Page images
PDF
[ocr errors]

Phoebe appears to have mounted two more nines, 1811;
making her number of guns 44. The complements `
have already been enumerated. With respect to the
Renommée, Néréide, and Clorinde, they were not
quite so formidable as some of the french frigates
which have been named in these pages. When it is
known, that the french 36-pounder carronade weighs
seven per centum more than the english 42, it will.
be readily conceived, that 10 or 12 of the former ai.
were too much for the quarterdeck of a french
frigate of 1080 or 1100 tons; especially, in the ment
usual contracted state of that deck and the com-o.i.
parative flimsiness of its barricade. It appears, frigates.
therefore, that in the year 1810 the establishment
of the french 40-gun frigate was altered, from twelve
36-pounder carronades and four or six eights, to
fourteen 24-pounder carronades and two eights; and
even the french 24-pounder carronade weighs within
about 120 pounds of the english 32, and so nearly
agrees with the latter in size, as to be easily taken
for a carronade of that caliber. According to this
statement of the guns on each side, the broadside
force of either the Astrea or Galatea was 467 lbs.,
and that of any one of the three french frigates 461
lbs. The complements of either of the latter, even
without the troops, far outnumbered that of either
of the three british frigates. In point of size,
the french frigates had also the advantage; the
Renommée measuring 1073, the Clorinde 1083, and
the Néréide 1114 tons.
The difference in guns, men, and size, therefore, Re-
between a british, 18-pounder 36 and a french 40.
gun frigate, rendered the parties in this action, join.
notwithstanding the presence of the brig, who, it is
clear, might as well have been in Port-Louis harbour,
about equally matched; that is, making due allow-
ance for the side which possessed the inferiority in
number of men. Had the Renommée not have been
somewhat roughly handled by the Galatea, and had

the Clorinde, when the Renommée was attacked by

1811; the Astrea and Phoebe, given to the former the 'o. support that was in her power, the french commodore's ship, in all probability, would have effected her escape; and that without the slightest disparagement to the Astrea. The resolute conduct of the Néréide, in not surrendering to the Phoebe after having sustained so heavy a loss in killed and

wounded, redeems, in some degree, the previous

shyness, on two occasions, of captain Lemaresquier;* unless we are to consider that, as he fell in the action, the credit of not striking the colours is due to the next officer in command, lieutenant François Ponée. With respect to the Clorinde, the behaviour of her captain on the present, perfectly agrees with his behaviour on a former occasion. M. Saint-Cricq abandoned his commodore in March, 1806; he does the same in May, 1811: then his heels could not save him; now they do save him. Upon the whole, if some glory was lost to the french navy by the misconduct of the Clorinde, more was gained to it by the acknowledged good conduct of the Renommée and Néréide. On the 21st, at daylight, the Astrea, Phoebe, and Racehorse discovered the Renommée and Galatea to-windward; and their bearings, as taken on board Alleged the Racehorse, were, Galatea south-west by south,

[ocr errors]

Örö. Renommée south-west by west. A very singular : circumstance appears to have prevented the Galatea in her from joining her three consorts to-leeward. It will ... be remembered, that only two officers and five men were sent to take possession of the Renommée, who had then a crew of nearly 400 effective officers and men. In this state of things, the surprise is, that the French did not retake their ship. It appears that the crew wished to do so; but that colonel Barrois, who, according to the etiquette of the french service, was now the commanding officer, acting upon a principle of honour which some of the french naval captains would do well to imitate, refused to give

[ocr errors]

his sanction to the proceeding. Hence lieutenant 1811. Royer and his few hands remained throughout the `. night in quiet possession of the prize; but were not permitted, when daylight came, to hoist the english over the french flag, nor to make any signal, either to the Galatea who was to-windward, or to the Astrea and her consorts, who were at a great distance to-leeward of them. Not knowing, of course, that the Renommée had been captured, and getting no answer to his signals, from this ship for the reason already stated, nor from the Astrea and Phoebe because of their great distance off, captain Losack doubted if it was not the french squadron of which he was in sight; and, while the Renommée bore up to join the Astrea and Phoebe, the Galatea made the best of her way to Port-Louis. Having taken out the prisoners from the Renom-Capt. mée, and placed on board a proper prize-crew, i." captain Schomberg now first learnt the situation of detachTamatave. The damaged state of the Phoebe notics. admitting her to beat up quickly against the wind of. and current, captain Schomberg despatched the mauve Racehorse in advance, to summon the french garrison to surrender. On the evening of the 24th the brig rejoined the Astrea, with the intelligence of the arrival of the Néréide at Tamatave. As this was the nearest port in which he could i. his ship repaired, lieutenant Ponée had proceeded straight thither, and immediately moored the Néréide in the most advantageous manner for resisting the attack which he hourly expected to be made. The Astrea, Phoebe, and Racehorse immediately . made sail for Tamatave, but were prevented by a himself strong gale from getting a sight of the french frigate, ...on until the afternoon of the 25th; when, no one in the of Né. british squadron possessing any local . of réide. the spot, and it being considered impracticable to sound the passage between the reefs without being exposed to the fire of the frigate and a battery of 10 or 12 guns, captain Schomberg sent captain WOL, WI. T)

Jo De Rippe, with a flag of truce at his brig's mast.
M., head, and a summons of surrender to the french
sum commanding officer. In that summons the latter is
i. informed, that the “ Renommée and Clorinde have
... struck after a brave defence.” The inference here
der intended is pretty clear, and a ruse may be allowed
in such cases; but an officer should be cautious how
he signs his name to a document bearing upon the
face of it what may afterwards subject his veracity
to be called in question.
H. Lieutenant Ponée, like a brave man, refused to
is surrender unconditionally; but proposed to deliver
... up the frigate and fort to the British, on condition
ride that he, his officers, and ship's company, and the
:.." troops in garrison on shore, should be sent to France,
without being considered as prisoners of war. The
terms were agreed to ; and on the 26th the fort of
Tamatave and its dependencies, the frigate and a
vessel or two in the port, were taken possession of
by captain Schomberg; who, having first, as a
precautionary measure on account of the number of
prisoners in the two frigates, caused the guns on
the battery to be spiked, went into Tamatave with
his squadron.
Clo: Having thus disposed of two of M. Roquebert's
... three frigates, we will endeavour to show what
§... became of the other. Captain Saint-Cricq made, so
* good a use of the entire state of the Clorinde's
rigging and sails, that by daylight on the 21st he
had run completely out of sight of both friends and
foes. After ruminating awhile on his “melancholy"
situation, the french captain bent his course towards
the Seychelle islands; under one of which he
anchored, and on the 7th of June set sail on his
return to France. On the 26th the Clorinde reached
the island of Diego-Garcia; and, having obtained
some cocoas and a supply of wood and water, sailed
thence on the 28th, and on the 1st of August rounded
the Cape of Good Hope. Between the 23d of August
and 16th of September, captain' Saint-Cricq fell in

[ocr errors]

with several english and american provision-laden Joll; merchant vessels, and from among them supplied Aug. the principal part of his wants.

On the oil. when close to the port of her des-..." tination, the Clorinde was very near sharing the and is fate of her late consorts. At daylight she was ." discovered and chased by the british 80-gun ship used Tonnant, captain sir John Gore; who ineffectually." endeavoured to cut her off from entering the passage du Raz. At noon the Tonnant fired a shot at the Clorinde; and at about 1 h. 30 m. P. M., when the Saintes islands bore north-east by north four miles, discharged her broadside. The british 80 continued the chase, in a fresh gale at north-west and heavy sea, and passed through the Raz. At 2 P.M., when running, under a press of sail, between the Vieille rock and Pointe Carnarvan and coming up fast with the frigate, the Tonnant lost her main topmast and fore and mizen topgallantmasts by the violence of the wind. The latter, nevertheless, opened a smart fire upon the Clorinde, then within little more than pistol-shot distance; but the frigate, having judiciously reduced her sails when the squall came on, now possessed them all in a perfect state, and soon outran her pursuer. After receiving a few harmless Anshot from the battery on Pointe Trépassée, the or. Tonnant gave over the chase; and at 5 P.M. the Breit Clorinde anchored in the road of Brest. road.

It unfortunately happened, that the action off. Madagascar was not allowed to pass without as homcharge, an implied charge, at all events, of miscon-j duct on the british side. Having previously stated, in his official letter, captain Losack's report of the disabled state of his ship, captain Schomberg says: “I am, however, called upon by my feelings, and a sense of my duty, to bear testimony to the meritorious conduct of the officers and ships' companies of his majesty's ships Phoebe and Astrea.” Not a maravedi, in the way of praise, is bestowed upon the Galatea or Racehorse. Admitting the brig to

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »