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prisoners. The burning of the Hermenegildo and Real Carlos, is one of the most tragical eyents recorded in history.
This contention for naval supremacy might be said to have lasted from the 5th to the 13 th of July, on which day it terminated to the honour and advantage of Britain; and we are confident we shall receive the sanction of our countrymen, in upholding the examples of the admiral, his captains, and brave followers, as unsurpassed in the annals of naval warfare, and worthy of the imitation of posterity. Keats, in particular, we commend for the gallant manner in which he arrested the flight of the enemy: and Hood, in addition to the high character which he had acquired for valour, displayed a coolness and judgment in the hour of difficulty and danger, which rendered his quarterdeck, on that day, the first school for naval instruction, ever exhibited to an admiring and applauding nation.
The thanks of Parliament, proposed in the House of Lords by Earl St. Vincent, who was at that time first lord of the admiralty, were unanimously carried. His Lordship stated the merits of the action in the bay of Algeziras, in which, though a ship was lost, no honour was lost to the flag; and though Sir James's squadron was so greatly crippled, he was enabled, by the most wonderful exertions, to meet the enemy, who had put to sea with an augmented force; while his own was diminished in the same ratio, by the loss of the Hannibal, the disabled state of the Pompee, and the separation of the Spencer and Audacious.
"This gallant achievement" (said the Earl) "surpasses every thing I have met with in reading or service; and when the news of it arrived, the whole board, at which I have the honour to preside, were struck with astonishment, to find that Sir James Saumarez, in so very short a time after the affair of Algeziras, had been able, with three ships only, and one of them disabled, especially his own, to come up with the enemy, and with unparalleled bravery to attack them, and obtain a victory highly honourable to himself, and essentially conducive to the national glory." Lord Nelson rose to second the observations of Earl St. Vincent, and was followed by his Royal Highness the Duke of Clarence, who gave his testimony in favour of Sir James and his captains, officers, and men, in the most elegant and ample manner; and the Admiral was requested to make known the vote of the house to his squadron.
For his conduct on this and former occasions, Sir James was created a Baronet; and a pension of 1200/. per annum, was settled on him for life.
We close this interesting narrative, with the official letters of the Admiral.
August 1, 1801.
Copy of a letter from Rear-admiral Sir James Saumarez, to Evan Nepean, Esq.; dated on board his Majesty's ship Caesar, at Gibraltar, the 6th of July.
I have to request you will be pleased to inform my lords' commissioners of the Admiralty, that, conformably to my teller of yesterday's date, I stood through the Straits, with his Majesty's squadron under my orders, with the intention of attacking three French line-of-battle ships and a frigate, that I had received information of, being at anchor off Algeziras. On opening Cabrita Point, I found the ships lay at a considerable distance from the enemy's batteries, and having a leading wind up to them, afforded every reasonable hope of success in the attack.
I had previously directed Captain Hood, in the Venerable, from his experience and knowledge of the anchorage, to lead the squadron, which he executed with his accustomed gallantry; and, although it was not intended he should anchor, he found himself under the necessity so to do, from the winds failing (a circumstance so much to be apprehended in this country), and to which circumstance I have to regret the want of success in this well intended enterprise. Captain Sterling anchored opposite to the inuer ship of the enemy, and brought the Pompee to action in the most spirited and gallant manner, which was also followed by the commanders of every ship in the squadron.
Captains Darby and Ferris, owing to light winds, were prevented for a considerable time from coming into action; at length the Hannibal getting a breeze, Captain Ferris had the most favourable prospect of being alongside one of the enemy's ships, when the Hannibal unfortunately took the ground ; and I am extremely concerned to acquaint their Lordships, that, after having made every possible effort, with this ship and the Audacious, to cover her from the enemy, I was under the necessity to make sail, being at the time only three cables' length from one of the enemy's batteries.
My thanks are particularly due to all the captains, officers, and men under my orders; and although their endeavours have not been crowned with success, I trust the thousands of spectators from his Majesty's garrison, and also the surrounding coast, will do justice to their valour and intrepidity, which were not to be checked by the fire from the numerous batteries, however formidable, that surround Algeziras.
I feel it incumbent upon me to state to their Lordships the great merits of Captain Brenton, of the Caesar, whose cool judgment and intrepid conduct, I will venture to pronounce were never surpassed. I also beg leave to recommend to their Lordships'notice, my flag-lieutenant, Mr. Philip Dumaresq, who has served with me from the commencement of this war, and is a most deserving officer. Mr. Lamborne, and the other lieutenants, are also entitled to great praise, as well as Captain Maxwell, of the marines, and the officers of his corps serving on board the Caesar.
The enemy's ships consisted of two of eighty-four guns, and one of seventy-four, with a large frigate: two of the former are aground, and the whole are rendered totally unserviceable.
I cannot close this letter, without rendering the most ample justice to the great bravery of Captain Ferris; the loss in his ship must have been very considerable, both in officers and men; but I have the satisfaction to be informed, that his Majesty has not lost so valuable an officer.
I have the honour to be, &c.
P. S. The honourable Captain Dundas, of his Majesty's polaere, the Calpe, made his vessel as useful as possible, and kept up a spirited fire on one of the enemy's batteries. I have also to express my approbation of Lieutenant Janverin, commander of the gun-boats, who, having joined me with intelligence, served as a volunteer on board the Caesar.
Ctesar, off Cape Trafalgar, July 13,1801.
It has pleased the Almighty to crown the exertions of this squadron, with the most decisive success over the enemies of their country.
The three French line-of-battle ships, disabled in the action of the 6th instant, off Algeziras, were, on the 8th, reinforced by a squadron of five Spanish line-of-battle ships, under the command of Don Juan Joaquin de Moreno; and a French ship of seventy-four guns, wearing a broad pendant, besides three frigates, and an incredible number of gun-boats and other vessels; and got under sail yesterday morning, together with his Majesty's late ship Hannibal, which they had succeeded in getting off the shoal, on which she struck.
I almost despaired of having a sufficient force in readiness, to oppose to sucb numbers; but through the great exertions of Captain Brenton, the officers, and men, belonging to the Caesar, the ship was in readiness to warp out of the mole yesterday morning, and got under weigh immediately after, with all the squadron, except the Pompee; which ship had not time to get in her masts.
Confiding in the zeal and intrepidity of the officers and men I had the happiness to serve with, I determined, if possible, to obstruct the passage of this very powerful force to Cadiz. Late in the evening, I observed the enemy's ships to have cleared Cabrita Point; and at eight, I bore up with the squadron, to stand after them: his Majesty's ship Superb, being stationed a-head of the Caesar, I directed Captain Keats to make sail, and attack the sternmost ships, in the enemy's rear; using his endeavours to keep in shore of them. At eleven, the Superb opened her fire close to the enemy's ships; and, on the Caesar's coming up, and preparing to engage a three-decker, that had hauled her wind, she was perceived to have taken fire; and the flames having communicated to a ship to leeward of her, both were seen in a blaze, and presented a most awful sight. No possibility existiug of offering the least assistance, in so distressing a situation, the Caesar passed to close with the ship engaged by the Superb; but, by the cool and determined fire kept upon her, which must ever reflect the highest credit on that ship, the enemy's ship was completely silenced, and soon after hauled down her colours.
The Venerable and Spencer, having at this time come up, I bore up after the enemy, who were carrying a press of sail, standing out of the Straits, and lost sight of them during the night. It blew excessively hard till daylight; and in the morning, the only ships in company were the Venerable and Thames, a-head of the Caesar, and one of the French ships at some distance from them, standing towards the shoal of Conil, besides the Spencer astern coming up.
All the ships immediately made sail, with a fresh breeze; but as we approached, the wind suddenly failing, the Venerable was alone able to bring her to action; which Captain Hood did in the most gallant manner, and had nearly silenced the French ship, when his main-mast (which had been before wounded) was ^unfortunately shot away, and it coming nearly calm, the enemy's ship was enabled to get off, without any possibility of following her.