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1807. to proceed towards St.-Gilles; where several vessels, June. part of the convoy belonging to the three gun-brigs,
were observed to be nearly becalmed. With these vessels the lieutenant afterwards came up, and captured 14 of them, without the least resistance, the crews of the vessels, which consisted of brigs, sloops, and chasse-marées, taking to their boats as the British approached.
On the 6th of June the british 14-gun brig Portof brig d'Espagne, lieutenant James Pattison Stewart, cruis
ing in the gulf of Paria, detached lieutenant Hall pagne and 25 men, in a prize schooner disguised as a
neutral, to attack a spanish privateer, which, othercap. wise, there was no chance of overtaking. After exMerce-changing musketry and receiving the fire from her
guns, lieutenant Hall,' in a very cool and brave manner, laid the privateer on board, and quickly carried her, although the Mercedes, as was her name, mounted two carriage-guns and two swivels, and had a crew of 30 men. Out of these, three men were killed, one drowned, and three wounded. On the british side two men only were wounded.
On the 30th of April the british 38-gun frigate Cher Uranie, captain Christopher Laroche, arrived off the
port of Cherbourg, to watch the motions of a french 40-gun frigate and brig-corvette, which had recently come from the arsenal into the road, preparatory to an escape to sea. The frigate was, we believe, the Département-de-la-Manche, or, as for brevity she was called, the Manche, launched on the 27th of the preceding December, a fine frigate, afterwards captured by the British, and found to measure nearly 1:100 tons. The brig was either the Cigne or the Papillon, of 16 guns. It is but fair to state that, although rating as a 38-ġun frigate, the Uranie, on account of a recent reduction in her armament, was inferior to any ship of her class. Being an old french ship, (the same that captured the Thames in 1793,*) the Uranie had been
See vol. i. p. 154. ,
found too weak to carry long 18-pounders, and a 1807. battery of long 12-pounders had been substituted. Her quarterdeck and forecastle armament was, we believe, the same as that of her class, 16 carronades, 32-pounders, and two long nines; making her total number of guns 46. Her complement, also, appears to have been the same, 281 men and boys; but the Uranie was at this time between 30 and 40 men short.
On the 5th of May, at 2 h. 30 m. P. M., when the Uranie lay at an anchor between Cape La Hague and Cherbourg, the french brig came out of the road and stood to the northward, as if to reconnoitre the frigate; but, just as the latter was preparing to slip and go in chase, the brig put back. On the 15th, at 4 h. 30 m. P. M., when the Uranie, in company with the Rebuff 12-gun brig Rebuff, lieutenant John Whiston, was joins standing towards Cherbourg with the wind at westnorth-west, the weather, which had been thick and hazy, suddenly cleared up and discovered the french frigate and brig, with five launches, standing out. The French Uranie cleared for action.
At 4 h. 45 m. the french vessels stood in shore, and in another quarter of an brig hour stood out again. The Uranie thereupon wore, and out and hove to on the larboard tack, Cape La Hague westin. six or eight miles. A thick fog then came on, and concealed the Manche and her consort from view. They, in the mean time, had put back to the road.
On the 16th, in the forenoon, the Uranie and Rebuff again stood in towards Cherbourg; and, on
Repeat arriving close off the road, the Uranie hoisted her the macolours and fired a gun. On the 6th of June the næuvre brig came out through the east passage, and, at 3 P.M., after receiving from the Uranie a distant broadside, stood back through the western passage, or that at the opposite extremity of the dike. On the 7th, at 1 h. 35 m. P. M., Cape La Hague south-southwest six or seven leagues, the Uranie, then, it appears, alone, discovered the Manche and her consort to the eastward. The Uranie, having the wind from the westward, bore up under all sail in chase of the
off the port
1807, french frigate and brig, then standing in; but which, June. at 3 h. 30 m. P, M., put about and stood for the Uranie, Uranie as if intending to engage. The Uranie shortened
sail. alone. At 4 P. M. the two french vessels bore up and made
all sail for Cherbourg, followed leisurely by the Uranie until 5 P M.; when, having arrived nearly off
the mouth of the harbour, the latter hove to. Is join On the 16th the 12-gun brig Defender, lieutenant ed by Defen. George Plowman, joined company. On the 18th, at
10 h. 30 m., just as the Defender had been detached to the northward, the Manche and her attendant were seen coming out of Cherbourg: The Defender was immediately recalled; and the two british vessels, about noon, with the wind at æorth-west by west, bore
in chase under topsails, topgallantsails, and foresail." At
15 minutes pașt noon the french frigate and brig frigate tacked towards the british frigate and brig; wherebrig upon the Uranie hauled up her
foresail. At 1 h. 45 m. make a P. M. the french vessels tacked in shore, or from the show of latter, The Uranie then set her foresail. At this
time the Manche had hauled up her courses, with the apparent intention of waiting for the british frigate to close; but the former soon afterwards, still keeping her courses up, edged away towards Cherbourg, The Uranie and Defender then fired their bow guns,
but without effect. It was now perceived that the Uranie Manche, under topsails and topgallantsails, consider
ably outsailed the Uranie with her foresail set. Upon this, at 3 h. 20 m. P. M., the two british vessels hauled off, and hove to on the larboard tack, with their heads to the northward.
On the 22d, at noon, Cherbourg south by east three or four leagues, and the wind moderate from the west-north-west, the Uranie and Defender, then under topsails and topgallantsails, on the starboard or in-shore tack, discovered the Manche and brigcorvette coming out of the road, through, we believe, the eastern passage, and standing towards them on the larboard tack. At 40 minutes past noon the Uranie tacked to the northward, apparently to speak
lar y move
the Defender. At O b. 45 m. P. M. the two french 1807. vessels tacked in shore, and in five minutes after- June. wards captain Laroche spoke lieutenant Plowman, and directed him to keep upon the Uranie's weather quarter. The Uranie then tacked in shore, and at I h. 15 m. P. M. the french frigate and brig tacked towards the former. The Uranie then set her foresail. At 1 h. 45 m. P. M. the Manche and her consort tacked in shore, and at 2 P. M. bore up. The Uranie and Defender then bore up in chase. At 2 h. 15 m.P. M. the british frigate set her mainsail, and at 2 b. 40 m., her royals, and was gaining fast on the french vessels, they having little wind in shore. At A simi3 h. 20 m. the Uranie, followed by the Defender, hauled off on the larboard tack, and, having fired her ment starboard broadside at the enemy without any visible sides. effect, shortened sail and hove to.
It appears that, early in the month of July, the Crew of ship’s company addressed a letter to the board of comadmiralty, complaining that their captain had not
against done his utmost to bring the enemy's frigate to action. their As soon as a knowledge of this fact reached the offi- capcers, they, as was natural, became alarmed for the character of the ship and themselves, and applied for a court-martial upon captain Laroche. The court sat at Portsmouth, from the 20th to the 24th of July inclusive. The charges were confined to what took place on the 15th of May and 22d of June.
As well as we can gather from the brief and His imperfect abstract of the proceedings of the trial anddisgiven in the public prints, * the conduct of the Uranie on the last-named day was the principal cause of his ship. complaint. It is stated that the Uranie wore or stood from the enemy for some time, and was an hour before she was ready for action, and that there was great confusion on board; that, had captain Laroche done his utmost, he might have cut off the corvette, and must have brought the frigate to action if she did not abandon the corvette; and that he passed the
* See Naval Chronicle, vol. xviii. p. 158.
1807, enemy's frigate within gun-shot, giving a broadside, Aug.
and worè, and must have been in close action in a few minutes, if he had chased the frigate and carried all sail.
In his defence captain Laroche stated, that he had anchored off the road, and had fired at the frigate in defiance; that he had carried all the sail he could, with safety to the ship then on a lee shore, and close in with it; that it behoved him to be cautious, as the Minerve had been captured by running ashore upon the same spot;* and that the Uranie was foul in her bottom and could not sail, and that, while she carried
only thirty-six 12-pounders, the enemy's frigate carried fifty 18-pounders.” Here there must certainly be a mistake. The force of the Uranie, as far as we can get at it, has already been stated; and we know that the force of the Manche, when captured by the British a year or two afterwards, was officially reported at 44 guns.
At all events the sentence pronounced upon the Uranie's captain was: “The charge being in part proved, captain Laroche is sentenced to be dismissed from the command of
his majesty's ship Uranie.” Hydra On the 6th of August, late in the evening, the three british 38-gun frigate Hydra, captain George Mundy, pola- cruising off the coast of Catalonia, chased into the
harbour of Begur three armed vessels, a polacre Begur. ship and two polacre brigs.
On the following morning, the 7th, the Hydra reconnoitred the port, and discovered that the vessels were strongly defended both by nature and art, lying in a narrow harbour, under the close protection of a battery and tower upon a cliff on one side, and of rocks and bushes, admirably calculated for musketry, on the other. But, having great faith in the firmness and resources of his people, captain Mundy resolved to attempt cutting out the vessels.
Accordingly, at 50 minutes past noon, the Hydra
* See vol. iii. p. 272.