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1810, before him, and surmounting so many difficulties in Jan. reaching the enemy's position, stamps their leader
as a brave and meritorious officer; and he is deserving the notice of the lords commissioners of the admiralty.” Not one of these
letters, however, Ab- appeared in the London Gazette. Instead of them a pubet sort of abstract was inserted in the following words ; lished « The vice-admiral has transmitted a letter from
captain Hayes, of his majesty's ship Freija, stating letter. the destruction of the batteries at Bay Mahaut, in
the island of Guadaloupe, and of a ship and national schooner at anchor there, and also the capture of an armed brig by the boats of the Freija, under the direction of lieutenant David Hope, who appears to have displayed much gallantry in the performance of this service.
To epitomize official letters, so as to do justice to tice of the case and to the parties interested, is no easy
task; and the admiralty clerk who made this very abstract has left it in some degree doubtful, whether the Freija did not destroy the batteries, ship, and schooner, and her boats capture the brig. At at all events the service performed by lieutenant Hope appeared of so little comparative merit, when thus, we suppose we must call it, “ gazetted," that, although at that time not a very young lieutenant, he had to wait four or five years longer before he became a commander.
These abstracts of letters may possibly have origin originated in a press of official matter; but, then, of the how happens it that we occasionally see along with sertion them, in the columns of the Gazette, entire letters,
announcing the capture of half a dozen insignificant chasse-marées, or of some privateer of trifling force, and that perhaps by a frigate? Nay, the space occupied by the letters of sir Charles Cotton and captain Blackwood, already adverted to,* would have contained at least two of the rejected
* See p. 318.
letters, and have probably led to the promotion of 1810. two deserving officers.
To the naval annalist, these brief statements Inconoccasion great inconvenience; to him especially, vene who feels bound to give a better excuse for annalthe omission of the details of a well-conducted enterprise, than that the board of admiralty had not deemed them of sufficient importance to appear in the London Gazette. Unfortunately, too, the sources of information, which for their authenticity and minuteness we prefer to all others, fail us in the majority of those daring, and far from uninteresting cases, attacks by boats upon the enemy's armed vessels and shore batteries. The log seldom if ever states more, than that at such an hour the boats quitted the ship, and at such an hour returned: sometimes the loss in killed and wounded is inserted, and more rarely the name of the officer who commanded the party.
On the 10th of February, at 10 h. 30 m. A. M., latitude 25° 22' north, longitude 61° 27' west, the Havik. british 10-gun schooner Thistle, (18-pounder carronades, with 50 men and boys,) lieutenant Peter Procter, steering north-east by north with the wind at south-east, discovered and chased a strange ship in the east-south-east. At 4 P. M., having by superiority of sailing neared the stranger considerably, the Thistle fired a gun and hoisted her colours. The example was immediately followed by the ship, which was the dutch corvette Havik, lieutenant de vaisseau Jean Stéeling; a large india-built ship, pierced for 18 guns and mounting 10, (six long 4-pounders and four 2-pound swivels) with a complement of 52 men and boys, including the batavian rear-admiral, Armand-Adrien Buyskes, late lieutenant-governor and commander in chief at Batavia, and his suite, bound from that port to New-York, and partly laden with spices and indigo.
At 5 P. M., which made just seven hours and a half from the commencement of the chase, the Thistle
Engages and captures her.
Mutual loss, &c.
1810. got alongside the Havik, and, firing across her bows, Feb. hailed her to bring to. The reply to this was a
broadside. The action immediately commenced, and was maintained with mutual spirit. At 6 h. 15 m. P. M. the Havik attempted to run the schooner down; but the latter, hauling aft her sheets, adroitly avoided the bows of her huge opponent. The Thistle, three of whose carronades had been dismounted since the early part of the action, continued closely engaging the Havik until 6 h. 45 m. P. M.; when the latter made all sail and endeavoured to escape before the wind. This being the ship's best point of sailing, it was not until 7 h. 40 m. P. M. that the
chooner got near enough to open her bow guns. Gradually advancing in the chase, the Thistle, at 8 h. 30 m. P. M., again arrived alongside. A second close engagement ensued, and continued until 9 h. 45 m. ; when the Havik hauled down her colours and hailed that she had struck.
In this five hours' engagement and running fight, the Thistle had one marine killed, and her commander and six men wounded. On board the Havik one man also was killed, and the dutch admiral and seven men badly wounded. The conduct of the Thistle in the affair was highly creditable to her commander, his officers, and crew. It was an act of some holdness for a schooner of 150 tons to attack a large warlike enemy's ship; nor was it less a proof of persevering courage for the Thistle, after three of her carronades had been dismounted, to continue the engagement for so long a time, and until she brought it to a successful issue. Lieutenant Procter, who is described by vice-admiral sir John Borlase Warren, the commander in chief on the Halifax station, as
an old officer of much merit,” in four months afterwards, as we discover hy a reference to the navy-list, was promoted to the rank of commander.
On the 12th or 13th of January the french 40-gun frigates Néréide, captain Jean-François Lemaresquier, and Astrée, captain François-Désiré Breton,
managed to effect their escape from the port of Cher- 1810. bourg ; the one laden with troops and supplies for the island of Guadeloupe, and the other with the Nérésame for the Isle of France. On the 9th of February, ide and very early in the morning, the Néréide arrived off escape Basse-terre, and sent an officer and boat's crew on shore for a pilot. The boat did not return, for the bourg. colony had been three days in possession of the British ; and the first peep of day discovered to the NéréNéréide her perilous situation. From their anchor- ide is age off the west end of the Saintes, the following by a british vessels slipped their cables, and made all sail british in chase :
Shortly afterwards the Alfred shaped her course to the northward after a ship at anchor off Anse la Barque, supposed to be a second french frigate, but which proved to be the 18-gun ship-sloop Star, captain William Paterson, who had also slipped on descrying the Néréide, but lay becalmed under the land. In the mean while the Blonde, Thetis, Melampus, Castor, and Scorpion, pursued the Néréide; who was under a crowd of canvass steering to the south-west, and at 8 A. M., the wind then Esa fresh breeze from the eastward, was but four capes miles ahead of the leading british ship, the Blonde. all the
ships. During the day's chase, the Néréide gained about two miles of the Blonde ; when the latter, at 10 P. M., carried away her main topmast and the yard with it, also her foretopsail yard and fore and mizen topgallantmasts. The Blonde, in consequence, dropped astern; and the remaining ships continued the chase
Falls in with
1810, throughout the night, the Melampus leading. During Feb. the whole of the 10th the Néréide kept gaining by
degrees on the Melampus; who at 8 P. M. lost sight of her squadron, and, at 10 h. 30 m. P. M., of the french frigate. In another hour the Melampus shortened sail, and hauled to the wind on the starboard tack, to rejoin her consorts.
Thus relieved of her pursuers, the Néréide steered Rain- a more northerly course, intending to make her
voyage back by the windward passage, or that between the islands of St.-Domingo and Cuba. On the 13th, at daylight, when within eight or ten leagues of Pointe Abacou upon the first-named island, another enemy made her appearance to-windward. This was the british 22-gun ship Rainbow, captain James Wooldridge. The latter hoisted the english and spanish private signals, and, finding them not answered, bore up
in chase and cleared for action. At 8 h. 30m. A.M. the Néréide brought to to reconnoitre the ship which was so boldly approaching her, and must soon have discovered that she had but 10 ports and a bridle of a side on her main deck, three on her quarterdeck, and one on her forecastle, total 28 ports, just the number of guns the ship mounted.* Nor could the Rainbow's size have alarmed her, for the ship did not measure more than 587 tons. However, there was a something about the british ship that the
Néréide did not like; and at 9 A. M. the latter bore Runs up and made all sail. Captain Wooldridge folherm lowed; and at noon, Pointe Abacou then bearing
north-north-west distant six or seven leagues, the Rainbow was within a mile and a half of a french frigate of more than double her force in guns, men, and size. The chase continued during the afternoon, without any perceptible advantage to either ship; and at 8 P. M. captain Wooldridge, as his duty prescribed, let off several rockets, to apprize any friend who might be in sight of them, that the Rainbow was in pursuit of an enemy.