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1810. Sibly had made the signal of an enemy in the northJuly. north-west, in which direction the Shearwater, since
daylight, had been ordered to reconnoitre, the brig was recalled by the commodore; whose object, as he could not now prevent the junction of the frigate and convoy in Bandol, was to collect his own ships, and place them without the enemy, in the most eligible posture of defence in his power. Having; before she could reach her squadron, to cross the french van or advanced division, consisting of the 74-gun ship Ajax and 40-gun frigate Amélie, the Shearwater became rather critically circumstanced ; although it is doubtful whether, from her situation towindward, the Shearwater could have been molested by the french ships, had the brig been suffered to remain where she was. The Euryalus, who had also been ordered to close, was exposed to an equal degree of danger.
At 9 h. 15 m. A. M. the Shearwater received a ships broadside from the french Ajax, and presently two Shear- more broadsides, besides some straggling shot. The water Amélie also fired two broadsides at the brig; but not Eurya- a shot from either the 74 or the frigate struck her.
The Euryalus, at whom a part of the fire was directed, came off equally untouched; and both the latter and the Shearwater effected their junction with captain Blackwood; who, since 8 A. M., had brought to in line of battle, the Warspite leading, followed by the Conqueror and Ajax. The latter, being from her position in the line the nearest to her french
namesake and the frigate when they tacked to Gal- rejoin their main body, received also a portion of lant be- their fire. The Ajax, in the most gallant manner, of capt. tacked, and returned the fire with several broadOtway. sides. The Conqueror and Warspite, in succession,
followed captain Otway's ship in her manoeuvre, and fired also a few distant shot; but no damage appears to have been done on either side, beyond the loss of the english Ajax's jib-boom by, a shot, and some slight injury done to her rigging
and sails. The french squadron, accompanied by 1810. the frigate and her convoy from Bandol, returned about noon to the anchorage of the feet in Toulon road.
We are doubtful if we should have considered Letters this transaction worthy of any notice, had not two pecting letters on the subject appeared in the London this Gazette: one from the british admiral on the station action to the secretary of the admiralty; the other, and that in the a tolerably long letter, from the commodore of the don reconnoitring squadron to the commander in chief. A third letter went also the round of the english newspapers; one from sir Charles Cotton to captain Blackwood, thanking him and those under his command for the service they had performed. According to these letters, particularly that of captain Blackwood to his admiral, one french 130-gun ship, five french two-deckers, 80s and 74s, and four 40-gun frigates, were driven back into their port by three british 74s, a 36-gun frigate, and a 10-gun brig. Is there not an absurdity upon the face of this ? Was no allowance to be made for the state of the wind ? The account admits, that “ the weather was light and variable," and that the wind “ rather failed” the english ships; and the logs of all the latter plainly show, that at daylight the wind blew, even with them in the offing, at west-north-west, and at noon at south-west by west. The French declare that the wind shifted to
opp0site points, and was directly against them when their letter leading ships gave over the chase; and they justly ridi- in the cule the idea of three sail of the line silencing the fire tuer. of six. An officer belonging to the Toulon fleet, under date of October 22, 1810, writes thus on the subject to the editor of the Moniteur: “We have read in Nos. 282 and 288 of the Moniteur, article London,' containing extracts from the english papers, the inaccurate report of the english captain Blackwood. He has raised the indignation of the whole feet; every person on board of which can attest, that only one
1810, 74, thé Ajax, and the frigate Amélie, were able to
approach the three enemy's ships, owing to the
The writer, however, is incorrect in accusing some captain Blackwood of having stated, that the french inaccu- three-decker fired a broadside at any of his ships: that
assertion appears in a letter addressed to a newspaper french, editor by ** An officer of the Ajax,” and is virtually letter. contradicted by a subsequent paragraph in the same
letter. Another extract from the english papers,
The most objectionable part of captain Blackwood's
Correc. tion of
* See Appendix, No. 13.
80-gun ships, been "bold" enough to engage him. 1810, - From the determined conduct of the squadron you Aug. did me the honour to place under my command, says the captain, “ I am fully persuaded, had the Capt, ambition of the enemy permitted him to make a wood's bolder attack, the result would have been still more honourable to his majesty's arms." Had commodore Rodgers, or the equally renowned captain David Porter, or even the french admiral himself, assisted by the Moniteur’s embellishing powers, written in this style, no surprise would have been created. But what Englishman does not regret, that such boastful threats, from physical causes almost impossible to be realized, should have emanated from the pen of a british officer; and that british officer, one who had already so unequivocally distinguished himself ?
It was not not many weeks afterwards, ere a more decided display of british valour, although not a sentence respecting it is to be found in the London Gazette, occurred off the port of Toulon. In the early part of August three french store-ships, bound thither, were chased by the british in-shore squadron into the anchorage of Porqueroles, one of the Hyères, and were there watched by the 18-gun brig-sloop Philomel, captain Gardiner Henry Guion. PhiloOn the 26th, at daylight, the three store-ships, watcheach of which was about equal in force to ing an english 28-gun frigate, weighed and pushed ships out; and one, covered by a division of the french at
Hyères fleet from the outer road, succeeded in getting round to Toulon. The remaining two, however, were obliged to put back and reanchor. On the 30th these shifted their births to the entrance of the Petite-Passe, preparatory to a second attempt French to reach the port of their destination. On the next morning, the 31st, at daylight, the Toulon fleet was sails seen in motion; and at 8 h. 30 m. A. M. the two storeships were again under way. At 9h. 30 m. A. M. the them Philomel, still at her post, tacked, the wind a light Toulon. breeze from the east-south-east, and at 10 h. 30 m.
out to escort
1910. exchanged a few distant shot with the store-ships Aug.
as they were coming round Pointe Escampebarion. In 10 minutes afterwards the 74-gun ship Repulse, captain John Halliday, who was lying to on the larboard tack at some distance outside the brig, exchanged shots with the french advanced' frigates. Meanwhile the two store-ships, favoured by the wind and protected by their friends, got safe into Toulon.
Having accomplished this object, the french squapulse
dron, under rear-admiral Baudin in the 120-gun ship santly Majestueux, continued working out, in the hope, poses apparently, of capturing the Philomel, who now herself made all possible sail upon a wind to get clear of tween her foes. At noon the two headmost french frigates meland opened a fire upon the brig, which she returned with
her two 6-pounders out of the stern-ports. Atoh. 25 m. P. M. the Repulse also commenced firing her stern guns. At0h. 30m., finding that the shot of the frigates were passing over the Philomel, the british 74 gallantly bore up, and, bringing to astern of the brig, opened so heavy and well-directed a fire upon the three headmost frigates, which were the Pomone, Pénélope, and Adrienne, that, in the course of a quarter of an hour, they wore and joined the line-ofbattleships ; several of which were also, by this time, far advanced in the chase. These, soon afterwards, wore also; and, by 5 P. M., the whole were again at anchor in the road.
At the time this noble act was performed by the Repulse, the british fleet was out of sight to-leeward, off Bandol, except the Warspite 74 and Alceste frigate, who were about nine miles distant in the same direction. Captains Blackwood and Murray Maxwell, and their respective officers and ships' companies, must have felt their hearts bound with delight at such a spectacle. Nor could the feelings of captain Halliday and his ship's company been other than of the most cheering kind; especially when captain Guion, in a spirit of honourable gratitude,