« ZurückWeiter »
reduction of the island, and the attachment, which for years afterward the inhabitants continued to feel towards the British nation.
In the harbour of Valette, was found a Maltese sixty-four gun ship, of a very beautiful model. She was called the Athenian, and was subsequently lost under circumstances of singular calamity.
The terms of capitulation granted to the garrison, were nearly similar to those conceded to other colonies of the enemy: the troops to march out with the honours of war, and lay down their arms; the officers and non-commissioned officers to retain their swords; the garrison to be sent to Toulon at the expense of his Britannic Majesty, and not to serve against Great Britain until regularly exchanged. '> i ;x i
After the surrender of Genoa, and Malta, Lord Keith, with the fleet, went down to Gibraltar, where he found Sir Ralph Abercrombie, with ten thousand men. Here, as we have before observed, he was joined by Sir John Warren, and Sir James Pulteney: the latter, with five thousand men, returned to Lisbon.
The proceedings of that vast armament have been related, up to its fruitless summons of Cadiz, in the month of October, 1800.
The army, embarked in troop-ships and coppered transports, was well calculated for the most difficult enterprise; and the rupture of the treaty of El. Arisch gave employment to this force, and cost the lives of many of our gallant countrymen. To understand the history of the memorable campaign in Egypt, of 1801, it will be necessary to take a slight review of the affairs of the Mediterranean, and the south of Europe.
The Russians and Austrians, at the conclusion of the year 1799, had cleared Italy of the enemy; while the British navy verifying, in some measure, the wild prediction o f Father M' Cormick, had planted its banners en the walls of Rome; and every seaport in the European coasts of the Mediterranean, from Constantinople to Gibraltar, was either in our possession, in alliance with us, or under the most impenetrable blockade. This fortunate state of things was soon reversed: the French once more made themselves masters of Italy, and left us no other means of annoyance than to expel them from Egypt. The history of that memorable campaign will occupy a distinct chapter, which we shall here anticipate by a few remarks.
The capture of Malta, put us in p<*ssession of the finest harbour in the Mediterranean: the French, sensible of its value, in the course of the discussion on the treaty of peace, gravely proposed that we should exchange it for the little island of Lampedosa, lying between Malta and the coast of Africa. The question was referred by the privycouncil to the Earl of St. Vincent, then first lord of the Admiralty. France wished that the Neapolitans should occupy Malta: and this, was at one time intended, but a clearer insight into the politics of the Tuilleries induced a change of plan. The French, his Lordship said, would turn the Neapolitans out, or use the island at pleasure for the destruction of our Levant trade: they would have done more. The emancipation of the Greeks was at that time in contemplation, not with a view to the benefit of the Greeks, but for the purpose of gaining the richest possessions of the Turkish empire; for this end the French would have commenced with attacking the Morea and the Greek islands. But the chief object of the consul, in wishing to retain Malta, was to ensure the success of his plans on Egypt; which were not abandoned at the signing of the treaty of Amiens.
Phoebe and Africaine—Dreadful slaughter on board the latter —Speedy and Gamo—-Conduct of Lord Cochrane—Capture of the Speedy—Rear-admiral Sir James Saumarez takes the command off Cadiz—Attacks the squadron of Admiral Linois in Algeziras-bay—Loss of the Hannibal—Particulars of that action—Sir James retires to Gibraltar—Repairs his damages —Wonderful exertions of British seamen—The French squadron in Algeziras is joined by a Spanish squadron—The whole sail-—and are pursued by Sir James, who attacks them—The Superb takes the San Antonio—The Hermeuegildo and Real Carlos are burnt—The Caesar and Venerable continue the chase of the enemy—The Venerable brings the Formidable to action, but grounding on the shoals of Conil, is dismasted, and the enemy escapes—Noble conduct of Captain Samuel Hood—Thanks of Parliament—Speech of Earl St. Vincent, and of his Royal Highness the Duke of Clarence—Official letters—Captain Halsted, with a squadron of frigates, retakes the Success—Captain Cockburn, in the Minerve, chases the Bravoure and destroys her—Attack on the island of Elba.
O N the 19th of February, Captain, now Sir Robert Barlow, in the Phoebe, of thirty-six guns, while off Gibraltar, discovered an enemy's frigate on the Barbary shore, under Ceuta: at half-past seven in the evening he brought her to action, and continued to engage her closely for two hours, during which he had so much the advantage, that he scarcely received a shot, while the slaughter among the enemy was almost incredible. Reduced to a perfect wreck, with five feet water in her hold, when she surrendered, the scene on board of her exceeded, in proportion, that witnessed in the Caira and Censeur. Her decks were encumbered with two hundred dead, and one hundred and forty-three wounded men; more, by sixty, than the whole crew of the Phoebe. Her name was the Africaine, mounting forty-four guns, and having, at the commencement of the action, three hundred and fifteen seamen, four hundred soldiers and artificers, the general of division, Desfourneaux, with other superior officers; six brass field-pieces, many thousand stand of arms, ammunition, and implements of agriculture. She was bound to Egypt, and. commanded by Commodore Majendie. The Pheebe had two men killed, and Mr. John Wentworth Holland, the first lieutenant, Mr. Griffiths, the master, and ten seamen wounded. This great inequality in damage may be attributed to this cause; the enemy, who attempted to board the Phoebe,' was out-manoeuvered, and kept at a proper distance, by which means her supernumeraries became only lumber on her decks, and prevented the commodore and his seamen from doing their duty; while the useless hands, who crowded the decks and rigging, were mowed down at every broadside, or discharge of musketry. For this action, Captain Barlow was knighted; and his first lieutenant promoted to the rank of commander. •