaving the troops embarked
   unprotected. An expedition of this consequence should have at
   least the support of two ships of the line.

   Be careful that nothing that I write to you transpires. I have
   lately seen paragraphs which have given me concern, particularly
   one mentioning my being ordered off St. Maloes. Be assured they
   may occasion much mischief and distrust, if it can be imagined
   that they originate from any of my friends. My brother has shown
   me the P.S. of your letter to him: I think it best the plate
   should be confined to a dinner-set, as I am unwilling to
   separate the whole of a present so handsomely bestowed;
   therefore, if not too late, I wish you to direct accordingly.
   Lady S. writes to me that our dear little girl is better; I wish
   to hear that she is sufficiently well to be inoculated. I shall
   be happy to have it over.

   You are a long time without writing to me. Although I know you
   are most hurried at this time, you must forgive me if I desire
   you will devote a few spare minutes to me; my sister, I am sure,
   will consent to it. Assure her of my sincere love; and believe
   me truly,
   My dear Richard,

   Yours affectionately,

   P.S.--We are close ship-keepers, being all on board by six
   o'clock; a very proper regulation. I do not expect to sail
   before the fleet proceeds to the French coast, when I hope our
   accounts will prove more favourable.

We have here two other remarkable instances, where on sudden and
unexpected danger appearing, the presence of mind and professional
skill of Saumarez saved his ship and squadron from destruction; and
although the bold attempt he made to attack the enemy was
unsuccessful, he does not less deserve the merit of making it, for we
cannot command the wind and tide.

The Crescent continued to cruise with Admiral McBride's squadron
during the winter, making several attempts to assist the royalists on
various places on the coast of France, and annoying the enemy's
coasting trade.

The following letters from Sir James to his brother in London, give a
particular account, in his own words, of the arduous services on which
he was employed during that time.

   Crescent, Cowes Roads, 25th January 1794.


   You will not expect so soon to hear from me, but I must just
   give you a journal of our short cruise. The day after we sailed
   from here, we chased three armed brigs off Havre, which were
   very near captured by the Flora and this ship. The day
   following, Sir John Warren having detached me and La Nymphe to
   look into Cherbourg, on the very spot where La Réunion fell into
   our hands, we were on the point of taking a French frigate,
   apparently of twenty-eight or thirty-two guns. The wind at first
   flattered us with the hope of cutting her off from the land,
   when it shifted and enabled her to get into Cherbourg: they were
   decidedly frightened, and kept firing guns as signals to their
   ships in the bay, which never attempted to come out to their
   assistance, although we were alone, as La Nymphe was scarcely
   discernible from this ship. The next day La Nymphe sprung her
   fore-mast, which obliged her to return to Spithead.

   I appeared close to Cherbourg all day yesterday, in the hope of
   drawing their ships out, which I plainly discerned to consist of
   six frigates, four of which were large. In the evening it coming
   on to blow hard, and no appearance of our ships, I stood off
   shore, and at noon this day, it blowing a severe storm, I
   anchored in this road. Admiral McBride having consented to my
   going to Bath for twenty-four hours, I am setting off with all
   speed: not having time to add more, I remain, with my kindest
   My dear Richard,

   Yours ever affectionately,
   Sunday Morning.

   P.S.--I really intended to write to the Lord Mayor, but have not
   a moment's time; I shall therefore leave you to acquaint him
   with our return here.

We may stop here to mention, that in the debate in the House of
Commons on the address to the King's speech at the opening of
parliament, the gallant conduct of Sir James Saumarez was mentioned in
terms of admiration, and his late action quoted as a remarkable
instance of the superiority of our naval commanders in professional
talent and skill; the account of this had been transmitted to him from
London by his brother Richard.

   Cowes, 2nd February 1794.


   I left my dearest concerns yesterday morning, and arrived here
   this afternoon, after a six hours' storm, from Southampton.
   Both your kind letters afford me infinite satisfaction. When I
   wrote to you on Sunday, I had not the admiral's consent to
   remain till I heard from him, and only expected to remain
   twenty-four hours in Bath; but depended, nevertheless, on
   hearing from you there. You must therefore desire my sister to
   plead in your behalf, when she writes to Lady S.

   I am much flattered at my name having been found worthy of
   notice in the House of Commons, and I thank you for the praise
   you bestow on me for the business of our last cruise. Though we
   failed in taking the frigate, it was certainly a matter of
   exultation and triumph to me, in a single ship, thus to brave
   the enemy off their port.

   I find Sir John Warren has sent in an armed brig, which we were
   prevented from sharing, at the time we were in pursuit of the
   frigate: we decoyed her to within a small distance from us by
   showing French colours, and I am persuaded we should have taken
   her, if we had chased her instead of the frigate; and they ought
   in justice to allow us to share in the profits of this prize.

   I would advise you to wait till Donaldson's plates come out for
   your paintings. Let me caution you against purchasing any of the
   prints, as I have engaged fifteen sets for my friends, in order
   to have proof engravings.

   Tom[7] writes to me they are under serious apprehensions for the
   island. I own to you I think there is some cause, unless we keep
   a strong squadron for their defence; at the same time, I do not
   believe they have so strong a force as mentioned, or that they
   are making preparation for invading this country. Let me know
   what has become of Mr. Warren, and whether Captain Parker has

   I must now wish you and my sister, and all under your roof, a
   good night. And

   I remain truly,
   Yours affectionately,
   Monday morning.

   P.S.--Our admiral has not yet made his appearance, a vessel is
   gone to Portsmouth for him. The packet returns so speedily that
   it is next to impossible to answer letters the same day.

   [7] Sir James's brother.

   Crescent, Spithead, 24th February 1794.


   You will be pleased to hear of our being safe in port in the
   midst of the prevailing storms, but not without our having
   previously felt their rigour. Last Thursday morning we carried
   away our main-top-mast; and, in going to Torbay soon after, we
   sprung our fore-yard, which made the admiral determine to send
   us to Spithead to refit, and afterwards join him with all
   possible despatch. We are just anchored; but it blows so very
   hard, there is no possibility of sending a boat on shore.

   I left the squadron anchored in Torbay yesterday evening, where
   they are well sheltered from the present very high wind. Let me
   hear from you, if possible, by the next post. Not expecting to
   be ordered here, I wrote to Lady S. yesterday morning, desiring
   her to direct to me there; and would have written to you to the
   same purpose, but that I expected to have sent my letters from
   here by this evening's post, which would have reached you
   equally soon.

   I think this weather will, for the present at least, let us
   sleep in tranquillity, and make our enemies set aside their
   projected invasion. Let them attempt it when they will, I shall
   view it as a desirable event for this country. But I am not of
   that opinion with regard to our islands.

   God bless you, and preserve them all! Let us deserve well, and
   there is nothing that we may not confidently expect from his
   providence. And, with my sincere love,

   I am ever affectionately yours,

   P.S. Sunday morning.--I availed myself of a favourable time this
   morning to come on shore, and have just received a letter
   stating that the Liberty had been chased by two frigates off the

The following letter gives an account of his visit to the island of
Jersey, &c.

   Bouley Bay, Jersey, 30th March 1794.


   I have at length had an opportunity of visiting this island, the
   admiral having detached this ship and the Druid to look into
   Cancalle Bay and Granville. It falling calm on Thursday evening,
   we anchored in St. Owen's Bay; and, next morning, Captain
   Ellison and myself went on shore to wait on Lord Balcarras. We
   called on Mr. Dumaresq on our way to St. Hilliers, who most
   obligingly assisted us with horses, and accompanied us to town
   after having engaged us to dinner. I had just time to call on
   our friends John Durell and Mr. Wm. Dumaresq, who were very kind
   in their offers of service. We then returned to St. Peter's, and
   I shall ever be thankful for one of the most pleasant days I
   have passed since I commanded the Crescent. Lord Balcarras and
   his aides-de-camp were the only strangers; Major and Mrs. Le
   Couteur were of the party; and they were all to have favoured me
   with their company on board the following day, had not untoward
   circumstances prevented that pleasure. In the evening we had so
   thick a fog that it was impossible to join the ships; and at
   day-break we had the mortification to find, that, the wind
   having come to the southward, they had found it necessary to
   leave the bay. They however soon made their appearance, and with
   some difficulty I got on board.

   The weather not permitting our going on the French coast, I
   anchored in this bay, and detached a lugger with the third
   lieutenant, which will execute the service better than we could
   in the ships. They are here greatly relieved from their fears by
   knowing our squadron is so near them; and the ladies that at
   first emigrated are now returning. Write to me by the packet to

   When we can ascertain the force at Cancalle, I hope we shall
   find ourselves of sufficient strength to pay them a visit. If
   the emissaries are to be credited, they are disembarking their
   troops, and marching against the royalists in La Vendée.

   I hope my sister continues well, as when I left you. And, with
   kindest love,

   I remain, yours ever affectionately,

   Sunday evening.--P.S. Mr. French, third lieutenant, is this
   moment returned. He reports that eleven sail of frigates are in
   Cancalle Bay only;--not the least appearance of ships of the

After remaining some time on this dangerous station, the Crescent and
squadron returned to Plymouth, when Sir James Saumarez was employed on
the expedition under Earl Moira, which need not be detailed here. On
the 11th May he received orders to take a squadron under his command,
to cruise off the Lizard. The following letter is relative to this

   Crescent, at sea, 14th May, 1794.


   Pursuant to your directions, I dispatch the Mary cutter to
   Plymouth for any orders you may be pleased to send me, and I
   avail myself of this opportunity to acquaint you with the
   proceedings of the squadron from the time of our departure.

   We made sail to the southward on Sunday night, and saw nothing
   except two neutral vessels. One of them was informed by Sir
   Richard Strachan, that on the 6th instant he fell in with a
   squadron of French frigates in lat. 47° 50' N., long. 6° 15' W.

   Yesterday morning, about eighteen leagues to the southward of
   the Lizard, the weather having proved hazy, on clearing up we
   saw a ship and a brig, which we soon distinguished to be enemy's
   cruisers. I made the signal for general chase, and endeavoured
   to cut them off from the French coast. We pursued them till
   within four miles of Ushant, when they escaped through the
   passage De Four. I then made the best of my way to regain the
   station; and we are now anxiously looking for the frigates we
   sailed in pursuit of, with the hopes of better success.

   I beg to assure you of my most earnest endeavours to merit the
   confidence you are pleased to repose in me; being, with great
   My dear Admiral,

   Your most faithful
   and obedient servant,

   To Admiral McBride, Plymouth.

It was in the interval between December 1793 and June 1794, that Sir
James Saumarez and Sir Edward Pellew, and Sir John Warren, being each
in command of squadrons of frigates, agreed to share prize-money until
the latter should return to port, which did not take place until June.
It is notorious in the navy that this led to a dispute, and
consequently a coolness, between these gallant officers, but the
misunderstanding was subsequently made up, and need not be farther
alluded to.

On the 1st June Captain Saumarez returned to Plymouth from the coast
of France adjacent to the Channel islands, and on the 6th received the
following order from Admiral McBride.

   You are hereby required and directed to take under your command
   his Majesty's ships, luggers, and cutters, named on the
   margin,[8] and proceed first with them to Guernsey and Jersey,
   and then endeavour to ascertain the force the enemy may have in
   Cancalle Bay and St. Maloes, and then return to Cawsand Bay,
   leaving the Prestwood cutter with Captain Ball, of his Majesty's
   ship Fury.

   Given under my hand, on board
   H.M.S. Echo, 6th June 1794.

   [8] Druid, Valiant, Dolphin, Cockchafer, Active, and Prestwood.

Sir James sailed on the 7th from Plymouth: the following is a copy of
his official letter, giving an account of his action with the French

   Crescent, Guernsey, 8th June 1794.


   I have the honour to acquaint you that this morning, at dawn of
   day, being with his Majesty's ship Crescent, under my command,
   and the Druid and Eurydice frigates, about twelve leagues to the
   northward of Guernsey, on the larboard tack, with a fresh breeze
   to the N.E., we fell in with five sail of ships and a cutter to
   windward. From their not bearing down, and other circumstances,
   I did not take them for enemy's ships; and I directed Lieut.
   Baker, of the Valiant, armed lugger, to make sail to windward,
   for the purpose of reconnoitring them. At six o'clock they
   hoisted national colours, and fired on the lugger. I then
   shortened sail to form the line; but the Eurydice sailing so
   indifferently, and having so superior a force to contend
   with,--three of the enemy's ships being large frigates, with
   another which I took for the Thames, and one apparently of
   twenty-four guns,--I directed Captain Cole to make all the sail
   he could and stand in shore, Guernsey at the time being in

     [9] See Engraving.

   I remained with this ship and the Druid under easy sail to
   windward. The two headmost ships of the enemy kept up a brisk
   fire as they came up; which was returned, but at too great a
   distance to do any considerable damage. At eight, the Eurydice
   being so far in shore as to run no risk of their coming up with
   her, and the whole French line coming up within gun-shot, I made
   sail with the Druid for the Hanoways.

   Observing the headmost of the enemy gaining very fast on the two
   ships, I hauled in for the shore with the view of drawing off
   her attention; which answered my purpose, as she immediately
   hauled up after me, and maintained a brisk fire for some time,
   but without effect. She then bore away, but the Druid and
   Eurydice were too far ahead; and soon after they hauled their
   wind to the northward.

   I feel every satisfaction in acquainting you that, from the
   spirit and bravery of my officers and men on this occasion, I am
   persuaded it would have had every effect, had we had a more
   equal force to contend with. I met with a noble support in
   Captain Ellison; and I have only to regret that Captain Cole was
   not in a ship of sufficient force to allow of my deriving
   advantage from his tact and intrepidity.

   I am, with every respect, sir,
   Your most obedient and most humble servant,

   Rear-Admiral John McBride.



                Guns.  Weight of shot.
     Crescent     36    630
     Druid        36    630
     Eurydice     20    240
     Total        92   1500

   The cutters and luggers went off to Plymouth when the action


                                Guns.   Weight of shot.
     Le Scævola (razée)           54    1656
     Le Brutus (ditto)            54    1656
     La Danae                     36     800
     La Félicité                  36     800
     La Terreur.                  12     144
                                 ---    ----
     Total                       192    5056

Thus it appears that the French were 100 guns, and 3556 pounds in
weight of metal, superior to the English squadron.

This exploit, which has been justly considered by every officer of the
navy a masterpiece of professional skill, as well as of presence of
mind and intrepidity, should be more particularly related than in the
above very modest public letter. The superiority of the enemy being
much too great to be opposed with any chance of success, it became the
imperative duty of Saumarez to effect, if possible, the escape of his
ships, to which the enemy immediately gave chase. Observing that his
own ship and the Druid had the advantage in sailing, and that the
Eurydice, which was not only in bad condition but a bad sailer, would
fall into their hands, he shortened sail, and having ordered the
Eurydice by signal to push for Guernsey, he contrived, by occasionally
showing a disposition to engage, to amuse the enemy, and lead him off
until the Eurydice was safe. He now tacked, and, in order to save the
Druid, closed with the enemy, passing along their line; and the
capture of the Crescent seemed at one time inevitable. The Druid
meanwhile made her escape, with the Eurydice, into Guernsey Roads.

But Sir James Saumarez had for his own preservation a scheme which, in
the first instance, required great courage; in the second, a perfect
knowledge of a most dangerous and intricate channel; and, in the last,
a consummate skill in the management of his ship. He was himself well
acquainted with the coast, and possessed an experienced pilot, John
Breton, a native, whose house was on that extremity of the island. As
soon therefore as the other two ships were secure, he bore up as if to
run his ship on the rocks, to avoid capture. Ordering his pilot to
steer the Crescent through a narrow passage between the rocks, which
had never before been attempted by a ship of her size, and defying the
enemy to follow him, he reached the anchorage in safety,[10] to the no
small surprise and mortification of the French, who, after firing some
time over the rocks at the ship, were obliged, by the shot of the
Crescent and that of the batteries, to give up the contest.

   [10] See Engraving and Diagram.

It is worthy of remark that, after passing through the narrow channel,
the ship had to sail so near to the shore of Câtel parish, that he
could distinctly see his own house,--a position truly singular, for
behind he beheld a French prison, and before him his own fireside!
While passing through the narrowest part of the channel, Sir James
asked the pilot if he was sure he could see the marks for running
through? when he replied, "I am quite sure, for there is _your_ house,
and there is my own!"

The gratification which Sir James must have felt in having, by
his admirable skill and daring, so completely succeeded in saving
the whole of the ships, could not but be highly augmented by
the circumstance of his countrymen, and even his family and
friends, being eye-witnesses of his gallant and judicious conduct.
Lieutenant-governor Small, who, with a multitude of the inhabitants,
beheld the whole of these masterly evolutions, immediately published
the following flattering testimonial in his general orders, which was
afterwards transmitted to Sir James by the brigade-major in a polite

   Parole, _Saumarez_; countersign, _Crescent._

   The lieutenant-governor cannot, without doing injustice to his
   own feelings, help taking notice thus publicly of the gallant
   and distinguished conduct of Sir James Saumarez, with the
   officers and men of his Majesty's ships Crescent, Druid, and
   Eurydice, under his command, in the very unequal conflict of
   yesterday, where their consummate professional skill and
   masterly manoeuvres demonstrated with brilliant effect the
   superiority of British seamanship and bravery, by repelling and
   frustrating the views of at least treble their force and weight
   of metal.

   This cheering instance of spirit and perseverance in a
   detachment of our royal navy, could not fail of presenting an
   animating and pleasing example to his Majesty's land forces,
   both of the line and island troops, who were anxious spectators,
   and beheld with admiration the active conduct of their brave

   To the loyal inhabitants of Guernsey it afforded cause of real
   exultation to witness the manly and excellent conduct of an
   officer of whom this flourishing island has to boast he is a

The governor of Guernsey, as a further mark of admiration at the
gallant conduct of Sir James Saumarez, wrote the following letter to
the Secretary of the Admiralty:

   Government-house, Guernsey, 9th June 1794.


   I do myself the honour of transmitting herewith a copy of what I
   deemed proper to insert this day in the public orders issued to
   his Majesty's forces stationed on the island of Guernsey, under
   my command. May I request that this tribute of well-earned
   approbation from a brother officer may be communicated to the
   Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty. Should it appear irregular
   that an extra-official communication of this nature comes from a
   department not immediately under their lordships' cognizance,
   the impropriety on my part I trust will be indulgently forgiven,
   as it arises from an irresistible impulse of wishing to do
   justice to merit and exertions far indeed above my praise. As an
   officer honoured with a public and confidential situation, and
   having from shore been an eye-witness of the gallant intrepidity
   of Sir James Saumarez, and sailors of his Majesty's ships
   Crescent, Druid, and Eurydice, under his command, I consider it
   my duty to express, although still inadequately, my opinion of
   the conduct of men whose modesty (the infallible concomitant of
   merit) may, in reporting to you, come short of what thousands of
   loyal and anxious spectators from this island beheld with joy
   and satisfaction, in the display of superior address and British
   bravery alluded to.

   I have the honour to subscribe myself,
   With esteem and high regard, sir,
   Your most obedient and most humble servant,

   To Philip Stephens, Esq. &c. &c. &c.

   N.B. The enclosure has been already given.

The following general memorandum was issued to the squadron, dated

   Crescent, Guernsey Roads, 9th June 1794.

   General Memorandum.

   Sir James Saumarez desires to return his best thanks to Captain
   Ellison, and the officers and men of H.M.S. Druid, for their
   spirited conduct and bravery on the 8th instant, in having,
   jointly with the Crescent, repelled ships of the enemy treble
   our force. It is to be regretted that the bad sailing of the
   Eurydice prevented their deriving the advantage they otherwise
   would have received from Captain Cole and his brave ship's

   Crescent, Guernsey Roads, 9th June 1794.

   General Memorandum.

   Sir James Saumarez requests Captain Cole will signify to the
   officers and ship's company of his Majesty's ship Eurydice,
   under his command, how truly mortified he felt himself at being
   deprived of their support and assistance on the 8th instant, in
   consequence of the bad sailing of their ship. Had the enemy's
   force on that day permitted their being brought to action on
   more equal terms, he is too fully persuaded of the gallantry and
   bravery of British seamen not to be convinced of its having been
   attended with the most signal success.

Early in the action, the small vessels, being separated by the enemy,
bore up for Plymouth. The Valiant arrived first with bad news; and
then Mr. Hall, of the Cockchafer, went to Admiral McBride, and
informed him that the whole of Sir James Saumarez' squadron was taken.
The admiral, who was then suffering under a fit of the gout, demanded
if he saw them strike; to which Mr. Hall replied that he did not, but
they could not escape. This so enraged the admiral, who would not
believe Sir James's squadron had been taken, that he threatened to
throw his crutch at him, and sent him out of his presence in a very
summary manner, charging him to return to Guernsey with the following

   Tuesday, 10th June.


   If I can gather anything right from Hall, of the little lugger
   that ran away from you, this will find you at Guernsey, and I
   hope in good health, with your associates; to whom remember me.
   The conduct of the small craft you are the best judge of, and I
   shall suspend my conjectures till I see or hear from you on that
   subject. As you must naturally have received damage, you will, I
   think, do well to return hither, by which time I suppose La
   Margaretta will arrive. Yesterday evening Sir Roger Curtis
   landed from the Phaeton. He left Lord Howe on the 4th. I know
   not the particulars, but there has been a general action; and I
   think Monsieur Jean Bon L'Andre and his Guillotine have had a
   thorough drubbing. We have lost very few officers of rank. Lord
   Howe is perfectly well, of which I give you joy.

   Yours, my dear sir, most affectionately,

Meanwhile the commodore, in consequence of the enemy's motions,
wrote the following letter to the Admiralty:

   Crescent, Guernsey Road, 11th June 1794.


   I have despatched the Active cutter to Spithead, to acquaint
   you, for the information of their lordships, that the French
   squadron which engaged his Majesty's ships under my command on
   Sunday last, put into Cancalle Bay the day following. I have
   reason to believe they are part of the squadron that chased this
   ship, in company with the Nymphe and Concorde, on the 2nd
   instant, off the Seven Islands; and that the ships of the line
   that were then in company proceeded to Brest.

   His Majesty's ship Severn joined me this morning from Plymouth;
   and I propose to proceed to the Sound to-morrow, in compliance
   with orders from Rear-admiral McBride.

   Philip Stephens, Esq. Secretary, &c. &c. &c.

The squadron returned to Plymouth Sound on the 14th of June, when
Sir James sent the following letter to his brother:--

   Saturday, 14th June 1794.


   We sailed from the island at four yesterday morning, unluckily
   too soon for the arrival of the packet; by which I lost all the
   pretty things you, with other friends, said to me on the
   business of last Sunday. We remain also uninformed of Lord
   Howe's victory, except that we know a general action has taken
   place favourable to us. This evening will, I hope, clear up all
   our doubts.

   The French squadron put into Cancalle Bay the day after our
   rencontre, and I have reason to think were rather sore from our
   well-directed fire. That their fire did not take more effect on
   the Crescent, must be ascribed to a superior Providence; as, I
   will own to you, I never saw shot fall thicker about any ship
   than at the time we hauled up for Vason Bay.

   My old pilot, Jean Breton, has infinite merit, and I must have
   him recommended to that very laudable society for the
   encouragement of the protection of the commerce of the country.
   He has a large family, to whom any pecuniary recompense will be
   of service; but as two other pilots exerted themselves, one on
   board the Druid, and the other in this ship, I hope they will
   also be considered. Mention this to my worthy friend the Lord
   Mayor, who will probably have the goodness to undertake the

   I am proceeding to Plymouth for further orders, and you may rest
   assured of hearing from me when any thing is fixed. The Valiant
   lugger has this instant joined me from Plymouth, and has brought
   me the extraordinary Gazette; I most truly rejoice at the good
   news it contains, though I am savage enough to wish a few more
   had been sunk or taken.

   This business absorbs all lesser considerations, and I must be
   satisfied if I can only be considered the _horse-radish_ to
   garnish the roast beef.

   Adieu, my worthy Richard: lose no time, as the Admiral writes to
   me we shall sail again early next week. I hope to arrive in the
   Sound this evening.

   Yours affectionately,

Sir James was, however, disappointed in receiving an answer from his
brother, being ordered to sail in command of a squadron. The following
letter concludes the account of the late meritorious affair:

   Plymouth, Crescent, June 1794.


   I have been much disappointed, not to receive a single line from
   you since we sailed from this place, although I am convinced you
   must have written by way of Guernsey. To-morrow I sail with a
   squadron of six frigates under my command, viz. Crescent,
   Nymphe, Blonde, Druid, Concorde, and Severn: my only fear is,
   that we shall not be so fortunate as to fall in with the enemy.
   Admiral McBride has shown me his reply from the Admiralty to his
   letter, inclosing my account of our late business off Guernsey.
   It is highly flattering to myself, and expressive of their
   approbation of my conduct in the strongest terms. I doubt my
   letter being published, as it is only in instances where success
   has been the consequence.

   What a noble business that of Lord Howe! And how well he has
   fulfilled the expectations which those who knew him had formed
   of his character! Several of my friends are here who were in
   that action, and speak in the highest strain of panegyric of the
   whole of his conduct.

   I wait for my wife being again on her legs to compose on the
   late victory. Why have you not a turn for poetry and music, so
   as to indite a song on this subject, in lieu of the famous
   Ninety-second, that has had the run of a whole century?.

   Adieu, my worthy friend! I am truly and faithfully yours,


1794, 1795.

   Sir James commands a Squadron of Frigates, in the
   Channel.--Visit to Weymouth.--Joins the Channel Fleet.--Black
   Rocks.--Private Letters and Instructions.--Appointed to the
   Orion.--Crescent's Officers and Crew volunteer to follow
   him.--Appointed to the Marlborough (_pro tempore_).--Commands a
   detached Squadron.--Returns to the Orion, attached to the
   Channel Fleet.--Private Letters.--Lord Bridport's
   Action.--Orion, the headmost Ship, begins the battle.--Official
   Letter.--Two private Accounts.--Returns to
   Portsmouth--Expedition to Isle Dieu.--Returns to Spithead.

Captain Saumarez, whose conduct in his late encounter with the enemy's
squadron had called forth the admiration of his country, and the high
approbation of the Admiralty, was continued in command of the squadron
destined to protect the Channel islands. Admiral McBride emphatically
said, "their defence could not be in better hands." Sir James left
Plymouth on the 16th of June 1794, and arrived at Guernsey on the
following day. The enemy's large ships escaped to Brest before any
force could be brought to intercept them. The station of Saumarez was
from Cape Barfleur to the Seven Islands; and, on the English coast,
between the Isle of Wight and the Start, having four frigates under
his command. The following letter to his brother gives an amusing
account of a false alarm, occasioned by the squadron while his Majesty
George the Third was at Weymouth:

   Crescent, 18th September 1794.


   I was made happy yesterday by the sight of your handwriting, of
   which I had for a considerable time been deprived. You will have
   learnt from the Lord Mayor of our short cruise off Cherbourg. On
   our return, Sunday evening, we caused an alarm I had little
   expected: the Trusty, having fallen in with the four frigates,
   made the private signal, which, not being distinctly seen,
   remained unanswered. In consequence of which she proceeded to
   Weymouth Road, making signals of an enemy. The troops were
   ordered under arms, the batteries manned, and the royal
   carriages got in readiness. At our approach to the road after
   dark, a shot was fired from the Trusty. This ship was secured
   with springs on her cables, and was ready to pour her broadside,
   when I fortunately made the night-signal, to denote we were
   friends. I immediately went on shore, and found the royal family
   at the rooms, not without apprehension of the enemy's landing.

   The King desired to see me, and very heartily laughed at the
   circumstance. I remained near an hour in conference with their
   Majesties in the tea-room; a very distinguished honour, I assure
   you, as even the lords in waiting are scarcely ever admitted
   during meals: I was highly flattered at the very gracious and
   flattering reception I met with. The next day they were on the
   water, and the King expressed himself much satisfied with the
   manoeuvres of the squadron under my directions. Lady S. and
   Mrs. Le Marchant, of Bath, were on board the Crescent, and I was
   happy in the company of Mr. G----. All dined on board, and
   seemed well satisfied with the day.

   I expect Admiral McBride the beginning of next week; at which
   time we shall either go to Plymouth or Portsmouth, to complete
   our provisions. The weather is so bad that we must not expect
   the packet from Guernsey, and it prevents the one from Weymouth
   putting to sea. Love to my sister and children.

   Yours most affectionately,
   Jas. Saumarez.

The Crescent continued on Channel service until the 10th of October,
when she returned to Cawsand Bay; and, after a short cruise in the
entrance of the Channel, she came to Plymouth to be refitted on the
4th of November. On the 8th she was taken into dock, not having been
coppered since 1784. Sir James had now an opportunity of enjoying
repose for two months, (his ship being in course of repair,) till the
15th of January 1795, when he was immediately attached to the grand
fleet under Earl Howe.

The following instructions will show the nature of the arduous service
on which Saumarez was destined to be employed for a considerable time:

   Instructions for the conduct of ships appointed to obtain
   intelligence of the state of the enemy's naval force at Brest.

   Two frigates, supported by one or more ships of the line, will
   be most generally appointed for obtaining intelligence of the
   enemy's naval force, from time to time, when the wind has been
   favourable to their fleet, or detachment thereof, to put to sea.
   The frigates so appointed are meant to stretch from Ushant
   inward to the Black Rocks, together or in succession, as
   requisite for their mutual support, and better means of
   communicating with the covering ships; and off St. Matthew's
   Point, or so as to discover whether the enemy's fleet are still
   in Brest water, and, if easily practicable, the number and
   situation of the enemy's ships of war there, and in the adjacent
   anchoring bays without the Goulet. The covering ships of the
   line, it is supposed, will generally answer the purpose of their
   appointment by keeping off, or a little within, the Black Rocks,
   whilst the frigates are advanced to the more eastern situation
   before mentioned. The several captains so employed are,
   nevertheless, to be governed on this service by the state of the
   weather and movements of the enemy, as they see best in their
   discretion, or may be directed by the commanding officer, for
   being able to get to sea with facility when necessary for the
   purpose of this appointment; and, having made the intended
   discovery, they are to return for reporting observations to me
   with all convenient despatch. They are to observe, that the
   capture of single ships of the line or frigates, or any action
   with the enemy not absolutely requisite for the security of
   their ships, is not an object of equal moment to compensate for
   any delay in conveying the earliest information to me, by signal
   or personal intercourse, of the state or motions of the enemy as
   aforesaid. The ordering of the fleet in their absence on this
   service will be calculated for arriving off Ushant as early as
   possible the next morning, on these occasions if the detached
   ships should not have joined the fleet the preceding day, in
   view to take advantage of every opportunity to intercept the
   ships of the enemy attempting to put to sea from Brest. And as
   it may be requisite often to renew this appointment, the
   intention will be expressed by signal No. 181, together with the
   particular signals (one or more) of the ships of the line and
   frigates then meant to be so employed; and the signal No. 124
   will be subsequently made when the ships are to part company
   from the fleet for such purpose.

   Given on board the Queen Charlotte,
   Torbay, 5th February 1795.

   To Sir James Saumarez,
   Captain H.M.S. Crescent.

On this occasion Sir James Saumarez wrote the following letter to his
brother, which shows the high opinion entertained of his services off
the Black Rocks by his lordship:

   Spithead, 15th January 1795.

   I had the pleasure of yours yesterday morning, and have only
   time to acquaint you that part of the fleet are now dropping
   down to St. Helen's, and to-morrow we hope to put to sea. The
   wind is far to the southward, but I hope we shall be able to get
   down Channel before it comes to the westward. There can be
   little doubt but the enemy's fleet are still at sea. If we have
   the good fortune to meet them, the business will be glorious for
   the country.

   Our line consists of thirty-five, ten of which are
   three-deckers. The French have only thirty-two, and four only of
   three-deckers. My situation in the fleet (repeating frigate) is
   certainly more desirable than a less conspicuous one; at the
   same time, I would rather command a seventy-four. Lord Howe is
   remarkably gracious, and has overwhelmed me with compliments in
   his opinion of my merits. I have the more to accomplish in order
   to show myself deserving of it. Be assured of my zealous
   endeavours. Adieu! Give my sincere love to my sister and dear

   I am ever affectionately yours,

Sir James always preferred the command of a ship of the line to a
frigate, notwithstanding the chances of prize-money are in favour of
the latter. He accordingly made the following application to the First
Lord of the Admiralty; and it will be seen, by the subsequent
correspondence, that his wishes were complied with.


   I beg leave to acquaint your lordship, that some time since I
   made application to be appointed to a line-of-battle ship, and
   the Earl of Chatham was pleased to signify his intention of
   meeting my wishes the earliest opportunity. I shall esteem
   myself greatly obliged to your lordship to appoint me to one,
   and at the same time to permit me to take my officers and ship's

   I have the honour to be, &c. &c.

   Right Honourable Earl Spencer.


   I take the earliest opportunity of acknowledging your letter to
   be appointed to a line-of-battle ship. I am not at present
   apprised of there being an immediate opportunity to comply with
   your request; but it will give me great pleasure to have an
   early one afforded me of promoting an officer of so much
   acknowledged merit.

   I am, sir, with great respect,
   Your obedient humble servant,

   To Captain Saumarez, H.M.S. Crescent.
   Admiralty, December 24th, 1794.

   Crescent, Spithead, 1st March 1795.


   I beg to avail myself of the return of the fleet into port, to
   remind your lordship of the application I had the honour to make
   to be appointed to a line-of-battle ship; and as the Orion is
   likely soon to become vacant, I shall be greatly obliged to your
   lordship to have the goodness to give me the command of her, and
   at the same time to permit me to take my officers and ship's

   I have the honour to be, my lord,
   Your lordship's most obedient and most humble servant,

   Right Honourable Earl Spencer.

   Crescent, off Spithead, 4th March 1795.


   I beg to express my sincere acknowledgments to your lordship for
   having been pleased to appoint me to the command of the Orion. I
   shall be further obliged to your lordship to permit the
   commissioned and warrant officers of the Crescent to be removed
   to her, with the ship's company.

   I have the honour to be, &c. &c.

   Earl Spencer, &c. &c.

Sir James remained with the Channel fleet until the 13th of March,
when, at his own request, he was removed into his Majesty's ship
Orion. The whole crew of the Crescent volunteered to follow him, and
his application for them was in part complied with; as also for
Lieutenants Otter and Rye, and some of the warrant and petty officers,
who were consequently turned over to that ship, which was fitting at
Portsmouth. As it would be a considerable time before she could be
refitted so as to be ready for sea, Captain Saumarez was, at the
special application of the admiral, Lord Hugh Seymour, appointed (pro
tempore) to the Marlborough of seventy-four guns, and attached to a
detachment of the grand fleet under the Honourable W. Waldegrave,
(afterwards Lord Radstock,) cruising between Ushant and Cape
Finisterre. His appointment was dated 19th March 1795. On the 8th of
April he became senior officer of the detached squadron off the
Western Isles, under the orders of Lord Bridport. He returned on the
8th of June to take command of his own ship, the Orion, which had been
fitted out by Captain Donnelly, and was now ready to receive orders
for sea. He was now again placed under the orders of his lordship, the
commander-in-chief of the Channel fleet, and sailed on the 12th of
June, two days after his arrival. On the 22nd, the squadron fell in
with the enemy off L'Orient at daylight, at which time the Orion was
one of the sternmost ships when the signal was made to chase. Her
captain soon gave a manifest proof of his zeal and abilities on this
occasion. She was, before morning of the 23rd, the headmost ship of
the fleet; and, before six o'clock, was the first which actually began
the action with one of the enemy's largest ships.

The following is a copy of Lord Bridport's official despatch:

   Royal George, at sea, 24th June 1795.


   It is with sincere satisfaction I acquaint you, for the
   information of the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty, that
   his Majesty's squadron under my command attacked the enemy's
   fleet, consisting of twelve ships of the line, attended with
   eleven frigates and some smaller cruisers, on the 23rd instant,
   close in with the port of L'Orient. The ships which struck are
   the Alexander, Le Formidable, and Le Tigre, which were with
   difficulty retained. If the enemy had not been protected and
   sheltered by the land, I have every reason to believe that a
   much greater number, if not all the line-of-battle ships, would
   have been taken or destroyed.

   In detailing the particulars of this service, I am to state that
   at the dawn of day, on the 22nd instant, the Nymphe and Astrea,
   being the look-out frigates ahead, made the signal for the
   enemy's fleet. I soon perceived there was no intention to meet
   me in battle; consequently, I made the signal for four of the
   best-sailing ships, the Sanspareil, Orion, Russell, and
   Colossus, and, soon afterwards, the whole fleet, to chase; which
   continued all day and the whole night with very little wind.

   Early in the morning of the 23rd, the headmost ships, the Orion,
   Irresistible, Queen Charlotte, Russell, Colossus, and
   Sanspareil, were pretty well up with the enemy; and a little
   before six o'clock the action began, and continued till near
   nine. When the ships struck, the British squadron was near to
   some batteries, and in the face of a strong naval port, which
   will manifest to the public the zeal, intrepidity, and skill of
   the admirals, captains, and all the other officers and seamen,
   and soldiers, employed upon this service; and they are fully
   entitled to my warmest acknowledgments.

   I beg also to be allowed to mark my approbation in a particular
   manner of Captain Domett's conduct, serving under my flag, for
   his manly spirit, and for the assistance I received from his
   active and attentive mind. I feel great satisfaction in doing
   justice to the meritorious conduct of all the officers of every
   class, as well as to the bravery of the seamen and soldiers in
   the Royal George, upon this event and on former occasions.

   I judged it necessary, upon the information I received of the
   force of the enemy, to put the Robust, Thunderer, and Standard
   into my line of battle; but their distance from my squadron, and
   there being little wind, prevented them from joining me till
   after the action was over.

   I shall proceed upon my station as soon as I have ordered a
   distribution of the prisoners, and made other necessary
   arrangements for the squadron. It is my intention to keep at
   sea, in order to fulfil every part of my instructions.

   I have judged it necessary to send Captain Domett with my
   despatches, who will give their lordships such further
   particulars as shall have occurred to him on the victory we have

   I am, &c.

   To Evan Nepean, Esq.

The enemy made their escape into L'Orient. By some accounts the
commander-in-chief has been blamed for not continuing the action; but
this does not seem to have been the opinion of Sir James Saumarez, who
wrote the following letter to his brother on the day after the action.
It is said that the fleet were not supplied with pilots for that part
of the coast.

   Orion, at sea, 24th June 1795.


   I have the satisfaction to acquaint you that, last Monday, we
   fell in with the French fleet, about eighteen leagues from the
   Isle de Groix. The signal for a general chase was made at six
   o'clock; but, having little wind, we were still at a
   considerable distance from them in the evening. Our headmost
   ships denoted by signal that they consisted of fourteen sail of
   the line and eleven frigates. The admiral made the signal to
   engage the enemy on coming up with them. It was with great
   delight I found the Orion sail extremely well, and in the
   morning we were one of the headmost ships of the squadron. I
   should observe, that Sir John Warren's convoy were in sight at
   the time we first saw the enemy; and a vessel was detached to
   order the Robust and Thunderer to join us, which made our number
   nineteen sail of the line.

   The French fleet at daylight was about five miles from us,
   crowding all sail, and steering for their coast, which appeared
   in sight. At five o'clock, this ship, being ahead of the Queen
   Charlotte, began the action, and kept up a constant fire as we
   came up; which was warmly returned by the enemy's sternmost
   ships, one of which was the Montagne. Finding I could go to
   windward of one of their ships, I hauled up between her and
   their fleet, and gave her our larboard guns directly for her
   stern. She was afterwards attacked by other ships, to which she
   struck, and proved to be the Alexander.

   The Irresistible, Russell, Colossus, and Sanspareil were the
   headmost of our fleet after the Orion and Queen Charlotte, and
   engaged the enemy as they came up. A French seventy-four, that
   had taken fire on the poop, struck to the frigates. She is
   called the Formidable, and is not materially damaged from the
   fire. When the Queen, London, and finally the Royal George, came
   into action, they kept up a most amazing fire; but by this time
   the enemy were within three miles of their coast, and they all
   escaped except the Tigre, which struck to the Royal George.

   For further details I must refer you to the public accounts. Our
   loss in this ship has been inconsiderable when I assure you we
   were engaged with very little intermission the whole time of the
   action, which lasted four hours. We have four killed, two since
   dead, and eighteen wounded. The ship has suffered more in
   proportion in the hull, masts, and sails. We regret not to have
   had a few leagues' more space, as none could then have escaped.
   Port Louis, near L'Orient, has afforded them this timely
   shelter, but not till they had a severe drubbing.

   You will show the contents of this letter to Mr. Le Mesurier, as
   I have scarcely one moment to spare.

   Adieu! Remember me most kindly to my sister; and believe me
   truly, my dear Richard,

   Yours affectionately,

   You will oblige Lady S. by inclosing this, after perusal, to

This detachment of the Channel fleet, which was destined to protect
the ill-fated expedition to Quiberon Bay, under Sir J.B. Warren,
continued for some time on the coast; but the Orion, being one of the
ships which had suffered most, was ordered to Portsmouth. On his
arrival, Sir James wrote the following letter to his brother Richard.

   Orion, off St. Helens, 12th July 1795.


   I take the earliest opportunity to acquaint you, that I parted
   from the fleet last Thursday, with the Charon, hospital ship,
   which I saw safe into Portland this morning: Captain Grindall,
   (the only captain wounded,) who took his passage on board her,
   was much recovered. On the day I left the fleet, Admiral
   Cornwallis, with the ships under his command, joined Lord
   Bridport; and I imagine the Queen Charlotte, with the ships that
   suffered most in the action, will go home. As the Orion requires
   a new fore-mast and bowsprit, besides considerable repair, I
   take it for granted she will be ordered into harbour.

   A few days after the action we were alarmed by the appearance of
   an epidemic fever on board; but, by sending the men infected on
   board the hospital ship, and using timely precaution, I am happy
   to say it has entirely subsided, but it gave me a great degree
   of concern: added to this, we have had the small-pox on board;
   but it has been of so favourable a kind, that the men who have
   had it are all doing well, two excepted, who died on board the
   hospital ship. Several are now under inoculation, and I hope
   will recover.

   We have lost eight men in consequence of the action: all the
   wounded, except two, are nearly well; their wounds, I am happy
   to find, were slight.

   It will have surprised you to find me differ in my statement of
   the action from the Admiral, when I mention having begun the
   action. The fact was, the Irresistible fired two, or, I believe,
   three bow-guns, but I never could consider that entitling her to
   being the first in action; _but of this hereafter_.

   Now is a good opportunity for you and my sister to come and
   spend a few days at Portsmouth, if you can spare time to
   undertake the journey. Come down immediately, and take a sail in
   the ship into Portsmouth Harbour. I was in great hope to be in
   time to see Lady S. this evening, but I fear it is impossible;
   it is near eight o'clock, and we are no nearer than St. Helen's
   Road, with little wind. I have heard from none of my friends
   during the cruise, so that I know not what became of you after
   your peregrination to St. Helens.

   The prizes left the fleet ten days ago, and must be expected the
   first westerly winds. You will be glad to hear that Mr. Otter is

   Yours affectionately,

   P.S. Portsmouth, 15th July 1795. I have only time to acquaint
   you with my being just landed. Let me hear from you. Adieu!

We here give a diagram of this action at the time it began. When the
Irresistible fired her bow-guns, she was in _chase_, astern and not up
alongside of the enemy; but the Orion reserved all her fire until
actually alongside; she was certainly the first that could bring all
her broadside to bear on one of the enemy's ships, and therefore
justly claims the honour of having commenced the battle. But Sir James
took no steps to correct the statement, and was, as usual, content
with being included in the mass of those who distinguished themselves
on that occasion.

   Position of the hostile fleets on the morning of the 23rd June
   1795, when the headmost ships brought the rear of the enemy to


   No. 1. Orion, Capt. Sir J. Saumarez. 2. Queen Charlotte, Capt.
   Sir A.S. Douglas. 3. Irresistible, Capt. Grindall. 4. Russell,
   Capt. T. Luscom. 5. Colossus, Capt. Moncton. 6. Sanspareil,
   Admiral Lord H. Seymour, Capt. Brown. 7. London, Capt. Griffith.
   8. Queen, Rear-admiral Gardner, Capt. Bedford. 9. Prince George,
   Capt. Edge. 10. Royal George, Admiral Lord Bridport, Captain

The Orion was taken into Portsmouth harbour, and, as six weeks were
required to repair her damages, Sir James had another month's
relaxation from actual service. It was the 18th July before she was
reported ready for sea. On the 21st he wrote the following letter to
his brother, describing the service on which he was now to be

   Ryde, 21st August 1795.


   Expecting to sail from day to day, I delayed writing till I
   could acquaint you with the precise time of our departure. This
   morning the wind proved easterly, but it has again veered to the
   westward, and become as uncertain as ever, so that I yet hope to
   hear from you. I understand that about four thousand troops,
   _British_, and fifteen hundred emigrants, sail under our escort.
   They are commanded by General Doyle, and it is supposed are
   destined to take possession of Noirmoutier, to keep up
   communication with Charrette's army. Monsieur, who you know is
   embarked on board the Jason, accompanies them. It is to be hoped
   that this last effort of ours to secure a footing on their own
   territory to these unfortunate people, will prove successful; I
   say this last, for, from what I learn, Lord Moira resigns with
   the whole of his staff, and the rest of his army are to be,
   under command of Sir R. Abercromby, destined for the West

   We are likely to have enough on our hands should war be
   continued, as it is impossible but we must have the Spanish to
   contend with. Several ships sailed this morning to reinforce our
   squadron in the North Seas, which shows the Dutch are beginning
   to stir themselves.

   I write from Ryde, where Lady S. has been since yesterday, being
   near Spithead, where I must be every day. As the wind is at
   present, there is every reason to expect that we shall be here
   some days longer; therefore write to me. Adieu! God bless you

   I am truly and affectionately yours,

The expedition, alluded to in the above letter, was placed under
command of Rear-admiral Henry Harvey, and consisted of the Prince of
Wales (flag-ship), Queen Charlotte, Prince, Orion, Russell, Arethusa,
and Jason, with a convoy of one hundred and twenty-six vessels. These
were detained at Spithead till the end of September; and on the 13th
of October they reached Isle Dieu, where they were destined to
co-operate with the former expedition. When off Hedic, Admiral Harvey
sent the Orion to join Commodore Sir John Borlase Warren, with that
part of the convoy intended to act with the royalists, while he
proceeded with the rest to the West Indies.

The troops were landed. The Orion was employed blockading the coast
near Rochfort and L'Orient; the nature of which memorable service will
be best understood from the following letters from Sir James to his

   Orion, at sea, 26th October.


   I have just learnt from the Admiral, that he intends to despatch
   the Porcupine for England, which gives me an opportunity of
   writing a line merely to acquaint you of our being in
   existence, but most deucedly tired of our cruise: nothing worthy
   our notice has occurred since my last letter. Sir John Warren
   left Quiberon Bay last Wednesday for Noirmoutier, whence it is
   supposed the emigrants will join Charrette's army. We pay
   frequent visits to our friends in Port Louis. They continue
   nearly in the same state as when we left them after the 23rd of
   June; and, from the intelligence we have obtained, they are not
   in any forwardness for sea, being without stores or men.

   We experienced hitherto remarkable fine weather, which I hope
   will continue; but nothing can equal our unvaried scene, fixed
   to this confounded spot, without the least prospect of anything
   falling in our way. We have not even the advantage of hearing
   from England; for, sparingly, two ships only have joined us from
   Plymouth since we are on this station. In short, my dear friend,
   I am heartily tired of so inactive a situation, and shall very
   sincerely rejoice to be relieved from it. You are much more
   likely to receive accounts of the expedition than we are, having
   but little intercourse with the army, and that little is solely
   confined to the Admiral, who deals out the news very
   _cautiously_. Could we but hear from our friends, it would yield
   us some comfort; but that we are also denied: it is, however,
   some satisfaction we can let them know we are alive. God bless
   you! and believe me, with my kindest love to my dear sister and

   Yours most affectionately,

   Orion, Houat, 26th November 1795.


   We sailed from Isle Dieu this day, subsequent to my letter by
   the Thunderer; and various have been the decisions respecting
   withdrawing the troops from that island. On Monday, Sir John
   Warren sailed with the Robust, Theseus, and four frigates, with
   the intention of making the embarkation; but it came on to blow
   so strong that they were obliged to put back. I was dispensed
   with from that service, by having been appointed to carry on the
   communication with the royalists, for the purpose of conveying
   to them the immense supply of stores and ammunition intended for
   them, besides about thirty thousand pounds in specie. The 24th
   was the day fixed for their being landed, and General George was
   to muster all his force to receive them, at a place called
   Bitiers, at the entrance of the Villaine; but the weather proved
   so boisterous on that and the following day, that there existed
   no possibility of any communication.

   Sir John Warren, to my great satisfaction, joined me this
   morning with the frigates; the embarkation from Isle Dieu having
   at last been given up. To-morrow we hope to hear that our
   friends occupy the post agreed on; and we shall throw them as
   speedily as possible, by means of the chasse-marées and boats of
   the squadron, the various articles in our possession which they
   so much want.

   The last letters I have received were dated the 19th: they
   mention P---- being under arrest; but there was a difference of
   opinion respecting him, which was submitted to Monsieur. As his
   Royal Highness is gone home, it will be some time before his
   fate is decided. Being informed that the Standard was ordered
   for England, I would not lose the opportunity, and in some way I
   hope to inform you with the successful result of our enterprise:
   once ended, I hope we shall bend our steps homeward.

   Our friend Dan, with Phil. Dumaresq, are perfectly well.
   Remember me with kindest love to my sister, and believe me ever
   affectionately yours,


The details of the failure of this expedition need not be dwelt upon;
it was finally determined on the 13th of December to withdraw the
troops, and Sir James Saumarez consequently received the following

   By Henry Harvey, Esq. Rear-admiral of the Red, &c.
   To Sir James Saumarez, Captain of H.M.S. Orion.

   You are hereby required and directed to take under your convoy
   all the transports, store-ships, victuallers, and other vessels
   lying in this bay, and put to sea in company with his Majesty's
   squadron under my command. You will have under your direction
   his Majesty's ship Porcupine, whose captain is directed to
   follow your orders. You are to use your utmost endeavours to
   keep company with me; but, in case of separation, make the best
   of your way to Spithead, leaving off Plymouth such of the
   victuallers as may have sailed from that port.

   Given under my hand, on board the
   Prince of Wales, 17th December 1795,
   Houat Roads.

Admiral Harvey parted from the convoy off Brest, and Sir James arrived
at Spithead, after having looked into Brest, on the 30th December, and
reported his arrival to the Secretary of the Admiralty; to which he
received the following answer:

   Admiralty Office, 31st December 1795.


   I have received, and communicated to my Lords Commissioners of
   the Admiralty, your letter of yesterday's date, informing them
   of your arrival at Spithead in the ship you command, with part
   of the transports under your convoy, from Quiberon Bay; and I
   have their lordships' command to acquaint you that they are
   pleased with your proceedings.

   I am, sir, your obedient humble servant,

   To Captain Sir James Saumarez,
   H.M.S. Orion, Spithead.


1796, 1797.

   Orion taken into dock.--Is refitted, and joins the Channel
   fleet.--Detached on a particular service.--Returns.--Proceeds to
   reinforce Sir John Jervis.--List of his fleet.--Battle with
   Spanish fleet off Cape St. Vincent described in a private
   letter.--Conduct of Saumarez in the action.--Salvador del Mundo
   strikes to the Orion, and is taken possession of by her
   lieutenant.--Engages the Santissima Trinidada.--She strikes to
   the Orion.--Remarks on that occasion.--Lagos Bay.--Lisbon.--Sir
   James sails on a cruise with Admiral Sir H.
   Nelson.--Returns.--Commands the advanced squadron.--Several
   private letters.--Commands the advanced squadron off
   Cadiz.--Mutiny in the fleet.--Anecdote and remarks thereon.

The Orion was ordered into harbour; and on examination it was found
she had been so much strained during the last cruise, particularly in
the November storm, subsequently known by the name of "Admiral
Christian's gale," besides having sprung her lower masts, that it
became absolutely necessary for her to be taken into dock. During the
next four months Sir James obtained, leave of absence; and it was not
until the 7th of May 1796, that, having rejoined his ship, he was
called into active service, the Orion being placed in Rear-admiral
Lord Hugh Seymour's division of the grand fleet which was fitted for
foreign service.

After a short cruise off Brest, the Orion proceeded to reinforce the
fleet under Sir John Jervis, off Cape St. Vincent. This squadron
consisted of the Sanspareil (flag-ship), Orion, Triumph, Juste,
Hector, and Theseus, of the line; Phaeton and Latona, frigates; and
Incendiary, fire-ship. On arriving off their station, Captain Saumarez
was detached to Fayall by Lord Hugh's order, dated the 13th June, to
obtain stock, wine, &c. for the use of the squadron; and was directed
to meet his lordship at ten leagues to the westward of that island;
after which the squadron returned to Cape St. Vincent, and from
thence, in the month of September, they joined the Channel fleet,
under Lord Gardner.

On the 11th of December the Orion returned to Spithead, in order to
refit and replenish in water and provisions, after a six months'
unsuccessful cruise. This occupied but a short time; and on the 17th
of the same month Sir James proceeded in the Orion, with a squadron
under the orders of Admiral W. Parker, to reinforce Sir John Jervis,
off Cape St. Vincent. This squadron consisted of the Prince George,
98; Namur, 90; Irresistible, Orion, and Colossus, of 74 guns; and
Thalia frigate. The junction with Sir John was effected on the 6th of
February. Thus reinforced, the Admiral had under his command--

     100      Victory,          Admiral Sir John Jervis.
                                Captain Robert Calder.
                                Captain George Grey.

              Britannia,        Vice-admiral Charles Thompson.
                                Captain Foley.

     98       Barfleur,         Vice-admiral Hon. W. Waldegrave.
                                Captain J.R. Dacres.

              Prince George,    Rear-admiral W. Parker.
                                Captain John Irwin.

              Blenheim,         Captain Thos. L. Frederick.

     90       Namur,            Captain James H. Whitshed.

     74       Captain,          Commodore Horatio Nelson.
                                Captain R.W. Miller.
              Goliath,          Captain Charles Knowles.
              Excellent,        Captain Cuthbert Collingwood.
              Orion,            Captain Sir James Saumarez.
              Colossus,         Captain Geo. Murray.
              Egmont,           Captain John Sutton.
              Culloden,         Captain Thomas Troubridge.
              Irresistible,     Captain Geo. Martin.

     64       Diadem,           Captain Geo. H. Towny.

     38       Minerve,          Captain Geo. Cockburn.

     32       Lively,           Captain Lord Garlies.
              Niger,            Captain Ed. Jas. Foote.
              Southampton,      Captain Jas. Macnamara.

     Slps     Bonne Citoyenne,  Captain Chas. Lindsay.
              Raven,            Captain W. Prowse.

     Cut.     Fox,              Lieutenant John Gibson.

Sir John Jervis was well aware that the Spanish fleet might be nearly
double his force, but he kept working up towards the position where he
expected to meet them. On the 13th, in the morning, the Minerve,
Captain Cockburn, bearing the broad pendant of Commodore Nelson,
(which was afterwards shifted to the Captain, 74) having on board Sir
Gilbert Elliot, late viceroy of Corsica and others, came into the
fleet with intelligence that on the 11th, soon after quitting
Gibraltar, she had been chased by two Spanish line-of-battle ships;
and that afterwards, when in the mouth of the Straits, she got sight
of the Spanish fleet. Before sunset the signals were made for the
British fleet to prepare for battle, and to keep in close order all
the night, during which the signal-guns of the Spaniards were
distinctly heard. At half-past two, A.M. the Portuguese frigate
Carlotta spoke the Victory; and her captain (Campbell) gave
information that the Spanish grand fleet, commanded by Don Josef de
Cordova, was only five leagues to windward; that they had sailed from
Carthagena on the 1st of the month, and consisted of twenty-eight sail
of the line, viz.

     130  Santissima Trinidada.

     112  Concepcion.
          Conde de Regla.
          Principe de Asturias.
          Salvador del Mundo.
          San Josef.

     80   Neptuno.
          San Nicolas.

     74   Atalante.
          San Antonio.
          San Domingo.
          San Firmin.
          San F'sco de Paula.
          San Genaro.
          San Ildefonso.
          San Juan Nepomuceno.
          San Pablo.
          San Ysidro.

There were also twelve frigates, some gun-boats, and seventy
transports with troops, which were disembarked at Algesiras.

It is not positively known what the destination of this powerful fleet
was; some accounts say Cadiz, others Brest. It is, however, certain
that their admiral did not expect to meet more than ten or twelve sail
of the line with Sir John Jervis, and that he anticipated an easy
capture, and a triumphant entry into port with his prizes. His dismay
may therefore be easily imagined at seeing the English fleet of
fifteen sail of the line close to him, in excellent order of battle,
while his own fleet was in such a scattered situation as to render it
impossible to prevent his intrepid enemy from cutting off a group
which had separated from the main body of his fleet, and which in vain
attempted to rejoin by crowding all sail.

As it is not our intention to enter into the particulars of this
memorable battle, excepting as regards the Orion, an extract from the
admiral's despatch will be sufficient to show the bold and decisive
step which he took on that occasion, and by which he succeeded in
obtaining a most glorious victory over double his force.

   Victory, Lagos Bay, 16th February 1797.


   The hope of falling in with the Spanish fleet, expressed in my
   letter to you of the 13th instant, was confirmed last night by
   distinctly hearing the report of their signal-guns, and by
   intelligence received from Captain Foote, of his Majesty's ship
   Niger, who had, with equal judgment and perseverance, kept
   company with them for several days, on my prescribed
   rendezvous, (which, from the strong S.E. wind, I had never been
   able to reach,) and that they were not more than the distance of
   three or four leagues from us.

   I anxiously waited the dawn of day; when, being on the starboard
   tack, Cape St. Vincent bearing E.N.E. eight leagues, I had the
   satisfaction of seeing a number of ships extended from S.W. to
   S., the wind then W. by S. At forty-nine minutes past ten, the
   weather being extremely hazy, La Bonne Citoyenne made the signal
   that the ships seen were of the line, twenty-five in number.

   His Majesty's squadron under my command, consisting of fifteen
   ships of the line, happily formed in the most compact order of
   sailing in two lines. By carrying a press of sail, I was
   fortunate in getting in with the enemy's fleet at half-past
   eleven, before it had time to collect and form a regular order
   of battle. Such a moment was not to be lost; and, confident in
   the skill, valour, and discipline of the officers and men I had
   the happiness to command, and judging that the honour of his
   Majesty's arms, and the circumstances of the war in these seas,
   required a considerable degree of enterprise, I felt myself
   justified in departing from the regular system; and, passing
   through their fleet in a line formed with the utmost celerity,
   tacked, and thereby separated one-third from the main body.
   After a partial cannonade, which prevented their rejunction till
   the evening, and by the very great exertions of the ships which
   had the good fortune to arrive up with the enemy on the larboard
   tack, the ships named in the margin[11] were captured, and the
   action ceased about five o'clock.

   [11] The San Josef, Salvador del Mundo, San Nicolas, and San

That the Orion was one of those ships which distinguished themselves
will best appear from the private letter of her brave commander to his
brother, written only the day after the action; a circumstance which
cannot but give such a communication a value far superior to a more
elaborate composition. The log also of his ship, written at the time
by the master, to which we have had access, completely accords with
the facts so clearly stated in the letter.

   Orion, Lagos Bay, 15th February 1797.


   You will be happy to receive an account from me of the important
   victory obtained by our squadron over the Spanish fleet,
   consisting of nearly double our force. The Admiral having
   received previous information of their sailing from Carthagena,
   and of their cruising off the entrance of the Straits, gave us
   timely notice of the intelligence by the signal to prepare for

   Early on Tuesday morning, the weather being hazy, with light
   winds, the frigates on the look-out made the signal for
   discovering the enemy, and soon after we discerned several ships
   to leeward, and the body of the fleet to windward. We were then
   on the starboard tack, standing to the southward. The signal was
   made to different ships to chase; and, shortly after, for the
   fleet to form in line of battle as most convenient. The enemy at
   this time were bearing down to join their ships to leeward; but
   we came upon them so fast, that, before they could effect the
   junction, the headmost ships, which were the Culloden, Prince
   George, Orion, Blenheim, and Colossus, with the Victory and the
   rest coming up, it was effectually prevented. They then hauled
   their wind on the larboard tack, and our Admiral made the signal
   for the fleet to tack. Our sternmost ships then became the

   Commodore Nelson, who had joined from Elba the day before,
   shifted his pendant to the Captain, the leading ship, and
   distinguished himself most eminently. The Culloden, Blenheim,
   Prince George, and Orion, were the next that came up, and were
   warmly engaged for nearly three hours with the body of the
   enemy's fleet, who had not had the time, or address, to form
   into any order. But it is only doing them justice to say, they
   defended themselves very bravely.

   We were, for above an hour, opposed to a three-decker, the
   Salvador del Mundo, which finally struck to this ship; we
   lowered the boat from the stern, and gave orders to Mr. Luce,
   the first lieutenant, to take possession of her; still making
   sail for the other ships, and following Admiral Parker in the
   Prince George. The Excellent, which had passed us to windward,
   had made a line-of-battle ship, the San Domingo, strike some
   time before this.

   Several ships of the enemy were extremely shattered in their
   masts and sails; but, keeping up a warm fire on their ships, the
   Captain laid one of them, the San Nicolas, an eighty-four, on
   board, and hauled down her colours. A three-decker, the San
   Josef, wishing, I believe, to rescue the ship, got on board of
   her, and gave Commodore Nelson an opportunity of also hauling
   down her colours. His bravery on this occasion is above all

   The Namur and other ships had by this time joined the van, and
   engaged as they came up. I stood for a three-decker, which,
   after engaging some time, struck her colours: she first had
   showed a white flag, which, though I concluded to indicate a
   truce, was not satisfactory to myself, and we continued firing
   till they hoisted an English flag over the Spanish, on which we
   ceased firing.

   The enemy's ships, many of which had not been in action, at this
   time came up and were forming to windward. The Admiral made the
   signal to wear and come to the wind on the starboard tack;
   wishing, I believe, to keep his squadron collected near the
   prizes, as well as the Captain, that was much disabled, besides
   the Colossus, which ship very unfortunately lost her fore-yard
   very early in the action. This ill-timed, but doubtless
   necessary manoeuvre, lost us the additional triumph of having
   the Purissima Concepcion, to grace the ships already in our
   possession, and I experienced the regret of again seeing her
   resume the Spanish colours.

   I have here related to you facts as they really occurred, and I
   believe all my officers will vouch for the authenticity of this
   account. I am happy to acquaint you that we have providentially
   lost no man in the action; eight only wounded, all doing well;
   amongst which number is Mr. Mansell, from a contusion in his
   right shoulder by splinter. Our main and mizen-top-masts are
   alone disabled, and the hull has not suffered materially. All
   the officers, and every man individually, behaved as nobly as I
   have ever witnessed; and you know it is not the first action in
   which I have seen courage excited.

   This is copied from the letter I write to my brother. My
   amanuensis is a gentleman who acted as my aide-de-camp, and I
   beg you will acquaint his good father that he acquitted himself
   highly to my satisfaction, and showed himself deserving the
   stock from which he sprung. I truly hope in due time to have the
   opportunity of advancing a young man of his merit.

   In case I have not time to write to my brother, as the above has
   been copied only from the scraps of the letter I intended
   writing, send him this letter, stating my great hurry and the
   pressure of service at this crisis.

   Adieu! nothing can equal my impatience to hear from you, and to
   receive good accounts of my sister.

   I am truly, most affectionately yours,

   Lagos Bay, 17th February 1797.

   The principal cause of my present haste is my anxiety attending
   the care of the San Josef, which we have in tow, and which has
   delayed us more than I can express, these twenty-four hours.

   N.B. I since have found it was the Santissima Trinidada, and not
   the Concepcion, that struck, but afterwards got off. And the St.
   Ysidro, 74 guns, and not the Santa Domingo, that is captured.
   The Santissima Trinidada is reported to be off here by one of
   our frigates.

The enemy, however, passed Lagos Bay, leaving the prizes unmolested.
As the further details, and Spanish account of this action, will be
found in the Appendix, we shall proceed by giving the copies of the
following letters.

   Victory, Lagos Bay, 16th February 1797.


   No language I am possessed of can convey the high sense I
   entertain of the exemplary conduct of the flag-officers,
   captains, officers, seamen, marines, and soldiers embarked on
   board every ship of the squadron I have the honour to command,
   present at the vigorous and successful attack made upon the
   fleet of Spain on the 14th instant. The signal advantage
   obtained by his Majesty's arms on that day is entirely owing to
   their determined valour and discipline; and I request you will
   accept yourself, and give my thanks and approbation to those
   composing the crew of the ship under your command.

   I am, sir,
   Your most humble servant,

   To Captain Sir James Saumarez, Orion.

In consequence of this glorious victory, obtained, under Providence,
by the valour and discipline of the crews of his Majesty's ships on
the 14th February 1797, the commander-in-chief was pleased to grant a
free pardon to James Maloney, seaman, then under sentence of death for
repeated desertion from H.M.S. Speedy, which was communicated in the
most impressive manner to the fleet.

We cannot but remark that, in the various accounts of this action,
justice has been but barely done to the commander of the Orion, who is
only mentioned as one of the six captains who prevented the junction
of the enemy's separated squadron. If any act of heroism displayed on
that occasion was designed to be particularly recorded in the public
despatches, surely the fact that the Orion was the last ship that
engaged and took possession of the Salvador del Mundo, and then made
the Santissima Trinidada strike her colours and hoist the English flag
over the Spanish, deserves a place. For these achievements we have the
undoubted testimonies, not only of the gallant commander and the
officers of the ship, viz. Sir John Savage, Captains Tancock and
Mansell, but also that of one of the officers of the Spanish ship who
was on board at the time, and who added, that "we did not surrender
until all further defence was hopeless." The Orion could not send a
boat to her, because she had already taken possession of the Salvador,
on board which ship she had sent her first lieutenant and as many men
as she could spare, and also because she had no boat that could swim:
but this, it appeared, raised some doubts on the subject; and on a
subsequent occasion, when the captains met on board the Victory,
Commodore Nelson said, "It _was true_, Saumarez, that the Santissima
struck to you; the Spanish officers have acknowledged it." Sir James,
supposing from the manner in which this was spoken that Nelson had
doubted the truth of his report, answered rather sharply, "Who ever
doubted it, sir? I hope there is no need for such evidence to
establish the truth of the report of a British officer."

Lieutenant Luce's description of the state he found the Salvador in
was appalling in the extreme.--There were more than fifty lying on the
decks with wounds requiring amputation. In many instances the Spanish
surgeon, after having separated the limb, omitted to tie up the
arteries; consequently, on removing the tourniquet, the victim in a
few minutes bled to death: and the English sailors, who at length
stopped his merciless hand, were with difficulty prevented from
throwing him overboard with those he had butchered.

Lieutenant Luce was one of the officers promoted, in consequence of
this battle, to the rank of master and commander.

The fleet now returned to Lisbon, where the conquerors were received
with every demonstration of joy and gratitude. The English factory
presented a congratulatory address; and at this place the thanks of
both houses of parliament were communicated to them; and a third time
to Sir James, as one of the most distinguished captains. At the same
time he received from Earl Spencer and Lord Hugh Seymour the following
handsome letters of congratulation:


   I congratulate you most sincerely on your having been present at
   the most brilliant action which our naval history records, and
   on having had so distinguished a share in it.

   I am, dear sir, with great truth,
   Your very obedient, humble servant,
   Admiralty, 8th March 1797.

   Sir James Saumarez.


   I congratulate you most heartily on your having had another
   opportunity of displaying your merit, and on the share which you
   bore in the most brilliant action that ever was achieved.

   I hope that I need not assure you how much I have shared with
   your friends the satisfaction your conduct has given them; the
   reward for which, I hope, you will long enjoy in the approbation
   of the whole world, which is now bestowed upon you.

   I am, my dear Sir James,
   Most truly and faithfully yours,

   Admiralty, March 10th, 1797.

Early in March the Orion was again ready for active service; and the
following letter gives an account of the departure of Sir James
Saumarez with Commodore Nelson on a cruize.

   Orion, off the Tagus, 6th March 1797.


   I had the pleasure of your letter by packet, and I have to tell
   you we are now actually under sail, with Commodore Nelson, in
   the Irresistible, the Leander, and some frigates, going to
   intercept several Spanish ships expected from Vera Cruz with
   rich cargoes. Be not surprised if, with our _desperate_
   commodore, you hear of our taking the whole Spanish fleet,
   should we fall in with them. Our cruise is expected to last only
   three weeks.

   I hope on our return to receive letters from my friends, in
   reply to those I sent by the Lively. I shall thank you, when you
   see our friends in Walbrook, if you will mention to them that
   all my brother officers are extremely incensed at the opinion
   given by Sir William Scott on the case of the Kingston; and we
   hope he will have found reason to alter it. It is the
   circumstance, and not the value of the salvage, that has
   displeased us so much.

   We are just going over the Bar, so I must conclude with my
   sincere and best wishes for health and every happiness to attend
   you, my dear sister and family,

   I am ever, my dear Richard,
   Affectionately yours,

This short cruize was, however, an unsuccessful one; and the commodore
had not yet an opportunity of displaying his valour. They returned to
Lisbon, and found that their commander-in-chief had become Earl St.
Vincent, and that Nelson had received the grand cross of the Bath;
while Saumarez was among those on whom was bestowed a gold medal for
their gallant conduct on Valentine's Day.

A reinforcement had now arrived from England; and the whole fleet,
consisting of twenty-one sail of the line, resumed the blockade of
Cadiz, where they arrived on the 2nd of April, and found there the
whole Spanish fleet of twenty-six sail of the line. Sir Horatio
Nelson, who at first commanded the advanced squadron, was ordered up
to Elba; and Sir James, in the Orion, succeeded in his room; during
which time the two Spanish frigates Nimfa and Elena were captured by
the Irresistible, Captain Martin, who chased them by signal from the
Orion. Sir James on this occasion sent a flag of truce, and entered
into correspondence with the Spanish admiral Mazarredo; which, we need
only add, completely succeeded, and met with the high approbation of
the commander-in-chief, as will appear from the following extracts of
letters from Earl St. Vincent to Saumarez.

   Ville de Paris, 11th May 1797.

   You approve yourself so able in the diplomatique, that you need
   no assistance from me: in truth, a better despatch could not
   have been penn'd than yours of yesterday to Don Joseph De

   13th May.

   I very much admire your last letter to Mazarredo, as I have done
   all the former.

   27th May.

   I like your letter so much better than mine, of which I enclose
   a copy, that I desire you will send it on immediately.

   Ville de Paris, 30th May 1797.

   It is impossible for any man to have acquitted himself with
   greater ability than you have done during the time you commanded
   the blockade; for which I return you my best thanks. Your last
   letter to Mazarredo is a masterpiece; and you will perceive, by
   the enclosed copy of my letter to him, in answer to his comment
   on our suspicion about the seamen from Trinidad, that I profited
   by your hint relative to the prisoners landed at Lagos. Your
   lash on the destruction of the Spanish ships he bears with
   Spanish stoicism: _nous verrons_.

The following communication from Sir James Saumarez to the
commander-in-chief will elucidate the foregoing extracts:

   (Secret.) Orion, 27th May, 1797.

   Seeing the cutter on her way to the advanced squadron this
   morning, I waited to send the flag of truce till she joined. I
   had prepared the enclosed for Don Mazarredo, but was happy to
   find you had been pleased to take up the business. I therefore
   confined my letter solely to the certificates for the seven men
   taken in the two Spanish barks.--In a former letter, you were
   pleased to advert to a proposed descent when the troops joined
   from Gibraltar. I hope you will excuse the zeal that urges me to
   observe, that if possession was taken of Fort St. Mary, it would
   in a great degree leave us masters of the entrance of Cadiz, and
   enable us to drive all the outward ships up the harbour, and
   possibly destroy some of them. I am extremely obliged to you for
   permitting the Flora to remain with the advanced squadron, where
   she is of the greatest service.

   I am with great respect, &c.

The high opinion entertained by Nelson of the great talent and zeal of
Saumarez, is evidenced in the following short, but characteristic

   Theseus, June 9th 1797.


   Send, I beg, whatever you think fit towards San Lucar: all you
   do is right, and can hardly want my sanction. I hope your boats
   will be rewarded for their trouble; they take all the prizes for
   our squadron.

   Believe me, ever yours most faithfully,
   To Sir James Saumarez.

The following letter to his brother in London gives an interesting
account of the proceedings of Sir James Saumarez.

   Orion, off Cadiz, 26th May, 1797.


   I had the happiness to receive your kind letter of the 2nd
   yesterday, with several of nearly the same date, from Bath, and
   from our friends in the island. Having been near two months
   without hearing from you, and knowing you had been ill, you will
   readily suppose I was anxious for your letter. You will have
   heard from me by various opportunities since we sailed from the
   Tagus; my last acquainting you that I was entrusted with the
   command of the advanced squadron for effecting the blockade of
   Cadiz. We find, from different accounts, that the inhabitants
   feel great distress from the interruption of their trade, and
   begin to be in great want of provisions and other articles. We
   have detained a few neutrals laden with Spanish property, and
   two or three Spanish vessels; but as the whole fleet partake of
   them, they will not be very productive.

   Sir Horatio, now Rear-admiral Nelson, joined the fleet
   yesterday, having left the troops he brought from Elba at
   Gibraltar. I know not whether he is to resume the command of the
   advanced squadron. All the fleet are anchored about five miles
   from us, and we lie between them and the entrance of Cadiz.

   All private accounts from England agree with you in the prospect
   of peace; and they are corroborated by those we occasionally
   receive from Cadiz. It is certain that the Spaniards are
   extremely tired with the war; and they are apprehensive of
   insurrection amongst themselves. Mazarredo, who commands their
   fleet, went off for Madrid a fortnight ago, and, it is said, to
   represent the state of the fleet, and its insufficiency to cope
   with ours.

   We understand Lord H. Seymour is off Cape St. Vincent, and that
   Admiral Frederick is on his way with five sail of the line. It
   looks as if ministers meant to back the negociation with all
   their force.

   The Admiralty order respecting the increase of wages, &c. has
   been read to the different ships' companies; and I am happy to
   observe that in my ship no part of their conduct has hitherto
   shown the least appearance of discontent. It is much to be
   lamented that the disturbance which prevailed in the Channel
   fleet was not timely prevented, as the same spirit of
   disaffection may hereafter show itself when it may not be so
   easily suppressed.

   We begin to want the luxuries, yet abound in the essentials of
   life,--having plenty of beef, mutton, fowls, &c. Seriously, I
   have not had above twelve men in the sicklist since I left
   Lisbon, and most of them slight complaints.

   I want to hear that my sister has _dreamt_ of another
   action,--or, what is still better, of galleons! It must be soon,
   or the approaching peace will oblige us to restore what we may
   capture. I am happy to hear from my brother Thomas that things
   go on prosperously at Guernsey, and that he does not fear the
   French, though the two regiments are taken from him.

   Adieu, my dear Richard!
   Affectionately yours,

No part of the career of Sir James Saumarez is more deserving of
admiration than his conduct on the unfortunate disaffection which took
place in His Majesty's fleet; a calamity gently alluded to in the
above letter. This circumstance, which must ever redound to his
honour, was entirely owing to the high state of discipline of the
crew in his own ship, and to their unalterable attachment to their
commander, under whom the greatest part had served since the
commencement of the war. It was from a perfect knowledge of that
loyalty of spirit in which he justly confided, that he consented to
receive from the Prince George one of the worst of the mutineers in
that ship, who was to have been tried for his life. The seasonable
admonition which this man received from Sir James, and the attention
paid to his situation and feelings, had the desired effect of working
a complete change in his conduct, and from being one of the most
hardened of the mutineers, he soon became one of the most loyal, as he
was one of the bravest of English sailors. It was only three days
after he came on board that the signal was made for a boat from each
ship to attend the execution of three of the mutineers on board the
Prince George; which Earl St. Vincent, by a well-timed decision, had
ordered to take place very soon after the sentence, and while the
in-shore squadron were actually engaged with the enemy. He directed,
moreover, that this duty should be performed entirely by their own
ship's crew.

Sir James availed himself of this trying occasion to work out the
man's full conversion. Instead of sending him, as it is customary to
send culprits, in the boats to witness the execution of his shipmates,
he ordered him into his cabin, and having represented in the mildest
and most feeling terms the heinousness of the crime which he was known
to have committed, he assured him that it was his intention to spare
him the anguish he must endure of beholding his late companions
suffering the last penalty of the law for the very crime of which he
had been guilty.

This well-timed exhortation had the desired effect. The penitent man
fell on his knees, and with tears in his eyes acknowledged the
heinousness of his offence, and expressed the strongest protestations
of future loyalty, and of gratitude as well as attachment to his
humane commander. What followed was most creditable to both. The man
not only kept his word, but highly distinguished himself: at the
battle of the Nile he was captain of a gun, and, after the action, was
very instrumental, from his exertions and ability as carpenter's mate,
in saving the Peuple Souverain, which struck to the Orion. Being one
of those who took possession of the former ship, he was slung over the
side, and successfully employed in stopping the shot-holes under water
as the vessel rolled in the opposite direction;--a dangerous service,
which requires much intrepidity and address.

It is, indeed, by no means surprising that the spirit of mutiny never
appeared in the Orion, or in any ship Sir James commanded. The proper
degree of discipline which was always maintained--the attention that
was invariably paid to the wants and the comforts of the crew,--the
excellent regulations of his ship, which were subversive of every kind
of vice and immorality,--his own unaffected piety, and, lastly, the
example he himself set before his officers and men,--established in
his ship a feeling of respect for, and warm attachment to, the captain
which could not be shaken by any artifice of the wicked; for every
officer and man looked up habitually to their commander as their
_best_ friend and adviser. There may, indeed, have been some ships,
wherein the crews were made up from the metropolitan and other
prisons, that no treatment would have brought under proper discipline;
but we may confidently assert, that had all the ships in His Majesty's
fleets been commanded by such officers as Saumarez, the disgraceful
spirit of insubordination would never have been so seriously and
generally diffused. The Orion's crew treated all attempts to seduce
them with just indignation!

Earl St. Vincent being well aware of the confidence that could be
placed in the Orion at this critical time, kept her, for the safety of
his fleet, constantly at the post of honour in the advance; and it was
during this period of active and arduous service that a circumstance
occurred which does honour to all concerned, while it particularly
displays the humane character of Captain Saumarez, who was not one of
those that desired or permitted his officers and men to risk their
lives on any dangerous or desperate enterprise without a mature and
compassionate consideration of the consequences.

Near the fortifications of Cadiz, as if to guard the entrance of the
harbour, about twenty gun-vessels had been placed, which it appeared
to Earl St. Vincent might be cut out by the boats of the advanced
squadron; and accordingly an order was sent by the commander-in-chief
to Captain Saumarez, directing him to proceed in _person_ with the
boats of each ship to make the attempt. It was sufficiently evident to
Captain Saumarez, who, from the position of the Orion, had a better
view of the gun-vessels, that they were moored there on purpose to
provoke an attack for which the enemy were well prepared; but, having
received the order to command in _person_, he could not make known his
opinions without appearing averse to risk his own life on an
enterprise which the commander-in-chief thought advisable. Having thus
in his own mind no doubt that the affair would be both desperate and
bloody, he selected those officers and men who were unmarried for the
service, a list of whom he sent to the first lieutenant, with the
necessary orders to prepare the boats.

This list being exhibited in the ward-room, Captain (now
Lieutenant-general Sir John) Savage, of the Marines, had the
mortification to see that his name was omitted, while those of the
two subalterns of that distinguished corps were inserted. This
gallant officer, who had been a sharer with his heroic chief in
several actions, felt hurt that he was not chosen on this glorious
occasion; and, having ventured respectfully to express his feelings,
was sent for to the cabin, when he was addressed by his commander in
the following terms:

"Captain Savage, do not imagine that your name is left out in the list
because I have not a high opinion of your zeal and intrepidity. I well
know that you would be foremost in the assault; but I am also well
aware that this is a desperate enterprise: many will fall; and if
_you_ should be one, who is to support your wife and family? The case
is different with me: I am ordered, and my duty is to obey. Perhaps if
Lord St. Vincent knew what I do, he would not send us; but it does not
become me _now_ to make any observation. However, aware as I am of the
consequences, I cannot conscientiously order you to accompany me,
under the conviction that your valuable life would thereby be

The entreaties of Captain Savage were in vain. He beheld with mixed
feelings of disappointment, gratitude, and admiration, his humane and
heroic commander leave his ship at the head of the perilous enterprise
with that smile on his manly countenance which denoted a full
determination to face every danger. The boats had not proceeded far
before a storm arose directly off the land, against which no boats
could make way, and it was with some difficulty they regained the
ships. It was afterwards fully ascertained from various sources that
these gun-vessels had been moored in that position with rivetted
chains, having no person on board them, in order to tempt an attack;
and that the plan was, to let the boats take possession, and then open
a destructive fire from the batteries, which were kept several nights
lined with troops for the purpose. Had not a merciful interposition of
Providence prevented the advance of the boats, there can be no doubt
that many, if not all the lives of the assailants, would have been

We shall leave the feelings of Earl St. Vincent, when the truth came
out, as well as those of Captain Savage and all concerned, to the
imagination of the reader.



   Sir Horatio Nelson resumes the command of the advanced
   squadron.--Bombardment of Cadiz.--Nelson sails for
   Teneriffe.--Saumarez resumes the command.--Escorts a convoy to
   Gibraltar.--Refits at Lisbon, and returns.--Conducts the
   negotiation for exchange of prisoners.--Sir W. Parker relieves
   Sir James.--He arrives at Gibraltar.--Is attached to Nelson's
   squadron.--Proceeds off Toulon.--A storm.--Vanguard
   dismasted.--Great exertions of the Orion and Alexander in
   refitting the Vanguard at St. Pierre.--Sailing of the Toulon
   fleet.--Nelson reinforced by ten sail of the line.--Pursues the
   enemy unsuccessfully.--Proceedings of the fleet in a journal
   addressed by Sir James to his family.--French fleet discovered
   in Aboukir Bay.--Battle of the Nile.--Diagram of ditto.--Conduct
   of the Orion.--Saumarez wounded.--Writes to Nelson.--Goes on
   board the Vanguard.--Occurrences there.--Remarks on the name of
   the second in command being left out in Nelson's despatches.--On
   the mode of attack.--Various letters and orders.--Sir James's
   account of the battle, in a letter to Lady Saumarez.

REAR-ADMIRAL Sir Horatio Nelson having resumed the command of the
advanced squadron, Earl St. Vincent determined to bombard the city of
Cadiz, for the double purpose of inducing the Spanish admiral
Mazarredo, who had now twenty-eight sail of the line, to put to sea:
the Earl wished moreover to employ the minds of the seamen, which had
become unsettled by the baneful example of those in England.
Accordingly the Thunder bomb, covered by the boats of the squadron,
made the first attempt; but her mortar was discovered to have been
injured in retreating: she was assailed by the Spaniards, when
after a desperate struggle she was rescued, and the Spanish
commanding-officer, Don Miguel Tyrason, was eventually made prisoner
by Nelson, who also captured a number of men and two mortar-boats.

On the 5th July, another bombardment took place by the Thunder,
Terror, and Strombolo, which being judiciously placed, their fire
produced a considerable effect on both the town and shipping, and
obliged the Spanish admirals to remove their fleet out of shell-range.
This attack, like the first, ended in an encounter between the
gun-boats. The third attempt, which was to have taken place on the
8th, was rendered abortive by a strong gale blowing off the shore.

On the 15th, Nelson having been detached with a squadron of three sail
of the line, a fifty, and three frigates, on the unfortunate
expedition to Teneriffe, the command of the advanced squadron again
devolved on Sir James Saumarez. Nothing could surpass the zeal and
intrepidity with which he performed this arduous duty. On the 18th
August he escorted a convoy to Gibraltar, and having refreshed his
crew and refitted his ship, he resumed his duty off Cadiz, sometimes
at anchor off the harbour, and under sail when obliged by the weather.
On the 15th November he was relieved, in order to refit at Lisbon, and
entered the Tagus on the 25th, returning about the same day in the
next month to the blockade of Cadiz, which was almost entirely
intrusted to him. Such indeed were his vigilance and activity, that
nothing escaped during that period. He displayed, moreover, great tact
and address in several communications with the Spanish admiral on the
subject of the exchange of prisoners, to the entire satisfaction of
Earl St. Vincent, the commander-in-chief, who had always reposed the
most implicit confidence in his judgment.

On the 7th of February 1798, the Spanish fleet were seen coming out of
Cadiz, and, in hopes of decoying them into the open sea, the English
fleet retired to Cape St. Vincent; but it was soon found that on the
14th the enemy had returned into port, being unwilling again to try
the fortune of war with such an opponent. The advanced squadron was at
that time commanded by Sir William Parker, who remained there.

Sir James Saumarez continued with the fleet until the 28th April, when
he was sent to refit at Gibraltar.

On the 8th May 1798, the Orion sailed from Gibraltar in company with
the Vanguard, Rear-admiral Sir Horatio Nelson,--the Alexander, Captain
Ball,--Emerald and Terpsichore frigates, and Bonne Citoyenne
sloop,--with orders from Earl St. Vincent to watch the enemy's fleet
at Toulon. When they were fairly through the Straits of Gibraltar, the
following order was given:

   _Most secret rendezvous._

   In the direct track between Cape Saint Sebastian's and Toulon,
   in lat. 42° 20' N. from twenty to thirty leagues from the Cape;
   and, not hearing where I may be, in ten days return to

   Given on board His Majesty's ship Vanguard, at sea, 14th May

   To Sir J. Saumarez, Captain of H.M.S. Orion.
   By command of the Rear-admiral,

On the 17th, off Cape Sicie, the Orion being sent in chase, captured
the Pierre, French corvette, which sailed the evening before from
Toulon, and obtained the following information from the prisoners,
which was immediately sent to the Rear-admiral: viz. "That the enemy's
fleet, consisting of twelve sail of the line, besides six Venetian
ships, were in readiness to sail, with a great number of transports,
having on board both cavalry and infantry, on a secret expedition. The
French general Buonaparte arrived at Toulon ten days ago to command
the expedition, and was to embark in the Sans-culotte, (afterwards
L'Orient,) which ship was said to have three thousand men on board,
including her complement; almost all the line-of-battle ships had
troops on board. Three frigates,--La Juno, La Diane, and La
Justice,--were seen by the corvette this morning, and sailed from
Toulon five days ago."

On the 19th a strong gale blew from the N.W. which being fair for the
enemy, they sailed from Toulon, and, calling off Genoa, stood across
to Cape Corse. This powerful expedition was found to consist of
thirteen sail of the line, six frigates, and transports amounting to
nearly four hundred sail, having on board, including the crews,
forty-eight thousand men. It appears that, although not many leagues
distant from Nelson's squadron, the fleet did not experience a gale
which blew with uncommon violence on the 21st, and in which, after
losing her three top-masts, the Vanguard lost her fore-mast and sprung
her bowsprit; while the Orion and Alexander lost each a main-top-sail,
and it was with difficulty they reached the Bay of St. Pietro in
Sardinia on the following day. Here the squadron had a narrow escape;
for, besides crossing the track of the enemy on the night of the 20th,
they, by being at anchor in this bay, were not discovered by a
detachment which the enemy sent in quest of them, and to which, in
their disabled state, they must have been an easy capture. By the
assistance of the Orion and Alexander the damages of the Vanguard were
repaired in four days!

It has been justly said by Nelson, that "the exertions of Sir James
Saumarez in the Orion have been wonderful: if the Vanguard had been in
England, months would have been taken to send her to sea; here my
operations will not be delayed four days, and I shall rejoin the rest
of my fleet on the rendezvous."[12] Accordingly, on the 27th, while
the Orion was taking possession of a Spanish brig, the Vanguard and
Alexander joined her off the port; but the frigates which had parted
never afterwards joined.

  [12] See Clarke and M'Arthur's Life of Lord Nelson.

The following journal, written in the shape of a letter by Sir James
to his family, detailing the proceedings of the squadron, and the
events previous to the memorable 1st of August, will be read with much

   "Orion, St. Peter's Port,
   "Island of Sardinia, 24th May 1798.

"If the letter I sent you the 18th instant arrives safely, it will
apprise you of our being in the neighbourhood of Toulon, with every
prospect of a propitious cruise. The squadron experienced blowing
weather till the Sunday following, when it became more moderate; and
in the afternoon a valuable vessel was captured, from Smyrna, laden
with cotton. This little success appeared the forerunner of our
future good fortune; and we began to make exulting reflections on the
advantages of our situation. A few hours, however, convinced us of the
futility of all our views, and the instability of human projects: at
ten o'clock the wind began to increase with such rapidity as scarcely
to give us time to take in our sails, and prepare to encounter the
gale: at midnight we were reduced to a close-reefed main-topsail; a
tremendous sea, and vivid flashes of lightning, convinced us that the
storm was not at its height: at three o'clock our main-top-sail was
shattered to ribands, and blew overboard.

"The dawn of day presented to us a sad spectacle: the Vanguard without
a fore-mast, and her main and mizen-top-mast gone; the rest of the
squadron much dispersed, and the prize captured the evening before not
in sight.

"Providentially the Vanguard was enabled to _wear_ on the other
_tack_, as the sea was setting her fast towards Corsica, from which
island we were not many leagues distant. The gale continued with
unabated violence until the afternoon, when it became rather more
moderate, but still there was a very great sea. This ship, with the
Alexander and Emerald, kept company with the Admiral, and the latter
parted in the night.

"The next morning the gale had considerably abated, and we were
enabled to set some sail. The Admiral hailed me that he intended to
proceed for Orestan Bay, in the island of Sardinia, and directed me
to make the land, which we discovered at noon: but the wind would not
enable the Vanguard, in her disabled state, to reach it before night;
and Sir H. Nelson altered his intention for this bay, which we reached
yesterday morning, though not without having passed a most anxious
night: the Alexander having the Vanguard in tow, within three miles of
a most dangerous coast, where there existed no possibility of
anchoring, and with which we were totally unacquainted. This is a very
safe harbour, sheltered from any wind, very happily for us; as the
weather has continued very unsettled since we are here. St. Pietro is
a very small town; and the island, as well as this part of Sardinia,
appears very uncultivated.

"The governor sent an officer to the Admiral this morning, who very
civilly informed us that by a late alliance with France he was not
permitted to admit us in the port; at the same time observing that, as
he could not prevent it, we might do as we pleased, but that he could
not give us _pratique_.

"We are going on in the equipment of the Vanguard with all expedition;
and we hope the three ships will be ready to sail by next Sunday, Sir
H. Nelson is happily very well, and has not lost his usual spirits.

"Friday, 25th.--Whilst I was on shore this morning to have some
conversation with the governor, a sail was discovered off the island,
and my signal made to prepare to proceed after her, supposing she was
an enemy. We are however disappointed, it being a neutral vessel from
Cagliari, the principal port in Sardinia; and I am now returning to
the anchorage. I have great hopes my having been on shore this morning
will be attended with a good effect; the governor having promised to
supply us with oxen, sheep, and as much poultry as can be procured by

"Sunday, 27th May.--This morning my signal was made to chase a vessel,
which I came up with and captured: she proved a Spanish brig from
Cagliari, laden with wheat. It was in contemplation to set fire to
her; we, however, finally determined to send the people on shore, and,
if they bring off the value of the corn, we shall restore her to them.
The Vanguard, being repaired of her damages, got under way this
morning with the Alexander. I was happy to find my negotiation with
the governor succeeded; and we have been supplied with the articles I
mentioned, on moderate terms, both for the ships' companies and
officers, which is a seasonable relief, as Gibraltar supplied us with
nothing whatever excepting fowls.

"I am not free from great anxiety lest the account of the gale we
encountered may reach England before that of our safety shall arrive,
and give you some uneasiness; but the experience you have had how
nugatory all such fears are, will, I hope, make you banish them for

"Monday, 29th.--The Spaniard not having come off as was expected, the
Admiral determined on sending the prize to Gibraltar. I hazarded a
line by her for Mr. Le Mesurier; but we form no great expectation of
her safety, from the great number of the enemy's gun-boats. A vessel
we spoke yesterday, from Marseilles, informs us that the French fleet
put to sea, the 20th, from Toulon, with all their transports, &c.: as
it was that evening the gale of wind came on, we have no doubt but
they must have suffered severely. By this vessel we have also several
papers from Paris, the latest dated the 16th instant: they contain
extracts from the English papers, which to us are very interesting,
viz. the capture of the Hercule, the defeat at Marcon, Sir Sidney
Smith's escape, and other important news, which, on the whole, are
favourable to the welfare of the country, particularly as regards the
unanimity which appears to prevail in England.

"I dined, together with Captain Ball, on board the Vanguard: we all
form great expectations of our future success, which, I trust, will be
realized. Certain it is that no ships could be ordered on a more
promising service.

"Sunday, 3rd June--Nothing particular has occurred these last days.
Yesterday a vessel was spoken with, which mentioned having seen
eleven sail of the line, a few days ago, supposed to be English. We
are at a loss what conjectures to put on this intelligence. We are at
present off Toulon: unfortunately, none of our frigates have joined
us, and we are apprehensive they have returned to Gibraltar.

"Tuesday.--La Mutine brig joined us this morning, with the very
interesting intelligence of the arrival off Cadiz of the reinforcement
under Sir R. Curtis; and that Captain Troubridge, with eleven sail,
was on his way to join us: we look for him with the utmost impatience,
trusting in the Divine Providence to be in time to baffle the designs
of the enemy, who, we understand, are certainly gone to Naples with
their numerous army. I shall now go on with this journal with great
glee, inasmuch as our proceedings are becoming of such very great

"Thursday, 7th.--Nothing can equal our anxiety to fall in with the
reinforcement. Our squadron has been, these two days, detached in all
directions, without falling in with them; and there is strong reason
to fear they think us returned to Gibraltar. This morning the
Alexander and myself chased two vessels, one of which we have just
taken possession of; she proves a Spanish vessel from Genoa, not very
valuable: the other the Alexander is still in chase of.

"Friday, 8th.--As this is in some degree to be a faithful account of
our transactions, I must not conceal from you the deep distress I have
been under at finding myself this morning parted from the Vanguard,
and the Alexander almost out of sight; knowing how important and very
material it was, for the good of the service we were upon, that the
squadron should not be separated. It was not till this afternoon I was
relieved from the most acute anxiety I have ever suffered, by the
Leander joining me, with the very satisfactory account that Sir H.
Nelson, while we were in chase, fell in with the expected ships under
Captain Troubridge, and which occasioned our separation. I am now
under full sail to join them; and have not the least doubt of being in
time to add my endeavours to promote the tranquillity of Christendom
by the destruction of the enemy's fleet, which, I firmly believe,
cannot now escape us.

"Our prize requiring more men than I can at this time conveniently
spare to navigate her, I have consented to her being ransomed for ten
thousand dollars, although, I dare say, worth more than five times
that sum. She had thirty-six ex-Jesuits (Spanish priests), who, after
having been banished from Spain, had resided thirty-one years in
Italy, '_et à présent prévoyans le bannissement menacé des ex-Jesuites
Espagnols des nouvelles républiques Italiennes, retournoient chez
eux_.' Thus these poor wretches are driven about according to the
prejudices of the times. She had also on board Swiss recruits for the
Spanish army, eight of whom have entered volunteers in Captain
Savage's corps, which I consider an acquisition: but no captured
vessel ever gave so much uneasiness as she has caused me; and I have
often wished we had never seen her, even had she been worth a million
of money.

"Sunday, 10th June.--I had the great satisfaction yesterday to join
Sir H. Nelson with the reinforcement; and this morning the Alexander
joined us, after having captured the prize she chased, which I
understand to be a valuable ship, also from Genoa.

"We are now fourteen sail of the line, with La Mutine brig only; our
present anxiety is to gain information of the enemy's fleet, and to
find them where we can attack them. I hope to give you soon good
intelligence of them, and speedily be the bearer of the good news in
person, as Sir H. Nelson has orders to send the Orion home, when he
can spare her. What a blessing if our present endeavours should be
crowned with success, and I have the good fortune to proceed to
England immediately after; which at present is really intended, having
seen the order from the commander-in-chief.

"Tuesday, June 12th: off Elba.--We have reached this distance without
having been enabled to obtain any information of the enemy, who we
have reason to think are not far from our squadron: the winds have
been very favourable to us, as at this time of the year calms are very
prevailing. Although a long period has elapsed since I was on this
station, I derive great advantage, as well as satisfaction, from my
recollection of the different places we have passed. We are at present
between Corsica and Leghorn, about fifteen leagues from the latter: if
we do not hear anything of the French fleet before we get to Naples,
we shall rendezvous at that place; and, we hope, in time to save that
country from the hands of our rapacious enemy.

"Thursday, 14th.--The Admiral has this morning made the signal of his
having gained intelligence of the enemy, and that they were off
Syracuse in the island of Sicily. This information has been
communicated by a Moor that the Leander has spoken with. We are now in
full sail, with a fresh breeze of wind; and to-morrow we hope to get
sight of Naples, in order to obtain more certain accounts of them. The
officers and crews in the several ships are all in the highest
spirits; and I never remember going into action with more certain
hopes of success.

"Friday, 15th.--I dined with Sir Horatio to-day, and find his
intelligence only extends to the enemy's fleet having been seen off
Sicily. As he has sent Captain Troubridge in La Mutine to Naples, we
may expect to-morrow more certain accounts of them; but we have reason
to suppose them gone for Alexandria, the distance from which to the
Red Sea is only three days' journey. They may soon be transported
thence by water to the East Indies, with the assistance of their ally
and our inveterate enemy, Tippoo Saib; and with their numerous army
they expect to drive us out of our possessions in India. This profound
scheme, which is thought very feasible, we hope to frustrate by coming
up with them before they reach the place of their destination; and, as
we know them to have great numbers of troops embarked in their
men-of-war, they will become an easier prey to us.

"Saturday, 16th.--Calms and baffling winds since yesterday have
prevented our getting within sight of Naples, although all the time
within a few miles of that beautiful place; which you must suppose has
been mortifying to an extreme. We are looking out for the Mutine. As
soon as she joins us we expect to proceed in search of the enemy. Our
route lies through a passage often celebrated by the ancients, "the
famous Scylla and Charybdis." We shall have sight of Mount Ætna and
other volcanoes, particularly Mount Strombolo, and other small islands
formed by subterranean eruptions. We are at present in sight of
Vesuvius, at the foot of which Naples is situated; but we are at too
great a distance to observe its fiery eruptions.

"Sunday, June 17th. The wind has favoured us this morning, and given
us a good sight of the Bay of Naples; but at too great a distance to
see much of the city. The country around it, as well as several of the
islands that form the bay, are beautifully interspersed with towns and
villages; the whole presenting a most delightful scene. At 6 P.M. La
Mutine joined us; and, from what I can understand from Sir H. Nelson,
brings him some information of the enemy's fleet. He has just hailed
me to say they were seen eight days ago, but I could not distinguish
at what place. We are again making all possible sail after them.

"I regret much not having been able to send a letter I had written to
you, and carried on board the Admiral this morning; _mais tu sais bien
qu'il ne se met guère en peine d'écrire lui-même_, and he is so full
of mystery at this time that he seems unwilling any letter should be
sent but those he writes to Government. It shall go some other

"Tuesday, 19th.--This morning has presented to us a delightful view of
Mount Strombolo, from the top of which we plainly discern constant
columns of smoke; and, although at the distance of at least six
leagues from it, I can assure you, without assuming the privilege of
travellers in general, that I am very sensible of the sulphureous
vapour produced by the volcano: at the same time, it may be necessary
to observe, that the wind blows directly towards the ship. Strombolo
is a remarkably high island, of a regular conical form, and may be
seen at the distance of twenty leagues. It is about ten miles in
circumference, and, I understand, is inhabited by a few fishermen.
Unluckily, the weather is too hazy to admit our seeing much of the
beautiful coast of Calabria, which is at no great distance from us.

"Wednesday, 20th.--We have now a pleasant breeze, which will soon waft
us through the Straits of Messina, so famous for being the terror of
the ancients. An old pilot is just come on board, who reminds me more
of the poet's description of old Charon than of a modern human being.
I hope he is not come to ferry us across the Styx. The whole of his
crew have the same grotesque appearance. We can now discern the famous
Ætna disgorging columns of smoke. Some distance below its summit it
appears covered with snow, whilst we are here melting with heat. It
has indeed a most stately appearance; and the whole country of Sicily
answers everything that has been reported of it for its fertility, as
well as for the varied beauty of its scene: but I must recommend you
to read Brydone's travels through Sicily and Malta, a writer who, I
recollect, gives a lively description of these different places.

"We have this day been regaled with a most enchanting prospect in
passing through the Faro of Messina. It is not more than three miles
distant, and on each side lies the most picturesque and lovely country
that can be described. The ship was within a mile of the beautiful
city of Messina, where I distinctly observed some of the ruins
occasioned by the earthquake in the year 1783.

"From what I have been able to learn from old Charon (who has just
left us in perfect safety), the French fleet are still off Malta; and
it appears their formidable armament is directed against that island.
As it is a place of great strength, and as we are within two days'
sail of it, with a favourable wind, I hope we shall be in time for its
relief, and add still more important exploits to many that have
formerly been achieved in fighting for its defence.

"Thursday, 21st.--The wind has proved rather contrary for the squadron
since yesterday. We are still in sight of Mount Ætna, and only a few
leagues from the nearest part of Sicily: the ancient city of Syracuse
is discernible from the ship. To-morrow I think will bring us in view
of the enemy's fleet, which will be a far more desirable sight.

"June 22nd.--I am just returned from on board the Admiral, where I had
the mortification to learn that a vessel, which sailed yesterday from
Malta, gives the very unpleasing account that the island had
surrendered to the French, and that their fleet left it six days ago.
This intelligence has more than ever left us in perplexity as to their
further destination. On the supposition that Alexandria, as we first
conjectured, was what they had in view, we are crowding sail for that
place; but the contrast to what we experienced yesterday is great
indeed, having made sure of attacking them this morning. At present it
is very doubtful whether we shall fall in with them at all, as we are
proceeding upon the merest conjecture only, and not on any positive
information. Some days must now elapse before we can be relieved from
our cruel suspense; and if, at the end of our journey, we find we are
upon a wrong scent, our embarrassment will be great indeed.
Fortunately, I only act here _en second_; but did the chief
responsibility rest with me, I fear it would be more than my too
irritable nerves would bear. They have already been put to the trial
in two or three instances this voyage.

"I should observe that we saw three French frigates this morning, but
they were not considered of sufficient importance to run the risk of
separating the squadron in chasing them. The island of Malta will
prove a great acquisition to the French; as well for its excellent
harbour as for the immense wealth it contains: they will also get a
few ships of war and a considerable quantity of naval stores.
_D'ailleurs_, the suppression of a useless order that encouraged
idleness will be no real detriment to the cause of Christianity.

"Sunday, June 24th.--The last two days we have not gone less than a
hundred leagues; and, as the wind continues favourable, we hope to
arrive at Alexandria before the French, should their destination be
for that place, which continues very doubtful. At the same time, if it
should prove that our possessions in India is the object of their
armament, our having followed them so immediately appears the only
means of saving that country from falling into their hands. I
therefore hope that credit will be given us for our intentions at
least. We have hitherto been certainly unfortunate, which has chiefly
arisen from the reinforcement not joining sooner; the French armament
sailed from Toulon five days before Captain Troubridge left Lord St.
Vincent: another circumstance has been the separation of all our
frigates, which deprived us of the means of obtaining information. The
day we were off Naples the French fleet left Malta, and it was not
until we arrived off that island, six days after, that we heard of its
being taken, and that the French fleet had left it; and then without
the least intimation which way they were going.

"Sir H. Nelson consulted with some of the senior captains, who agreed
with his opinion, that, in the uncertainty where the enemy were gone,
the preservation of our possessions should be the first
consideration. It may be worth remarking that our squadron was sent,
on the application of the King of Naples, for the protection of his
dominions. On our arrival there, and requiring the co-operation of his
ships, the reply was, that, as the French had not declared war against
him, he could not commence hostilities; that if the Emperor declared
war, he would also join against France. Should his territories be
attacked, he has to thank himself for the event.

"We must hope that in England affairs prosper better than in this
country; they are certainly _en fort mauvais train_ in this part of
the world.

"Tuesday, 26th.--We are now within one day's sail of Alexandria, so
that we hope soon to know whether the French fleet are in this
direction; but having seen no appearance of any of their numerous
convoy, we begin to fear they are gone some other way. I was this
morning on board the Admiral; he has detached La Mutine for
information. I hope she will not find the plague there, to which that
country is very subject.

"Friday, 29th.--The weather did not permit us to get near Alexandria
before yesterday. La Mutine's boat went on shore; and I find this
morning from the Admiral that they took us for the French fleet,
having had some intimation of their coming this way. We have now to
use all despatch in getting back towards Naples; it is probable we
shall learn something of them on our passage. The squadron has
captured a French ship this afternoon, which we suppose to be from
Alexandria. I have passed the day on board the Vanguard, having
breakfasted and staid to dinner with the Admiral.

"Sunday, 1st July.--The wind continues to the westward, and I am sorry
to find it is almost as prevailing as the trade-winds. The vessel
captured the day before yesterday was set on fire, after taking out
what could be useful for firewood.

"Sunday, 29th July: off Candia.--A small vessel, captured yesterday by
the Culloden, gave some information of the enemy's fleet. The Admiral
having made the signal that he had gained intelligence of them, we are
proceeding with a brisk gale for Alexandria. If at the end of our
voyage we find the enemy in a situation where we can attack them, we
shall think ourselves amply repaid for our various disappointments.
The Alexander also spoke a vessel which gave information; but, having
had no communication with the Admiral, we have not been able to learn
the different accounts: we are however satisfied with the purport of
the signal he made yesterday.

"Monday.--I find from Captain Ball that the enemy were seen steering
towards Alexandria _thirty_ days ago, and we are once more making the
best of our way for that place. I also understand that two of our
frigates were seen a few days since at Candia; it seems decreed we
shall never meet with them. I am rather surprised the Admiral did not
endeavour to fall in with them, as they probably have certain
information where the enemy's fleet are, from vessels they may have
spoken with, and they otherwise would be a great acquisition to our

It may now be stated, that in the mean time the French expedition had
landed the troops and taken possession, not only of Alexandria, but
Cairo; and that their fleet, consisting of thirteen sail of the line,
four frigates, two brigs, and several bombs and armed vessels, had
taken up a position in the Bay of Aboukir, in which, according to the
opinion of their admiral, they could "defy the British navy."

As a particular list of both fleets will be given in a subsequent
place, I need now only mention that the force of the British fleet was
fourteen ships of seventy-four guns, one of fifty, and the Mutine
brig. The fleet was manned with 7,000 men; but as the Culloden, which
was not in the action, must not be included, the actual force may be
estimated 6,300 men and 872 guns, while the enemy's force, actually
opposed, may be reckoned 8,000 men, and 1,208 guns throwing a
broadside of one-half more weight than the British.

On the junction of the squadron, the following orders were given by
the Admiral:

   Vanguard, at sea, 8th June 1798.


   As it is very probable the enemy may not be formed in regular
   order on the approach of the squadron under my command, I may in
   that case deem it most expedient to attack them by separate
   divisions; in which case, the commanders of divisions are
   strictly enjoined to keep their ships in the closest order
   possible, and on no account whatever to risk the separation of
   one of their ships. The captains of the ships will see the
   necessity of strictly attending to close order: and, should they
   compel any of the enemy's ships to strike their colours, they
   are at liberty to judge and act accordingly, whether or not it
   may be most advisable to cut away their masts and bowsprits;
   with this special observance, namely, that the destruction of
   the enemy's armament is the sole object. The ships of the enemy
   are, therefore, to be taken possession of by an officer and one
   boat's crew only, in order that the British ships may be enabled
   to continue the attack, and preserve their stations.

   The commanders of divisions are to observe that no consideration
   is to induce them to separate in pursuing the enemy, unless by
   signal from me, so as to be unable to form a speedy junction
   with me; and the ships are to be kept in that order that the
   whole squadron may act as a single ship. When I make the signal
   No. 16, the commanders of divisions are to lead their separate
   squadrons, and they are to accompany the signal they may think
   proper to make with the appropriate triangular flag, viz. Sir
   James Saumarez will hoist the triangular flag, white with a red
   stripe, significant of the van squadron under the commander in
   the second post; Captain Troubridge will hoist the triangular
   blue flag, significant of the rear squadron under the commander
   in the third post; and whenever I mean to address the centre
   squadron only, I shall accompany the signal with the triangular
   red flag, significant of the centre squadron under the

                               2d. Div.
     1st. Div. red.      white with red stripe.        3d. Div. blue.

       Vanguard.             Orion.                       Culloden.
       Minotaur.             Goliath.                     Theseus.
       Leander.              Majestic.                    Alexander.
       Audacious.            Bellerophon.                 Swiftsure.

   Vanguard, at sea, 8th June 1798.

   GEN. MEM.

   As the wind may probably blow along shore when it is deemed
   necessary to anchor and engage the enemy at their anchorage, it
   is recommended to each line-of-battle ship of the squadron to
   prepare to anchor with the sheet-cable in abaft and springs,
   &c.--Vide Signal 54, and Instructions thereon, page 56, &c.
   Article 37 of the Instructions.


   To the respective Captains, &c.

   Mem. P.S.--To be inserted in pencil in the Signal-Book, at No.
   182. Being to windward of the enemy, to denote that I mean to
   attack the enemy's line from the rear towards the van, as far as
   thirteen ships, or whatever number of the British ships of the
   line may be present, that each ship may know his opponent in the
   enemy's line.

   No. 183. I mean to press hard with the whole force on the
   enemy's rear.

The proceedings of Sir Horatio Nelson's squadron are now brought down
to the moment when their united, ardent, and anxious wishes were to
be realized. The disappointments they had met with during their
hitherto fruitless pursuit,--the state of anxiety, of alternate hope
and despair, in which they had been kept, had raised their feelings of
emulation to a pitch far beyond description; this was soon to be
manifested by the endeavours of each to close with the enemy.

Never could there have been selected a set of officers better
calculated for such a service; Nelson was fortunate in commanding
them, and they in being commanded by him. It is true, indeed, that his
particular favourite, Captain Troubridge, was intended for his
second-in-command, instead of Sir James Saumarez; and the latter would
no doubt have been sent home, according to the orders he had received:
but, with the chance of such an engagement as that which they
anticipated, the well-tried captain of the Orion and his highly
disciplined crew could not be spared; and, although Nelson carefully
concealed his feelings towards Saumarez, they were but too manifest by
the chary manner in which he expressed himself on this and on former

In consequence of the before-mentioned information, the fleet bore up
for Alexandria; and on the morning of the 1st of August the towers of
that celebrated city, and Pompey's Pillar made their appearance. Soon
after was discerned a forest of masts in the harbour, which they had
previously seen empty; and, lastly, the French flag waving over its
walls. A general disappointment was caused for a short time by a
signal from the look-out ships that the enemy's men-of-war did not
form a part of the vessels at anchor there; but this was soon
dispelled by a signal from the Zealous that the enemy's fleet occupied
the Bay of Aboukir in a line of battle, thirteen ships, four frigates,
and two brigs, in sight on the larboard bow. At half-past two P.M. the
British fleet hauled up, and steered directly for them with a fine
N.N.W. breeze, carrying top-gallant sails.[13]

   [13] In allusion to this memorable event, Sir James
   writes--"When on the morning of the 1st of August the
   reconnoitring ship made the signal that the enemy was not there,
   despondency nearly took possession of my mind, and I do not
   recollect ever to have felt so utterly hopeless, or out of
   spirits, as when we sat down to dinner; judge then what a change
   took place when, as the cloth was being removed, the officer of
   the watch hastily came in, saying--'Sir, a signal is just now
   made that the enemy is in Aboukir Bay, and moored in a line of
   battle.' All sprang from their seats, and only staying to drink
   a _bumper_ to our success, we were in a moment on deck." On his
   appearance there his brave men, animated by one spirit, gave
   three hearty cheers, in token of their joy at having at length
   found their long-looked-for enemy, without the possibility of
   his again eluding their pursuit.

When the Admiral made the signal to prepare for battle, at half-past
three, the signal to haul the wind on the starboard tack, and for the
Colossus to cast off her prize, the Swiftsure and Alexander, which had
been recalled from looking out off Alexandria, were carrying all sail
to join. At five, the Admiral made the signal that it was his
intention to attack the van and centre of the enemy as they lay at
anchor, which was repeated by the Orion. At forty-five minutes past
five, he made the signal to form the line as most convenient. The
fleet then formed in the following order:--Goliath, Zealous, Vanguard,
Minotaur, Theseus, Bellerophon, Defence, Orion, Audacious, Majestic,
and Leander. The Culloden was then astern the Swiftsure, and the
Alexander to leeward, tacking to clear the reef. The Admiral hove to,
to pick up a boat, and also the four next ships astern of the
Vanguard, which gave the Orion an opportunity, by standing on and
passing them, to get up with the Zealous at about half-past six.

In ten minutes afterwards the signal for close action was made, and
repeated by most of the fleet; at the same time, the Goliath, having
passed round the enemy's headmost ship, anchored on the quarter of the
second; while the Zealous took her position on the bow of the former
ship; both anchoring by the stern. The batteries on the island of
Bequir or Aboukir, and the headmost ships, opened their fire as the
leading ship approached; and they in return opened theirs on rounding
the advanced ship of the enemy's line.

The Orion, after giving that ship her broadside, passed round the
Zealous and Goliath; and, as she was passing the third ship of the
enemy, the French frigate Sérieuse approached, began to fire on her,
and wounded two men. In reply to an observation of one of the
officers, who proposed to return her fire immediately, Sir James said,
"Let her alone, she will get courage and come nearer. Shorten sail."
As the Orion lost way by shortening sail, the frigate came up; and,
when judged to be sufficiently advanced, orders were given to yaw the
Orion, and stand by the starboard guns, which were double-shotted. The
moment having arrived when every gun was brought to bear, the fatal
order to fire was given; when, by this single but well-directed
broadside, the unfortunate Sérieuse was not only totally dismasted,
but shortly afterwards sunk, and was discovered next morning with only
her quarter above water.

On discharging this fatal broadside the helm was put hard a-starboard;
but it was found that the ship would not fetch sufficiently to
windward, and near to the Goliath, if she anchored by the stern. She
stood on, and, having given the fourth ship her starboard broadside,
let go her bower anchor, and brought up on the quarter of Le Peuple
Souverain, which was the fifth ship, and on the bow of Le Franklin,
the sixth ship of the enemy's line. The third and fourth ships were
occupied by the Theseus and Audacious on the inside, by passing
through; while they were attacked on the outside by the Minotaur,
Vanguard, and Defence.

By the log of the Orion it was forty-five minutes past six o'clock
when that ship let go her anchor, and, in "tending," poured her
starboard broadside into the Franklin and L'Orient. The fire was then
directed on Le Peuple Souverain, until she cut and dropped out of the
line, totally dismasted and silenced.



     BRITISH.                          FRENCH.

     A--Audacious.                     1--Guerrier.
     B--Bellerophon.                   2--Conquérant.
     C--Culloden (aground).            3--Spartiate.
     D--Defence.                       4--Aquilon.
     E--Majestic.                      5--Peuple Souverain.
     F--Alexander.                     6--Franklin.
     G--Goliath.                       7--L'Orient.
     L--Leander.                       8--Tonnant.
     M--Minotaur.                      9--Heureux.
     O--Orion.                        10--Mercure.
     S--Swiftsure.                    11--Guillaume Tell.
     T--Theseus.                      12--Généreux.
     V--Vanguard.                     13--Timoléon.
     Z--Zealous.                      14--Sérieuse.
     +*--Sérieuse, dismasted by       15--Artemise.
         the Orion, and sunk at 14.   16--Justice.
     I--Island of Aboukir.            17--Diane.
     Y--Shallow water.

At seven o'clock the headmost ships were dismasted; a fire-raft was
observed dropping down from them on the Orion. Her stern-boat having
been shot through, and the others being on the booms, it was
impossible to have recourse to the usual method of towing it clear:
booms were then prepared to keep it off. As it approached, however,
the current carried it about twenty-five yards clear of the ship.
About half-past eight, just as the Peuple Souverain, which had been
the Orion's opponent, had dropped to leeward, a suspicious ship was
seen approaching the Orion in the vacant space which the vanquished
one had occupied. Many on board were convinced of her being a
fire-ship of the enemy, and Sir James was urged to allow the guns to
be turned upon her. Happily he himself had stronger doubts of her
being such than those who pressed the reverse. He ordered a vigilant
watch to be kept on her movements; and when the darkness dispersed,
she was discovered to be the Leander. Distinguishing lights were
hoisted, and the Orion continued to engage Le Franklin from fifty
minutes past six o'clock to a quarter before ten. The action was
general, and kept up on both sides with perseverance and vigour, when
the enemy's fire began to slacken, and the three-decker was discovered
to be on fire. At ten the firing ceased; the ship opposed to the Orion
having surrendered, as also all the van of the enemy.

Preparations were now made to secure the ships from the effects of the
expected explosion.--The ports were lowered down, the magazine
secured, the sails handed, and water placed in various parts to
extinguish whatever flames might be communicated. The unfortunate ship
was now in a blaze; at half-past eleven she blew up, and the
tremendous concussion was felt at the very kelsons of all the ships
near her. The combatants on both sides seemed equally to feel the
solemnity of this destructive scene. A pause of at least ten minutes
ensued, each engaged in contemplating a sight so grand and terrible.
The Orion was not far off; but, being happily placed to windward, the
few fiery fragments that fell in her were soon extinguished. Her
vicinity to the L'Orient was the happy means of saving the lives of
fourteen of her crew, who, in trying to escape the flames, sought
refuge in another element, and swam to the Orion, where they met a
reception worthy the humanity of the conquerors. The generous,
warm-hearted sailors stripped off their jackets to cover these
unfortunate men, and treated them with kindness, proving that humanity
is compatible with bravery.

About the middle of the action Sir James received a wound from a
splinter, or rather the sheave from the heel of the spare top-mast on
the booms, which, after killing Mr. Baird, the clerk, and wounding Mr.
Miells, a midshipman, mortally, struck him on the thigh and side, when
he fell into the arms of Captain Savage, who conducted him under the
half-deck, where he soon recovered from the shock it gave him: but
although he acknowledged it was painful, and might in the end be
serious, he could not be persuaded to leave the deck even to have the
wound examined; and the part was so much swelled and inflamed on the
next day, that he was not able to leave the ship.

After the pause occasioned by the dreadful explosion, the action
continued in the rear by the ships dropping down which were not too
much disabled; and Sir James had given orders to slip and run down to
the rear, when the master declared that the fore-mast and mizen-mast
were so badly wounded, that the moment the ship came broadside to the
wind, they would go over the side, particularly the fore-mast, which
was cut more than half through in three places. It was therefore
determined to secure the disabled masts and repair other damages,
while the action was renewed by those that were not so much disabled.

As soon as the battle ceased in the van, by the capture of the enemy's
ships, Sir James, who was the senior captain of the fleet, ordered
Lieutenant Barker on board the Admiral for the purpose of inquiring
after his safety, and of receiving his further instructions. He
shortly returned with the melancholy detail that Sir Horatio was
severely wounded in the head. At this period, several of the ships of
the squadron were still warmly engaged with the centre and part of the
rear of the enemy's fleet. Sir James therefore sent a boat to such
ships as appeared to be in condition, with directions to slip their
cables and assist their gallant companions. These orders were
immediately put in execution by that distinguished officer Captain
Miller, of the Theseus, and by the other ships that were in a state to
renew the action. It has been already stated that the masts of the
Orion were too much damaged to admit of that ship getting under way.
In the course of the day the whole of the enemy's fleet had
surrendered, excepting two ships of the line and two frigates, which
escaped from the rear.

Sir James being unable, from the effects of his wound, to wait on the
Admiral and offer his congratulations personally, sent him the
following letter:

   Orion, 2nd August 1798.


   I regret exceedingly being prevented from congratulating you in
   person on the most complete and glorious victory ever yet
   obtained,--the just recompense of the zeal and great anxiety so
   long experienced by you before it pleased Providence to give you
   sight of those miscreants who have now received the just
   punishment of their past crimes. You have been made the happy
   instrument of inflicting on them their just chastisement; and
   may you, my dear Admiral, long live to enjoy, in the approbation
   of the whole world, the greatest of earthly blessings!

   I am ever your most faithful and obedient servant,

   To Sir Horatio Nelson, &c. &c. &c.

From the character which has already been portrayed of Sir James, the
reader will not be surprised to find that the Orion was the first to
hoist the pendant at the mizen-peak, and thereby to show an example to
the fleet worthy of imitation, in returning thanks to the great
Disposer of events and Giver of all victory for that which they had
just obtained over their enemies. A discourse on this occasion was
delivered by the clergyman of the Orion, which must have made a great
and lasting impression on the hearers; but the circumstance, which is
much easier to be imagined than described, of a ship's company on
their knees at prayers, and offering up a most solemn thanksgiving for
the Divine mercy and favour which had been so fully manifested towards
them, must have excited feelings in the minds of the prisoners,--the
demoralised citizens of the French republic,--which had never before
been known to them; and we understand that they did not fail to
express their astonishment and admiration at a scene of that kind
under such circumstances.

At ten o'clock, when the action had entirely ceased, and the Admiral
had received the congratulations of most of the captains of the fleet,
the following general memorandums were issued:

   Vanguard, 2nd of August 1798, off the mouth of the Nile.

   The Admiral most heartily congratulates the captains, officers,
   seamen, and marines of the squadron he has the honour to
   command, on the events of the late action; and he desires they
   will accept his sincere and cordial thanks for their very
   gallant behaviour in the glorious battle. It must strike
   forcibly every British seaman how superior their conduct is when
   in discipline and good order, to the notorious behaviour of
   lawless Frenchmen.

   The squadron may be assured that the Admiral will not fail, in
   his despatches, to represent their truly meritorious conduct in
   the strongest terms to the commander-in-chief.


   To the respective Captains of the ships of the squadron.

   Almighty God having blessed his Majesty's arms with victory, the
   Admiral intends returning thanksgiving for the same at two
   o'clock this day; and he recommends every ship doing the same as
   soon as convenient.


   To the respective Captains, &c. &c.

Captain Ball, in pursuance of orders from the Rear-admiral, directed
the negociation for landing the prisoners on parole. Such as were not
Frenchmen were permitted to enter into the English service, for the
purpose of conducting the prizes home.

We must refer our readers to the different accounts of this splendid
action, which have been published by James, Brenton, Willyams, &c. for
the particulars which do not concern the Orion. But we cannot forbear
to mention the gallant conduct of Vice-admiral De Brueys, who,
according to James and others, "had received two wounds, one in the
face, the other in the hand; towards eight P.M. as he was descending
to the quarter-deck, a shot cut him almost in two. This brave officer
then desired not to be carried below, but to be left to die on deck;
exclaiming in a firm tone, 'Un amiral Français doit mourir sur son
banc de quart.' He survived only a quarter of an hour." Commodore
Casa-Bianca fell mortally wounded soon after the admiral had breathed
his last. Captain Du-Petit-Thouars, of the Tonnant, had first both his
arms, and then one of his legs shot away; and his dying commands were
"Never to surrender!"

Neither must we leave unrecorded the heroic death of young Miells, the
midshipman, who we mentioned had been mortally wounded by the same
splinter which struck his gallant commander. His shoulder having been
nearly carried off, and his life being despaired of, the surgeons were
unwilling to put him to needless pain by amputation; but after some
hours, finding he still lived, it was determined to give him a chance
of recovery by removing the shattered limb. The operation was ably
performed by Mr. Nepecker, the surgeon of the Orion, assisted by the
surgeon of the Vanguard. The sufferer never uttered a moan, but as
soon as it was over, quietly said--"Have I not borne it well?" The
tidings were instantly conveyed to his captain, whose feelings may be
better imagined than described, and who could only fervently exclaim
"thank God!" But his joy soon received a check. Many minutes had not
elapsed before he learnt that this amiable and promising youth had
been seized with a fit of coughing and expired!

The captains of the Mercure and Heureux, who participated but slightly
in the action, were both wounded; Captain Trullet, of the Guerrier,
the ship most shattered, was unhurt, and Gantheaume escaped in a boat
from the L'Orient.

By great care Sir James kept off the fever which threatened to be the
consequence of his wound.

On the morning of the 3rd, Sir James, finding himself sufficiently
recovered from the effects of his wounds to leave the ship, went on
board the Vanguard to congratulate the Admiral in person on the
glorious result of the battle. He found several of his brother
officers on the quarter deck, discussing the merits of the action.
Some regret having been expressed at the escape of the two sternmost
ships of the French line, Sir James said to the Admiral, "It was
unfortunate we did not----" and was proceeding to say, "all anchor on
the same side." But, before he could finish the sentence, Nelson
hastily interrupted him, exclaiming, "Thank God there was no order!"
thus turning the conversation, he entered his cabin, and sent for
Captain Ball.

While Sir James was receiving the congratulations of his brother
captains on being the second in command, no doubt being entertained
among them that the Admiral would make most honourable mention of his
name as such,--_an honour which he so highly deserved_, and which is
usual in similar cases,--Captain Ball came on deck, and interrupted
the conversation by observing, "Nelson says there is to be no second
in command; _we are all to be alike in his despatches_!"[14]

   [14] We may here state that, on the preceding day, Captain Ball
   had paid a visit to Sir James; and as they were discussing the
   various points of the battle, he stated to Sir James, that
   "having been the second in command, he would, unquestionably,
   receive some mark of distinction on the occasion." Saumarez, in
   the enthusiasm of the moment, exclaimed, "We all did our
   duty,--there was no second in command!" meaning, of course, that
   he did not consider he had done more than other captains; and,
   not supposing that this observation would come to the ears of
   the Admiral. But, he afterwards thought, Nelson had availed
   himself of this conversation, to deprive him of the advantage to
   which his seniority entitled him, although he fully exonerated
   Captain Ball of having the slightest intention of communicating
   to the Admiral anything he could have supposed would be
   detrimental to his interest.

We need scarcely say that this was eventually the case; but we may
relate the circumstances which induced Saumarez, without the least
intention to offend, to make the observation at which offence was
taken. It was the custom of Nelson, when in communication or in
company with the captains under his command, to converse with them on
the various modes of attacking the enemy under different
circumstances; and, on one of these occasions, Sir James Saumarez, who
had seen the evil consequences of _doubling_ on the enemy, especially
in a night action, had differed with the Admiral in that plan of
attack, saying that "it never required two English ships to _capture_
one French, and that the damage which they must necessarily do to each
other might render them both unable to fight an enemy's ship that had
not been engaged; and as in this case two ships could be spared to the
three-decker, every one might have his own opponent."

It would perhaps be deemed invidious to mention the individual cases
of English ships which fired on each other in this action; but that
this did actually happen, and that many of our brave men fell by our
own shot is a fact too notorious to be disputed. Moreover, had the
four sternmost ships of the enemy's line done their duty as they
ought, by slipping their cables soon after the action commenced, and
making sail to windward, they would have made an easy capture of the
Culloden as she lay aground; and afterwards, by doubling on the
Vanguard, they would probably have given a different turn to the
affair. The enemy's ships being moored 160 yards apart, left space
enough for the British ships to pass between them, and rake the ship
on each side, as the Theseus did; whereas, by anchoring outside, our
squadron had equally to suffer the raking fire of the enemy as they
approached, without being able to retaliate in the same way, thereby
losing the important effect of two double-shotted broadsides, besides
the advantage of being anchored in shore, to prevent the possibility
of the enemy _doubling_ on a disabled ship, or of their running on
shore and destroying those that were vanquished.

It has been insisted on that Nelson, in omitting to mention the name
of his second in command, only followed the example of Earl St.
Vincent; and this may have been the case; but it cannot justify his
evident reluctance to acknowledge the position in which Sir James
really stood. Every officer in the service must know that, if Nelson
had lost his life, the command would have devolved on Sir James
Saumarez: yet, in his public letter, he not only avoids mentioning
him, but he endeavours to represent the captain of the Vanguard as his
successor in that responsible situation. His great friendship for Sir
Thomas Troubridge was, no doubt, the motive that occasioned the
substitution, and led to this injustice, which he carried so far as to
remonstrate, in his private letters to Earl St. Vincent and Earl
Spencer, against any honours being conferred on Sir James Saumarez
which were not equally bestowed on Sir Thomas Troubridge.[15] When
Nelson's great popularity, at this period, is considered, it may
appear less extraordinary that this request should have had weight.
Yet it cannot but surprise an impartial reader, in after-ages, that no
honours or distinctions, except on the commander-in-chief, should have
followed a victory, which Mr. Pitt in the House of Commons pronounced
to be the greatest on record.

   [15] See Clarke and M'Arthur's Life of Nelson, vol. ii. p. 119.

On the 3rd of August, when Sir James returned from the Vanguard, the
captains were assembled on board the Orion. He proposed the following
resolution, which was agreed to unanimously:

   The captains of the squadron under the orders of Rear-admiral
   Sir Horatio Nelson, K.B. desirous of testifying the high sense
   they entertain of his prompt decision and intrepid conduct in
   the attack of the French fleet in Bequir Road, off the Nile,
   August 1st, 1798, request his acceptance of a sword; and, as a
   further proof of their esteem and regard, hope that he will
   permit his portrait to be taken, and hung up in the room
   belonging to the Egyptian club now established, in commemoration
   of that glorious day.

To which Sir Horatio returned the following answer:


   I feel most sensibly the very distinguished honour you have
   conferred upon me by your address this day. My prompt decision
   was the natural consequence of having such captains under my
   command; and I thank God I can say that in the battle the
   conduct of every officer was equal.

   I accept as a particular mark of your esteem the sword you have
   done me the honour to offer; and I will direct my picture to be
   painted the first opportunity for the purpose you mention.

   I have the honour to be, gentlemen,
   with the highest respect,
   Your most obliged,

We shall conclude this chapter with the extract of a letter written to
Lady Saumarez by Sir James, which we have no doubt will be perused
with much interest:

   Thursday, 2nd August 1798.

   Happy am I in being enabled, through the mercy of Divine
   Providence, to acquaint you with our having obtained the most
   glorious and complete victory ever yet recorded in the annals of
   the world.

   Yesterday afternoon we discovered the enemy's fleet at anchor a
   short distance from Alexandria. Although our squadron was not
   collected,--the Alexander and Swiftsure being at a considerable
   distance from having been detached to reconnoitre the port, and
   the Culloden a great way off from having had a prize in
   tow,--Sir Horatio deemed it of such importance to make an
   immediate attack on the enemy, that he made sail for them
   without waiting for those ships.

   At sunset the action began upon the van and centre of the
   enemy's line, and in rather more than two hours six of their
   ships were completely dismasted, and the L'Orient, of 120 guns,
   blown up. The action was continued all night with the enemy's
   rear by the Alexander and Majestic; and this evening the whole,
   except three, have fallen into our hands, and a frigate, which
   they dastardly set fire to, and escaped on shore.

   The loss sustained has been considerable in some of the ships. I
   have to regret the loss of poor Miells, and of Mr. Baird, my
   clerk, and of several good men. I received a contusion in the
   side, which, though at first painful, is doing as well as
   possible, and does not even prevent my going on with the usual
   duty of the ship. Poor Captain Westcott is killed, and several
   other officers.

   The enemy have now obtained the just chastisement of their past
   crimes, and Sir Horatio Nelson has the happiness of being the
   fortunate instrument of inflicting their just punishment; in
   which happiness all his squadron partakes. Fourteen of the
   Frenchmen, who had the good fortune to swim on board the Orion
   from the L'Orient after she was on fire, report that their army
   were all landed three weeks since, and are at present in
   possession of Grand Cairo; and that they have frequent severe
   skirmishes with the Turks.

   Our worthy friend Mr. Le Cras will lament with me the loss of
   Mr. Miells. A better young man I think never existed. He lived
   until this evening, and was the whole time perfectly resigned to
   his fate, saying, "he died in a good cause." Mr. Richardson is
   also badly wounded, and my servant John Lewis, who you recollect
   waited on us at Portsmouth; but I hope they will both recover.

   I should observe that the Culloden, not having been able to get
   to us before night, unfortunately ran aground; by which accident
   we were deprived of the assistance of so fine a ship, and of the
   exertions of Captain Troubridge.



   Fleet repair damages.--Sir James receives orders to take a
   detachment of six ships of the line, and five prizes, under his
   command.--Sails for Gibraltar.--Journal of his tedious
   voyage.--Arrives off Candia.--Decides to pass through a perilous
   passage, and escapes the dangers.--Falls in with the Marquis of
   Nisa, and summons the French garrison at Malta.--Puts into Port
   Auguste, in Sicily.--Sails from thence.--Tedious
   passage.--Letters from Earl St. Vincent and Nelson.--Arrives at
   Gibraltar.--Reception there from the Admiral, Governor,
   &c.--Sails thence.--Arrives at Lisbon.--Sails thence.--Arrives
   at Spithead.--Paid off at Plymouth.--Remarks on his treatment,
   and explanation of it.

The fleet was employed in repairing the damages it had received, and
in fitting the prizes that were deemed worthy of being sent to
England. This occupied the whole week after the battle. On the 5th,
the Leander, having on board Captain Berry with the Rear-admiral's
despatches, sailed for England; and, on the 12th, the Emerald,
Alcmene, and Bonne Citoyenne arrived. On the same day Sir James
received the following order:

   (1st Order.) By Sir Horatio Nelson, K.B. &c. &c. &c.

   You are hereby required and directed to take the ships named on
   the margin[16] under your command, their captains having orders
   for that purpose; and to proceed with them with all possible
   despatch down the Mediterranean. On your arrival near Europa
   Point, you will send a boat on shore to the Commissioners'
   office to receive any orders that may be lodged there for your
   further proceedings. In case you find no orders at Gibraltar,
   and learn that the commander-in-chief is off Cadiz, or at
   Lisbon, you will join him at either place with all possible

   To Sir James Saumarez, &c. &c. &c.

   [16] The captains of his Majesty's ships to take charge of the
   prizes as under:

     Orion         to take charge of      Le Souverain Peuple.
     Bellerophon         do.}
     Majestic            do.}             Le Spartiate.
     Minotaur            do.              Aquilon.
     Defence             do.              Franklin.
     Audacious           do.              Conquérant.
     Theseus             do.              Tonnant.

   To the captains of above-mentioned ships. H.N.

   (2nd Order.) By Sir Horatio Nelson, K.B. &c. &c. &c.

   You are hereby required and directed to take charge of the prize
   ships; putting a sufficient number of men on board each to
   navigate the said prize, with six weeks' provisions. You are
   never to separate from her without orders in writing from the
   officer under whose command you are for the time being; and you
   are hereby required and directed to put yourself and the prize
   under the command of Captain Sir James Saumarez; and follow all
   such orders and instructions as you may receive from him from
   time to time for his Majesty' service.

   Given on board H.M.S. Vanguard,
   Mouth of the Nile, 12th August 1798.
   By command of the Rear-admiral.

Thus were Sir James's wishes and anticipations, mentioned in his
journal of the 10th June, completely realized. After a distinguished
share in effecting the destruction of the enemy's fleet, he is
returning home triumphant with the hard-earned fruits of his labours;
which were, however, not yet at an end, as will be seen by the
following journal of his tedious and hazardous voyage:

   "Orion, at sea, 18th August 1798.

"After having so well completed the journal I sent by Captain Berry,
you will not doubt the great pleasure I must feel in beginning the
present, particularly when situation and many other circumstances
combine to render it so interesting. But I have more to relate than
you are aware of; and in which I have been most particularly favoured,
as you will see, when it comes in its proper place to be mentioned.

"First, I sailed from Bequir Road last Tuesday morning, with seven
sail of the line and six of our prizes; leaving the Admiral with the
Culloden, Alexander, Zealous, Goliath, and Swiftsure, and the three
remaining French ships, which it was intended to destroy after taking
out their stores and landing the prisoners. The Alcmene, Emerald, and
Bonne Citoyenne had at last joined us. As, however, they had not been
with the fleet, but had remained all the time in search of us, we were
disappointed of our letters, and _they_ at finding themselves 'the day
after the fair.'

"In falling light winds, we came again to an anchor, Tuesday noon,
about five miles from the squadron; which gave the ships an
opportunity to get completed for sea, and afforded a night's repose to
the men. At eleven I was waked from a sound sleep with the account
that a brig which joined the Admiral in the afternoon was from Tunis,
and had on board a hundred men belonging to L'Aigle, which had been
lost some time before on her way to join the squadron; and it was
added, 'there is a large packet of letters for the different ships.' I
soon had them sorted, and out of about twenty for myself I selected
four from you, which were read with an avidity you will better
conceive than I can describe; before I had finished a page of one I
flew to another, and so for near an hour, till at last I found their
date, and endeavoured to read them regularly; but it was not till
daylight that I could bring myself to a sufficient degree of
composure. Never were letters more welcome--never did any yield
greater joy and comfort; they have since formed my chief happiness,
and will continue so to do until the end of our voyage. Had we
unfortunately sailed one day sooner, I should have lost these precious
letters: judge then how fortunate I think myself, particularly so at
their having been preserved from the wreck of the poor L'Aigle; as I
find that several packages, &c. for this squadron, with the good
things you sent me, shared the fate of the poor ship; Captain Hay
having written to me from Gibraltar that they were put on board her.

"Sir Horatio Nelson wrote to me that he had not heard from his family;
but, as Captain Nisbet came in the brig, he will give him accounts
from Lady Nelson.

"I now come to the sequel of our voyage, having accounted for my being
so _unseasonably_ disturbed from a sound sleep."

Sir James now received the following letters.

   August 15th, 1798.


   I am not very anxious to receive any persons of the description
   you mention; they will all eat our meat, and drink. As they
   choose to serve the French, there let them remain. I have not a
   line from home, all lost in L'Aigle. You will get off in good
   time, I dare say. I am sure you will not lose a moment off Cape
   Bronte; the shoal extends six miles. If you favour me with a
   line, direct it for Naples, where I am going to join the
   Portuguese squadron. Zealous, Swiftsure, and the two frigates, I
   have kept here as long as possible. Nisbet thanks you for your
   inquiries. I send you a copy of my letter intended to be sent to
   Mr. Nepean; keep it quiet till you get off. Wishing you health,
   and good passage,

   Believe me ever,
   Your obliged,

   To Sir James Saumarez.

   I hope Lady S. and all the little ones are well.


   Secret, for Sir James.


   Six of the prizes sailed yesterday with Sir James Saumarez;
   three others, viz. Guerrier, Heureux, and Mercure are in the act
   of repairing. In this state I received last evening Earl St.
   Vincent's most secret orders, and most secret and confidential
   letters. Thus situated, it became an important part of my duty
   to do justice between my King and country, and the brave
   officers and men who captured those ships at the Battle of the
   Nile. It would have taken one month at least to fit those ships
   for a passage to Gibraltar, and not at a great expense to
   government, but with the loss to the service of at least two
   sail of the line. I therefore feel confident that the Lords
   Commissioners of the Admiralty will, under the present
   circumstances, direct that a fair value shall be paid for those
   ships. I have farther thought it my duty to tell the squadron
   the necessity I am under, for the benefit of the King's service,
   to order their property to be destroyed; but that I had no doubt
   but that government would make a liberal allowance. I have
   therefore directed such stores as could, without taking too much
   time, be saved from them, and ordered the hulls to be burned.

   I have the honour to be, &c.

   To Evan Nepean, Esq.

The journal of Sir James is thus resumed:

"We again weighed anchor, Wednesday noon; and although with a contrary
wind, and ships in a crippled state, we had the good fortune to clear
the land in the night without accident, and next day lost sight of our
ships in the Nile. Since that period we have not made any great
progress; but we have no reason to complain, and I trust a favourable
wind will in due time waft us down the Mediterranean.

"_A présent, un petit mot sur ma santé._ In the first place, too great
exertion for two or three days after being under sail, certainly
retarded my perfect recovery, and, added to the excessive heat of the
weather, threw me into a sort of languor that required the three last
days' rest and composure to shake off. I am now, thank God! as well as
ever; and when I consider that every day shortens my distance from
you, my happiness is daily increasing. I have much more to say, _mais
en voilà assez pour le présent_; and as there is abundance of time
before this can be despatched, _il faut le remettre pour un autre
jour: ainsi adieu_!

"Sunday, August 19th.--I was indeed surprised to find Lyme the place
fixed for your residence; and, on reflection, approve of it highly, as
I believe it is a very healthy place; but more particularly as I hope
to send you a line in going up Channel, and possibly take you to
Spithead. Judge, therefore, the _selfish_ motives by which I am
actuated, and scold me if you can.

"I was happy our dear boy had reached home before the close of your
last letter, and am charmed with your account of him. Having
understood that there is a good school in Dorsetshire,--I think at
Sherborne,--I shall not be surprised if you have placed him there for
the summer, and shall not think it a bad plan to have him nearer to
you. I am glad to find my letters from Gibraltar reached you, and hope
that one or two stragglers will also have come to hand before those
from the Nile arrive. These last will induce you to believe our
cruise less unpleasant than you seemed to apprehend,--more
particularly when you find it the means of bringing the Orion to

"Your _P.S._ of the 11th of June is considerably later than any
accounts received in the squadron; indeed, I find very few letters
have been received by any of the captains. The Lion, I understand, is
on her way to join the squadron; but I have reason to believe she has
nothing for me, as she sailed before L'Aigle.

"The accounts from Ireland are truly distressing; but I hope
tranquillity has long since been restored in that distracted country.
We have heard of the dreadful business off Cadiz; but as news from the
fleet must reach home before we can be acquainted with them, I shall
not enlarge on the subject. Captain Grey, I find, is gone to England,
which will have been an agreeable surprise to his amiable lady.

"Now for some account of the Orion and her crew:--In the first place,
Mr. Barker is on board Le Peuple Souverain, happier than a prince. Mr.
Wells becomes first, in his room; and, as I found it necessary to send
away Mr. ---- at Syracuse, I should remain with only three lieutenants,
but that, in virtue of my present command, I appointed, the day I left
Admiral Nelson, our kinsman Dumaresq to that station, who acquits
himself with great zeal and assiduity. He will receive pay for the
time; but cannot be confirmed, from not having served the six required

"All the officers are in rapture at the share the ship had in the
action, except her captain, who is never satisfied. The ship's company
all healthy, and the wounded daily recovering. Sheep and poultry in
abundance; but the fear of a long passage down the Mediterranean
obliges us to be frugal, wishing, if possible, to avoid putting into
any place before we reach the fleet off Cadiz,--a thing scarcely
possible, and rendered still more improbable from our little progress
the last five days: however,--_patience_!

"I have only two French officers on board; one was second captain of
the Tonnant; they are both in the ward-room, and I occasionally invite
them to my table. Of the six prizes four are fine ships, particularly
the Franklin and Spartiate: the Souverain and Conquérant are both very
old ships; Le Tonnant and L'Aquilon were built within these few years
only. Both the former are quite new. But it is not what we have taken,
but what we have destroyed. We have left France only two sail of the
line in the Mediterranean, except a few bad Venetian ships and some
frigates. A squadron of five sail leaves us masters of these seas,
equal to protect our commerce, and with a few frigates destroy that of
the enemy: these are the real fruits of our victory; and as to
anything personal to ourselves, the approbation of our country, and
possibly an additional medal, will be ample recompence to us. At
present my chief solicitude is to find things go on well in England;
and I think, when the account of our action arrives, it will set the
minds of people at ease for some time at least.

"I shall have a great deal to say to you, in which you will
acknowledge with me that the Almighty has been kind and bountiful
indeed, beyond my merits or pretensions. You will infer from my late
journal what I particularly allude to, wherein I mention the Orion
having been intended to return to the fleet on the junction of the
reinforcement; which was merely to favour Captain Troubridge, with
whom I clashed from seniority. Very, very fortunately for me, the
enemy's force would not permit Sir H. Nelson to part with me; and the
sequel has shown the partiality of the Earl's proceeding: but of this
'_ci-après_;' only, for the present, judge what must have been my
feelings had I been thus deprived of my share in this action!

"My situation at this moment is exactly what I could wish,--the
command of a respectable squadron escorting the trophies of our
victory; and I am induced to hope that I shall proceed with them to
England without considerable delay. We have just gained sight of
Cyprus, nearly the track we followed six weeks ago; so invariably do
the westerly winds prevail at this season; but I hope we shall not be
subject to the tedious calms we experienced under Candia. Hitherto we
have always had a good breeze, which has prevented any intercourse
between the ships of the squadron, one day only excepted.

"I have not told you that we all voted a sword to the Admiral before
we parted from the squadron; the captains having agreed to subscribe
fifty pounds each to defray the expense, and to have his picture,
which is to be put up in the room intended to hold the _Egyptian
Club_, when we all meet in England. The overplus, which will come to
about thirty pounds each, is to be applied for the relief of the
widows and orphans of those who have nobly fallen in the action. All
this shows unanimity at least, and I believe greater never existed in
any squadron.

"Wednesday, 22nd.--This morning the wind has set in very favourably
for us; but it is to the southward, and produces such a close, sultry,
and damp air, that it is scarcely bearable; and, with all this, we
have to encounter so strong a western swell, that the prizes and
crippled ships, for want of more sail, can scarcely contend against
it. What if we should have the good fortune to fall in with the four
French ships! They are certainly on their way to Toulon; and, from the
want of water and provisions, must have put into some of the ports in
these seas. I _dreamt_ so much of them last night that I really form
great hopes of our falling in with them. This leads me to mention that
all the captains agreed to share together in whatever may be captured
till the 1st of October.

"It is now exactly three weeks since the Battle of the Nile; it
appears almost an age; but when once we get in the fair track down the
Mediterranean, every day will, I hope, shorten our distance. We have
seen but one strange sail since we left Bequir, and that at too great
a distance to speak with. I think it probable Sir Horatio may be on
his way to Naples, as he proposed to sail soon to join the Portuguese
squadron, taking with him the Culloden, Alexander, and Goliath. The
Zealous, with Swiftsure, and the frigates, were to be left to block up
Alexandria, and distress the enemy. What barbarous people we must be,
after having done them so much mischief, still to add to their

"August 24th.--I have been right in my conjectures this morning,
having fallen in with Sir Horatio, who obligingly sent the Bonne
Citoyenne with letters, &c. for the ships with me, brought by the
Seahorse, which joined him at Bequir. He has only the Culloden and
Alexander with him, having left the rest of the ships for the good
purposes before mentioned. This meeting has afforded me an opportunity
of sending you a few hurried lines, which I have requested the Admiral
to forward from Naples. I have no doubt that the letter will reach
you some time before any other I can have an opportunity of sending

"I think the few last lines will not be the less acceptable for having
been anticipated. I can assure you their purport is highly acceptable,
as I now have the Earl's own assertion for the Orion being ordered to
England upon his own terms, 'when I join him with the prizes.' Alas!
they get on very slowly; but I am endowed with unparalleled patience,
having scarcely uttered a murmur on their tardiness, so perfectly
satisfied am I with the prospect before me.

"I understand the Seahorse has taken La Sensible, and the Lion a
Spanish frigate: _à propos_, we have received intimation that a
Spanish squadron is on its way to Leghorn, to convey his holiness Pope
Pius the Sixth to some part of Spain; and, in case of our falling in
with them, we are to treat him with all the ceremony and respect due
to the sovereign pontiff.

"Sunday, 26th.--I went yesterday on board the Admiral, for
half-an-hour; and was happy at finding him in perfect health. He will
ever retain the mark on his forehead which he has so honourably
acquired; mine is not quite in so _distinguished a place_, but I also
expect to have a scar on my left side, or rather on the hip-bone,
which was slightly grazed; but it is now perfectly healed, and I
reflect with great gratitude on the very narrow escape I had: my only
fear is, that it will give you great uneasiness when the account
reaches you. I did not intend to have my name inserted in the return
of wounded, but the Admiral desired it should; so that he must share
the blame if it should have alarmed you.

"I cannot tell you all the fine projects I form for some months at
least after my arrival in England. This last business has so shattered
the poor Orion, that she will not, without considerable repair, be in
a state for more service; and if I can be so fortunate as to obtain Le
Franklin with my officers and men, she will be getting forward during
the winter months, and I shall have the enjoyment of your society all
that time: and I think, if it pleases God to bless our arms in England
with success, the enemy will be brought to sue for a peace before the
spring of next year. Their great inducement for carrying on the war
was their hopes of success from this expedition, which is considered
as entirely frustrated, as their army will be too much reduced to
attempt to go to India without being reinforced from France; and they
never will be able to prevail on more troops to embark for Egypt, even
if they had the means of conveyance for them.

"The winds prove all this time very variable, _et nous avançons fort

"The Admiral is still in sight, though we are not in company together.
Had I not been certain of going to England, I should regret losing
the opportunity of seeing Naples, particularly on this occasion; but
everything is absorbed in that first consideration. The newspapers are
at all times acceptable, and I was happy when you found opportunities
to send them from Ryde; but as many of the squadron receive them, and
they are always circulated to the different ships, I would not trouble
you to send them. _D'ailleurs, pour le présent, j'espère que ce serait

"Monday.--We get on very slowly indeed, not having yet got sight of
Candia; we must however have _patience_. Three days' fair wind will
bring us the distance of Sicily. I have invited Captains Miller,
Louis, and Gould to dine with me to-day. To the former I said that
your ladyship had the pleasure of having made acquaintance with Mrs.
Miller. Miller is an excellent man. Another day I shall have the other
captains, Derby, Peyton, and Cuthbert, late first lieutenant of the

"Whilst I am writing, a fine breeze has sprung up, which will get us
as far as Rhodes at least. We have entirely lost sight of the Admiral;
and I think, from the wind having favoured us, that we shall have
considerably the start of his little squadron.

"Tuesday.--Nothing so uncertain and variable as the winds in this
country. We are still off the island of Rhodes, which appears fertile
and well cultivated. We have also sight of Candia at the distance of
above thirty leagues. Our present route is different from any of the
former, as we go to the northward of Candia, amidst the innumerable
islands that form the archipelago. It is thought by many a dangerous
navigation with our disabled ships, but I always consider _que le bon
Dieu nous guide_.

"The Admiral has again joined us, but too far off for any personal
communication. This evening we have effected a great object in
doubling Rhodes, and we are now proceeding with a fine breeze. I hope
in three days to congratulate you on our being in the fair track down
the Mediterranean.

"Friday, 31st.--Events multiply and increase upon us, but not so
favourably as they promised when I last took up my pen. After
contending for three days against the baffling winds we had so often
experienced, and by our perseverance gained a considerable distance,
the wind increased so much against us yesterday morning, that I was
compelled, from the disabled state of several of the ships, to abandon
my intention of going to the northward of Candia; and, not without
great risk, we ran through a passage imperfectly explored, and never
known to ships of war till we found it practicable: at the same time,
I almost shudder at the danger we escaped; nothing but a case of
extreme necessity could have justified the attempt, and Providence
was our guide;[17] at the same time warning us of the danger we ran,
having actually seen the breakers, and escaped them by a trifling
distance; and this was performed late at night, all the ships
following and guided by our lights.

   [17] Sir James displayed a remarkable instance of presence of
   mind and unhesitating decision in this unexpected case of
   extreme danger. Captain John Tancock, who was then lieutenant of
   the watch, and who, having served under Sir James during the
   whole of the war, enjoyed his perfect confidence, anticipated
   the captain's wishes in volunteering on this occasion to go up
   to the mast-head and look out for rocks, and thus considerably
   relieved his anxiety. The prizes were quite unable to beat to
   windward, and, in order to be extricated from the peril which
   the shift of wind had occasioned, their signal was made "to keep
   in the Orion's wake." Sir James having determined to push on, as
   the most probable means of saving his inefficient squadron, the
   "helm was put up," and orders given to steer through a passage
   between islands, which was marked "_doubtful_" in the charts,
   and in which shallow water was soon discovered by Mr. Tancock,
   who gave timely notice to the helmsman on their approach to each
   danger. The rest of the ships kept close in the track of the
   Orion, and in this manner the whole of the squadron and prizes
   passed between the islands and breakers without accident; and
   there can be no doubt that their safety was owing to the skilful
   and decisive conduct of Sir James. It is but justice to add,
   that, in approving of Mr. Tancock's very meritorious conduct, he
   emphatically assured him that "he should never forget that he
   had so fully anticipated his wishes."

"We are at present close to Candia, and the Admiral in sight; rather
in advance of us, owing to the circumstance I have related. I now fear
our voyage will prove very tedious, and that the want of provisions
and other circumstances will compel us to put into some port; this may
occasion great delay, which the approach of the equinox makes me very
desirous to avoid. I really believe no ships in so bad a condition as
those with me ever attempted so intricate a navigation.

"September 1st.--You are certainly unapprised of the Orion being on
her way to England. Here have we been occupied for three weeks in
effecting what might be accomplished in two days. Your wishes, I
think, would prove more availing were you acquainted with the real
state of things. This extraordinary delay makes me more fractious than
can be imagined, and I begin to lose the character for patience which
I had given myself by so tiresome a situation; besides which, I have
Le Peuple Souverain to drag after me, that causes me more trouble than
even the Spanish _saints_ did after the 14th of February.

"Sunday.--I had almost determined not to resume my pen till we were
entirely clear of this same island of Candia; but we have made such
great progress since yesterday, and the prospect continues so
favourable, that I cannot refuse myself the satisfaction of
congratulating you thereon.

"I received last evening a letter from the Admiral, brought me by La
Bonne Citoyenne.[18] He is desirous of having the Minotaur and
Audacious detached to Naples after accompanying us as far on our way
as Minorca. A vessel was yesterday spoken with that saw one of the
French line-of-battle ships, with the loss of her main-mast, and towed
by a frigate towards Corfu, only eight days since; so that, had the
winds favoured us, we should have been at no great distance from them.
I dined to-day in the ward-room; but I am sorry to say we had no
church this morning; this is so very necessary a duty, that I am
always grieved when it is omitted."

   [18] MY DEAR SIR, Vanguard, September 1st, 1798. From what I
   have heard, and made up in my own mind, I feel it is absolutely
   necessary that I should order the Minotaur and Audacious to quit
   your squadron when you are in the fair way between Sardinia and
   Minorca, and join me at Naples; and also with as much salt
   provisions as can be got out of the ships victualled for _six_
   months, reserving only one month's at whole allowance. My
   squadron are at two-thirds of salt provisions, making the
   allowance up with flour; therefore you will direct the same in
   yours. I have put down the number of casks of beef, pork, and
   pease, which can be easily spared if the commander-in-chief's
   orders for victualling have been obeyed. Audacious is, I fancy,
   short of salt provisions, not knowing of coming so long a
   voyage. If you can manage to let those ships have any part of
   their officers and men, it will be very useful for the King's
   service; but of this you must be the best judge. Retalick will
   tell you all the news from Rhodes, and I was rejoiced to see you
   are this side of Candia.

   Ever yours most truly,

   To Sir James Saumarez, &c.

   Your squadron evidently sails better than Culloden. The
   Bellerophon sails so well that Darby can take very good care of
   Conquérant; and Aquilon seems also to sail remarkably well.
   Remember me kindly to all my good friends with you.

   Orion, at sea, 1st September.


   Captain Retalick has just joined me with your order respecting
   the Minotaur and Audacious, both which ships are to be detached
   for Naples so soon as we are in the fair way between Sardinia
   and Minorca, with as much salt provisions as can be spared from
   the ships victualled for six months; which shall be duly
   complied with. I shall also take from the prizes as many of the
   officers and men as can be replaced from the ships left with me,
   which I shall endeavour to be as near the full number as can be
   thought prudent. Wishing to use as little delay as possible, not
   to detain the Bonne Citoyenne,

   I am very truly, &c.

   To Sir Horatio Nelson, K.B.

   Orion, at sea, 1st September.


   After contending for three days against the adverse winds which
   are almost invariably encountered here, and getting sufficiently
   to the northward to have weathered the small islands that lie
   more immediately between the Archipelago and Candia, the wind
   set in so strong to the westward Thursday morning, that I was
   compelled to desist from that passage, and bear up between
   Sargeanto and Guxo, a narrow and intricate channel; but which we
   happily cleared without any accident, the loss of a few spars
   excepted, which are now replaced; and we are proceeding as fast
   as the wind will admit to our destination. The ships are all
   doing as well as possible; the fever on board the Defence fast
   abating, and the wounded in Bellerophon, Majestic, and Minotaur
   daily recovering. Seeing the Citoyenne on her way to us, I seize
   the opportunity to give you the information.

   I am, my dear sir, &c.

   To Sir H. Nelson, K.B.

   Orion, at sea, 5th Sept. 1798.


   Since the receipt of your letter of the 1st instant, containing
   an order for the Minotaur and Audacious to join you at Naples, I
   have been employed in making the necessary arrangements for the
   distribution of prisoners from the ships that remain with me. I
   fear the quantity that can be spared, after reducing ourselves
   to four weeks at whole allowance, will fall very short of what
   you mention. The order for the ships to be put to two-thirds'
   allowance was given the day after I received your letter. With
   regard to the men belonging to the Minotaur and Audacious on
   board the prizes, I hope to have it in my power to meet more
   fully your expectations, as I see no reason why these men should
   not be almost entirely replaced from the ships with me, the
   Bellerophon and Majestic having only fifty men each on board;
   the Spartiate certainly can spare the same number for Le
   Conquérant; and I hope to man the Aquilon from the other three
   ships, except the party of marines, which I shall direct to be
   left on board of them. We have had favourable winds the last
   three days, and I hope to-morrow to get sight of Mount Ætna. The
   enclosed report of a vessel boarded by the Theseus makes me
   regret the wind did not prove favourable a few days sooner, to
   have come up with the strayed sheep.

   10 o'clock P.M.

   Captain Renhouse, in the Thalia, has this instant joined me on
   his return from Bequir. I have taken his letters for the fleet,
   &c.: and as the Flora cutter is in sight, closing with the
   squadron, I have detained him till the morning, that he may take
   from her any despatches she may have for you. I am happy to
   learn from him that the Lion had joined the squadron off
   Alexandria. He also informs me that the Marquis de Niza was on
   his return from Aboukir, highly mortified at having lost the
   opportunity of distinguishing himself in the action. I am truly,
   my dear Admiral,

   Your faithful and most obedient servant,

   To Rear-admiral Sir Horatio Nelson, K.B.

   Orion, 6th September 1798.
   A.M. 7 o'clock.


   The Flora did not join me till this instant, owing to the
   commander's timidity. I was waiting for him the whole night. I
   thought it my duty to open one of Earl St. Vincent's public
   despatches, in case they might contain anything that might
   render necessary any alteration in my present proceedings. I
   find from them that Colossus is to the southward of Sardinia,
   with the Alliance and four victuallers: we shall of course keep
   a look-out for them. This information will enable me to keep
   rather a greater supply of provisions than I had made
   arrangements for, having scarcely reserved four weeks to each
   ship of the squadron. I have charged Captain Newhouse with the
   Flora's despatches, with orders to proceed in search of you
   immediately, and also indicated to him the track I mean to
   pursue, in case you should have occasion to send me further
   orders, in consequence of your letters from Earl St. Vincent.

   I hope you will do me the favour to believe that I have acted to
   the best of my judgment for the good of his Majesty's service,
   and that you will approve my having opened one of Lord St.
   Vincent's public despatches; which it will be satisfactory to me
   to know from you.

   With sincere and best wishes for your health
   and every happiness, &c.

   To Sir H. Nelson, K.B. &c.

"Thursday, 6th September.--The last four days we have got on
remarkably well; and, what is still better, the wind seems now set in
very favourably. Late last night the Thalia joined me, after cruising
in all directions to fall in with Sir Horatio. I was not disappointed
at receiving no letters by her: but this morning, having been joined
by the Flora cutter, that left England the 26th July, and the fleet
off Cadiz so late as the 12th August, I own it gave me concern to
receive no tidings from you; but, on recollection that all the letters
for this ship have been kept back, from our being expected down the
Mediterranean, my disappointment ceases.

"I have seen nothing of Admiral Nelson since I last wrote; and, as our
route now lies in a different direction, I do not expect to meet with
him again. The information obtained by the above vessels is of a very
satisfactory nature; and I trust things will soon, very soon, draw to
a favourable crisis.

"The Thalia brought me from Bequir several intercepted letters from
France, taken in a corvette going to Alexandria. I have read several
of them, and find that their chief reliance was placed in the
expedition to Egypt; which having failed so completely, must
disconcert all their future projects. One bad piece of news I have
learnt,--'that a Spanish vessel we took off St. Pierre, laden with
wheat, has been recaptured by a French privateer.'

"I have been occupied for some days past in putting my cabin in good
repair, which I hope to have fit for your ladyship's reception, so
that, on my arrival in the Channel, I may have only to despatch the
first vessel I fall in with to Lyme, with an invitation for you to
partake of it, accompanied by one or more of the children, and any
servants you may please to require to attend upon you. This has for
some time past engaged my attention, and I trust nothing will
intervene to thwart my expectations. Alas! they have been but too much
disappointed already by the adverse winds, which still continue to
weary our patience.

"I dined to-day on board the Minotaur, the weather having proved
nearly calm; it is the first time since we left Bequir that I have
consented to leave the ship. I hope to fall in with the Colossus and
some victuallers, which I find, by the Flora, were on their way to our
squadron, supposing us to have been off Malta, blockading the French
fleet. Strange that at so late a period Earl St. Vincent had not
obtained information of their having sailed from that island!

"Sunday.--The wind always continues contrary; but we get on,
notwithstanding, by slow degrees. I made up for last Sunday, and had
Divine service performed, and dined in the ward-room. We obtained a
small supply of stock from the Thalia when she joined us; I should
have told you that I despatched her and the cutter towards Naples, to
meet Sir Horatio.

"Tuesday evening.--The wind has at last favoured us for a few hours,
and to-morrow I hope to be in sight of Syracuse. A vessel was
yesterday spoken with, that had an ambassador on board from
Constantinople, going to the different states in Barbary, to direct
them to arm against the French. An English frigate had arrived at the
Sublime Porte with the news of the defeat of their fleet at
Alexandria; but I am at a loss to conjecture what the frigate was. The
French officers "_sont indignés de cette insulte offerte à la grande

"Thursday.--We at last gained sight of Mount Ætna yesterday evening;
but the winds still prove very contrary, and I fear we shall be
obliged, much against my inclination, to put into either Syracuse or
Messina: we are at present off the former place. By a boat that has
joined one of the ships, I find they only heard of the battle four
days ago. They are disposed to give us a hearty welcome, but I hope we
shall have no occasion for their well-meant intentions.

"Friday.--We last night fell in with the Marquis de Niza's squadron,
on their return from the mouth of the Nile. The Marquis hailed me that
he was _very sorry_ he had not arrived a few days sooner. We were much
better without him."

Sir James sent, by the Thalia, the following letters to Sir Horatio:

   Orion, Port of Augusta, 16th September 1798.


   I fear you will be disappointed at finding that we are no
   further on our voyage than this place. We were three days in
   sight of Sicily, endeavouring to beat round Cape Pesaro; and,
   Friday afternoon, the wind set in so strong to the westward,
   that I was obliged to endeavour to get into Syracuse, but I
   found the wind directly out of the harbour, and stood again to
   the southward. It blew a gale all night; and in the morning,
   seeing no possibility of getting into Syracuse, I bore up for
   this place, where the squadron anchored yesterday afternoon. We
   are completing the water with all expedition, but I am
   disappointed that there is no wine to be had but at a very high
   price. We are supplied with bullocks and other articles the same
   as at Syracuse; and, as at that place, the people are exorbitant
   in their demands. Every possible attention has been shown by the
   governor. I paid him a visit of ceremony this morning with the
   other captains of the squadron. He appears a man of the first

   I thought it proper to mention to him that I had seen Mr.
   Acton's letter, which stated that his Majesty's ships were to be
   received in the ports of this island; and I should do him great
   injustice, did I not observe to you, sir, his earnest endeavours
   that we should be supplied with everything we require on the
   most reasonable terms.

   A vessel, which left Malta six days ago, reports that the
   inhabitants have revolted against the French, who are driven to
   the greatest stress by the want of provisions. They seem very
   anxious for the appearance of an English squadron off that

   I hope to have the squadron completed in water by Wednesday
   next, and to put to sea the same evening. The Spartiate has
   caused us considerable uneasiness, having unfortunately got
   aground by bordering too near the light-house. She was however
   got off without sustaining any damage. All your friends, with
   me, desire their best compliments.

   I am, my dear Admiral,
   Your ever faithful and obedient servant,

   To Sir Horatio Nelson.

   Orion, Augusta, 20th September 1798.


   I feel great satisfaction in acquainting you that the squadron
   and all the prizes are completed with water, and will be ready
   to proceed to sea at daylight to-morrow morning. The westerly
   winds have prevailed ever since our arrival, and I fear still
   continue in the channel of Malta; but it is of such importance
   to get from this place before easterly winds set in, that not a
   moment has been lost in getting the ships forward, which must be
   evident to you when you consider our great demands for water,
   and that we have only four boats in the squadron to supply the
   ships. We have been abundantly supplied with fresh provisions,
   and each ship takes twelve or fourteen bullocks to sea; but wine
   was not to be had at any reasonable rate. We have found
   difficulty in obtaining cash for the articles purchased on
   account of Government in a place where there scarcely exists any
   trade, and where the inhabitants are extremely poor. The
   governor has offered us every possible assistance; and I must
   entreat you will represent to Mr. Acton the zeal and earnest
   endeavours he has shown to forward the King's service. I have
   the honour to be, &c.


   To Sir Horatio Nelson.

"Saturday, 22nd September.--A whole week has elapsed since I closed
the account of our voyage; having the following day been under the
necessity, from the state of the weather, to put into Augusta, a port
a few leagues from Syracuse. We sailed thence yesterday, after
completing the squadron with water. We found abundance of provisions,
and each ship has sailed with a dozen or fourteen oxen, besides sheep,
fowls, &c. Augusta is a more modern town than Syracuse, having been
rebuilt after an earthquake thirty years ago. It has no trade, and the
inhabitants are extremely poor; the ships were visited by them daily,
but we went to very few parties on shore. A few leagues from Augusta
there is a considerable town called Catania. I regretted much it was
not in my power to visit it, as there we might have had many things
that would have been very acceptable in England.

"In passing Syracuse yesterday, several of the principal inhabitants
came on board; and I was happy in sending a letter to you, enclosed to
Admiral Nelson at Naples. I hope to be with you as soon as it arrives,
having still every expectation of being in England in the month of
October. My mind is much more at ease since we have obtained the last
supplies, as a small quantity of salt provisions, which we can have
from the fleet, will enable the ships to proceed for England without
stopping at Gibraltar, or any other place; and if the Orion is not of
the number, great will be my disappointment.

"Thursday, 27th of September.--I have been very much engaged on public
business of great importance the last three days, which, I am sorry to
say, has not turned out quite equal to my wishes. On Monday I fell in
with the Marquis de Niza's squadron, which had been ordered off Malta
by Admiral Nelson. On Tuesday a deputation of the principal
inhabitants came on board the Orion, to solicit a supply of arms and
ammunition; at the same time informing me that the French garrison
were in the greatest distress, and that, if the town was summoned,
they had good grounds to believe they would be induced to surrender. I
waited on the Marquis de Niza, who readily concurred in sending a flag
of truce with proposals to the French garrison. After three hours'
deliberation they returned a very concise answer,[19] which although
not satisfactory at this time, leaves little doubt that they will be
compelled to surrender very shortly. Before I came away, I supplied
the inhabitants, from the prizes, with twelve hundred muskets, and a
great quantity of ammunition, of which they were in great want. I only
regretted it was not in my power to stay a few days off the island.
The Guillaume Tell and two frigates are in the harbour, and must fall
with the garrison. A report prevailed that Le Généreux was lost; these
ships form the remaining force that escaped us from the mouth of the

   [19] See Appendix.

"We are now pursuing our voyage with slow steps; but, as the light
winds lead us in the fair track, we must not complain. I was glad to
learn from the Marquis de Niza that the Colossus was seen going to
Naples, with four victuallers and a store-ship. A frigate is now in
sight, joining me, by which I hope to receive good accounts.

"Friday morning.--The frigate proved to be the Terpsichore, from the
Admiral, whom she left ten days ago going to Naples. The Terpsichore
was going off Malta for intelligence, and to look out for the
Colossus, with the victuallers. As I could satisfy the Admiral on both
those points, I despatched her immediately for Naples. We have now a
fine Siroc wind, attended with all its usual close dampness; but, as
it wafts us down the Mediterranean, we readily put up with its
disagreeable attendants, without the risk of hanging ourselves. I
intend to part with the Minotaur and Audacious to-day, agreeably to my
orders. Fortunately, I exchanged their men from the prizes two days
ago, as it would have been attended with danger to do it in the
present weather. We have taken our final leave of Sicily this morning.

"Sunday, 30th Sept. The weather has proved very unfavourable the last
three days. Le Souverain has sustained some disasters, and causes me
great uneasiness. I hope, in another week, to get the distance of
Gibraltar, where we may all be better refitted. I cannot be too
thankful for the supplies we obtained at Augusta; the squadron would
otherwise have been much distressed for want of water and provisions.
We are in sight of Sardinia, with every appearance of a favourable
breeze. To-morrow we enter the ever propitious month. I still hope my
expectations will be fulfilled; although I own that probability is
against their accomplishment.

"Thursday, 4th October.--This month began most auspiciously with a
fine breeze of wind, which continued all the following day; but
yesterday morning we experienced a tremendous gale to the northward,
with a very heavy sea, which still continues: the wind has again
shifted favourably, and I hope this time will carry us through the
Straits; but we have had so many disappointments that we must not
trust to appearances.

"Saturday, 6th.--The winds prove again contrary for us. We have the
Souverain in tow, and in so bad a condition that I almost fear it
will not be possible to get her as far as Gibraltar. There has been a
great deal of blowing weather, with heavy seas, since we left Malta,
and the prizes have suffered considerably from it. I have had an
addition to my stock since I left Augusta, having three fine little
lambs; and I understand more are expected: it is fortunate I was well
provided, as this increase would have proved ruinous to my table.

"Monday, 8th October.--We have had variable winds these last two days,
which have brought the squadron a considerable distance. We are at
present off Algiers, a very unfriendly coast, which I hope soon to
lose sight of with our present breeze. The anchorage off Cadiz having
broken up about this time last year, I depend on finding Lord St.
Vincent at anchor at Gibraltar, or there to find orders to join him at
Lisbon, and from thence to proceed to England.

"Tuesday, 9th.--I congratulate you on our darling's birth-day; and
join my prayers to yours that Heaven may bestow on him its choicest

"We have a continuance of fine wind, which, I trust, will carry us to
Gibraltar in two days. I have been treated with the perusal of several
French papers, which I intercepted on board a Danish vessel from
Marseilles, bound to Algiers. They are dated so late as the 27th
Fructidor, which answers to the 13th September; and I am happy to
see, by the English news they contain, that things were going on
favourably. I hope soon to have it under your hand more particularly:
in the mean time it is very satisfactory to receive these news, which
are near three months of later date from England than we before
possessed; your dear letter of the 10th June being the latest I have

"Wednesday, 10th.--I fell in with L'Espoir this morning. She left
Gibraltar ten days ago. She has surprised me with the account that the
Leander had not at that time reached Earl St. Vincent; and that the
news of our victory was only received two days before by the Mutine,
which had arrived from Naples. This account has created amongst us
great uneasiness for the fate of the Leander. I have despatched
L'Espoir with a letter to Earl St. Vincent, apprising him of the
approach of the prizes, with the ships under my command; and I hope to
receive his lordship's orders for our proceedings when we appear off

"Saturday, 13th.--The wind has again set against us the last two days,
and continues to exercise our patience. What adds to my uneasiness is,
the small quantity of provisions in the squadron. We have been at
short allowance these six weeks; and should it unfortunately continue
to the westward a few days longer, we shall be very badly off. I now
very reluctantly give up all hope of being in England during this

"Sunday, 14th.--The wind has again sprung up to the eastward, and I
hope will this time carry us to Gibraltar.

"Monday, 15th.--The wind still continues favourable, and to-morrow I
hope to anchor in Gibraltar Bay; and, as an opportunity may offer to
send you this tedious journal, I hold it in readiness accordingly. It
will give you some faint idea of the trial our patience has been put
to; and although our progress has not been attended with the same
anxiety as I described in my former journal, when we were in pursuit
of the enemy, still I have not been exempt from great uneasiness on
various accounts, particularly from the crippled state of most of the
ships, in a navigation some part of which is very hazardous, and where
contrary winds so invariably prevail. I now hope in a short time to be
released from so heavy a charge, and that I shall be permitted to
proceed, as I have been given to expect, _immediately for England_.

"Tuesday, 16th.--We have gained sight of Gibraltar this morning; but
westerly winds and the current prevent our approach to it. I hope,
however, to have communication with the Rock to-morrow.

"Thursday, 18th.--I received late last evening a very flattering
letter from Earl St. Vincent, in answer to mine of the 10th, which, he
says, diffused universal joy to the garrison, and the little squadron
with him: and his lordship has rejoiced my heart by informing me that
so soon as the wounded and sick are landed from the squadron, and the
wants of the ships are supplied, I shall proceed to Lisbon with them.
He adds that, in his judgment, our action stands foremost in the page
of naval history, having, beyond all dispute, achieved more than was
ever done before, &c.

"We are still struggling against adverse winds, not without hope of
gaining the anchorage to-morrow. I most sincerely wish it, on every
account; and, although my next rendezvous is not what I exactly
expected, it always brings me nearer England.

"Great is our uneasiness for the fate of the Leander. In the letter
above alluded to, Lord St. Vincent thinks it probable she may have
been dismasted, and have put into one of the islands of the
Archipelago. I own my fears for her are great." The following is Lord
St. Vincent's letter, with Sir James's answer.

   Gibraltar, 16th October 1798.


   Your letter of the 10th instant, received yesterday, has
   diffused universal joy through the garrison and little squadron
   now here. I highly applaud and admire the measures taken by you
   and Rear-admiral the Marquis de Niza to induce the French to
   surrender their stronghold in Malta; and the supply of arms and
   ammunition you furnished the islanders with was very judicious.
   Two very respectable Moorish merchants, natives of the eastern
   coast of Barbary, who arrived at Gibraltar from Genoa
   yesterday, report that advices had been received at the latter
   place before they left it, that the Maltese had succeeded, and
   put the French garrison to the sword. I have been so long
   accustomed to the fallacy of _pratique_ reports, that I do not
   give entire credit to this.

   Of the Leander we know nothing; and I am rather inclined to
   believe that the story Sir Horatio Nelson learned from a Candia
   boat, is true; and that she has either been dismasted in the
   action, or so crippled as to be obliged to take refuge in one of
   the islands of the Archipelago. I never despair, and I have
   great confidence that she will yet turn up.

   The account you give from Captain Retallick, of the near
   approach to Naples of the Colossus and her precious charge,--for
   the Alliance is full of naval stores, with all the top-masts and
   top-sail yards we had, and the four victuallers loaded with new
   provisions of every species except bread,--is a communication of
   the utmost consequence.

   It is my anxious wish that the six prize ships of war should be
   safe moored in the Tagus as soon as possible; and my intention
   that the Orion, Defence, and Theseus shall accompany them: the
   Bellerophon and Majestic to enter Gibraltar Mole in order to be
   remasted, for all the lower masts are there; and their men,
   after assisting in the navigation of the prizes to Lisbon, may
   return hither in the Santa Dorothea.

   I am fitting out an expedition of great importance,--I believe,
   _entre nous_, against Monte Video, or Lima,--which swallows up
   all the transports and frigates I have, or I would send you some
   salt provisions and wine. Should the Levanters fail you, by
   working close to the Barbary shore you will soon reach Tetuan
   Bay, and find no difficulty in working round Europa with a

   I request you will convey to your brave companions in arms,
   that, in my judgment, they stand foremost in the page of naval
   history; having, beyond all dispute, achieved more than was ever
   done before, and, under the critical circumstances of the times,
   have certainly rendered the greatest benefit to the human race
   at large, and to their King and country in particular, that ever
   was performed.

   I have the honour to be, with great esteem and regard,
   Your most obedient, humble servant,

   To Sir James Saumarez.

   P.S. Doctor Harness has prepared the naval hospital for the
   reception of the wounded and sick of your squadron in the best
   manner our means will admit; the wards have been whitewashed,
   and every exertion made to purify them. The moment the invalids
   are landed, and the wants of the ships that go to Lisbon
   supplied, you shall proceed thither with them.

   Orion, off Gibraltar, 18th Oct. 1798.


   I received late last evening the honour of your letter by
   L'Espoir, and shall not fail to communicate to the squadron the
   very handsome terms in which your lordship is pleased to express
   yourself of the action of the Nile. I am particularly happy the
   measures taken off Malta meet with your lordship's approbation;
   but I fear the account from Genoa is premature respecting the
   French garrison, as there has scarcely been time since we left
   the island, the 26th Sept. for the news to reach Genoa, and
   arrive at Gibraltar, if such an event had taken place.

   Fearing that, with the ship I have in tow, it will not be
   possible to reach Rozia Bay till a late hour, I send an officer
   on shore with the despatches for your lordship, and the letters
   for the garrison.

   I have the honour to be, my lord,
   Your lordship's most obedient and most humble servant,

   To the Right Hon. Earl St. Vincent.

The squadron arrived at Gibraltar on the evening of the 18th, amidst
the universal and unbounded acclamations of the assembled population.

"Sunday, 21st Oct.--Last Thursday, my dear love, we all anchored in
safety in this bay, and met with a reception we want words to express
from the governor, admiral, officers, soldiers, seamen, and
inhabitants. We can never do justice to the warmth of their applause,
and the praises they all bestowed on our squadron.

"A ball was given last night by the governor, in honour of our
victory; and we have a round of dinner invitations from the heads of
the garrison. I am, however, happy to tell you that to-morrow I expect
to put to sea for Lisbon, with the Theseus and prizes, which I am to
leave in safety in the Tagus, and then proceed to England. I am to
give a passage to the Duc d'Havré and his suite: he is a nobleman of
distinction, who has resided some time in Spain, but has been expelled
from that country with other _emigrés_. I had an opportunity of
sending you, by a cutter for Lagos, a short letter, with the above
pleasing accounts, which I am persuaded will yield no less happiness
to you than it has to me."

We have already mentioned the honours, the titles, the decorations,
and the favours conferred on the victorious Nelson, as also the
praises he had himself bestowed on some of the captains of the fleet;
but we cannot refrain from reverting to the extraordinary circumstance
that the second in command in that battle, which both Earl St. Vincent
and Mr. Pitt declared "stands foremost in the page of naval history,"
and which (as before stated), was most highly extolled, had not that
mark of distinction conferred upon him, which is usually granted on
such occasions. In common, indeed, with the other captains, he
received a gold medal; being only the second given to him, although he
commanded a ship of the line in four great general actions, and served
in two others.[20] We mention this, because Sir James was not aware of
the extent of this neglect until many years after, when, meeting with
Clarke and Mac Arthur's Life of Nelson, he discovered that Nelson's
letters had influenced the Admiralty to regard him as having held no
higher station in the action than any other captain in the squadron,
and represented Sir Thomas Troubridge, who unfortunately had no part
in the battle, as equally entitled to reward as himself: therefore he
felt this deviation from the common usage less severely at the time
than he would otherwise have done.

   [20] The actions of Sullivan's Island, and the Dogger Bank.

We admit that it would be difficult to point out a situation of
extraordinary hardship more peculiarly calculated, than that of
Troubridge, to excite the feelings of sympathy expressed so strongly
by Nelson.

But what would have been the situation,--what would have been the
feelings of Sir James Saumarez, had he been sent away to make room for
Sir Thomas Troubridge? We leave the reader to judge. Suffice it to
say, that as soon as the Admiral had ascertained the real force of the
enemy, he found the Orion could not be spared, by which fortunate
circumstance Sir James was saved a mortification which would have
weighed on his heart the remainder of his days.

Every admiral, captain, and officer, with whom we have conversed on
the subject, has been decidedly of opinion that the name of Saumarez
ought to have been honourably mentioned; and that, as second in
command, some mark of distinction should have been conferred upon him.
We dwell on this subject particularly, because we know, that when a
brave and meritorious officer does not obtain the reward due to his
merit, it is extremely injurious to the service, as it damps that
ardour after fame, and weakens that emulation, which lead to valour
and enterprise. May every succeeding Nelson regard, and be able to
look up to, that motto which was conferred on the hero of the
Nile,--_Palmam qui meruit, ferat!_

On Sir James's arrival at Gibraltar he received the following letters
from Sir Horatio Nelson, approving of his proceedings:--

   Vanguard, Naples, 29th Sept. 1798.


   I have received your letter of the 17th from Augusta, as well as
   your despatch of the 27th, by Captain Gage.

   I very much approve of your putting into Augusta to get water,
   and very highly so of your officer-like behaviour and conduct
   relative to Malta, as also of your supplying the Maltese with
   arms and ammunition.

   I am, sir,
   Your most obedient servant,

   To Sir James Saumarez.

   September 29th, 1798.


   Captain Gage is just arrived with your letters and papers
   relative to Malta. I can say with truth there is no action of
   your life, as far as relates to me, but what must be entirely to
   my approbation: your summons to Malta is highly proper; and you
   have done as I wished in sending the arms, &c. The wind here is
   strong at S.E. I hope you have it, and that it will carry you
   through the Straits. This is a sad place for refitting, the
   swell sets in so heavy; never again do we come to Naples:
   besides the rest, we are killed with kindness. Wishing you, my
   dear Sir James, every felicity in this world, believe me ever,

   Your obliged and affectionate,

   Sir James Saumarez.

At Gibraltar Sir James also received a letter from his gallant friend
and brother-in-arms, Captain Ball, which gives so vivid a description
of some of the events of this most eventful period of the war, that we
are persuaded the reader will thank us for inserting it.

   Alexander, at sea, 11th Oct. 1798.


   I have the satisfaction of sending you, by the Colossus, a case
   containing six fan-mounts, two boxes of perfumery, four large
   and two small of Naples soap, amounting to eighteen Spanish
   dollars and a half. I hope to collect from Sicily some
   ornamental figures for a table, which I will forward to you, by
   the first safe conveyance, with some Neapolitan shawls. I shall
   not draw upon your agent, as I expect, when I return to Naples,
   to receive nearly forty pounds as your share of the cotton and
   articles taken out of the Spanish polacre we captured. Pray let
   me know to whom I shall remit the balance. I sincerely hope that
   you had a good passage down, and have not suffered from the
   fatigue and anxiety you must have experienced. I make no doubt
   but you will have the pleasure of convoying the ships to
   England, where you will be amply recompensed by a joyful meeting
   with Lady Saumarez and your family. When you get your second
   medal, beware of the ladies, if they hear such a story of you as
   of our friend Collingwood. I shall feel very much flattered
   whenever you will favour me with a line; and you may be assured
   that I shall never lose an occasion of testifying to you my
   great esteem, and how very much I value your friendship. I
   enclose herewith a translation of Admiral Blanquet's account of
   the battle of the Nile, with his plans, which he is to present
   to the French Minister of the Marine. One of my officers copied
   them unknown to him, but his aide-de-camp allowed everybody to
   read them.

   It would be difficult to describe to you the very flattering
   reception we met with at Naples. Our gallant Admiral was hailed
   as the saviour of Italy. He daily receives from all parts
   congratulatory addresses and verses, celebrating his fame. The
   King visited him before he anchored, and he gave him and all the
   captains a very elegant dinner on board one of his ships of the
   line. We dined on the poop; the party very select, consisting of
   the hereditary Prince and one of his brothers, the Minister of
   Marine, three of the Lords in waiting, Sir William and Lady
   Hamilton, and the captain of the Neapolitan ship. After dinner,
   the King gave as a toast, "Sir Horatio Nelson and the brave
   English nation," with a salute from his lower deck guns. Sir
   William Hamilton gave a fête that cost more than a thousand
   pounds. It was much admired for its taste and magnificence.
   There was nothing to be seen or heard of but "Viva Nelson!" The
   English nation never stood so high in the estimation of the
   Italians as at this present moment: and I believe the French
   were never so universally execrated and despised as they now
   are. The Emperor and King of Naples will make an effort to drive
   them out of Italy. General Mack was daily expected at Naples to
   arrange the plans.

   We have to regret the capture of the Leander by the Généreux.
   She is carried into Corfu. Of course all our letters by her are
   destroyed, and our friends will suffer much anxiety until the
   arrival of Capel, who could not get there before the 20th of
   last month. The grand Seignior declared war against the French
   the 1st of last month. He did not receive the Admiral's official
   account of the action until the 6th ult. He has ordered a
   costly diamond to be presented to him for the important victory.

   Buonaparte's career is nearly finished. He will soon be
   surrounded by sixty thousand men. One of his colonels, whom
   Foley took very lately, says that the whole army will soon
   perish. He sent to Alexandria for all the troops in garrison to
   join him without loss of time, which they refused doing. The
   seamen marched to retrieve their character, but I do not think
   many will return to tell of their exploits. A Turkish fleet is
   gone for Alexandria. Our Envoy at Constantinople, Sir Sidney
   Smith's brother, has gained great credit by his ability and
   judicious conduct. I had great satisfaction in reading some of
   his correspondence. We expect very soon to be in possession of
   Malta, Corfu, Zante, and Cerigo. I shall then hope to go to
   England, Sir H. Nelson having given me reason to expect the
   pleasure of carrying home Sir William and Lady Hamilton.

   I am now in company with the Colossus, going off Malta, which we
   are in sight of. Captain Murray talks of staying to ascertain
   the state of the island. He is then to proceed to join Lord St.
   Vincent. He has this moment made the signal for Gibraltar; I
   must therefore refer you to him for the state of Malta. The
   French must surrender in a few days. Their ships mean to slip
   out and trust to their sailing. Believe me,

   With true esteem and regard,
   My dear Sir James, very sincerely yours,

   Sir James Saumarez, &c. &c.

To return to Sir James's journal:

"19th October.--Your valued letters of the 21st July and 29th August
I received the morning of my arrival, and they gave me real comfort
after so long a privation. I now trust that, in a few weeks, we shall
be re-united, no more to part! It is my firm intention to remain, for
some time at least, entirely abstracted from active service. If I can
do so, and retain the command of the ship, well and good; if not, I
shall apply to be superseded.

"An expedition under Sir John Duckworth is now sailing from this bay;
various are the conjectures on its destination. I need not tell you,
after what I have noticed respecting the Earl, that we are on a very
good footing. Indeed, the solicitous attention he shows to me almost
overwhelms me, as I wish to keep clear of laying myself under
obligation, except as far as concerns the promotion of my officers.

"24th October, Orion, off Cadiz.--Yesterday I got clear of Gibraltar
Bay with the Theseus and five of the prizes, it having been decided,
the morning before we sailed, to leave the Souverain for a hulk at
Gibraltar, which I had strongly recommended before.

"I was fortunate in the arrival of the Transfer brig, in ten days from
Naples, a few hours previous to our sailing. She brought the sad news
of the capture of the Leander, with the despatches; but having long
before given her over for lost, and being apprehensive for the safety
of all on board, the account rather gave me satisfaction, especially
as she is said to have well supported the fame of the Nile squadron,
though the details of the action are not known.

"Earl St. Vincent afforded me the perusal of several interesting
letters that came by the Transfer from Naples, particularly from the
envoy and our gallant Admiral: he was on the point of sailing for
Malta, which, there is scarcely a doubt, is by this time, entirely in
possession of the inhabitants.

"We are going on with a fine breeze for Lisbon, which I hope to reach
before Saturday. This morning I gained sight of our squadron off
Cadiz; and, although within a few miles of one of the ships, (the
Hector,) they had not the curiosity to join us, and I was unwilling to
be delayed by going to them, although I should have been happy to have
had communication with some of the ships. I hope my stay at Lisbon
will be but short; as, after I embark the Duc d'Havré, and have seen
the prizes taken care of, I proceed immediately for Portsmouth. Judge
then of my feelings. My only regret is, being unable to impart them to

"Thursday.--Early this morning I fell in with the Barfleur and
Northumberland. Although not without great difficulty, I persevered in
my endeavours to join them; but, to my great concern, I found no
letters for me on board either ship. Captain Dacres tells me he wrote
to Ryde, thinking you were there, but in vain. Lady Parker, however,
assured him that she had a letter from you very lately.

"I was glad to hear Captain Capel had reached England with the
accounts of our action, the news of which were received at Portsmouth
the day before the Barfleur sailed.

"Fortune has, as usual, proved propitious this month. What think you
of two vessels, with valuable cargoes from Genoa, which promise to
give, at the most moderate computation, at least £10,000 between
Captain Miller and myself![21] The Theseus joined me with one
yesterday noon, and we brought the other to, some time after; both
under Greek colours, but unquestionably laden with the property of
Genoese merchants. More are on their way, which we expect to fall in
with. But indeed, my dearest love, we require not riches to add to our
happiness. Let us but have peace and tranquillity, and we have enough
for every earthly enjoyment whilst it pleases Heaven to bless us with
good health. Alas, poor Lady W.! how sensibly I feel for the
misfortune that has deprived her excellent husband of all prospect of
ever again enjoying comfort in this life. She was, indeed, all you
have said of her.

   [21] This was never realised.

"To-morrow I depend on arriving at Lisbon, with the hope of being
detained a few days only, and where I rely on being cheered with
letters from you. _A propos_: Miss R. is there, and will not be sorry
to hear the Leander is at last heard of, although in possession of the
enemy. She is going to England with General and Mrs. Trigge.

"27th October.--I had hoped before the arrival of this _blessed_ day
to acquaint you with our being safe in the Tagus; but the light winds
prevented our getting round Cape St. Vincent before yesterday evening,
and it now blows so strong from the westward that there is no
possibility of getting over the bar. To-morrow, I trust, we shall be
more fortunate; or, what would prove still better, that it will blow
so strong as to compel me to bear up for the Channel, which I
certainly would do in case of a south-west gale.

"Sunday, two o'clock.--I now congratulate you on our safe arrival in
the Tagus, in the midst of very boisterous weather; but, thanks to
Divine Providence! without an accident to any of the ships; I have but
once more to weigh anchor, and then I trust in its mercy to bring me
to the haven where I would be, and to find all my precious treasures
in complete possession of health and happiness.

"A packet arrived this morning with Commissioner Coffin. The only
letter I have been so fortunate as to receive is one from Mr. Le M.
dated the day Captain Capel arrived. What would I not give for one of
as late date from you! Another is soon expected, this packet having
had nearly three weeks' passage."

The extract of the following letter from Sir James to the
commander-in-chief continues this narrative:

   Orion, Tagus, 1st November, 1798.


   I have the honour to acquaint your lordship of the safe arrival
   in the Tagus of this ship and the Theseus, with five of the
   prize-ships lately taken in his Majesty's service.

   His grace the Duc d'Havré embarks on board this ship on Monday
   next; and the Marquis de Mortemart having solicited a passage to
   England, I have consented to receive him on condition of his
   being considered in the suite of the duke. Captain Tyler also
   takes his passage in the Orion. I should have been happy to have
   made the like offer to General Trigge, but it was not possible
   to accommodate him and the ladies of his family without
   considerable inconvenience to the Duc d'Havré. His grace is a
   nobleman of the first distinction and consideration, and he
   expresses himself very sensible of your lordship's attention in
   providing for him so good a conveyance.

   I beg to offer my most sincere and fervent wishes for health and
   every happiness to attend your lordship; and, with my unfeigned
   thanks for all your lordship's favour,

   I remain, &c.

Sir James, having now fulfilled the anxious charge entrusted to him,
and, with great professional skill and unremitting vigilance, brought
the prizes in safety to Lisbon, is at length setting sail for England:
and who will not share the feelings of the husband and the father, on
approaching his home after so long an absence! The following extracts
from his letters will convey some impression of what those feelings

   Lisbon, Nov. 3rd, 1798.

   I am now rejoicing in the hope of being in England nearly as
   soon as this letter can reach you. I propose to sail from this
   place the beginning of next week, and I trust my arrival will
   shortly follow. Let me find a letter from you at Portsmouth. I
   depend on your being ready to set off as soon as you hear the
   Orion is there. The post will arrive sufficiently early to allow
   of your leaving Bath the same day. I may possibly be able to
   meet you on the road, as I shall have had time to despatch
   Monsieur le Duc d'Havré (who is a very polite Frenchman) and to
   make arrangements against our return. I think it right to
   mention that unless the wind admits the ships getting over the
   Bar of Lisbon, I may be detained. But I hope for a quick

"Sunday, November 25th, Spithead.--I wrote to you, this morning, from
St. Helens. The happy moment is at length arrived when I can despatch
a letter from Spithead. Yours of yesterday is in my hand. To-morrow
you will be setting off; but I fear the service will prevent our
meeting till the day after.

"I have despatched Dumaresq to Newport for our dear boy; and I depend
on seeing him to-night. _Le Duc est empressé de le voir._ I hope to
get the party on shore, _de bonne heure_, to-morrow: but we are still
in quarantine whilst I am making these arrangements.

"Tuesday morning.--Great is my disappointment at being kept thus long
in quarantine: it is a cruel _contre temps_, and the more so from its
being unforeseen. What adds to my disappointment is, that I am at a
loss to know if our _pratique_ has been received by this day's post,
the weather having prevented all communication with the shore. It will
rejoice you to learn that our beloved boy has been with me since ten,
yesterday morning, and that I find him all you have described. I
expect to hear every moment of your arrival at the Fountain. Mr.
Maxwell writes there is no doubt of our being released to-morrow.

"One o'clock.--If our _pratique_ is not received by this post, request
Sir Peter to set the telegraph at work, now that the weather has
cleared up. 8 P.M. Your letter has this instant reached me. The
tidings of your arrival have relieved my mind from great inquietude.
The messenger has orders to wait your commands until after the post
hour to-morrow; and if we are not then admitted to the privileges of
_Christian charity_ after our _Egyptian bondage_, we must _endeavour_
to submit to our fate. James is by my side, and glows with
thankfulness at being so soon likely to embrace his beloved mamma. He
has indeed been a real comfort to me under this sad contrariety of
events. I have placed Monsieur Le Duc, and the rest of the party, at
cards, to send these lines in time _pour ton réveil demain. Encore
adieu, ma très chère_! Write every hour of the day, and send your
letters to Mr. Maxwell.

"Wednesday morning.--Grieved as I am to be a prisoner still another
day, there is consolation in the _certainty_ of our being released
to-morrow. Ardently as I aspire for the moment of our meeting, I must
delay going on shore until after the performance of divine service in
this ship:[22] and I know this arrangement will have your full
concurrence. Your note is just received: how well have you anticipated
my thoughts, and met my wishes even before they were expressed. Please
God, to-morrow we shall be compensated for a separation of two long
years; and on a day in which none can have greater mercies to
commemorate than ourselves.

   [22] November 29th, the day appointed for a general thanksgiving
   for the great naval victories.

"Wednesday evening.--I have just ascertained that the Duke and the
Marquis do not proceed to town before Friday; therefore expect to
receive them at dinner, and desire Mrs. Fielding to prepare for
eighteen or twenty guests."

Sir James remained at Portsmouth, until the 15th December, when he
sailed for Plymouth, at which place he arrived on the 22nd: and on
the 6th of January 1799 the Orion was paid off, when Sir James went to
Bath, where he was once more free and happy in the bosom of his



   Sir James writes to Earl Spencer.--Is appointed to the Cæsar, of
   84 guns.--Joins the Channel fleet.--The Brest fleet having
   escaped, proceeds to the Mediterranean.--English fleet at Bantry
   Bay.--Return of the French fleet.--Cæsar at Lisbon.--Sir James
   returns to Spithead.--Rejoins the Channel fleet.--Earl St.
   Vincent takes the command.--Appoints Sir James to command the
   advanced squadron.--Black Rocks.--Earl St. Vincent's letter of
   approbation.--Douvernenez Bay.--Various letters.--Complete
   success of the blockade--Enemy's fleet laid up Sir James returns
   to Spithead.--Conclusion of 1800.

Sir James had cherished the hope that he was to be permitted to enjoy
the blessings of domestic life, at least for a few months; but even in
the most perfect state of happiness which can be well imagined, he
always held his duty to his King and country, (next to the duty he
owed to his Creator,) to be paramount to every other consideration;
and, feeling himself bound, after a short period of relaxation, to
offer his services, he wrote the following letter:

   Bath, 15th January 1799.


   As you were pleased to intimate your intention of being at Bath
   when I last had the honour of seeing you, I delayed writing
   until this time. I am extremely happy to find that Lady
   Spencer's improved state of health has rendered the journey

   Two days after my arrival I received a letter from Admiral
   Young, proposing to me (in the absence of your lordship) a large
   seventy-four, which I declined accepting, as you had done me the
   honour to offer me the Cæsar, on a certain expected event taking
   place. I hope you will forgive me for entreating that as many of
   the Orion's ship's company may be reserved for me as the service
   will admit. Having experienced their uniform good conduct for so
   many years, I am most solicitous to have them with me in another

   I have the honour to be,
   With the highest respect,
   Your lordship's most obedient and humble servant,

   To the Right Honourable Earl Spencer, &c. &c. &c.

To the above, Sir James received the following answer:

   Admiralty, 18th January 1799.


   Lady Spencer's journey to Bath is only deferred, I fear; as it
   will probably be necessary for her to go there soon.

   The proposal made to you by Admiral Young was only intended as a
   temporary measure, in case you had no objection to be employed
   in the interval before you could have a permanent appointment.
   Whenever the period shall come at which I can propose such an
   appointment to you, I shall avail myself of it with pleasure.
   With respect to reserving your ship's company, that practice is
   attended with so much inconvenience to the public service, that
   it has of late been necessarily discontinued. Although there is
   no one in whose favour I should be more disposed to relax than
   to you, I fear it will be impossible for me to do so in this
   particular. I am, dear sir,

   Your very obedient and humble servant,

   To Sir James Saumarez, &c. &c. &c.

The 14th of February, being the anniversary of the glorious victory
obtained over the Spanish fleet, was selected for a promotion of
flag-officers; and on this occasion his Majesty was pleased to confer
on Sir James Saumarez one of the colonelcies of Marines as a reward
for his many and meritorious services. Earl Spencer availed himself of
the opportunity to appoint him to the Cæsar, of 84 guns, one of the
finest, but hitherto most unfortunate, ships in the British navy. Sir
James hoisted his pendant on the 26th of February, and had the
satisfaction to have several of his officers and crew removed from the
Orion to the Cæsar, in Hamoaze, where her fitting out went on with
considerable rapidity. On the 19th of March she proceeded to Cawsand
Bay, where, on the 30th, she rode out a heavy gale of wind from the

On the following day, in company with the Magnificent and Impetueux,
she sailed for the Channel fleet, commanded by Admiral Berkeley, which
she joined off Brest the 3rd April. On the 16th, Lord Bridport arrived
from Portsmouth with five sail more, increasing the fleet to fifteen
sail of the line. Another heavy gale was experienced on the 20th, but
no damage was sustained.

On the 25th, looking into Brest Harbour, they were surprised to see
the French fleet, consisting of twenty-five sail, partly in Camaret
Bay, and under way in Brest Water. The fleet stood off Ushant; the
wind came to the S.E. with hazy weather, and on the same night they

Sir James writes:--

"April 27th.--Yesterday at noon, it blowing very strong from the
northward, with foggy weather, the signal was made that the enemy was
under sail. A general chase soon followed; but, I am sorry to say,
they eluded our pursuit under cover of the thick weather, keeping
close to their shore, by the passage du Raz. The cruise has now taken
quite a different turn to what I expected; and it gives me great
spirits to find we are likely to render to our country some service.

"1st of May.--My fervent vows were very early offered, my best love,
for Heaven's choicest blessings to attend you, with many, many returns
of your natal day. The fatted calf was intended to have been killed
for the fête; but the bustle caused by the French fleet occasioned its
being neglected. Your health, however, will be drunk in a bumper of my
best wine. I have a letter from the Duc d'Havré, dated Edinburgh,
where he was on a visit to Monsieur.[23] He was going to embark for
the continent. _Mille complimens de sa part pour miladi_, &c. &c.

   [23] Afterwards Louis XVIII.

"May 5th.--We have had, the last three days, a strong S.E. gale,
which has brought us off Ireland. I hope to-morrow we shall fall in
with ships from Plymouth, and that I shall have the satisfaction of
receiving letters from you,--the greatest I can possibly enjoy at this
time, except that of beating the French fleet.

"May 8th.--Off Cape Clear.--Captain Durham hailed me: he says the
French fleet were seen a week ago, steering to the southward. These
are trying times for those who feel as we do the importance of events,
which involve and may decide the fate of nations.

"May 17th.--Sir Alan Gardner has joined us this morning with a
reinforcement. We are still without any certain intelligence of the
enemy; a few days must determine. I only wish we could soon, very soon
meet them, to put a stop to our perplexity and impatience.

"Friday evening, 24th May.--We are just anchored in Bantry Bay. I fear
my conjectures of the enemy being gone to Portugal, or the
Mediterranean, and not being destined for this country, are too surely

"I have this instant received your letter of the 4th, by which,
though, as yet, very hastily perused, I learn you are at Teignmouth. I
am sorry to see that you have already taken alarm at the reports which
are circulated respecting us: follow the example of Lady Howe, who
neither reads newspapers, nor listens to rumours. I know not who are
most to blame, those who invent them, or you who believe them.

"26th.--We continue without any certain accounts respecting the
destination of the French armament. Admiral Collingwood arrived this
morning, and hoists his flag in the Triumph. He will take a strong
detachment with him for the Mediterranean. It is not yet known what
ships are to go: but I have been on board Lord Bridport; and I do not
hear the Cæsar is to be one of them; which, I suppose, will _please_
you: _in other respects_, there is no doubt that the Mediterranean
station is far preferable to the Channel service. Your wish that we
should carry away a mast was nearly gratified, the Achille and the
Cæsar having been on board each other in coming into this bay; the
principal damage was, however, sustained by the former;
notwithstanding which, she will not be obliged to return into port;
therefore, form no such wishes, but show yourself a true patriot, and
let the good of the country be the principal wish of your heart. The
escape of the French fleet, was, I dare say, consonant to these
feminine feelings, and see what a dilemma it has thrown us into.

"31st May.--Off Cape Clear.--I see Lord Bridport very frequently, who
always inquires most kindly after you. His lordship, it may be
believed, is not very well satisfied with the present state of
affairs. We must hope that future good will result from apparent evil;
but it must ever be regretted that the French fleet escaped from
Brest, without being brought to action. I think it probable Sir Alan
Gardner will have the command of a strong detachment, and proceed off
Cape Finisterre; but what ships are to be attached to him will not be
known until the separation takes place. Should the French fleet be
gone up the Mediterranean, they will proceed on that station; in which
case I hope the Cæsar will be one of Sir Alan's squadron. I am well
provided for a long cruise. When I shall hear from you, Heaven alone
knows! but I am endued with patience, after all our trials. The
_éloge_ of Mr. Morgan, on our dear boy, is a great satisfaction to me,
and no less so at knowing him to be where his morals will be attended
to, equally with the other branches of his education.

"June 9th.--My last will have led you to expect my being detached with
Sir A. Gardner. We separated from Lord Bridport, Saturday, with
sixteen sail of the line; and we are already the distance of Lisbon,
with a fine breeze, steering for the Mediterranean. I almost fear we
shall be too late, notwithstanding the expedition we are using. I fell
in with a Dane, from whom I learned the French fleet had passed the
Straits, and Lord St. Vincent after them.

"Sunday 10th.--In going down with the information to the Admiral, we
had the misfortune to carry away our fore-top-mast. I was not a little
surprised to find Sir Alan with only the Magnificent and Russell, Sir
Charles Cotton having been detached to the Mediterranean; thus I fear
we shall be deprived sharing in the victory we hoped to obtain over
the enemy's fleet. Our small squadron is returning towards Lisbon,
instead of gaining the medals we made sure of.

"14th.--Off Lisbon. We are anxiously waiting here for intelligence.
The Admiral surprised me with the information that the object of our
coming to Lisbon was to take away our prizes. He has ordered me in to
accelerate their joining him."

Sir Alexander Ball, in a letter to Sir James, dated off Malta, 27th
April 1799, writes: "Be assured that your appointment to the Marines
and the command of the Cæsar, which are given to you as a mark of the
high estimation in which you are regarded by the Admiralty and the
public, has given me more joy than I should have received from the
appointment of any other person on the list, because I have had the
satisfaction of witnessing your bravery, zeal, and ardour in the
service. I am much pleased with your plan of the sword."

The Commander-in-chief, supposing the destination of the French
expedition to be Ireland, proceeded at once to Bantry Bay, where the
fleet remained until the end of May; while the enemy passed the
Straits of Gibraltar unmolested, having been on that occasion favoured
by a gale of wind, which prevented the fleet under Lord Keith (though
certainly very inferior) from bringing them to action. The French and
Spanish fleets returned to Brest, unobserved, on the 21st of June.

In the mean time a part of Lord Bridport's fleet, in which was the
Cæsar, proceeded under command of Sir Alan Gardner to the Tagus, which
it left on the 18th; and, cruising back, returned to Cawsand Bay on
the 13th July. As the enemy showed no disposition to put to sea again,
the Cæsar, and the rest of the fleet, remained quietly at Cawsand Bay,
and subsequently at Torbay till the 2nd September, when they again
sailed. In the course of the three ensuing months it put back three
times; and finally, on the 8th of December 1799, when the Admiralty,
being desirous of ascertaining whether Torbay was a safe anchorage for
the fleet during the winter months, ordered the Cæsar to continue on
that station for the trial, and at the same time placed the London, of
98 guns, under the orders of Sir James. The tempestuous weather which
prevailed during the rest of the month, and throughout January,
afforded several occasions to determine the point. The London, during
a heavy gale, parted her cables, and was with great difficulty
preserved from going on shore, which left no doubt that it was an
insecure and unfit post to shelter a fleet.

On the 17th March 1800, Lord Bridport took command of the fleet, which
was soon after increased to twenty-five sail of the line; but nothing
remarkable occurred till the 18th of May, when a dreadful gale
occasioned much damage to many of the ships. The wind was at first
S.W. and blew with great violence, when it suddenly checked to the
N.W., before the S.W. sea had time to subside: most of the fleet wore.
The Lady Jane, Trompeuse, and Railleur foundered: the Montague lost
all her masts, and several others met with damage. It appears by the
log of the Cæsar that she continued for some time on the same tack,
which may account for her having sustained little injury, although it
mentions that she shipped several heavy seas. So tremendous was the
rolling of the ship, that her lower yard-arms were at one time under
water, while the carpenters stood by with their axes, to cut the masts
away, if she had not righted. She did not bear up for Torbay with the
rest of the fleet, but followed two days after, and, having
replenished her water and provisions, resumed her station, from whence
Sir James wrote a letter to Lady Saumarez, of which the following is
an extract:

   "Cæsar, 26th June, 1800.

   "Of the enemy in this neighbourhood we know nothing, except of
   their inactivity. I hope they do not mean to leave so fine a
   fleet, as we have here, useless all the summer. Fear not my
   complying with your injunctions. I shall more than ever strive
   against _ennui_,--my greatest enemy, I believe, whilst in this
   inactive state. I read when I can, but anxiety to hear from you,
   and to have accounts of our darling children, has its share in
   withdrawing my attention and fixing it on more interesting
   subjects. Of one thing, however, be assured, that with respect
   to the ship and all thereto belonging, I am as well situated as
   possible. I enjoy the satisfaction of having a very quiet and
   well-disposed ship's company, who are kept orderly, and, I
   flatter myself, well regulated, without exercising severity or
   rigour. The officers continue as I wish them. Captain Maxwell,
   who joined some time ago, is an active, diligent officer in his
   corps; and Mr. Packwood, as well as Mr. Holliday, our new
   chaplain, are very good men in their respective stations.

   "Although I find amusement in books, believe me your letters
   form my sole delight, and tend more to lighten the time than all
   the volumes in Hoxland's library."

Sir James, after another cruise, returned on the 24th of July, to
prepare for a service of more responsibility and importance.

The French had now a large fleet at Brest, which appeared to be in a
state of great forwardness; and, as they had before eluded the
vigilance of the blockading ships, it was necessary to place a strong
squadron near the Black Rocks to watch their motions, and to give the
command of this advanced detachment to an officer of skill,
experience, and intrepidity. Earl St. Vincent, who was now
commander-in-chief of the Channel fleet, knowing how highly Sir James
Saumarez was qualified for such an important trust, gave him the
following order to take command of the in-shore squadron:

   You are hereby required and directed to proceed without a
   moment's loss of time, in his Majesty's ship under your command,
   off the Black Rocks, where you may expect to find his Majesty's
   ships named in the margin,[24] which you are to take under your
   command; their respective captains being instructed to obey your
   orders: and having received from Captain Knight, of his
   Majesty's ship Montague, authenticated copies of all orders and
   papers in his possession relative to the command of the advanced
   squadron, carry the same into execution until you receive
   further orders.

   You will also receive from Captain Knight a sealed secret
   instruction, addressed to the officer commanding the advanced
   squadron off the Black Rocks for the time being, which is on no
   account to be opened, but under the circumstances thereon


   To Sir James Saumarez, &c.

   [24] Magnificent, Defiance, Marlborough, and Edgar.

   Copy of Instructions to the Senior Officer of the advanced
   squadron off the Black Rocks.

   You are hereby required and directed to take under your command
   the advanced squadron, composed of his Majesty's ships named on
   the other side hereof, (whose captains are instructed to obey
   your orders,) stationed off the Black Rocks and in the Bay of
   Brest, for the purpose of watching the combined fleets in that
   port; adopting such measures as you shall judge necessary for
   gaining every possible information of their force, condition,
   and movements.

   In the execution of this most important service, the
   line-of-battle ships (composing the advanced squadron) are to be
   anchored during an easterly wind in the Iroise Passage, as well
   to support the look-out frigates, as to intercept a squadron of
   the enemy which is held in constant readiness to slip out the
   very first opportunity that shall offer; and during a westerly
   wind, you are not to fail in making Brest every day, if
   possible, but at all events to take such precautions as will
   enable you to resume your former position in the Iroise, on the
   first appearance of easterly wind.

   You are to communicate to me from time to time every
   intelligence you may obtain respecting the enemy; and in case he
   should come out in great force, while the squadron under my
   command is in this rendezvous, you are to give me immediate
   notice thereof, and also the officers commanding the detachments
   off the Passage Du Raz, Isle Grois, and in Quiberon Bay; but, in
   the event of my being compelled by tempestuous weather to take
   shelter in Torbay, and of the enemy seizing that opportunity of
   putting to sea, you are to give me information thereof by every
   means in your power: taking under your command the detachments
   off the Passage Du Raz, Isle Grois, and in Quiberon Bay,
   together with the ships named in the margin,[25] which are
   directed to keep as near the Black Rocks as possible, under the
   orders of Captain Sutton, for the support of your ships; and to
   hang upon and use your utmost endeavours to harass the enemy's
   rear until the approach of this squadron, which, you may be
   assured, will be in pursuit.

   Given on board the Royal George,
   off Ushant, 7th August 1800.

   To Sir John Borlase Warren,
   Bart. K.B. Rear-admiral of
   the Blue, &c. &c. &c.
   By command of the Admiral.

   An exact copy.  Given the 8th August 1800

   [25] Superb and Captain.

Sir James now proceeded, in the Cæsar, to assume the important command
off the Black Rocks, which had deservedly obtained the name of New
Siberia, as being the least desirable of stations for a ship-of-war.
It is, indeed, scarcely possible to describe any situation more
miserable; for, besides being at the very entrance of a port
containing twenty-five sail of the line ready for sea, which might
slip out and attack the squadron of six, the ships are two-thirds
surrounded with rocks and dangers, which afford no shelter; while they
are open to the S.W. winds. They have often great difficulty in
working out, sometimes against the tide as well as against the wind;
and, in reconnoitring, they are exposed to the fire of the enemy on
each side of Brest Water.

The following extracts of private letters written by Sir James to Lady
Saumarez, will be found interesting, as they convey the best idea of
his situation.

   Cæsar, off the Black Rocks, Sunday evening,
   2d Sept. 1800.

   _On dit_, but I do not believe it, that the French fleet is to
   be ordered out by the First Consul, at all risks. We may
   therefore expect to make _minced meat_ of them with our
   seventeen three-deckers. We remain in sight of the enemy
   unmolested by them. To-day I had the colours hoisted, to show
   them Sunday was not expunged from _our_ calendar; and divine
   service was performed on board.

   Our boats have occasionally landed on some small islands near
   this. Captain Buller purchased two nice little cows, one of
   which he has spared me: it is so tame, the children could play
   with it. It supplies me with milk, and cost me only three

   The Guernsey traders continue with the squadron; but, on account
   of the spirits they sell to the ships, I wish them further off.
   I have been obliged to be harsh with them, from this
   circumstance; and I expect they will give a very bad report of
   their countryman when they return to the island.

   Cæsar, off the Black Rocks, Sept. 12th 1800.

   Sir Henry Harvey has joined the fleet, which makes up the
   complement of flags; and it remains to be proved if the Earl has
   influence to effect what he so strenuously aims at respecting
   the promotion. I form very sanguine hopes that peace will
   shortly extend its blessed influence over these countries; and
   that I shall have the satisfaction to enjoy, without
   interruption, the sweets of domestic comfort. I certainly shall
   avail myself of the earliest respite the service will enable me
   to pass in the island; and I think I may have that opportunity
   this winter; for if the war should be continued, there is no
   doubt that a promotion would give me, at least, six weeks
   interval from duty; at any rate, I see no reason for the future
   affording you anxiety, as whether there, or in England, I depend
   on our passing a considerable portion of the winter together. I
   hope Master Saumarez knows his alpha, beta, &c. by heart. When
   convenient to the young gentleman, I shall be glad that he will
   take the trouble to transcribe it for me to Omega, as I have no
   Greek grammar by me. I can readily believe the difficulty that
   attends fixing the little ladies to the French grammar, whose
   particularly quick and lively temper is not much suited to so
   tedious a process. I think, notwithstanding, it is the best
   method, especially as the same grammatical rules are adapted to
   any language, which they will find useful hereafter. Dancing, no
   doubt, has more attractions. I trust they have quite got rid of
   their colds: their papa has also had a very severe one, and kept
   his cabin for two days; but he is now perfectly recovered.

   September 18th. I admire N., with his comments on Colchester.
   When you next write, recommend him to try the Black Rocks in a
   thick fog, and no chance of letters from England: he will find
   even Norman Cross preferable. I, however, believe I have done
   with that anchorage for some time, as the wind is set in to the
   westward; and I shall now cruise to prevent vessels going into

   I am happy to say I am perfectly well. I trust my nerves will
   prove equal to the task; as I have before often told you, they
   generally strengthen with difficulties.

   I mean to make this cruise long enough to entitle me to a
   relief, therefore do not expect me in port as long as I can keep
   the sea.

Sir James immediately gave such orders and regulations as would best
guard against, or overcome, the difficulties inseparable from such a
service; and, with the prospect of a long winter before him, he sent
these regulations, and a list of the rendezvous appointed by him, to
the commander-in-chief, whose letter to Sir James, in answer, is
expressive of the high opinion he entertained of him.

   Ville de Paris, off Ushant, 15th Sept. 1800.


   Nothing can be more appropriate than the different rendezvous
   you have sent me a copy of; your change of position must
   fluctuate according to the sudden changes of the weather, which
   are to be looked for soon. I repose such unbounded confidence in
   your zeal and judgment that _I sleep as soundly as if I had the
   key of Brest in my possession_.

   Sir Richard Strachan and Captain Buller, in the Captain and
   Edgar, will relieve two of the ships which last joined you as
   soon as they return to this rendezvous, and the Canada will
   relieve the third. As I have applied for Captain Foley's leave
   of absence on very important private business, I wish the
   Elephant to be the first sent to me. I am, sir,

   Your most obedient humble servant,

   Sir James Saumarez.

It was supposed that the Brest fleet would take advantage of the
equinoctial gales, which were now approaching, and slip out as before,
when the in-shore squadron was blown off, or compelled to bear up for
Torbay; but Sir James had determined on frustrating their attempt. On
the 23rd a heavy gale came on, which, in former instances, would have
obliged the in-shore squadron to abandon the post; but, instead of
bearing up for Torbay when no longer able to maintain his position,
Sir James steered for Douvarnenez Bay, where he anchored with the
whole squadron, just out of range of the enemy's mortar batteries,
which soon tried their shells, but without effect.

Here his squadron struck top-masts and lower yards, and rode out all
the equinoctial gales, actually in the enemy's harbour, within a few
miles of their whole fleet of four times his force, and in perfect
safety! The gale had been very severe; and although Earl St. Vincent,
who was obliged to run with his fleet for Torbay, had no fears for the
safety of the in-shore squadron, relying as he did on the experience
and skill of Sir James, yet the Admiralty were in a considerable state
of alarm until the following account of his proceedings was received:

   Cæsar, Douvarnenez Bay, 26th Sept. 1800.


   On the supposition that the fleet may have been driven from
   their station by the late tempestuous weather, and as some
   anxiety may be excited for the safety of this squadron, I take
   the opportunity by the Marlborough to inform your lordship of my
   having anchored in this bay last Tuesday evening, with the ships
   under my command, where we have ridden the gale out in perfect
   safety, together with the Montague and Naiad, which ships
   anchored here on Wednesday.

   This is a most spacious bay, and may be considered safe
   anchorage in any weather: it lies about four leagues to the
   southward of Brest; from which port it is only separated about
   five miles by land, over a mountainous and hilly country. As the
   same winds that enable the enemy's fleet to put to sea, also
   lead out of this bay, we can always be in time for them; and
   this appears the most favourable position to prevent their
   coasting convoys coming from the southern ports. The enemy has
   endeavoured to annoy the squadron with shells, but at too great
   a distance to reach any of the ships, and the whole fleet may
   lie in perfect safety from any of the batteries.

   I purpose to remain here until the weather becomes more
   moderate, to enable me to resume the station off the Black
   Rocks. In the mean time, ships will occasionally be detached to
   watch the motions of the enemy in Brest Water. I have the honour
   to be, &c.


In answer to this, Sir James received the following letter from Earl
Spencer, then First Lord of the Admiralty.

   Admiralty, 30th Sept. 1800.


   I am much obliged to you for your letter of the 26th, dated from
   Douvarnenez Bay, and was much pleased to find that you had got
   hold of that anchorage, as I felt very uneasy at your absence
   during the late gales. I should rather doubt whether that bay
   could be capacious enough for a large fleet to anchor in without
   danger from the batteries; but I have always hoped that some of
   our small squadron might avail themselves of that resource on
   such an occasion as that which has presented itself to you; and
   I have no doubt that the doing so will much assist the
   occupation of our fleet off Brest.

   Believe me, dear sir,
   Your very faithful humble servant,

   To Sir James Saumarez.

Sir James, at the same time, wrote to Earl St. Vincent by the
Marlborough, giving his lordship an account of his proceedings, which
could not but be highly satisfactory.

   Cæsar, Douvarnenez Bay, 26th September 1800.


   The weather not having admitted the stores and provisions to be
   taken out of the Marlborough whilst under sail, I bore up for
   this anchorage with the squadron; and early Wednesday morning
   the boats were all employed in conveying the water and
   provisions to the squadron: but it having continued to blow
   excessively hard from that time, it was not until this morning
   we have been enabled to accomplish this service.

   The Montague and Naiad anchored in the bay Wednesday morning,
   and are now under sail. It has blown a very severe gale of wind
   at north-west the last two days, and we have saved considerable
   wear and tear to all the ships by having taken this anchorage in
   good time.

   I propose to remain here during the continuation of westerly
   winds, or until the weather enables me to resume the station off
   the Black Rocks; detaching ships occasionally to watch the
   enemy's motions.

   I have the honour to be Your lordship's most obedient and most
   humble servant,

   The Right Honourable the Earl of St. Vincent, &c. &c. &c.

The following is an extract of a letter which Sir James wrote to Lady
Saumarez, and sent by the same opportunity. It will be found to give
an accurate description of the important anchorage of which he was the
first who was so daring as to take advantage in stormy weather, with
the squadron under his command.

   Cæsar, Douvarnenez Bay, Sept. 24th, 1800.

   We anchored at eleven last night, and this morning found
   ourselves in one of the finest bays I have ever seen. It is far
   more spacious than Torbay, and much more enclosed; consequently
   more secure against all winds. It is the same distance from
   Brest by sea as Dartmouth is from Torbay; and by land the same
   as from Brixham, not being more than five miles across, over a
   hilly country; substituting the Bec de Chèvre for the Berry
   Head, and it exactly forms the counter part to Torbay. It
   abounds with the finest fish, of which we shall profit.

   As it is not possible for the ships to sail from Brest but with
   an easterly wind, which blows directly out of this bay, we can
   always be beforehand with them.

   25th.--It has continued to blow hard since we entered this bay,
   and it has now risen to a severe storm. I wish you knew how
   well sheltered we are in this famous anchorage. Captain
   Pierrepont has been with me since yesterday: he has been near
   fourteen weeks at sea, and, as you may suppose, very tired. I am
   better satisfied with my situation than since I have been in the
   Channel fleet, and find it far preferable to being attached to

   Monday, 29th Sept.

   I trust my letter by the Marlborough has reached you this
   morning, which will have set your mind at ease as to our safety
   after the gales we encountered last week. I wrote to you
   yesterday, but too hastily to express, as I wished, the
   happiness I derived from having just received your letters of
   the 15th and 19th. They had been too long and too anxiously
   looked for not to receive the most cordial and heartfelt
   welcome. I am in hourly expectation of seeing the fleet, the
   letters from the Earl acquainting me with his intention of
   putting to sea the moment the weather moderated. The Superb,
   with Centaur and Warrior, hove in sight this afternoon,--the
   only ships I have seen since last Tuesday, when I went into
   Douvarnenez Bay; and I have the satisfaction to reflect that,
   notwithstanding the tempestuous weather, this squadron has been
   enabled to keep its station, although all the other detachments
   have been driven from theirs. Now that your letter gives me
   reason to believe you entertain serious thoughts of going to
   Guernsey, like your father I lose my courage at the prospect of
   it. I sincerely wish I had never suggested the idea, which I was
   induced to do from the hope of the war being over, and that you
   would pass the winter more comfortably than in England during
   the dreary months. I am now become a very coward on the subject,
   and leave it to you to determine as you think best; at the same
   time assuring you that I shall endeavour to be reconciled to
   whatever plan is adopted which is most likely to conduce to your
   comfort. Your account of our dear girls gives me the most
   heartfelt satisfaction, and of the increasing strength of the
   sweet dove in particular, whom I truly long to behold,--a
   happiness I still hope to enjoy ere many weeks are elapsed. I
   shall expect a letter from the dear boy by the next opportunity
   from Plymouth.

The next letter to the Earl of St. Vincent gives an account of the
further proceedings of his squadron, and the situation of the enemy's
fleet in Brest, which proves how successful his endeavours had been in
preventing its meditated escape.

   Cæsar, off the Black Rocks, 28th September 1800.


   Soon after I despatched my letter by the Marlborough, dated from
   Douvarnenez Bay, the wind having shifted to the northward, I got
   under sail with the squadron; but in the evening it came to the
   south-west, with thick weather: I returned to the anchorage, as
   did Captain Knight, with the Montague and Naiad.

   It continued to blow very strong till yesterday noon, when the
   wind suddenly shifted to N. and N. by E. I immediately got under
   sail, and stood out of the bay; the Pompée leaving a
   bower-anchor, her cable having parted in endeavouring to weigh
   it. From the report of several signal-guns fired in Brest soon
   after the sudden change of wind, I have no doubt of the
   preparatory movements of the enemy to put to sea, had the wind
   continued favourable for them; and I carried a press of sail
   during the night, in order to be off St. Matthew's Point early
   this morning to watch their motions.

   I had a full view of the enemy's fleet, and counted twenty-two
   sail with their top-gallant-masts struck, but apparently ready
   for sea. Having made the signal to the Megæra to reconnoitre, I
   beg to refer your lordship to Captain Hill for a more particular
   report of their state and numbers.

   I have the honour to be, my lord,
   Your lordship's obedient and most humble servant,

   The Right Honourable the Earl of St. Vincent, &c. &c. &c.

   His Majesty's ship Montague, with the Naiad, and Suwarrow
   schooner, went through the bay yesterday evening.

   Ville de Paris, Torbay, 4th October, 1800.


   I have to acknowledge the receipt of your several letters of the
   25th, 26th, 28th ultimo, and 1st instant, detailing your
   proceedings with his Majesty's ships under your orders; the
   whole of which I very much approve, particularly the taking
   under your command Captains Sutton and King, with the ships and
   vessels attached to them: and you will herewith receive orders
   to their respective captains and commanders to put themselves
   under your command, and obey your orders for their future
   proceedings in the important duty of watching the combined

   I am, sir, your most obedient servant,

   Sir James Saumarez.

By this bold and unexpected step, (which the French have since
characterised as a piece of _impudence_,) Sir James completely
frustrated the meditated escape of the combined fleets, which were
now thirty-two in number, seven of which were three-deckers. He had,
moreover, the honour of being the first to defy the enemy in his own
anchorage, proving at the same time that it would not be so easy as
formerly to elude the vigilance of the advanced squadron.

The weather having moderated after the second return to Douvarnenez
Bay, the squadron resumed the anchorage near the Black Rocks, daily
reconnoitring the enemy, destroying several small vessels which
attempted to get in, and keeping under sail when the wind was
westerly. In continuation to Lady Saumarez he writes:

   Oct. 4th 1800.

   The anxiety inseparable from this cruise is very considerably
   alleviated from knowing the fleet is in port, which must prove
   of the greatest benefit both to officers and men, and to the
   service in general. I find the rumours of peace are vanished,
   and that war is determined upon. I trust events will be
   favourable to this country. There is no doubt the French are
   much distressed for provisions in the neighbourhood of Brest,
   and that discontent prevails among their troops, who are
   ill-paid, ill-fed, and badly clothed. It is horrid to see the
   leading men of all nations so infatuated for war, at a time
   peace is so much to be desired for the sake of humanity.

   Cæsar, Bay of Brest, 18th Oct.

   The delightful weather we have enjoyed this last week has
   enabled me to remain at anchor off the Black Rocks. They have
   lost their gloom from the serene atmosphere, but more
   particularly from having had such frequent tidings from you, as
   scarce a day has passed (I believe not one) without being joined
   by something from the fleet. Yesterday, the Earl sent me a
   message that he expected my flag to be hoisted in a very few
   days; and Troubridge writes to me the promotion was to extend to
   Sir Edward Pellew; and,--what think you!--that Lord St. Vincent
   has actually written for Captain Brenton to be appointed my
   flag-captain. His lordship, in his letter, tells me that Capt.
   Thornbrough is to remain in the Mars, and will relieve me here,
   if the measure he has proposed is acceded to: so you may
   perceive I have some grounds on which to form my hopes; but I do
   not wish _you_ to dwell too much upon it.

   21st.--I am now _solus_. Captain Brenton, who I mentioned had
   been staying with me, is gone to the Ville de Paris. I know no
   one I should prefer as captain under my flag. He is a steady,
   sensible, good officer, and of great experience, having served
   several years with admirals as a lieutenant. Captain Cook dined
   with me to-day on a _Black Rock_ dinner, viz. a fine piece of
   salmon and a nice little _cochon-de-lait_, with _entremêts_,
   removes, &c. The salmon was sent me with a basket of vegetables
   from Plymouth, I suspect from Captain Markham; the roaster was a
   present from Captain Hood, who, being under sail, could not dine
   with me. I mention these trifles because I know they please you.
   The boats occasionally go to the small islands and procure
   bullocks, &c.; and, as fast as the stock is purchased, they
   contrive to replenish it from the mainland,--a proof they are
   well satisfied with the price we pay for it, which is fixed by

   26th Oct.--After near a fortnight passed at what the Earl now
   calls the Elysian Lake (instead of Siberia), a westerly wind
   compelled me to get under sail yesterday afternoon; and it was
   fortunate that I did so, as it has blown a gale since that time.
   By the Megæra, which has joined me this evening, I find the
   fleet is to go to Torbay; and, from what Sir Thomas Troubridge
   writes, I conjecture the Earl intends to go on shore part of the
   winter.... While we remained at an anchor the boats of the
   squadron were occasionally detached in pursuit of the enemy's
   vessels. Last Monday they chased one close under the batteries
   at the entrance of Brest, which has afforded me an opportunity
   of making favourable mention of Mr. Lamborn and Mr. Wood, who
   were employed on that service. The Earl has desired me to send
   the latter to him to be promoted. The Canada, which was ordered
   to cover the boats, took possession of three Spaniards belonging
   to the Principe de Asturias, Don Gravina's flag-ship, who were
   fishing in a small boat. They are to be returned without being
   exchanged, agreeably to what I suggested, and I shall send in a
   flag of truce the first favourable weather. We were so
   comfortably anchored the last fortnight, and so agreeably
   employed, that it has nearly spoilt me for the remainder of the
   cruise. Of the promotion nothing further is said, and I have not
   heard when I am to be released. If I am kept out much longer,
   and have the duty of an admiral without my flag, I fear I shall
   grow _sulky_ and impatient. It is not improbable Captain Sutton
   may relieve me in the charge of this squadron, as I doubt Sir
   Edward Pellew being yet ready. I fear the second return of the
   fleet will have again set your heart palpitating, and caused you
   another disappointment at the Cæsar not being with it.

   October 30th.--Yesterday I received a very civil reply to the
   letter I wrote to Don Gravina, who wishes that I may live many
   thousand years. The French received the officer from the Canada
   who was entrusted with the flag of truce with great politeness.
   I sent Maingy from this ship as interpreter. They remained at
   Camaret till the following morning. You will not be displeased
   to hear that the Cæsar must go into port _from necessity_,
   having sprung her main-yard; but, if possible, I shall delay it
   three or four weeks longer, notwithstanding my _threat_ of
   losing patience. I shall depend on finding you at Dartmouth.

   Cæsar, Nov. 1st.

   I remain without any of your letters since the 20th, which I
   feel a grievous circumstance, particularly at this time, when I
   am left in doubt whether you are still at Dartmouth, or gone to
   Bath. This morning I experienced a severe disappointment. The
   Nile cutter, whose tardy approach for four hours was anxiously
   waited for, at last joined without any letters, having left
   Plymouth with sealed orders. We have such blessed weather at
   present that it is almost impious to be discontented; yet I
   cannot enjoy it while I remain so long without hearing from you.
   I accuse the Earl of indifference to the comfort of those whom
   it is incumbent on him to attend to. Since he has left this
   station there has been scarcely a day that the wind has not been
   favourable for vessels to join us. A fortnight or three weeks
   more and I hope my turn will come, when, if things do not meet
   my expectations, I shall be tempted to take leave of the good
   ship, and look out for a snug cottage to pass some time in the
   enjoyment of your society. I am serious, _je t'assure_. I
   understand Sir Hyde Parker is to command in the absence of the
   chief. _Cela ne me plait pas aucunement_; for, after having been
   employed upon this important and arduous service with
   acknowledged credit, I shall certainly very ill brook being
   hurried out of port in the usual manner to serve with him: I
   therefore _go on shore_ unless my views are complied with. I
   hope to-morrow to have letters from you to acknowledge the
   receipt of. At present I am much out of humour, and with too
   much cause to be easily reconciled on any other terms but of
   hearing from you.

   2nd.--Another disappointment this morning, having been joined by
   a lugger which we hoped had letters, but which proves to be from
   another quarter. I look for the Nimrod: if she joins us
   to-morrow I shall be satisfied. It has blown strong all day,
   with very thick weather. I hope for better success, but I still
   continue out of temper.

   3rd.--The Superb, which has been in sight since daylight, is at
   last joining. Imagine my impatience after a whole fortnight
   since the date of your last letter. Captain Sutton, who is now
   with me, has not brought a single letter. I send this by the
   Courageux, and have only time to say that the Edgar is hourly
   expected, and possibly we may be more fortunate. A ship is in
   sight: I hope it is her.

On the 9th of November the fleet experienced one of the severest gales
ever known, which did immense damage to the shipping; but, except the
loss of some storm-sails, the Cæsar sustained no injury; while several
of the others lost masts and yards, obliging them to return to port.
But Sir James kept his station; indeed, during the whole fifteen weeks
he had the command, not a vessel either sailed from, or entered, the
harbour of Brest.

At last, seeing their escape impossible, they began to dismantle the
ships; and Sir James received the following letter from Earl St.


   The Impetueux took in her guns this day, and Sir Edward Pellew
   will receive his orders to-morrow morning; and, if the wind
   favours his getting out of Hamoaze, he will be with you in the
   course of the week. You will receive by him orders to proceed to
   Spithead; but I shall be very glad to see you here _en route_,
   and I will inform Lady Saumarez by to-morrow's post of your
   probable approach.

   Lord Spencer has been fully impressed by me of the long and
   arduous service you have undergone, and seems well disposed to
   give you the respite so justly due to the cheerfulness with
   which you have conducted the most important employment of this
   war. I am not in the secret when the promotion is to take
   effect. Private letters from town and the newspapers are full of
   it, and I am morally certain it will be out soon; for one of the
   ninety-gun ships, commanded by an officer very near the head of
   the list of captains, is nominated for Sir Erasmus Gower's flag,
   which appears conclusive.

   Sir Hyde Parker has asked leave of absence; and, as the size of
   the fleet of observation is much reduced, I conceive it will be

   Yours, most truly,
   Torr Abbey, 2nd December, 1800.

   To Sir James Saumarez.

The following extract, which alludes to the preceding, was written by
Sir James to Lady Saumarez on the

   29th Dec.--The Earl informs me of his intention to write to you.
   I perceive he is resolved to become a favourite of yours by his
   attention. The order for the Cæsar to anchor in Torbay for
   twenty-four hours, on her way to Portsmouth, will not lessen his
   favour with you. After this, I suppose I cannot do less than
   invite you to take a passage in the ship with your two dear
   little companions; but it must be on condition that the weather
   is propitious to my views.

The station off the Black Rocks had hitherto been considered tenable
only by frigates during the winter; on which service three or four
were annually employed; but which, like the Channel fleet,
occasionally took refuge in Torbay. It had been, however, resolved
upon by Earl St. Vincent to form an advanced squadron of six sail of
the line; and Sir James, as we have before stated, was the officer
selected to proceed on this arduous and important undertaking. None
but professional men who have been in that anxious and perilous
service can have any idea of its difficulties. In such a situation the
commanding-officer must consider himself constantly in the scene of
action, surrounded by dangers of every description, exposed to the
violence of storms, and sailing amidst a multitude of rocks and
variable currents, in the longest and darkest nights, and often on a
lee-shore on the enemy's coast, while the whole of their fleet is
near, and ready to take advantage of any disaster, or change of wind
or circumstance that might arise in their favour.

It has already been shown that Sir James performed this duty to the
entire satisfaction of the noble Earl, and to the country. No storm
ever obliged him to leave his station, which has justly been
denominated _the post of honour_.

We cannot conclude this chapter with more satisfaction than by
subjoining the following interesting correspondence between Sir James
and Earl Spencer, which no longer need be characterised as "secret."

   _Secret and confidential._

   Cæsar off Ushant, 20th June 1800.

   At this time, when a proper example should be set to the seamen
   of his Majesty's fleet, and a due sense of religion and the
   practice of it kept up in the royal navy, permit me to suggest
   to your lordship the propriety of a strong recommendation from
   the Board of Admiralty to the commanders-in-chief on the
   different stations (more particularly the Channel fleet) that
   they will cause the public worship of Almighty God to be duly
   and regularly performed on board the ships under their command,
   and that nothing but the most pressing exigency shall prevent
   Divine service from being publicly read every Sunday on board
   the respective ships.

   It is from the too flagrant neglect of this most essential part
   of our duty that I have been impelled to write _in confidence_
   to your lordship on the subject, with the hope that proper means
   will be adopted to rectify it.

   We have signals to denote that the ship's companies will have
   time for dinner or breakfast; why should there not be one to
   signify that they will have time for the performance of Divine
   service? Were such a signal to be made from the ship of the
   commander-in-chief on Sunday morning, it would be generally
   followed by all the fleet, as they would then know the Admiral's
   intention to give time for that purpose.

   I trust that your lordship will do justice to the motives that
   have induced me to write on the present subject, which I have
   long had in contemplation, and which I have now decided upon
   from the apprehensions that seem to be entertained of
   disturbances among the seamen of this fleet, as I know nothing
   that will contribute more to keep them in the right line of
   their duty than a proper attention to religious principles, the
   example to which should be set them by their officers.

   I have the honour to be, with the greatest regard,
   Your lordship's most faithful
   and obedient humble servant,

   The Right Hon. Earl Spencer, &c. &c. &c.


   I have to acknowledge your letter of the 20th instant, and am
   much obliged to you for the hint contained in it. You must be
   aware how delicate a matter it is for me to interfere in a
   detail of this description. I shall not, however, fail to make
   such use of the suggestion as may appear to me to come within
   the bounds of propriety, and may very probably produce the
   desired effect.

   I trust that the present alarm, which has been excited by
   several circumstances of a suspicious nature, may prove
   groundless; and I feel very strongly that nothing can more
   probably contribute to make it so than every precaution being
   taken in time to prevent an evil, which experience has already
   proved to us, if suffered once to begin, is so very difficult to

   I am, dear sir,
   Your very obedient humble servant,
   Admiralty, June 1800.

The Cæsar arrived at Torbay on the 14th December, and on the 21st
reached Spithead, where she remained during the rest of the year



   Sir James Saumarez is promoted to the rank of
   Rear-admiral.--Appointed to command the advanced
   squadron.--Proceedings at the Black Rocks.--Douvarnenez
   Bay.--Returns to England.--Appointed to command a squadron on a
   very particular service.--His secret orders, &c. and letter of
   approbation.--Ready for sea.--Is created a Baronet of the United

On the 1st of January 1801, a promotion of flag-officers took place,
in order, it was said, to include the name of Sir James Saumarez; and
this flattering compliment was immediately followed by a further
honour, in his being ordered forthwith to hoist his flag on board his
old ship, the Cæsar; while Lieutenant Henryson, who was senior in that
ship, was promoted to the rank of commander. Sir James being ordered
to fit for the same service in which he had lately been so
successfully employed, Captain Jahleel Brenton, who had been
recommended by Earl St. Vincent, and who had been a volunteer during
the last cruise, was appointed to the Cæsar as his captain.

On the 6th of January the ship came out of harbour, and having
received her guns, and her stores and provisions for six months, the
flag of Rear-admiral Sir James Saumarez was hoisted on the 24th; and
on the 25th of February he sailed to resume the command of the
in-shore squadron off Brest, but joined the Channel fleet at Torbay on
the way thither. On the 7th March he arrived off the Black Rocks,
where he relieved Admiral Thornbrough, and soon afterwards
reconnoitred the harbour of Brest. On the 20th, the severe equinoctial
gale forced the squadron into Douvarnenez Bay, where the ships
anchored in eighteen fathoms, just out of reach of the enemy's shot.
Here they remained, as much at their ease in the enemy's harbour as
they would have been at Spithead, and were never molested. On the 25th
March, after two attempts to work out of the bay, the squadron resumed
their station at the Black Rocks.

The following is extracted from a letter from one of the officers of
the Cæsar, dated 26th March:

   Our advanced squadron of the Channel fleet, commanded by Sir
   James Saumarez, never quitted the French coast during the late
   stormy weather. We anchored during the late violent gales in
   Douvarnenez Bay, which is, in my opinion, one of the finest in
   the universe. It is sheltered from every wind but those from W.
   1/2 N. to W. 1/2 S.; and even that opening is protected by a
   reef of rocks. Although the height of the gale was in the worst
   direction it could have been, yet, having no very considerable
   sea, we rode it out remarkably well. We lay, much to the
   disappointment of the enemy, just out of gun-shot of the forts.
   They favoured us, however, with some shells. We found, upon our
   re-appearance off Brest, that six Spaniards had equiped
   themselves, in addition to six Frenchmen, probably with a design
   to attack us.

The Government having been relieved from their anxiety for the safety
of the in-shore squadron by a despatch from Sir James, Earl St.
Vincent, who was now First Lord of the Admiralty, wrote to him the
following letter of approbation:

     Admiralty, 1st April 1801.


     The manner in which you have conducted the advanced squadron
     calls upon me to repeat my admiration of it. Your taking the
     anchorage in Douvarnenez Bay during the late equinoctial gales
     has been of the utmost importance, and prevented the crippling
     of one or more of your squadron. I heartily hope you continue
     in good health, for which and every other blessing you have the
     fervent wishes of
     Your very sincere and obedient servant,

     To R.A. Sir James Saumarez.

During the whole of this month, Sir James kept his squadron generally
within three or four miles of the entrance of Brest, from which it was
never further than as many leagues. In this situation, and by
frequently reconnoitring in his own ship, he was enabled to watch the
preparations of the enemy, and to frustrate their designs to attack
his squadron with a superior force; while he so completely blockaded
their port that, as when he formerly commanded, no square-rigged
vessel ever entered it, thereby preventing the necessary supplies of
stores and provisions from reaching the depôt of their navy. Nor did a
single vessel escape the unwearied vigilance and perseverance of the
advanced squadron during the whole time it was under his command.

Early in May, letters reached him from Guernsey, intimating the great
apprehension his countrymen were under of invasion by the enemy; when
he wrote to Sir Thomas Troubridge, then one of the Lords of the
Admiralty, who sent the following answer:

   Admiralty, 17th May 1801.


   Many thanks for your kind letter of the 6th instant. I am sorry
   our _French friends_ do not come out, that you may teach them
   _English_. The Gazette[26] will show you that our soldiers are
   getting into the habits of fighting.

   We heard of the miscreants' intentions on the islands; and I
   have sent over several gun-brigs, gun-barges, frigates, sloops,
   &c. and a few additional troops. There are 5,000 regulars at
   Jersey, and some more going soon, so that I think they have
   little chance of success if they make the attempt; but it
   appears to me that the different powers cannot look on without
   interfering, and stopping the progress of the villains. In
   short, I hope to see them soon weighed down in a congress.

   Lord St. Vincent's cough is better, and the warm weather will
   re-establish him. I beg you to give my best compliments to
   Brenton. Believe me

   Yours most faithfully,

   To Sir James Saumarez.

   [26] Battle of Alexandria.

Thus released from the painful anxiety for the safety of the Channel
islands, where so many of his dearest connexions resided, he wrote the
following letter to his brother, Sir Thomas Saumarez, who was at that
time in command of the local force in Guernsey:

   Cæsar, off Ushant, 30th May 1801.

   I have received your kind letter of the 17th, and am happy to
   hear that a considerable force has been sent for the protection
   of Guernsey and the other islands. They cannot be too well taken
   care of, when we consider the infinite mischief they would do to
   Great Britain, should they fall into the enemy's hands.

   I am in daily expectation of being relieved by Admiral
   Thornbrough, after a fourteen weeks' cruise, which is rather a
   longer period than the Earl intended when I sailed from
   Spithead. Brenton is everything that can be desired. I have
   found in him a most excellent officer and a most agreeable

It appears by his journal, that on the following day he received the
welcome orders which put an end to his long and harassing cruise; also
a private letter of importance from Earl Spencer: and, being relieved
by Admiral Thornbrough on the 1st of June, he arrived on the 2nd at
Cawsand Bay. Having reported the return of the Cæsar, he received in
answer the following letters from Earl St. Vincent and Mr. Nepean:

   MY DEAR SIR, Admiralty, 4th June 1801.

   I am glad the Cæsar is in Cawsand Bay, because you will be the
   sooner informed of his Majesty's most gracious intentions
   towards you, in which I have greater pleasure than I can
   express, as you are to be placed at the head of a detached
   squadron destined for a very important service, at no great
   distance from home. I hope the Cæsar will not be long in fitting

   Yours most truly,

   To Rear-admiral Sir James Saumarez.

   Admiralty Office, 4th June 1801.


   I have received, and communicated to my Lords Commissioners of
   the Admiralty, your letter to me of the 2nd instant, acquainting
   me, for their lordships' information, of your arrival in H.M.S.
   Cæsar, in Cawsand Bay, in pursuance of orders from Admiral
   Cornwallis, a copy of which you have enclosed: and I have their
   lordships' commands to signify their directions to you to use
   every exertion in completing the stores and provisions of the
   said ship, as also of the Spencer; and, having so done, remain
   with the said ships in Cawsand Bay, in constant readiness to
   proceed on service, when you shall receive their lordships'
   orders for that purpose.

   I am, sir, your obedient servant,

   To Rear-admiral Sir James Saumarez.

The following is the reply to Earl St. Vincent's letter of the 4th
June, dated

   Cæsar, Cawsand Bay, 6th June.


   Previously to receiving the honour of your lordship's letter, I
   had been informed by Earl Spencer of his Majesty's gracious
   intentions; and I beg to express my sincere acknowledgments for
   the part your lordship has taken in obtaining for me this mark
   of the royal favour.

   I am much flattered by the communication your lordship has the
   goodness to make of having nominated me for the command of a
   squadron to be employed on a very particular service; and I beg
   your lordship will be assured of my most zealous exertions for
   the promotion of every part of it. I have the honour to be, &c.

   To the Right Hon. Earl St. Vincent, &c.

On the 7th of June, Sir James received the following communication
from the Lords of the Admiralty, which could not fail to afford him
the highest gratification.

   Most secret.

   By the Commissioners for executing the office of Lord High
   Admiral of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, &c.

   Whereas we have received information that a squadron consisting
   of five Spanish ships of the line, which lately sailed from
   Ferrol, have arrived at Cadiz; and that great exertions are now
   making at the last-mentioned place for the equipment of a
   further naval force, for the purpose (it is alleged) of an
   attack upon Portugal; we send you herewith copies of the several
   letters containing the information mentioned: and do hereby
   direct you, on the arrival of the Hannibal, Audacious, and
   Thames, at Plymouth, to take them under your command, (their
   captains being directed to follow your orders,) as also the
   Spencer, and either the Juste, Pompée, or Courageux, now in
   Cawsand Bay, whichever may first be ready, and proceed with them
   and the Cæsar, with as little delay as possible, off Cadiz,
   where you may expect to be joined by the Venerable and Superb,
   which ships you are also to take under your command; and use
   your best endeavours to prevent the enemy's ships at that port
   from putting to sea, or to take or destroy them should they sail
   from thence.

   In the event of the enemy's squadron getting out of Cadiz
   undiscovered, either before or after your arrival off that
   place, you are to follow it, according to any well-grounded
   intelligence you may be able to obtain of it; but you are not to
   proceed in quest of it to any distant station, unless you should
   receive such information as shall leave no doubt of the
   certainty of the enemy's destination. If you should not be able
   to obtain any information of the enemy's squadron so as to
   enable you to follow it, you are in that case to repair with the
   ships under your command off the Straits, and send into Tangier
   and Gibraltar, and, finding that it has proceeded up the
   Mediterranean, to follow it; but, not gaining any intelligence
   of it, you are to resume your station off Cadiz, and remain
   there until you shall receive some information whereby your
   proceedings may be regulated.

   And whereas it has been represented to us that three Portuguese
   ships of the line are now fitting out in the Tagus for the
   purpose of joining you and serving under your orders, you are,
   on the arrival of the said ships, to take them under your
   command, and employ them in such manner as you may judge most
   advisable in carrying these, or any other orders you may receive
   from us or from Admiral Lord Keith, (under whose command you are
   to consider yourself,) into execution. And whereas we have
   directed Admiral Sir Thomas Pasley to order one of the hired
   brigs, and either a cutter or lugger, to follow your orders; you
   are to take the commanders of these vessels under your command,
   and, on your repairing to your station, you are to send one of
   them into the Tagus for the purpose of apprizing his Majesty's
   minister there of your situation, and for obtaining from him
   such intelligence as he may have to give you.

   Whilst you remain on this service, you are to send occasionally
   to Lisbon for intelligence, and to keep a good look-out for any
   French squadron which may attempt either to join the Spanish
   ships at Cadiz, or to pass through the Straits; and to use your
   best endeavours to intercept, and to take or destroy it, if the
   force you may have with you should be sufficient to enable you
   to do so; taking care to avoid it in time, if the enemy's force
   should be so superior to that under your command as to render it
   improper for you to attack it; in which case it is left to your
   discretion to act as circumstances shall require: using,
   however, every possible exertion to join the commander-in-chief
   of his Majesty's ships in the Mediterranean, or to fall in with
   the same detachment of his Majesty's ships; and, so soon as you
   shall have collected such a force as may be sufficient to enable
   you to attack the enemy's squadron, you are to proceed in quest
   of it, and, upon falling in with it, to bring it to action.

   In case you should get sight of a French squadron, or should
   obtain certain information that such squadron has passed the
   Straits, you are no longer to attend to the Spanish ships in
   Cadiz, but to consider the capture or destruction of the French
   squadron as the principal object to which your exertions are to
   be directed; and, in the event of your following any squadron
   into the Mediterranean, you are to send an account thereof to
   our secretary, as well as to Admiral Lord Keith, with as little
   delay as possible; and you are also to transmit to him and the
   said admiral, by every proper opportunity that may offer,
   accounts of your proceedings, and of every information you may
   be able to obtain of the movements and intentions of the enemy.

   Given under our hands, 6th day of June 1801.

   To Sir James Saumarez, Bart.
   Rear-admiral of the Blue,
   By command of their Lordships,

The following is the copy of information transmitted to Sir James with
the above letter:

   No. 1.

   Dated Lisbon, 15th May 1801.


   It appears, from the report of an American captain arrived here
   from Bilboa, that a French corps had passed within a few miles
   of that place, on their way to Vittoria, on the 21st and 22nd
   ultimo. It consisted in the whole of 7,000 infantry and 2,000
   cavalry, well armed and mounted; and had reached their place of
   encampment, supposed to be Burgos, according to the accounts
   which had arrived at Bilboa, on the 30th day, when the vessel
   sailed. It appeared evident that no other troops had passed the
   frontier at that time, though it was uniformly reported that a
   body of no less than 22,000 men were collected at Bayonne.

   The Spanish army on the south side of the Tagus, between Badajos
   and Alcantara, amounts to 21,000 men; of which 10,000 are
   encamped at Badajos, 8,000 at Albuquerque, and the remainder
   between Vincenti and Alcantara. The Prince of Peace was daily
   expected at head-quarters. His aides-de-camp were already
   arrived, and a train of 700 mules had been collected for the
   conveyance of his baggage. The French detachment was destined to
   join the army of Castile, which I already mentioned to your
   lordship has returned from its movements towards the northern
   provinces, and taken a position to the southward of Ciudad
   Rodrigo. Its numbers and distribution are not so accurately
   known, but it is stated to be equal to the army of Estremadura,
   with the addition of the French auxiliaries.

   I have the honour to be, &c.

   To Lord Hawkesbury.
   J.M. FRERE.

   No. 2.


   By intelligence which arrived from Cadiz, in date of the second
   of this month, it appears that there were in that port five
   Spanish ships of the line, which had pushed out from Ferrol,
   conformably to the report which I mentioned to your lordship in
   my last despatch. There was at the same time (in Cadiz) an
   additional force of eight or ten sail preparing for sea; four of
   them of the line, and the remainder frigates. This equipment was
   however retarded by the want of naval stores, particularly
   sailcloth and cables, which was occasioned by the late fire
   which has taken place in the arsenal, as well as by the total
   want of money, which was such that many of the officers were
   actually reduced to subsist on charity.

   The informant, whose authority may be depended on, adds that a
   squadron from Brest was expected to join them. It was supposed
   that the whole armament would be directed against Portugal; and
   this supposition was not weakened by a report which was given
   out industriously that the object of the intended expedition was
   to make a landing on the coast of Barbary, in order to force the
   Emperor of Morocco to shut his ports against the English. The
   ships from Ferrol have the French and Spanish colours united in
   the same flag. It was understood that the ships now arming in
   Cadiz were to be commanded by French officers. They were
   victualled only for a very short voyage.

   Respecting the danger to which this capital would be exposed by
   a _coup-de-main_, which might be attempted in spite of the
   batteries at the entrance of the river, as well as the
   possibility of effecting a landing a few miles off Cascaes, your
   lordship has at hand the means of information so much superior
   to any which I could presume to offer, or collect from
   professional persons here, that I shall only presume to solicit
   your lordship's attention to the consideration of this subject,
   and to the necessity which may arise out of it, for employing a
   naval force upon this station. Don Rodrigo has informed me that
   the three Portuguese ships of the line, which I mentioned to
   your lordship as preparing for service, will be ready within
   three weeks to form a junction with any force which his Majesty
   might be pleased to detach, for the defence of Portugal; and
   that two more would be prepared to follow them within a short
   time after.

   It appears by a letter from Viana, that the master of an English
   vessel, who had been captured on the 10th ultimo by Le Telegraph
   privateer, and carried into Corunna on the 23rd, had found there
   two large French frigates, which had arrived immediately before
   him in eight days from Cherbourg, laden with some ammunition,
   and destined (as they reported) for Cadiz. The master of Le
   Telegraph had avoided putting into any of his own ports from the
   apprehension of being detained, as it was reported that other
   privateers had been stopped, and stripped of their men, on
   account of a secret expedition which was fitting out in the
   French ports.

   I have the honour to be, &c.
   J.H. FRERE.

   The Right Honourable Lord Hawkesbury, &c. &c. &c.

   No. 3.

   Intelligence arrived from General O'Hara, at Gibraltar.

   Arrived by land the crew of the Fortune privateer, consisting of
   twelve men. They report that last Saturday, between three and
   four P.M. they saw two three-deckers and three seventy-fours
   arrive at Cadiz from Ferrol; that the Santissima Trinidad,
   another Spanish three-decker, is completed and ready in that
   harbour; and that they are fitting out five other line-of-battle
   ships at Cadiz, which have their lower-masts in; that, in order
   to man the said ships, they are detaining all the crews of the
   French privateers; that those eleven ships are to be commanded
   by French officers; and they say the five ships in the Caraccas
   will soon be ready,--that they observed a number of seamen
   rigging them.--Gibraltar, 29th April 1801.

     List of the armament fitting out at Cadiz.


     Santissima Trinidada  140
     Atlante                80
     Ferrivel               80
     San Antonio            80
     Suberano               80
     San Justo              74
     San Januario           80
     Intrepido              80
     Firme                  80

   The above ships are commanded by French officers, and probably,
   therefore, are those which are alluded to as having been ceded
   to France.

                        Guns                          Guns
   A. Real de St. Carlos 120  Bergantina St. Andre      24
   St. Hermenegildo      120  Balandra Aglina           14
   St. Fernando          120  St. Nicalao               14
   St. Agustino           80  4 gun-boats           [27] 2 }
   St. Izidoro            80  20 built by the inhabitants  }
   Argonauta              80     of Cadiz                1 }
   Fragata Sabina         44  18 gun-boats               1
   Fragata Perula         40  4 burlates

   [27] 24-pounders each.

   Cæsar, Cawsand Bay, 9th June 1801.

   I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of their lordships'
   secret orders, dated 6th instant; and, in compliance therewith,
   I have directed Captain Stirling, of his Majesty's ship Pompée,
   to put himself under my command.

   Be pleased to inform their lordships that Admiral Sir Thomas
   Pasley has acquainted me that there is no hired armed brig at
   this port except the Louisa, and has placed the Joseph, hired
   cutter, only under my orders.

   I am, sir,
   Your most obedient servant,

   To Evan Nepean, Esq. &c. &c. &c.

We need scarcely add that every possible exertion was made on the part
of the admiral, the captains, officers, and crews of the respective
ships, to get the squadron ready for sea; and in eight days the
equipment was completed.

Before we record a circumstance which, in rewarding the merits of the
new commander-in-chief, afforded great and universal satisfaction to
the royal navy, we take occasion to introduce a correspondence, which,
in order to avoid interruption of the narrative, has been omitted, and
which will now be found more interesting.

   Royal George, between Ushant and the Black Rocks,
   26th July 1800.


   I need not describe to your lordship the merit of Sir James
   Saumarez, which cannot be surpassed. In a conversation I
   accidentally had with him last evening, I learned that his
   ambition had been much disappointed in not being created a
   baronet; and he thought I was wanting, in not pointing to this
   object in the letter I had the honour to write your lordship by
   him, after the battle of the Nile, where he was second in
   command; and he also conceives that your lordship led him to
   hope this mark of approbation of his services would have been
   conferred upon him. May I therefore trespass upon your
   indulgence, to request you will bring it about, if possible, as
   nothing can gratify me more, than that officers, who have
   signalised themselves under my auspices, should be amply

   Yours, most faithfully,

   To the Right Hon. Earl Spencer.

A copy of the preceding having been sent by Earl St. Vincent to Sir
James, produced the following answer:--


   Permit me to express my sincere acknowledgments for the very
   handsome letter you have done me the favour to write on a
   certain subject to Lord Spencer. Whether it meets with the
   expected success, or otherwise, I shall ever feel grateful for
   your obliging intentions towards me: at the same time, I am
   persuaded your lordship must coincide with my feelings, when I
   observe that the boon now pointed out was no more than the
   services I had the good fortune to be employed upon, gave me
   reason to expect long before this.

   That health, and every possible success may ever attend your
   lordship, is the fervent wish of

   My dear lord,
   Your much obliged,
   and faithful humble servant,

   Cæsar, 29th July 1800.

On the 13th of June, his Majesty, having taken into consideration the
meritorious services of Sir James Saumarez, was pleased to create him
a Baronet of the United Kingdom; and, as an additional mark of the
royal favour, permission was granted under the King's sign manual to
wear the supporters to the arms of his family (which had been
registered in the Heralds' office since the reign of Charles the
Second); a privilege to which no commoner is entitled without a
dispensation from the Crown. Of these honours Sir James was informed
by Earl St. Vincent, at that time First Lord of the Admiralty, at the
moment the Cæsar and squadron were about to proceed on one of the most
interesting, and, as it turned out, one of the most glorious
expeditions that ever left the shores of Great Britain.



   Sir James sails from England in command of a squadron of six
   sail of the line on a particular service.--Arrives off
   Cadiz.--Attacks a French squadron at Algeziras.--Captain
   Brenton's account of the battle.--Loss of the Hannibal.--Colonel
   Connolly's statements.--Logs of the Cæsar and ships of the
   squadron.--Sir James proceeds to Gibraltar.--Remarks.--Flag of
   truce sent to Algeziras.--Correspondence with Linois.--Squadron
   refit at Gibraltar.

On the 16th June the signal was made to unmoor; and soon after, for
the squadron to weigh. The wind being fair, the ships quickly cleared
the English Channel, and crossed the Bay of Biscay. Cape Finisterre
was reached on the 22nd; on the 26th the squadron hove to off the
Tagus, and sent letters on shore at Lisbon. The detachment was now
joined by the Phaeton, Captain Morris, and proceeded off Cadiz, where
it arrived on the 28th June: to announce this, the following letter
was written to Admiral Lord Keith, who had then the chief command on
the Mediterranean station:

   Cæsar, off Cadiz, 26th June 1801.


   I have the honour to inform your lordship of my arrival off
   Cadiz with the ships named on the margin[28] under my orders;
   having sailed from Cawsand Bay on the 16th instant. On the 26th
   I was joined, off Lisbon, by the Phaeton, Captain Morris, from
   whom I received the enclosed state of the enemy's ships at
   Cadiz.[29] The Venerable and Superb have both joined the
   squadron; and I have taken these ships under my orders,
   agreeably to my instructions from my Lords Commissioners of the

   I shall take the earliest opportunity of transmitting to your
   lordship a copy of those instructions; but having at present no
   other vessel than the Plymouth, hired lugger, I cannot part with
   her further than to Gibraltar.

   I have the honour to be,
   Your lordship's most obedient humble servant,

   Right Honourable Lord Keith, K.B. &c.

   [28] Cæsar, Pompée, Spencer, Hannibal, Audacious, Thames,
   Phaeton, and Plymouth, hired lugger.

   [29] See list already given.

The squadron continued to cruise off Cadiz, and frequently to
reconnoitre the harbour; while the Superb was stationed off Lagos as a
look-out ship to westward, and the Thames in the Straits of Gibraltar
to the eastward.

Nothing of importance occurred until the 5th, when intelligence was
received as to the situation of a French squadron. Sir James
accordingly despatched the Plymouth lugger with the following letters
to the Secretary of the Admiralty, and to Mr. Frere, the English
ambassador at Lisbon:

   Cæsar, off Cadiz, 5th July 1801.

   In my letter of the 29th ultimo, I acquainted you, for the
   information of my Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty, of my
   arrival before Cadiz with the squadron under my orders, and of
   my having been joined by the Venerable and Superb.

   You will please to inform their lordships, that, early this
   morning, a despatch-boat joined me from Gibraltar, with
   intelligence that three French line-of-battle ships and a
   frigate were seen, on the 1st instant, endeavouring to pass the
   Straits from the eastward; and the Plymouth lugger has since
   joined me, whose commander informs me that they anchored
   yesterday off Algeziras. As from the different accounts I form
   great hopes of being able to attack them with success, I am
   proceeding to the eastward, and I hope to reach the bay early
   to-morrow morning. The ships in Cadiz are getting in forwardness
   to put to sea. Eight appeared this morning with top-gallant
   yards across and sails bent, and four others with their
   top-masts rigged. I have directed the commander of the Plymouth,
   hired lugger, after having landed this letter at Faro, to cruise
   off Cape St. Mary's to apprise any of his Majesty's ships of my
   rendezvous, giving them such further information as he may be
   possessed of.

   I am, sir, your most obedient servant,
   Evan Nepean, Esq. &c. &c. &c. Admiralty.

   Cæsar, off Cadiz, 5th July 1801.


   I have the honour to acquaint you with my having this instant
   received information, by an express from Gibraltar, that three
   sail of French line-of-battle ships and a frigate had anchored
   yesterday in Algeziras Bay, after being three days in
   endeavouring to pass the Straits from the eastward. They are
   supposed to be destined for Cadiz. I am proceeding off
   Gibraltar, in hopes it may be practicable to attack them, or
   prevent the junction of their other ships, from whom they are
   said to be separated. I request you will please to forward the
   letters I take the liberty to enclose herewith. I have the
   honour to be, sir,

   Your most obedient humble servant,

   Governor O'Hara writes that he is without intelligence from
   Egypt since the repulse of the French, the 21st March.

   His Excellency J.H. Frere, Esq. &c. &c. &c. Lisbon.

It now becomes our duty to give a particular account of the defensive
means of the French Admiral. The road of Algeziras, six miles distant
from Gibraltar, is open to the eastward. It is shallow, with sunken
rocks in several parts. The town is nearly in the centre, at the
bottom of the Bay; about a third of a mile from which there is a tower
standing on a point, and off this point is Isla Verda, whereon is a
battery of seven long 24-pounders. About a mile to the southward of
this battery is Fort Santa Garcia. The English ships had to pass these
fortifications before they could reach the French line. The northward
of the town was no less protected, having at the distance of about
two-thirds of a mile the fort of San Jago, mounting five long
18-pounders, besides the tower Almirante. By referring to the
diagrams, it will be manifest that the road is admirably protected by
these fortifications, while those at a greater distance to the
northward would be of some service in throwing shells, and in
preventing the ships from working up to the attack. There were also
fourteen large gun-boats, whose positions, as shown, were such as to
form a serious opposition to an approaching enemy in light and
variable winds.

Before we proceed to a description of the attack on the enemy's
well-protected squadron, we must intreat the reader to pause, while we
call his attention to the circumstance of the British ships, led by
the gallant Hood, slowly and silently approaching the batteries of an
enemy, strongly reinforced, perfectly prepared to receive them, and
knowing well that they could not suffer any injury from the ships,
while every shot from their cannon must tell. Silence, undoubtedly
derives importance from the circumstances under which it is observed,
and we cannot well refer to an instance where silence could have had a
more solemn and impressive character than that which must have been
observed on this occasion, until broken by the roar of the enemy's
destructive engines.

Captain (now Admiral Sir Jahleel) Brenton, who was flag-captain of the
Cæsar, has kindly transmitted the following particular and authentic
account of all that took place on that eventful day, which afforded
the enemy a short-lived triumph. We shall make no apology for giving
it in his own words:

   On Sunday, the 5th July 1801, a despatch-boat was seen in the
   S.E., and at two P.M. came alongside the Cæsar, with
   intelligence of a French squadron having anchored in Algeziras
   Bay, consisting of three sail of the line and a frigate.[30] The
   Admiral immediately decided on attacking them; and ordered the
   Thames frigate to proceed off St. Lucar to recall the Superb,
   and make sail with the Pompée, Hannibal, Spencer, Audacious, and
   Venerable, for the entrance of the Straits of Gibraltar; making
   the signal to prepare for action, and for anchoring by the

     [30] Le Formidable, 84. Dessaix, 84. Indomptable, 74: and
     Meuron, 38.

   The day was beautiful, with a light air from the westward. At
   eleven o'clock the ship's company was, as usual, assembled for
   the purpose of Divine service. The appearance of this
   congregation, under the peculiar circumstances in which they
   were placed,--proceeding, as they all knew they were, to engage
   in battle with the enemy, with the probability that many had but
   a few remaining hours to live,--was solemn and deeply
   impressive. The crew were all dressed in white, as is customary
   in warm climates; and being arranged according to their
   respective divisions on the quarter-deck, with the band and the
   marines on the poop, and the Admiral and the officers under the
   poop awning, an effect was produced highly animating, solemn,
   and appropriate; while the meek, devotional countenance of the
   well-tried Admiral indicated that he derived his confidence and
   support from its only true source.

   Our chaplain, the Rev. Mr. Holliday, gave an excellent
   discourse, appropriate to the occasion; and it cannot be doubted
   but the impressions it made on that eventful day were deep and
   affecting, however temporary.

   I had of course much communication with the Admiral during the
   course of this day and the ensuing night. He was, as usual,
   calm, cheerful, and collected; foreseeing, and endeavouring to
   provide for, whatever might be required during the struggle
   which we were anticipating. He was quite aware of the
   difficulties we had to encounter, and fully determined to
   overcome them if possible.[31]

     [31] The following memorandum was communicated to the squadron
     before bearing up for Gibraltar Bay:


     Cæsar, 5th July 1801.

     If the Rear-admiral finds the enemy's ships in a situation to be
     attacked, the following is the order in which it is to be

     The Venerable to lead into the bay, and pass the enemy's ships
     without anchoring;

     The Pompée to anchor abreast of the inner ship of the enemy's

       The Audacious, }
        "  Cæsar,     }  to anchor abreast of the enemy's ships
        "  Spencer,   }     and batteries;
        "  Hannibal,  }

                      {  to keep under sail, and annoy the enemy's
        "  Superb,    {     batteries and gun-boats during the attack
        "  Thames,    {     assisted by the Plymouth lugger.

     The boats of the different ships to be lowered down and armed,
     in readiness to act where required.

     Given on board the Cæsar, off Tariffa,
     5th July 1801.

   To the respective Captains.

   At daylight we were off Tariffa, with light airs from the
   westward, which at seven freshened to a strong breeze, and
   enabled the Venerable to open the Bay of Algeziras, in which the
   French squadron were discovered at anchor. On the Venerable
   making the signal that she could weather the enemy, the Admiral
   made another to take stations for mutual support. The Pompée,
   Venerable, and Audacious were soon at an anchor, and at
   thirty-five minutes after eight began the action with the enemy.
   The Cæsar at nine o'clock opened her fire, and at fifteen
   minutes past nine came to an anchor ahead of the Venerable. The
   Spencer and Hannibal passed under our lee, nearly becalmed, and
   anchored without the Cæsar, firing, as the smoke subsided,
   through the openings between our ships at the enemy.

   About ten o'clock the fire of the French ships appeared to
   slacken so much that I ventured to suggest to the Admiral that a
   flag of truce might be sent in, with a notice to the Spaniards
   that if the British squadron were permitted to take away the
   French ships without any further molestation from the batteries,
   the town would be respected, and no further injury done to it.

   The Admiral expressed his readiness to do this; but considered
   the advantage we had gained, as yet, not sufficiently decisive
   to justify such a measure. And his judgment was but too correct.
   The decrease of the fire from the French ships arose from their
   being occupied in warping close in-shore; and, shortly after
   this period, the Pompée having broken her sheer, lost her
   commanding position relative to the French Admiral, whom she had
   been raking with great effect, and now became raked in her turn.
   At twenty minutes after ten, the boats of the squadron were sent
   to her assistance, and, having cut her cables, she was towed out
   of her exposed situation.

   At thirty-five minutes after ten, the Admiral, observing how
   much the enemy had increased their distance from us by warping
   in-shore, ordered our cables to be cut, and sail to be made upon
   the ships, in the hope of being able to close with them. He also
   sent me on board the Spencer, with orders to Captain Darby to
   weigh, and work up to the enemy. The Hannibal, having already
   received these orders, was in the act of obeying them, and soon
   after opened her fire upon the French Admiral; but in the
   gallant endeavour to get between the Formidable and the shore,
   and not being aware of the French Admiral's change of position
   by warping in, Captain Ferris unfortunately ran his ship
   aground, abreast of the battery of St. Jago, and under the
   raking fire of the Formidable. In this helpless state he
   continued to engage the enemy until, to use the French Admiral's
   words, his decks were _jonché de morts_. He had seventy-three
   killed and sixty-four wounded,--a very unusual proportion, as,
   in general, the wounded trebles the number of the killed; but
   this may be accounted for by the Hannibal being so near that the
   enemy's shot passed through her sides without making any
   splinters, to which the greater number of wounds are

   From the time the Cæsar cut her cable, she and the Audacious
   were constantly engaged with the Indomptable, Meuron, and island
   batteries, and occasionally with the Dessaix, as they could
   bring their guns-to bear; but the perpetual flaws of wind
   rendered this very difficult, and exposed them frequently to a
   severe and raking fire from the enemy. The Admiral made the
   signal for the marines to be prepared to land on the island;
   but, as the boats were all employed in assisting the Pompée and
   Hannibal, this was rendered impracticable. At length, finding
   every effort fruitless to close with the enemy, the Admiral was
   under the necessity of withdrawing his ships from this unequal
   contest with winds and batteries; but it was not until all hope
   had vanished of saving the Hannibal that he left her in
   possession of the enemy.

The accompanying diagram shows first, the position of the hostile
squadrons at the moment the Spencer, and Venerable, and Cæsar, had
anchored; secondly, their position when the action ceased, and when
the Hannibal was in possession of the enemy.

   The action of Algeziras was certainly obstinately fought, and
   gallantly contested on both sides. It is true that the French
   had little to do but to attend to their guns, being either at an
   anchor in their strong position, or warping towards the shore.
   In this operation the Spaniards had the hardest duty, being
   employed in their boats in carrying out hawsers, and even in
   heaving them in. Success seemed certain to the British squadron
   till the Pompée broke her sheer; after that, it was one
   continued but unavailing struggle to recover the ground we had
   lost by this misfortune: and we retreated to Gibraltar when all
   hope was at an end, the Admiral justly considering the
   importance of repairing the damages already sustained, and of
   preserving the lives of his gallant crew, which would be
   uselessly sacrificed by a continuance of a hopeless contest.

   Never did I contemplate more real greatness of mind than was
   displayed on this occasion by our heroic chief. The calmness and
   cheerfulness with which he met and sustained the sad reverses of
   this most trying day, were objects worthy of remark and
   admiration. Whilst going into the Bay of Algeziras, he desired
   me to look over my signal-book, and to mark such signals as
   might be likely to be called for. He had already done the same,
   and when, during the heat of the action, any of the flags were
   destroyed, or the halliards shot away, I was astonished at the
   readiness with which he ordered one signal to be substituted for
   another, according as the signification might answer the
   purpose, without any reference to the book.

   On reaching our anchorage off the Mole of Gibraltar, after
   giving the necessary orders for the disposal and refitting of
   his squadron, he returned to his cabin with a deep sense of the
   responsibility he had incurred; but supported by the unqualified
   conviction that every exertion had been made to obtain success,
   and that the disappointment resulted from circumstances over
   which he had no control.

   The action terminated, as appears by the log, at thirty-five
   minutes after one; and the squadron proceeded to Gibraltar. As
   soon as the ship was secured, the Admiral sent me on shore to
   the governor, to relate to him the events of the two preceding
   days. I found him sitting in his balcony, which commanded a view
   of the Bay and Algeziras, evidently deeply affected by the
   unlooked-for termination of an attack upon the French squadron,
   and anxiously reflecting on the probable results.

   On my return on board, the Admiral had retired to his cot; and I
   had no means of communicating with him until next morning. I
   could then, however, perceive that under all the severity of
   disappointment he experienced from our failure, and the loss of
   the Hannibal, he felt that no honour had been lost; that every
   effort had been made to obtain success; and that he derived
   comfort from the sanguine hopes he entertained that an
   opportunity might present itself in which he should be able to
   retrieve the loss.

   He ordered me to take a flag of truce and wait upon the French
   Admiral, and propose an exchange of prisoners; which M. Linois
   refused, alleging that it was not in his power to establish a
   cartel for the purpose until he obtained the sanction of the
   Minister of the Marine at Paris, to whom he had sent off an
   express as soon as the firing had ceased on the preceding day;
   but he consented to send over the officers on parole. The object
   of the French Admiral was very obvious. He concluded we wanted
   the men to replace those that had been killed and wounded; but
   he thought, justly, that sending over officers on parole would
   be a harmless act of courtesy, from which we could reap no
   immediate benefit. It will be seen that, subsequently to the
   second action, (only six days after the first,) when his
   despatches from Algeziras had scarcely reached Paris, he did not
   wait for an answer from the Minister of the Marine: but
   circumstances had altered. We had taken a line-of-battle ship,
   and burned two first-rates; and he now wished to get as many of
   the crew back as possible.

We shall now transcribe the Rear-admiral's official account of the
battle: this affords additional particulars, and proves that every
step had been taken to insure success; which, but from circumstances
that often blight the fairest prospects, would have had a very
different result. We shall venture to add, that, had the gallant
Admiral hesitated to make the attempt, he would have rendered himself
obnoxious to animadversions, not only from all the squadron under his
command, but from every one on the Rock of Gibraltar who witnessed the
enemy's squadron of inferior force setting, as it were, that of Sir
James at defiance; while it would have afforded the French and
Spaniards a just, or, at least a plausible subject of exultation. But
Sir James, with that decision of character and coolness, when in the
presence of an enemy, for which he was always remarkable, did not
hesitate one moment on the attack, which was made with consummate
skill, and maintained with a perseverance never surpassed.

   Cæsar, Gibraltar, 6th July 1801.


   I have to request you will be pleased to inform my Lords
   Commissioners of the Admiralty that, conformable to my letter of
   yesterday's date, I stood through the Straits, with his
   Majesty's squadron under my orders, with the intention of
   attacking three French line-of-battle ships and a frigate that I
   was informed were at anchor off Algeziras. On opening Cabrita
   Point, I found the ships lay at a considerable distance from the
   enemy's batteries; and having a leading wind up to them, every
   reasonable hope of success in the attack was afforded.

   I had previously directed Captain Hood in the Venerable, from
   his experience and knowledge of the anchorage, to lead the
   squadron, which he executed with his accustomed gallantry; and,
   although it was not intended he should anchor, he found himself
   under the necessity of so doing, from the wind failing,--a
   circumstance so much to be apprehended in this country, and to
   which I have to attribute the want of success in this
   well-intended enterprise. Captain Stirling anchored, conformably
   to the enclosed order of attack, opposite to the inner ship of
   the enemy, and brought the Pompée to action in the most
   spirited and gallant manner; an example which was followed by
   the commanders of every ship in the squadron.

   Captains Darby and Ferris, owing to light winds, were prevented
   for a considerable time from coming into action. At length, the
   Hannibal getting a breeze, Captain Ferris had the most
   favourable prospect of being alongside one of the enemy's ships,
   when the Hannibal unfortunately took the ground; and I am
   extremely concerned to acquaint their lordships that, after
   having made every possible effort with this ship and the
   Audacious to rescue her from the enemy, I was under the
   necessity to make sail, being at the time only three cables'
   length from one of the enemy's batteries.

   My thanks are particularly due to all the captains and men under
   my orders; and, although their endeavours have not been crowned
   with success, I trust the thousands of spectators from his
   Majesty's garrison, and also the surrounding coast, will do
   justice to their valour and intrepidity, which were not to be
   checked by the fire from the numerous batteries (however
   formidable) that surrounded Algeziras.

   I feel it incumbent upon me to state to their lordships the
   great merits of Captain Brenton of the Cæsar, whose cool
   judgment and intrepid conduct, I will venture to pronounce, were
   never surpassed. I also beg leave to recommend to their
   lordships' notice my flag-lieutenant, Mr. Philip Dumaresq, who
   has served with me from the commencement of this war, and is a
   most deserving officer. Mr. Lamborn and the other lieutenants
   are also entitled to great praise; as well as Captain Maxwell of
   the Marines, and the other officers of his corps serving on
   board the Cæsar.

   The enemy's ships consisted of two of eighty-four guns and one
   of seventy-four, with a large frigate: two of the former are
   aground, and the whole are rendered totally unserviceable.

   His Majesty's ships have suffered considerably in their masts
   and rigging; but I hope will soon be refitted, and in readiness
   to proceed on service.

   Inclosed is the return of the killed and wounded from the
   different ships of the squadron. Amongst other valuable men I
   have most sincerely to lament the loss of Mr. William Grave,
   master of the Cæsar. I cannot close this letter without
   rendering the most ample justice to the great bravery of Captain
   Ferris: the loss in his ship must have been very considerable
   both in officers and men; but I have the satisfaction to be
   informed that his Majesty has not lost so valuable an officer.

   The Honourable Captain Dundas, of his Majesty's sloop the Calpe,
   made his vessel as useful as possible, and kept up a spirited
   fire on one of the enemy's batteries. I have also to express my
   approbation of Lieutenant Janvrin, commander of the gun-boats;
   who, having joined me with intelligence, served as volunteer on
   board the Cæsar.

   I am,
   Your most obedient servant,

   To Evan Nepean, Esq. &c. &c. &c.

On the return of the squadron to the Mole of Gibraltar, the following
public order was issued by the Admiral.

   Cæsar, in Rosia Bay, 6th July 1801.

   Rear-admiral Sir James Saumarez desires to express in the
   strongest terms the high sense he entertains of the gallantry
   and valiant conduct of all the captains, officers, and men
   belonging to the squadron under his orders, in the attack made
   this day on the enemy's ships and batteries; and, although the
   result has not proved so successful as his expectations had
   framed, he trusts that the glory they have acquired on this
   occasion will ever be acknowledged by their country.


   To the respective Captains.

The following addition to Sir James's despatch gives the account of
the capture of the Hannibal, from Captain Ferris, then a prisoner at

   Cæsar, Gibraltar, 9th july 1801.


   I herewith enclose a letter from Captain Ferris of his Majesty's
   late ship Hannibal, which I request you will please to lay
   before their lordships; and I have only to express my deep
   regret that his well-meant endeavours to bring his ship to close
   action should have occasioned so severe a loss. I have the
   honour to be, sir,

   Your most obedient servant,
   Evan Nepean, Esq. Admiralty.

   Algeziras Bay, 7th July 1801.


   I have little more to tell you of the fate of his Majesty's ship
   Hannibal than yourself must have observed; only, that from the
   number of batteries, and ships' gun-boats, &c. we had to
   encounter, our guns soon got knocked up; and I found it was
   impossible to do anything, either for the preservation of the
   ship, or for the good of the service. Our boats, sails, rigging,
   and springs being all shot away, and having so many killed and
   wounded, as will appear by the annexed list, I thought it
   prudent to strike, and thereby preserve the lives of the brave
   men that remained.

   Had I been successful in the view before me previously to the
   ship taking the ground, my praises of the conduct of my officers
   and ship's company could not have exceeded their merits; but I
   have, notwithstanding, the satisfaction to say, that every order
   was obeyed and carried into execution with that promptitude and
   alacrity becoming British officers and seamen.

   I am, sir,
   Your most obedient humble servant,

   To Rear-admiral Sir James Saumarez.

It has now become necessary that we should notice a controversy which
has taken place between the authors of the different naval histories
on the subject of the Battle of Algeziras; and we have been led to
make minute inquiries, first, into the cause of the discrepancies of
the different accounts; and, secondly, into the truth, which we have
been the better able to do from our personal knowledge and recent
communication with some of the officers of the Hannibal and Cæsar, on
whose veracity we can depend. We are happy to add that the result of
our inquiries has been satisfactory, and, we trust, will completely
clear up and reconcile the facts, while it will leave no reflection of
a dubious character on the conduct of the heroic commander of the

It appears that no difference of opinion arose on this subject until
the court-martial of Captain Ferris, which took place on the 1st
September 1801, at Portsmouth, Rear-admiral Holloway president; when,
as usual on trials for the loss of a ship, Captain Ferris read his
narrative, which he begins thus:

"In giving a detail of the circumstances which led to the loss of his
Majesty's late ship Hannibal, I am sorry that, owing to my clerk being
killed, whose remarks were lost,[32] I cannot be so particular as to
the exact times of signals being made as I otherwise should have been;
but I shall state them to you to the best of my recollection."

   [32] The captain's clerk is stationed in action to take minutes
   of the events as they occur.

After this admission, is it not surprising that the controversy should
be mainly founded on the time at which the Hannibal struck her
colours? Captain Ferris says, "about two o'clock;" while by the log of
the Cæsar the action had entirely ceased at thirty-five minutes past
one. It may be asked, why did not the court, which must have seen the
discrepancy between his narrative and the public and other documents
before it, inquire into the truth by requiring the evidence of the
officers and crew, none of whom were examined as to the time the ship
struck: but the duty of the court being confined to the trial of
Captain Ferris, his officers and crew, and it being (whether
supported or not) evident and notorious that they had defended their
ship to the last extremity, they had (unluckily for Sir James) nothing
to do but to pronounce an honourable acquittal.

The next contradiction which appears, relates to the boats which were
sent to the assistance of the Hannibal. Captain Ferris says, "The
Admiral, having previously made my signal of recall, sent a boat from
the Cæsar, and another from the Venerable, to my assistance; but,
finding they could afford me none, I sent the Venerable's boat back,
and the crew of the Cæsar in one of my own cutters, their pinnace
having been sunk by a shot alongside."

I am bound to say that this assertion is not borne out either by the
testimony of those who were in the boats of the Cæsar and the
Venerable, or by the officers of the Hannibal; because, as will be
seen hereafter, these boats never reached the Hannibal, when aground,
until after she had struck her colours.

Captain Ferris next relates that "About twelve o'clock our ships were
all out of gun-shot of the enemy, and we had the fire of the whole
French squadron, batteries, and gun-boats, to contend with alone;
against which we continued to keep up as brisk a fire as could be
expected, even by men in the most sanguine anticipation of victory,
until near two o'clock."

Now this is quite impossible, as, by the log of every ship, the
squadron was engaging much later: by the Cæsar, until 1h. 35m.; by the
Audacious, until 1h. 20m.; by the Venerable, until 1h. 30m. &c.;
before which, the ensign of the Hannibal was seen, from every ship,
_Union down_.

It has been unwarrantably alleged by some that the Hannibal hauled the
ensign down, and then hoisted it reversed, as a signal of distress,
and afterwards, when she struck, hauled it down; and that the French
hoisted it union down to decoy the Calpe. But, for the refutation of
these absurdities, we must refer the reader to the testimony of
Colonel Connolly, who was then acting captain of the marines, an
officer of the highest character, whose veracity cannot be questioned;
and who, moreover, from being the only officer on the poop when the
colours were struck, had a better opportunity of knowing the facts
than any other. The following are the questions which we put to
Colonel Connolly, with his answers, given verbatim:

   Did the enemy take possession of the Hannibal before the colours
   were hoisted union down?

   The colours were hauled down by Captain Ferris's orders, and
   remained so; but, being so near the Formidable, the captain of
   her was on board of us in two minutes after we had struck, and
   the colours were hoisted _union downwards_ by the Frenchmen.[33]

     [33] When the French happen to take one of our men-of-war,
     they do not, as we would do, hoist their own colours over
     their opponents', but hoist the English ensign union
     downwards. It so seldom happened that an English man-of-war
     was taken by the French, that this circumstance was known to
     very few in the navy, and consequently, the ensign reversed
     was known only as the signal of distress used by

   Were the colours hoisted union down by the enemy; or, at any
   time, by Captain Ferris's orders?

   By the enemy.

   Did the boats come _before_ or _after_ the colours were hoisted
   union downwards, to render her assistance?

   The boats from our ships did not get near us till after we were
   in possession of the enemy; and I called to an old shipmate of
   mine in the Venerable's barge, and told him so, as he came under
   the starboard quarter; but he persisted in coming on board, and
   was taken.

   What boats were taken; and what boats escaped?

   A good many were taken. The Venerable's barge and her first
   lieutenant; and another lieutenant, in the Cæsar's boat, of some
   ship lying at Gibraltar; beside the mids. I am not aware indeed
   that any escaped.

   What French officer took possession of the Hannibal?

   I am not quite certain whether it was the captain of the
   Formidable or the Dessaix; they were both very close to us:
   however, he was a very little fellow.

   To what prison were you taken?

   The ship's company were divided into two prisons, which appeared
   to have been stables. There was no water in one of them, and the
   distress of our poor fellows, on that account, was truly
   shocking: often, when they would give money to the people
   outside to bring them some to drink, they would walk off with
   it, and never bring the water.

On this occasion Colonel Connolly recognised a French officer who had
been a short time previously a prisoner on board the Warrior, to whom
he had been particularly civil, supplying him with linen, &c.; and who
left the ship with protestations of his desire to make every return in
his power, if the "fortune of war" should give him an opportunity: but
when he claimed the performance of his promise, his reply was,
"Monsieur de Connolly, I very sorry for your misfortune; but I wish
you good morning!" and left him with a sarcastic sneer.

It is evident, from this testimony, that the colours were only struck
once, and hoisted once union down, and only hoisted union down by the
Frenchmen; and that the boats of the Cæsar and Venerable were only
once on board the Hannibal after she was aground; namely, when their
crews were taken prisoners. But both these boats were actually sent to
her assistance at a previous period, when the Hannibal was directed by
the Admiral to endeavour to obtain a position to rake the Formidable;
and it was then that they were sent back. Captain Brenton first
received the report of the Hannibal having her colours union downwards
between twelve and one, while the Cæsar was engaging the island
battery, and the Dessaix and the Muiron.

The Cæsar's boat was sent with others to the assistance of the
Hannibal, according to the log, at seventeen minutes past one, and
must have reached her certainly before the action ceased, and found
her in the hands of the enemy, as described by Colonel Connolly.

It is absurd to suppose that, while actually engaging the enemy,
Captain Ferris would haul down his colours, to hoist them as a signal
of distress, when he had other ensigns to hoist, and when there was a
signal in the book, "In distress, and in want of immediate
assistance:" this is a circumstance which, I will venture to assert,
never occurred in any naval action.

Captain Brenton, being decidedly of the same opinion, adds, "I can
only say, when it was reported to me, _while in action_, that the
Hannibal's colours were reversed, I considered her to be in possession
of the enemy: that the Admiral took the same view of the subject, I
have not the least doubt; and I think nothing would have induced him
to abandon the Hannibal while she was engaged. I will further add,
that I never remember the slightest doubt being expressed of the
Hannibal having struck before the action terminated, until I read the
narrative of Captain Ferris, at his court-martial, some time

The moment these champions of "liberté, égalité, et la mort," entered
the Hannibal, plunder was the order of the day; and, in their furious
haste to get at the officers' trunks, they cruelly trod over the
wounded in the cockpit and cable-tiers. Colonel Connolly relates that
in a few minutes one of them had taken his new cocked-hat, and
appeared on deck with it. He himself had given up seeking his desk,
which contained a considerable sum of money besides valuable papers,
because he could not get at it without creeping over the wounded; but
the French, not so particular, soon found it.

We shall now give the extracts of the various logs to which we have
had access. These have never yet been published, and we trust they
will set the matter at rest. It is some satisfaction indeed, that all
authors agree in declaring that nothing more could have been done, and
that the honour of the British flag was to the last gloriously
maintained on the 6th of July 1801.

Extract of the Cæsar's log in the Battle of Algeziras, 5th July:

   Winds S.W. and variable. At 12h. 30m. P.M. up mainsail and in
   royals; at 2h. made the signal for the squadron to prepare for
   battle, and, anchoring, bent the sheet cable through the
   larboard gun-room port to the sheet anchor; at 4h. set
   steering-sails,--fresh breezes and fair; at 8h. moderate
   breezes,--Cape Moulinau E.N.E. seven or eight miles; at 12h.
   (midnight), light airs inclinable to calm,--squadron in company,
   Venerable S.S.E. one mile. At 12h. 30m. (6th), in
   steering-sails, and at 12h. 40m. lowered down the yawl; at 3h.
   45m. a breeze sprung up,--made the signal for attention; at 4h.
   5m. beat to quarters,--Cabrita Point, S.E. by E. three or four
   leagues,--made the Pompée's signal to close; at 5h. set
   top-gallant steering-sails, and at 6h. the fore-top-mast
   steering-sail; at 7h. 45m. made the Venerable's signal to haul
   the wind,--took in the starboard steering-sails; at 8h. in
   steering-sails; at 8h. 5m. in top-gallant sails,--made the
   signal for being at liberty to engage the enemy in passing; at
   8h. do. to take stations for mutual support; at 8h. 25m. set
   top-gallant sails,--the enemy's ships opened their fire,--saw
   the Venerable break round off,--Cæsar fired at a Spanish battery
   in passing; at 8h. 35m. the action commenced with the Pompée,
   Venerable, and Audacious; at 8h. 45m. made the signal for the
   ships astern to make more sail; at 9h. light breezes, and
   variable,--opened our fire, and the engagement became general;
   at 9h. 15m. passed the Venerable, and came to with the
   sheet-anchor in nine fathoms,--the sheet-cable became
   _taut_,--let go the best bower to steady the ship,--Spencer and
   Hannibal passed under our lee,--hailed them to get the boats
   ahead, and tow into action,--light airs; at 9h. 35m. the Spencer
   opened her fire; at 9h. 40m. the Hannibal, do.--our spanker-boom
   shot away; at 10h. 20m. sent boats to the Pompée and Hannibal;
   at 10h. 26m. made the Hannibal's signal to tack,--saw the Pompée
   had broke her sheer, apparently by a flaw of wind, and was raked
   by the French Admiral; at 10h. 30m. made the Pompée's signal to
   cut or slip; at 10h. 35m., a breeze springing up from the N.W.,
   cut our cable, wore, and made sail, engaging the enemy's ships
   while passing them; at 10h. 50m. the Hannibal opened her fire on
   the French Admiral; at 10h. 52m. made the signal for the
   squadron to come to,--the wind on the starboard tack; at 11h.
   5m. made the signal for the boats to tow the Pompée,--Cæsar
   engaging the southernmost ships,--Audacious, ditto,--Cæsar
   opened her fire on the island battery,--Audacious and Cæsar
   becalmed near the island reef,--boats employed towing the ship's
   head round; afternoon,--light winds and variable
   weather,--engaging the enemy; at 12h. 33m. made the signal for
   the Hannibal being aground,--employed engaging the southernmost
   ship; at 1h. 17m. Audacious wore,--made the signal for
   armed-boats to proceed as denoted; at 1h. 35m. the action
   ceased,--found the main-mast shot through in five places, (and
   other damage which need not be mentioned,) nine men killed,
   twenty-five wounded, and seven missing; at 5h. came-to at
   Gibraltar, with the small bower employed warping alongside of
   the sheer hulk.

The Venerable's log, which we have examined at the depôt at Deptford,
and which is signed by Captain Hood, fully corroborates the above,
with the addition,--"At 12h. 40m. sent the first lieutenant in the
pinnace to assist the Hannibal;" and this officer (Lieutenant Collis)
in his own journal mentions the same fact. When he arrived at the
Hannibal, she was in possession of the enemy; and he was taken
prisoner, with his boat's crew, by persisting to go on board after he
was warned by Lieutenant (now Colonel) Connolly, of the Marines. He
says it was in consequence of the ensign being reversed that the boats
were sent; and, before any of the boats reached her, she was in
possession of the French, who hoisted the colours union downwards
themselves, and that they never were hoisted in that manner at any
other time.

These facts are also corroborated by the logs and journals of the
Audacious and Spencer, which will be given in the next chapter. Every
ship, indeed, mentions the impossibility of affording any assistance
to the Hannibal, and that the signal was not made to leave off action
until her situation was utterly hopeless.

The nature of the well-protected road of Algeziras being fully
manifest in the diagram facing the 346th page, it is unnecessary to
point out the difficulties the squadron had to contend with from the
five strong batteries, which were served with much effect by the
French artillerymen. The numerous gun-boats stationed at Algeziras for
the annoyance of our commerce, were from their constant practice in
that kind of warfare, of themselves a most formidable enemy; besides,
the assistance they afforded in warping their ships in-shore, and
placing them in such a position as to enable the different batteries
to support them. But the failure of the attack must be mainly
attributed to the unsteadiness and faintness of the wind, which
enabled none of the squadron to obtain the position it wished; that
is, in-shore of the enemy: while, by falling calm at a moment the most
disadvantageous, it left the ships exposed to the enemy's fire without
the possibility of returning it.

The loss sustained by each ship was severe. The Cæsar had her master,
Mr. William Grave, six seamen, and two marines, killed; her boatswain,
G.W. Forster, seventeen seamen, one boy, and six marines, wounded;
besides the capture of Lieutenant Janvarin, a volunteer, Mr. Richard
Best, and seven seamen, who were taken by boarding the Hannibal when
in possession of the enemy. Her masts, particularly the main-mast, and
yards, were very much injured; her boats were all cut to pieces,
besides that taken at the Hannibal; and there were many shots in her
hull. The Pompée had Mr. P. Roxborough, master, Mr. Stewart,
midshipman, ten seamen, and three marines killed; Lieutenants
Cheesman, Stapleton, and Innes, Messrs. Currie, Hillier, and Hibbert,
fifty-three seamen, and ten marines, wounded. She was so completely
damaged in masts, rigging, and sails, that all hope of refitting her
as promptly as the rest was at an end. The Spencer had Mr. Spencer, a
midshipman, and five seamen, killed; Mr. Chatterton, midshipman,
twenty-three seamen, and three marines wounded. She was damaged
chiefly in her rigging and sails, which were soon repaired. The
Venerable had Mr. W. Gibbons, midshipman, and eight seamen, killed;
Messrs. Austin and Collins, midshipmen, twenty seamen, and four
marines, wounded; and eight missing. The Hannibal had seventy-five
killed, among whom were Mr. D. Lindsay, clerk, and Lieut. James
Williams, R.M.; and seventy wounded and missing. The Audacious had
eight killed; Lieut. Day, of the Marines, thirty-one seamen and
marines, wounded. The total loss of the squadron being one hundred
and twenty-three killed, two hundred and forty-two wounded, and
twenty-two missing.

The loss of the French and Spaniards, by their own accounts, was
considerable; the former having three hundred and six killed,--among
whom were Captains Moncousu, of the Dessaix, seventy-four, and
Lalonde, of the Indomptable, eighty-four,--and near five hundred
wounded; five gun-boats were sunk, and others damaged; and the forts,
in which eleven men were killed, received considerable injury. The
ships suffered a good deal in hull, masts, and rigging; but not so
much as was anticipated.

The French, as might be expected, from their usual disregard to truth,
made this out one of the most brilliant exploits ever performed. Their
account stated that three French ships had completely beaten six
English, which took refuge in Gibraltar after leaving the Hannibal in
their possession, &c.; saying nothing of the heavy batteries and
gun-boats they had to contend with. But the Spaniards, in the Madrid
Gazette extraordinary, represented the "action as very obstinate and
bloody on both sides; and likewise on the part of the batteries, which
decided the fate of the day:" and in another place, "the fire of our
batteries was so hot and well supported that the enemy suffered most
from them; and particularly it is to the St. Jago we owe the capture
of the English ship, for her bold manoeuvre of attempting to pass
between the French Rear-admiral's ship, the Formidable, and the shore,
made her take the ground; and, notwithstanding the utmost exertions to
get her afloat, it was found impossible to move her. Then the fire
from the battery very soon dismasted her, and compelled her to

   [34] James, vol. iii. p. 120.

The diagram, besides pointing out the situations of the five strong
batteries, which so completely protect the harbour, and which did the
greatest execution, shows the first position of the ships about the
time they all anchored, and before the enemy's ships had warped near
the shore. The second, represented by the outlines, shows the
situation of the hostile squadrons at the time the Hannibal struck,
when the Pompée had nearly reached the Mole, the distance of which
from Algeziras is little more than four miles, and the Spencer was
considerably advanced in that direction.

We cannot conclude our account of this action without a few remarks on
the circumstances we have related. There cannot be a doubt that, had
the enemy remained in the position he held at the commencement of the
action, every ship would have been taken. Praise is certainly due to
Admiral Linois for his able manoeuvre of warping his ships aground,
being the only chance he had of escaping; while it was acknowledging
that, as long as his ships were continued afloat, he had no confidence
in protection from the batteries, strong as they were, against the
valour and perseverance of British seamen.

Although the attack was not crowned with the success it merited, in a
national point of view the result was as complete as if the whole
squadron had been destroyed, as the enemy were thereby prevented from
proceeding further in the execution of the ulterior object of their
expedition; and the chance of this alone was sufficient to justify Sir
James in this bold and daring attempt, which, it will be seen,
ultimately led to one of the most glorious achievements which adorn
the annals of the empire.[35]

   [35] The discrepancies between the diagram and _some_ of the
   statements given in the logs, are easily accounted for by the
   changes which took place in the positions of the ships during
   the action.



   Observations on the Battle of Algeziras.--Copies of the Journals
   of the Spencer, Audacious, and Venerable.--Remarks on
   them.--Further particulars.--The Spanish account.--The French
   account.--Bulletin from the Moniteur.--Anecdote of an occurrence
   at St. Malo.--Sword presented to Linois.--Lines on the
   occasion.--His improvement of Naval tactics.--Epigram.--Anecdote
   of the intrepidity of one of the Cæsar's men.

It has been mentioned in the preceding chapter that, owing chiefly to
the minutes of Captain Ferris's court-martial, and to the
discrepancies in different statements, a controversy has arisen on the
subject. In order to avoid the possibility of our becoming a party
thereto, correct copies of the logs, which are now at the Record
Office in the Admiralty, are subjoined, after having been compared
with those at Somerset House.

   Copy of the Log of his Majesty's ship Spencer, 6th July 1801.

   Moderate and cloudy,--spoke his Majesty's ship Cæsar, which
   informed us of having intelligence of three sail of French
   line-of-battle ships and a frigate being in Algeziras
   Bay,--answered the signal to prepare for battle at
   anchor,--employed clearing ship for battle at anchor; at 6h.
   Apes hill S.E.; at half-past 6 beat the general to
   quarters,--ship clear for action; A.M. light airs and variable;
   at 4h. sprung up a breeze from the westward; at 7h. 58m. saw
   three French sail-of-the-line and one frigate, lying under the
   protection of the Spanish batteries of Algeziras, and a strong
   fortified island to the southward, and a number of forts and
   redoubts to the westward of them.

   At 8h. 17m. the batteries commenced firing on the Venerable,
   Pompée, and Audacious,--Venerable commenced firing; at 9h. 11m.
   we commenced firing; at 9h. 35m. found the sheet-cable cut
   through by the enemy's shot; at 9h. 48m. anchored between the
   Cæsar and the Hannibal, Audacious astern, the Pompée on our
   larboard bow, having a battery and the French Admiral's ship to
   oppose us on our larboard beam, a battery and gun-boats ahead;
   at 10h. 33m. dismasted and disabled a gun-boat that was rowing
   to the assistance of the others; at 10h. 39m. cut the cable per
   Admiral's order whilst wearing,--the gun-boats attempted to
   approach us from under the land, but the brisk fire that was
   kept up made them retreat in great disorder; at 11h. 3m.
   answered the signal to come to the wind on the larboard tack
   (No. 98); at 11h. 7m. commenced firing at the outer ships of the
   enemy, which was kept up at intervals.

   At 11h. 37m. observed the Hannibal under the batteries at the
   north end of the town, with her main-top-mast shot away and
   aground, but keeping up a brisk fire on the enemy's ships and
   batteries; P.M. Hannibal still on shore, but keeping up a brisk
   fire at the enemy's ships and batteries; at 1h. 16m. observed
   the Hannibal to slacken her fire, shortly after the ensign
   hauled down and hoisted union downwards; at 1h. 35m. observed
   the enemy's boats boarding the Hannibal; at 1h. 44m. ceased
   firing,--found the ship had suffered considerably in her hull,
   having several shots on both sides between wind and water. Our
   loss in the action was six killed, twenty-seven badly wounded,
   two of whom died of their wounds. The fore-mast, bowsprit,
   main-top-mast, main-top-gallant yard, and main-top-sail yard
   badly wounded; the boats and booms shot through in several
   places; the cutter and yawl that were towing astern were sunk by
   the enemy. At 6h. 30m. anchored per signal, and moored ship in
   Rosia Bay, Gibraltar.

The following is a correct copy of the Audacious's log, at Somerset

This log, like the former, begins in the evening of the 5th July 1801.

   Wind S.W. P.M. moderate and hazy; half-past 2 tacked,--Cape
   Trafalgar S.E. three or four leagues,--got springs on the
   anchors; at 8h. standing up the Gut of Gibraltar,--Admiral S. by
   W. three-quarters of a mile; at 12h. taken aback, came to the
   wind on the land-tack; at 6h. Gibraltar Rock N. by E. four or
   five leagues,--shortened sail to let the Pompée go ahead to her
   station; at half-past 7, saw the enemy's ships at anchor in
   Algeziras Roads, consisting of three line-of-battle ships, a
   frigate, gun-boats, &c.; three-quarters past 7, the batteries
   commenced firing on our ships as they passed; twenty minutes
   past 8, the enemy's ships began to fire on our ships; at
   half-past 8, the action became hot on both sides,--the
   Venerable, Pompée, and Audacious as yet only in action; at
   half-past 9, the Cæsar, Spencer, and Hannibal joined the action
   against the ships and batteries; at 11h. cut the cables, and
   tried to tow the ship's head round to the eastward, to bring
   the ship's broadside to bear on her opponent, but without
   effect; by this time the sails and rigging being much cut up,
   and the ship unmanageable, got the kedge anchor with a five-inch
   hawser out on the starboard bow, and succeeded in bringing the
   broadside to bear; at noon, light airs inclining to
   calm,--Cæsar, Spencer, under way, still in action.

   P.M. dark weather; at forty-five minutes past 12, the Venerable
   and Pompée hauled to the wind on the starboard tack; at 1h. cut
   the sheet-cable, and slipped the end of the kedge hawser, and
   spring on the sheet-anchor,--got the boats ahead to tow,--found
   the ship drifting under the island fort, which did us
   considerable injury,--the rocks close under the lee-bow,--cut
   away the best bower-anchor to check her head, and bring her
   broadside to bear, it being calm; at twenty minutes past 1, a
   light breeze sprung up off-shore,--cut away the best
   bower-cable, and made sail on the starboard tack,--observed the
   Hannibal on shore, and the enemy take possession of her; at 4h.
   anchored in Rosia Bay, Gibraltar.

The next is the journal of Captain Hood of the Venerable.

   6th July 1801.

   Monday, 6th July, wind variable off Algeziras,--Gibraltar Bay,
   light breezes, and variable,--the captain went on board the
   Cæsar,--all sail set,--squadron in company,--the captain
   returned,--got the sheet-cable through the stern-port, and bent
   it to the anchor,--got springs on the sheet and bower-anchors;
   at 2h. Captain Hood went on board the Admiral; at 3h.
   returned,--received a midshipman and seven men per the Plymouth
   lugger, and from the Boladore, Spanish lugger; at 4h. Cape
   Trafalgar, N.E. seven or eight miles,--all sail set,--made and
   shortened sail occasionally for the squadron, and tacked
   occasionally,--A.M. do. weather; at 4h. made more sail; at 7h.
   discovered the enemy, consisting of three two-decked ships and a
   frigate, with an Admiral's flag flying, at anchor under the town
   and batteries of Algeziras, protected by many gun-boats,
   &c.--all sail set, standing in for the enemy, followed by the
   Pompée, Audacious, Cæsar, Spencer, and Hannibal; at 7h. 50m. the
   batteries opened their fire on us,--Pompée and Audacious one
   mile and a half distant from us astern.

   At 8h. it fell calm; at 8h. 20m. the Pompée and Audacious,
   bringing up the breeze, passed us to windward, when the enemy's
   ships opened their fire on us; at 8h. 14m. a light air sprung
   up,--passed the Audacious to leeward, at which time the Pompée
   and Audacious opened their fire; at 8h. 20m. the breeze dying
   away, came to with the sheet-anchor, as did the Pompée and
   Audacious,--hove in the spring; and at 8h. 30m. opened our fire
   on the French Admiral's ship: at 10h. the Cæsar anchored on our
   bow, and sent a spring on board of us; at the same time the
   action became general, and the Hannibal got on shore, after
   attempting to cut off the French Admiral's ship.

   At 10h. 20m. the Pompée drifted between us and the French
   Admiral's,--hove in our spring, and brought our guns to bear on
   the other enemy's ship on our bow, and the other's stern: at
   12h. the Pompée drifted between our fire and the enemy's,--slipt
   the sheet-cable, and eight-inch hawser, the spring, with the
   intention of getting alongside the enemy's southernmost
   ship,--light air springing up at the time from the N.E.; in
   awaiting this opportunity, the mizen-top-mast, fore-braces, and
   jibb halyards, with various other standing and running rigging,
   shot away, and main-mast badly wounded: at 11h. 15m. breeze
   dying away prevented our intention,--opened our fire on the
   southernmost ship; at 12h. calm and hazy,--Cæsar, Hannibal,
   Audacious, Spencer, and us still firing on the enemy's ships,
   batteries, and gun-boats,--boats of the squadron towing off the
   Pompée to Gibraltar; P.M. calm,--still firing on the enemy's
   ships, which were warping farther in-shore.

   At 12h. 40m. sent Lieutenant Collis in the pinnace to assist the
   Hannibal; at 1h. 40m. finding it impossible to near the enemy's
   ships with safety, it being calm, and a strong current setting
   in-shore, their batteries firing red-hot shot and throwing
   shells, ceased the action as per signal, as did the other ships,
   and steered for Gibraltar,--observed the Hannibal ceased firing,
   and hoist the colours reversed, having her fore and mainmasts
   shot away, and being in ten foot water, rendered all assistance

   24 Nov. 1801.[36]
   S. HOOD.

     [36] The journal of Lieutenant Collis of the Venerable, the
     officer who was sent to assist the Hannibal, and was taken
     prisoner when on board, but who was sent to Gibraltar on parole,
     need not be given, as it is an exact copy of the captain's log.

Thus the logs and journals of the captains and officers of the
Spencer, Audacious, Venerable, and Cæsar, all agree that the Hannibal
struck her colours between 1h. 20m. and 1h. 40m. The Pompée, being by
this time near the Mole at Gibraltar, could not see nor take minutes
of that circumstance. The Spencer, according to her position at that
time, was in the best situation for seeing the Hannibal, and
accordingly her log is the most particular. The Cæsar's log need not
be given, as it would be merely a repetition of Captain Brenton's
narrative. All these agree with Colonel Connolly's testimony, and
their evidence is quite conclusive as to the following facts; namely,
that the Hannibal struck her colours before the main-mast fell; that
these colours were hoisted union down by the enemy, who had possession
of the ship before the boats came alongside from the Venerable and
Cæsar, and that to save her was quite impossible.

The following further particulars relative to the action are given in
the extract of a letter from an officer of the Cæsar, dated at

   There is one point that needs explanation; namely, when the
   Cæsar cut her cable at half-past ten o'clock, it was from a fine
   breeze springing up, and the hope of closing with the enemy.
   Orders were given for that purpose to the Audacious and
   Venerable; the Cæsar wore round them, and brought her broadside
   to bear on the Indomptable's bow, lying there (about three
   cables distant from her) a considerable time, with the
   fore-top-sail to the mast (aback). The Audacious, bringing up a
   breeze from the north-west, passed between us and the enemy,
   who, in this part of the day, suffered materially, his
   fore-top-mast going about five minutes before twelve o'clock.
   Shortly afterwards, the Audacious and Cæsar were becalmed upon
   the broadside of the Indomptable, without being able to bring
   one of their guns to bear,--the Cæsar not more than three
   cables' length from the island battery, and the Audacious still
   nearer,--both ships drifting on the reef.

   It was at this time that Sir James Saumarez formed the
   resolution of attacking the island with marines. Boats were
   signalised for the purpose; but, being all employed with the
   Pompée, or sunk by the enemy's fire, it was found
   impracticable. A breeze again sprung up, and Sir James directed
   his ship to be laid alongside of the Indomptable, in the firm
   resolution of carrying her. The sails were trimmed for that
   purpose as well as the crippled state of the masts would allow,
   but a calm ensued. The Venerable had never received the breeze
   from the time of her cutting, and still lay unmanageable. The
   Spencer had drifted considerably in repairing her rigging.

The following is a translation of the Spanish official account of the
battle of Algeziras, 6th July 1801:

   The division of three French line-of-battle ships and one
   frigate, under the command of Rear-admiral Citizen Linois, that
   sailed from the road of Toulon on the 25th last June, destined
   for Cadiz, came in sight of this station and bay on the 1st of
   July; and, the Levant wind having failed on entering the
   Straits, they cruised between the coast of Africa and that of
   Europe, in which they captured the English brig of war the
   Speedy, of sixteen guns, that was a Mahon packet, and was
   conducting to Gibraltar a prize, the merchant brig the Union,
   loaded with oil and provisions.

   The continuation of the westerly winds obliged the said division
   to come into this port on the 5th instant, at seven in the
   evening. From that moment, recollecting the desperate attacks of
   the English at Alexandria and Copenhagen, we could not but
   expect that their squadron, which had been seen off Cadiz on the
   3rd instant, under the command of Rear-admiral Saumarez, would
   come and attack this division. So it happened.

   As soon as the English received intelligence where the French
   had anchored, they steered directly for the Straits; and, on the
   6th instant, at half-past six in the morning, six English ships
   doubled the Point of Carnero, and, coming round the island of
   Algeziras, advanced in a line within half cannon-shot of the
   French ships. The batteries of St. Garcia and the island opened
   their fire upon the English; and afterwards the frigate and
   republican ships.

   As soon as the English line came opposite the French ships at
   anchor, they opened upon them an animated, bold, and unremitting
   fire. The English Admiral having placed himself against the
   French, and the British ship Hannibal being under sail,
   cannonaded furiously the French Admiral, who, with superior
   spirit and success, resisted them; insomuch that, having carried
   away the Admiral's mizen-mast, and sails of the main and
   fore-mast, with no small damage of his hull, the commander of
   the English ship Hannibal, despising the fire from the battery
   of St. Jago, pushed on to his succour; and, intending to place
   the French Admiral between two fires, by running between him and
   the shore, had the imprudence, being unacquainted with his
   position, to place himself within a quarter of a gun-shot of the
   battery, and ran aground. He relieved his Admiral, who, after
   this, went out of the action; but he lost his own ship and crew,
   as the fire from the battery and French Admiral dismantled him,
   and killed three parts of his ship's company.

   Until this ship's surrender, which was about the time of the
   retreat of the English Admiral, the fire was constant upon the
   two French ships and frigate, as well as upon the seven Spanish
   gun-boats, the batteries of the island, St. Garcia, St. Jago, La
   Almiranta, and Almirante, which, as opportunity offered,
   returned their fire.

   The battle lasted from half-past eight o'clock in the morning,
   when the fort of St. Garcia opened its fire, till two in the
   afternoon, when the last shot was fired from the French ship
   Indomptable. The persevering, active, and tremendous fire of the
   enemy, and that of the two nations (French and Spanish), were
   only distinguishable by the prudence, skill, and greatness of
   soul with which the allied chiefs directed theirs, and the
   audacity, temerity, and confusion which were shown in that of
   the English. The idea of this kind of fighting, which we form
   from the account of the battles of Alexandria and Copenhagen,
   does not, in proportion to the numbers engaged, bear any
   comparison with that of Algeziras, either in point of bloodiness
   or obstinacy.

   The English, after having left the glory and the field of battle
   to the two nations, covered with shame, and taught by
   dear-bought experience, have only given an unequivocal proof of
   their inveterate hatred to France and Spain; since, not being
   able to obtain any advantage over the French and Spanish forces,
   they directed their fire against an inoffensive town, which
   received no small injury in the buildings. This is the only
   glory which the arms of Great Britain have to boast of.

   The Pompée was towed out of the action by eight boats, who came
   to her succour from the garrison of Gibraltar. She was kept
   afloat by casks, or otherwise could not have been brought in.

   The ships of the French Republic which sustained this attack
   were the Formidable, 84, Citizen Linois; Dessaix, 74, Moncousu,
   killed; L'Indomptable, 84, La Londe, killed; the frigate Muiron,
   36, Martinencq; five Spanish gun-boats damaged, and two sunk. In
   the French ships, three hundred and six killed; one hundred and
   eighty-four wounded. We suppose in the English squadron above
   five hundred are killed, and from two hundred and seventy to two
   hundred and eighty wounded.


   Merida, 10 July 1801.

   The general commandant of the camp at St. Roque, in a despatch
   of the 6th instant, transmitted by a courier extraordinary,
   communicates an account of an action which has been fought
   between six sail of the line, and other vessels of war,
   belonging to the English, and the French squadron of three ships
   of the line, and one frigate, lying at anchor in the harbour of
   Algeziras; and of the glorious result which has taken place for
   his Majesty's arms, and those of the Republic, his ally.

   About eight in the morning of that day, (viz. the 6th,) there
   were seen, coming out of Gibraltar, one ship of eighty-four
   guns, five of seventy-four, a lugger of sixteen, another of ten,
   and a polacre of ten, two armed launches, and fourteen boats.
   This force, under the command of a Rear-admiral, stood into
   Algeziras, for the purpose of attacking the French squadron then
   anchored in that port, which, as has been already stated,
   consisted of three sail of the line, and one frigate. The
   commanders of this squadron, being aware of the enemy's
   intention, made their dispositions for defence, placing
   themselves, as well as they were able, under the cover of our
   batteries, and waiting in this position for his approach.

   The action commenced at nine; it was very obstinate and bloody
   on both sides, and likewise on the part of our batteries, which
   decided the fate of the day. The action was continued till two
   in the afternoon, at which hour the English drew off with the
   loss of one ship of the line; taking in tow another, which was
   dismasted and damaged in the hull; and having sustained very
   great loss and damage in the rest of their vessels. Their loss
   in men must have been considerable, as it is certain that a
   great number were killed and wounded on board all the ships. The
   French also have been equal sufferers, the killed and wounded
   in their squadron being estimated at eight hundred: that of our
   troops has been less; out of the whole, only the royal regiment
   of Ronda has lost eleven men.

   The fire of our batteries was so hot and well supported, that
   the enemy suffered most from them; and particularly it is to
   that of St. Jago we owe the capture of the English ship, for her
   bold manoeuvre of attempting to pass between the French
   Rear-admiral's ship, the Formidable, and the shore, made her
   take the ground; and, notwithstanding the utmost exertion to put
   her afloat, it being found impossible to move her, the fire from
   the battery very soon dismasted her, and compelled her to
   strike. The French vessels, and our batteries, have likewise
   received a good deal of damage; but they are already in a course
   of repair; and the most active dispositions are making in order
   to cause the enemy to repent, should he have any intention of
   renewing the action with troops so animated and well-conducted
   as ours and the French have proved themselves in the engagement
   of the 6th.

The French account of this action, as we have already noticed, was
still more exaggerated than the Spanish; and, unfortunately for the
friends and relatives of the Admiral, officers, and men of the
squadron, it made its way to England some time previously to the
_true_ accounts,--causing much uneasiness. The _Moniteur_ announced

   On the 5th July, at eight o'clock in the morning, the cannonade
   commenced against six English ships, which lost no time in
   coming within musket-shot of the French vessels. The action then
   became very warm. These two squadrons seemed equally animated
   with a determination to conquer. If the French squadron had any
   advantage in point of situation, the English had double their
   force, and several of their vessels had ninety guns each:
   already had the English ship, Hannibal, of seventy-four guns,
   contrived to place herself between the French squadron and the
   shore. It was now eleven o'clock A.M., and this proved the
   decisive moment. For two hours the Formidable, the French
   Admiral's ship, successfully opposed three English ships.

   One of the British squadron, which was singly engaged with a
   French vessel, struck her colours at three-quarters past eleven.
   Immediately after, the Hannibal, exposed to the fire of three
   French ships, which fired from two decks, also struck her
   colours: about half-past twelve, the English squadron cut their
   cables, and sailed away. The Hannibal was boarded by the
   Formidable. Of six hundred men, who composed her crew, three
   hundred were killed. The first ship that struck her colours was
   retaken by a great number of gun-boats, and other vessels, sent
   out from Gibraltar. This action covers the French arms with
   glory, and shows what they are capable of accomplishing.
   Rear-admiral Linois _proceeded to Cadiz with the Hannibal, in
   order to repair her damage_.[37] We wait with impatience the
   returns of the loss sustained by each ship.

     [37] This was a gratuitous falsehood.

These accounts appear to have reached Paris on the 11th July. On the
19th, the following bulletin reached St. Malo.

   Three French ships of the line and a frigate, under the command
   of Rear-admiral Linois, were attacked on the 6th instant by six
   English sail of the line and a frigate. The English were
   completely beaten, and took refuge in Gibraltar, leaving in
   possession of the French the Hannibal, of seventy-four guns:
   another ship of the line had struck, but was towed off by a
   great number of gun-vessels, which sailed from Gibraltar to her

About this time, the Jason frigate, having been wrecked near St. Malo,
the captain and crew were made prisoners. The author was sent in with
a flag of truce by Commodore Cunningham, of the Clyde, to negotiate
for the exchange of prisoners; when the French officer, with an air of
triumph and exultation, handed him a copy of that bulletin: but, as
soon as the negotiation was ended, the author had the pleasure of
handing to him, in return, the Gazette account of the victory of the
13th, which Sir James Saumarez had gained over Linois, and which the
Commodore had received, fortunately, on that day. The Frenchman's
chagrin may be easily imagined, when he threw down the Gazette, with
the exclamation '_Ce n'est pas vrai_!'

On the statement of Linois' victory, as it was called, reaching Paris,
a handsome sword was sent to him; which, however, did not reach him
until after his subsequent defeat. On this occasion the following
Epigram was written.

     In the days of the Bourbons, a man was _rewarded_
       For _standing_ the brunt of the day:
     But, now, this old maxim in France is _discarded_,--
       Men are honoured for _running away_!

In the French accounts nothing was mentioned of their running their
ships aground to escape from the English, which is, indeed, the only
thing Citizen Linois deserved any credit for doing. At the same time,
it could not fail to convince both the French and Spanish troops, of
the want of confidence he must have had in his crews, and of their
evident inferiority: it was certainly a new mode of fighting, which
called forth the following lines on this improvement in naval tactics.

     To mar our skill, fam'd Linois, thou hast found
     A certain way,--by fighting ships on _ground_;
     Fix deep in sand thy centre, van, and rear,
     Nor e'er St. Vincent, Duncan, Nelson, fear.
     While, o'er the main, Britannia's thunder rolls,
     She leaves to thee the trident of the _shoals_!

In concluding this chapter, we shall relate the following anecdote of
British heroism, derived from Captain Brenton's Naval History.

   When, in the hottest part of the action at Algeziras, the Cæsar
   _broke her sheer_,--that is, her situation was altered by a puff
   or flaw of wind so as to change the direction of her head, and
   turn her round, that her guns could not be brought to bear on
   her opponent,--the captain ordered the boat to be lowered down
   from the stern, to convey a warp to the Audacious; but the boat
   was found to be knocked to pieces by the enemy's shot. Before
   other means could be resorted to, Michael Collins, a young
   sailor belonging to the Cæsar's mizen-top, seized the end of a
   lead-line, and exclaiming, "You shall soon have a warp," darted
   into the sea from the tafrail, and swam with the line to the
   Audacious, where it was received, and by that means a hawser was
   run out which answered the intended purpose.



   Mole of Gibraltar.--Negociation for the exchange of prisoners
   unsuccessful.--Captain Ferris and the officers of the Hannibal
   return on parole.--They sail for England in the Plymouth lugger,
   which carries home despatches and private letters.--Despatch
   sent to Lord Keith.--Admiral Saumarez shifts his flag to the
   Audacious.--Extraordinary exertions of the crew of the
   Cæsar.--Their admirable conduct.--Captain Brenton and the
   garrison.--Arrival of the Spanish squadron at
   Algeziras.--Increased exertions of the crews of the
   squadron.--Private letters.--Preparations to attack the enemy.

The squadron being now in the Mole at Gibraltar, the wounded having
been removed to the hospital, and the necessary orders given for
refitting with all possible speed, the Admiral lost no time in turning
his attention to the situation of the captain, officers, and crew of
the unfortunate Hannibal, which had so nobly maintained the honour of
the British flag.

Sir Jahleel Brenton says, "He ordered me to take a flag of truce, and
wait upon the French admiral (Linois), proposing an exchange of
prisoners, which the latter refused, alleging that it was not in his
power to establish a cartel for the purpose, until he obtained the
sanction of the Minister of the Marine at Paris, to whom he had sent
off an express, as soon as the firing had ceased, on the preceding
day; but he consented to send over on parole Captain Ferris and the
officers of the Hannibal. The object of the French Admiral was very
obvious; he concluded we wanted to replace the men who were killed,
and wounded; but he justly thought, that sending officers on parole
would be an act of harmless courtesy, from which we could reap no
immediate benefit. It will be seen that, after the second action, when
his dispatches from Algeziras could scarcely have reached Paris, (only
six days having elapsed,) he did not wait for an answer from the
Minister of Marine. But circumstances had altered; we had taken a
line-of-battle ship, and burned two first-rates; and he then wished to
get back as many of the crews as possible."

The following correspondence, which took place between Sir James
Saumarez and the French Admiral Linois, shows the deep interest Sir
James took in the distressing situation of the crew of the Hannibal,
of which an account was brought to him by Captain Brenton, together
with the assurance that Captain Ferris and his officers would be
liberated on parole.

   Cæsar, off Rosia Bay, 8th July 1801.


   Solicitous as I am for the welfare of the men unfortunately
   wounded on board his Majesty's ship Hannibal, and desirous to
   have them conveyed as speedily as possible to this garrison, I
   propose to send a boat early to-morrow morning with a flag of
   truce, and I trust no objection can be made to their coming by

   Being informed that Captain Ferris and his officers have
   permission to come on their parole, a boat will also be sent for
   them. I have the honour to be, sir,

   Your most obedient and most humble servant,

   To Rear-admiral Linois,
   commanding the French squadron at Algeziras.

The boat having returned from Algeziras with Captain Ferris and his
officers, but not with the crew of the Hannibal, Sir James despatched
another boat, with the following letter to Admiral Linois:

   Cæsar, off Rosia Bay, 9th July 1801.


   Having received different reports, particularly from Captain
   Ferris, that the men who had the misfortune of being wounded on
   board his Majesty's ship Hannibal are left in the most
   afflicting condition, and are unprovided with every kind of
   refreshment, I am impelled, from motives of humanity, to renew
   my application to you that they may be permitted to come to this
   place by the boat now sent for them; and that you will also
   permit those wounded men who are confined in the prison, and
   who, I understand, are without any surgical attendance whatever,
   to accompany them. I have the honour to be, sir,

   With all possible regard, your obedient servant,

   To Rear-admiral Linois,
   commanding the French squadron at Algeziras.

This application was, however, not attended with success; and the
sufferings of the unfortunate wounded at Algeziras were extreme, until
circumstances changed, in consequence of the second action.

We shall now continue the authentic and interesting communication
which Sir Jahleel Brenton has so kindly made to us:

   "The morning of the 7th July was passed in getting the Cæsar
   secured in the Mole, and in landing the wounded men that still
   remained on board; also in stripping the ship, and in
   ascertaining the amount of injury she had sustained. The
   main-mast was so much injured that it became necessary to take
   it out and get in a new one; the fore-mast was also very badly
   wounded, but capable of being fished and rendered serviceable.
   Every effort was made to complete our repairs, and get again
   ready for sea. On the following day, Captain Ferris and his
   officers, who were sent on parole, arrived. They were
   accompanied by Lord Cochrane and the officers of the Speedy,
   sloop of war, which had been taken on the 3rd by Linois'
   squadron, off Malaga."

The Admiral now prepared duplicates of his despatches for the
Admiralty, which Lieutenant Janvarin, of the Calpe, who was taken in
the Cæsar's boat, assisting the Hannibal, had been previously charged
to carry to Faro. These were confided to Lieutenant Hills, of the
Hannibal, who, with Captain Ferris, were embarked on board the
Plymouth lugger for England. Sir Jableel Brenton says: "On taking
leave of the Admiral, the scene was deeply interesting, and even
affecting. Sir James, after giving Captain Ferris the highest credit
for his gallant daring, to which the loss of the Hannibal was
attributed, and lamenting that their united endeavours had not been
crowned with the success they merited, added, adverting to his
despatches, 'Tell them, sir, that I feel convinced I shall soon have
an opportunity of attacking the enemy again, and that they may depend
on my availing myself of it.'"

On the 9th, in the afternoon, the Superb and Thames, which had
continued to watch the enemy off Cadiz, were seen coming through the
Straits under a crowd of canvass, with the signal for an enemy flying;
and they had scarcely rounded Cabrita Point before the Spanish
squadron, consisting of six sail of the line, were seen in pursuit of
them, and soon after anchored in Algeziras with the French squadron.

Sir James now added the following to his despatches to Lord Keith:

   Cæsar, Gibraltar, 9th July 1801.


   I have the honour to inform your lordship that the Superb and
   Thames are now standing into the bay, with the signal for the
   enemy's being in sight; and I understand from Governor O'Hara
   that he has information from Cadiz that all the Spanish and
   French ships in that port were ordered to Algeziras Bay to take
   the French ships to Carthagena.

   I hope to have all the squadron ready before this day week; and,
   as they cannot possibly put to sea under a fortnight at the
   earliest, I hope something may join me from your lordship before
   they can put to sea: but, on the event of their sailing before
   such junction, I shall follow them up with all the ships with
   me, and proceed off Minorca, which will be my rendezvous till I
   have the honour of hearing from your lordship.

   I am sorry to mention that the Hannibal is got off; but Captain
   Ferris, who has just come over on his parole, describes her in
   the worst condition, as well as the three French ships, and does
   not think they can be repaired under a fortnight or three weeks
   at the earliest; as does Lord Cochrane, who is likewise come
   over on his parole.

   I have the honour to be
   Your lordship's most obedient and most humble servant,

   To Right Hon. Lord Keith, K.B. &c. &c. &c.

The public despatches being closed, Sir James wrote the following
letters, which were sent by the same conveyance; and, as they contain
his own private feelings on the occasion, they will be read with

   Cæsar, Rosia Bay, 6th July 1801.


   After the warm expectations my friends have always formed for my
   success in the public service, they will be distressed on being
   informed of my having failed in an enterprise with the squadron
   on three French line-of-battle ships at anchor off Algeziras. I
   was informed by different expresses from this garrison of their
   having attempted to pass the Straits for Cadiz, and having
   anchored at some distance from the batteries. I made sail
   yesterday with the intention to attack them, if found
   practicable. We got round the point of the bay at about seven
   this morning, and at half-past eight the action began, and
   during the first hour, promised the most favourable hopes of
   success; when, by a most unfortunate circumstance, the Hannibal
   got aground, and at once destroyed all my expectations, though
   the action was continued for nearly four hours after.

   Every possible effort was made to rescue her from the enemy's
   fire; and after repeated attempts, and a very great risk of this
   ship and the Audacious getting on shore under the enemy's
   batteries, I was under the necessity of abandoning the Hannibal
   to her fate. Although we have not succeeded in bringing off the
   enemy's ships, they are, we believe, very seriously damaged. Two
   of them are aground, and it is not expected they will be got

   Wednesday, 9th July 1801.

   Having found a conveyance by way of Tangier, I sent you a
   duplicate of this. The Superb and Thames have just made their
   appearance, with the signal for the enemy being out of port. I
   think it is a good thing to have drawn them this way, as I trust
   the first Levanter will bring us ships from the Mediterranean.
   Captain Ferris goes by this opportunity, and has promised to
   forward this immediately to you. He will be heard of at the
   Admiralty, or at the Adelphi Hotel. Great praise is due for the
   brave defence of his ship.

   10th July 1801.

   It is incalculable how much I have on my hands, night and day;
   but, thank God! my health is good, though my anxiety is great. A
   fresh Levanter having sprung up, the lugger sails immediately.
   Phil. Dumaresq is very well, as are all the others. Poor Graves
   is the only person we have lost of the class of officers. I also
   wrote to you, by way of Lisbon, only an hour since, and just
   before the easterly wind set in. I trust none of my friends will
   suffer anxiety on my account. This will be addressed to you, my
   dear Richard, and you will forward it to my brother. He will be
   happy in being able to satisfy those who have friends on board
   that they have all escaped unhurt. H. Brock, with the young men
   from the island, are all well. I am, &c.


   To Richard Saumarez, Esq.

Extracts of letters written on the 7th July 1801, to Lady Saumarez:

   I have formed a thousand apprehensions lest an account of the
   events of yesterday should reach England through France before
   the arrival of my despatches (which were sent off by way of
   Faro), and fill your mind with cruel anxiety on my account; and
   this fear is much increased lest those despatches should not
   even arrive, as I was obliged to send them by a doubtful
   opportunity, through Tetuan and Tangier, the wind not admitting
   any vessel to pass the Straits.

   Trusting, however, to their safety, I will not repeat their
   contents; but will only observe that, when I sat down to write
   to you, it was the first interval of rest from one of the most
   bustling scenes I ever witnessed, and from experiencing one of
   the severest disappointments I have ever known; having, for a
   considerable period during the action, flattered myself with the
   strongest confidence that the most complete success would have
   attended the enterprise.

   I resign myself to the decree of DIVINE PROVIDENCE, whose will
   the winds obey; and I have great cause to be thankful for not
   having been forsaken in the hour of danger, but for having my
   courage strengthened as the peril increased. Feeling, as I do,
   all the responsibility on an event of this importance to the
   country, I should be miserable had I to reproach myself for
   having undertaken the enterprise on light grounds, or with
   having failed in the planning or in the execution; but, on the
   contrary, it is admitted by every one to have been most
   judicious. It is therefore only in the result that I have been
   unfortunate, and that arising from unforeseen and inevitable
   causes. I have been too much employed to reflect on the light in
   which the business may be viewed in England; but, conscious of
   having done my duty, and to the utmost of my exertions, I shall
   be indifferent as to the rest. I only trust that all my friends,
   but you more particularly, will be superior to any reflexions
   that may be made, should there be any unfavourable to me; though
   I hope for better things, and that with the liberal, at least,
   that which has been well intended, and carried on with conduct
   and bravery, will be held in some estimation.

Admiral Linois, from the specimen he had had of the determined
perseverance of the British commander-in-chief, had no wish to try
another contest; nor was it possible for him to escape the risk of
one, either by lying under the protection of the Spanish batteries, or
by proceeding to Cadiz. He lost no time, therefore, in sending an
express to the Spanish Admiral Mazzaredo, and the French Rear-admiral
Dumanoir, who, with Commodore Le Ray and other officers and men, had
previously arrived in two frigates at Cadiz for the purpose of
equipping the Spanish fleet, imploring the assistance of a squadron to
convoy them to Cadiz, before the English ships under Sir James
Saumarez could be refitted; adding in his despatch, "I have just
received advice that the enemy intends burning us at our anchorage. It
is in your power to save for the Republic three fine ships of the line
and a frigate by merely ordering the Spanish squadron to come and seek

This demand, through the influence of Admiral Dumanoir, was
immediately acceded to by Mazzaredo, who ordered Vice-admiral Moreno
to proceed with five sail of the line, three frigates, and a lugger,
accompanied by the San Antonio, manned partly with French and
Spaniards, in which Admiral Dumanoir hoisted his flag. The movements
of these ships were observed by Captain Keats in the Superb, who, in
consequence of information he had received from an American, returned
with the Thames and Pasley off Cadiz.

At daylight, on the 9th, this squadron put to sea, except the San
Antonio, which, being unable to fetch out, came to an anchor in the
road. The rest made sail up the Straits, preceded by the Superb,
Thames, and Pasley; and, the wind being fair, the former reached
Algeziras about four P.M., while the latter, as already stated,
anchored in Gibraltar Bay, to unite their efforts in refitting the
shattered ships. On the next morning, the San Antonio, with Admiral
Dumanoir's flag, arrived at Algeziras.

As the object of this overwhelming force could be no other than to
conduct in safety the three French ships, and their prize the
Hannibal, to Cadiz or Carthagena, the exertions of the British
officers and men were redoubled in getting the damaged ships ready to
meet the enemy. They accomplished what has been justly acknowledged,
one of the most extraordinary undertakings ever known.

The Pompée was in too bad a state to leave any hopes that she could be
got ready in time; her men, therefore, were distributed to assist in
repairing the other ships: and all idea of refitting the Cæsar was on
the point of being abandoned!

The following account given by Captain Brenton will be read with much
interest: "Sir James now expressed the greatest anxiety to have as
many of his little squadron as possible ready for action, that he
might avail himself at any moment of the motions of the enemy to make
an attack upon some part of them; and despairing, from the state of
the Cæsar, that she could possibly be got in readiness before the
departure of the ships from Algeziras, he expressed a wish that the
deficiencies in the other ships might be made up from the crew of the
Cæsar; but on my entreaty for permission to keep them while a
possibility remained of getting her in a state to receive his flag
again, he consented, hoisting it for the time on board the Audacious.

"On communicating to the people what had passed, there was a universal
cry, 'All hands all night and all day until the ship is ready!' so
earnest were they to carry the flag of their beloved Admiral again
into battle, and so sanguine in the expectation of victory,
notwithstanding the disparity of force,--nearly _two to one_! This I
could not consent to, as they would have been worn out and incapable
of further exertion; but I directed that all hands should be employed
during the day, and that they should work _watch and watch_ during the
night. They immediately commenced their various duties, with all the
energy and zeal that could be expected from men under such powerful
causes of excitement. The new main-mast was got in forthwith, and
extraordinary efforts made to refit the rigging.

"On Saturday, the 11th, the enemy showed symptoms of moving; and the
Admiral, fearing they might get out in the night, again suggested that
the people from the Cæsar should be distributed, and every idea of
getting her ready abandoned; but I entreated, and obtained permission
to keep them during that night, under the promise that they should be
held in readiness at a minute's warning to proceed to the ship pointed
out to receive them.

"The enemy having anchored again, the Admiral went to dine with the
governor; and, on his return on board, was greatly delighted at
beholding the ship apparently ready for sea, although much yet
remained to be done."

We must here pay a just tribute to the professional abilities and
conduct of Captain (now Sir Jahleel) Brenton. He was, in the first
place, well aware of the magnitude of the labour which the men had to
perform, and saw the danger of allowing his brave crew to be worn out
with fatigue in attempting that to which the human frame is unequal.
He therefore decided that, instead of working on until the labour was
finished, according to the seamen's laudable wishes, they should have
such a portion of rest as would enable them to resume their labour
with renewed energy. In the second place, he knew that without system,
the exertions of the men would be in vain; but the admirable
directions he gave employed every man in what he was best able to
perform without impeding his neighbour, whilst every part of the
labour advanced simultaneously. There has, indeed, never yet been on
record an instance of a ship performing such a task so well and in so
short a time.

Although the services going on required many men to be on shore for
gunpowder and other stores, to replace what had been expended, there
was not a single complaint of any one absenting himself from his duty,
or of being intoxicated; though the inducement must have been great,
from the number of wine-houses on the Rock: but such was the desire of
these brave fellows to be avenged for the loss of the Hannibal, that
they would not allow any temptation to induce them to swerve from the
duty they had to perform.

The extraordinary anxiety of mind, and the multiplicity of duty he had
to perform, did not divert the attention of Sir James from the
situation of the unfortunate crew of the Hannibal, especially the
wounded, who were suffering as well from want of proper surgical care
as from the treatment they had received. He once more made a strong,
but fruitless attempt for their exchange, by addressing the following
letter to Admiral Linois:

   Cæsar, off Rosia Bay, 10th July 1801.


   I am impelled by motives of humanity again to renew my
   application in behalf of the men unfortunately wounded on board
   his Britannic Majesty's ship Hannibal, and to request they may
   be permitted to come to this garrison without delay. A
   proposition so conformable to the laws of civilised nations I
   trust cannot be rejected; but, should you further refuse to
   comply with it, you must take upon yourself the impression all
   the world must have of so cruel a proceeding as to deny those
   unhappy people the benefit of their own hospital, where they
   would receive surgical assistance, and not be subjected to the
   severe treatment they have so long experienced in their present

   I am, sir,
   Your most obedient humble servant,

   Rear-admiral Linois, &c. &c. &c.

No answer having been given to this application, the correspondence
ended, to be resumed under more favourable circumstances.

Sir James now added to the duplicates of his despatches (which had
been sent in charge of Lieutenant Janvarin, by way of Tangier,) the
following letter to his brother:

   Cæsar, Gibraltar, 10th July 1801.

   You will, I hope, receive the letters I have written to you on
   the subject of the enterprise of our squadron against three
   ships of the line and a frigate, at anchor in Algeziras Bay,
   last Monday; for a more particular account of which I must refer
   you to my public letter. But as my friends, with their usual
   anxiety on my account, will naturally wish further information
   from me, I must assure them in justice to myself and for their
   satisfaction, that everything was done that depended on myself,
   both in the planning and executing the business; but I cannot be
   accountable for the accidents that prevented its success. Even
   within an hour from our first engaging, and before any of our
   ships had sustained much injury, the Pompée, which was
   remarkably well placed against the inner ship, which proved to
   be the French Admiral, had at one time nearly silenced her, and
   must have done so in less than ten minutes, had not an
   unfortunate flaw of wind _broke her sheer_; and from that moment
   she was unable to bring one of her guns to bear on the enemy's

   A short time after, the Hannibal got a fine breeze of wind, and
   was lying up in the handsomest manner for the French ship; but
   unfortunately, wishing to go between her and the shore, got
   aground. Surely in either of these instances I was not

   I had, before this, cut our cables, to profit by a favourable
   breeze to close the other two ships; but before we got near them
   it failed us, as well as the Audacious, and with the current we
   drove close to the island battery, where we remained a
   considerable time before either of the ships could clear a shoal
   close to it. At length a fine breeze sprung up, which gave the
   most favourable hope of carrying us close to the enemy's ships,
   and, by silencing them, to extricate the unfortunate Hannibal.

   But here, again, it most unhappily failed us; and although we
   had, at different times, opened a heavy fire upon them, we were
   still not sufficiently near to silence them effectually; and,
   the wind all the time leading us farther off, I was constrained
   to abandon all hopes of success, and proceeded with the squadron
   to this anchorage.

   The Superb yesterday joined us, with the Thames. Captain Keats,
   having seen the enemy coming out of Cadiz, appeared with the
   signal of their being in sight, and they soon after came round
   Cabrita Point. Two are three-deckers, and three are
   seventy-fours, with three frigates. If it draws this force to
   the Mediterranean, some good may come from it. A squadron is
   hourly expected from Lord Keith, and probably some ships may
   soon join us from England. We shall have all the ships in
   readiness; and the junction of a few ships, would make us again
   superior to the enemy's force. I must not forget to mention
   that Captain Brenton has shown himself a brave and most able

   It is with difficulty I have found a leisure moment to write
   this. All I request of my friends is, to feel assured that the
   failure of this enterprise has in no instance proceeded from
   myself; and every one is ready to acknowledge that I did, in
   every respect, all that depended on me. This, you will perceive,
   is written in the midst of much bustle and a most active scene.

The despatches contained accounts of the arrival of the Spanish
squadron, and of Sir James's determination to attack them if they
attempted to put to sea, even with the force under his command. He
also sent despatches to Lisbon to delay any convoys which might be
sailing; and to Lord Keith, in the Mediterranean, to inform his
lordship of all the circumstances we have related. The Plymouth lugger
had already sailed, the wind being fair, with Captain Ferris, who, as
well as Lieutenant Hills, were bearers of the interesting details.

The intense interest which these circumstances created on the Rock of
Gibraltar is far beyond description; nor do we know whether the kind
and sympathising reception which the suffering heroes met with on
their return from Algeziras was more worthy of praise than the
unparalleled exertions made to renew the conflict. On the one hand,
had the squadron arrived after the most complete and glorious victory,
they could not have been received in a manner more gratifying to
their feelings; while, on the other hand, it was evident that every
man was worthy of such generous and such noble conduct.

The attention of the governor, the garrison, and the inhabitants,
although themselves in a state of privation, was unremitting. We shall
leave them for the present preparing to take farewell of each other on
the evening before the Admiral's departure, to meet what must have
appeared to every spectator an overwhelming foe!



     Occurrences at Gibraltar.--Determination of Sir James to attack
     the combined squadron.--Cæsar rehoists the Admiral's flag.--Sir
     J. Brenton's description of that interesting scene.--His
     account of the battle.--Destruction of two Spanish
     three-deckers.--Capture of the St. Antonio.--Action between the
     Venerable and Formidable.--Public letters.--Private
     letters.--French details of the battle.--Spanish ditto.--Orders
     of sailing.--Remarks.

General O'Hara the gallant governor, and the brave garrison of
Gibraltar, had beheld from the Rock, which is only four miles from
Algeziras, the long-contested, severe, but unfortunate conflict of the
6th of July. They had witnessed the bravery of their countrymen. Their
intense anxiety for the success of the Admiral's daring attack had
been changed into sympathy for the loss his squadron had sustained;
and, fully convinced that not only no honour had been sacrificed, but
that the character of the nation had been gloriously maintained, the
unsuccessful were received at the Rock, as if they had returned from a
victory. The garrison beheld with admiration the wonderful efforts
which were made to meet a still more formidable foe. Every day marked
the progress of the Herculean labours in preparation for that event;
the exertions, zeal, and intrepidity of Sir James's officers and crews
increased in proportion to the multiplied force of the enemy, which,
to men of any other cast, would have appeared overwhelming!

After one of the severest engagements on record, the British squadron,
in the short space of five days, had repaired its damages, and sought
the enemy, whose force had been nearly tripled by the junction of six
ships and three frigates from Cadiz. With such men, and in such a
cause, victory seemed certain, notwithstanding the great disparity of
force between the belligerents, and the exertions of the enemy proved,
that he expected a tremendous struggle. Every circumstance contributed
to render the approaching contest more eventful. Their late
unsuccessful attack only served to animate the officers and crews with
a noble enthusiasm, and a desire to put their valour to another but a
fairer trial; and they well knew that their Admiral would lead them to
the combat with that consummate skill, and deliberate courage which
had so justly rendered his name illustrious.

At length the moment arrived. The enemy, whose force almost tripled
that of the English, were seen under sail; the wind was fair, and the
weather fine. The Cæsar, having rehoisted the Admiral's flag, made the
signal to prepare for battle!

For a description of the intensely interesting and animating scene
which followed, we gladly avail ourselves of a communication kindly
made to us by Sir Jahleel Brenton, the gallant captain of the Cæsar on
that memorable occasion.

"12th July 1801.--At daylight the enemy were seen making every
preparation for sailing; and in the course of the forenoon were
getting under way, and working out of the bay with a fresh wind from
the eastward. As they required to make several tacks for this purpose,
it was past one o'clock before the headmost ships could clear Cabrita
Point, when they brought to, to wait for the others to join them.

"At half-past two the Cæsar hauled out of the Mole, her band playing
"Cheer up my lads, 'tis to glory we steer!" which was answered by the
military band on the Mole-head with "Britons, strike home!" At the
same moment the Admiral's flag was rehoisted on board the Cæsar; and
sail being made upon her, she weighed amidst the deafening cheers and
acclamations of the garrison, and the whole assembled population,
carrying with her the sincerest and most ardent wishes for victory.

"She took her station off Europa Point, with the signals for her
little squadron to close round her, and to prepare for battle.[38] We
then returned the salute which had been fired by the garrison on
entering the bay on the 6th; and which, in consequence of being
immediately engaged with the enemy, we could not do at the time. It
was delightful during this and the preceding days to witness the calm,
but decided manner of the admiral. He had evidently calculated the
awful responsibility under which he was placed; and this, at the same
time, was self-imposed; for it was by no means incumbent on him as a
duty, with only five sail of the line, viz. the Cæsar, Superb,
Spencer, Venerable, and Audacious, to attack an enemy with six fresh
ships, of which number two mounted one hundred and twelve guns each,
one of ninety, and three of seventy-four, in addition to the three
French ships we had already engaged, and their prize, the Hannibal.
But our chief had counted the cost, and made up his mind to the
enterprise. His intention was to throw his whole force upon whatever
part of the enemy's line he might be able to reach; depending upon the
talents of his captains, and the discipline of his ships, to make up
for the disparity of force, especially in a night action.

   [38] While off Europa point, and probably at the distance of
   more than half a mile, a boat with two men was observed
   pulling towards us, and, on coming alongside, the men proved
   to be two of our own people, who had been wounded in the
   action of Algeziras, and sent to the hospital at Gibraltar. On
   seeing the ship under sail, with the evident intention of
   attacking the enemy, these gallant fellows asked permission of
   the surgeon to rejoin their ship, and being refused, on
   account of their apparent unfitness, they made their escape
   from the hospital, and taking possession of the first boat
   they could find, pulled off to the ship.

   Two other seamen belonging to the Pompée, who had not been
   selected as part of the reinforcement to the crews of the other
   ships, secreted themselves on board the Cæsar, and the day after
   the action presented themselves on the quarter-deck, with a
   request that intercession might be made for them with their
   captain, telling their story in the following quaint
   manner:--"Sir, we belongs to the Le Pompée, and finding our ship
   could not get out, we stowed ourselves away in this ship, and,
   in the action, quartered ourselves to the "10th gun, and
   opposite ---- on the lower deck," referring, at the same time, to
   the officer in command of this division of guns, for the truth
   of their statement.

"The squadron was soon assembled off Europa, and we beheld that of the
enemy forming their line off Cabrita, about five miles to leeward,
waiting for the Hannibal, which was the last ship to leave Algeziras.
Sir James now made the interrogatory signal to know if all the ships
were ready for battle, which was most properly answered in the
negative, as all had much to do. The time which the combined squadron
took to get into the order of battle and sailing was invaluable to all
of us, by enabling us to complete the arrangements so necessary upon
so momentous an occasion. At length, every ship having announced her
readiness for action, the Admiral made the signal for them to be
prepared to follow his motions. He had already communicated with his
captains his plan of attack, and no other signal was made, or was

"_At eight o'clock_ the Hannibal, unable to work out of the Bay, was
observed to anchor again at Algeziras, and the enemy bore up through
the Straits; the Cæsar's helm was instantly put up, a blue light being
burned at the same time for the squadron to follow. At 8h. 40m. the
Superb was gaining fast upon us, and the Admiral ordered me to hail
Captain Keats, directing him to engage the ship nearest to the Spanish
shore. The enemy was retreating in two lines abreast, thus:


(Representation of illustration follows)



           2   3   4

     5   6   7   8   9   10

the three French ships in the van, the Spanish squadron in the rear.
Had the Hannibal succeeded in getting out of the bay, she was to have
taken the station ahead of the French ships, at the place marked with
a cross H, in order to put her in the greatest security, and to
preserve their trophy.

"At five minutes past eleven the Superb opened her fire; and, very
shortly after, the two sternmost ships of the enemy were seen to be in
flames. We were rapidly approaching them, and orders had been sent
down to the officers at their quarters to fire as soon as the guns
would bear.

"I was at this time standing on the poop ladder, near the Admiral,
when he seized me by the shoulder, and, pointing to the flames
bursting out, exclaimed, 'My God, sir, look there! the day is ours!' A
more magnificent scene never presented itself, as may be easily
imagined, than two ships of such immense magnitude as the Spanish
first-rates, on board of each other in flames, with a fresh gale, the
sea running high, and their sails in the utmost confusion. The flames,
ascending the rigging with the rapidity of lightning, soon
communicated to the canvass, which instantly became one sheet of fire.
A very general feeling of regret and sympathy seemed to be quickly
experienced around us when we beheld the Spanish colours brilliantly
illuminated by the dreadful conflagration, instead of the French. The
unfortunate Spaniards, having become at once the tools and the victims
of France, were objects of our sincere commiseration.

"The Superb was now seen a little way on the starboard bow, engaged
with one of the enemy's ships, while several others were in sight at a
distance ahead. We kept on our course, and after having fired a
broadside into the Superb's opponent, (which, however, was already
nearly silenced), continued the chase, followed by the Venerable; but,
when nearly the length of Trafalgar, our wounded masts complained so
much, that we were under the necessity of close-reefing the
main-top-sail, and taking in the fore-top-sail. The Admiral was also
anxious to get his squadron round him, that he might, with his
collected force, reach Cadiz before the morning, and cut the enemy off
from the only port in which they could find security.

"The easterly wind, which, although blowing with great violence in the
Straits, is seldom felt close in shore on either the Spanish or
African coasts, entirely failed us as we hauled round Cape Trafalgar,
and left our ship rolling heavily in the swell, to the great danger of
our masts. At half-past twelve o'clock one of the Spanish
three-deckers blew up, with a tremendous explosion, and soon after the
other. They had previously separated, after their masts had fallen,
and the rigging was consumed; and they were seen for some time
burning at a distance from each other, before their fatal termination.

"As the Admiral and myself were looking over the chart together, in
order to shape our course for Cadiz, we heard an alarming cry of
'Fire!' and, running out upon deck, were enveloped in a thick
sulphrueous smoke, which seemed to pervade every part of the ship.
Soon, however, we found it clear away, and ascertained the cause to
be, that we had run into the column of smoke and vapour arising from
the explosion of the Spanish ship, which, being too dense to rise, lay
along the surface of the water. We gradually emerged from this, and
were relieved from our apprehensions of sharing the fate of our
unhappy enemies.

"At the dawn of day we saw the Venerable close to a French
line-of-battle ship, and drawing up with her by the aid of a light air
off the Spanish shore. At five o'clock the Venerable opened her fire
upon the enemy. The breeze dying away, the two ships were enveloped in
a cloud of smoke. The Cæsar, at the distance of about a mile and a
half, was perfectly becalmed. The boats were sent ahead, in hopes of
being able to tow her within gun-shot of the enemy. In the course of a
short time, a light breeze having dispersed the dense cloud of smoke
which the fire of the two ships had occasioned, we discovered the
Venerable with her main-mast gone, and her opponent availing herself
of the air from the eastward to draw away, and pursue her course for
Cadiz, firing her stern-chasers at the Venerable. The remainder of the
enemy's squadron, consisting of five sail of the line and one frigate,
in which both the French and Spanish admirals were embarked, were
discerned in the N.W., at a considerable distance, coming down with a
westerly wind.

"The Superb having secured the prize, was approaching us from the
S.E., and the Spencer and Audacious were also to the southward. Such
was the relative situation of the squadrons, when, at eight minutes
past eight, the Venerable made the signal of having struck on a shoal.
The Admiral, very apprehensive of her falling into the hands of the
enemy, sent me with discretional orders to Captain Hood, that, should
he not be able to get her off the shoal, he might put his men into the
Thames, and burn the Venerable, making the signal at the same time for
the Thames to close with the Venerable as soon as possible. I had
scarcely left the Cæsar when I saw the Venerable's fore-mast go over
the side; and before I reached her the mizen-mast followed. I found
her, on going on board, a perfect wreck, striking on the shoal, and
the shot from the stern-chase guns of the Formidable, her opponent,
going over her. The gallant Hood was seated on a gun on the
quarter-deck, cheerfully waiting for the assistance which he knew the
Admiral would send to him as soon as the wind would enable him, and
ready to take advantage of any circumstance that might occur.

"Having delivered my message from the Admiral, he said, 'Tell Sir
James I hope it is not yet so bad with the old Venerable; I hope to
get her off soon. Let the Thames stay by me, in readiness to receive
our people. These rascals shall not have her.' I returned to my ship;
the breeze sprung up; and the Thames closing with the Venerable,
enabled her to heave off the shoal, and the enemy availed himself of
the wind to get into Cadiz. The Venerable was soon under jury-masts
and in tow of the Spencer, steering for Gibraltar, followed by the
rest of the squadron; where we all anchored, with our prize, the San
Antonio, of seventy-four guns, at 6 P.M. on the 14th.

"The scene before us, on anchoring, was of the most animating
description. Every point of the Rock overhanging the shore was crowded
with people, and the acclamations of the troops and inhabitants which
rent the air resounded throughout the bay! Here, indeed, was a triumph
for our hero, who, only a week before, had been towed in from
Algeziras with his crippled and defeated squadron, with the loss of a
ship of the line; but now entering victorious with the same squadron,
reinforced, it is true, by the Superb, but diminished by the loss of
the Hannibal, while the disabled state of the Pompée had prevented
her leaving Gibraltar; after having engaged and defeated an enemy of
more than double his force, and having burnt two of their first-rates,
and taken from them a ship of the line.

"From the nature of the attack and retreat, there was not much hard
fighting on this occasion, and consequently little opportunity for any
display of that valour and skill which is so constantly manifested in
severe actions. The Superb and Venerable had the greatest, and almost
the only share. But the conduct of the Admiral, I will venture to say,
when all the circumstances are taken into consideration, must be
deemed fully equal to anything that has adorned the pages of England's
naval history. Instead of the recklessness of despair, to which some
might have attributed an attack with crippled ships against a force
every way so greatly superior, he manifested a calm and resolute
determination. His intentions were expressed with so much clearness
that, as I have already observed, signals were rendered unnecessary.
He waited with much patience and firmness for the enemy to bear up,
which would place them in a situation the least favourable for
resisting a simultaneous attack upon any portion of their squadron.

"When the governor, the garrison, and the inhabitants of Gibraltar,
who had passed the night with painful anxiety beheld the approach of
the victorious squadron, their joy and exultation knew no bounds.
Even the wounded at the hospitals, when they heard of the glorious
success which had attended their brethren in arms, raising their
stumps, joined in the general burst of acclamation. On the arrival of
the Cæsar, the royal standard was hoisted, twenty-one guns were fired
at the King's Bastion, and the whole of this noble fortress was
brilliantly illuminated in honour of the victory."

After the termination of this contest,--a contest which may be said to
have lasted seven days, in which two battles had been fought under
peculiar disadvantages, and which ended in adding another brilliant
ray to the naval glory of Britain,--Sir James, with that humility
which had ever formed a distinguished feature in his character,
returned thanks to the great Giver of all victory for crowning his
exertions with success.

The following general memorandum was given out to the squadron, on
their return to Gibraltar:

   Cæsar, Rosia Bay, 15th July 1801.

   Rear-admiral Sir James Saumarez has the happiness to offer his
   most heartfelt congratulations to the captains, officers, and
   men of the ships he had the honour to command, on the signal
   success with which it has pleased Almighty God to crown their
   zealous exertions in the service of their country. To the
   discipline and valour of British seamen is to be ascribed their
   great superiority over the enemy, who, although more than
   triple the force of the English squadron in number of guns and
   weight of metal, have been so signally defeated.

   The Rear-admiral has not failed to transmit in his late
   despatches a report of the unparalleled exertions of all the
   officers and men in refitting his Majesty's ships after the
   battle of Algeziras, where their conduct and bravery were
   equally conspicuous, and which has led to the late glorious


   To the respective Captains, &c.

Lieutenant Dumaresq, of the Cæsar, was now despatched in the Louisa
brig to England, with the following official accounts of the action
from the Rear-admiral, and from Captains Keats and Hood:

   Cæsar, off Cape Trafalgar, 13th July 1801.


   I request you will please to inform my Lords Commissioners of
   the Admiralty that it has pleased the Almighty to crown the
   exertions of this squadron with the most signal success over the
   enemies of their country.

   The three French line-of-battle ships disabled in the action of
   the 6th instant off Algeziras, were, on the 8th, reinforced by a
   squadron of five Spanish line-of-battle ships, under the command
   of Don Juan Joaquin de Moreno, and a French ship of seventy-four
   guns, wearing a broad pendant; besides three frigates, and an
   incredible number of gun-boats and other vessels; and got under
   sail yesterday morning, together with his Majesty's late ship
   Hannibal, which they had succeeded in getting off the shoal on
   which she struck.

   I almost despaired of having a sufficient force in readiness to
   oppose to such numbers; but, through the great exertions of
   Captain Brenton, and the officers and men belonging to the
   Cæsar, the ship was in readiness to warp out of the Mole
   yesterday morning, and got under way immediately after, with all
   the squadron except the Pompée, which ship had not had time to
   get her masts in.

   Confiding in the zeal and intrepidity of the officers and men I
   had the happiness to serve with, I determined, if possible, to
   obstruct the passage of this powerful force to Cadiz. Late in
   the evening I observed the enemy's ships to have cleared Cabrita
   Point; and, at eight, I bore up with the squadron to stand after
   them. His Majesty's ship Superb being stationed ahead of the
   Cæsar, I directed Captain Keats to make sail and attack the
   sternmost ships of the enemy's rear, using his endeavours to
   keep in-shore of them.

   At eleven, the Superb opened her fire close to the enemy's
   ships; and, on the Cæsar's coming up and preparing to engage a
   three-decker that had hauled her wind, she was perceived to have
   taken fire; and the flames having communicated to a ship to
   leeward of her, both were soon in a blaze, and presented a most
   awful sight. As no possibility existed of affording the least
   assistance in so distressing a situation, the Cæsar passed, to
   close with the ship engaged by the Superb; but, by the cool and
   determined fire kept up on her, which must ever reflect the
   highest credit on the discipline of that ship, she was
   completely silenced, and soon after hauled down her colours.

   The Venerable and Spencer having at this time come up, I bore up
   after the enemy, who were carrying a press of sail, standing out
   of the Straits; and lost sight of them. During the night it blew
   excessively hard till daylight, and, in the morning, the only
   ships in company were the Venerable and Thames, ahead of the
   Cæsar, and one of the French ships at some distance from them,
   standing towards the shoals of Conil, besides the Spencer
   astern, coming up.

   All the ships immediately made sail with a fresh breeze, but, as
   we approached, the wind suddenly failing, the Venerable was
   alone able to bring her to action; which Captain Hood did in the
   most gallant manner, and had nearly silenced the French ship,
   when his main-mast (which had been before wounded) was
   unfortunately shot away, and, it coming nearly calm, the enemy's
   ship was enabled to get off without any possibility of following
   her. The highest praise is due to Captain Hood, the officers,
   and men of the Venerable, for their spirit and gallantry in this
   action, which entitled them to better success. The French ship
   was an eighty-four, with additional guns on the gunwale. This
   action was so near the shore that the Venerable struck on one of
   the shoals; but was soon after got off, and taken in tow by the
   Thames, though with the loss of all her masts.

   The enemy's ships are now in sight to the westward, standing in
   for Cadiz; the Superb and Audacious, with the captured ship, are
   in sight, with the Carlotta, Portuguese frigate, commanded by
   Captain Crawford Duncan, who very handsomely came out with the
   squadron, and has been of the greatest assistance to Captain
   Keats in staying by the enemy's ship captured by the Superb.

   I am proceeding with the squadron for Rosia Bay, and shall
   proceed, the moment all the ships are refitted, to resume my
   station before Cadiz; and shall immediately detach the Thames to
   cruise off Cape St. Mary's.

   No praises that I can bestow are adequate to the merits of the
   officers and ships' companies of all the squadron, particularly
   for their unremitted exertions in refitting the ships at
   Gibraltar; to which, in a great degree, is to be ascribed the
   success of the squadron against the enemy.

   Although the Spencer and Audacious had not the good fortune to
   partake of this action, I have no doubt of their exertion, had
   they come up in time to close with the enemy's ships.

   My thanks are also due to Captain Holles of the Thames, and to
   the Honourable Captain Dundas of the Calpe, whose assistance was
   particularly useful to Captain Keats in securing the enemy's
   ship, and enabling the Superb to stand after the squadron in
   case of being enabled to renew the action with the enemy.

   I have the honour to be, sir,
   Your most obedient humble servant,

   To Evan Nepean, Esq. &c. &c. &c. Admiralty.

   Cæsar, off Cape Trafalgar, 14th July 1801.


   I herewith enclose, for their lordships' further information,
   the statement I have received from Captain Keats, to whom the
   greatest praise is due for his gallant conduct in the service
   alluded to. Captain Hood's merits are held in too high
   estimation to receive additional lustre from any praise I can
   bestow; but I only do justice to my feelings, when I observe
   that in no instance have I known superior bravery to that
   displayed by him on this occasion.

   I have the honour to be, sir,
   Your most obedient servant,

   To Evan Nepean, Esq. Admiralty.

   Superb, off Cape Trafalgar, 13th July 1801.


   Pursuant to your directions to state the particulars of the
   Superb's services last night, I have the honour to inform you
   that, in consequence of your directions to make sail up to, and
   engage, the sternmost of the enemy's ships, at half-past eleven
   I found myself abreast of a Spanish three-deck ship, (the Real
   Carlos, as appears by the report of some survivors,) which,
   having been brought with two other ships, in nearly line
   abreast, I opened my fire upon them at not more than three
   cables' lengths. This evidently produced a good effect, as well
   in this ship as the others abreast of her, which soon began
   firing at each other, and, at times, on the Superb. In about a
   quarter of an hour, I perceived the ship I was engaging, and
   which had lost her fore-top-mast, to be on fire; upon which we
   ceased to molest her; and I proceeded on to the ship next at
   hand, which proved to be the San Antonio, of seventy-four guns
   and seven hundred and thirty men, commanded by Chef-de-division
   Le Ray, under French colours, wearing a broad pendant, and
   manned, nearly equally, with seven hundred and thirty French and
   Spanish seamen, and which, after some action, (the chef being
   wounded,) struck her colours.

   I learn, from the very few survivors of the ships that caught
   fire and blew up, who, in an open boat, reached the Superb at
   the time she was taking possession of the San Antonio, that, in
   the confusion of the action, the Hermenegildo, (a first-rate
   ship,) mistaking the Real Carlos for an enemy, ran on board of
   her, and shared her melancholy fate. Services of this nature
   cannot well be expected to be performed without some loss; but
   though we have to lament that Lieutenant Edward Waller, and
   fourteen seamen and marines, have been mostly severely wounded,
   still there is reason to rejoice that that is the extent of our
   loss. I received able and active assistance from Mr. Samuel
   Jackson, the first lieutenant; and it is my duty to represent to
   you that the officers of all descriptions, seamen and marines,
   conducted themselves with the greatest steadiness and gallantry.

   I have the honour to be, sir,
   Your most obedient humble servant,
   R.G. KEATS.

   To Sir James Saumarez, Bart. &c. &c. &c.

List of the Spanish and French squadrons which sailed from Algeziras
on the 12th July 1801, under command of Don Juan Joaquin de Moreno,
Lieutenant-general (or Vice-admiral), and the French Vice-admiral

     Ships' names.   Guns.    Captains.     Where built.   Year.

     Real Carlos*     112   Don J. Esquerra   Havanna      1793
     Hermenegildo*    112   Don J. Emparran     Do.        1789
     San Fernando      96   Don J. Malina       Do.        1765
     Argonauta         80   Don J. Harrera    Ferrol       1798
     San Augustin      74   Don R. Jopete    Guarnizo      1768
     Sabrina           40
                      514              * Burnt.


     Ships' names.         Guns.    Captains.

     Brought over           514
     Formidable              84    Amable-Gilles-Troude.
     Indomptable             84      "    Callende.
     Dessaix                 74    Jean A. Chirly-Pallière.
     San Antonio             74    Julien Le Ray (Commodore), taken.
     Libre                   40
     Indienne                40
     Muron                   40
     Vautour                 12

        Total               962    & Hannibal, 74 not in the action, 1036.

The Spanish and French admirals were on board the Sabrina frigate.

List of the British squadron, commanded by Rear-admiral Sir James
Saumarez, which defeated the above combined squadron, 12th July 1801,
in the Straits of Gibraltar:

     Ships names.       Guns.         Captains.

     Cæsar.              84    Captain Jahleel Brenton.
     Spencer             74       "    Henry D'Esterre Darby.
     Venerable           74       "    Samuel Hood.
     Superb              74       "    Rich. Goodwin Keats.
     Audacious           74       "    Shuldham Peard.
     Thames              36       "    A.P. Holles.

     Total              416
     In favour of the}
         enemy.      }  546

The Rear-admiral had his flag on board the Cæsar, 84.

The guns of the enemy's ships being much heavier, increased their
weight of metal to triple that of the squadron.

The Superb had Lieutenant Waller, and fourteen seamen and marines,
wounded. The Venerable had Mr. J. Williams (her master), fifteen
seamen, and two marines, killed; Lieutenant Thomas Church, Mr. Snell
(boatswain), Messrs. Massey and Pardoe (midshipmen), seventy-three
seamen, and ten marines, wounded.

In the French and Spanish accounts of this action, which will be given
hereafter, it will be seen that the loss of the enemy has _not_ been
accurately enumerated; but, out of two thousand men that were in the
Real Carlos and Hermenegildo, only three hundred were saved. Commodore
Le Ray, of the San Antonio, was wounded; but his loss in men, which
must have been severe, has not been ascertained.

We shall here give some interesting extracts from private letters from
Sir James, written at the close of the battle:

   Cæsar, 13th July 1801, 8 A.M.

   I shall leave you to judge of the difference of my feelings to
   those when I sat down to write the letter of this day week.[39]
   To an all-merciful PROVIDENCE is to be ascribed the wonderful
   and most awful event of last night, which will ever be
   remembered with terror by the nations it concerned, and by me
   with infinite gratitude for so peculiar a token of Divine mercy
   vouchsafed towards me.

   [39] See page 388.

   Two days after the action of last Monday, a strong squadron was
   sent to Algeziras from Cadiz, to protect the disabled French
   ships, and to convoy them to the latter port, with the Hannibal,
   which ship they had succeeded in getting off the shoal whereon
   she had unfortunately grounded. It may be supposed that no
   exertion was wanting on my part to get the squadron in a state
   for service; and, beyond all expectation, owing to the great
   activity and zeal of every officer and man in the squadron, we
   were in a state to put to sea yesterday, on the enemy's getting
   under sail from the Bay of Algeziras; the Pompée excepted, which
   had not sufficient time to get in new masts.

   Late in the evening I observed that the enemy's ships,
   consisting of ten sail of the line and four frigates, had
   succeeded in clearing the bay; and at eight o'clock I made sail
   after them. Captain Keats, who, in the Superb, had been much
   mortified at not having shared in the former affair, being near
   the Cæsar, I directed him to endeavour to bring the rear ships
   of the enemy to action; myself following with the Venerable, and
   the other two ships, some distance astern.

   It was near midnight when the Superb succeeded in engaging the
   enemy; and, as we came up, a three-deck ship hauling up for us
   after having fired at the Superb, by some accident, in the
   moment we were going to give her our broadside, took fire, which
   communicating to a ship which we perceived close to her, both
   were almost instantly in a blaze. So awful a scene I never yet
   have witnessed. We then closed with the Superb, which had nearly
   silenced her opponent, when she struck.

   Think what a change then took place in the inequality of force
   with which we began the action! I left the Superb to take care
   of the prize, and proceeded after the other ships; the Audacious
   and Spencer having now joined. It came on to blow excessively
   hard till daylight, when I found the Venerable and Thames a
   small distance ahead, and one of the French ships standing for
   the shore. We immediately crowded all sail, and made sure of
   taking her, when the wind failed us, and the Venerable only was
   able to engage her; but, being at the time close to the shore,
   she very unfortunately got aground, and we were obliged to leave
   her, after sustaining very great damage.

   We are now about seven leagues from Cadiz, and I see the
   remainder of the enemy's squadron going into port. I am as yet
   ignorant of the ship's name that struck her colours last night.
   She is, however, one of those that came from Cadiz with the
   Spanish squadron, but under French colours, and had a broad
   pendant. We are proceeding to Gibraltar.

The following extract is from a letter to Richard Saumarez, Esq.:

   Cæsar, off Cadiz, 13th July 1801.

   I intend to send Phil. D. with my despatches. You must refer to
   him for the particulars of the wonderful events since yesterday.

After detailing these events exactly as in the above, he adds,
respecting the Venerable:

   It was as severe an action as I have known, and must reflect the
   highest credit on Captain Hood; but having his main-mast shot
   away, and it falling nearly calm, he was obliged to leave the
   enemy. We were at this time close to the shoals off the coast,
   on which the Venerable got aground; but she was afterwards got
   off, and was taken in tow by the Thames. I fear she has
   sustained great loss in men. What a surprising change, my dear
   Richard, to the events of last Monday! To the Divine mercy I
   entirely ascribe this signal success, who never forsakes those
   who place their confidence in him! I mean to send the Louisa,
   which joined me yesterday from Minorca, with Phil. Dumaresq, and
   doubt not but he will be a welcome messenger. We see the
   remainder of the enemy's squadron. They are standing for Cadiz,

Sir James subsequently wrote to his eldest brother, residing in
Guernsey; and, as his letter will be found to contain additional
matter of much interest, we herewith insert it.

   Cæsar, Gibraltar, 16th July 1801.


   I hope that the several letters I have had the pleasure of
   writing to you at different opportunities, will arrive safely;
   and that you and all my friends will not be kept in suspense on
   events which, thanks to the Divine Providence! have terminated
   so successfully to the squadron. Although I always trusted some
   favourable turn would take place, I never could have formed any
   hopes equal to what has actually occurred. The possession of one
   or two of the disabled ships, besides the recovery of the
   Hannibal, was the utmost that could have been expected; but our
   present success far exceeds that. The destruction of two
   first-rates, and the capture of a seventy-four, completely
   cripples the force in Cadiz, and places the squadron with me
   superior to all the force the enemy can collect; and this,
   without any loss whatever to this ship, and trifling to the
   Superb. The men, wounded on board the latter, suffered from the
   explosion of cartridges in their own ship.

   The misfortune to the Venerable was more serious; but this was
   subsequently to the attack on the enemy's force, and was mainly
   attributable to the untoward circumstance of the wind failing
   this ship when we were very close to her.

   It is inconceivable the _éclat_ with which we have been received
   by this garrison, and the distinguished honours paid to the
   squadron; indeed their marked attention, after the attack of
   Algeziras, does them great credit; as, after the failure of that
   business, we exposed Gibraltar to all the inconvenience of a
   blockaded port; and yet the whole garrison received us as if we
   had obtained a victory. You must suppose my distress must have
   been great during the interval: convoys long expected were
   liable to fall into the enemy's hands, whilst the increasing
   force at Cadiz would soon have put it out of my power to cope
   with them.

   The St. Antoine has scarcely suffered: my intention is to take
   her into the service; and in two weeks, I expect, she will be
   partly manned, and fit for sea. Yesterday, almost all the
   Hannibal's men were sent in, which will make up our
   deficiencies, and partly man that ship, when in a fortnight she
   shall proceed on a particular service.

   These are trifling advantages compared to those that result from
   both actions. The three ships were to have proceeded direct to
   the Bay of Casquays, at the entrance of the Tagus, where the
   troops with them were to have taken possession of the batteries,
   which would have given them complete possession of the trade to
   and from Lisbon. I have despatched the Spencer and Audacious,
   and shall join them with this ship, the Pompée, and Superb, the
   first easterly wind, and cruise before Cadiz with this force,
   far superior to any the enemy can put to sea. I shall soon be
   joined by ships from England.

   We have, as yet, no accounts since we sailed. You will have the
   pleasure of mentioning to the relations of the young men I have,
   that they have all behaved most nobly, and are perfectly well:
   it is a particular circumstance that, out of six ships, three
   masters should have been killed, and not one lieutenant hurt out
   of the whole number.

   I hope the benevolence of the public will be extended to the
   sufferers in these actions: some are piteous objects; indeed, no
   less than three brave men with the loss of both arms.

   I send this by a vessel belonging to Jersey.
   My dear brother, most sincerely yours,

   John Saumarez, Esq. Guernsey.

   P.S.--I am under great concern at the uneasiness you must all
   suffer at our unsuccessful attack off Algeziras; but this will,
   I hope, soon remove it. Messrs. Le Mesurier, jointly with Mr.
   Tucker, Lord St. Vincent's secretary, are appointed agents.

The following letter to Lady Saumarez is dated 17th July, on board the
Cæsar, at Gibraltar; and gives a detailed account of his proceedings
after his arrival there.

   Since our arrival here on Tuesday afternoon, every distinguished
   attention which can be thought of has been paid to the squadron.
   The day following, the royal standard was hoisted; at noon the
   garrison saluted; and, in the evening, the most splendid
   illuminations took place in every habitable part of this famous
   Rock. Yesterday the governor gave a dinner, and he intends to
   invite the ladies to a ball on this occasion. We have, also,
   invitations from the different corps for every day we are likely
   to remain here: but what has afforded me more satisfaction, is
   the manner we were received after the attack of Algeziras,
   which, from the arrival of the Spanish squadron, subjected the
   garrison to every inconvenience of a port blockaded. The St.
   Antoine I have ordered to be purchased into the service; and I
   propose to appoint officers to her. She is a very good ship, and
   has suffered so little that I expect to have her fit for service
   in less than a fortnight. The Spencer and Audacious I detached
   off Cape St. Mary's, and I shall join them with the Pompée and
   Superb the first easterly wind, and resume my station before
   Cadiz, where they cannot have more than four ships ready for
   sea; and, I may venture to pronounce, the Spanish ships will not
   come out, except the French take possession of the batteries and
   compel them. We have almost daily accounts from thence,
   describing the disagreements between the French and Spaniards as
   most serious. They also describe the two French ships as being
   in a very shattered condition, and there being no materials in
   store to repair them.

   I think my first accounts will reach you by way of Lisbon; but I
   hope Dumaresq, with the subsequent ones, will make his
   appearance very soon after. I am very impatient to hear from
   England. I require small vessels very much, as I have not been
   able to convey the accounts of our success to Lord Keith.

   When am I to hear from you? and when shall I be assured you have
   not suffered from the relation of these events? The governor and
   others talk to me of honours being conferred; but, unless
   Parliament furnish the means to support them with dignity, I
   might as well be without them. The only ladies I have yet seen
   are, Lady Ann Niel and Mrs. Edwards, whose husbands have
   regiments here; they are very amiable people: besides, Mr.
   Fyers, whose daughter was married the evening of the
   illumination,--an ominous day you will think. Captain Brenton
   will draw you some excellent views of both actions, without
   partiality. I am most highly indebted to him, in getting this
   ship so soon refitted, and, indeed, throughout the whole of our
   important service. A large shot passed through the cabin, which
   filled it with splinters, and demolished the tables and chairs,
   besides the glass. Fortunately, my papers and wardrobe escaped.
   We are now quite refitted; as well, I may say, as we were a
   fortnight ago.

   I am in want of nothing whatever, but letters from you. Let me
   have favourable accounts of yourself and of our precious
   children, and I shall be satisfied. I hope to send a box of
   Malaga raisins for the young tribe. James will be overjoyed to
   hear of his father's victory.

The following is the account of the above action, from the French
commander-in-chief, dated at Cadiz, 16th July 1801.

   CITIZEN MINISTER.--General Moreno has returned into harbour.
   General Linois will give you an account of the sailing and
   passage of the squadron. I shall only mention to you the chagrin
   which I have experienced at not seeing the French ship, St.
   Antonio, and the two three-deckers, the Real Carlos and the
   Hermenegildo: a marine, saved with forty-five men from the Real
   Carlos, has informed us that about midnight the squadron having
   been attacked by the English, the Real Carlos and the
   Hermenegildo took each other for enemies. A very smart
   engagement ensued, the two vessels being nearly foul of each
   other. A fire broke out on board the Real Carlos, which soon
   blew up, and set fire to the Hermenegildo, which shared the same
   fate. The St. Antonio, in consequence of her station, was near
   the latter vessel, and this station gave me the greatest
   uneasiness; yet I have been assured that there were only two
   explosions. I have reason to conclude that, to get at a distance
   from the conflagration, Captain Lenny proceeded towards the
   coast of Africa, where the calms and currents carried him away
   from the squadron, which, at the break of day, was six leagues
   west of Cadiz. The day before yesterday the British ships were
   descried from the coast, and a French ship in the Strait; but
   the latter did not appear to be captured. This may give us some
   hope, if the signals are correct. Nothing remains to me but
   uncertainty, with a great deal of fear; I do not know what
   opinion to entertain.

   After having spoken of our losses, it gives me great pleasure to
   state to you the new glory with which Le Formidable, commanded
   by Captain Troude, has been covered. During the night cannonade,
   in the middle of the Strait, this ship received the fire of her
   friends and enemies; but with intrepid coolness the captain
   would not return the fire, lest he should increase the disorder,
   and, keeping close to the Spanish coast, he retired from the
   combatants. He was followed by a division of the British fleet
   of three ships, and a frigate: and, at break of day, being in
   sight of Cadiz, and five leagues distant from the squadron, he
   was attacked by three ships, with which he was engaged
   half-an-hour, and obliged two of them to retire: the third
   endeavoured to attack Le Formidable on the quarter, while the
   frigate cannonaded her in stern. But, notwithstanding the bad
   state of his masts, Captain Troude approached within musket-shot
   of the British ship, the Pompée, which, having lost her mast,
   after an engagement of an hour and a half, made haste to get
   away, being taken in tow by a frigate. Some time after, both of
   her masts came down, and the vessel had the appearance of having
   yielded; but, as the two other ships and the frigate were at a
   short distance, Captain Troude would not take possession of her:
   he expected to be attacked again. The enemy, disconcerted both
   in their fire and their bravery, suffered him quietly to pursue
   his course.

   This engagement took place in sight of Cadiz; and the glorious
   result of a combat so unequal, by covering our arms with glory,
   has filled the hearts of the Spaniards with the utmost degree of
   enthusiasm. Le Formidable was scarcely repaired after the battle
   of Algeziras, on the 6th,--top-gallant-mast served as top-masts;
   but, in this damaged state, the brave Troude, instead of flying
   from the enemy, who might have captured him without firing a
   shot, offered them battle, as by this manoeuvre, as prudent as
   bold, he first extricated himself from two ships, which he
   greatly damaged, and at last totally dismasted the Pompée,[40]
   which fought him bravely for an hour and a half.

     [40] M. Dumanoir le Pelley is in error here. The Pompée was not
     in this action. It has been seen that she was lying disabled at

   The combined squadron was at that time becalmed, at the distance
   of five or six leagues. I expected to see it, on the breeze
   springing up, come to take possession of this vessel, and give
   chase to capture the four British ships which were in sight; but
   I was far from having any idea of the misfortune which befel the
   two three-deckers, which no doubt occasioned the separation of
   the St. Antonio: and in the evening the squadron came to anchor.

   Rear-admiral Linois was exceedingly sorry that he was not on
   board the Formidable; but he did not think proper to resist the
   earnest solicitations of General Moreno, who induced him to go
   on board his frigate that they might better concert their
   operations. My respectful salutations,


Report of Captain Troude, provisional commander of Le Formidable, to
Rear-admiral Linois:

   Cadiz, 15th July 1801.


   I have the honour of communicating to you an account of the
   operations of Le Formidable, with the provisional command of
   which you entrusted me. Proud of the honourable charge of
   defending your flag, I endeavoured to execute your orders with
   the most scrupulous exactness. I immediately repaired on board
   to assume the chief command, and I put to sea as soon as you
   made the signal.

   You observed, as well as myself, the movements of the enemy's
   squadron, which had retired to Gibraltar after the memorable
   battle of the 6th at Algeziras. Seeing the enemy set sail at the
   same time as the combined squadrons, and keeping to windward of
   us at the distance of about a league, I endeavoured to follow
   exactly your manoeuvres, and made all the sail possible to
   follow you; but the ship I had the honour to command, being
   absolutely disabled, having only jury-masts and the lower sails,
   I could not make that way which I wished. During the darkness
   of the night a strong breeze broke the small top-gallant-mast
   that served me as a fore-top-mast, and everything contributed to
   prevent me from following the combined squadron.

   About midnight I sustained the fire of five English ships that
   had come up with me: they fired red-hot bullets. I escaped as
   fast as possible from the brisk cannonade which they maintained,
   hanging up the same lights as I observed them to have. I had
   only three men killed, and two wounded. As I was very near the
   combined squadron, I resolved not to engage, that I might avoid
   those fatal mistakes which too often take place in a night
   engagement. I was afraid lest I might fire into some of our own
   vessels, or that they might fire into mine; from which, fatal
   accidents must have resulted to the combined squadron. At one in
   the morning, not being able to observe or distinguish any more
   signals, I made for Cadiz, keeping close in with the Spanish
   coast, on a course N. or N.E., and by that means got at a
   distance from the squadron, which were steering large in a
   westerly direction.

   At break of day I found myself attacked by four of the enemy's
   squadron,--three ships and a frigate,--which had pursued the
   same course. Though totally disabled, and the crew fatigued,
   having had no rest for three days, we returned their fire with
   courage: the frigate attacked us first, but a few shots well
   directed from our stern-guns made her abandon her object. The
   ship which followed, approached us, and kept up a brisk fire. We
   manoeuvred to get into a better position; I ran close to her
   until we were yard-arm and yard-arm, and maintained a terrible
   and well-supported fire: after being engaged an hour and a half,
   she was completely dismasted, making water in every part. The
   frigate which had attacked me astern, came immediately to her
   assistance; the other two vessels finding it necessary to sheer
   off after receiving some broadsides, not without damage, joined
   the frigate, and hoisted out all their boats to save the crew of
   the other vessel, and to take her in tow. They resigned to me
   the field of battle, and retired.

   I expected, however, another combat. We were determined to make
   the most vigorous defence; but, as the enemy retired, and as I
   found myself in such a situation as to be unable to pursue them,
   I resolved to proceed to Cadiz, where I arrived at two in the

   I shall not attempt to give you any account of particular
   instances of bravery. The two staffs, the crew, and the troops
   who were passengers, vied with each other,--covering themselves
   with glory; for, besides the noble combat of the 6th, this
   proves that the valour which animated the brave men I have the
   honour to command, was carried to a degree which it is difficult
   to describe. Government will, no doubt, take the earliest
   opportunity of rewarding so much courage, and so great a
   devotion to restore the glory of the French navy. It would be
   just, also, to indemnify them for the losses they have
   sustained; their effects having been cut to pieces and
   absolutely destroyed.

   I have now, Citizen General, to communicate to you a very fatal
   relation.--In the battle of this night, two of the ships which
   fired upon me, took fire and blew up. I supposed them to be
   English, presuming that the fire had been occasioned by the
   furnaces they had on board for heating their shot; but, on
   entering the harbour of Cadiz, I was assured they were Spanish.
   The darkness had led them into a mistake, which I had justly
   dreaded. They fired on each other, and on my vessel, at the
   moment when I formed the prudent resolution of avoiding a combat
   in which I could not distinguish the enemy. The names of these
   two vessels are the San Carlos and the Hermenegildo.

   In the combat so severe as that of this morning, and against so
   unequal a force, I am happy in having to regret only twenty men
   killed, or severely wounded.

   Accept, Citizen General, assurances of my zeal and most
   respectful devotion.

Letter from Rear-admiral Linois to the Minister of the Marine, giving
an account of the action:


   On the 9th of July a Spanish division, consisting of six sail of
   the line and three frigates, arrived at Algeziras from Cadiz,
   under command of his Excellency Lieutenant-general Moreno, in
   order to raise the blockade of four sail of the line and one
   frigate, which were under my orders, and to favour their escape
   to Cadiz. That officer accordingly gave me every assistance in
   his power in order to put my ships in a condition to put to sea,
   and to tow them out, in order to enable them to set sail. Our
   labour was continued day and night. General Moreno made his
   squadron anchor in a line N.E. and S.W. On the 12th, there was a
   tolerable fresh east wind, and it was determined to set sail at
   one o'clock in the afternoon, on account of the tide. The signal
   being given at that hour, the fleet set sail, the Spanish
   squadron being to windward of ours. The frigate L'Indienne towed
   the Hannibal, which we were sorry to perceive made very little

   The calm which we experienced under Gibraltar necessarily
   deranged the regularity of our order; while the enemy, having a
   brisk gale at east, sailed from Gibraltar with five sail of the
   line, a frigate, a brig, and a Portuguese frigate, and formed
   the order of battle. As soon as the English Admiral had passed
   Europa Point, he made a signal, and immediately we saw to
   windward six sail, of which two had three masts. I was then with
   M. de Moreno on board the Sabina frigate. At sunset, the two
   last ships of our line doubled the Cape Carnero. Three only
   remained, with the Hannibal, which was under jury-masts, and
   which consequently could not carry much sail.

   Night was coming on, and it was necessary to return to our
   anchorage, which afforded the enemy an opportunity of attacking
   us before we took a position. At all events every delay was
   dangerous, for the reinforcements which the enemy expected might
   arrive every moment. The breeze from the east becoming stronger,
   we were assured of the wind during the night. We determined to
   send the Hannibal back to Algeziras, and to pass the Strait with
   the combined squadron. We then manoeuvred so as to facilitate
   the rallying of two of our vessels, which had fallen into the
   rear in consequence of the calm. The three French vessels, which
   sailed better than could have been expected, were in the van;
   and in that order it was proposed to pass the Strait.

   At eight, the enemy showed a disposition to attack us. At nine
   we heard the reports of three cannon, and at the same time we
   saw fires at a considerable distance behind us. We presumed it
   might be some of the enemy's vessels making signals of their
   arrival. We congratulated ourselves upon seeing our squadrons so
   well collected together, and sailing so well, which made us
   confident that the plan of the enemy would not succeed.

   At half-past eleven the wind was considerably increased. The
   night was very dark, and we heard a smart cannonade in the
   E.N.E.; and, soon after, we saw a conflagration, which made us
   apprehend that some of our vessels, in firing their stern guns,
   had taken fire, in consequence of the force of the wind. We
   thought also that they might be fire-ships of the enemy. We put
   about for a moment; but the vessel on fire approaching us, we
   continued our way, having constantly a light at our
   main-top-mast head, as a signal for rallying.

   It could no longer be doubted that the enemy had passed the
   Strait, and had got into our wake. The cannonade became pretty
   general, but the wind was too strong to continue the action. We
   received several shots on board the frigate, which killed one
   man and wounded five. Several balls passed through our sails. We
   took down the signal we had at our mast-head, for fear the enemy
   would fall upon us. It was afterwards hoisted, in order to
   collect our ships. We made sail, directing our course to the
   W.N.W., not choosing to go more before the wind, lest the wind,
   which was very strong, would carry away our masts. We passed the
   night in the greatest disquietude, not knowing whether the
   vessels which were in sight were not enemies. At length the day
   dissipated part of our fears, and we found ourselves in the
   midst of our fleet, with the exception of the two ships of three
   decks, viz. the Hermenegildo and Real Carlos, and the Formidable
   and the St. Antoine. The wind having fallen calm, it became
   impossible to go in search of the vessels which had separated.
   We were then six leagues west of Cadiz.

   At half-past four the Dessaix made a signal that she had sprung
   a leak, and that the water gained upon her thirty inches an
   hour. She demanded assistance, which was granted. At five
   o'clock we heard an action in the east, and perceived a smoke.
   The wind being then from the S.E., we made the signal for the
   line of battle to be formed as quickly as possible, without
   regard to places, in order to assist the vessel that was
   engaged. At half-past six the action ceased, and a most perfect
   calm succeeded. At eleven, the wind rising again, we perceived
   four vessels at a considerable distance from one another. We
   flattered ourselves at first that they were our ships, but we
   soon found by their manoeuvres that they were enemies. We also
   distinguished the Formidable close under the land, making the
   best of her way to Cadiz. We stood for the port, from which a
   felucca brought me a letter from the captain of the Formidable,
   which had been anchored in the Road of Cadiz, stating that in
   the morning he had engaged two ships of the line and a frigate,
   and that one of the ships of the line had been completely
   dismasted, and had been towed away by a frigate. We then
   anchored in Cadiz.

   I must acknowledge the consummate experience and talents of
   General Moreno, as well as the zeal and care which he displayed
   for the success of his mission. If separations have taken place,
   they must be attributed to the darkness of the night, and the
   necessity which there was of getting away from the vessels that
   were on fire. That officer, on hearing at Cadiz of the
   destruction of two ships of his squadron, Hermenegildo and
   Real-Carlos, was justly struck with grief on the occasion. He
   had, by his wise instructions, provided against almost every
   possible case. I have since been informed that the two Spanish
   vessels which were destroyed, cannonaded and run foul of one
   another, each supposing the other to be an enemy. We are
   uncertain about the fate of the St. Antoine. The violence of the
   wind made it extremely dangerous to fire to windward.

   Rear-admiral LINOIS.

   Dated in Cadiz Harbour, 15th July 1801,
   on board the Formidable.

Admiral Moreno's orders to his fleet on the 11th July 1801:

   Orders of sailing to be observed by the ships in my charge on
   their passage through the Straits of Gibraltar.

   The three ships under the command of Rear-admiral Linois will
   form the vanguard, with the line abreast; the six ships under my
   charge will form astern of these, likewise formed in a line
   abreast, endeavouring, as much as possible, to keep opposite to
   the intervals of the French ships, so as not to impede their
   fire, according to the following disposition:


        Indomptable.     Formidable.        Dessaix.

     Augus-    Ar-       R.    Herme-      St.    St. Fer-
      tin.  ganauta.   Carlos. negildo.   Antonio. nando.

   In case the enemy should attempt to follow and attack the
   combined squadron in the rear, besides the continual fire which
   we ought to make from the stern chasers, chiefly with a view to
   destroy the enemy's rigging, the squadron will form the line
   ahead, either with their heads to the Spanish coast, or to that
   of Africa, as will be determined by signal from the Admiral;
   and, in order that this might be more simple, in that case, he
   will only show the signal for the course, at the entire lowering
   of which the movements must be made. As their situation, from
   their local position, cannot be of long duration, consequently
   either by hailing (if near enough) or by signal to preserve the
   course, the squadron will proceed again to form the line abreast
   as formerly. It is of the utmost importance that the fire from
   none of the ships should interfere, or be embarrassed with that
   of others in this squadron, nor leave the three French ships in
   the rear.

   As soon as the French ships get under sail, all those in my
   charge will do the same, following the track of each other,
   always observing to keep at a short distance from the French,
   till we weather the Point of Carnero, in order that if the enemy
   should get under sail, and find themselves in a situation to
   offer battle to our squadron before it is formed in the Straits
   with the line abreast as above directed, we may engage them with
   advantage; consequently, the least inattention or delay may
   produce the most unfortunate consequences.

   I think the captains of the ships I have the honour to command
   are fully persuaded of this truth, and therefore I depend upon
   its efficacy; and I flatter myself that they are convinced
   everything will be performed on my part which can be inspired by
   my wish to add to the glory of his Majesty's arms, that of our
   corps in particular, and the nation in general.

     Line of battle in natural order.

     _2nd Squadron._  _1st Squadron._  _3rd Squadron._
      St. Ferdinand,   Formidable,      Argonauta,
      St. Antonio,     R. Carlos,       Dessaix,
      Hermenegildo.    Indomptable.     St. Augustin.

           Fr. frigate Sabina,     Vautour.

   A red pendant, under any other signal, signifies it is directed
   to the French ships only.

   To those conversant in naval affairs, it must appear manifest
   that the disposition made by Admirals Moreno and Linois was one
   of the worst that could be devised. It was scarcely possible
   that nine ships, which had never sailed in company with each
   other, could maintain, for any length of time, a line abreast
   before the wind so exactly as to be able to form in a line ahead
   when required, especially in a dark night with a strong breeze;
   and it must be evident that any ship which advanced at all ahead
   of the others could never get into the line of battle when the
   signal was made to form it on either tack. Moreno seems to have
   been fully aware of the probability of the ships firing into
   each other, yet he made arrangements of all others the least
   likely to prevent it. Had he formed into two lines ahead, with
   the disabled ships in advance, he would have obviated the risk
   of firing into each other, while the one division, by shortening
   sail, might have given timely assistance to the other which had
   been attacked.

   Nothing can equal the scene of horror which the sudden
   conflagration produced in these two ships. The collision in
   which the fore-top-mast of the Hermenegildo fell on board of the
   Real Carlos, added to the general dismay; and the agonising
   screams of the unhappy crews, deserted by their countrymen and
   allies in that dreadful hour, could not fail to pierce the
   hearts of the brave conquerors; but to render them any
   assistance while the hostile flag was flying was impossible. The
   duty of the Admiral was to "sink, burn, and destroy." Seven sail
   of the enemy's line were still flying from half their force, and
   he was obliged to leave the burning ships to their fate, and
   pursue his enemy until his destruction was complete.

   The capture of the Hannibal, in which the Spaniards had so
   distinguished a share, induced a number of the young men of
   family to embark in the two Spanish three-deckers, in order to
   convey their trophy to Cadiz, never supposing that the
   half-demolished British squadron would dare to approach so
   formidable and so superior a force. This fatal event, while it
   plunged into distress the whole city of Cadiz, could not fail to
   create a sensation strongly unfavourable to their new republican
   allies as the originators of their misery.



Dorset Street, Fleet Street.

Transcriber's note:

   J.M. Frere has been corrected to "J.H." Frere. John Hookman
   Frere, (1769-1846), diplomatist, translator, and author was
   appointed in 1800 Envoy to Portugal, and was Ambassador to
   Spain 1802-4, and again 1808-9.

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