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stone-ships, though weak and defective in contrivance, wanted not men of valour to place them under the muzzles of their guns. The assembled army on the opposite coast produced one general burst of enthusiastic love for king, country, and government, from the South Foreland to the Land's End; from Guernsey and Jersey to Orkney and Shetland. The British army desired nothing so fervently as to meet his legions: the navy only feared the day would never come when the flotilla, under cover of their fleet, would venture as far as Mid Channel. If the menace of invasion caused some evil, it also elicited the national feeling, and produced those inventions and that assemblage of strength and courage which struck terror into the hearts of our enemies; and as they turned their backs to the water, a French field-officer, in writing to his friend, very justly observed, "We have gone to all this tremendous expense for no other purpose than to frighten our soldiers."
Affairs of St. Domingo—Alarm of the British government at the progress of the rebellion, and at the forces employed by Bonaparte to suppress it—Policy ofToussaint—Sailing of Villaret and Le Clerc—Their forces, naval and military—Arrival and operations—Successes—Villaret writes to Sir John Duckworth—British fleet quits the West Indies—Account of the exertions and sufferings of the French army—Bonaparte sends out the sons of Toussaint—Surrender of the Generals Christophe and Dessalines—Capture of Toussaint—He is sent to France, and dies—Revival of the rebellion—Caused by news from Guadaloupe—Forces sent from France to suppress it— Cruelty of the French to the mulatto chiefs, and desperate state of their affairs in consequence—War between France and England, causes the final ruin of the French in St. Domingo —British naval force at Jamaica—Commodore Hood at Barbadoes—His attack on St. Lucia and Tobago—Blockade of St. Domingo—Capture of La Creole—Gallant conduct of Captain Austin Bissel—Capture of the Duquesue of seventyfour guns—Evacuation of St. Marc by the French—Calumnies of the Count de Dumas against the British navy refuted —His misrepresentations exposed respecting the battle of Algeziras—Evacuation of Aux Cayes—Captain Bligh in the Theseus takes Fort Dauphin, and saves the French garrison from being murdered—Captain Bissel is again successful—Is promoted into the Creole, which founders at sea—Capture of Demerara and Essequibo—Boat enterprises in the Leeward Islands—Evacuation of St. Domingo by the French—Capture of their squadron—Destruction of their army.
On adverting again to the West Indies, the affairs of St. Domingo and Guadaloupe naturally demand our attention; and that our readers may more clearly understand the objects of our naval campaigns in that quarter of the world, it will be necessary to recur to the scenes which had passed from the time Toussaint L'Ouverture obtained the supreme power, until the peace of Amiens.
Regardless of the treaty of Basle, by which the Spanish part of St. Domingo had been ceded to France,Toussaint had, in the year 1800, made himself master of the whole island from east to west; and having consolidated his power, was named governor for life, and permitted to make choice of a successor. This was a fearful state of things for the planters of Jamaica, and not at all agreeable to the ideas and views of the Chief Consul. Thus France and England, though at war, had the same interests in the result of this revolution; but England, without wishing for negro emancipation, was forced to oppose the arms of France in St. Domingo, and unite with the blacks, who were not so much to be dreaded in the western hemisphere as the marine and armies of the French republic.
The wise and liberal policy of Toussaint had induced many of the French proprietors to return to the island; he generously restored their estates, and afforded them protection; commerce began to revive; England and America became the carriers, and France, by circuitous routes, once more tasted the productions of St. Domingo.
Toussaint, while he ruled with arbitrary sway, affected a deference to the First Consul, to whonij in February, 1801, he sent Colonel Vincent, with the outline of a constitution for his approval; the first and most important articles of which were the abolition of slavery, and the eligibility of all persons, of whatever colour, to employments in the state. Bonaparte would not submit to a compromise with the chief of a rebellion, and prepared to reduce the island to such terms as he might think proper to grant: but never in the whole course of his career did he display a greater deficiency of human feeling, of common honesty, political foresight, or of local knowledge, than in the memorable invasion of St. Domingo. For this enterprise, the largest armament which France had ever sent to sea, was prepared in the ports of Europe, including Spain, from the Texel to Toulon. It consisted of thirty-five sail of the line; one of which, the Ocean, mounted one hundred and twenty guns; there were two of eighty, thirtytwo of seventy-four guns, twenty-one frigates, and many other vessels: these were to carry out twenty-one thousand troops. Villaret, the gallant veteran who commanded the fleet on the 1st of June, had the chief command of the naval armament. He had his flag on board the Ocean, and sailed from Brest, on the 19th of December, 1801, with fifteen sail of the line, ten of which were French and five Spanish. This fleet, including nine frigates, carried seven thousand troops, and was joined by a ship of the line and two frigates from L'Orient, carrying one thousand two hundred more.
The Rochefort squadron, under Rear-admiral La Touche Treville, of six sail of the line, six frigates, and two corvettes, with three thousand troops, was to repair to Brest, and form the advanced guard of the fleet.
The Toulon squadron was commanded by Gantheaume, with Dumanoir under him: he had four sail of the line, with two thousand three hundred men.
While this squadron was passing the Straits, an incident occurred in the bay of Gibraltar, which displays the noble character of our seamen in the most exalted point of view. Orders had been received by Rear-admiral Sir James Saumarez, to detach the St. George, Powerful, Zealous, and Spencer, to the same station. The crews of three of the ships manifested great discontent at the orders; and the Admiral, previously to resorting to more forcible means, was about to admonish them to return to their duty, when the French squadron hove in sight: in an instant all murmuring ceased; the ships were unmoored, and never prepared for sea with greater alacrity.
Linois sailed from Cadiz with three sail of the line, and one thousand five hundred troops. The Dutch division carried out two thousand five hundred troops, and two other detachments from Havre and Brest carried three thousand more. This vast and disjointed armament, sailing at different periods, and bound to, or putting into different ports of the island, wanted a common centre