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stern-way at the rate of seven or eight knots an hour, and only avoided running foul of the Caroline by bearing up: the consequence of which was, that the Piemontaise lost as much ground in a few minutes, as she had been all the night toiling to gain. As the Caroline, soon after daylight, approached Banda-Neira, several of the forts fired at her ; but, not being able to spare any hands from working the sails, the frigate made no return. Fortunately for her, one shot only took effect; nor did that do any greater damage, than entering the quarterdeck bulwark and carrying away the midship spoke of the wheel. At 7 A. M. the Caroline descried the castle of Belgica; and, about the same time, a well-directed shot from the latter silenced the sea-battery, which had annoyed her the most. It was now that a small English jack discovered itself above the Dutch colours; and all on board the Caroline used increased exertions to reach the spot, where their gallant comrades had effected so much, and where they might yet have to effect more.
As the flag of truce had not yet returned from the governor, another was sent to say that, unless all hostility immediately ceased, Fort Nassau, at whose flagstaff the Dutch colours were still flying, would be stormed by the British, and the town laid in ashes by the cannon of Belgica. This decisive message produced the immediate and unconditional surrender of BandaNeira and its dependencies; and the Caroline, j ust before she anchored off the town, saw the Batavian flag lowered from Fort Nassau and the British hoisted in its stead. About the same time that the Caroline came to, some of the missing boats, after a night of great hardship and suffering, entered the harbour. The remainder of the boats had got on board the Piemontaise; -who, as well as the Barracouta and Mandarin, anchored a little before noon with the Caroline. In the course of this day 1500 regulars and militia, 400 of the former from the north point, laid down their arms on the glacis of Fort Nassau; a clear proof, coupled with the manifest strength of the defences, that the force of Banda-Neira had not been overrated.
Viewed in every light, the taking of the Banda isles was an achievement of no common order. Where are we to find, even in the annals of the British navy, more skill and perseverance than was employed in overcoming the difficulties of the navigation to the scene of conquest? Or where a greater share of address and valour, than was displayed by Captain Cole and his 180 brave associates, more than three fourths of them seamen and marines, in the crowning act of their bold exploit? Without seeking to discover shades of difference between two cases in their general features alike, we may point to the conquest of another Dutch colony; a conquest which, in the manner of its execution, spread as much renown over the British name in the western, as this was calculated to do in the eastern, hemisphere: let no one, then, call up to his recollection Captain Brisbane and Curacoa, without affording an equal place in his esteem to Captain Cole and Banda-Neira.
For the valuable and important conquest he had achieved, Captain Cole received the thanks of his commander-in-chief, of the governor-general of India in council, and of the lords of the admiralty; but we question if the sentiments contained in any one of the three letters, although forcibly expressed in all, went so straight to the heart, as the contents of the letters addressed to Captain Cole by his shipmates and partners in glory. The first was from Captains Foote and Kenah, presenting a silver cup; the second from the lieutenants and other officers of the three ships, presenting a sword of a hundred guineas value; the third from the officers of the honourable company's troops engaged in the enterprise, presenting a sword of the same value; and the fourth from the crew of the Caroline, accompanied by a similar token of their admiration and esteem. These testimonials concur in vouching for one fact, which Captain Cole's modesty has induced him to refrain from stating, or even hinting at, in his official letter, the personal share he took in the conflict. The letter signed "The Caroline's" affords an unequivocal proof of another trait in their captain: it shows that he was as kind as he was brave.'
When we last quitted the neighbourhood of the Isle of France, the French frigate Venus, newly named Nereide, and the recaptured frigate Ceylon had just been added to the force on the station under Commodore Rowleyd- In a week or two afterwards that force was augmented by the arrival of several frigates; and it was at length determined, as soon as an expedition of sufficient strength could be assembled, to attempt the reduction of the Isle of France; in the principal port of which island, PortLouis, now lay the five French frigates, Bellone, Minerve, Manche, Astree, and (late British) Iphigenie, also the Victor ship-corvette, brig-corvette Entreprenant and another of the same class, quite new, besides several French merchant vessels. Two only of the frigates, the Astree and Manche, were in a state of readiness for sea; and after the 19th of October these were blockaded by the three British frigates Boadicea, Nisus, and Nereide, under the command of Commodore Rowley of the former.
By the 21st of November all the different divisions of the expedition, except that expected from the Cape of Good Hope, had assembled off and at the anchorage of the island of Rodriguez; and, it being considered, on account of the lateness of the season, unadvisable to wait for the arrival of the Cape division, the remaining divisions of the naval portion under the command of
* For copies of the several letters see Marshall's Royal Naval Biography, vol.H., pp. fill, 512, t See p. 813.
Vice-admiral Bertie, and the military under Major-general Abercromby, on the morning of the 22d set sail for the Isle of France, but, owing to the light and baffling winds, did not, until the evening of the 28th, arrive in sight of the island.
The whole of the ships of war attached to the expedition, including a portion that blockaded Port-Louis, consisted as follows:
Shops, Hesper, Captain William Paterson, Eclipse, Captain Henry Lynne, acting, Hecate, Captain George Rennie, acting, Actreon, Captain Ralph
Viscount Neville; gun-brig Staunch, Lieutenant Craig, acting;
government-ship Emma, Captain Benjamin Street, acting, and three smaller government-vessels, and a great many transports. The number of troops accompanying the expedition appears to have been about 10,000.
On the 29th, in the morning, the men of war and transports, numbering altogether nearly 70 sail, anchored in Grande-Baie, situated about 12 miles to the north-eastward of Port-Louis. The great obstacle to an attack upon the Isle of France had always been, the supposed impossibility to effect a landing, with any considerable force, owing to the reefs that surround the coast, as well as to find anchorage for a numerous fleet of transports. But these difficulties had been surmounted by the indefatigable exertions of Commodore Rowley; who, assisted by Lieutenant Street, then of the Staunch, Lieutenant Blackiston of the Madras engineers, and the masters of the Africaine and Boadicea, had sounded and minutely examined every part of the leeward side of the island. So that, in the course of the same day, the army, with its artillery, stores, and ammunition, the several detachments of marines serving in the squadron, and a large body of seamen under the orders of Captain William. Augustus Montagu, disembarked without opposition or casualty. On the morning of the 30th there was a slight skirmishing between the adverse pickets; and on the 1 st and 2d of December an affair, rather more serious, took place between the British main body and a corps of the enemy, who with several fieldpieces had taken a strong position, to check the advance of the invaders. The French, however were soon overpowered by numbers, with the loss of their guns and several men killed and wounded. The loss on the part of the British, including that sustained on the 30th, amounted to 28 officers and men killed, 94 wounded, and 45 missing.
Immediately after the termination of this battle, General Decaen, who, in the slight support he received from the colonial militia, now learnt to appreciate the effects of the proclamations so industriously spread among them by Captain Willoughby in the spring, proposed terms of capitulation; and on the following morning, the 3d, the articles were signed and ratifications exchanged, surrendering to the island of Great Britain. The garrison of the Isle of France consisted, it appears, of no more than 1300 regular troops, including, to their shame be it spoken, a corps of about 500 Irishmen, chiefly recruits taken out of the captured Indiamen. But the militia force amounted to upwards of 10,000 men; a number which General Decaen, no doubt, would have gladly exchanged for as many more regulars as he had under his command. Upon the numerous batteries of the Isle of France were mounted 209 pieces of heavy ordnance; the guns in excellent order, and the batteries completely equipped with shot, ammunition, and every other requisite for service. Ia Port-Louis were the men of war already named; also the Charlton, Ceylon, and United Kingdom, late English Indiamen, and 24 French merchant ships and brigs: two of the ships, the Althee and Ville-d'Auten, measured 1000 tons each.
Of the four captured 40-gun frigates, the Bellone, under the name of Junon, and the Astree under that of Pomone, were all that were purchased for the use of the British navy. The Iphigenia was restored to her rank among the 18-pounder 36s; but the old battered Nereide, rendered so famous by the gallantry of her captain and crew, was in too bad a state to be removed from Grand Port, and was sold only to be broken up.
BRITISH. AND FRENCH FLEETS.
The principal feature, that distinguishes the present abstract* from the generality of those which have preceded it, is the insignificant total at the foot of the column of " Purchased enemy's national vessels."f This is to be attributed to the effectual manner in which the ports of France had been blockaded, rather than to any diminution of strength or spirit in the French navy. The latter, indeed, notwithstanding its reverses, had been, and was still, increasing in its numbers, as we shall presently have occasion to show. The decrease compartment of the abstract also exhibits a reduction, by as much as one half, in the numerical, if not in the tonnage, amount of its first and more important column.^
The number of commissioned officers and masters, belonging to the British navy at the commencement of the year 1811, was,