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During the whole of that time he held the command in India; and no officer had ever possessed it for so long a period, nor with so much uninterrupted success. He died in London, on the 6th of April, 1808, after having bequeathed to his country one-tenth part of the property which he had acquired in its service.
The peace of Amiens, which had added to our Indian territory the beautiful island of Ceylon, of the same length and something broader than Ireland, while it gave us the possession of Trincomalee, Point de Galle, and Colombo, added to the weight and responsibility resting on the supreme government and the commander-in-chief of the naval forces in India. To these vast possessions St. Helena may be called the first or outward barrier; the Cape of Good Hope the second; and the island of Ceylon the third. Of this island the Honourable Frederick North was appointed governor on its cession to the British crown; but he had still to contend with the King of Candi, the lawful sovereign of the country, for the command of the fruitful provinces of the interior.
In the month of June, 1803, the unfortunate Major Davie, who commanded a detachment of forty British and two hundred Malay troops, was ^ induced to lay down his arms, when intrusted with the defence of the city of Candi, and himself and people were put to death in cold blood, with the exception of two or three who were permitted to escape. The entire possession of the coast, and
all the sea-ports of the island, gave us a great advantage as a maritime power, but unfortunately Ceylon, for many years past, has been subject to diseases, formerly unknown or of rare occurrence; and Trincomalee, the finest harbour in the world, is scarcely tenable from the prevalence of the cholera morbus.
While Admiral Rainier was on his passage to England, Linois, his great opponent in India, having completed his repairs at the Isle of France, and made good the damage sustained in the action with the Centurion, sailed on his third cruise, in which he was more successful in the acquisition of wealth than of honour.
It had been considered by Earl St. Vincent that the East India command, from the Gulf of Persia to China, or from the Cape of Good Hope to Macao, was too extensive for one officer. Rearadmiral Sir Edward Pellew now exclusively held that command, to which he had succeeded on the resignation of Vice-admiral Rainier, early in 1805. In the same year Rear-admiral Sir Thomas Trowbridge was appointed to share the profits and the patronage of that enviable station; he had the east, while Sir Edward Pellew held the west side of the Peninsula.
Sir Thomas Trowbridge, having his flag in the Blenheim of seventy-four guns, a reduced ninety gun ship, sailed from England some time in June, with ten sail of Indiamen under his convoy, and a body of troops on board, with which he was directed to proceed to Madras with the least possible delay.
Linois, having quitted the Isle of France in the month of May, upon his third cruise, scoured the Mosambique channel, with the Marengo and the Belle Poule, thence he proceeded to the mouth of the Red Sea, and finding the weather too violent he steered for Point de Galle, in the island of Ceylon, captured the Brunswick, East Indiaman, and then directed his course towards the Cape of Good Hope. No man had more perseverance than Linois, none had ever more opportunities of seeing his enemy, and none was ever more unfortunate in the results. His error off Pulo A'or was mistaking Indiamen for ships of war; in the present instance he was equally unfortunate in mistaking a ship of war for an Indiaman. In the month of August, he fell in with Sir Thomas Trowbridge and his convoy to the eastward of Madagascar, in 81° east and 19° south. Linois had with him the Belle Poule and Atalante frigates, of forty-four guns, and the Brunswick, his prize. The Marengo brought the Blenheim to action most probably under the conviction of that ship being an Indiaman; but feeling the effect of her lower-deck guns, Linois very quickly took himself out of gun-shot, and hauled his wind. The Blenheim sailed too ill to attempt the pursuit, and the British Rear-admiral continued his course to Madras, where he arrived without any farther accident, and took the command in the Eastern seas.
Soon after this rencontre M. Linois lost his prize, the Brunswick, by a gale of wind, in Simon's Bay, and one of his frigates, the Atalante, in Table Bay: the guns and stores of the latter were saved,, and put on board a French ship of thirty-two guns and two hundred and fifty men, which, in the month of December following, was driven on shore by Captain Donnelly, in the Narcissus of thirty-two guns, and totally wrecked. The career of Mons. Linois was terminated shortly after by his capture, the particulars of which will be related in another place.
Plans of Napoleon for invasion of England—Number and disposition of his forces—His letters to the minister of marine and to La Touche Treville—Force of his fleet—Directions of Napoleon for the exercise of his Brest fleet—Letter to Missiessy—Army and flotilla—Plans his expeditions to St. Helena, West Indies, and Ireland—Rendezvous off Boulogne —Combination of Spain with France—Causes of failure—Sir Robert Calder sent off Ferrol—Rigorous blockade of Brest— Anxiety of Napoleon for the sailing of Gantheaume—Orders to take the West India islands and St. Helena—Falsehood and deceit of Napoleon.
The naval history of Great Britain for the year 1805, was fraught with events of such magnitude as to command in a particular manner the attention of the whole civilized world; whose political existence depended on the result of the great struggle preparing to be decided on the ocean between the navies of Britain and those of France, Spain, and Holland united against her.
The Emperor of France, with his " invincible army of England," encamped on the heights of Boulogne, waited with anxious expectation to hear of the defeat of the British fleet, before he embarked on his perilous enterprise against the last refuge of liberty in Europe.
While our fleets preserved their position before the Texel, Brest, Rochefort, Vigo, Ferrol, Cadiz, Carthagena, and Toulon, the smaller vessels, under