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his lordship made to capture or destroy the ships in the Clarente. I said that it was the opinion of a very distinguished naval officer whom I named, and who was well known to him, that, if Cochrane had been properly supported, he would have destroyed the whole of the French ships. 'He could not only have destroyed them,' replied Napoleon, ' but he might and would have taken them out, had your admiral supported him as he ought to have done. For, in consequence of the signal made by L'Allemand (I think he said) to the ships to do the best in their power to save themselves, sauve qui pent in fact, they became panicstruck and cut their cables. The terror of the brulots (fire-ships) was so great that they actually threw their powder overboard, so that they could have offered very little resistance. The French admiral was an imbecile, but yours was just as bad. I assure you that, if Cochrane had been supported, he would have taken every one of the ships. They ought not to have been alarmed by your brulots, but fear deprived them of their senses, and they co longer knew how to act in their own defence.' "*
The destruction of three French two-deckers and a ship armed en flute seems hardly to have warranted the Nelsonic exordium: "The Almighty's favour to his majesty and the nation has been strongly marked," &C. ; much less the high-flown panegyric, contained in the secretary of the admiralty's letter to Lord Gambier: "I am commanded by their lordships to congratulate you on the brilliant success of the fleet under your command." And again: "Their lordships, considering that the state of the enemy's force in consequence of the brilliant success of the fleet under your command," &c. The only part of the enterprise, in which any thing of a brilliant nature discovered itself, was when the fire-ships were burning, and the explosion-vessels bursting through the air; unless, giving to the term its intended metaphoric allusion, it was when Captain Wooldridge, in the Mediator, broke the boom, and, above all, when Lord Cochrane, in the Imperieuse, dashed in, without orders, and attacked the grounded line-of-battle ships.
In the Lords, the thanks of the House were voted to Lord Gambier upon the motion of Lord Mulgrave, with a few dissentients, but without a division. In the House of Commons, Lord Cochrane moved for a copy of the minutes of the trial of Lord Gambier, but lost his motion by the success of the amend ment of the chancellor of the Exchequer, that "sentence" might be substituted for "minutes." Mr. Percival then moved, "That the thanks of the House be given to Admiral the Right Honourable Lord Gambier, for the zeal, judgment, ability, and anxious attention to the welfare of his majesty's service, which marked his lordship's conduct as commander-in-chief of the fleet in Basque roads; by which the French fleet, which had taken refuge under their own batteries, were driven on shore and
deserted, and a considerable part of them destroyed on the 11th and 12th of April, 1809." On this resolution being put, a debate ensued; but the resolution was finally carried by a majority of 161 to 39.
The second resolution was, "That the thanks of this House be given to Uear-admiral the Honourable Robert Stopford, Captain Sir Harry Neale, captain of the fleet, and to the several officers and captains of the fleet under the command of Lord Gambier, for their gallant and highly meritorious conduct on that glorious occasion, particularly marked by the brilliant and unexampled successes of the difficult and perilous mode of attack by fire-ships, conducted under the immediate direction of Captain Lord Cochrane." The third resolution went to thank the seamen and marines of the fleet, for their meritorious and gallant conduct. These two resolutions passed unanimously. To the last, no objection could be urged; but, with respect to the second, had the words "glorious," "brilliant," and "unexampled," been terms less hackneyed and deteriorated, the resolution would not, we think, have passed as it did. At all events, had the house been aware that the officers, who staid with Admiral Lord Gambier in Basque road, had as little to do with the " perilous" as with the "gallant," measures which led to the whole of the success that ensued, the strong terms used would have been, if not exclusively, more pointedly addressed to Captain Lord Cochrane and the officers serving with him in Aix road.
But it was not on the British side only that blame was imputed for what had taken place in the neighbourhood of Basque roads. The captains of the Tonnerre, Tourville, Indienne, and Calcutta, were tried for alleged misconduct. The trial lasted from the 21st of June to the 8th of September, and led to the following sentences. Captain Clement de la Ronci&re was pronounced, by a majority of eight voices to one, not guilty of the loss of the Tonnerre, and was acquitted. Captain Lacaille, the court taking into consideration that he did not lose the Tourville, that he returned on board two hours after he had quitted her, and that he afterwards defended his ship against the enemy, and conducted her safe into port, was sentenced, by a majority of six voices to nine, to two years' imprisonment; to be erased from the list of officers, and degraded from the legion of honour. Captain Proteau was unanimously acquitted of the loss of his frigate; but the court, nevertheless, by a majority of five voices to four, condemned him to three months' confinement in his chamber, for having set fire to the Indienne without having previously acquainted the admiral with his intention. Captain Lafon was found guilty, by a majority of five voices to four, of having shamefully abandoned the Calcutta in the presence of the enemy, and was condemned to suffer death on board the admiral's ship, the Ocean: a sentence which, at 4 p. M. on the following day, the 9th, was put in execution upon this unfortunate officer.
All the remarks, which we think it necessary to offer upon the trial of the French officers, may be comprised in a few words. Had the facts disclosed on that trial, respecting the actual position and defenceless state of several of the grounded ships, been known to the court-martial which sat upon, and honourably acquitted, Admiral Lord Gambier, the members would certainly have been better qualified to judge of the merits of the case submitted to their consideration; but we cannot persuade ourselves that, even in that case, the court, composed as it was, would have pronounced a sentence more consonant to justice, and, as it would then in reality have been, "to the welfare of his majesty's service."'
We have looked into the account of the business of Basque roads, as it stands in the work of a contemporary; but the partiality, visible in every line of the few pages devoted to the subject, excites in us so much disgust, that we shall notice it no further than to mention, that the Jean-Bart, wrecked six weeks before the fire-ships were sent into Aix road, is declared to have been " lost on the Pallais shoal a few days after, in consequence of this attack,", and that, among the half a dozen captains, upon whom the writer bestows his commendation, is Captain "Prouse," or Prowse, who was not present, nor even in command of a ship.
We will now take a brief view of the state in which the fleet of M. Allemand was left, at Lord Gambier's departure from Basque roads. The Ocean and Foudroyant were moored a full league up the river, and there lay aground; the latter with only 26 of her guns on board, and the former with scarcely as many. The Ocean was also in a very leaky and insecure state, from the opening of her seams by the straining she had previously undergone and was still suffering. The Cassard, Tourville, Regulus, and Patriote, with the three frigates, were at anchor off Rochefort, and were to remove back to the road of Aix, as soon as they could be supplied with guns and anchors from the imperial foundry, and from among those set apart for the ships on the stocks at Rochefort, consisting of two three-deckers, the Jena and Ville-de-Vienne, and a 40-gun frigate. A fine 80-gun ship, the Triomphant, had recently been launched, and was fitting for sea.
To protect the anchorage of Aix, as soon as he should be in a state to return to it, M. Allemand had ordered the construction of a fresh boom, composed, in part, of the chains taken out of the wrecks of the fire-ships. There was also to be a second boom, within the principal one; and both booms were to be protected by a numerous flotilla of heavy gun and mortar boats. By way of encouraging the sailors selected to man them, the minister of marine promised very high rewards to those who should board
* See p. 125. vOL. v.
f Brenton, vol. iv., p. 287.
an enemy's armed vessel; but, adds the French officer, whose excellent letters have been so useful to us, " it is first necessary to inspire our sailors with the spirit with which they were animated previous to this unfortunate affair. As it is, the greater part are completely disheartened: every day I hear them lamenting their situation, and speaking in praise of our enemies. This, in my opinion, is the greatest injury the English have done to us." Having now presented the only details, which have appeared, of the destruction of the French ships in the road of Isle d'Aix, we shall proceed to give an account of another important expedition against a French fleet.
Before we enter upon the Scheldt affair, an intermediate expedition in the northern waters, upon a small scale, demands our brief notice. Early in the month of May a British squadron, consisting of one 64-gun ship, one frigate, three sloops, and a gun-brig^ under the command of Captain Askew Paffard Hollis, of the standard, was detached by Vice-admiral Sir James Saumar^z, the British commander-in-chief in the Baltic, to effect the reduction of the Danish island of Anholt. A party of seamen and marines, commanded by Captain William Selby of the 18pounder 36-gun frigate Owen Glendower, assisted by Captain Edward Nicolls of the Standard's marines, was landed. On the 18th, after a smart but ineffectual resistance, which killed one British marine and wounded two, the Danish garrison, consisting of 170 men, surrendered at discretion, and possession of the island was immediately taken. The principal point gained by "this conquest was the power to restore the lighthouse upon the island to the use for which, until the war between England and Denmark, it was formerly kept: a matter of no slight importance to the British men of war and merchantmen navigating those dangerous seas.
In our account of the proceedings of the year 1807, we had occasion to advert to the formidable naval preparations carrying on by France in the waters of the Scheldt.* Finding that the port of Antwerp was not quite deep enough to float an 80-gun ship with her guns and stores on board, Napoleon forced his brother Louis, the king of Holland, to cede to France, by treaty, the port of Flushing. By this acquisition, the French emperor became entire master of the entrance of the Scheldt, and possessed a capacious basin or harbour, in which a fleet of 20 sail of the line could lie in perfect readiness for sea. It has been doubted, whether line-of-battle ships, fully armed and provisioned, could pass in and out of the basin of Flushing; but a French writer, when speaking of the advantages of the place to France, expressly says: "Elle etait un arsenal supplementaire ou s'armaient les vaisseaux construits a Anvers." Admitting,
therefore, that there was a sufficient depth of water, the French ships could lie in the basin secure from the ice, and be ready to put to sea in the winter months.
Nor was 20 sail of the line, a number that the shores of the the Scheldt alone might not very soon furnish. In the summer of the present year there were already at anchor to the south-east of the Calot sand, the following ten 74-gun ships, under the command of Rear-admiral Burgues-Missiessy: Charlemagne (flag), Albanais, Anversois, Cesar, Commerce-de-Lyon, Dalmate, Dantzig, Dugueselin, Pulstuck (late Audacieux), and Ville-deBerlin, late Thesee. These ships were only waiting for the absence of the British blockading force to put to sea. There were, also, on the stocks at Antwerp, the following two-deckers; one of them just ready to be launched, and several of the others in a very forward state: Auguste, Conquerant, Friedland (just ready), Illustre, Pacification, and Tilsitt, of 80 guns, and Gaulois, Superbe, and Trajan, of 74 guns. There was likewise one 74 on the stocks at Flushing; and, with respect to smaller vessels, two only of the five slips were vacant. The number of slips at the arsenal at Antwerp amounted to 19; ten close under or in front of the citadel, and nine a short distance to the south-west of it. The whole of these slips, it is believed, were calculated for ships of the largest size; and we doubt if a single slip was without the keel of some vessel of war, large or small.
Previous to the year 1804, the site of the arsenal was occupied by 1500 houses; all of which the sovereign will of Napoleon levelled with the dust, in order that he might carry on his ambitious projects against England. Nothing certainly could exceed the eligibility of the situation he had selected, as the resources for building from the Black Forest were inexhaustible. A tolerable idea may be formed of the state of Antwerp as a naval depot, from a knowledge of the fact, that, since the summer of 1805, or probably soon after he had begun to discover the impracticability of assembling off Boulogne his fleets from Brest and other western ports, Napoleon had expended upon the fortifications, basin, dock-yard, and arsenal, 66 millions of francs, or 2,640,000/. sterling.
It was in the latter end of May that the British government first resolved to send an expedition against the French naval force in the Scheldt. A great portion of the English army being at this time employed in Spain and Portugal, and a strong force naval as well as military, being required for the purpose in view, it was not until two months afterwards that the expedition was ready to put to sea. In the mean time, principally by the aid of the English journals, its object was about as well known on the continent, as it was at the horse-guards or the admiralty.
On the 28th of July, at daybreak, the bulk of this immense expedition, consisting, when wholly assembled, of 37 sail of the line (four fifths of the ships with their lowerdeck guns out and