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action proved equally indecisive as the former, and a thick fog, that intervened during this night and the greater part of the succeeding day, prevented the renewal of the engagement. In the mean time, Rear-Admiral Neilly joined the French commander-in-chief with a reinforcement of three sail of the line and two frigates : this accession of strength enabled him to detach his crippled ships; and the dawn of the succeeding day exhibited the two fleets drawn up in order of battle, and prepared to renew the contest. The British admiral, perceiving that there was time sufficient for the various ships' companies to take refreshment, made a signal for breakfast, which, by procrastinating the action, induced the enemy to believe that their antagonists wished to decline the engagement: but they were greatly disappointed; for in about half an hour, Lord Howe gave orders for steering the Royal Charlotte alongside the French admiral, which was effected at nine o'clock in the morning; and, while some of the English commanders penetrated the line of battle and engaged to leeward, others occupied such stations as allowed them to combat with their antagonists to windward. So close and severe was the contest, that the fate of this day depended but little, either on the exertion of nautical knowledge, or the exhibition of that scientific skill, which subjects the management of artillery to the rules of tactics : all was hard fighting. Such was the tremendous fire, and so decisive the advantage on the part of the British, that, in about fifty minutes after the action had commenced in the centre, Admiral Villaret-Joyeuse determined to relinquish the contest; for he now perceived several of his ships dismasted, and one of seventy-four guns about to sink; he, at the same time found that six were captured: a great slaughter had also taken place on board his own vessel, in which his captain and a multitude of the crew were killed, while the national commissioner, with most of his officers, were wounded : he accordingly crowded off with all the canvass he could spread, and was immediately followed by most of the ships in his van that were not completely crippled: two or three of these, although dismantled, also got away soon after, under a temporary sail
LIFE AND REIGN OF WILLIAM IV.
hoisted on the occasion ; for the enemy had, as usual, chiefly aimed at the rigging, and the victors were by this time disabled from pursuing the vanquished : the Queen Charlotte, in particular, was at this period nearly unmanageable, having lost her foretopmast in action; this was soon after followed by the maintopmast, which fell over the side; while the Brunswick, which had lost her mizenmast, and the Queen, also disabled, drifted to leeward, and were exposed to considerable danger from the retreating fleet. Two eighty and five seventy-four gun ships, however, still remained in possession of the victors; but one of the latter, Le Vengeur, went down soon after she was taken possession of, and, though many of the French were saved on this occasion by the humanity of their adversaries, above three hundred went to the bottom. The slaughter on board the French fleet was very great, that in the captured ships alone amounted to 1270. The British total loss was 904.
Admiral Montague, who had repaired to England, whence he was immediately despatched to join Earl Howe, sailed for Brest, partly with a view to fall in with the commander-inchief, and partly on purpose to pick up any crippled ships, which, in case of an action, might take shelter in that port; he accordingly encountered some of the retreating squadron, and chased them into the outer road. On the succeeding day, he descried the main body under Villaret-Joyeuse; but, notwithstanding the late fatal conflict, that commander formed an admirable line of battle, and gave chase; while the fleet from America, consisting of 160 sail of merchantmen, supposed to be worth several millions sterling, but invaluable on account of the distressed state of France, arrived in safety on the 12th of June.
The British commander-in-chief now deemed it proper to conduct the six ships captured from the enemy into port, being unable to keep the sea, on account of the disabled state of his own squadron : he accordingly steered for England, arrived safe off Dunnose, in the Isle of Wight, on the 13th of June,
and in the course of the same day returned thanks for the highly distinguished examples of resolution, spirit, and perseverance, which had been testified by every description of officers, seamen, and military corps, in the ships of the fleet, during the several actions with the enemy on the 28th and 29th of May and the 1st of June. The British fleet, after it had been refitted, again put to sea; but the enemy was 80 completely humbled, that the Brest fleet never ventured out, till Lord Howe had returned to port.
The victory of the 1st of June conferred great glory on the admiral, and was received at home with uncommon rejoicing. Large sums of money were subscribed for the benefit of the widows and children of those killed in the action. Rear-Admirals Bowyer and Pasley were created baronets, and received a pension of 10001. each
Admirals Graves and Sir Alexander Hood had the honours of the peerage conferred upon them. Earl Howe was presented with a diamond-hilted sword of great value, by the King in person, on board the Queen Charlotte, at Spithead; and also with a golden chain, to which was suspended a medal, with Victory crowning Britannia on the obverse, and on the reverse a wreath of oak and laurel, encircling his lordship’s name, and the date of the action. In December, 1796, his Majesty was also pleased to transmit gold chains and medals to the following flag-officers and captains, who were reported by Lord Howe to have signalized themselves during the battle with the French fleet :Vice-Admirals Sir A. Hood, T. Graves; Rear-Admirals A. Gardner, G. Bowyer, T. Pasley, Sir R. Curtis; Captains W. Hope, Elphinstone, Hon. T. Pakenham, J. T. Duckworth, Sir A. Douglas, H. Harvey, W. Domett, H. Nichols, J. W. Payne, and T. Pringle.
The success of the British navy in the course of this year was nearly uniform. On the 23d of April Sir John Borlase Warren captured two French frigates off Guernsey, after two hours' fighting. In August, he pursued five other French ships of war off Scilly; and, driving two of them under the
batteries of the Gamelle rocks, would have proceeded to burn them; but, with a generosity, worthy of his courage, abstained from the last rigours of war against an unfortunate enemy, whose wounded must have perished, had he set their vessels on fire. Several combats of single ships displayed the supe. riority of our seamen in a most brilliant light; nor did the loss of the Alexander, of seventy-four guns, in the month of November, tarnish the reputation of the British arms, though the unusual spectacle of such a prize was resounded through France as an immortal achievement. This vessel, which had parted from the division of Admiral Bligh, was attacked off Brest by three French seventy-fours, which she resisted for two hours, and it was not till her lower masts were on the point of going by the board that she reluctantly struck to this disparity of force.
England now became the dupe of the treachery of the continental powers, for although Pitt lavished the treasures of the country with the most profuse and lavish hand in subsidising the foreign states, they frequently received the money and then actually expended it against the very government which had paici it to them. This was particularly the case with Prussia, who received a large subsidy from this country, but instead of applying it against France, she treacherously expended it in her designs against Poland, and then made peace with the republic of France.
Thus England became the laughing stock of Europe ; she lavished her treasures in the hire of an army of mercenaries, to whose Prince or monarch, the money was no soner paid, than their bayonets were employed in the cause of despotism, and the overthrow of the rights of man.
It is pleasing to dwell on all which concerns so great a man as Nelson; and it is highly to the credit of the Duke of Clarence that he exerted himself and got the appointment for his friend to the Agamemnon, which was the foundation of all his subsequent great services to his country. Nelson srems to have had no other friend so zealous at the period, when his talents were unknown, and interest only told at the Admiralty. The letters which Nelson wrote to the Duke of Clarence are full of interest, as in the first place they prove the gratitude which that great man entertained towards his royal patron, and in the second place, they testify the warın interest which his royal Highness took in the naval affairs of the country. At the time when Nelson was in the harbour of St. Fiorenzo in Corsica, he thus writes to the Duke of Clarence.
“Our last cruise, from December 21st, 1794, to January the 10th, when we arrived in this port, was such a series of storms and heavy seas, as I never before experienced; the fleet was twelve days under storın staysails. Our ships, although short of complement, are remarkably healthy, as are the troops in this island. There is already a difference to be perceived in the cultivation of the land, since last year. Many hundred acres of pasture are now covered with wheat; and as the Corsicans will find a ready sale for their corn, wine, and oil, (the two last articles the French suppressed as much as possible,) every year will doubtlessly increase the growth. The fleet goes to sea on the 22d or 23d, thirteen sail of the line. The French have fifteen in the outer road of Toulon, and fifty sail of large transports ready at Marseilles; therefore, it 18 certain they have some expedition just ready to take place, and I have no doubt, but Porto Especia is their object. We soon expect to be joined by some Neapolitan ships and frigates. I have no idea we shall get much good from them; they are not seamen, and cannot keep the sea beyond a passage. I beg your Royal Highness to believe that I am your most faithful servant."
The suspicions of Nelson in regard to the intentions of the enemy were soon verified, for on Admiral Hotham with the blockading squadron being blown off the coast, the French fleet put to sea, and steered direct for Corsica, with the intent of re-capturing that island. Amongst the many senseless, silly acts, which the English government performed at that time, there was, perhaps, no one which excited more strongly tne ridicule of the people, than one which was committed, when the island of